Mental Health related to Trauma

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Amnesia


Amnesia within Dissociative Identity Disorder explained

Originally posted on Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Tucson:

Dissociative AmnesiaI am continuing the conversation about dissociative identity disorder (DID) and characteristics that make up the diagnosis. I want to address amnesia,  what it looks like in DID, and the function it serves. Of course,  not everyone with amnesia has dissociative identity disorder. Remember, the first two criteria, different self states and amnesia, must exist together for a DID diagnosis to be made.

According to the DSM-5, there are three primary ways amnesia present in people with dissociative identity disorder:

1) gaps in remote memory of personal life events (e.g., periods of childhood or adolescence; some important life events, such as the death of a grandparent, getting married, giving birth); 2) lapses in dependable memory (e.g., of what happened today, of well-learned skills such as how to do their job, use a computer, read, drive); and 3) discovery of evidence of their everyday actions and tasks that they do…

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Learning More About Myself

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Reflection in therapy: the quest for perfection and the inner critic

Originally posted on DIDdispatches Blog:


This week I’m trying to work through some issues about myself, it’s odd to think I actually put myself through difficulties by being over critical or judgemental of myself. But apparently I do self judge and it’s not good, I am also inpatient which I didn’t realise fully either until it was spelt out to me the other day.

I have known I’m self critical for some time, I mean I constantly put myself down and yet I had never realised how much I judge myself. In therapy the other day I realised that actually I am repeating behaviours from my past and judging myself. I think part of this is the fact despite thinking I now accept my Dissociative Identity Disorder, in my heart I still don’t, well not fully.

I have always wanted to be normal whatever normal is and I have always striven to just be good…

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Chapter 1: Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders: DSM-5 and Beyond

I read the first chapter this morning, but it was a lot of history and as so it was people agreeing and disagreeing different points of history.  I have little interest in that and look forward to getting to the meat of the book.  It does seem to be a general consensus that Janet gets the credit for structural dissociation and coining the terms dissociation, unconscious mind and the conscious mind, although a couple of the authors don’t agree with that, but they are in the minority.

One thing that was interesting was a bit that Nijenhuis wrote on his concept of Janet’s understanding of the terms I listed, and that was fascinating.  Nijenhuis has done his homework. 

I got up to chapter 2 in the book, and to continue what I was saying Nijenhuis is not taking any crap from anyone about Janet, and I support him on that.  I listened to the original (taped) lectures along with a neurologist and Janet was almost totally spot on and still more advanced in this thinking than all the current experts of today. He was a genius, and he understood this stuff, but egos would not allow his ideas to be known.  Instead he was shoved into a corner while the more well known people had their ideas published.  I congratulate Nijenhuis for his research into this history and am so glad he took that work upon himself! 


Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders: DSM-V and Beyond

Patterns in screening tests

Patterns in screening tests

The appendix of Chu’s book has the following:

1.  DES and DES-T

2.  Somatoform Dissociation questionnaire

  1. MID

All of which I have pretty much always ignored since I never thought much of testing, but I did read through the questions to see what they were doing with each test and here is what I observed.

DES – I read the first question, then the next several, then the first question, then the next several and then I laughed and laughed.  Try it and see what they are doing.  Here is the pattern, but don’t peek until you try it yourself.

Fake, true, true, true, Fake, true, true, true, Fake, true, true, true, Fake and so on.  By Fake, I mean the question is something that the public THINKS someone with DID does or has.

True is something that someone with DID, OSDD, BPD, NPD, and a bunch of other disorders do have or do.

So how does the test work as a screening for the DD’s?  Look at the pattern.  Fake:  1, 3, 6, 9, 12.  True: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12.  Now toss out the numbers that are the same, so 6 and 12 go.  Now look at the pattern again.  Fake:  1, 3, 9.  True:  2, 4, 8, 10.  Now put them together:  1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11.  What does that say to you?

To me it says…..  Hello.  I have a DD.   :)

Next test.  Somatoform Dissociation questionnaire  Notice this pattern:  1 2 5 6 8 9 10. Then I see this pattern:  1 10 20 30 40.  What do you see?

