Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Do medical doctors believe Dissociative Identity Disorder Exits?

Oh my poor neglected blog! When is this 'state' of nothingness going to end?!

I have been getting my writing mixed up all day at work today, putting letters round the wrong way and writing different words than I mean to write. This is either a sign of a certain alter who you met once being around (I don't really sense her although I was in a fierce mood this afternoon at work) or that I am extremely tired. I am doing my best to correct this as I type.

Between T and I, we have come up with a few theories as to why I have been so unable to believe or feel like I have DID and so disconnected from the 'others' for a while now.

1) T: because she told me not to think anymore about the issue of who was going to speak to her and when, in sessions. We had been trying to come up with a plan for how this would work and I was getting overwhelmed by it. In 'taking it off (my) hands' she relieved alters of the need to hassle me into getting a chance to speak and hence, I am now not hearing any of them.
I don't know about this theory; I can see what she means but it doesn't really fit for me. If anything, they'd be more likely to be coming out, at least in sessions, because I might have let my guard down a bit about it.

2) Me: It's to do with the pressure of my new job. Having to deal with DID is a huge pressure and one I can change by 'not believing' it anymore i.e. dissociating from it, where I can't really do anything to change the work pressures.
This is to me, potentially one of the reasons. I am thinking about taking some time off work, maybe a couple of weeks on leave just to give myself a mental break and see if this helps me get back in tune with the others. The problem is, I'm so busy at work that this probably won't be possible for at least another two months and as I talked about before, I find it hard taking time off because of the inevitable pain of going back and settling myself into the work routine again.

3) Me: I felt like internally, earlier this year things were changing and building up to a breakthrough or something huge in terms of progress. Perhaps it was parts feeling ready to talk to T. I think maybe I panicked at what would happen and have slammed the door shut on it, to the extent that it doesn't seem to even exist anymore.

4) Me: I never had DID at all and have just 'come to my senses'. T totally disagrees with that but often now it seems like the most likely answer. But it doesn't explain why I felt like DID fit for so long. I must have been lying to myself as well. It also doesn't explain why I am still sleeping curled up with two teddy bears every night.

So, if it's the first one, then if T gives me back that burden, will it start up again? If it's because of work, then I have no hope of progress unless I give up work or cut down hours: neither of which is an option for me while Adam is out of work. Can I just put therapy on hold for a few years? Or would I need to choose between the job I'm doing at the moment and progressing in therapy? If it's because I subconsciously got overwhelmed and 'shut it down' then what can I do? I obviously did it for a reason; because it was too much to cope with.

Maybe, just maybe.... maybe I don't actually need to be aware of what's going on for progress to happen. What happened last week at the session is evidence that me feeling it's all a lie doesn't stop it being there inside and it didn't stop the conversation about the issues I have during sex from happening successfully. It didn't stop my body from reacting the way it did to T reading aloud about a certain alter (I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing though: is re-experiencing trauma in therapy a healing thing? Because it doesn't feel like it is). If it is that I never had DID at all and nothing bad has happened to me, then things are going to get pretty awkward with T when I never do 'remember' any trauma.

I like the idea that things might still be able to move forward without me being in the middle of it all. Maybe the other alters could all just do the work in therapy and leave me to get on with the rest of life! That would work well for me, although I really don't know if DID treatment can work this way and besides, the level of co-consciousness I seem to have with lots of them means I would be affected by what they are talking about. Sigh.

In other news, my GP called me back to see her AGAIN. I feel like I'm never away from the place! She must like me! Anyway, it was just  to tell me that I have thrush and give me a prescription. Really! Did I need to go all the way there for that? I've had thrush treatment a million times, surely she could have just given me a message to pick up the prescription! I took the opportunity to point out that I had been reading my medical notes over her shoulder and that I wasn't sure if 'Disscociative (conversion) disorder' is the best reflection of what I have, mainly because I don't know what 'conversion' means and that I have been told I have 'dissociative identity disorder'. She again pointed out that the letter T sent her says nothing about DID on it (I'm not fucking lying woman!) and given that her GP computer system didn't have the option of DID when she looked through the list (there were all kinds of 'dissociative' whatnots on there, one of which was actually called 'Dissociative Stupor'! Yikes, I'm glad I haven't yet been diagnosed with that!) she changed the diagnosis to 'dissociative phenomenon' which is what T actually did say on the letter. Now, maybe I'm just odd but I feel uncomfortable being treated for something so huge, which I supposedly have, which doesn't even have a name that it can rightfully be given on a GP database!

It's similar in my opinion, to someone who had schizophrenia having their medical records state only 'psychosis' or something vague like that. It doesn't sit will with me. Either I have DID or I don't. On one hand I've got T telling me that without doubt I do have it and then my GP on the other side acting like she thinks I am making up porkie pies. I guess it bothers me because of my own doubts. I want to see it in black and white because I feel it would help make it more black and white in my mind. It's the same as the occasional discussion T and I have about why I would like to have an official diagnosis from a psychiatrist. (Incidentally, I looked into how much it would cost to have a psychiatric assessment privately by an NHS based psychiatrist and it £300 for one appointment! Genie Mac!)

I'm wondering if I should ask T to write to my GP and explain exactly what is wrong with me, without using the words 'phenomena' (does anyone else think of crazy people who think they have been abducted by aliens when they see that word?), but then she's going to want to know why it's so important to me and I'm going to feel stupid trying to explain that I don't want to have something so fucking vague wrong with me. Why did I have to choose such a controversial illness to develop?!

I read a shocking statistic, which I can't remember but basically showed that a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists don't even believe DID exists. How much more so then would doctors be likely not to believe it? And why would the NHS provide treatment for something that is not evidence based if so?


ellen said...

