I have a big question for you. For DID survivors, how can you tell if you have been sleeping, or if you’ve switched and lost time. Sleeping or time loss? Resting, or amnesia?
I’ve been asked these questions, and since I’m not multiple, I can’t answer them from personal experience. I can only answer from what I’ve learned from listening to hundreds of dissociative folks.
So… of course, I’m happy to ask you, because I’m quite sure you can answer much more accurately than me.
I know there are lots of options for versions of sleep —
Some parts are asleep, some parts are awake.
The external body appears asleep, but in the internal world, behind that dissociative wall, inside people can be wide awake.
Some parts may feel asleep and may genuinely be asleep on the inside, but the outside body is awake and someone else is out front doing stuff.
Possibly the whole internal system is asleep at the same time.
Maybe something else I haven’t thought of today….
And secondly — think about how time loss feels.
When there is dissociative time loss — that damnesia !! — the person is awake, the body is up, parts of the system are busy doing things, and yet other parts of the system have absolutely no idea what happened as their awareness is blocked behind that dissociative wall.
There is this lost or missing time on the clock, where you simply don’t know what happened in those preceding minutes / hours. You “wake up” or “come to” and you are suddenly there, and realize you haven’t been there.
Or possibly you didn’t notice the missing time, but you can see some straightforward evidence that something has happened that you cannot recall, no matter how much you think about it. You know you don’t know how it’s possible, but there is “that thing”, and you simply cannot deny that it is there.
There may be more options to consider – and feel free to mention those in your comment.
Here is essence of my 2-fold question.
Have you, as a system, ever completely and totally fallen asleep?
And how does this feel differently (or the same) from time loss?
Because for non-DID people, real sleeping holds no real sense of time.
When a non-DID person is asleep, there is no specific awareness of time passing until you wake up and realize it’s a different point in time. There’s no real awareness of anything happening, except maybe a dream. And waking through the night is a clear waking up from sleep. There’s no doubt what you’ve been doing. You’ve been sleeping, and you know it.
You might know it’s been all night long because you remember what time you went to bed, and you can see on the clock what time it is when you wake up. Or you can tell by the morning light, or the morning sounds, etc. But there is not a specific awareness of the exact amount of time asleep or what happened while asleep. You just know you were asleep because that’s what you do.
So when you’re dissociative, when you and your system fall completely asleep, how does that feel compared to when you lose time?
Can you tell the difference?
Have you and your whole system ever actually fallen asleep at the same time?
Does sleep feel differently when EVERYone is asleep, or does that ever happen?
What about a medicated asleep? When you’re knocked out by medication, how does that feel differently from lost time?
What about a passing out from drunkenness? How does that feel differently from lost time?
You probably already can see where I’m going with this. This is the main question I have:
How do you tell when your system is completely and fully asleep (thus having no “time awareness”) versus when you think you are asleep, but someone in your system is up and awake?
How differently does that feel, and can you feel or tell the difference?
If you spend part of your sleep-time in one of the phases of body sleeping / inside awake places, do you think your sleeping time ever changes to EVERYone in the system sleeping? And if that happens, can you feel a difference in the quality of sleep you get, vs how tired you feel?
My guess is that these two options feel different in some sense.
So how do you know?
This clearly relates to safety issues. If a dissociative person is completely asleep, their sense of time may be gone, just like it feels for non-dissociative people who are asleep. So if there is a worry about whether you are actually dissociatively awake or completely asleep, how else do you tell?
I think by now, I’ve asked my questions a few times over. I’ll just go ahead and post this, and wait patiently for your response.
I wish you all very solid nights of very deep and genuine, safe, restful sleep!
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation