Legacy of child abuse – Flashbacks

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This is a short blog but one I felt was important to share. One of the things I find hardest currently is trying to cope with flashbacks. 

I woke yesterday morning to a flashback,  it’s hard to explain the fear that gripped me, my heart pounded and I couldn’t move I was so afraid,  I was only aware of a few brief moments of a memory that I haven’t relived before and yet it felt so real, and so terrifying.
The reality is that for a part of me this once was real and their fear, the fear that I was feeling was as genuine today as it had been years ago.

When I realised I was actually lying in my bed, in my bedroom surrounded by my familiar objects and my bear, I still couldn’t shake off those feelings of fear, I felt violated and I was truth be known so scared that I didn’t want to dare step out of my room.

I spent what felt like forever trying to pluck up the courage to move I just couldn’t shake it off, eventually I told myself that if someone was outside my room waiting to defile me I would scream louder than ever and my daughter who was staying would rescue us.

I ventured downstairs in a state of hypervigilence, of course we were safe and no one was there waiting to hurt us. But the whole flashback was recalled over and over again in my mind well the small fragments of a memory,  I was trying to understand it, make sense of it. I was trying to self talk internally to the alters that we were safe, it was ok now but in reality I was not only trying to reassure them but myself too.

Thoughts of that flashback never left my mind for most of the day. It was my first thought this morning especially when I had to venture from my bed again.

This isn’t the first flashback I have had nor I doubt will it be the last, it is just a part of my mind slowly opening memories locked away decades ago.

Sadly it is just a part of who we are currently, flashbacks are a part of my life with dissociative identity disorder.

People often tell me tell yourself they were in the past and not now,  that you’re safe now.  I understand that but it doesn’t stop the feelings of fear, or the symptoms that causes.  It doesn’t matter how much I tell myself it’s a memory I feel like I have just relived a nightmare, I have just been abused.

I try not to dwell on the memory, but I believe that memory it’s not something anyone could make up. I really feel it’s real and thus I have face upto the reality that this happened to me when I was younger. I have to live with that,  live with the realisation that this happened to me and some days I really am not sure how.

I can look in a mirror and wonder if this defines me was I just an object.

I read sometimes of comments asking social media about why should historical abuse cases be put before the courts, I can answer that quite simply.
Abuse especially child abuse destroys lives, it not only robbed me of my childhood it robs me today of my security and it still plagues my days more than thirty years later.

Having dissociative identity disorder is never easy its just some days are tougher than others. This was one of those days.

Written January 29th 2014
Copyright DID Dispatches

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Birthdays with dissociative identity disorder

 

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One of the rather unusual challenges for me of Dissociative Identity Disorder is that of  my birthday, I have to try and consider all the different parts of me, my alters each and every day yet on my birthday its more vitally important.

For I have over the years come to realise that this isn’t just the adult me’s birthday, but all of the alters share this day with me and I know that for some having a good birthday is even more important than ever. Given what I do know of the past I realise that many of the alters have reason to be nervous, even anxious and fearful of this day and so now its my chance to ensure they celebrate in a way I would have wanted to as a child.

For the past two years due to attending an awesome conference in the USA around this time of year I have been able to ensure that all of me has had reason to celebrate and enjoy our birthday. I have been able to give each age group of alters time and fun in a way that has been far easy that usual and that has made the past two birthdays pass without incident. Prior to this my birthdays have been a bit chaotic as those parts of me that dread my birthday time would normally shut down to avoid the stress that they feel at birthdays, we’d lose time and we’d get frustrated at not being around for the birthday period.

This year sadly I am not heading to the sun of Florida and I am unable to attend the ‘Healing Together’ conference organised by An Infinite Mind,  an non-profit organisation that is dedicated to improving the lives of survivors with trauma based dissociation with a primary focus on Dissociative Identity Disorder. You can find out more about this organisation at  www.aninfinitemind.com

As I won’t be able to give all of my alters a  magical time in Disney as a birthday treat this year, nor spend time with others who like me live their life’s as multiples; so share an understanding and are accepting and supportive in equal measure. I am having to find alternative ways to help us survive not only my birthday but the week that surrounds it.

