On my blog entry entitled Aftereffects of Child Abuse Beyond PTSD but not DID, a reader posted the following comment:
I would not work with any professional whose view was so simplistic they did not understand that all classification systems have no value other than to appease insurance companies. ~ Michael
I am glad that Michael wrote this because it is an excellent springboard for the next topic I want to cover.
Labels such as dissociative identity disorder (DID), dissociative fugue, dissociative amnesia, and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DD-NOS) come from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). I do understand that mental health professionals need a way to categorize what they are viewing from the outside. However, as I see DID from the inside rather than the outside, I personally see more similarities than differences in all of these disorders. I suspect that might be why some readers find my blog helpful even without a DID diagnosis.
A mental practitioner is going to go down the checklist when diagnosing a patient. Loses time? Check. Has more than one part inside? Check. I suspect that reactions to child abuse are more complex than can be quantified through a checklist.
Over at isurvive.org, a member once called DID a “create your own disorder” disorder. I, personally, think this is the most accurate description of the aftereffects of child abuse that go beyond post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I would apply this descriptor to all of these other ways of splitting that go beyond PTSD but don’t fit the label of DID. (Yes, I am aware that some readers disagree with having “chosen” the way in which they split.)
I use the term “healing from DID” to describe myself because that label no longer fits me under the DSM-IV-TR, yet I did once fit the label. My internal experience has not changed – what has changed is that I am continually in the process of healing, so I no longer exhibit the same symptoms that I once did.
I have always said that if a label is helpful to you, embrace it. Otherwise, don’t let a label limit or define you. My therapist felt it was important for me to recognize the label of PTSD as applied to me, and he was correct. However, he has never worried about a DID label for me. His focus was always on encouraging me to love and accept myself as well as talk about what happened until I no longer feel the need to talk about it any longer.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt