Integration and Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment
Last night I listened to the HealthyPlace Mental Health Radio Show interview with Sarah Olson, the author of Becoming One: A Story of Triumph Over Multiple Personality Disorder. She talked about her integration experience and I greedily took in every word. Here was someone who had achieved what was once my most fevered wish. After I got over the initial shock of my Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis, my focus narrowed to one elusive, coveted dream: the complete integration of alters. This shining promise of a cohesive, unified identity was all I wanted out of Dissociative Identity Disorder treatment.
Integration Isn't Possible Without Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment
But it wasn't really recovery I was after. Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder isn't easy. It's a painful process consisting of years of therapy and no small amount of hard work. I didn't want that. I wanted simply and only to be free of DID. I searched libraries and bookstores for a guide of some kind; a manual that would provide me with a checklist of steps to achieve integration. I became increasingly frustrated and angry each time I eagerly brought home a book, searched its contents, and discovered nothing like the quick and easy recipe for integration I was looking for. I saw my alters as the problem, and I just wanted them to go away.
Integration is a process, as opposed to an actual event, that begins as soon as DID-focused therapy begins. To view integration simply as a time when all the internal parts come together to form a unified self does not do justice to the process. - The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook, Deborah Haddock
Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder Reveals the Truth about Integration
My ideas about integration reflected a lack of understanding of DID itself. My perception of my alters as entirely separate beings is part of my disorder. This idea of integration as something that makes them go away is born of that same mindset. Part of Dissociative Identity Disorder treatment is learning that though we experience ourselves and operate as individual people, we are ultimately fractured pieces of one identity. Integration is therefore the opposite of what I thought it was. Rather than a final and total rejection of my alters, integration involves embracing them more fully. It dissolves the barriers between these alter states, but not the alter states themselves.
It took a long time to learn that integration isn't the miracle solution I was looking for. That, in fact, what I was desperately seeking wasn't integration at all but simply an escape from Dissociative Identity Disorder. And even though I know better now, listening to Sarah last night I couldn't help but hope for a moment that I was about to hear the recipe I'd been searching for.
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Gray, H. (2010, October 21). Integration and Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, April 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2010/10/integration-and-dissociative-identity-disorder-treatment
Author: Holly Gray
I am 68 years old. At six years old I was sexually abused by my father. Even though never officially diagnosed I had Dissociative Identity Disorder. My major feelings of anger, joy, hurt, sadness etc. had human names. At the age of 13 my feelings no longer had names but they had not been integrated either. I was therefore desperately struggling and suffering.
Recovery usually takes professional counseling. But if you truly work the process it is worth every ounce of energy.
As difficult as the journey of recovery is there is one main goal. Self love!! I often ask myself - why has it been so difficult to see, nurture and love that precious abused child that is me! This same child who through no fault of their own and who did not have the emotional maturity to handle the horrors of abuse. But praise God through His help, the help of my family and counseling my feelings are totally integrated and disassociation due to abuse has lost its power over me. I have relived my victimization feeling the horrors of abuse and have gained the power to stop re-victimizing myself. As victims we were powerless to remove/change/stop the abuse. By removing/changing/stopping the feelings we experienced when abused – we were gaining control the only way we could. It helped us survive those years and I praise God for that. However, as we mature using disassociation puts us at war with ourselves (by fighting our feelings). Let’s start fighting to love the abused child as we do to disconnect from the horrendous feelings of abuse. May we stop abandoning our abused child by not honoring the frightened helpless child and start learning to love and protect her.
My struggling and suffering would continue until my mid 30s when I sought out counseling. I had two children and I could see how my issues were hurting my whole family. As I started therapy and started the process of childhood memories, everything in my body was screaming I can’t go back there. My mind kept screaming - you want me to do what? My blanket of disassociation did not come off easy. It had been my old friend, my life of denial. It had also become my worst enemy because I had lost sight of who I was. Could I survive reliving the abuse? That was an unfathomable place to go. I had visions of being in a cell screaming. The cell walls were bloody, my hands were bloody from where I had been clawing at the walls. I was having a nervous breakdown.
I survived all the memories and all the unbearable horrible feelings. After all I am a survivor!! I survived childhood abuse! Little did I know in time the capacity for love I would have! I was finding what I had longed for – freedom to love God, myself and others.
God gave us feelings to be felt and to warn and protect us. Feelings were never meant to be denied or to disassociate from. To remove my protection of disassociation and relive the very thing I was protecting myself from seemed like insanity. What pain and suffering I was going through because I lived in fear that I could not handle those horrendous feelings. Feelings of powerlessness, hurt, rejection, not being heard, seen or loved. I survived - shattered and broken. And as the walking wounded, I begin the journey of trying to find love and approval outside of myself.
But there is hope in recovery. It became clear that it was up to me to nurture this abused child as a loving parent. I guess you would say I have learned to be the loving parent I did not have. The core part of this story is that no one other than you and God knows what you have gone through. No one really knows you like yourself and God. And no one but you and God knows what you need. It is up to you as an adult to take care of those needs of your abused child as only you and God can.
There is still one perplexing questions. If I was not shown love then how do I know what it looks like? How can I obtain it?
I have learned to love myself through my faith in Jesus Christ. God is love, He sent his son so that I may have life. Only by faith in His love and His teaching can I understand this kind of love. Learning to live in the now. To not split from my uncomfortable feelings and walk through the fire. Living in the now means I feel and honor my feeling and realize that feelings are just that - feelings. They are meant to be felt, worked through and they are there to identify us as a real person with real life experiences. It is fear that stops that process. Fear of losing control. Fear of not being loved. I am here to tell each one of you are a beloved child of God. He will guide you through this process if you allow him. Remember He is always a gentlemen and will not force himself upon you. We have to invite him into our lives. By this very act, you can be your own hero!! You are a survivor!! You can do this! If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, confess your sins and ask him to be Lord of your life. Get involved in a church. He will walk with you hand and hand to a place of wholeness.
I'm being misdiagnosed. Im not schizo effective. They know about my main switch. But I woke up out of surgery in june feeling totally different. Found out I was engaged to a 25 year old and I'm 43, had to shut that down and felt so bad. My mother was was extremely abusive all my life. She stole my daughter when she was 2 saying I had mental problems. Has said that since I was a child and would tell me I was imagining all of it up. People believe her because she had lifelong career as a teacher, the mean teacher, kept a marriage, and raised her kids. My brother stood up to her at 15 but now has nothing to do with me. Then she would tell me nothing was wrong with me..it was all a show. My daughter sounds like her yelling me it's all in my head. None of my family will acknowledge this or me basically. I moved out of my hometown into a independent mental rehabilitation apartments and in their program but I get no therapy or any real help and the Dr misdiagnosed me. I'm so overwhelmed. I've turned to using Meth just to keep from killing myself. One of the me's reached out to a suicide assistant and what drug to get for euthanization. My meds don't work and to save myself I started using Meth cuz on this drug I can't get enough knowledge and it did help me realize and I know of 8 personalities now. I can't keep using and now that my usegot me researching myself and found this information. One Dr around 4 years back diagnosed me with this but when I got out of being hospitalized everything got switched back. Anyway how do I go about talking to my Dr that I don't get to choose nor is there a therapist or psychiatrist on staff and none around here. All I've got is a 5 day a week "councillor" basically just adult babysitter that takes us to do our shopping and checks apt and fills med trays once a week. I am in the Tenkiller behavioral services out of Tenkiller,OK. I draw ssdi and live in the Stilwell,OK apt. I'm not even allowed to have a roommate because the main switch can be very violent. Help please or some kind of advice..idk??
I have a friend that has MPD and he wants to get rid of it but he doesn't know how. We aren't sure if integration is the right choice or not. What do you guys recommend and do you think integration is the best choice?
I was diagnosed and in therapy for over 15 years. No one ever talked to me about integration it was mostly spent identifying alters and their roles. Some of my alters shared their experiences in therapy but I was not copresent. I moved. Got married again and things were very stable. I began therapy again for some relational issues a few months ago. As we’ve been working I’ve had all kinds of triggers and anxiety. Suddenly I feel chaos inside and am so overwhelmed. I guess I THOUGHT integration just happened because things had been so “quiet”. Now I know that wasn’t true. I have a great therapist who specializes in DID and knows of my previous DID diagnosis. Until last week I’ve stayed totally present during sessions. If he noticed a “change” happened for a short time he didn’t react. I don’t know if I’m going backwards because my alters are starting to speak out again or if it’s because I’m going forward. Feeling so confused and scared
Thank you all for these posts. Helpful. Can anyone recommend a good DID therapist and/or psychiatrist in the Chicago area? I'm not having much luck.
