dissociation symptoms

The Arcana Apprentice Headcanons: Val Edition

I’m super burnt out right now, and I don’t know if I can keep doing Inktober, but I wanted to keep making content this month, so I’m going to keep trying! So Headcanons about how Cadence interacts with Val.

Cadence is a huge flirt, but cannot take it to save their life. Thinks Val is a complete BABE and cannot handle life when Val dances.

Cadence recognizes Val’s dissociating as a symptom of PTSD, a condition that Cadence has, and a symptom Cadence shares. Typically Cadence just stands vigil for Val. They have never once talked about it, usually just supplying their own weighted blanket for Val to use. Cadence has perfected the art of the Murder Stare for anyone trying to disturb Val, in case they don’t take “sorry, he just needs a moment! Super tired, didn’t get a whole lotta sleep last night!” For an answer. Most people leave it alone, the ones that don’t, tend to get too spooked by Looming Tol Person asking if they’re interested in seeing “The Void.”

Cadence enjoys watching Val dance, despite being an absolute blushy WRECK afterwards. They have started carrying jugs of fresh water or Refreshing Tea around wherever they go, just on the off chance they see Val Dancing. Cadence doesn’t always catch the start of Val’s performances, but always stays until the end to give Val something to drink and cool off with. Vesuvia can get pretty hot sometimes!

Val has seen (first hand!) Cadence be a complete disaster at flirting. Once made Cadence blush so hard they scrambled up a tree and would not come down until Rose came and got them.

Cadence loves how gentle Val is with everyone. Having Val for company is a special treat, because their empty house seems more homey with their friends around.

Val has tried Cadence’s cooking. It was survivable, but not as good as Tash’s. They have a “do not speak of the Bread Incident” pact. It’s very solemn for Cadence.

Cadence absolutely adores Val’s familiar Azulita, and loves to give her little snacks. Val was the first person aside from Asra to find out why Cadence doesn’t have a familiar of their own. Cadence has mentioned maybe getting a pet iguana, since they’ve been so enamoured with Val’s Blue Tongued Skink, Azulita.

Val has caught Cadence sleepwalking a number of times, and in a few situations, kept Cadence from doing dumb things, like leaving the house without pants, or using knives.

Cadence once begged Val (in tears) to never ever cut his hair.

Das all I can think of. If @agent-darkbootie can think of more, or wants me to fix any of these, please lemme know. I had fun when I did these with @rosethearcanist and I wanted to do it again.

Val and Azulita belong to @agent-darkbootie

Tash belongs to @dogblessyoutascha

Rose belongs to @rosethearcanist

Some effects of dissociation

- gaps in your memory

- finding yourself in a strange place without knowing how you got there

- out-of-body experiences

- loss of feeling in parts of your body

- distorted views of your body

- forgetting important personal information

- being unable to recognise your image in a mirror

- a sense of detachment from your emotions

- the impression of watching a movie of yourself

- feelings of being unreal

- internal voices and dialogue

- feeling detached from the world

- forgetting appointments

- feeling that a customary environment is unfamiliar

- a sense that what is happening is unreal

- forgetting a talent or learned skill

- a sense that people you know are strangers

- a perception of objects changing shape, colour or size

- feeling you don’t know who you are
acting like different people, including child-like behaviour

-being unsure of the boundaries between yourself and others

- feeling like a stranger to yourself

- being confused about your sexuality or gender

- feeling like there are different people inside you

- referring to yourself as ‘we’

- being told by others that you have behaved out of character

- finding items in your possession that you don’t remember buying or receiving

- writing in different handwriting

The effects of a dissociative disorder may include:

  • gaps in your memory
  • finding yourself in a strange place without knowing how you got there
  • out-of-body experiences
  • loss of feeling in parts of your body
  • distorted views of your body
  • forgetting important personal information
  • being unable to recognise your image in a mirror
  • a sense of detachment from your emotions
  • the impression of watching a movie of yourself
  • feelings of being unreal
  • internal voices and dialogue
  • feeling detached from the world
  • forgetting appointments
  • feeling that a customary environment is unfamiliar
  • a sense that what is happening is unreal
  • forgetting a talent or learned skill
  • a sense that people you know are strangers
  • a perception of objects changing shape, colour or size
  • feeling you don’t know who you are
  • acting like different people, including child-like behaviour
  • being unsure of the boundaries between yourself and others
  • feeling like a stranger to yourself
  • being confused about your sexuality or gender
  • feeling like there are different people inside you
  • referring to yourself as ‘we’
  • being told by others that you have behaved out of character
  • finding items in your possession that you don’t remember buying or receiving
  • writing in different handwriting
  • having knowledge of a subject you don’t recall studying.
what is BPD?

