I recently came across an article on integration from dissociative identity disorder (DID) that was immensely helpful for me after I recognized that I had alter parts. For me, integration was always the goal, but at the time I was looking for resources on how to integrate from DID (in 2004-2005), I found very few helpful resources. I was thrilled to find this article — Understanding Integration by Rachel Downing, L.C.S.W.-C.– and used it as my personal guide in moving toward integration.
Before I continue, I want to add the disclaimer that I am not saying that integration needs to be the goal for everyone with DID or other forms of multiplicity — I am saying that it was always right for me. I am not writing this series to persuade anyone that he or she needs to integrate, nor I am meaning to imply that not integrating, whether by choice or not, is some sort of “failure.” Instead, my goal is to provide another resource for those who do want to integrate or for those who want a better understanding of what integration from DID entails.
When I was looking for resources on integration in 2004 and 2005, I became extremely frustrated by the lack of resources available to me. Most of what I found were books written by people with DID who had integrated and whose stories contained so many “limitations.” What I mean by this is that most of the stories I found talked about how integration was helpful but… The “buts” focused on all of the issues that still remained and had to be accepted and grieved. While I am sure this was an honest accounting of these people’s experiences, I wasn’t willing to settle for “integration but’s.”
From the time I recognized that I had alter parts, my goal was to become one or “whole” again. I was angry that my abusers took so much away from me, even my ability to be a “me” instead of a “we.” I was determined to reclaim my sense of self in having ONE identity, and I was not willing to settle for “healing BUT.”
That was when I found this article through the Sidran Institute. I sobbed in relief at finding some sort of resource to offer me hope that my goal really was attainable. It also provided me with practical steps I could take to help move me toward my goal, such as always referring to myself as “me” rather than “us,” even when what “I” was feeling seemed foreign and belonging to “her” instead of “me.”
I haven’t researched what newer resources are available for integrating from DID, but my hope is to add this series to the list. That way, when others are looking for positive resources on integration from DID, one more will be available to them.
Photo credit: Hekatekris