I integrated what I call my b-itchy side just yesterday. I was at my mom's Tuesday and she was drunk and on and off hostile because her angry personality Beth was out. She came at me and Scarlet showed up. I felt my face change and I heard "don't you f-ing touch me!" This situation changed me. I realized that Scarlet wasn't mean and angry just to be that way. She wants to protect me. She kept my mom from hitting me and it probably caught my mom off guard. (My boyfriend later admitted he thought he was gonna have to get my mom cause he also thought my mom was gonna hit me.) Scarlet was crying later on and I found out that she felt lonely and angry and thought everyone hated her and thought she was toxic. I told her this wasn't so, that I was glad to have her trying to protect me. I fell asleep and when I woke up I felt different. I felt Scarlet but not as separate from me. The thoughts and feelings she had were still there but not so overwhelming. Scarlet was angry to the point that it was almost unbearable but now I can feel anger and it not be so overwhelming. I know that I have more work to do cause I still have other dissociated parts but this has been exhilarating (and tiring) for me. I know it can be very frustrating. I don't want to be dissociative but we are this way for a reason. I do most of my work on my own but I do have a therapist as well. Another thing that has really helped me was talking about my alters to my boyfriend. He accepts me as I am and for the first time in my life, I feel like maybe I can accept myself as well.
It took me 7 years to integrate once I knew I had DID but I’ve been in therapy 25 years getting nowhere before that. I too thought of my parts as separate. When I changed that and loved my parts, integration began. First by becoming dual aware. I got my alters to trust me and communicate with me. No small feat!! I would have a conversation every morning saying I need to be in control and would ask each part if they needed to do or say something that day. Then I could get them to see that I had to function but as a reward for their cooperation, we would go have ice cream, or go to the park etc. it worked. But now I am facing a lot of pain that I can now handle, I’m learning how to communicate with other people. It’s hard work and I often think I shouldn’t have integrated but my life is better now dare I say it. I’m not finding myself in places unfamiliar, I’ve been safer. I’m trying to write about my integration journey in a gut wrenching lay honest way so people are informed. DID is a coping mechanism. I don’t need it anymore. But you need a lot more support than I had to do it. Terribly hard doing it alone and isolated.
with us we decided to have one main spoke person we are all still here we discuss thing and share with each other,it is great knowing them and knowing what they helped me get through the main idenity,so each one has a say but we don't have to split no one tries to be in control,actually we have said goodbye to some.thanks for everyones comments and we must a good therapist helps!
I achieved the first stage of integration last year. Jade not longer exists in any kind of aspect that feels separate from myself. I sometimes do a 'check' to see if everything he was is within me.
I do notice this last year a sense of not understanding my sense of identity. What is this thing with the label 'Mark'. What will I become in years to come as Baxter and Morgan go from co-present manifestations into the wholeness I now enjoy with the part of me formerly called Jade.
The strange part is it was another trauma that has been the catalyst to integration. My therapist mentioned that new trauma can be a catalyst this way. I had always thought someone kind in my life might be the catalyst.
I wish I could compare thoughts with someone that has gone through complete or partial integration. I feel quite alone in this.
Hey mark, I'd love to lend a listening ear and some sage wisdom as a DID survivor/on my journey of healing still. I just don't know how we can share contact info on here :/
I do not believe that I can ever be intergrated due to the fact that I don't know if perp is still actively looking for me. He believes I received his remorse gifts, which my family stole from me. The family denies all, even my abduction and perp's stalking for years, so they can get away with the theft. Ironically, I don't care about the money, it's my perp's freedom to roam unlabeled as the sexual child predator that he is, that floors me. I'll never get justice due to the police not even taking my report due to no adult collaboration because I was 5 when abducted and sexually tortured for names. I knew he'd come back. He did several times, even called.
