Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Writing about what life as a member of Dissociation Anonymous feels like is tough.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Writing about what life as a member of  Dissociation Anonymous  feels like is tough. We  around the world are sharing what dissociation  f...
Writing about what life as a member of  Dissociation Anonymous feels like is tough. We around the world are sharing what dissociation feels like in an effort to spread awareness and promote understanding of The Ten Stage Solution. I asked a group of people with dissociative addiction disorder (DAD) to describe, in their own words, what having DAD feels like. The answers were varied, with both positives and negatives. To one person, living with DAD feels like, “having a war inside my head,” yet to another, DAD “feels like a gift.” The answers show just how diverse DAD really is.
Life with Dissociative Addiction Disorder Feels at first Like Being Lost and Disconnected

Depersonalisation and derealisation are symptoms that are experienced by many with DAD and other dissociative disorders. One person described DAD as, “being disconnected to my body and the surroundings.”

Several people described having DAD as feeling lost in time, never really being sure of what day it is. Sometimes, you lose hours; other times, you lose weeks of your life. These feelings lead to confusion; it becomes difficult to know what happened and what didn’t happen. “Is it real or is this just in my head?”
Life with Dissociative Addiction Disorder Feels Like Living in Constant Fear and Pain

To some, life with DAD feels like living in constant fear. Fear of the outside world, fear of oneself, fear of one’s emotions, fear of the past, present, and future. For those that also experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), flashbacks can intensify the fear and lead to increased physical and emotional pain. Headaches and migraines can overtake you at any time. Physical pain manifests itself in different parts of the body, as different parts hold pain in different places. Sometimes, there is no medical reason for the pain, but you or your parts feel the pain regardless, and it’s real pain.

Dissociative Addiction Disorder Questioning Your Memories:One of the major symptoms of DAD is memory loss, and, aside from alters, memory experiences have the greatest impact on those affected by DAD. One person referred to memories as, “currency traded among friends.”

This is because different memories are held by different children within, and are shared (or not shared) with other parts of 
our system. Some people with DAD cannot remember where they are, even when they are in a place they have been before, or they cannot remember a person’s name who they have seen before. This is because those places and people were experienced by a different part, the child within, a part that holds different memories. People with DAD are not always sure what they will remember, and there is sometimes an underlying worry that one will forget who their family members are or forget how to do one’s job. It’s upsetting when you can’t remember things that you know happened. Sometimes, DAD means having to ask for validation, because you are constantly trying to figure out if the memories are real.
Life with Dissociative Addiction Disorder Can Feel Normal; It’s Not Always Bad

Considering the struggles that people with DAD experience on a regular basis, DAD does not always feel so negative; there is good along with the bad. A common theme is that DAD feels like never being alone. Even when there is no one else in the room, it feels like you have a child there with you: your child within. You learn to adapt to the world with them. As one member put it, “being multiple is as normal to me as being a singleton is to a singleton.”

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