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Archive for January 23rd, 2009

If my therapist is reading my blog right now, he is probably dying laughing at my attempt to write about how to pace your healing from polyfragmented Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). If I had a nickel for every time he told me to “slow down” during my first six months of healing, I would be a rich woman today.

The intensity of my first six months of therapy was like a runaway freight train. I decided that, if I was going to heal, then I was going to give it all I had and get it over with. As you might have noticed, I have a very strong will and “power” inside of myself (for lack of a better word), so it was an intense ride.

Fortunately, people with polyfragmented DID kind of have a built-in system for pacing their healing. Each traumatic memory and painful emotion is separately tucked away from conscious awareness. So, the person with polyfragmented DID has the power to decide how quickly to unlock each memory. This is not a luxury that most people have when healing from trauma.

Many of my most traumatic memories were stored in multiple pieces. For example, with my memory of the first time my mother hurt me with a new form of abuse, I stored those memories in multiple ways. One part held the memory of the event itself. Another part held the smell, another the rage, and still another, the shame. There were other parts, too.

Because I encapsulated different aspects of the same event, I was able to pace how quickly I worked through each piece. Rather than having to face all of the emotions at one time, I could first recover the memory of what happened and deal with the sickening feeling of knowing what happened. Then, I could focus on the rage. Later, I could focus on the shame.

In fact, with my most traumatizing memories, I might only recover the first half of what happened and wait a couple of months to return to the next part of what happened on the same night. So, by the time I faced part two, I knew that I could handle it because I had already healed part one.

Follow your own inner guide about how quickly to work through each piece of the puzzle of your childhood. You are not in a race, and you do not have to heal everything overnight. Take your time, and work at a pace that you can live with.

Suggested Reading:

Safe Passage to Healing

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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