 Even though I have a blog about BPD, a lot of people have a lot of doubts about it (about the symptoms, terms, etc). So here is a post about BPD and, please, if you are neurotypical don’t comment “wow I have it” just because you read my post.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed when there is a persistent pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, mood and self-image, as well as distinct impulsive behaviour, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. These difficulties are indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). This does not include suicidal or self-harming behaviour.

  5. recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.

  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood - intense feelings that can last from a few hours to a few days.

  7. chronic feelings of emptiness.

  8. inappropriate intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.

  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideas or severe dissociative symptoms.

What is FP? 

FP means, for someone who has BPD, favorite person. It is a term that refers to the person you most idealize, usually it is someone you have romantic feelings for, but it can be a friend, fictional character, someone in your family, etc. Not everyone who has BPD has a FP, but it is something common. Having a FP is not something beautiful and shouldn’t be romantized, your mood starts depending on that person, on the way they talk to you, you have a lot of mental breakdowns when they’re gone and it’s something that puts you in risk, because you’re willing to do basically anything for that person.

What is “split”?

Splitting is the action of feeling extremely angry at someone who you usually idealize, for example, your fp (but it doesn’t have to be necessarily your fp). Someone who suffers from BPD usually has black and white thinking or feeling, loving or hating someone, doing something all the time or not at all, basically no harlf term. When someone splits, it means that they were from a extreme to another about their feelings to someone. It can happen for big and important reasons, when someone actually does a serious mistake or it can happen when someone does a “small” mistake and we react extremely, due to BPD hypersensitivity.

What is dissociation?

That’s what Wikipedia says: “In psychology, dissociation is any of a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality as in psychosis.”. Dissociation is the match of despersonalization (“Depersonalization can consist of a detachment within the self regarding one’s mind or body, or being a detached observer of oneself. Subjects feel they have changed and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience. Chronic depersonalization refers to depersonalization-derealization disorder, which is classified by the DSM-5 as a dissociative disorder.”) and derealization (“Derealization is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one’s environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional colouring, and depth. It is a dissociative symptom of many conditions.”). Basically, it is feeling like YOU are not real + the WORLD is not real. Okay, I’m not sure about what I’m going to say now, please someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that there a lot of dissociative disorders, but in BPD people usually suffer just from dissociative symptoms.


Self-harm is when you intentionally hurt yourself. Okay, but why? Some people self-harm to relief the pain, a lot of people with BPD also relate they self-harm to feel real during dissociative episodes or to feel something when the emptiness sensations are acting out. For some people, self-harm is when you hurt your body tissue, for example, cutting or scratching yourself, but, personally, in my opinion, thre are different ways or expressing self-harm before it becomes something extreme, for example, starving yourself, triggering yourself, doing something you don’t want to just because you “deserve it”, etc.

“People with BPD are always abusive.”

That’s absolutely not true. A lot of websites make articles about BPD and, because of a lack of information, they mention we are abusive and things like that. The truth is that no one is automatically abusive JUST because their mental illnesses. Abuse is something related to someone’s behavior, regardless if they’re mentally ill or not. “Okay, so why a lot of people say BPD makes someone abusive?” Maybe it’s because PDs are not a very discussed topic and people are always afraid of the unkown, so it’s better if they just judge us. Also, maybe because people with BPD are often seen as “attention seekers”, which is not something bad, in my opinion, because everyone should receive enough attention, since they’re not using bad mechanisms to get it.

About some other symptoms

Mood swings happen when someone goes to an emotion to another. For someone who has BPD, it happens a lot of times during the day. For example, if you got a friend and they have BPD they can talk about suicide and how hopeless they feel and a few hours or minutes later they can talk about future plans and how excited they are about things. It impacts our affective instability too, so sometimes we get lost thinking if we like someone or not. We can easily “get tired” of someone and then becoming totally dependent on them after some time. 

Our instability also impacts our sense of self, sometimes it makes us question even if we are real (going back to the dissociation aspect). That’s why is so hard for us to do things like choosing a career, because today I can feel like becoming an actress and then tomorrow I want to be a doctor. Our decisions and moods are constantly changing.

Our fear of abandonment controls our lives, we can do things that we don’t even want to just to have someone by our sides. Also, some people with BPD can get too clingy or too distant to someone they love, clingy to avoid the abandonment and distant because of a “leave them before they leave me” thought. That’s why our relationships are very unstable.