This will mean having a birthday that includes time for me, my younger alters and my teenage ones too, so unlike most people on their birthdays as a multiple I have to share.  I also have to give attention to others needs, as I feel its important to remember that my alters are all in reality a part of me, fragmented by circumstances beyond our control. I have a responsibility to ensure we all have a good time, a time that is positive and safe, I need to make sure that all of me feel valued, loved and accepted.

My children will help in this, reassuring me throughout the day, offering support and making us all feel special and I have tried to plan ahead. Crafts are at the ready, treats are planned and my week is organised as best as it can be for someone who loses time yet none of this would be possible without the help and support of others.

Now many people will think its all a lot of fuss for one day yet for me, all of me, I have learnt that this is what works and that in reality is all that matters.  As a multiple I know I see the world differently to others, I use plural terms, I have to try and talk internally and watch for triggers, I dissociate and all that entails. Yet as a survivor of parental abuse I am also trying to make up for the past,  my child parts need nurturing, caring for and helping so they can now at last understand birthdays are a good thing, a time to celebrate and have fun.

If other multiples have any good tips for how to deal with the competing demands of alters at times like this, please let me know it is only through sharing knowledge that we can learn more about this complex and often misunderstood disorder.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Overcoming my lack of self-worth – breaking the chains of my invalidating childhood

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Over the last few weeks I have come to realise one impact of my childhood and the abuse  I endured which I had  not realised before, that is my lack of self worth. Since I re-started my therapy it has become something I can no longer ignore, quite simply my therapist is not going to let me, every time that I make some negative comment about myself it is pointed out to me and then challenged.

I have become accustomed to saying negative things about myself , putting myself down and all the while it all felt normal to me, its only in recent days that I realise I am actually not alone in doing this. The impact of my past still lingers long and I am now actually doing the work of my past abusers….who would regularly use negativity and the blame game to put me down, silence me and make me bear the guilt of what they did to me.

While I know in reality the things that happened to me as a child were not my fault and that I am a good person, it seems hard for me to accept that deep within. I am I guess trying to break the habit of a lifetime so this past week I have paid even more attention to the number of times I say something that belittles me, puts me down or blames me.  I so want to try and reinforce a new approach to how I view myself, for I know it is something I and only I can change.

I know that I am not alone and many who have been abused  be they adult or child will also have had their self worth depleted by their abusers, in my case it was a constant stream of negativity from a very young age. Psychological trauma is extremely damaging and it leaves a legacy that can last a lifetime and I know its certainly not going to be easy to change that habit, to improve my self worth and to stop blaming myself .

Blaming myself for every minor thing that goes wrong, for the past, for not being good enough to be a ‘normal’ non-abused child and for the chaos that is my life today, a life with dissociative identity disorder.  Its not easy to accept I have lost time yet again or more frustratingly misplaced something, or have said or done something that is more suited to a child and not an adult.

The truth of all of this is I will have dissociated, or switched alter and perhaps rearranged things so nothing is now in the right place anymore, or perhaps a younger alter has been out playing or watching cartoons. Because I lack co-consciousness I don’t realise we do these things, the realisation only comes when I become aware that time has moved on, or I have lost something or am told by those who love me what I have being doing.

I have a plethora of things I can put myself down for, and sadly I do; well at the moment anyway, yet I know with time we can slowly try and retrain our thinking to no longer be so hard on myself. For I am currently self inflicting the words that would echo throughout my childhood and into my adulthood  spoken over me by my abusers. I need to stop this habit and change my thinking!

For anyone who has tried to give up something that is a habit, you will understand this is no easy feat and I am going to have to break this task down into small  achievable steps. I need to listen to myself and challenge my words when they are attacking, or negative or just clearly illogical  – I need to alter my core belief about myself.

