What are Dissociative Disorders?
Dissociative Disorders occur alongside complex forms of trauma, and range from experiences of Depersonalisation and Derealisation, to Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Depersonalization and Derealization
Depersonalization is a phenomena whereby people experience themselves as feeling strange or unreal. They might feel detached, or as though they are an outside observer of their own thoughts, feelings, sensations, body, or actions.
Derealization is a phenomena whereby people experience others, objects, or the world as strange or unreal (e.g., dreamlike, distant, foggy, lifeless, colourless, or visually distorted) or they feel detached from their surroundings.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
Dissociative Identity Disorder occurs when a person has been exposed to such severe and persistent harm, that their mind has protected itself by creating separate parts to contain overwhelming and traumatic memories, thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This results in a disruption of a person’s identity, where a person has two or more distinct identities.
The different identities regularly come to the fore, and take control of the person’s thinking, behaviour, interaction with others, and interactions with the world around them. Changes in identity come with changes in senses, perception, mood, thinking, memory, body sensations and body movements. Usually, individuals with DID have no memory for the time that they have been in one of their separate identities.