I'm working with a therapist and psychiatrist they suggested that I take a note book and get all of us to write down things about ourselves. Such as our likes and dislikes, race and gender, age etc. what I've been trying to do is give each one some "out time" like when Mone't (my alter) likes to cook then dirtymoney (2nd alter) comes out because she likes to clean and monet won't. but we do things together like watch movies, read books, go tanning and go to the gym. Monet has a shopping addiction so I constantly find clothes and nicknacks she has picked up. I learned I over paid my rent but I have no idea where I got the money .
my alters have begun hiding things from me like perfume, the lid to my trash can in the kitchen, I find clothes I don't remember wearing or buying, I had a black out the other night and don't remember what or who I did. they constantly argue especially at night and when I try to ask them to be quiet because we have to work the next morning they tell me its my problem they gang up on me. and now that I'm sober I try so hard to keep the good alter out but I pray everyday that they don't take over again. I'm so frustrated my therapist talks about integrating? how the f*** do I do that can any one help me understand?
Did your therapist explain the process of integration? Many with DID choose not to integrate. You have options, and the decision is really up to you whether or not you want to integrate. It is a process, and can take a lot of time, depending on how many alters you have.
I would start by addressing each of the alters and asking them why they are angry and disruptive. Find out what they are feeling and what is going on emotionally. Kids typically act out and misbehave when they are trying to express feelings and emotions that they cannot express otherwise. That might be what is going on here, even though I understand they are not kids. The behaviors are still the same if you haven't learned to express emotions properly. When you start dealing and addressing the emotions you feel or situations with which you have experienced, then you can start getting your alters to talk, share, and express themselves, thus eventually leading to integration.
Thank you everyone! Reading these posts made me realise that integration means accepting and trying to understand the alters, they are parts of myself, instead of eliminating them. I always had this vision of my cured self as one "real" "normal" self that just doesn't have alters... But that is of course not what integration means... I feel sorry for my alters now. This realisation is one stop towards integration and I am very grateful for it!
First and foremost, thank everyone here for their posts. I have a very close friend who i consider a part of my family who we believe has mpd. Ive met her alter 3 times now as shes just come into full existence 34 days ago. She isnt dangerous or anything of the sort, and i was wondering if anyone could give me any advice on how to begin handling this.
I know her name, and she is slowly beginning to trust me, but still is wary of me. Thebalter works as her protector is what ive been able to decipher so far, and they are conscious of each other. We dont have the funds for therapy, so i will be the one assuming the role of supportive care. We've already made contracts on what is to be allowed/not allowed and such. Shes very diplomatic.
We are without a moderator at the moment on this website but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for posting you insight. It sounds like you have been through a lot but it is very encouraging that you are at the end of all the confusion.
i am not very clear about DID except that i have had it like for ages with a truthful start at birth years (father trying to kill mother by strangling her on the neck when i was about three ) to very late in life experiencing massive betrayals and abuse in 40s.
Somehow my healing seems to come to an end and for some reason i able to see the many separate identities that have been part of my life over my entire life.
I think i can share, briefly,out of experience, what these separate identities are.
For a start because of massive abuse starting at childhood, something did not grow well in me. ie the boundary of my identity. The i am me and you are you. This was the perfect breadding ground for multiple identities.
To avoid abuse i learned to "manufacture" an appropriate personality that was suited to the potential abuser... and later to every human being i interact with!
I have heard of a few alters. Mine were as many as the different people i would interact with!
In other words i was always a different me with a different person. Now that i have healed substantially my internal mind is full of "who was that??" referring to myself in a past interaction at any given age of my life.
Today trying to understand this phenomena i remembered the women who gets beat up in domestic violence.
They acquire an agreeable "self" for the abuser that is different from their real self. All inaim of fore stalling being beaten up.
This other self, in my vire an understanding, is what is called "alter". The said woman may only have one alter that is designed for the beating man.
In my situation, and true to a very broken up mind, i have had over a hundred alters, who could speak diffrent things and hold diffrent view of life. They all could speak for their own account (which i was attributing to posession). Sometimes they were voices of people i knew especially abusers.