As a child everything was my fault, I was bad, I was the reason I was hurt it was my fault, always my fault. At school I would be ridiculed by others because I was different and I missed out on a lot of education so I was often pulled up by teachers for not paying attention, when in reality I didn’t understand the lesson. If I failed to get top marks that was a failure, 9/10 in a test wasn’t good enough and anything less than an A+ was a fail in my Mothers eyes. All this negativity, blame and ridicule just kept heaping one on top of the other and that made me feel absolutely worthless.

As an adult I continued to perpetuate this  if one of the children was ill, my first reaction would be ‘what have I done wrong, this is my fault,’ when I ended up in hospital I felt a failure too, here I was a mum and wife and I couldn’t cope so I heaped more blame on myself. In hospital every time I self-harmed I was judged and that made me feel even worse, and when I was suicidal I lost count of the lectures from staff telling me how inconsiderate I was. This just added more fuel to an all ready raging fire of negativity and low self worth.

This last week as I answered my Therapists questions I realised just how much I am continuing to bind the chains of my invalidating childhood, how much the system as at times hindered any progress by reinforcing those chains and my skewed view of my self worth.

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Now for the first time in my life I want to change this, I want to rise above the past and I want to alter the thinking patterns that have lasted for decades, I need to break free of the chains of  low self worth, of negativity. I know this journey isn’t going to be easy and I know I will make mistakes but I am focused, eager to change and supported. Its surreal to think that for years I did this and yet never realised, but now I do I  know I have to try and change I owe that to myself and to all the alters, all the different parts of me.

I know I am fortunate, as a christian I know I am valued, loved and accepted and today I have a family who love me and care for me and friends who support me, this is a vast change from the past of my childhood when all this negativity began to form… maybe just maybe this is my time, to value myself and to challenge and change the habit of a lifetime.

Copyright: DID Dispatches 2014


Poignant times – celebrations and reflections

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Please be aware some people may find this blog triggering

As this week draws to a close my mind is focusing upon the family, my youngest child and myself will both celebrate our birthdays in the next few days. I can’t help feeling a sense of pride as I see my son celebrate another year, I am so proud of all my children and of the people they grown to become.  Birthdays are especially poignant times for me, I want to celebrate with my children on their birthdays and try and ensure they always have a good day, I value the fact we can now share the magic of these times, I missed some of their birthdays during my hospital admissions and I guess that makes those we do share now all the more special.

This year I hope I will remember their birthdays, and not lose time or switch at the most important moments of their special day, you see as a mum with Dissociative Identity Disorder I have lost some of their birthdays. Not just when I was in hospital but as they grew up, I have no memory of certain parts of those years. Its hard sometimes as they talk of certain things we all did together and yet I am hearing of it for the very first time, for it wasn’t me that was there but another part of me.

Dissociation has meant I have lost certain parts of their lives, I can recall my daughters first day at school, yet have limited memory of my sons. I can recall some of their birthdays, but not others so I can  remember as one would the finer details of my daughters first birthday and yet have none of my two sons. Such gaps brings me much sorrow and frustration too, I feel like I have been cheated and robbed of parts of their childhood and it feels so unfair. I know many of their birthdays had parties, some I remember through the photographs we have, but others seem like a blur or are just blank. I have had to learn that I cannot blame myself for these memory gaps, the truth is I might not have been there yet another part of me was and that is something that for my children was and is all that mattered. This body was there, just this body like all multiples is inhabited by many different parts of me. but we are still their mum.

I am blessed that my children accept me as I am, and I try and make each new day count, I am learning more of how to be a great parent, so I will make my sons birthday special. I will ensure he has a good day. We hope to spend time together as a family, time to celebrate with him and tell him how much we all care.

However it is hard at these times not to look back , when each of my children was born I was quite a young mum, but I knew the minute I held of each one of them that I would do absolutely anything to protect them, keep them safe and love them always unconditionally just as a mother should. Those feelings are I guess are part of that natural maternal instinct which many mothers have for their children, except of course mine.