I can really feel your confusion and stress about your diagnosis coming through CC. I'm personally not that keen on the labels....you are you, and I am me, and we are what we are. Therapy is probably a good thing whatever 'disorder' you might have....And IMO, you are best to leave the GP out of it. They really do not have the training or sensitivity, in most cases, to be able to help.

I've also gone through times where I totally doubt the parts that I have. Maybe I am creating them for entertainment, or even to say things I don't want to say. But I have found accepting the parts a more peaceful path. So what if I make them up? But then, I don't go to a therapist who diagnoses anyway, so it's not such a huge deal.

From what I've read, you hear the parts talking, right? Or have in the past. That's the same with me. So they're there all right. Whatever they are. The label of what this 'actually is' is not that important. There's no blood test for it. It's just a description made up by someone anyway.

That's my two cents. Hope you don't mind. take care now

Pandora said...

Gah, I keep writing reams and reams in this comment box and never seem to get what I want to say right. I'm no expert on DID - I don't have it, although I have "dissociative features" - but I understand that yes, there are those who don't 'believe' in it. But that's complete bollocks: anecdotal it may be, but I've been fortunate enough to encounter quite a few people with the diagnosis since I've been writing Confessions that I just can't see how it cannot be valid.

A book you might be interested in is The Myth of Sanity by Martha Stout. It gets a bit rambly later into it, but she does provide some fascinating commentary on treating dissociative disorders and indeed on how people who don't believe in DID are sorely mistaken.

As Ellen says, your alters have talked to each other, so they can't not be there. Although I personally find diagnoses quite helpful, at the end of the day they're (the parts)there, so in that sense it doesn't exactly matter if that's part of a mental health issue or not. People like Martha Stout, mentioned above, and indeed my own therapist, actually opine that DID and other dissociative disorders are a 'sane' response to severe trauma.

(All that said, I constantly disbelieve myself - if it's not False Memory Syndrome, it's Munchhausen Syndrome, and if it's not, that then it's downright lying. Never PTSD or whatever the hell they think I have. So I do empathise...but I suppose it's easier to be objective and see that something like this is 'real' when you're looking from the outside in, rather than vice versa).

Your point about re-traumatisation through the process struck a chord with me: I was horribly re-traumatised with C, my last therapist. I accepted it as part of the process - and I think it is - BUT only if said process is seen through to the end, which in my case it wasn't with C. Then I met Paul, my most recent one, and though at points it too re-traumatised me, because things were adequately explored it ultimately had a more positive impact.

As for GPs - in my experience they don't mix at all well with mentalism of any description. Depression? "Have a hot bath and a run before bed". Borderline? "That's the one the shrinks tell you to hate." Bipolar? "Better not say anything to set this one's mood off." DID? "Isn't that schizophrenia?"

They're ignorant arseholes for the most part, in all senses of the word ('ignorant', that is - they're not literally arseholes. They'd probably be more insightful about mental health difficulties if they were). I got lucky in the end and have a good one, but on the whole I'd say they're only useful for physical maladies or if you need a referral.

Anyway, I really must stop rambling inanely on your blog. I hope you're OK and that somehow, with your therapist's help, you can get through this with relative ease.

Take care

Pan x

Sandy said...

I do not think GP's like any diagnosis that they can't run a test on and get conclusive evidence. I also think that specialty diagnoses of any kind intimidate them because it is outside their scope.
I was lucky enough to have a GP who got that and was OK with it. He said that he was concerned that he was doing more harm than good and I had to cough up the cash to see a psychiatrist. (It is equally as expensive here - $200.00 - sorry, not sure exactly how that converts) but that opens up another can of worms. I got my label, but I got another one too, bipolar :( Different meds and I do feel a little bit better. The label didn't make it any better, but for the part that is a stickler for these things, well she felt vindicated. So, it isn't all bad.

CrYs said...

I write discreetly at times, but my others reach higher than I. So please read my blog when you have a second, and trust me i understand a minute from a second of time to get from one thing to another. I have been living with my alters since I could talk, I just never knew it was a "disorder". I honestly at times hate being me, because there are hours, days, months..sometimes years I have no recollection of. I have lost out on soo much, including my children growing, I only know my life through pictures. And I hardly ever truly see MY face in the caption. I am looking and have been for people who in some way or another understand me, and have no judgment. I also belong to a facebook group that has soo many just like me/us, they are just far more progressed in being open than I/WE are. I have over 10 alters but 5 have been with me longer while the others have foreshadowed my life until recently. II have been a guinea pig to soooo many medications, I've been admitted into the hospital over 5 times in my lifetime, I've been through many different types of counselors, until just last year when I found the best one yet. She says that my/our transition will get worse before it gets...smoother....huh! and there will probably never be "just me"... but as I progress in my counseling, the deeper she digs..the more in tune she and I become with the "foreshadows" and instead of being "floaters" they are actual beings of parts of my life. I fear the amount of people that exist within me, because it is just too much of a harsh reality on how much I really did miss out and it hurts. I have also become more and more of a hermit in my own home. I not only suffer D.I.D./MPD, but PTSD and severe anxiety that easily turns into a seizure and I become stiff and helpless. I'm embarrassed to not be able to control my body at all times, I hate the looks I get or the over active help that makes me feel stupid, helpless, or the "sorry" look on my friends faces. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, or treat me like a weak animal, it makes me feel horrid inside. So I don't go anywhere or invite people over as much. cause if it's not my alters its my anxiety that goes off at random times for no reason. And I don't want people to see me like that, or to feel obligated to "save" me. I am just wanting/looking for others like me, so i don't feel soo alone all the time.