Compulsion and impulsivity is a form of expressing our confused feelings, like if we need something to rely on. We can drink too much, eat too much, waste too much money, etc. It can happens for a lot of reasons, for example, to fill the feelings of emptiness or to avoid a breakdown, specially when someone leaves.

Quiet and explosive borderlines

Explosive borderline is someone who is the “classical” borderline. They will act out, they may yell at people, they may get involved in fights and etc. Someone who is a quiet borderline will act in, holding their pain agaisnt themselves, for example, with the self-harm. They may not usually yell at people or get involved in fights, but, instead, they will do terrible things with themselves. There is not a “worse or better type of borderline”, they’re just different types. We all suffer a lot.

Sorry if my grammar wasn’t very correct. English is not my native language. I hope it was a helpful post for some help here on tumblr.
Stay strong, borderline community!

Depersonalization (disorder)

Feelings: I want to feel things like everyone else again, but I‘m deadened and numb. I can laugh or cry but it‘s intellectual, my muscles move but I feel nothing.

Body: I feel like I‘m not here, I‘m floating around. A separate part of me is aware of all my movements; it‘s like I‘ve left my body. Even when I‘m talking I don‘t feel like it is my words.

Mind: My mind and my body are somehow not connected, it‘s like my body is doing one thing and my mind is saying another. Like my mind is somewhere off to the back, not inside my body.

Vision: It‘s like glass over my eyes, a visual fog totally flat and two-dimensional.

Agency (feeling in control of one‘s actions): I feel I‘m not really here, I‘m distant. I‘m going through the motions like a robot.



Grounding is a set of simple strategies to  detach from emotional pain for example (cravings, self harm urges, emotional eating behaviour etc.) Grounding can also be a way of returning your attention to the outside world and away from yourself. In the case of dissociation.


When you are overwhelmed with emotional pain, you need a way to detach so that you can gain control over your feelings and stay safe. As long as you are grounding, you are more likely to be able to overcome urges. Grounding ‘anchors’ you to reality.

Many people with PTSD and dissociative disorders struggle with either feeling too much (overwhelming emotions and memories) or too little (numbing and dissociation). In grounding, you attain balance between the two—conscious of reality and ability to tolerate it.


§ Grounding can be done any time, anywhere and no one has to know.

·       §  Use grounding when you are: faced with a trigger, having a flashback or dissociating.

·       §  Keep your eyes open, look around the room, and make sure the light is good to stay in touch with the present.

·       §  Rate your mood before and after to test whether it worked. Before grounding, rate your level of

·       §  emotional pain, or your level of dissociation. Then re-rate it afterwards. Has it gone down?

·       Try not to make judgements or think negatively. The idea is to distract from the negatives.

·       §  Stay neutral—no judgments of good or bad.

·       §  Focus on the present, not the past or future.

·       §  Grounding is much more active than relaxation exercises and focuses your attention.

Grounding is deemed to be a better way of coping with PTSD and dissociative disorders than relaxation practice. As during relaxation the focus is too much within the body, which at the worst may bring on flashbacks.



o    Describe to yourself in detail your surroundings: For example “The walls are white, there are three pink chairs and a blue sofa. There is a picture of a brown border collie on the wall with a gold frame around it.” You can do this out loud if appropriate, or in your head if you are in public.

o    Play a game like “Scattergories” in your head or with a friend or family member. Choose a letter of the alphabet and try and come up with as many examples of a category you choose as you can. For example C … Boys names: Christopher, Curtis, Carl, Charles etc.

o    Do an age progression. IThis can be particularly useful if you have dissociated or regressed to a younger alter or state. For example in my experiences I have an alter who is three. So I might say… Now I am four, I am at home with Mummy and Daddy and I can do (an example of an age appropriate activity) alone. Work your way up until you are back to your current age. This may not always work for little alters, but can help.

o    Describe an everyday activity in great detail. For example if you like gardening “I open the shed door and pull out the lawn mower, I connect it to a power supply and climb on. I turn the key and put it into drive….”

o    Imagine. For example make up a nice little story in your head, or out loud. “I am putting some roller skates on, and I am slowly gliding away from all my emotional suffering down a beautiful smooth lane, having fun listening to my favourite music LOUD!”

o    Say a safety statement. ‘My name is _________; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not the past. I am in _____________ the date is _____________.

·        Read something, saying each word to yourself. Or read each letter backwards so that you focus or the letters and not on the meaning of words.

·        Use humour: For example have a “Funny Memory Bank” where you store up your favourite witty moments for those detached, rainy days.  

·        Count to 100 or say the alphabet very slowly or very fast.