They were persistent and have expressed inside of me for incredibly many years, some since childhood.
But i think that journey is coming to an.
The very ability to see that these were self preservation personalities to protect myself from abusers seem to be a giant step in recovery.
This to me is what alter integration seems to be.
# MIndsCore I do appreciate your info. on this disorder. I am happy to say that after many years of therapy and work on myself that I have integrated. I came into my co-consciousness of my 57 alters in 1995. I have worked very hard and severely painful work to get to the other side of being severely fractured. I wrote my Memoir about my alters and this helped me immensely. I hope others will visit my blog I have two different blogs one to deal with different subjects and one on my travels of integration. Thank you for letting me be a part of this! Tamara
I have a question. My dearest sister is DID. Our parents insist on seeing or talking to her. Which causes anxiety, panic, PTSD, yucky stuff. They are 73yrs old. And have no clue that the trauma of abuse did this to her, plus the other life trauma. Do I tell them in short. To go away.
What happens when you no your 'an alter' therefore not real just a broken part of the brain and you never age and get stuck here going through everything I no isn't happening anymore I don't no how to move on
Hi "not sure", Unfortunately I don't have experience with what you seem to be talking about. I have met someone with DID who seemed to be "stuck" in a particular alter all the time. If you think this is the case I would recommend finding a trusted therapist and psychiatrist to work with. People with DID need support from professionals. If it were me, I would try talking it through with a therapist and seeing what treatment they suggest. Sometimes just talk therapy is enough to jolt you out of an altered state, temporarily. Good luck as you seek treatment. Thank you for your comment!
Hi I would like to talk to you about this integration as I think it's not going to help us. I'd just like you opinion please from Freak
I am really kind of overwhelmed reading all of your posts. I have always known about my "others", but started therapy almost two years ago and was diagnosed about a year and a half ago. I have been feeling almost desperate, like "when will I be cured?" I'm thinking "two years? why is it taking so long?" I guess I was expecting to find out why they were there and then integrate and move on, you know? I haven't been sliding (my word for switching) much at all but I feel like the others are pounding down my door and I have to keep a very tight reign on myself. I don't know how much longer I can do it. Any feedback would be welcome, I feel like I am all alone and that somehow I have gotten this all wrong and am not "getting well" as soon as I should be.....help??
Sorry for typos! :-)
Enormous help here. Explains so much. Going to skip official diagnosis part for now and work with it 'as if' . Already creative ideas coming.
Have been experiencing so much stress driving that have isolated even more. I just came up with idea of howvto help someone who is very fragile behind the wheel and gets very upset when rude drivers do their thing. This girl has been in car accidents and brother was killed in one. She really needs extra TLC. When iI go out
thinking to put her safely buckled in the back seat with a blanky.
Dunno sounds like it ould work or make me laugh!
Best to everybody. So glad to find your company. I can't get over how this framework of thinking about my self is resulting in almost immediate relief of symptoms.
I just stumbled upon this site while trying to figure out what the next years of my life will look like. My wife has DID and is recovering. It has been a very slow and agonizing process for both of us. I became her caretaker instead of her spouse. She had many child alters so I spent most of my time parenting my own wife. She has been dedicated to getting healed. She has been in therapy three times a week for the last 4 years. One month ago the first of her child alters integrated. Before I left for work the alter(Jason) asked me to stay home because he wouldn't be there by the time I got back. He later realized that he never left but integrated with my wife. One month later, now my wife has one alter left, the alter she felt least connected to. We are again making plans for our life together. For those of you who are afraid of integrating or afraid that you will never be whole, there is very real hope for your life.
This gives me hope as my spouse is in early diagnosis of his did.
A therapist told me of a client she treated who had emphysema & coughed chronically. She was DID and when she switched in therapy, her coughing would stop.
