Janet's brain felt foggy and numb. She imagined herself kneeling on a great frozen lake, and she pressed her face against the ice, trying to see through the cloudy surface to the open water below. In fact, she didn't feel any physical sensation at all, just an internal panic. Janet didn't understand these feelings. She just knew that in her frightening daydreams, she was lost above the ice and the knowledge that could save her was trapped in the dark water below. Soon, Janet was forgetting things, missing school, and losing sleep. She'd find notes that she'd written to herself but couldn't remember writing. They said things like, "Janet! Help me!" and "Who are you?" Scariest of all, she began hearing voices in her head that did not sound like her own. When she imagined herself looking down through the barren ice, she thought she saw a little girl looking back at her. Janet was sure the little girl's name was Sara... Have you ever daydreamed, "lost track of time" when you were having fun, or "tuned out" when your parents were scolding you? If so, you were experiencing dissociation. Janet's dissociation, however, is much more severe. She is suffering from dissociative identity disorder. Different parts of her personality have become so separate that they are beginning to seem like different people. A dissociative disorder like Janet's requires medical intervention. Janet's story, and stories like hers, can teach us a lot about how our minds work and how they can be treated. Read Dissociative Disorders and learn more about these psychiatric disorders and the help available for people like Janet.
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