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Kristin's Dissociative Identity Story, Part 1: Redefining Normal.

Part 1 - Redefining Normal

I believed my life to be entirely normal, but now I understand that normalcy is nonexistent & every individual must define their own beautifully unique version of 'normal' for themselves.

The unseen experiences, however, were processed much more powerfully in my dissociative memory, the vivid details living on to this day.

I remember the first time dissociation caused me to disconnect from all skin sensations. At age 9, I was exploring the new farm my family had just moved to. I cut my knee open climbing a fence but didn't notice until my cousin came running over with a streak of worry across his face: "You're gushing blood!" My entire leg was covered from the gash in my knee, & I laughed out loud at how silly it was that I couldn't feel a thing.

By age ten, suppressed childhood trauma body memories began unconsciously surfacing. I didn't learn what sex was or how babies were made until years later, so I had no cognitive ability to comprehend the strangely uncomfortable things happening to my body because of being molested at age four. I had no resources to put my experiences in perspective, & no opportunity to share my struggles with a trusted adult.

Every time I slept, my body went through a sexually aroused state because of the trauma trapped in my parasympathetic nervous system, yet I had absolutely no idea what was happening to my body, & it felt disgustingly terrifying. Even without knowing what was happening, I felt dirty & ashamed, which only added to the confusion of the unconscious experiences.

I remember when the anxiety, insomnia, & night terrors began at age ten. My whole experience of life shifted into a hyper-thrilled state of constant overwhelm, the vividness of experience consuming me. I stopped feeling safe in my own skin.

I channeled all of my energy into imaginative play, both outside in nature & inside with my toys. Every piece of play was a resource to channel my bodily anxieties into, creating suspenseful tales of maddened adventures, always with a dark plot of kidnapping or something similarly wicked.

I remember how intensely I dreaded the night. The horrifying time of darkness felt like a threatening cloud over my body & soul. I often found myself silently sobbing outside of my parents’ bedroom, desperately seeking help yet with no words to effectively describe my experiences or with enough developed intelligence to specify what help I needed.

I found ways to distract myself, only getting 2-3 hours of sleep each night for several years in order to avoid the traumatic sleep state: upon reaching 4 hours of sleep, the body-brain slips into REM sleep, where dream state occurs & memories unconsciously surface.

My nightmares often consisted of wild animals breaking into my home & ripping my family limb from limb before eating me alive too. Although the specifics made no sense, the terror felt indescribably real.

On a regular basis, I awoke with the room tossed about, pillows & blankets thrown across the room, scratches on my face from trying to claw my way out of the terror, soaked in sweat, hair tangled from all the endless tossing & turning to unconsciously fight my invisible enemies.