I see this:  1, 2, 5, 10.  Which to me means if you answer No to those questions then you don’t have a somatoform disorder.

Fun!  So now I take a look at the 3rd test on the page, the MID.  Oh now this one is the most fun of all.  Watch:  1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.  Then:  2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8.  What do you see?

I see this:  1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.  If you answer yes to all of those then you need to be looked at closer at for a DD.

Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders, Final post

I finished the book today and by far my favorite chapter was on trauma memory, but in the later part of the book he brought some of his ideas into focus including his idea that the brain, mind and memory are interrelated and one cannot operate alone without the other.  Siegel had a different view on this. 

In his book the Developing Mind, the idea that memory, mind and brain were separate was important, and most important was relationships that mold and frame the three.  Chu never mentioned relationships even once.  I lean toward Siegel’s view because in my experience and observations he is more correct than Chu.

One other item really struck my interest and that was his ideas about integration.  Like most he agrees there should be three phases, but the unique thing, and it’s something quiet brilliant actually, is that the mind is to the brain what the brain is to the body.  This means that without the body the brain is not capable of existence, and without the mind the brain is not capable of existence.  He points specifically at the middle brain.  If the mind were to stop working, the middle brain would as well.  I believe he is correct because the medulla is the control center for thought and without thought there is nothing for the mind to work with.  It would be vacant.

One final note is that while Chu is an excellent clinician, researcher, author and I am sure a wonderful man, he lacks the ability to put together all aspects at his disposal, but this can be said for most of us and probably true of all who are living today.  

Shattered lives


Rebuilding shattered lives – chapters 4-5

Rebuilding shattered lives

I read a couple more chapters last night and I was captivated by the one on memory.  Chu again pulls together expert information and then interprets it brilliantly.  Here is what caught my eye.  He reports that traumatic memory may or may not be true. We all know that, but he put this spin on it.  IF a trauma memory is recalled without influence it’s more apt to be true (which we all know), but he added and IF a trauma memory is gathered from many parts inside it’s more likely to be true.

To me this means the following, and I have been dealing with this the last few months. IF one EP recalls an event, and he alone has this recall it can be shared among the other EP as well as the ANP, BUT it won’t be a processed memory UNTIL it’s a true recall!  Do you see the brilliance of the mind in this?

A trauma memory will remain stuck until the truth is revealed across all states within a system.  I was floored and pleased by Chu’s presentation of this material and I so far in my experience I do agree, but I have more observation to do.


Rebuilding Shattered Lives – Chapters 1-3

Chu’s book is the best I have read so far and I have read quite a few of the more current ones that focus on the DD’s.  His approach, at least in the first 64 pages or so is not to present a theory like the Haunted Self has, but to understand the complexities of the DD’s and PTSD that is derived from childhood.  He does this in two ways.  He looks at the history of credible research, summarizes it and then attempts to pull out the best of it to form his ideas.  This is what I do as well, and perhaps why I like his approach so much.  He is skilled in discourse, as his ideas are well presented.  I especially appreciate his ability to bring all the known and acceptable basics together to bring home an important point.

His most important points in the first 3 chapters were the following:

1.  The DD’s are not uncommon, including DID.  I actually am not sure about this. I might take a look at some raw data and draw my own conclusion.  I could be wrong, but I think most of what is out there is OSDD that is thought to be DID.
2.  He details the intricate details of trauma, better than all the other books I have read.  He does this by bearing witness to their effects upon the human mind and self observation.  Chu has suffered trauma and has the intelligence and knowledge to separate out his observations.  I value this.
3.  Chu is a master in disguise.  He seems to be pulling his punches, but wants to launch them.  Perhaps he does later in the book or maybe he has been beat down and is afraid to say what’s on his mind.  I will find out soon as I take some time to finish the book.  I hope I don’t find the later to be true.
4.  Finally I want to express my appreciation to him.  I have done this with van der Hart and Nijenhuis, but Chu also deserves accolades for his fine work.

Rebuilding shattered lives