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Archive for March 24th, 2008

Sunlight shining through trees (c) Lynda BernhardtI am going to spend this week focusing on Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly knows as Multiple Personality Disorder. For some reason, this topic is harder for me to talk about, especially because I have some off-line friends who know about this personal blog but do not know about my history with DID. (I guess they do now!!)

You would think that after discussing heavy topics like mother-daughter sexual abuse and animal rape that talking about DID would be easy, but it is not. The abuses were done to me, whereas the DID is something that I did to myself in reaction to the abuse. Also, thanks to Hollywood, most people think that DID = freak, and I don’t want people thinking of me as a freak.

I have chosen to talk about DID for two reasons. The first is that people who are struggling with DID need to know that they can fully integrate and heal. Unless people who have fully integrated from DID (like me) speak out, then others struggling with DID will question whether or not full healing is even possible. I searched for this answer myself because I was not willing to rest until I was fully integrated. However, I found very limited support for the hope of integrating.

Many people with DID, like Truddi Chase, the author of When Rabbit Howls, choose not to integrate and, instead, learn how to make the parts work together to be functional. Others, like in the book Beyond Integration by Doris Bryant and Judy Kessler, offered the hope of integration but with limitations. I was not willing to settle for limitations. I wanted to know that full healing was possible.

I finally found that reassurance in an article on the Sidran Institute website called Understanding Integration by Rachel Downing. This article is a “must read” for anyone with DID. This article served as my roadmap to complete healing from DID.

My other reason for speaking out is because my silence on the subject will only perpetuate the myths that society has about DID. They will think that The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil are indicative of what DID is like. Most people that I know think that DID is a mental illness with multiple people sharing a body, and that is simply not true. DID is simply an extreme form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a disorder caused by trauma, not a mental illness. By “going public” with being someone who has recovered from DID, I can encourage some people and educate the rest. So, with trepidation, I will step out and write about this topic.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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