Has anyone ever had a remission of sorts from DID? I was diagnosed with DID/MPD over 20 years ago. I also have Fibromyalgia and Chronic headaches. About 5 years ago I had several C-1 & C-2 nerve blocks. After the second block, I had the sensation that maybe “some brain cells had been fried” in the process. Soon after, I noticed that I processed life/emotions very differently. My system seemed to have vanished. I felt like I was normal. This wasn’t integration. It was like night and day and although I felt a bit flat emotionally, I was “cured.” A year later, I went into menopause for 2 years. Then I completely came “out” of menopause. After a mental breakdown of sorts 2 years ago, I went back into therapy to get a grip on menopause, pain issues, mid-life crisis, etc. and after a few months, I realized that my DID had returned. I was devastated. Both my (new) therapist and I have researched if there is any published link regarding nerve blocks and DID but we have not found anything. I keep thinking about how electroshock therapy must have been discovered to treat mental illness. Am I on the cutting edge of a potential treatment for DID or did I experience a powerful and physically demanding alter that took over for about 4 years?
Has anyone experienced anything like this? Has anyone experienced alters that have very different physical symptoms? I have seen this phenomenon in the movies but assumed those must be extreme cases. I would love to read a blog on this topic!
You say it wasn't integration ... do you mean it was spontaneous?
Just for the sake of argument, let's say you did integrate fully - that's what cured means within the context of Dissociative Identity Disorder. It's entirely possible that you re-fragmented. After all, dissociation is your old stand-by, your most familiar coping mechanism. You said you had a mental breakdown, went back to therapy and notices your DID was back. That makes sense. You found yourself in the midst of overwhelming stress. It might be that, severe dissociation being the method of coping with overwhelming stress that you're most familiar with, you split again. That happens.
In fact, I believe Sarah E Olson (author of the book I've cited here) mentioned having a similar experience in her radio interview. Follow this link to listen to her interview: http://www.healthyplace.com/radioshowblog/dissociative-identity-disorder-after-integratio…
There's also the possibility that you did not integrate, that you were not cured. It's possible that your dissociative walls became, for a time, far more opaque. Your mention of feeling a bit emotionally flat makes me wonder if that's what was going on for you.
Either way, yes ... others have also experienced something similar.
Kerri, I think I feel similarly as you about integration. Only I'm not as ok with it being a possibility maybe out there someday. I'm pretty opposed to integration. I'd rather we all learn to sing a song, with a couple melody lines and some harmony and some instrumentals. This is a great post and a great discussion. Thank each and every one of you for sharing! If any of you want to read my blog it is
Hi Holly, I too have been giving integration a lot of thought over the last year or so and I have come to the conclusion that it is not the way in which my system and I want to move into the future. Instead our goal is to establish maximum communication, respect and understanding between us. For we really need to "get" each other, if we are to truly understand ourselves as a whole. And from this may spring an intermingling of selves or it may not. But this is O.K. Because I believe that if we allow this process to happen gently without stress or force it may just happen on its own. And this myself and my others will then accept. But pushing for " integration" in the classic way has traumatised and frightened my alters in the past. And their consequent fear and distress made life much more difficult and horrible for all of us. This will obviously not be the way that everone wants to proceed in their own lives, but for the moment it sits well with us, because it is a less frightening way to go for my alters and myself. P.S. I did a list containing physical descriptions of all my alters and my view of their personalities, and it was hilarious, because everytime I 'd have my say about them all, each of them jumped in and then wrote a personal desciption of themselves. And I must say all of those who participated had highly flattering things to say about themselves. It was really interesting to compare what I thought of them and who they were, and what they thought their functions were and their personalities. I think I' m lucky because from what I hear this process can be a very challenging one for others.
Thanks for the posts as always Holly, for they always inspire someone to just look or question that little biit deeper.
"For we really need to “get” each other, if we are to truly understand ourselves as a whole. And from this may spring an intermingling of selves or it may not."
I think that's the best course of action for me too - moving towards acceptance and understanding and letting the chips fall where they may. If we achieve full integration, great. If not, it likely won't even matter as much if we've created what you describe: communication, respect, understanding.
"It was really interesting to compare what I thought of them and who they were, and what they thought their functions were and their personalities."
Yes! I'm consistently surprised by the dissonance between who I perceive someone in my system to be and who they actually are, once they begin to reveal themselves. I'm wrong - or just off a bit - so often. Like you, I often find it amusing.
"Thanks for the posts as always Holly, for they always inspire someone to just look or question that little biit deeper."
