This is what an episode of DID looks and feels like on me. I know now, after years of therapy, how to recognize and identify what’s happening. Before I would simply think I had gone mad, sometimes resulting in time off work or hospitalizations. I’m not sure how this episode will pan out, as I’m non-functional at the moment, but at least I know what’s going on. I do still fluctuate between states on a daily basis, but it takes much more now to make for a full-blown “episode”.
My stress level had been pushed to its limit lately with my new job. I resorted to benzos to help deal with the anxiety. I lasted awhile this way, functioning pretty well because my anxiety was managed, but then I developed a tolerance to benzos and realized it probably wasn’t wise to be drugging myself so much that I’d be nodding off at red lights on the way to work. So I quit benzos. Quite proud that I kicked the habit. However, it hit me this week that the only way I had been getting through this job was by drugging myself. Not all of the job, mind you, but the presentation-type parts where I’d be on “display;” where I couldn’t hide my anxiety.
After last week my brain snapped. I wish I could look into a brain and see exactly what happens when it simply says “NO MORE.” I had two back-to-back presentations. I took clonazepam but it barely helped. When I’m afraid, the child part of me comes forward and center and I’m literally a child who must do this adult job and perform in front of all these scary people. I was terrified. I dissociated. It was blur. It was like the people were objects and I was supposed to be interacting with them but I was talking at them because they were merely objects- not people. After my blur of 70 scary, intimidating faces, and tears on the way home, my brain simply broke. It was hazy after that. The next day I spent sleeping, and since then I vacillate between mind-numbing depression and skin-crawling, jumping out of my seat anxiety. (The fact that my building is testing the fire alarms today is not helping.)
This is how my DID manifests. It’s similar to re-experiencing trauma, as with PTSD but I also know that I’m not myself right now. I know that I’m in a dissociated state (thanks to therapy). My eyes are glazed and have a haunted, frantic look. It’s like being in a lucid dream. You know it’s a dream but you’re living in the dream world, none the less. I want to scream at myself “Wake up, you’re not under attack! Nothing is happening now.” But I can’t seem to snap out of it. My amygdala has been hijacked. I get disoriented, forgetting where I am, what day it is etc. I can type and make logical sense of what’s happening, but emotionally, I’m non-functional. If I go to Starbucks, I almost burst into tears placing my order, speaking to another person. My child self is right out in front, in control of my emotions, when it’s supposed to be my adult self running the show. This is why they say that people with DID fluctuate in their ability to function. Sometimes I’m awesome, supervising others at work, confidently doing my job; other times I’m too scared to leave my house.
I need to breathe, and pool the wisdom I have learned from my Shrink over the years. My nervous system is in overdrive, so I need to do everything to calm it down. I’m already meditate everyday, running, and taking my supplements. I’m starting back on Zoloft tomorrow- I had taken a few days off because of side-effects (bad idea.) I could go back to a higher dose of Latuda because my grasp on reality is getting weak/becoming very distorted (I can recognize it at times) but I don’t want to go back to being a lazy, vegetable. Anti-psychotic apathy is a real thing. I want to give Zoloft a chance to see if it will calm me down, thus bringing me back into reality.
I know I sound totally rational right now, but if I were to leave my house (“No, please don’t make me!”) or (“Gasp!”) interact with another being, my reality would start to crumble again and this rational “voice” that’s speaking would abandon me.