Sunday, 31 October 2010

Things that might help in a crisis

I was reading a blog on ‘Struggling with BPD’. As far as I know there are some similarities between BPD and DID and although I haven’t read a lot on this yet, I did read that often people with DID have been misdiagnosed with BPD in the past, or have both diagnoses. So there must be some similarities. Anyway, it got me thinking about what things have helped me not to self harm in the past. I wrote a wee list; some of the points are more general, as in, things that have helped when I’ve been extremely depressed or overwhelmed with emotion or just things that have helped my mental health. I am not trying to teach or preach here by the way guys. I know that sometimes, nothing helps me feel differently, but sometimes I surprise myself and things can improve. These are just things I’ve tried and found helpful with varying levels of success so they may or may not help you but I hope they do and if so, let me know.

For me, the most likely things to help when I want to self harm are:

-Sometimes just imagining holding a blade in my hand and mentally self harming without actually doing it can be enough to calm me. Or actually just holding the blade against my arm but not doing it helps me to feel in control.

- Drawing cuts on my arm with a pen.

-Pressing my nails or a pointy object into my skin/biting my skin to feel pain but not cause injury.

-If you have parts like me, trying to tune into the more caring parts or the child parts and think about how you feel about those parts. Ask yourself if they deserve to be hurt? You can probably do a variation of this if you are one single person as well.

-Trying to think of the future and how having scars could hinder you. This thought prevented me from harming a lot when I was asked to be bridesmaid because I knew I’d need to have my arms bare. Nowadays I have nothing like that to bear in mind and it’s a lot easier to not care.

General things that help me in a crisis (sometimes!):

-Trying to remember that I have reason as much as others to love myself and then, I try to think of a loving thing I could do instead of a harmful thing. So reminding myself that bad things that have happened weren’t my fault and that it’s ok to feel upset and that others would struggle too.

-Write a list of the things that you like to do and pick one e.g. have a bubble bath/do my nails/buy myself a present. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about it!

-Cuddling my cat. I don’t know if you have a pet but this helps me to calm down.

-Scribbling on paper.

-Writing down how I feel. If there are a lot of voices in my head I try to write down what everyone’s saying.

-Writing a letter to someone to talk about how you’re feeling (not necessarily with the intention of giving it). A couple of times I’ve written to my clinical psychologist when in a crisis and knowing that I can give her the letter or verbalise what’s on it when I next see her is comforting and helps me feel there is hope. Writing on your blog is an alternative.

-Again for people with parts (and possibly those without: don’t we all have an inner child?) my motherly, caring part can draw a picture for my younger scared/upset part. Last time, the caring part filled a page with hearts and coloured them various shades of blue because she knew this was Little Cs favourite colour. She also sang her a lullaby while doing it. Then she wrote Little C a letter on the back telling her there was nothing to be scared about. This helped Little C feel a lot better after being triggered by disturbing flashbacks/images.

OK I know that might sound totally crazy to you, but this is how it is in my world and I am trying to be honest on here.

Sometimes nothing helps. I hate to be the voice of doom here. If you can add anything to my list that might help me as well, please please do! And good luck everyone else coping with these issues in life. It helps me to know that there are others, not that I would wish these feelings on anyone. :(

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Flying to flailing in twenty seconds

For the last month or six weeks, things have been quite good for me comparatively. Previously, I had several months where I was really struggling. Since the springtime I had been taking many laxatives each day to self harm (giving me awful stomach cramps, stopping me from sleeping and causing me to feel permanently dizzy and ill besides the obvious) and as part of the eating disorder I have had on and off since the age of eleven. I had also been cutting myself on a regular basis over the summer amongst other unhealthy behaviours.

I felt for quite a while that I was in self destruct mode and to be honest, I wished I could just collapse and not have to go on. I even wrote a suicide letter at one point. I don’t think I really intended to do it, but the fact that the thought of it was my main comfort, is not a good thing.

I feel things are a bit more settled now although, if I’m honest with myself, there are some days when every step I take is a struggle. I feel I am dragging myself through my life, clinging on by my fingernails. However, it doesn’t matter how awful things are, I still manage to go to work every day, chat with my colleagues, have a laugh with friends and appear relatively normal. Sometimes, while talking to a colleague and observing myself in natural conversation, I wonder what they would think if they knew what goes on in my life when I’m not in the office. Do people have any idea that I have completely different personalities? Do they notice when I come in to work looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards because I have been up half the night arguing with my alters? Do they wonder what’s up? I’m sure they must wonder why I am always wearing wrist bands and why I complain of being so warm but will never take my cardigan off. What would they think if I pulled my sleeve up and showed them the scars? I’m sure it wouldn’t add up. I’m a friendly, pleasant girl.... I have a house and a husband and a nice job and I don’t seem crazy.

