Trauma causes many kinds of symptoms: attention deficits, absent-mindedness, blackouts, addictions, panic attacks, eating disorders, physical pain and numbness, difficulties in trust, hallucinations, depression and fatigue. Considering this diversity, it is unsurprising that trauma patients get multiple varying psychiatric diagnoses on the way. Apparently, there are as many trauma symptoms as there are different individuals and life experiences. The diversity of symptoms also reveals great similarities in the everyday adversities of traumatized individuals.
We asked the members of the Finnish Association for Trauma and Dissociation to write about living with dissociation disorder – the symptoms they are dealing with and the treatments and resources they have discovered. The material was brought together in this handout to share experiential knowledge for peers, family members and professionals working with trauma survivors.
In this paper, as many individuals as possible are allowed to speak with their own voices – how those living with dissociative disorders experience trauma symptoms in their particular lives. By this, we wish to illuminate the diversity of trauma symptoms and share valuable resources. An experiential data bank of trauma and dissociation symptoms is needed, because it is common for dissociative disorder to get buried by inaccurate diagnoses. By sharing experiences, trauma survivors also improve their personal knowledge and skills around their own trauma symptoms. We are empowered by peers.