View Single Post
Unread January 9th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
Forum Leader
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Posts: 207
Default Re: Dissociation red flags

Non-florid switching in a DID person is very interesting. First let me talk about a related subject, which is "switching" (though we don't generally use that word) in a non-DID person.

Lets say Joe and Mary are having a discussion about the weather at the water cooler. Its good natured and pleasant, so each of them is in a socially engaged state, smiling and relaxed. Then Mary says something political rolling her eyes about a particular politician, thinking Joe would surely agree. Joe, however, has different politics, and is instantly shocked by her comment, he switches into an adrenaline state, and struggles with his anger, trying to stay polite. LeeAnn, an observer, sees his facial flushing, his jaw muscles tightening, and hears his voice constrict. She knows, as we all do, that there has been a mood change, or you could state, a state change or switch. One neural network had been activated, but somehow, the associations triggered by the political comment precipitated another coalition of neurons to become activated, and therefore the neural networks that were active turned off and another turned on. It wasn't a smooth transition; we know that he struggled to hide his anger and stay cheerful.

In DID the neural networks are not entirely fluid, but are bound by relatively impermeable barriers so that there is amnesia for what is experienced when one state is executive, while in another state. If Joe were DID, when in his affable mood he may not even remember the angry part of the conversation.

In our offices, DID clients switch states in very subtle manners most of the time, indistinguishable from non-DID state changes. The distinction turns not on the presence of florid signs of switching, but on amnesia for the prior state.

Some DID folks switch in ways that are characteristic to themselves, and which become recognizable over time as the light slowly dawns on the therapist. For example, one person might cough, or sigh as she switches, or another might shift weight from one elbow to the other, or another person might turn her head just so as she switches. This behavioral cue is the next step in the chain that enables the state switch to occur. I keep seeing this picture of someone climbing out of a boat onto a dock. They have to add a little oomph, a little extra something, to hoist themselves out. The behavioral ritual of the small cough is that extra something that's needed to effect the switch.

Must close, a patient is waiting.
Reply With Quote