I have heard (or rather 'read') people talking about the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule and I always wondered why it wasn't done with me in clinical psychology. I have filled in the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) before a few times and have written about it here (I finally figured out how to do those links! Ha ha!!). So yesterday I took a notion to google 'Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule' and I found a link to the test which I did my best to fill in myself and mark. I may or may not have done it properly but I had a go anyway and discovered a few interesting things.
The first is that I think perhaps this interview was done with me in my very first or maybe second appointment in clinical psychology because a lot of the questions were very familiar. Either that or maybe they just ask similar questions in their assessments. If it was this test, why was it done in my first appointment? Is that routine for clinical psychologists? Surely DID is not that common? I doubt that the psychologist could have had any idea at that time that I had DID as I had no idea of it myself. I knew it wasn't 'just' depression and that weird stuff happened to me but I didn't think it could be pinned down to something that has a name and I wasn't about to start telling someone who had the potential to lock me up in a loony bin about them. Maybe it's to do with the specific psychologist I saw (I may over-use this new amazing linking ability but I am just very excited about it so humour me).
Another interesting thing I discovered, although unsurprising is that my score vastly exceeded the minimum score to be positive for 'somatization disorder'. I kind of already new this given that I often tend to feel ill and have had strange physical ailments for no apparent reason for many's a year. It has been helpful to 'know' that though. I would have liked it if I could have been given some feedback about this from psychology at some point over the last few years. Maybe I wouldn't have worried so much at times that I am dying of something, or maybe I could have been more alert at times when the physical symptoms are worse to the fact that there might be internal psychological factors going on which I need to address. One thing that bugs me about going to clinical psychology is that I don't get that kind of feedback. I think I probably still wouldn't know about DID if I hadn't specifically asked. Is there some kind of advantage to keeping people in the dark about everything?
Another thing that surprised me was the questions about 'Supernatural/Possession/ESP' like "have you ever had any kind of supernatural experience such as seeing the future while awake?". I would like to know why these questions are asked? What is it to do with DID that would make someone more likely to have these experiences? I have had the experience of seeing the future a number of times since the age of about fifteen. It seriously freaks me out when it happens because I'm not expecting that the image I have just seen in my mind is actually about to happen. It only happens at times that I have been in a very specific mental state and having a lot of dissociation symptoms. I want answers: does this happen to other people with DID? Why does it happen?
The main thing that surprised me was to find that the answers I gave put me in the 'dissociative identity disorder' box. When I told Ad about this he was more surprised at my being surprised about the result than he was about the actual result, which surprised me (that sentence will test if your brain's awake or not!). In all honestly, I was truly expecting that I wouldn't fit the profile at all. I still struggle to believe it could really be true. I thought I would probably fit the criteria loosely but that I wouldn't fit the bill strongly enough for that box to be ticked but as I was marking my answers it became quite clear to me that I fit the profile almost exactly. I don't know if the reason I don't accept it is because of the implications of accepting I do have it (IE what the fuck happened to me to cause this?) or if it's just a 'part' of me that will never believe it. It must be partly the latter because a lot of the time I do accept that I have dissociative identity disorder.
As with the DES however, I still feel there is a flaw in this measurement process in that it asks questions which may be difficult for someone who has DID to know the answers to. For instance, experiences from childhood; if you have DID you may not be able to remember the things they are asking about so if you said 'no' it might not necessarily mean that a particular thing didn't happen but that perhaps that memory is stored elsewhere. Anyway, I'm perhaps being pernickety. I did give this test more of a thumbs up than the DES all in all.
In conclusion though, for me, I was surprised at the result, then surprised at my surprise. I'm also surprised to find that in some ways the result has made little difference to my thinking. The part of me that knows I have DID is reassured and the part that doubts it still doubts it. If they think I've just subconsciously made it all up then it's not hard to believe I subconsciously picked the answers that would get the right score. Sigh.
P.S If you're looking for a link to the test, try this one (there she goes again with the links). It's probably not the best version of it, but I can't be bothered finding a better one. I suppose seeing as that the test is entitled Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, it would be fair to say it's probably not meant to be taken by your average Joe on the internet, but there are no laws about these things and who doesn't love a good test?