Living with a dissociative disorder, one man’s story

I want to remain anonymous so I am going to refer to myself just by my christian name if that is OK.

My name is Ben and I live in the UK and have suffered from mental health issues for over 30 years.

If you met me you would think, wow, he has a smart car, a big house, a beautiful wife, two stunning children, a dog, a successful business, money in the bank etc. He is clean shaven, his clothes are new, he is handsome and witty.

Not the typical image of mental un-health

If you looked a little closer you would see that I don’t drink, I have been sober through the grace of God (and AA) for 19 years. If you spent some time with me you would also notice that I don’t travel on public transport. I have suffered from agoraphobia of 30 years. You also might notice that I take medication for depression and for anxiety.

If you spent a week with me you might think that I have some strange ideas at times and could often appear as highly strung, a little odd at times and sort of not all there. Nothing shocking more unique?

If you spent three months with me you would see an episode where I become extremely anxious and panicky. This is when my PTSD is triggered and I go through what is called an emotional flashback. These can last for up to a week. Here you would see that I am poorly and in need of therapy.

Dissociative disorder bannerAfter a time you might decide that I am not always the same person. I do not mean that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, (DID) which used to be called multiple personality disorder, but that my moods can change noticeable. I am not just Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but quite a few others as well.

The changes are not as obvious to people who don’t now me so well. My voice does not change to a childs, but my whole demeanor and language changes.

I suffer from what is called depersonalisation / derealisation disorder brought about through Complex PTSD.

It is a bit weird and can feel very strange and frightening, but it is a natural reaction to multiple traumas in my life coupled with neglectful parents and a hostile living environment.

Next: Click here for my story.