It takes every ounce of my energy to get through each day. If I lived alone I would probably have a bowl of cereal and climb into bed to hide from the world in the evenings. But I have a husband to look after and I can’t hide from my responsibilities. He doesn’t get why I lose the rag at the littlest inconveniences and just thinks I’m a moody bitch, but it’s because I’ve used every drop of energy to make it to 7pm and then I have to miraculously come up with more in order to have a ‘home life’ as well. Sigh.

It’s no surprise that I have begun relying on my function part to take over and live my life for me. This personality is a necessary part of me; this person who goes to work and interacts with others. It allows me to function. This person doesn’t have so much of the emotion to deal with. Sometimes I can fool myself into thinking I’m doing well in life because I have the outward appearance of doing well in life. I guess this part of me has been dominant over the last while and when it is, I can easily forget that I have any problems at all. It’s easy to ignore the odd flashback or forget that I didn’t get any sleep a few nights back, when I’m in the flow of a conversation about perfume with one of the girls on lunch break. But it doesn’t take much to crack my facade.

This part, as I think I mentioned before, is very adept at ‘living’ but has no feelings or emotions and is a fragile state to be in. If things go wrong when I’m in function mode, the consequences can be devastating.

It only takes a fight with my husband and function mode goes out the window. I don’t have a name for this part by the way, because to me, my function mode part is not really a ‘living’ being as they don’t have feelings. They are like a robot.

Function mode disappears when I’m challenged, such as this evening; I was ‘functioning’ away when my husband and I had an argument. I can’t remember what it was about or what was said but function disappeared and suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was instantly aware of all my pain and the mess of my life that I had been blissfully ignoring for weeks. I crashed to earth as I realised again how unhealthy my mind really is and all my emotions flooded into consciousness. I didn’t know what to do. I did what I always do when I’m overwhelmed, I got my box of blades. I wanted to be dead. I couldn’t see any solution to all the pain except for it all to be over. At the same time, I was reflecting on myself at how I was only earlier congratulating us at having made so much progress. I was thinking how ‘stable’ we’d been lately. I marvelled at how I had only been fooling myself the whole time.

Now, I can’t cut myself easily, I can do it but not as much as I wish to be able to at the time. That’s the job of another part, a part that can tolerate the pain more. I wished for that part to take over and do it for me as I was not managing very well to slash my skin open. I begged it; I held the blade and tried to disappear in the hopes that it would take over and it’d be all done and I’d feel better. But a different part took over instead tonight. This part decided to firstly, stick a big plaster on my wrist and then to get a pen and paper and write a long letter to my therapist. This surprised me somewhat as this part is not usually a very helpful part. This part is usually my anxious, skin scratching dermatillomanic alter who I think I told you about recently. This part was able to acknowledge all the terribleness that was going on and make something useful happen as well as distract me with the letter writing. By the end, I felt just really sad and a bit sorry for myself, but the crisis was over.

And after it all, tomorrow I will go into work and forget all about it and if by chance my sleeve pulls up a bit and I see the cuts on my wrist, I might be shocked and feel so separate from it as though it’s not my arm or me with the problem. It won’t really apply to me. Or at best, if I am struggling to feel real in the day, I will look at it and remember: I am real. I do feel and it will comfort me.


P.S. There is an ongoing debate inside as to wether to post some of our internal dialogue on the blog or not. Some of my parts aren't sure they want that exposure. If you have an opinion, let me know.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sometimes late at night...

