Dissociative Identity Disorder
Multiple Personality Disorder
As impossible as it is to become physically fit without training sessions that end with you feeling temporarily weaker and more tired, so healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities) necessitates bouts when you feel you are regressing. Such episodes are particularly common when unhealed alters come to the fore, and unless these altersí pain and confusion touch you, full healing will forever elude you.
Times of feeling worse rather than better are best understood by gaining an overview of the entire healing journey. So letís start there before delving deeper.
Moreover, discovering all your alters is essential not just to emotional wholeness but to intellectual wholeness. Until you win their confidence and coax them to share everything with you, each alter has exclusive access to part of your brain. This exclusive access includes far more than bad memories but good memories, valuable information you have learned and abilities you wish you had. Since everyone is different, I cannot specify what exciting abilities you will discover, but by befriending alters you are likely to become better than you dreamt possible at some of the following:
There are also less easily quantified benefits of discovering new alters. One woman, a mother of two who has quite a few alters, told me the following today:
Last night, for example, I worked in a soup kitchen to feed the homeless. The supervisor of the kitchen asked me to stir a huge pot of soup. My arm got tired. Iím right-handed, but my alter, Princess, is left-handed, so I told her, ďPrincess, I need your help. Can you stir this for me?Ē
She replied, ďIíd love to, Mommy!Ē With a grin she took the spoon and stirred and I could see her put her four-year-old arm around me and I heard a soft ďI love you, Mommy.Ē
Iíve had many a moment like this in my journey of healing from D.I.D. If all my alters had instantly integrated with me, I might have gained the skill of using my left hand, but I might lose the precious moments of seeing my four-year-old embrace me and speak of her love for me.
That moment carried me through a wonderful evening and helped me be more present to enjoy the evening than I would have ordinarily been able to.
The territory I feel Iím gaining in wholeness is made all the sweeter through interaction with my alters. I am taking back ground that is rightfully mine. I have worked long and hard for this and I feel that I deserve it. I will let no one take it from me.
So discovering what has been buried, is essential for healing and emotional, intellectual and spiritual wholeness. This necessitates courageously facing the unknown and the unpleasant.
It is as if you live in a cramped corner of a squalid house that has the potential to be a magnificent mansion. The tiny part you currently occupy is relatively clean but is regularly invaded by pests and disgusting smells because behind barricades and closed doors are filth and vermin. A little exploration and cleaning, however, will reveal everything you could ever hope for in a house. Behind one door you have never opened is a swimming pool. Hidden underneath trash in another part you have never ventured into is a spa. Other unexplored areas, when cleaned up, would reveal a sauna, an entertainment area, a studio, office space you have always craved, and a library filled with dust-covered books you have always wanted. Hidden behind trash in various rooms are priceless masterpieces, antiques, and other treasures you have not even imagined. So much can be yours; all you need do is be willing to endure the initial stench, and clean up.
If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, hiding things from yourself usually continued for very many years, so you can expect the uncovering of all these things to take a long while because of the sheer volume of material. Additional challenges are a natural reluctance to face the unpleasant and unknown, and the time it takes to resolve whatever issues are uncovered.
Even when proceeding superbly with this process, it is inevitable that you will have times when it feels like you are going backwards. This is because you will not only be continually resolving matters and healing from them, you will be continually discovering new things that are so disturbing that you had hidden them from yourself all your life.
Obviously, the resolving and healing will make you feel better but each discovery of new issues that need urgent attention will initially make you feel worse. So by its very nature, the healing process involves many ups and downs.
Letís put it another way: whenever you make progress in healing, alters that until now have kept hidden but are desperate for relief will be encouraged to reveal themselves so that they, too, can heal. Whenever new alters reveal themselves, it is a huge step forward because it is the only way they can heal, and their issues have been adversely affecting you, even though the distress has largely been in the background. When an alter begins to surface, however, whatever has been pushed down comes to the fore, and the new alterís raw feelings will flood over the rest of you in a torrent so overwhelming that it dazes you. For example, the new alter will be disturbingly confused over suddenly discovering that many years have passed without him/her knowing it, The alterís bewilderment is likely to be so strong that feelings of confusion sweep over the rest of you.
When this process begins, it is likely to feel so vague and the alter so shy that you do not even realize that a new alter is surfacing. If ever you start feeling weird, there is quite a chance that this is what is happening.