Thank you, kerri. I've found writing about DID helps me to question and look deeper as well. Not to mention what I learn from reader comments and dialogue. So thanks for being a part of that.
i have only known that i have DID for a few months. when i look back on my life i feel that i've probably had it for most of my life. there isn't much information about it in australia, so i am grateful for this website. i have a real effort with the disassociation side of the illness. it is very scary for me as i don't have control over my life. i only wish that someone would have a website like this here so i could access the therapies. i listened to the radio show and found that it is soooo true what was said. but as i am at the beginning of my illness i have a lot of learning to do. these shows are a big help. thanks
Thank you for your comment.
"i have a real effort with the disassociation side of the illness. it is very scary for me as i don’t have control over my life."
It really is scary at times. Even now, in my sixth year of treatment, I struggle so much with Dissociative Identity Disorder symptoms. I will say though, it's better in many ways now than it was for me when I was first diagnosed. Learning about the disorder has helped me to understand how it manifests for me and why some of the things that are so scary for me happen. Of course, there's still so much I don't understand. But I share this with you because I hope that you too feel more stable over time. Diagnosis can be so frightening for a DID system. If this is your experience, know that it will get better, things will settle down.
I created a 'family tree' for mine, showing where each came in and who was most related to who. I also had a bowl filled with sand which had an object for each self and all were in the same sand within the same bowl, to symbolise co-operation and belonging to one system. As they began to know and finally be kind to and curious about each other they'd make things and do things for each other (yay) and as the first two of my 9 began to merge we did a circle showing where each were around the circle so could finally see what it would take for each to get more aligned with their nearest neighbor and also lines crossing the circle to show who was identifying with/learning from who. Collage is another way to literally get everyone 'on the same page'. We also encouraged each other to listen to songs we'd picked out for each other (with respect) and though the music was often not that one's taste it helped them know what the sender saw in it.
I'd never thought of a family tree before. You guys are all offering such great ideas for system mapping/expression, thank you. I should compile these into a post.
Thanks so much!
Sorry... pushed wrong button and didn't finish my thought. Don't know if the earlier got posted so will repeat. I have been in therapy alot of my 64 years, but only found out about having DID until 9 months ago. When I shared the diagnosis with close friends all said of course, so that explains it. I also heard of experience and observations that I didn't consciously know about.
Early in therapy I chose to attempt fusion... a step past integration. But then I got to the point of each of mees talk to each other and take turns being themselves, I realized how dampened the effect will be when my adventurous 9 year old boy is merged with my 60 year school master man. So now I'm not sure.
When I experience things in the present that bring extreme reactions out of proportion to the real event, I know a part of me is working out a hurt from the past. And as I walk through the process I find a new person emerging... someone that may eventually be all of us.
"When I experience things in the present that bring extreme reactions out of proportion to the real event, I know a part of me is working out a hurt from the past."
I really like the way you worded that. I've started to realize that same dynamic in my own life. It's hard, but understanding it helps. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Thanks for reading, Nancy, and taking the time to comment.
I just found out too a few months ago and I am 65 yo. It makes complete sense to me and my life and things I did but didnt know why. The alters have been with me all my life. Now I see it. I was always diagnosed with depression but back when I was younger with symtoms noone ever looked at DID or PTSD from an abusive childhood. Most didn't believe in it. They are idiots. I have seen and experienced it. It is real. Even my granddaughter saw an alter come into my face on facetime with her. She took a double take at me and I got off real fast and cried. It is so scary and to find out this late in life disheartening. On the bright side at least I know and understand myself. I feel I have naturally integrated some of the alters. Not sure exactly who everyone is yet but some integration came naturally. Im older and would rather not spend YEARS in therapy. I just need to deal with some abuse and I am already loving and getting along with the alters. That is all you really need. We are smart people developing these alters so we can live a life. Without them we would have gone crazy or killed ourselves. So appreciate how smart you are.
Hi, Elise. Thank you so much for your comment.
It can take a while to learn who some of your alters are, but I am glad to hear that you and your parts are already getting along well. And what you said about people with dissociative identity disorder being smart is absolutely true. If we weren't smart or creative, we would never have survived this long. Take care.