·        Repeat something meaningful to yourself, such as a prayer or quote. For example you could use the Serenity Prayer.


û Run cool or warm water over your hands.

û  Grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can.

·       û  Touch various objects around you: a pen. keys, your clothing, the table, the walls. Pay close attention to colours, weights, textures etc.

·       û  Firmly stamp your feet on the floor, literally grounding yourself. Feel the tension of your feet against the pressure of the floor.

·       û  Carry a ground object in your pocket—a small object such as a rock, stone, crystal, bead, piece of string or cloth, or a stress ball that you can touch whenever you feel triggered.

·       û  Jump up and down.

·       û  Stretch reach upwards and pull yourself tall. Extend your arms, legs, fingers and toes.

·       û  Walk slowly, noticing each footstep.

·       û  Eat something yummy. Notice the flavours, textures and feelings that come up for you.


·        Use Cheerleading statements, as if you were talking to a small child. For example “You are having a difficult time adjusting to these chanes, but you are doing so well. You should be proud of yourself.”

·        Think of favorites. Think of your favorite color, animal, season, food, time of day, TV show.

·        Picture people you care about. Even get a photobook made of positive pictures or pictures of people you love! Such a simple nice way to ground, and you can get A4 photo books at the moment from GroupOn for under £7!! (I in no way endorse them I just thought it was a good offer!)

·        Remember the words to an inspiring song, quotation or poem that you like or feel positively about. Maybe write out the words and decorate it for your wall.

·        Remember a safe place. Describe a place that you find very soothing it could be when you went on holiday to the beach, or walking in the woods. Or just a time you felt safe and peaceful at home in your living room or in bed.

·        Plan out a safe treat for yourself, such as a trip to a coffee shop with a friend, making a nice dinner or a bath with some nice toiletries or candles if you feel safe to use them

·        Think of things you are looking forward to in the next week. Perhaps schedule your time so you build some structure for chores and pleasurable activities. It can help to know what you are doing and also not just sit at home with nothing to do. This can cause difficulties.


Practice as often as possible. Even when you don’t feel overwhelmed or dissociative. This way it will come more naturally to you when you are struggling.

Practice faster. Speeding up the pace gets you focused on the outside world quickly.
Try grounding for a Ioooong time 20 mins at least, and then repeat !!
Try to notice whether you do better with physical or mental or soothing grounding.

Create your own methods of grounding. Any method you make up may be worth much more than those you read here because it is yours.

Start grounding early in a negative mood cycle. Start when you begin to feel the early warning signs of dissociation or when you have just started having a flashback.

Dissociation tiers

Disclaimer: These are based on my own experiences and what I’ve read of other people’s experiences. I am not a doctor, nor do I represent anyone but myself who experiences dissociation/depersonalization/derealization. Some of these points may assume an abled body, as that is the type of body I have and am familiar with. Tier 0 also assumes no other mental/neurological disorders, which is untrue to my own brain but used for simplicity’s sake. Very simplistic list in general, mainly due to it being a list.

Tier 0

  • No brain fog.
  • No visual fog.
  • Senses are generally clear.
  • Reflection is recognizable.
  • Friends and family are recognizable.
  • When you touch something, you feel it immediately.
  • Everything is the correct distance away.
  • You can walk easily.
  • You can speak and easily understand yourself.
  • You can easily understand others when they speak.
  • You can multitask.
  • You are not detached from the world in any way.
  • Memory is mostly consistent.

Tier 1

  • Mild brain fog.
  • Visual fog is minimal or nonexistent.
  • Some other senses may be dulled, such as smell.
  • You know your reflection is your reflection, but you may not have a connection to it.
  • You can recognize your friends and family, but you might have to think about it.
  • Sense of touch may have minimal lag.
  • The floor may seem closer or further than normal.
  • The world in general may seem too close or too far, but not debilitatingly so.
  • Walking may require some focus.
  • Voice may feel thick in your mouth, but no one else seems concerned.
  • Other people’s voices may seem far away or too loud.
  • Multitasking is difficult, but doable.
  • You’re slightly detached from the world.
  • Memories are harder to hold on to.

Tier 2

  • Moderate brain fog; thinking is becoming difficult.
  • The world may seem significantly grayer or fuzzier.
  • Other senses are dulled to some degree.
  • You cognitively know your reflection is supposed to be you, but it doesn’t seem right.
  • You can’t immediately recognize your friends and family. They could be who you think they are, but you aren’t sure.
  • When you touch something, a lag of about a second or more occurs before you recognize any feeling, or even that you touched anything at all.
  • All distances are wrong. The floor is wrong, objects are wrong, other people are wrong, etc.
  • You need to focus to get one place to another.
  • Other people may notice differences in your speech. You might not be able to.
  • You aren’t always sure people are speaking the same language as any you know. You might ask them to repeat themselves more than once.
  • You can do one task at most without extreme difficulty and/or slowness.
  • You feel as though you and the world are on separate planes.
  • You can’t remember much from these points in time. You might even have “lost time.”

