Holiday Planning with Dissociative Identity Disorder – it’s different!


This week I have been busy preparing for a forthcoming vacation, umlike many people I have to plan and prepare for all the different parts of me, and that makes it more of a challenge. If there is one thing I have learnt as a result of my D.I.D its that nothing is easy and preparation and planning are key, that applies to holidays even more so.

Approximately 15 months ago my daughter and I decided to book a vacation with a difference, we are blessed to be able to save enough to take holidays and I value the chance to have a break from the pressures of daily life. Unlike most people though I travel as a multiple and that means choosing vacations that are suited to a vast array of different ages, I am after all a person who is fragmented and who has different alters of varying age.

However I need to ensure I cater for everyone and that isn’t always easy, I know I will switch alters on holiday and therefore need to take things along with us suited to a variety of ages. I need to accept that it will probably be hard for my daughter as she will at times feel under pressure to make sure we are safe, happy and remember things like taking our medication.

This trip I will have no PA support and that makes it hard for me and those travelling with me,  I never just travel with one other person, I usually go with at least two people so they can each have a break from the intensity of me, all of me. This time my mother in law will be my additional  travelling companion, thankfully she is able to comprehend Dissociative Identity Disorder and isn’t phased by the younger parts of me.

The planning of vacations is always a challenge, where to go, which alters take priority over choosing and who will be comfortable with our choice. I have learnt it is better that I choose the destination and it helps if I try and cater for a wide range of alters both young and old, last time we attended a D.I.D conference in Florida so the adult me was happy and the younger me’s we’re catered for too by the magic of Disney. This time we are going to attempt to see the Northern lights the Aurora Borealis in Norway a more adult destination which could be more of an issue, I am just hoping that with forward planning we are able to entertain all the different parts of me.

northern lights 2

I am consciously aware that I need to pack activities for all ages,  so yesterday as I packed I had to ensure we didn’t just take an adult orientated perspective; that has meant downloading a variety of children’s books suitable for my younger me’s alongside a book my teenage me’s will enjoy.  My art equipment is coming along too as creativity is one way my alters can communicate with me, it’s vitally important to our stability and our day to day routine.

Like many families who are facing a long trip I have packed treats for the journey which both I and my younger parts of me will be happy with so alongside the grown up healthy snack bar are sweets designed for children.

The problem is of course I am only packing for me, one body, yet because we are fragmented we are a collection of parts whose individual needs need to be taken account of, therefore it is quite a lot like taking an entire family on holiday. The downside is of course I have only ever have one persons luggage allowance which can make packing a huge challenge.

So after much careful decision making, planning and preparation I have squashed quite a lot into my cases, it’s amazing how much you can fit into that suitcase especially if you sit on them to fasten. I’m quite surprised that the zips haven’t burst open yet.

Of course I have to hope that together we can enjoy our time away, and that we are able to create memories  that will last us a lifetime. I have to hope that we can enjoy  ourselves and that we are able to have fun, something we find really challenging and perplexing.


Fun is one of the things my psychologist has challenged me to try, we have together accepted that it’s something I find quite alien and so it’s not a natural concept for me. I am aiming however to try and be at least willing to tackle this new challenge and redress some of the damage my childhood has caused. Fun wasn’t in my childhood that much and so today despite three children it is still quite alien to me.

Alongside trying to have fun, the work of  therapy will continue I have my sessions still booked in for the next few weeks, the wonders of modern technology meaning thankfully I don’t need to have a huge break. I’m grateful really to be able to have that time as it will allow me an opportunity to talk things over with him and hopefully continue to move forwards. All I have to do now of course is remember the time difference and hope for good internet or phone signal.

This evening as I wait to depart I can only hope that all my planning will be a success, that all of my alters all the different fragmented parts of me do enjoy this time away.  I have to hope that we are able to be who we are, a person who lives each and every day dealing with the challenges of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I will subject to internet capabilities be blogging whilst I’m away, writing about the trials and tribulations of holidaying as a multiple, I hope that people find it useful and helpful.  The posts may not be as frequent as usual, so please bear with me and hopefully when I return I will be able to report back more fully  on how things went.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

A decade of benzodiazepines -my challenge to stop

medication blog

At the start of this week I had my long-awaited meeting with my psychiatrist , the appointment went ok though it was clear that the doctor had a lot of learning to do still on dissociative disorders? One of the key decisions we made was to recommence the reduction of my benzodiazepines  this is no easy task especially given the length of time the medical profession has prescribed these drugs.

Today such drugs are prescribed for short-term use, in fact the guidelines from the Royal college of Psychiatrists state that they should be taken for up to 4 weeks  and no longer. They also state that 40% of those who take them every day for more than 6 weeks will become addicted.

