Losing Time With Dissociative Identity Disorder
Sunday, February 1 2015 Sherry Polley
Living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) can be a perplexing reality. There are many symptoms, including depersonalization and derealization. One symptom involves “losing time” or “blacking out” for periods of time. This happens with no drugs or alcohol in the system. It is scary to realize that you've lost time, and sometimes the person may not realize it at all.
About two weeks ago I came home to my apartment, after a run to the store. I unlocked the door and walked in, and to my surprise I saw a package sitting on my desk. I live alone, and I always keep the door locked, but somehow a package was in my apartment. I had no recollection of how it got there. I asked the apartment manager if she or the maintenance man had put it in there, but she seemed perplexed and assured me it was not them. The mailman doesn't have a key to my apartment, so it couldn't have been him or her. The other thing is that this package had been there since the day before, as the mail had not come yet that day. I was just now noticing it, so it's possible that I lost more than a few hours of time.
Later, I had another incident. My friend messaged me on Facebook to apologize that she couldn't make our plans that day. I asked her, “What plans?” She explained to me that we had made plans to hang out. The next time I saw her I told her that we had never made plans. I was sure of it. She showed me the text conversation we had had, and I had no memory what-so-ever of having had that conversation.
Could these two examples be a normal lapse in memory? It's possible. It's possible, however, that my symptoms of DID are coming back. I've been off of my dissociation medication for about two months now, with the approval of my doctor. Losing time, or having large blocks of time for which one has no memory is a symptom of DID. This can be very scary and can have serious consequences. Sometimes a person will lose so much time that they “wake up” in an unfamiliar town or place. This is called Dissociative Fugue.
What Can I Do If I Lose Time By Dissociating?
I will talk to my doctor about these instances. It has been suggested to me that I begin keeping a record of what I have done during the day. To do this, I will list times and activities of the day, so that I can keep track if I lose time again. I will stay in great contact with other people in my support network so that they can help me identify if I am acting “funny.” This will help if I am losing time, as I would likely act as if I am a different person. My doctor will help me decide if I need to go back on my medication, or if it is safe to wait. I have had success with the medication in the past, so this may be the best option. Overall, I will keep a close eye on my behaviors and surroundings, so that I will notice if I lose any more time. I recognize that dissociation, or splitting, is not usually dangerous. There can be some significant consequences, at times, however, so I will not take it lightly that I need to pay attention.