Tier 3

  • You’ve lost all memory of this point.
  • Friends say you acted off, but that’s all you know.

Thanks for reading.

my assistance dog needs gear

hiii im frankie! im 18 and i live on a farm in queensland australia. im an artist, sfx makeup artist and wigmaker. i love animals and rainbows and i work one day a week in our community library! im a nonbinary lesbian and i would die for my chickens and my right to dress tacky.

i also happen to be pretty sick. when i was thirteen i developed endometriosis and chronic migraines. when i was fourteen i developed depression and anxiety. when i was fifteen i got a beautiful dog and he made my life a living hell. when i was sixteen and he was dead i dropped out of highschool. when i was seventeen i was diagnosed with ptsd and misophonia. 

my migraines are daily, severe and incurable through every experimental treatment we could find. my anxiety, ptsd and misophonia means it’s impossible to leave the house without having public breakdowns. and now on top of all this, my kidneys fucked up. id been having surgery for my endometriosis for years, but a month ago i was rushed to the er with pain and almost died from septic shock. i spent two weeks in hospital with a drain in my side and i have an exploratory operation later this month. 

this has made my ptsd far worse. ive been hearing voices and developing psychotic symptoms. i dissociate and wander off into danger, and have other personalities take over my body. ive been having episodes that they’re investigating as seizures. i can’t function any longer- so im getting an assistance dog (the australian version of a service dog). im getting her to rouse me from dissociation and unconsciousness, to keep me grounded and guided in public, to provide deep pressure therapy and help me carry things when im fatigued. to check the halls at night when im panicking. she’s going to be the reason i can be functioning in public.

I have a puppy lined up from a fantastic breeder and will be bringing her home within a few months if everything goes well.

the problem is, even despite how much of the medical costs are covered, my parents have had to pay for a lot, and an assistance dog is hugely expensive. so im reaching out.

i have an amazon wishlist. it’s all gear for her, listed by priority. im not asking for gifts, honestly. if you want to donate something on the list you’re an angel, but im an artist and i am willing to do commissions in exchange for you buying something on the list!!! 

just message my art blog, @frankiefangart and let me know what you bought and what you want me to draw and ill do it. please remember that i am very sick right now and my art tablet is broken, so it will be traditional for the time being unless you’re willing to wait a long time. 

i can’t thank you guys enough. reblogs mean SO much to me, as does sharing with your friends and family. you can follow my journey with my dog here on this blog and see the impact you’ve made.

💕🐶💕AMAZON WISHLIST: http://a.co/7kSTMIm 💕

main: @funkylittlefang / art: @frankiefangart / assistance dog blog: you’re here!

tldr: im sick and getting an assistance dog- i have a wishlist full of gear for her and im willing to do art in return for people buying things on it!!

Learning To Be In The Present

Learning to be in the here and now, and “present” is very important when healing from dissociative disorder. Here is an exercise to help you learn how to be in the present. People with dissociative disorders often retreat from the present when faced with a trigger. Be that an intense emotion, or painful conflict etc. There will be times when you feel spacey, fuzzy etc. Maybe you become engulfed with negative images, thoughts and memories of the past or worries about the future that preoccupy your mind. Try the following concentration exercise to help you stay present: 

1. Notice three objects in the environment you are in and pay close attention to their details (Size, colour, texture etc.) Name three of the object details out loud for example…. “The clock is big, round and blue” Say this out loud, or in your head if you are in public. 

2. Notice three sounds in the room in the present (inside or outside) for example birdsong, the boiler and the TV. Again name three characteristics of the sound For example “It is loud, annoying and grating.” 

3. Touch three objects close to you and describe three characteristics of those objects for example “It is soft, warm and fuzzy.” 

4. Return then to the three objects you were looking at. Concentrate on how you are here PRESENT with these objects you are looking at, then do the same for sounds, then do the same for objects you touched. 

N.B. This exercise can be repeated tapering it down to two objects then one then building back up to three. 

Complex PTSD and Me

These are the symptoms I experience and tbh this post is just for me to see how much I can identify with this… 

Emotional Dysregulation  - This involves severe mood swings/dysphoria, impulsive behaviour, self-harm, and suicidal preoccupations. This could result in explosive anger, or extremely inhibited anger, or both. It could also result in either compulsive or extremely inhibited sexuality (i.e. hypersexuality or sex repulsion/trauma-induced asexuality, or both.) This also involves difficulty expressing and communicating emotions.