I grew up knowing my mother was different to other mums, she would often shout and be physical aggressive, but most of all I now know she was even worse than that she was one of my main abusers. There are times like birthdays when I think of my own feelings as a mum and then I think of what I lost out on by not having a mum who had the ability to hold similar feelings towards me.

I would nurture and protect my children as best as I could, and yes I wasn’t the best parent ever, I had so little experience of a real childhood that I didn’t have that experience to fall back on, nor did I ever have a mother I could go to for advice.  In fact I have no happy memories of this woman who gave birth to me, every contact we had even in my later life was fraught with tension and I would feel like I was walking on eggshells desperately trying not to offend or upset her.

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A mother is meant to love her children, to have a bond like no other, and that is the bond I have with mine and yet my mother seemed incapable of parenting me her daughter. As my birthday draws near I wonder if she ever loved me, did she ever really care and then of course I end up with those nagging doubts and questions in my mind. Did she mean to hurt me? what was wrong with me? Was there anything I could have done to make her love me?

Questions which sadly will remain unanswered, and which I guess I don’t need answers for because I do deep down know the truth and that tells me the answers its just like many victims its not the answers I want.

Many people think its only men who abuse or hurt their children, but as we have seen this week in the news and sadly many times before Mothers do hurt their children, women do abuse. Yet each time it happens society seems to  still remain incredulous that this type of thing could happen, if we are to ever stop mothers abusing their children I believe we as a society have to start acknowledging this is an issue, not a one off incident that we show shock at but then forget about. We actually need to teach medical professionals, teachers, social workers and all those who work with or come into regular contact with children, that its not only men who abuse they need to learn to spot the signs and stop being so blinkered.

I know I am lucky to be here for my birthday, I can recall times when  my mother came close to taking my life, times when her anger, her rage was so great that my life was  at risk, I was at her mercy. Yet  despite everything there was a part of me that for years yearned for what I never had a mother who loved and cared for me. I am sure many others who like me have been abused will hold similar feelings, you don’t want the abuse whether that be physical, emotional or sexual but you still want to feel loved and to have that parent.

Yes this weekend I will be thinking of my family, the children and all the joy that they bring to my life I know I am truly blessed to be a mum but I will also be thinking of the family I never had, a family with two parents who loved and cared for me. With a mum who actually wanted me, loved me and was there for me.

I have to learn to accept those blessings I have and to accept that the past is something I cannot change, I didn’t have a mother in real terms and over time that’s something I have learned to survive without.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Denial and scepticism of Dissociative Disorders – feeling like a commodity

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Being  a victim of abuse has had many challenging implications on my life, Dissociative identity disorder is obviously the main one, however there are of course other psychological impacts of trauma which I still carry today.  This week I encountered one head on in an unexpected situation and it has been a difficult time trying to grasp the reasons why I felt so distressed over someones rather insensitive comments.

I had cause to visit my GP this week and during the appointment issues were raised about my new Therapy, the Doctors main focus was upon what was the cost, and who was paying. There were also clear evidence of his lack of understanding of  dissociative identity disorder and how it impacts my life., this isn’t an uncommon situation for many healthcare professionals seem unable to accept the disorder.

I was frustrated at the time and even a little angry but I didn’t expect  the reaction it caused within a short while of being back home I realised I was feeling switichy and agitated, the next minute I was aware I had erupted in a manner I wish I hadn’t; taking out my frustration on those around me.  I then proceeded to get very upset at the fact I had reacted badly and also I was feeling  deep sadness at being misunderstood once again.

Even before I was diagnosed with D.I.D I came across the barrier of labels and the closed mindedness of many healthcare professionals.  Psychiatry is clearly a system weighted against the patient and in favour of clinicians, its also very much a ‘them and us’ environment.  As a patient with mental health issues you are not always treated with respect, and yet everyone expects you to give them respect.

