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This Is Mental Clouding

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

2411188184_cc141117a0Mental Clouding Slows Cognitive Processes to a Crawl

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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19 thoughts on “This Is Mental Clouding”

  1. Holly- thanks for sharing this post. I am struggling alot with this right now. It is very defeating. And I feel so alone in my world. Its not something that my support understands and they dont know what to say to me.

  2. Holly…thank you so much for this post…even though it took four hours to write! You couldn’t have described it better..this is my life every day! When people write very eloquently about DID I get confused, and don’t really understand, but reading this very realistic and honest portrayal was amazing, thank you! It even made me laugh, not at you, but at the whole stupid situation of having DID. How to describe something that by its natures stops you describing anything?! For this brief moment I feel not alone…it is so nice to feel that this is a real problem that other people have too, and that I am not just flaky/grumpy/erratic/eccentric/stupid/wicked and/or a sociapath. Thanks Holly, this was a great post!

  3. wow, i have this all the time and i didn’t know it was a symptom of DID! i’ve been diagnosed a long time and i still didn’t know that. it’s worse lately, i can’t read a book anymore and have to repeat endlessly when i’m writing in my journal. thanks!

  4. Hi Holly, you are very real and appreciate that you have published this blog as now I have a little better understanding of what DID is. I live in Orlando and their is a famous child murder trial going on ie., Casey Anthony which you may or may not have read about.

    From what I have read I think she may be a victim of DID in the most severe way and not know it.

    If my hunch is right then she may not get a fair trial if she is truly a DID victim because no one recognizes this, at least not willing to discuss this openly in a legal sense and she may get the death penalty if the state procescuting attornies as successful in moving the jury to their thinking and find her guilty.

    sad she can not read your articles and ask for help because I dont think she or anyone else recognizes this trait in her.



  5. posts like this make me think that you’re in my head! exactly what you described is one of the reasons why i can’t write as often as i’d like, bc i’m always afraid it won’t make sense. so i keep trying to wait for moments when it will, when i can articulate what i want to say well, but those moments don’t come very often. more often than not i’m stuck in my fog.

  6. I find that it can be so clear in my head, but when I try to speak it or write it, it all jumbles up or I just can’t remember what I wanted to say anymore. It feels like a movie scene where you’re is trying to catch someone and they are always just out of reach…just about to grab hold of your thoughts & they slip around the corner again. Frustrating because they are so close, but unreachable.

  7. You hit the nail right on the head Holly, I can hardly process anything at times when my mind fogs up to the point, I can’t remember what I did a minute ago and Static Nonsense I get like that too it is very frustrating.
    I want to write but my mind just can’t sieve through all the fog to even process the simple process to write things down.
    I also find that with my DID if you loose time afterwards I get a foggy mind, I don’t know of anyone else can relate to this.
    And it frustrates me when I have almost got what I am trying to process, or say or write and it runs away from me out of my reach.
    Its not nice at all.

  8. Wow, you know I’m glad you wrote this. I, too, have DID and experienced something like that this year, but I had no idea it was related to me having DID. Where I used to whip out papers in a couple of hours, now I sat in front of the computer absolutely stuck, unable to make the words come out, not even sure what I wanted or had to say. I felt really stuck. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  9. I mean…it was just confounding….the sentences would not form….anything I did write sounded alien to me….and I had to force out papers like dry heaving….

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