I’ve been trying for four days now to finish an article on depersonalization, one of five primary ways dissociation manifests. I wanted to address the milder episodes of depersonalization most people experience at one time or another. But I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, and severe depersonalization is part of living with DID. Ironically enough, it’s depersonalization itself – specifically, mental clouding – that’s preventing me from finishing that article. I’ve finally decided that if I’m going to continue to try to write in a highly depersonalized state, it makes sense to stop fighting it and simply do my best to describe what I’m experiencing. The article I intended to publish today will have to wait until I can think clearly again.
One of the important differences between depersonalization experiences of normal people exposed to danger or reacting to stress and those of psychiatric outpatients is the matter of “mental clouding.” The reports of accident victims’ and normal people’s reactions to stress show that they were fully alert to their circumstances at the time of their episodes of depersonalization. Psychiatric patients report more experiences of mental clouding. Instead of being sharper mentally, they experience a “dumbing down” when they detach from themselves. – The Stranger in the Mirror, Marlene Steinberg and Maxine Schnall
I’m not mentally sharp right now. I cannot think clearly at all. I have re-read the first paragraph of this post six times now and I’m still not certain what I’m supposed to be writing about, despite the fact that I’m fairly confident I stated the topic of this post clearly in said first paragraph.
Oh Right, Mental Clouding
Mental clouding is something people like me, people who have Dissociative Identity Disorder, experience chronically. I know I’m capable of describing it in a way that makes sense but not right now, evidently. My thoughts are too slippery and I can’t seem to follow them to any logical conclusion. Here’s what I know: people say things like, “I feel foggy,” and “I can’t think.” Or maybe they don’t. I feel like those are things normal people say sometimes and I was going to say, ‘See, extrapolate that and you have an idea what severe depersonalization feels like.’ But now I can’t remember if people really do say those things or not. I also can’t remember what extrapolate means and I would look it up but I’m trying to show you what mental clouding is like, not edit the mental clouding into something presentable. Which, quite frankly, I’m not capable of right now anyway.
Am I Making Sense Yet?
I said I was going to describe mental clouding, but I fear all I’ve done is tell you that mental clouding is preventing me from describing mental clouding. Maybe, hopefully, that makes its own kind of sense. I suppose that’s one of the benefits of writing about Dissociative Identity Disorder as someone who has it: DID symptoms interrupt life, and sometimes that’s hard to hide. Which may say as much about what living with Dissociative Identity Disorder is like as my clearest, most well-written articles do. Or perhaps that’s wishful thinking from a mentally clouded brain.
This took me four hours to write.
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