November 8, 2008

Combat PTSD: Relationship Between Dissociation and Identity

Lately I have been thinking about how identity issues have an integral part of becoming whole in PTSD survivors. During my research I found an article on dissociative identity possibly being a major part of combat trauma. I have experienced this phenomenon many times and once in particular I was at a party and found myself convinced that my life was a sitcom where I was the star of the show (yes, a bit narcissistic) and having just realized this I began to seriously question the interactions I was having and wondering what my lines were supposed to be.

Of course the incident was triggered through a drug induced psychosis (alcohol and marijuana), again a commonality in the deeper spectrum of PTSD and identity crisis; a further distancing with the loss of self. I kept going from room to room trying to get away from the "cameras" that I could not see, but was convinced that were there. I was having homicidal thoughts along with the delusions, I kept hearing voices that was telling me to kill everybody and was convinced that I could hear the "in studio audience" laughter. I was convinced that they were laughing at me, which I told myself, "of course they are you are on a TV show." This moment could have been the breaking point and I was extremely close to totally separating from my consciousness.

In the last quote you will notice that I was not using first person conjugation, but second person. This was a conversation with myself, but I was convinced otherwise. My self dissolution was teetering on a complete psychotic break from reality, where anything was possible concerning my behavior.

In a moment of clarity I realized this thinking pattern was quantitatively deficient and possibly a precursor to violence. I was scared to death when I had this brief awakening and ran out of the house without saying anything to anyone and I believe that this was the last time I had any significant social interactions in my second wives life, we where separated at this point and had entertained the possibility of getting back together.

Thinking back on that now, I remember blaming her for us not getting back together, when in reexamining this part of my life just now I must have been operating more from my shadow self, a shallow self that can dip down into the murky pool of delirium and insanity. It was my fear from the resulting brief moment of lucidity that made me flee, subconsciously I could feel the submerging actualities skimming the opacity of the break waters. Somewhere inside me I felt that I could not do the work I needed to regain my complete sanity by staying, so I left never to return.

Yes I agree that finding an identity would be important in recovery and discovery of self. I had not made this connection until lately, but it seems that a higher power knew of this and governed my arrival to this without me formulating the thought of this brick within the foundation of my life. Thank you for your part in guiding me to this realization.

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