For perhaps as long as a few days, the effect of a new alterís ignorance can be so strong that it seems as if almost everything you have learned about D.I.D. has been knocked out of you and you seem to be back to square one. Moreover, you will be hit not only by the alterís ignorance but his/her pain, anger, bad habits, attitude toward God and so on. Then the alter will begin to come to terms with all the changes that occurred since he/she was last active and begin benefitting from you sharing your knowledge and your understanding of God, and the alter will gradually find peace. As a result, you will gradually feel better again.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is like having been injured so severely that in order to heal fully a surgeon must take you through a series of major operations over several months. Just when you are healed enough from one operation to start enjoying the benefits, it means you are strong enough for the next operation. Even though you are making continual progress toward full recovery, you can be sure it will not feel like it immediately after each operation.
When a machine is being repaired it is disassembled and is temporarily in a worse state than ever. So it is when healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Unfortunately, healing is a long, drawn out process because the accumulation of years of abuse, plus many more years of neglect, are finally being attended to. It involves facing things you have always avoided and even now you must grapple with a yearning to procrastinate and a serious reluctance to do what healing requires.
The following, shared with permission of course, is adapted from an email exchange I had with someone with D.I.D. She starts; my replies are in a different color:
This is quite common. It is just that your alters have been ďoutĒ more than usual. Sometimes when an alter has been in the fore you have been present, but only in the background (this is known as co-consciousness). Since you were not the main participant but only overhearing the conversation, you have only a vague recollection of it. This explains times when the answer was, ďYes.Ē
On the other times, you planned to say it but never got around to it. People without D.I.D. have such experiences but what makes you even less sure as to whether it actually happened is because of experiences, like the first that you described, when vague recollections proved accurate.
I feel like I am losing my mind and becoming more detached rather than being put together.
Not only are you not losing your mind, you are actually in the process of gaining your mind like never before. Having your alters ďoutĒ more often is the means whereby you will end up discovering parts of your mind that have been hidden from you and eventually gaining control of your mind like never before.
Yes, in a sense you are temporarily becoming more detached, but remember this: if you wish to repair a complex machine you must first dissemble it. If you want more control of your mind you must first discover those parts that you had previously been unaware of. And to bring a machine to peak performance you must carefully examine every part and ensure it is fully restored. So it is with bringing yourself to peak condition; you must carefully examine and restore each part of you.
I think I was recently sharing with my Pastor a memory I had about a doctorís visit when I was quite young. But Iím not sure whether I actually told him.
Most likely thatís because the part of you that had stored the memory was in the fore during the conversation, whereas you were only in the background and so it seemed less vivid to you.
I was pretty shocked that I recalled that childhood doctorís visit after all these years. Where had the memory been all this time?
The memory had been with an alter, locked away from your consciousness but not from your alterís consciousness. This time when the alter was sharing it, you were co-conscious and became aware of it for the first time.
See! You are regaining access to lost memories. This is the opposite of losing your mind, even though it will initially seem quite confusing.
Recently my son was reminding me that he was working a particular night. I replied that he had never told me he had that job and that I donít want him to work that night. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me we had spoken about it and I said it was okay to work. He was definite about the conversation but I do not remember having it with him.
This is common with D.I.D. and you have to be careful. If people claim you had a conversation that you know nothing of, donít deny it, or people might think you are lying. Just fish for more information.
My husband has been asking me what is wrong lately. He says itís like my head is in the clouds. I am losing things and putting things away in odd places. He says I seem preoccupied, forgetting what I say and sometimes I stutter my words.
The storing of things in places you donít recall is being done by other alters. Instead of being hidden deep inside of you, too terrified to interact with the real world, they are gaining confidence and coming out. They are not used to doing things the way you currently do them, so articles could end up in what to you seem strange places. It is disconcerting for you at present, but it will pass, as you and your alters get used to conversing with each other and start keeping each other informed of what each one does.
Whether you realize it or not, however, the alters are benefitting from being out. For example, they are beginning to realize that they are not living in the place they grew up in. This will be confusing for them at first but when you are eventually able to freely converse with them, they will find it easier to believe you when you tell them they are now in a safe location and that their abuser no longer has access to them. This will be a huge relief to them, and for you it will probably mean a lessening of what to you had felt like years of inexplicable anxiety.
The stuttering is also an alter speaking. Stuttering is not unexpected in traumatized little children.
Iíve been wondering if I am thinking of all this D.I.D. stuff too much and itís getting to me. You see, things like this never happen to me. I am very organized and I know what I say when I say it. I have always been focused and in touch with whatís going on.
Your alters are gaining confidence, through you and your counselor accepting them, and so they are coming out more. This is essential for healing. It is just a stage you are going through. In time, your alters will keep you better informed as to what they do. Itís a just matter of learning how to work as a team work.
Keep remembering that these alters are vital parts of you that you very much need. By them coming out more, you will end up not only being able to access their memories etc that are critical keys to your healing, but also access to intellectual abilities that you never imagined you had.
For much more insight and help, see:
© 2011, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.
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