Sometimes I have terrible nightmares.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night feeling all freaked out but don't know why. It's important for me to try to calm myself before my stress levels rise too much when this happens. Sometimes, the voices in my head get really busy at night time. Last night when I got into bed I felt like the words were rushing round my head so fast I couldn't make them out. I tried for a minute to fathom who was saying what and then I decided to try to ignore it because I was so tired, I just needed a good sleep. I felt anxious.
Sometimes, in the space between us getting into bed and me falling asleep I find myself feeling extremely scared and anxious. I can't pinpoint why. My body becomes super tense and jumpy and fidgetty. My feet jerk about and my breathing gets erratic and I scratch at myself uncontrollably (some of my parts suffer from dermatillomania). I switch to an anxious, scared child part. Sometimes I will wimper and snuggle up to my husband; he often realises it's Little C and will comfort us. He'll stroke my head and tell me everything is OK and there's nothing to be worried about. This often helps, sometimes it doesn't.
If he's already asleep, I don't like to wake him. Sometimes this part will suck their thumb to comfort themselves. My husband doesn't like us doing this. Not surprisingly really although if he understood how it can soothe a scared child maybe he wouldn't mind so much.
Anyway, I digress. Last night I tried to ignore the rushing and words. I fell asleep but woke again in the night with a really bad headache. I think that sometimes, if there are parts that are feeling very active, they can stay awake while I am sleeping. I don't think my body is doing very much except for probably shifting about in the bed and remaining in a tense state. But then, who knows? My husband doesn't talk of me getting up in the night, which makes me feel I'm probably not doing things unawares, but then he doesn't often mention the times when I know I have gotten up and gone downstairs, like last night.
When I lived at home as a teenager, my mum would sometimes ask if I had been up in the night. She'd say she heard me pottering around in my room. I wondered if I was sleep walking. I often would have woken in the morning feeling as though I had just run a marathon. Now I wonder if it was an alter who was busy doing something in the night.
I like to think that nowadays I am more aware of the alters when they take over. I tend to feel as though I'm still there, I'm looking out through my eyes, but someone else is in charge.
For example, a few nights ago I got up in the night and went downstairs, I remember doing that, but I felt different, like it was Little C that was taking me down there. I was observing myself from within myself, if that makes any sense?
Well, as a child might do, she opened the back door and stuck her head outside because she was curious about what it would be like at night in the garden. She looked up at the moon and stars and sniffed in the cold air and felt a bit excited. She shut the door again and started jumping about the kitchen, flinging her arms about in a childish way. I remember being a bit taken aback and pondering how ridiculous I would appear to anyone outside looking in. Then she went back upstairs and got into bed and I fell asleep.
Sometimes I wake during the night as an alter. I might wake for just a few seconds and realise, this is this part or this is that part (as I am the observer I am usually aware although I have a feeling I'm not always observing). So I guess there is a lot going on when I'm sleeping.
Does anyone else share my experiences?

Monday, 25 October 2010

A snippet of my clinical psychology therapy

Recently one of my parts wrote my therapist (T) a letter asking for help, because they have not been able to directly speak in the sessions so far but wanted to express that they were there. Another part: an angry, scared part (I haven’t decided what pseudonym to give them on my blog yet) then tried to destroy the letter. It was salvaged by yet another of my parts, a more mature, observant part (who we call ‘the observer’), who then wrote a cover letter to T, explaining a few things about the whole ‘parts’ situation and issues we are encountering in trying to trust T to help us.

We were very nervous about how all of this would go down with T. We didn’t know if perhaps we would be rebuked for doing this. Growing up in an environment where any seemingly small or insignificant thing I did or didn’t do could have been the wrong thing and have scary consequences, makes me always worry I am doing something totally out of order without realising. There is also the fear of being accused of making this all up. And then there’s the fear of the person just not realising how significant a thing it was for me to give them the letter. But we got a good reaction. T said it was very courageous of us to give it to them.

In the letter, the more mature part asked T to ask us about the pictures.

So T asked me about the pictures at the next session (which I had been bringing along every week for months but hadn’t had confidence to mention in case T didn’t want to see them: that would be a huge blow for someone so fragile) and I showed them to her.

The pictures were originally supposed to be a project which I decided to work on to try to get to know my parts, after first becoming aware of even having parts. I set myself a task of trying to express on paper, each alter that I am aware of. I allowed one page per alter and tried to use pictures/drawings/colours/shapes/words/anything else to visually represent that person.

The child parts however LOVED this activity and I found them kind of taking over with it. The ‘one page per alter’ thing didn’t really work out as I found ‘little C’ making several pages of pictures, ranging from cut outs of magazine pictures to Christmas collages!

Eventually the child parts worked on making two projects: one of ‘likes’ and the other of ‘dislikes’ or as they named it: ‘Things I don’t like and things that make me feel bad’. Some of the ‘dislike’ pictures are hard for me to look at. Some of the pictures, another child part had scribbled out. Some, although not scribbled out, a child part decided needed to be sealed off or covered for safety, so they stuck pieces of card over them to make flaps or envelopes to hide the pictures in. This felt safer somehow.