During the period running up to my diagnosis, I encountered a different type of attitude  – that of scepticism, my initial doctor telling me that D.I.D wasn’t real even though many of her colleagues had said they believed I had a dissociative disorder. There followed a period of much debate amongst the professionals as to the legitimacy of the diagnosis and since then despite having a number of medical professionals,  including psychiatrists, forensic psychiatrists and clinical psychologists assess me as having D.I.D I have encountered on a fairly frequent basis the same lack of understanding and scepticism. I often wonder if the medical profession question physical diagnoses made by equally competent doctors as readily as they seem willing to question mental health diagnoses.

Much of this lack of understanding stems from a lack of knowledge, Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t one of the key subjects taught in med school, even those doing psychology at University might never be told of Dissociation and/or D.I.D. So expecting my General practitioner to know about it is I guess asking quite a lot, after all GP’s get little enough teaching on mental-health.

But for me as a person with D.I.D it is actually quite hurtful when people question my diagnosis, because I know the impact this has on my life, I know being a multiple isn’t easy nor is it something I can just take a pill for in order to be fine. I have to work hard in long-term therapy to have any chance of understanding myself, my alters, my past and for any chance of moving forwards.

Having the diagnosis dismissed feels like you are being denied, for me at least it feels like my parts, my alters are being ignored and their very existence denied. I am only just coming to terms with my alters, acknowledging that they are a part of me and yet I felt angry for them when I felt they were being denied. I realise now I was being protective of them and that is a good thing because its time I learnt to accept them and if I can’t fight for them, who can.

So the GP’s comments showing a lack of understanding and awareness had made me upset, frustrated and a little annoyed, all of which I could comprehend, but as the day wore on  the sadness inside of me just wouldn’t shift .With my Therapy time fast approaching I began to find myself more and more conscious of why I felt so unhappy and it wasn’t so easy to admit. The GP’s random insensitive comments related to funding had made me feel worthless and treated like a commodity.

I am sure many victim will have at times felt worthless and being put down or misunderstood well  it reminds you of the feelings you held as a child,  I felt worthless back then too. As a child I also grew up feeling unloved and unwanted, but most of all parts of me the alters that took my pain when I dissociated they felt like a commodity, to be used and hurt by others. The feelings aroused by the funding questions had made me feel like I was being viewed as a commodity again and that was the main distressing factor.

With help I was able to express how I felt and I was able to let out some of the pain of the past, crying not just for now but for then too, it was helpful to acknowledge I had felt protective of my alters as well when I felt they were being denied. I don’t feel angry towards my GP indeed I am keen to ensure he and those like him are educated, for it is only through awareness that people like him will grow to accept, understand and recognise Dissociative Disorders, and that has got to be good for everyone, not just me but those fellow multiples who come after me.

If you have experienced similar scepticism of a dissociative disorder from within the medical profession, feel free to share your experiences by commenting on this blog.

COPYRIGHT: DID Dispatches 2014

Update on my recent meeting with my care coordinator

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I recently posted about my fears of meeting my care coordinator, well this meeting wasn’t too bad though funding still remains a big issue, in fact funding is an issue throughout the whole health care system. As my care coordinator referred to my therapy and also his need for progress, he set a definite date for the matter to be discussed and for decisions, he left me with the parting words of how much funding the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has to save.  A CCG is a regional health group, set up by the Government to manage the patient services and clinical health needs of an area they receive their funding through the National Health Service.

My care isn’t funded through my local CCG,and local authority, Section 117 aftercare is complex and so despite living a distance from my funders because this particular CCG has a legal duty to fund my aftercare they still pay for the services I receive. They also deem that I have to receive my mental health care from their local area, and not the service providers closer to my home. It means that money is wasted as the care coordinator has to travel over 40 miles each time he visits, I have to travel the same distance to see a psychiatrist despite their being a local one closer to my home. My crisis intervention team is located even further away and so cannot undertake any home visits, instead if they are worried about my safety they would involve the local police, who if they deemed it necessary would have to arrange for me to go to the nearest hospital; who have no knowledge of me at all.

