It’s scary to think you’ve ‘gone mad’. It’s scary to think you have some serious, incurable ‘mental illness’. It’s scary to not understand what on earth is going on in your brain. And perhaps what’s even scarier is finding out that what is ‘wrong’ with you has a name: dissociative identity disorder.
Recovery from trauma can be a long, hard road. But it’s not an impossible road. It helps if you know where you’re going and how to get there. In this video, Carolyn breaks it down into three main areas of focus: dealing with our trauma responses, progressing our interrupted development, and resolving our attachment difficulties.
Treatment on the NHS for dissociation and dissociative disorders isn’t always forthcoming. In this video Carolyn talks about three ways of getting help in these circumstances.
‘It’s horrible being triggered.’
I nod. It’s an understatement. There are no words to describe it. The trigger comes and our bodies and brains surge with the aversiveness of survival: everything tells us to get away. This is dangerous! This is painful! This isn’t good! Get away, get away!
Carolyn Spring talks about suicide … her own experience of numerous suicide attempts, the hopelessness and sense of trappedness, and how she has recovered.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the label we give to the way our brain adapts to growing up in an environment of chronic terror. It’s most often correlated to quite extreme childhood abuse that starts at a very young age. It’s both a developmental and a post-traumatic condition.
In this video, Carolyn Spring explains the issues around talking to dissociative parts of the personality ahead of her training day ‘Working with Dissociative Disorders in Clinical Practice’.
If I said I could help you improve your life by 1% you might not be very interested. Especially if your life is filled with pain, suffering, dysfunction and struggle, you might think, “A 1% difference isn’t going to do any good! I need a 100% difference!”
That’s how I thought for a long time
All I did was walk into the kitchen and pick up a cloth. But the sudden waft of bleach flung me far, far back into some childhood memory. I switched to a traumatised part of myself. I had been ‘triggered’.
What is dissociation? It’s a weird word with lots of meanings. In fact, someone once said that it seems to suffer from ‘multiple meaning disorder’! But it’s important to understand that dissociation is an entirely normal, natural process. It’s not something that goes wrong with the brain. It’s something that goes right. It’s what the brain is supposed to do under certain conditions.
Courage. It’s the stuff of heroes, right? Frodo with the Ring in Mordor, William Wallace and the uprising, Henry V once more into the breach, ‘Sully Sullenberger’ parking his broken plane on the Hudson.
‘Courage’ isn’t necessarily a word we think is all that relevant to therapy, to recovering from trauma.