So I sat there opposite T, while she looked under all the flaps and opened the envelope full of tiny pictures on bits of torn paper. She was talking through what she was seeing. Some of the pictures had captions too and she was reading them. I felt my angry child part getting very upset, wanting to scream at her to stop talking and stop looking at the pictures. Another part was feeling some other unpleasant emotions and my body was physically reacting.

Me, the shell of everyone, sat there in silence, wishing I could disappear and wishing she would stop talking through what she was looking at. I think I was drifting in and out of the room as well. I could hear her in the background but I was trying not to: “I don’t like buttons.... maggots.... being asked to do things I don’t want to do.... this looks like a bathroom...” but I wasn’t really there anymore. I heard her say: “This tells a story” and something about it giving a lot of “information”.

I woke in the middle of the night with everything buzzing round in my head. There was so much talking going on (there’s always talking going on but sometimes it gets louder and more disturbing or argumentative or tiresome). Someone was REALLY anxious. They remembered the words “tells a story” and “information” and they were shouting at me: “What did you tell her?! What have you done?! What information?! What was on the pictures?!”

I don’t think they were really looking for answers though on reflection. I think they were just panicking. We have lived our lives with the motto of: trust no one because everyone will let you down or hurt you. We learnt that lesson at a young age after crying out for help to adults who didn’t want to see what was going on so ignored the cries and looked the other way.

Sometimes if there’s too much going on in my head, I get a pen and paper and write down the narrative as it goes on. This helps people to get their say; it helps me to know what is going on, but it can be a really bad thing too. Sometimes when given a means of expressing that is not usually available, things start to come out that can be very disturbing to see on paper. If you’re interested perhaps I could put some of the narrative into this blog, if that’s something you’d like to read? I know I’ve tried Googling to see if anyone else has tried blogging their internal conversations but I haven’t been able to find any. I will need to think more about if this is definitely OK to do but if you would like to read it let me know (often it’s not pretty though. Does this blog have rules about language or content?)

Anyway, that’s enough for now, I’m sure your eyes will be tired, if not your brain after reading all of that!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I'm losing my rabbits!

I had a dream a few nights ago.

I was in a house: a small wooden house. It was a rabbit house. A bit like an ordinary house but smaller and without furniture, but with hay. There were rabbits in it. I realised that I had left the door open and some of the rabbits were making their way outside. I couldn't remember if the rabbit garden was safe for them so I went out. The rabbits were hopping around in the sunshine but there was a cat lying on the grass. The cat didn't look that interested but I wasn't sure. I felt that given time, a cat is bound to attack a rabbit and eat it. I started trying to collect up the rabbits to take them back to their house. The first one I lifted was pretty big and took two hands to hold. The rabbit was pretty placid and didn't seem to mind being lifted. I felt anxious because I knew I needed to get the rabbits back into their house to prevent them getting lost or eaten. Then I woke up.

What do you think this means?

My theory is that the rabbits are my 'alters' or 'parts'; my various personalities that are living in my head. The rabbits getting out, is about me exploring my parts during my clinical psychology sessions and on my own in between. I am going through a process of getting to know them, where in the past I didn't even know they existed. I am also sharing what I am learning with my clinical psychologist and recently have shared more than I ever thought I would be able to. I am also now sharing my experience with you, through this blog. This process of exploration and sharing does not come without fears. It is me letting my rabbits out.

I guess I am also still learning to trust my psychologist. The cat seemed harmless; it was lying on the grass. But a cat is a cat; cats chase rabbits. I know my psychologist seems trustworthy and I know she is there to help me, but she is a human. My life so far as taught me that humans must not be trusted. Humans will hurt you and betray you and rip your heart out and squeeze every last drop of blood from it before shoving it back into your chest. It's hard to overcome a fear like that.

I am scared, really scared. Letting my parts out for others to know is a huge risk for all of us. We are making ourselves vulnerable to being hurt and remember, we all exist because I was hurt and needed to protect myself from hurts. There is also an aspect of fear in the prospect of 'getting better'. My parts are scared that they are going to be eliminated. They fear that in being exposed they will be destroyed. I am scared that I will be left alone without these people/parts who, although at times I despise, I have recently realised I also love. They have been there to help me through so many difficult times. Getting to know them better, I have learnt to love them better and appreciate how they have helped me. What would my life be like without them? What would it be like not having the constant conversation in my head? Will I be lonely? What will the person left at the end be like? Maybe I am better off as I am. Maybe I should keep the rabbits in the house.

