Archive for August 3rd, 2009

On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Opening up Internal Communication, a reader posted the following comment:

Im so scared. Ive been diagnosed [with DID] for a yr now. I dont believe any of it. I dont understand. I feel forced to believe worse things happened but I dont recall. Im just lost. The therapy is unbearable. Im so stuck. Does anyone have any support Im desperate. ~ Wanda

I posted a brief message to Wanda on that blog entry, but I would like to address the topic in more depth here.

Learning that have you DID is shocking and terrifying. On top of learning that you have different parts and have amnesia about parts of your life, you also have to deal with learning about the reason why you are this way, and that reason always involves ongoing severe trauma that began when you were a young child. That is a lot to take in, and some handle the news with more grace than others.

Even those who handle the news “with grace” are shaken to the core. The biggest difference between those who handle the diagnosis “well” and those who do not is a willingness to believe yourself (or at least stay open to the possibility that you are telling yourself the truth). The more you fight your truth, the more difficult this journey is going to get.

My multiple system eased me into each shock. For example, I had an alter part that would come out night after night as I was dropping off to sleep. I would run to the mirror and look to see if I could see a difference in my facial features because I “felt” the alter part “stepping into my face.” So, by the time I was aware of my first experience of being co-present, it wasn’t a total shock.

I handled the memories in the same way. I would have nightmares about a scenario for weeks before I recovered the memory. That way, when I experienced the flashback, it was not a total shock.

Different multiple systems handle things differently, so I don’t know if other people’s experiences are similar to mine. However, I do know that my reaction is different from what I hear from many who “fight” the diagnosis. As soon as I recovered my first memory, I felt an equal amount of relief and shock. For the first time, my life actually made some sense! I never understood why I was so “fundamentally f@#$ed in the head.” Now, I finally had the missing puzzle piece that explained my life.

Your truth is your truth, and denial is not going to change what happened to you as a child or your reaction to what happened. I stayed open to learning my truths, which cushioned the blow. Don’t get me wrong – healing from DID was pure h@#$ in many ways. However, I did not spend years fighting myself. I decided that I was going to heal and “get this over with.” It was a wild ride, but I am a much more whole person today because of this.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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