All of this cross-border working is a nightmare and its also hugely expensive, and I doubt I am the only person receiving such provision of care, so there is probably even more wasted miles and costs incurred as a result. Let alone the cost of the police time if I ever needed them, who to be fair should not need to ever be involved, my mental health needs are a matter of healthcare and not a law and order issue. But because the CCG decided in their wisdom to demand that I receive this cross border treatment and services, thus the police are more likely to have to be involved in my case.

The funding the CCG has apparently received is a higher budget amount than previously, but after inflation and increases in other costs now needs to save some £16 million pounds. That isn’t likely to come from cutting the number of managers at the top, or the number of bureaucrats it will come through cuts in patient care.  The Local Authority involved has to find even more savings, and so I guess some would say things are not looking good for people like me.

Yet the law says you have to continue to fund Section 117 aftercare if the care needs of the person haven’t changed, I am not sure if the managers at the CCG or Local Authority understand this. I also wonder if they actually calculate the additional costs they would incur if they reduced services to those like myself, its likely we will require additional crisis care, out patients appointments and maybe even hospital stays all of which are vastly more expensive than any savings they might choose to make.

I know we are fortunate in the UK to have a National Health Service but the standard of that service is reducing, the staff who provide the care on the whole work hard and are caring and diligent, yes there are exceptions and some care provision leaves a lot to be desired, sadly I have encountered them along my journey too. But surely the top heavy health care system isn’t helping improve provision to patients, its just providing more job opportunities for those managers at the top.

I will have to face a discussion about funding in mid March, and whilst I am confident that I can work through this as I have some legal protection through the 117 aftercare legislation, and I can access an advocate who will come to my meeting and the family will support me too. That doesn’t mean I won’t worry from now till then, it doesn’t mean I won’t stress and lose sleep especially as that date draws nearer. The more stressed we get the more we switch, and so by the time of my March meeting, I am now worried I will be switching so much I might not even be there, but some other part of me will. That causes issues in itself as one of the professionals present at these meetings wants to stop the meeting if I have switched, so if the part of me that is writing this blog isn’t present and a little alter is, then the meeting maybe delayed. There will certainly be at lot of extra pressure placed upon whatever part of me is there, and if that’s not me it will increase the potential for the system to shut down altogether.

I know that the care coordinator and the other Community Mental Health Team, (CMHT) professionals there want to see progress coming from my therapy, but their idea of progress is that I need less care. I found it hard this week not to erupt at my care coordinator when he asked about therapy, because he was basically asking if we had started trauma work. I think I need to be stabilsed and understand my parts better before we do this, and I think my T agrees with that position. I did divulge the fact I was feeling a couple of the alters, he seemed so disinterested in this yet I feel this is a huge achievement and a great step forward after years of therapy.

Its clear March is going to be interesting and its clear my idea of progress and the CMHT’s differs greatly, I wanted to shout at my meeting this last week “Do you think I want to be like this, to need this help?” but I realised it would be futile and so I am saving my energy for the important things in my life, like my alters and my therapy sessions over the coming weeks.

Yes this last meeting wasn’t as bad as I feared, but March well that’s clearly a different story and another blog post at a later date.

COPYRIGHT: DID Dispatches 2014

Juggling the needs of my alters – Dissociative Identity Disorder

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This last weekend I have spent sometime trying to appease one of my little alters, last week in the midst of continual shut downs by this alter I made a deal. The deal was simple if she let me do the task I needed to then she could have a treat, now as I am not co-conscious this deal was basically made through me utilising internal dialogue, saying in my head that this was the deal and hoping beyond hope she would hear me and respond.

Thankfully she allowed me to complete the task but she didn’t initially give me any sign of the reward she wanted, and so rather perplexed I bought something I thought was age appropriate for her.  But I still felt a sense of unease as if I hadn’t met the conditions of the deal, it has been a few days and I knew that without two-way internal dialogue I was relying upon my feelings.

