For a long time, therapy sessions would end with a fairly typical exchange. I would express frustration at myself for not doing enough, and gently but firmly the response from my therapist would go, ‘Be kind to yourself.’
So I’m curious. On what do you base your belief in dissociative identity disorder? This was a tweet I received from a fellow twit based in the US a few months ago. The more I use social media, the more I realise how controversial dissociative identity disorder is. For me, after the last 5 or 6 years, it is ‘normal’.
Who should pay for treatment for survivors of abuse who have gone on to develop a dissociative disorder? For many conditions the expectation would be that help would be available on the NHS, but this is rarely the case for conditions arising from trauma.
Powerlessness is such a core experience for victims of abuse that often we don’t even notice that it’s there. It is played out in the way that we interact with people and the world – it’s the shadow cast by the sun, rather than the sunlight itself.
I look up and I am in my therapist’s room. I look up and I am in the cafe area of the shopping mall. I look up and I am in bed in the dark. I look up and I don’t know if I am I. There is no thread of continuity between these places, these experiences. Who am I now, writing this, re-reading this, re-writing this?
A brief guide to dissociative identity disorder, a post-traumatic condition, by Carolyn Spring.
Twenty helpful, and sometimes surprising, things that my therapists said to me.
A couple of years ago, when I was going through an extremely difficult time, I came across a concept from Marsha Linehan (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) which she referred to as “A Life Worth Living”. Many of my alters at this time were in a constant life-and-death struggle; everything seemed hopeless and pointless; and the grim reality of living everyday with overwhelming flashbacks and pain was getting too much.
Someone who has dissociative identity disorder may have distinct, coherent identities within themselves that are able to assume control of their behaviour and thought.
It’s not a definition or some bullet-points on a page, a menu of things that were done or could have been done, or might yet be done. It’s something to do with me as a person, the me that I’m so scared to show you, that I’m so scared to be, because of what happened …
What is it like to be me? What is it like to be the me that is me-not-you, different, alone, DID?
You – in my minds you are you-not-us, but who am I to you? Can you know me?
I hate my body. It was there, always there, during the abuse.
My mind went away but my body could not. My mind could forget.