Consciousness Instability - Forgetting traumatic events or reliving them is a part of a struggle with consciousness. Sometimes reliving trauma can be either through intrusive thought, or preoccupation with the trauma. This also involves dissociation, which can cause severe consciousness interruption and memory gaps.

Self-Perception Issues - The trauma that causes C-PTSD messes with the ego, so its symptoms results in a skewed perception of self. One might feel helpless, full of shame and guilt, like a constant victim or a horrible person, feel defiled and disgusting, and/or believe they are completely separate from other human beings altogether.

Distorted Views of the Perpetrator - Becoming preoccupied with a perpetrator, whether it’s allotting total power to them, developing a preoccupation with them (such as revenge or seeking to find others exactly like them), or clinging onto the idea of being special to the perpetrator, would all be examples of distorted views.

Struggle With Interpersonal Relationships - Avoidance, distrust, paranoia, a sense of inability to connect with others. One with C-PTSD might also be constantly searching for a ‘saviour’ figure, and could also go to great lengths for self-protection.

Loss or Change in System of Meanings - The beliefs one held before trauma changing or going away completely, such as religious faith, or one being succumbed with despair or feeling like there is no hope.

Revictimization - Those with C-PTSD are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Many will be revictimized if they are not taught how to read red flags, as those with C-PTSD may seek to relieve trauma without realizing it because they don’t know anything else.

Hypervigilance Increased anxiety and sensory input will make the survivor hyperaware of everything in their environment. This may result in paranoia, in extreme jumpiness, etc. Someone with C-PTSD will be constantly feeling like they are in a dangerous situation, and thus be hypervigilant due to that. (This may cause someone to be constantly in fight mode, or flight mode, or freeze mode, etc.)

Unexplained Physical Symptoms - Hypervigilance exhausts the body. This is what most professionals believe leads to chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, nausea, chest pain, and various other physical symptoms that range from mild to severe. This pain cannot be explained by other existing medical conditions.

Dissociation - Degrees of dissociation range. It is common for those with C-PTSD to deal with chronic dissociation, which can lead to emotional numbness, feeling unable to focus, inability to connect to one’s identity or reality (depersonalization and derealization), and memory loss. To a severe degree, it may result in identity splitting, which would lead to comorbidity with Dissociate Identity Disorder.

Substance Abuse - It’s not uncommon for those with C-PTSD to struggle with substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc. Some may also use sexual contact in the same way.

Attachment Issues - C-PTSD can cause various problems with attachment, including hyperempathy or a lack of empathy, an inability to accurately perceive other people’s motives, isolation, seeking out codependency, feeling unable to depend on others at all, and not knowing where personal boundaries lie for themselves or others.

Cognition Problems Executive dysfunction, inability to pay attention, communication problems, sensory overload, object impermanence.

Losing Time

“Losing time” is a way to describe experiences with dissociative amnesia, a symptom that’s tied to dissociative disorders, PTSD, and cPTSD. Those without a trauma history, with or without mental illness, may experience occasional minor episodes of dissociative amnesia (during splits, panic attacks, during psychotic episodes, etc). Medication issues, as well as seizure activity, brain injury, and other physical conditions can cause what appears to be dissociative amnesia. 

Losing time generally happens in one of two ways. 

“Blackouts” are when one suddenly comes to, realizing that time has passed without their noticing. One may look at the clock, and it’ll be 2 in the afternoon. Next time they look, perceiving only minutes have passed, it might be 6 in the evening. For those with DID or OSDD-1a, this may mean an alter fronted during this time. For those with DPDR, PTSD, or another related disorder, this time might simply be lost. 

More subtle dissociative amnesia presents as “gaps” in memory. These might not be noticed until one is questioned about what happened in these gaps. Having childhood gaps is very common in survivors of childhood trauma, these gaps of dissociative amnesia might be years long. Gaps in memory could be related to traumatic events or for no discernible reason. Memory repression and dissociative amnesia are related, but not the same thing- dissociative amnesia can affect memories regardless of traumatic content. 

Some people with dissociative amnesia will “remember” events that were told to them later, but not remember any feelings or sense of self from that event. They might remember “oh, I went to this person’s wedding,” but not recall how they felt, how old they were, what they did, etc. 