Doubting my diagnosis

I’ve been feeling quite confused lately. As I said, I am still getting my head around DID. It doesn’t help that there is a part of me that doesn’t believe I have DID at all. There is another part (who has been very busy lately) who really isn’t sure and tends to spend every waking minute trying to figure out the puzzle. What are my symptoms? How do they fit in with my diagnosis? Could they be caused by something else? What is it like for other people with DID? Am I the same as them? What caused this to happen? Some of the answers to these questions don’t help me to a conclusion in either way and I tend to swing from thinking: “Yes, it all fits perfectly!” to “It’s all a big mistake”. It is so frustrating.
The reasons I give myself to prove why I don’t have it, such as ‘I am aware of my changes in personality and if it was DID, I wouldn’t be aware would I? Therefore I must just have mood swings’ can be explained away: ‘Maybe I’m not always aware of them, if I do have DID, then I wouldn’t know if I wasn’t aware would I? And also, some people with DID are aware of what’s going on anyway.’
The disorder is variable.
The more I research other people, the more confused I get.
I bought ‘The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook’, by Deborah Bray Haddock to shed some light on the situation and the book Sybil (a true story of a girl with multiple personality disorder, as it was called then) by Flora Rheta Schreiber, to see how we compare and it hasn’t helped me either way. On the one hand, so much of the books fit with me, but then some aspects are so much more extreme than my experiences. I have never woken up in a completely different part of the country, not being able to remember how I got there. I don’t find clothes in my wardrobe that I don’t remember buying.
For me it’s more subtle things that I don’t remember: I will put something in a certain place and then blame my husband for doing it. Or I will not be able to remember what I did all day yesterday, but then if my husband reminds me, it will come back to me; it may be vague and not a comprehensive memory, but it will be there. Other times, people say: do you remember the time we did this or that? And I will get a picture of some event in my mind but I’m not sure if I do remember or if I’m just imagining that event happening.
For instance, we were watching X Factor at the weekend and I was commenting on one of the performances. I said I thought the song had been sung OK but that I didn’t know the song so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. My husband said in an incredulous tone: that’s Jealous Girl by John Lennon! I commented that I had heard them say that but I just didn’t know the song, to which he replied: “We danced to that song together in the kitchen!”
I tried to remember dancing in the kitchen with my husband to a song like this one. I had an image in my mind of doing this, but I couldn’t be sure if I was just imagining it or if it had actually happened. I didn’t say anything but I felt bad and wondered, was this another part that had danced to that song and holds the memory of it? Do I just have an appalling memory? Would most people forget doing something like that?
I feel sad because either way, I’d love to be able to remember dancing with my husband in the kitchen. That sounds romantic and like one of those moments you should look back on and smile.
So with all these questions I get to thinking: should I just accept that I have DID because that’s what my psychologist told me?
If I went to the doctors and they said: “From what you’re telling me, it sounds like you have diabetes: take these injections.” You wouldn’t just start doing it. The doctor would do tests to see if your blood results showed diabetes. So is it right to accept a psychological diagnosis without testing for other physical problems?
So I go to my doctor and say I want to be checked to see if I do have anything physically wrong with my memory. She looks at me like I’m a bit bonkers and asks what I think could be wrong with it if it’s not psychological. I tell her I don’t know, maybe I got a bump on the head and then I explain my diabetes analogy. She totally doesn’t get it and says that diabetes is a lot more common than a physical memory problem (what’s that got to do with anything?) and that the chances of me having a biological problem with my memory at my age (twenties) is very slim.
I highlight that Dissociative Identity Disorder is hardly common either so isn’t it reasonable to want to know for sure if I have it?
In the end she said she would ring my Clinical Psychologist to chat to them and refer me to somewhere for memory testing to put my own mind at rest but that she is sure the psychologist knows what they’re talking about.
The lack of understanding was apparent from a doctor who has always been very supportive and understanding in the past. I felt like a ‘crazy person’, but at least something good might come from it. Although if I go to a memory clinic and they say there is nothing physically wrong with my brain that would affect my memory, will that help me to feel more comfortable with my diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder? Or will I still continue to analyse and research in a quest for the epiphany?
Is it just the nature of the condition that I will doubt its’ existence at times? My psychologist believes that the fact that sometimes it seems obvious to me that it’s true and other times it’s obvious I don’t have it is just further evidence that I do have it (conflicting opinions from my various parts).
I would like answers to my questions but I don’t know if I ever will get any. Then I tell myself: “Well, if it is DID, the treatment I am getting in therapy will help and if it isn’t, it won’t” but then my cynical side responds: “If the treatment does help, you will probably just then tell yourself that you never had it in the first place and have just gotten through the phase of thinking you do.”
After going round and round in circles like this for days or weeks, it will eventually overwhelm me enough to cause me to switch to my function part and I will suddenly have no thoughts or feelings about the matter whatsoever.
BTW, I'd love to know if there's anyone reading these posts, it will be difficult to stay motivated to write about this if I don't feel anyone is reading it! Likewise, if you have any questions or if I am not explaining things well or you want me to write about something specific, please tell me.