The harsh reality is that whilst these drugs are intended for short-term use some professionals seem content to prescribe them for long-term use. Well that was my case and now we are dealing with the difficulties of long-term use.

My encounter with Benzodiazepines began when I was still a child, back in the seventies I guess it wasn’t unusual to prescribe these drugs longer term.  If my medical records are correct I was just 11 when I began taking these kind of drugs, and thus I began taking them on and off until my 30’s. I was always able to stop and manage them quite well and my life wasn’t affected by them in the way it has since.

But in 2004 I was prescribed the drug again and I have continued to take it ever since, initially like most psychiatric drugs the doses kept creeping up and at one point I was taking over 40mg each and every day. Looking back I don’t know how I manged to function, especially with all the other psychiatric medication that was pumped into me notably during my hospital stays. I can recall taking 2 types of benzodiazepines at one point alongside 2 kinds of anti-psychotic medication, a mood stabiliser, sleeping pill and an anti-depressant. Yet somehow I managed to walk around, well truth be known I probably shuffled along such were the side swiping mind controlling impacts of these medications.

Today I am left on much less medication and I have tried to reduce and stop taking the medication one by one and so now today we are trying to reduce the benzodiazepine. After 10 years of continual use it has a huge impact physically upon my body, and we were initially on a high dose, so from 40mg a day we have now got down to 16mg.  But then last year with no therapy we decided along with our medical team it was best to halt the reduction until we were back in therapy, the last thing any of me want is to revert back to self harming or needing hospital admissions.

But we had learnt that the side effects were slowly reducing and we no longer had such dramatic reactions to lowering the dosage. Now we are back in therapy it’s the right time to restart this battle to come off this drug, but we are faced with a slow reduction of between 1 and 2 mg every month. We are conscious that there are serious risks to withdrawing too quickly and that for some people they haven’t been able to stop taking the drugs all together such has been the impact of taking these drugs contrary to the new guidelines.

I am happy with this new step, we have been the proactive voice in ensuring the reductions of our medication actually happened, having worked hard to convince professionals we can do this reduction and deal with the issues that come from such changes I am conscious that it’s important we do this right.

Whilst the professionals seem happy to try this, for me I think it’s more important, you see I want to win this battle and stop taking these drugs that for the past decade have impacted my life. Perhaps this drug means the most because of the age I originally started taking it, I’m not sure, yet somehow it is a tie to my past I want to see gone for good.

I think what concerns me now is that even now I still face a possible 16 months of further reductions, of this drug still being in my system, and even after this is gone I still have another psychiatric medication to dispense with.

Looking back it’s as if in hospital psychiatrists seemed hell-bent on prescribing more and more medication, did it work well honestly I don’t think so. My issues are trauma related and the only treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder is long-term therapy. Why then do doctors focus on a medical model for conditions that require a psychological intervention, why force patients to be controlled by medications, which when all is said and done just numb the mind and push the patient into a drug controlled stupor.

Will this dominance of the medical model and dependency on drugs still be happening today, you bet it is, perhaps they use benzodiazepines to a lesser degree but other drugs have taken their place. Perhaps one day we will see psychological interventions being taken more seriously and provided more easily, long-term therapy costs money but  the results long-term are worth it. I bet it might actually be cheaper than a life time of drug dependency handed out by psychiatrists focused on the medical model.

Now for some psychiatric conditions medication may be needed I accept that, yet for individuals like me what was best for me was long-term psychological intervention. I hope lessons will be learnt and that those who follow me trying to access care and support are not placed on the journey I have had to endure in order to access the right care and treatment they need.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

What it’s like to live with D.I.D -a personal account


DID picture

This past week I am slowly learning that having Dissociative Identity Disorder means my life is very different from most people. I thought it might be helpful to explain how being a multiple impacts upon every day in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

I start each day with the task of trying to internally communicate with my other parts, they don’t speak back so it’s  a very one-sided conversation. I run through the plans for our day, the tasks we must do and those it would be good if we do, I then invite the alters to present themselves through feelings as we go through the day. It’s my way of letting them know I will try to be receptive to them throughout the day, take their feelings and views into account and allocate time for different groups of alters.

As my day progresses I am helped by one of two PA’s, these people are invaluable to my daily life and I would be lost without their help and support. It means my family are able to be just that my family and not my carers, the children don’t need to be looking after me their mum all the time.  I am, I am told hard work and thus it wouldn’t be good for any of us if we had that additional pressure upon our relationships all of the time.

