Posts Tagged ‘DID and integration’

In my blog entry yesterday, I made the following potentially controversial statement:

Healing from any form of trauma involves learning how to love and accept each memory and emotion as “mine.” As you do this, you integrate as a natural part of the healing process. ~ Faith

I am sure that I will receive comments about this and that even more readers will disagree without ever telling me, so let’s go ahead and talk about this now.

There are two basic schools of thought in the dissociative identity disorder (DID) community – those who believe that integration is a natural part of the healing process and those who don’t. Those who disagree believe that a person can be “healed” from DID while living as a “functional multiple.” This means that the person facilitates cooperation amongst the alter parts while still remaining fragmented. While I do agree that being a “functional multiple” is farther along the healing process than a “dysfunctional multiple,” I disagree that healing is completed at this point.

When I finally embraced the reality of my DID, I wanted to understand integration. The best resource I found was this article by Rachel Downing on the Sidran Institute’s website. I followed this article as a roadmap, and my experience supports everything that Rachel Downing says in this article. If you are on the fence about or disagree that integration is a natural part of healing from integration, I strongly recommend reading this article. I found it to be empowering, and it gave me the courage to integrate.

As I said in my quote above, healing from any form of trauma involves learning how to love and accept each memory and emotion as “mine.” This is true for healing from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as all dissociative disorders. Healing means putting back together what was fragmented by the trauma. Until you embrace every experience and emotion as “mine,” you are still choosing to stay dissociated, which means you are still choosing to “reject” a part of your experience as “me” and “mine.”

Even though I have integrated my host personality into my core, I still do this with my wolf alter part. I have invited this part to integrate many times, but I still do not really believe that I am safe when I sleep at night. So, I continue to keep this part of myself separate. Yes, I love my wolf alter part, but I am choosing to keep this part separate rather than embrace this part fully as “me” and “mine.” Why? I truly do not know the answer. I do know that I still have not processed all of the trauma (as is evidenced by the flashbacks that still arise every few months), and I suspect the answer ties into more unprocessed trauma. Oh, joy.

I am not meaning to be critical of anyone who has chosen to live as a “functional multiple” because we must all heal in our own way and on our own timetable. My point is simply that integration is a natural part of healing from DID and that, if you truly love and accept all of your experiences and emotions as “mine,” then you will integrate as a natural result. Once you embrace all of your parts as “me” and “mine,” there is no longer a need to stay fragmented.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): What is Integration?, a reader posted the following comment:

I am scared to integrate, will I have all the memories and feelings? I am scared of the feelings as the other parts of me have been writing what happened to them, but for the first time they have been writing about there feelings. I see the parts and feel there feelings and it makes me cry, I never feel I am like a robot and I definately don’t cry. I still say it happened to them and not to me. ~ Maureen

One of the biggest hurdles of healing from DID or any other type of dissociative disorder is accepting the reality that these terrible things happened “to me.” I went around and around in my head over this issue. I had separated my host personality (the part I saw as “me”) so completely from the memories of the abuse that I had a very difficult time accepting the reality that it wasn’t “her” who was hurt – it was “me.” It was my body that was harmed, and “her” memories are “my” memories.

The reason for splitting into DID (or other dissociative disorders) in the first place is to “escape” from the abuse. As a young child, I did not have the power to flee from the abuse, but I could (and did) flee in my own head. Until I chose to heal, the abuse seemed so foreign to me. I was stoic and rarely felt anything deeply other than an underlying current of sadness and lots of anxiety. I rarely experienced anger or joy.

You are “them,” and “they” are you. The abuse happened to one person in one body, not to 10 or 50 people “sharing a body.” Having an “army” in your head helped you feel less alone when the abuse was happening, but the reality is that you were one little girl being tortured by your abusers. You did the only thing you could to survive it – you split your consciousness so you could pretend like the abuse never happened to you…but it did.

When you integrate from DID, you accept all of the memories, experiences, flashbacks, and emotions as “mine.” They are already all yours, but you have chosen (for good reason) to keep each part feeling separate inside of yourself. Healing from any form of trauma involves learning how to love and accept each memory and emotion as “mine.” As you do this, you integrate as a natural part of the healing process.

Your natural state is as a whole person who loves and accepts herself as she is. This acceptance includes all of the emotions and pain you have experienced.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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