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Archive for March 1st, 2010

Before I ever knew I had dissociative identity disorder (DID), I had read books about DID. I was always drawn to the topic of DID, even though I didn’t know why. One commonality I noticed in the DID books and movies (the few that I could find!) was that all of the books were about women who either divorced or never had a relationship. Divorce seemed to be part of the healing process. This really threw me into a tailspin because I don’t want to get divorced, but I did want to heal from DID. Did I really have to choose between my marriage or healing? Why couldn’t I have both?

I have been married for almost 18 years, and I have been in the process of recovering from DID for almost six of those years. I have managed to stay married while healing from DID, so I do not believe that divorce is an inevitability when you heal from DID.

That being said, healing from DID does put a major strain on a marriage, and you will have to make some tough choices if you want to stay married. The vast majority of DID survivors experienced sexual abuse, and healing from sexual abuse while in a sexual relationship can be very challenging. Most married people are not willing to live celibate lives for months or years, so you have to balance out your own needs with your spouse’s very legitimate needs for sex.

When I began healing from DID, losing my marriage simply was not an option. I was a stay-at-home mom of a young child, and I was determined that no matter what, I would stay married. This created such as deep conflict inside of myself that I thought I would burst. The problem was that our marriage could no longer stay the same as it always had been because I was no longer the same person who married my husband. For us to stay married, hub was going to have to make some changes.

I reached a place where I had to face the question – If I have to choose between healing from DID or staying married, which takes priority? I fought answering this question for months and wound up self-injuring repeatedly. I finally had to reach a place of recognizing that nothing, not even my marriage, could stand in the way of my healing. I decided that I would rather be healthy than have to “stay sick” to stay married. When I made this decision, my marriage began to change in positive ways. I will share more tomorrow.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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