Watching my life on TV

There are different ways a person can 'dissociate'. One way, which tends to happen to me if I'm under stress or haven't been sleeping well is that the whole world becomes unreal. I think the experts call it 'derealisation'. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, it usually happens to me suddenly and doesn't last long. Last week I was having a conversation with someone at a function I was attending for work. I didn't really know the person, just met a few times through various work events. They were asking me questions about work and I was answering but it was like I was not actually having the conversation. I was inside my own body, I could see out through my eyes, but someone else was answering the questions and talking to this lady. I wondered to myself, shouldn't I be taking more heed to what I am saying here, but I was aware that the person seemed to be responding to what I was saying without any concerns as to the content so the part of me that was actually talking must have been doing an OK job. It was like I was just watching a TV screen.

Today I was giving a talk to a large audience and the same thing happened. At one point I knew I was saying all the right things but I was detached from myself, looking out at the crowd. And my vision was blurry, almost tunnel like.

This used to happen to me a lot at school; I'd be sitting in class and suddenly everything would become unreal. I'd look around me but feel completely disconnected from everything, as if I was just floating in my own little bubble. I never understood that this was dissociation. I grew up in an environment that embraced weird unexplainable things so I just put it down to 'one of those things'.

Sometimes I mentally disappear, which is embarrasing because I may come back to reality and realise I've missed everything a person has said to me and then it seems like I'm rude if I ask them to repeat.

When I first started going to psychology, over two years ago I was with a different clinical psychologist to the one I am with now. I had been living my life in my own function mode, knowing things weren't normal but not really knowing why or in what way. Starting psychology forced me to think about things that I had spent my entire energies avoiding thinking about and I don't know if I was ready for the intensity of it. I began experiencing dissociation episodes in a more extreme way. I felt like life was permanently unreal. For months I seemed to be walking around in my own world, feeling so detached from everything and everyone. It made being able to function very difficult. I wasn't able to focus. I couldn't work and had to take several months off.

I would also 'zone out' for periods of time where my mind was somewhere else. This is another kind of dissociation. In the therapy sessions, if I was confronted with too much or if I began to feel overwhelmed, I would feel myself freeze up and everything would go all a blurr. I've read about people who, in some situations will mentally blank out and be in a different place. For me, I am usually still aware where I am, but phsyically frozen. I'd like to know if anyone else has experienced similar feelings?

After a few months I changed to a different cilinical psychologist (for no reason other than that the one I was attending left the post) and the new person had a less direct approach. They seemed to be able to read me well and not push me too far into thinking or talking about difficult things. I noticed a rapid decrease in the amount of times I was freezing/zoning out in the sessions and in my day to day life. I am still with the same person now and admire them for their patience with me.

Sometimes I push myself too much though, trying to figure out what is going on in my head, trying to identify who's who and what secrets they have; forcing myself to think about things I've avoided my entire life and pushing myself to try to remember the things I'm sure are there but not available to me. Does that make sense to anyone?

Then I find myself losing function rapidly. I get taken over by my personalities, fighting with each other to be in charge and then the anxious, unsure one who is desperate to figure out what is wrong, what went wrong and how to fix it comes out and I am tormented day and night with these questions. No sleep for me.

In my opinion, the function mode person is much better suited to living my life: they don't think or feel anything but are very capable of doing my work, interracting socially, sleeping without nightmares and being a good wife. They just have no emotion, positive or negative. And I guess, that's not really a life is it? But sometimes, no emotion is better than despair so it's a relief.

What is the focus of my therapy?

