Resolution to Manage Dissociation in DID for the New Year
How can I manage dissociation in the new year better than I did last year? This year, my dissociative identity disorder (DID) made celebrating the new year difficult. New Year’s Day could symbolize another year of dissociation, and another year of instability. But New Year’s can also be a time to recognize progress and to make resolutions that promote healing and change. That’s why I am choosing to make resolutions for my DID--I'm going to manage dissociation much better this year. You can, too.
Manage Dissociation by Ending Denial
Goodbye Denial, Hello Acknowledgement of Dissociation
One of the first steps in the process of healing and recovery for mental illness or addiction is acknowledgment of the problem. Dissociative identity disorder is no different. In order to treat DID symptoms and become proactive in recovery, it's important to acknowledge that your DID exists in the first place, and for those that do not have DID, acknowledging that you dissociate.
Whether we want to admit it or not, dissociation affects our lives. Sometimes in positive ways, but also in negative ways. Dissociation disconnects us from the world -- we miss out on what's going on, even when it's something positive.
Denial keeps you stuck. I know this all too well -- I've been there. I've sat face-to-face with therapists who knew I was dissociating, yet I sat there and denied it all. Where did that get me? Stuck in a continuous cycle of denial, which prevented me from reaching out for help when I needed it.
Why Did I Deny Instead of Manage Dissociation?
The Shame and Fear Surrounding a DID Diagnosis
Part of the reason I denied my dissociation instead of managed my dissociation was because of shame. I believed for a long time that my dissociation meant that I was weak and broken. If I were stronger, I wouldn't dissociate so much. But that's just not the case. Dissociation is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a coping mechanism that kept many of us alive in times we may not have otherwise been able to survive.
There's also a deeply rooted sense of fear surrounding DID and dissociation. A lot of it is related to the fear that caused the dissociation in the first place. But there's also fear of the outside world, fear that others won't understand it (or me), fear that others will be afraid if they knew about my diagnosis.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) teaches that when your emotion is unjustified, act opposite. I've come to learn that my fears, for the most part, have been unjustified. So I acted opposite. I started opening up about my diagnosis. I started telling people what was going on in my head, both by using my voice and by writing it down. While many couldn't understand exactly what dissociation was like, they were willing to listen and to support me regardless.
Don't Give Up on Yourself or on Managing Dissociative Identity Disorder
Sometimes, this DID diagnosis seems like it's too much to deal with. Life becomes overwhelming. Trying to manage dissociative identity disorder gets exhausting. Giving up seems like a viable option. I was at my lowest point this year. I thought that no one would be able to understand me, that no one could help me manage my dissociation. I shut down. I was close to giving up entirely.
After spending the last five months in a partial hospitalization program (PHP), with a week of inpatient treatment in between, I'm holding onto hope that I will find healing. I'm trying to remember that I'm strong and that we are strong.
People with DID have been through some of the worst things people can experience, and we're still here. We may be a little bit broken, but we're continuing to grow despite the cracks. It's in dissociation that I find strength. Somewhere, there is a will in us to keep on going. If there wasn't, we wouldn't be here.
If anything, make the resolution to keep trying.
Matulewicz, C. (2017, December 28). Resolution to Manage Dissociation in DID for the New Year, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2017/12/new-years-resolutions-for-my-dissociative-identity-disorder