In an effort to provide helpful information for families dealing with trauma, I want to discuss dissociative disorders today. It is very important when parenting to provide a literal safe-haven for your children. Home life should be care-free, loving, supportive and encouraging. It should be a place where your children can feel safe and secure from harm and be able to escape the pressures and worries of life. They need to be a part of an environment that is designed with them in mind.
Normally at the beginning of their life we make sure the house is safe — especially as they become toddlers and begin to walk. We put things in place so they won’t get hurt. We lock cabinets and plug outlets to ensure safety and we try and have them follow a route everyday so they know what to expect and there are very minimal surprises. As they get older we stop thinking so much about their safety and docus more on their independence. Well, dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.
The cause has to do with trauma normally in their youth. It could be natural disasters, death of a loved one, molestation, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or even war. Because personal identity is still forming during childhood, a child is more able than an adult to step outside of himself or herself and observe trauma as though it’s happening to a different person. A child who learns to dissociate in order to endure a traumatic experience may use this coping mechanism in response to stressful situations throughout life.
The adult version of this gets worse. The disconnect from emotions starts and is stimulated by stress. Memory loss, a perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal and a blurred sense of identity. Significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life and an inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress. And of course mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors will manifest itself in adulthood.
It’s not all do and gloom though because psychotherapy and or medication have proven to be extremely successful treatments. If we could only move the stigma of mental health counseling being a negative, more people could get help. This condition effects every part of adult life and it makes relationships very difficult. The result end with people seeking alternative ways of dealing with the disorders. They self medicate, use drugs, having eating disorders and major depression.
There is help available and the people suffering with this disorder are not alone. Seek professional help or visit http://www.clydestyle.org for answers. I am here for you!