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Dissociative Disorders: Losing the Self to Avoid Anxiety

22 September, 2015 - 15:34

On October 23, 2006, a man appeared on the television show Weekend Today and asked America to help him rediscover his identity. The man, who was later identified as Jeffrey Alan Ingram, had left his home in Seattle on September 9, 2006, and found himself in Denver a few days later, without being able to recall who he was or where he lived. He was reunited with family after being recognized on the show. According to a coworker of Ingram’s fiancée, even after Ingram was reunited with his fiancée, his memory did not fully return. “He said that while her face wasn’t familiar to him, her heart was familiar to him…He can’t remember his home, but he said their home felt like home to him.”

People who experience anxiety are haunted by their memories and experiences, and although they desperately wish to get past them, they normally cannot. In some cases, however, such as with Jeffrey Ingram, people who become overwhelmed by stress experience an altered state of consciousness in which they become detached from the reality of what is happening to them. A dissociative disorder is a condition that involves disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, and identity. The dissociation is used as a defense against the trauma.