Dissociative amnesia, or losing time, is not the same as “zoning out.” It’s largely tied to trauma- if you experience this without any trauma history, I highly recommend you try to see a doctor to rule out dangerous physical conditions that might be affecting your memory. Severe dissociation without trauma is uncommon but possible- be sure to rule out other conditions, though! 

If you experience issues with losing time, there are things you can do to cope! For those with severe dissociative amnesia, setting a time to go off on intervals and recording events on your phone/in a notebook can help with grounding. Journaling every day can be helpful. Some medications can reduce symptoms, and trauma therapy tends to reduce dissociative symptoms all around. 

Remember, having a symptom is not necessarily tied to any diagnosis! Treating the symptom should be your first priority! Be safe, I’m available to answer questions if you have any.


- borderline personality disorder + Aileen Wuornos & Jeffrey Dahmer 

After a psychiatric analysis, they were both diagnosticated as borderline. Borderline personality disorder  is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.

symptoms of BPD 

  • Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.
Depersonalisation and Derealisation Information

We get a lot of questions on DPDR, so I thought I’d pull a little information together on the topic. 

Hope this helps someone and everyone is OK.

Depersonalisation and derealisation are often difficult for people who experience these states to describe.

In general people experience a sense of detachment from reality and a detachment form their sense of self. In most cases these two symptoms co-occur.

Symptoms are often triggered by stressors in life, severe anxiety and commonly also drug use. Symptoms can be transient and last only a few weeks, if this is the case generally no treatment is required. If symptoms are persistent or have a large impact on functioning, then it is the best course of action to seek some professional guidance from a psychiatrist or psychologist who has experience with dissociative disorders.

Depersonalisation is not just detachment from the body “That isn’t my leg” but it can further into thoughts as well such as “That thought isn’t my own” or “My head is filled with cotton wool” etc. Also a person may detach form their basic needs such as hunger, thirst etc.

Derealisation means a person may feel like they are in a bubble, or a dream or like they are detached from what is going on around them in some way. Some people may experience viewing things in 2D or they may lose colour or seem flatter than they otherwise would be.

anonymous asked:

Hey so I've recently started thinking I might have bpd based on some of the symptoms but I was wondering what fp and splitting were because I've seen those terms used a lot but I don't really know what they are

Hey anon! That’s a great question. There are a lot of terms associated with BPD that people probably never heard before they were diagnosed. The important thing to remember, though, is that just because this type of symptom exists in BPD, does not necessarily mean you will experience it.

Most of these things are very negative and undesirable ways to think or feel. I’ve seen this a little bit lately in the online BPD community, where one particular term or symptom will be almost glorified, and everyone starts talking about that one thing and how they feel that in their lives. I’m not saying they’re all not really feeling those things, but a lot of time we can create situations subconsciously if we innerly feel like it should be happening somehow.

These are not healthy patterns in behavior/thought, and we can save ourselves a lot of pain and difficulty if we actively try to defend AGAINST these symptoms. 

But I do understand how it is super helpful and validating to have a name or word for something, and being able to talk about it with others who have experienced it. That’s totally okay. For that reason, here are some common terms associated with BPD that might be a little confusing. Let me know if you think I should add any more to this list? Thanks! :)

Favorite Person (FP): A “Favorite Person” is a person that people with BPD tend to latch onto or glorify for sporadic lengths of time. We tend to just want all their attention, time, and focus. It’s not something we do on purpose, necessarily…we just become dependent on that person’s particular brand of attention as a way to simple cope with our emotions. An FP doesn’t even necessarily have to be romantic—it can be anyone that we somehow found solace or comfort in any given moment.

Imprinting: Imprinting kind of goes along with the “favorite person” idea, except I’ve only ever heard it referred to in a romantic context. It’s the sudden moment when you become dependent on the person, and pretty much all of your time, focus, energy, and devotion goes to that person. It’s seen as more of an involuntary situation. FP and Imprinting are NOT medical terms…more just relatable feelings within the BPD community.

Splitting: Splitting is a common pattern of thinking/conceptualizing in people with BPD. We tend to think of things as ALL good, or ALL bad. It doesn’t have to be about good/bad, it can be about anything. We can even love a person and hate them, too. We can feel wholly accepted and fully rejected. It’s really just about extreme opposites of emotion, and thinking it has to be one or the other, nothing in between. The terms “devalued” and “idealized” are often heard in context of splitting, meaning we tend to idealize people that we are close to by putting them on an extremely high pedestal and constantly looking up to them; and then we can devalue them, or consider them “worthless” to us, when we portray them to make a mistake. It’s a very unhealthy, subconscious coping mechanism our brains use to try to avoid intense anxiety or pain.