DID is an amazing model of functioning and an intelligent coping mechanism, however, once the reason for developing DID is no longer relevant it can become more harmful than beneficial and this is where help is needed. When I can't remember half of my summer holiday, I wonder why I bothered going on a holiday. When I start cooking dinner then forget I was even doing it until my husband reminds me, I feel down and useless. When I zone out for periods of time or can't concentrate on work because of the chatter in my head, it makes me anxious that I will lose my job.

Hiding from emotions is part of my problem. The emotions are there, but they can be hard to tolerate so I tend to self harm. This works as a distraction. It's easier to feel a physical pain than an intense emotional pain.

Eating disorders are my way of trying to take control of my life where I feel I have no control whatsoever.

My clinical psychology sessions, have been largely focussed on dealing with comorbidities and trying to achieve some stability and in my everyday life for the last two years.

I was only actually explicitly told by my psychologist that I have DID after over a year in therapy. This came as a shock in many ways (although I dont know why because all the signs were there, but I guess you just never think you're going to be told you have something like that) and has taken me a long time to get my head around. I wouldnt say I have my head around it yet either. I still struggle with it a lot.

Now, my psychologist is moving into working with me to identify my 'parts'. I think this will then lead on to merging them into one more stable person (something that some of my parts feel quite ambivalent about) and I am informed this will involve a therapy called EMDR.

Identifying my parts is a very difficult process in itself. Some of my parts don't want to be identified; some, I am not very aware of. Often, in a therapy session 'I' am not present. Be aware that the person writing this blog today is a part of the overall 'me' who is quite insightful and reflective and has a good knowledge of the parts of 'me'. I imagine, this is the part of me that will often write this blog. This person is not the person who always attends my therapy session. Generally, once my psychologist begins to ask me about my parts, there will commence a battle of wills inside my head between those wanting to express themselves and those wanting us to keep quiet to avoid the potential of being hurt or possibly destroyed.

Thinking and talking about parts in itself can be enough to make me unstable again, in which case, this stage of therapy will go on hold while we deal with gaining stability in life again (ie reducing depression, talking about reducing self harm, being able to function in life to continue working). There is a part of me who self harms to punish me for revealing them. Therefore, this is always a potential hazard in talking about parts. It means, this stage of therapy has to move at a very slow pace. Sometimes it feels like I take one step forwards and two steps back.

From what I've read, some people manage to integrate all of their parts into one stable person; for others it's living a stable life with their parts. I am hoping for the former but I guess that may largely depend on my progress through therapy and my therapist's patience!

Any questions or comments are welcome and will help me to write about what you want to hear.

Bye for now,


To get me started

They say getting started is the hardest part. Well I hope that's true because I really want this to work. I can't write much as I'm in work, but I wanted to get this blog going and say a big HELLO to you all. My name is Candycan. I am going to take you onwards with me on my journey through life as a person living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and my treatment in clinical psychology therapy (If you'd like to come, that is!).

To give you a brief intro, I have been diagnosed with DID now for a year or so, although I am beginning to understand that this has been with me a long time. As we only have the one head, it's difficult to have an insight into what is normal for a person and what is not. Normal for me has always involved having constant chattering from parts of myself going on in my mind; always having more than one opinion on a topic; always feeling like I'm one person one day, another the next. I knew I was not normal in my actions, as I could see such huge variations in my moods/opinions/habits on a day to day basis but I didn't understand why. I thought I had a memory problem. I do have a memory problem, but now I am seeing that this is because I have various personalities who take control at different times and dont always communicate well with each other. OK, that sounds totally crazy, but hopefully you will understand that in fact it's quite a simple and clever way of dealing with some of lifes problems.

I have various, what the pros call 'comorbidities' including depression, eating disorders, problems with self harm, sleeping problems. Sometimes these make life very difficult. Most of the time I feel like I am just about managing to get myself to work and back every day without falling apart completely. Oh the joys!

It has its upsides though. I will introduce you to some of my 'parts'. One is a lovely, happy child who gets great enjoyment out of many little things. You will enjoy reading about them.

For now, I better get on and earn my wage.

If you have any initial comments or questions that'd be great to give me something to get started with next time.

Another blog

I'm not really surprised by myself to find that I forgot I had started this blog and started another one on a different site. After spending half an hour trying to remember how to log in to this one and feeling guilty for abandoning a project, I thought, well I may as well just have two blogs. Twice the chance of being read I guess! So I will now commence to paste the entries from my other blog to here.