I've read a little bit about Dissociative Identity Disorder because my wife struggles with DID-NOS due to CSA. The established consensus among the psychological/psychiatric community is that it's linked with extensive childhood trauma, and for many children it is what enables them to function in the world, for a time. There are also other dissociative issues recognized by the psychiatric community, although I don't know much about them.
Not all people who dissociate have DID, though. Dissociation is just a technical term for zoning out, and I think everyone does it to a degree. It's what happens when it's 4pm, you're at work, and all you can think of is your upcoming time off--your brain transports itself to a better place and you can't focus on that pile of paperwork on your desk. It's what happens when you're at the dentist and you daydream to distract yourself from the obnoxious drilling sound and the scraping.
I was always familiar with that type of dissociation.
Now, as a survivor of adult male rape, I feel like I'm viewing myself with a wide-angle lens. I can't just listen to a song like I used to. I feel it. It turns into the soundtrack for three minutes of my life. My mind consciously has to edit out my speech...moving words around to make them palatable to others. I don't just have conversations, I detach from my words as I say them, carefully constructing the text in my head and struggling to string things together that sound like something I'd naturally say before my assault.
I can't control my life anymore. That was taken away from me in the rape. But have you ever done video editing and used a program like AVID or Final Cut Pro? I feel like that's what my brain does with my experience of life. It edits down the positive things in my life and plays the triggers in slow motion... warping and distorting my understanding.
Sometimes the fear of death just all of the sudden washes over me and I can't think of anything else, I can't pay attention to whoever is with me at the time. I am actively trying not to blame myself for the rape, it happened to me. I did not do anything. Yet at the same time, there is this distance I have from my own life, it is like I used to be the captain of my life, charting its course and controlling what I could control, but now things in my life just happen to me, I am floating through it like driftwood--no longer a free agent with control over my destiny.
I think to myself often--"I miss me." "Where did I go?" I mourn the loss of "me." I don't think I have DID but I'm not actively engaged in the world like I was before the rape, and I don't know if I ever will be.
Obviously you guys aren't trained clinicians (well most of you anyway). But can dissociative disorders occur in adults with ASA and not CSA? I have tried looking up information about ASA-related dissociation but there just isn't anything out there. Can any other ASA survivors relate to this?
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”
- Saint John of the Cross