As another idea for a system map, I did a video clip. It helped express some of the emotions attached to certain areas through the music I used. It also avoided getting caught up in the categorisation of the system, which worried me for some reason - odd considering I'm a librarian, but there you go.
You're a librarian! You have my secret dream job. :) Surrounded by books, categorizing and alphabetizing. Sounds heavenly.
It's interesting to me what you said about avoiding categorizing your system. I have a tendency towards putting things into categories and groupings. It helps me understand things. But I've found that when it comes to Dissociative Identity Disorder and understanding my system, it's counter-productive. I try to approach getting to know them just as people, not as "protectors" or "gatekeepers" or any of that label lingo. When I try to categorize them, I end up not seeing them for who they are. Which isn't to say that labels can't be helpful to my comprehension of myself, my disorder, and the world around me. I believe there is absolutely a place for labels and categories. But like you, I avoid that when it comes to mapping.
The video is a great idea. Thanks for sharing it. I'm getting some good ideas here from readers!
I appreciate those of you who have shared your journey and struggles, as well as how you are coming to peace with D.I.D. As I read your responses I just cried, because I do feel alone in recovery apart from my therapist and family. I was diagnosed with D.I.D. approximately 3 years ago, but have been in therapy for almost two years. I'm so exhausted and of the chaos and confusion of getting to know my "Insisder's". There is so by much to learn and it is a "gruelling" process for me at times. I've made some progress, but at times I feel like things are becoming more confusing. I to thought recovery was a complete intergration of my Insider's. Reading the book Dissociative Indentity Sourcebook by Deborah Bray Haddock, has helped, but I want to give up sometimes because it is exhausting and draining work. I have a husband and kids and it's so hard to juggle all these things, and try to maintain some sense of "normality for my family. I need to go back to my scrapbook and start fresh with all my Insider's and wotk towards patience.
Thanks for your comment.
"I have a husband and kids and it’s so hard to juggle all these things, and try to maintain some sense of “normality for my family."
This struggle to maintain some sense of normality is so incredibly draining, I couldn't agree with you more. It really takes a toll on me, particularly when I'm having a hard time with things that most people who don't have DID couldn't possibly understand. They don't get it, and so I try very hard to appear as normal as possible. Inevitably I fail from time to time. And that's hard.
The book you mention by Deborah Haddock is the first book I recommend to people wanting to learn more about Dissociative Identity Disorder. She covers the basics in a really accessible way. And in my experience, the more I know about DID the easier it is to live with it. If nothing else, I understand my life better. And though that doesn't make any of the pain or frustration go away, I at least feel that I know what I'm dealing with.
Grueling is an excellent word for the recovery process, Leslie. I hope you know that though having DID can be a very isolating thing and feels incredibly lonely a good deal of the time, there are so many people in the world who are struggling with DID too and feeling those same feelings of isolation and loneliness. I know it doesn't make the loneliness go away, but maybe it helps to know that someone, somewhere understands.
I have been very blessed w/ an awesome therapist from the start. The freedom to be creative in expression has always been encouraged. I also rely heavily on God for help & He does. The scrap book idea has really propelled me forward in this healing process & has helped me so much to listen & understand to those who have been my help & protection when I needed them.
I'm glad you like the idea & I hope it helps you also!
My thoughts on integration have changed over the years, and are exactly in line with the sorts of things you describe. Maybe someday I will be integrated, but the path to get there is to accept who you are now (meaning with parts). I have often thought I could never live the rest of my life with parts. But as I heal and there is more collaboration and awareness, I think I might actually be able to. And not only will that be okay, it will be good for me. The ability to dissociate, to become fractured, I think is always there whether one "integrates" or not. I think I have said before "integration is way over-rated".
"Maybe someday I will be integrated, but the path to get there is to accept who you are now (meaning with parts)."
You're so right. It took me a long time to learn that.
"The ability to dissociate, to become fractured, I think is always there whether one “integrates” or not."
That's one thing that was hard for me to accept. Because I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and have had it for most of my life, I believe dissociating is what my brain does best. And it's my brain's go-to method of managing ... well, life. I wanted DID to be an illness that, with the proper treatment, went away like a cold or a fever. But now I know that integrated or not, DID may always be a part of my life in some manner. Dissociation certainly will be.