 See A Note on Black and White Thinking

Dissociation: Dissociation is a state where you feel disconnected somehow from your mind/consciousness. It can vary a lot in different people, from simply zoning out to having multiple personalities (Dissociate Identity Disorder). It’s a coping mechanism that our brain uses to kind of just “turn off” your thinking for a little bit, because it knows you can’t handle the intensity of your emotions/pain. Sometimes you don’t remember things from the periods you were dissociated, and a lot of people report feeling “hazy” or “blurry” about events or things that happened when they were dissociated. Dissociation can last for a couple minutes, hours, or even days. 

Depersonalization: Depersonalization is a specific type of dissociation, when you feel somehow disconnected from your body, like you’re watching yourself from somewhere outside of yourself. It can feel very surreal, almost dream-like, and is very disturbing to most people who experience it. It’s a more physical manifestation of dissociation, which can be very hard to describe. Physical, as in…you physically don’t feel connected to your body or the place where your body is at.

Apathy: Apathy is a general “I don’t care” feeling. We tend to kind of become emotionally unavailable, not really feeling anything. Some people describe it as feeling “numb.” This happens a lot when we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope…”there’s no point in caring or trying anymore, because it just hurts when you do.” For me, it usually feels like there’s almost a block on my emotions. Like, there’s something blocking them in the back of my mind so they can’t get through. I don’t know if that’s typical for people with BPD, but that’s one way I personally experience apathy. 

Baiting: Baiting is a form of manipulative behavior, in which you purposely act a certain way in order to elicit the emotional response you want from someone. It’s definitely not healthy or interpersonally effective. When we’re in a highly emotional state, we tend to think of self-preservation, especially if we’re fighting with someone. So we unconsciously use unfair methods to try to simple save ourselves from the impending emotional intensity.

Mimicking/Mirroring: Mirroring is common in people who don’t have a firm sense of identity, which is a very typical BPD symptom. Mirroring/Mimicking happens when we see things we like in someone else, or other people in general, and we try to make ourselves be/look that way, too. It’s a desperate way to try to figure out who we really are underneath all of our pain and symptom, even thought it’s not typically anything we would do/look like.

Magical Thinking: It is possible for someone with BPD to be so emotionally/mentally overwhelmed that they start showing psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Magical Thinking is a slightly more mild version of those psychotic symptoms. Magical Thinking is when we look at two completely unrelated things, and somehow draw unreal connections between them. For example, “I cut myself, and it rained. Cutting myself makes it rain!” Magical Thinking can also manifest itself in the form of idealization/devaluing. We create unreal or imaginary expectations for people close to us, or ideas in general (ex, “Ideal Love”).

Detachment: Detachment happens when we shut ourselves off from something completely. It could be from a family member, friend, certain situation, feeling, etc. The “Detached Protector Pitfall” is a very common BPD situation…when we detach from our own needs, and try to completely please somebody else. We stop caring about our own needs in order to fulfill those of someone else (typically our “FP,” but not in every case).

Maladaptive Daydreaming: This is another form of dissociation, in which we involuntarily become caught up in fantasies/daydreams. It is a coping mechanism our brain uses to try to save us from feeling the pain of our real emotional state. Maladaptive daydreaming can be very frightening, especially when you realize that you’re not really in control of where your brain is going at that point. It thinks about whatever it needs to think about in order to feel better.

How to be a friend to someone with DID

Whether your friend has just told you they have DID, or you’ve known for a long time, there are right and wrong ways to approach situations with them. Talk to your friend for specifics about them, this absolutely won’t apply to everyone but is a good place to start!

-Treat them like a human, like a person worthy of respect. Never ridicule, sensationalize, or dehumanize them.

-Understand that severe early childhood trauma causes DID, and that it’s likely not appropriate to ask for any details. Don’t press your friend for information, but be available to listen if you can.

-Understand that switching alters is often difficult to detect and you may not be able to distinguish them. Talk to your friend for specifics on how you should react.

-Know that dissociation is at the core of DID, and your friend will likely experience confusion, memory issues, and other dissociative symptoms. These are also not okay to mock and it is never okay to take advantage of these symptoms.

-As with any friend, know that you are entitled to time to yourself and space. People with DID have suffered through far more than anyone should have to, and may come across as “negative.” Support and care for them! Know that you should also be supported and that it’s okay to have space when you need it.

-Anon pointed out also that you shouldn’t assume you have the same friendship with all members of the system. Your friend may seem very distant or not remember things about you; please do not take offense to this. You can definitely try to befriend the entire system, but recognize that they are all complex individuals and you will likely have very mixed results. 

Communication is the most important thing!