So yesterday I decided a visit to the toy shop might help I wasn’t going to buy unless I really felt a huge change in how I felt, as we browsed around the shop I felt nothing at first. Then suddenly a sense of excitement gripped me as I saw a retro craft toy, something I could remember from my childhood and that I didn’t think was still being sold today. We picked up the said toy and started to make our way to the till, when we suddenly felt anxious and concerned, our eyes flitted from side to side as the anxiety grew. We noticed a more modern craft toy and one I guess would be age appropriate, I was surprised how drawn we were to this toy and yet we found ourselves gazing at these boxes which were brightly coloured and attractively packaged, I felt my anxiety ease and a sense of excitement gripped me once again. I seemed to have lost some time at this point, but thankfully my daughter who was accompanying me was able to fill in the blanks, she said we basically asked if we could have this new toy and was it safe. My daughter said we had to choose and so after much deliberation and difficulty in making a decision I apparently picked the more modern toy; it’s a craft activity with a Disney theme.

By the time I became aware again I was stood at the till, holding this box and waiting patiently to pay, I was a little surprised to see we were buying this but I also knew my alter had through her feelings indicated her desires to me and I was just honouring our agreement.

Today after a rather manic week which was way too top-heavy with serious adult appointments and meetings which is something I try desperately to avoid, I knew I had to repay my little alters. So my PA and I have visited a local ice cream farm, and enjoyed ice-cream topped with both sauce and sweets, for those that have never heard of ice cream farms; it’s basically an ice cream outlet attached to the farm from where the milk comes to create the ice-cream. The ice-cream is also made on site and we have two quite local to our home and this one is a very busy place and extremely popular.

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As a multiple I have to spend my life juggling the needs of many alters if I ignore them then I suffer the consequences, more switching, more lost time and more confusion. It means life is more chaotic, and believe me its chaotic all the time, but when its worse it can feel impossible, so juggling the needs of many alters is a critical and important thing for me to do as a multiple.

I have to try to live my life without co-consciousness and there are times when I make mistakes, when I do things that I realise afterwards were not the best solution. For instant an open-ended promise of a treat could have been extremely difficult, my alter may have wanted even expected a reward way above my financial means and I could have been put in a difficult position. Thankfully on this occasion she wasn’t that demanding, but I have learnt a valuable lesson in that I will not offer open-ended rewards or bribes again, it was only after my T explained the predicament I could find myself in that I realised how foolish I had been.

In future I will offer cost limited rewards or treats, I can’t afford to break a promise to those few alters I have actually managed to develop at least some type of dialogue, even if their communication with me is through their feelings. I need to protect, nurture and develop this limited understanding of the alters not break their trust by careless words.

I am also having to learn to ensure time is set aside for things that they enjoy and not fill my diary, it sounds easier to do than it  actually is in reality. But with support and help we are trying to not get too overwhelmed, and to be kind to our self. I manged this new system the first week of the year and yet last week failed miserably. This coming week should be better, but I know its something I will have to keep an eye on as it will soon become overwhelming and too busy again.

Like many people with dissociative identity disorder I often fill my time, so I can’t think about my past and I am so desperate to fulfill the high expectations that I place upon myself; that’s a default position from my past. I find it is sometimes easier to deny my D.I.D, the trauma and the alters themselves but I realise that is not a good thing in the long-term and its something I need to work on.

I guess that is the reality for me, I have dissociative identity disorder, I am a multiple and I was abused, now I have to work at repairing the damage done in the past and that means accepting who I am and accepting my alters even though I don’t feel many of them, they do impact upon my life in so many ways and they should, after all they are a part of me. Having a dissociative disorder is challenging and it feels like I am on a continual learning curve, however I know without my ability to dissociate as a youngster I wouldn’t have survived. In all honesty today’s difficulties  and challenges are not too high a price to pay for surviving a childhood filled with trauma.

COPYRIGHT: DID Dispatches 2014