Author’s Note: Terms matter. Words have deeper meanings than letters strung together for a common understanding. Language affects the very way humans perceive the world. That’s why everyone (including myself) should learn a new language vastly different than our native tongues — who knows what we could unlock!
“Dissociative symptoms are common in Borderline Personality Disorder, including memory loss (dissociative amnesia) for certain time periods, events, and people.” [Source]
Memory loss was called:
Reach in somewhere,
Yank it forward.
THAT IS NOT IT.
I didn’t have “repressed memories,”
But I had many “amnesia walls.”
I’ll always remember the feeling —
Almost there, about to remember —
“It’s like hitting up against a wall,”
That’s exactly how I described it.
Five mental health professionals,
Somehow none of them caught it.
My soul smashed on one side of the wall,
My trauma memories reside on the other.
They built themselves to help me,
So why do they now harm me?
It isn’t the amnesia walls’ fault —
They do not know they need to fall,
They formed to protect a child,
They do not know they halt healing.
Borderline makes everything real metaphorical,
While everything metaphorical appears real.
When experts gave my desperate,
The simple words “amnesia walls,”
Terminology was the first real,
To curing my memory loss.
Breaking down amnesia walls
Is never a one-step-fits-all.
The musician’s not addressing amnesia,
It’s a heterosexual break-up song,
Not related to me in the slightest.
Except for a couple random lyrics,
The lines that spoke directly to me:
“The memories are there,
Even if you forgot.”
“You’ll be alright,
No one can hurt you now.”
After punching my bedroom walls,
After wading through deep meditation,
After reciting mantras on breaking barriers,
After 20 years of standing tall,
After 20 years of halting progress,
After 20 years of causing confusion,
My amnesia walls came crashing down.
The Borderline isn’t gone.
The Depression isn’t gone.
The Mania isn’t gone.
But the traumatic memory loss,
Those goddamn amnesia walls,
Physical feelings on my brain:
Dissociative amnesia walls,
Caused so much suffering,
All on their own.
Disclaimer: I don’t know how many people with traumatic dissociative amnesia will be helped by the term itself or by the more metaphorical way of thinking about it as physical walls blocking memories. But it helped me an indescribable amount, so I hope it helps someone else.
Unfortunately, there is no “end all, be all” cure for dissociative amnesia walls. It’s a case-by-case basis, but popular treatments include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy.
Personally, I needed a combination of 3 different approaches to break down my amnesia walls: psychotherapy, Buddhist meditation, and expressive arts therapy.
“Borderline symptoms are similar to the commonly known consequences of early, severe, and chronic traumatization. Various experts have proposed that borderline symptoms be classified as disorders of stress: disorders of extreme stress.” [Source]
2 thoughts on “Not Forgotten, Hidden | 9 BPD Symptoms: Dissociative Amnesia”
The power of words! Yes!! Child psychologists talk about this in helping toddlers develop healthy EQ (emotional IQ)…give them the words “frustrated,” “disappointed,” etc. because it empowers them—helps them process their “big emotions.” I’ve seen it work wonders for my own kids.
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I love that connection to childhood psychologists!! Thanks for giving a great example I didn’t think to mention.