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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.

51gdr0720glIntegration 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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45 thoughts on “Integration and Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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 :/

  3. 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.

  4. 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 .

  5. 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?

    1. Monica,

      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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. Dear Ayeye,

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. # 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

    1. 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.

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