I have to plan each day to include activities for various groups of alters, so cartoons for the younger parts of me. Art for the parts that are creative or just need to express their feelings through words and pictures alongside a range of other activities which suit different parts of me.

If I don’t give time to the alters then life is more chaotic and that is what I am trying to avoid.  So each day despite switching lots and losing chunks of time, forgetting important things and feeling tired and exhausted from poor sleep or protecting parts trying to shut me down, I have to allocate time to things others would not need too.

Throughout the day my feelings my fluctuate from one extreme to another and with no warning, so one minute I might feel happy and the next be in the pit of despair. I can like today suddenly find myself unable to stop crying and yet having absolutely no idea why I feel so bad. This is draining in itself as well as time-consuming and confusing. I cannot be certain but I am assuming that the feelings I encounter are changes in alters, and the feelings  I feel are the ones they carry for me.

I have to undertake periods of further internal dialogue throughout the day, it doesn’t matter where I am if I feel an alter I need to acknowledge them in this way. It’s not uncommon for me to suddenly go very quiet as I talk internally in the hope that the alters hear me.

Now once a week I attend an appointment with my psychologist for my therapy session, but therapy doesn’t stop in that one hour a week it’s something I have to continue to work through over the week. The concept that a therapist can heal me is long gone as I realise now that this is a partnership and they can help me but I have a lot of work to do, and most of this I have to do in the times I am not in the therapy session. For example internal dialogue is something that has stemmed from therapy but it can’t just happen once a week it has to happen more than a few times each day.

I have to be honest and say that I lack skills in some areas of my life that I wish I didn’t and this exacerbates my difficulties and means I need more support and help. I find understanding others emotions hard and  it’s tough for me to build up relationships or trust. Many of the issues I have stem from my past and the lack of nurture and care I had as a child, I am learning that how I think, feel and perceive the world is slightly skewed at times.

Overall my days are busy, chaotic and no two are ever the same, I seem to struggle with balancing the needs of many with each and every moment. I am after all living a fragmented life, all the different parts of me separated by this amnesic barrier which was built a long time ago.  I know many people with D.I.D have managed to move further forward than I have as yet, working, running a home etc,  but I also know no two multiples are the same.

In my case I hope to move further forwards in time, therapy is a long process and it’s going to take a long time to heal the damage done over decades of abuse. I also know I have a tough road ahead in that I have to also not only learn about the other parts of me, I also have to retrain my brain to think in a wholly different way.  Most of all I guess I have to learn the skills I have never learnt, developmental stages which were broken and  in some not developed during my chaotic and traumatising childhood.

There is hope though, I am making progress and I can see that in many ways, 6 years ago I was in hospital a long-term patient. 2 Years ago I had an intensive 24 hour care package involving numerous staff, at home. Today it’s not as intensive, just 2 PA’s, with my family providing my support at night.

In the past before my health deteriorated I worked,  it wasn’t easy but I did it and I have manged to study with lots of help and encouragement since then? I have  to hope that  I will keep moving forwards, one step at a time. right now though I have to focus on treatment and that means medication to help  with symptoms, therapy and all the daily homework I guess that comes from it .

I’d like to run to the finish line but this race I have learnt isn’t about finishing in the fastest time, it’s all about learning to accept who we are, learning to live with the issues of dissociation, being a multiple and coming to terms with the horrors of our past.



Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Losing time….failing to take account of my alters feelings.


This morning I woke with the intention of writing a blog on a specific subject, try as I might to set out writing I seemed to lose myself. Initially I wasn’t very attentive to the tell tale signs of a forthcoming shutdown, this is one of those occasions where another part of me has decided to stop us in our tracks.

This morning the shut down came after symptoms of sudden sleepiness even though we had only been up a couple of hours, and then as I tried desperately to fight this we encounter another physical symptom. I suddenly felt extreme pain in my stomach, pain that felt real, that probably even was, but which had no physical cause in reality.

As my stomach pains got worse I tried to tell myself they’d pass, I kept thinking of what may caused this but couldn’t really think of anything. I never once sensed that just maybe this was an alter, another part of me who was unhappy. I kept thinking of physical reasons for the symptoms which I couldn’t fathom.

I can’t say fully what happened next, but from what I am told I laid down to rest on the sofa, saying I felt unwell. When I eventually woke it was 3 hours later and I felt like I had been asleep for just a short while, all my physical pain and tiredness had vanished.

I was to say the least exasperated by this loss of a chunk of time and especially as I had quite a few things to get done today. In frustration I called my daughter and explained how I felt, what had happened and just how much this was unfair. As I talked it suddenly dawned on me that it was unfair of me to be cross or frustrated at this other part of me, who clearly had issues over my writing the blog.

I am slowly learning to understand that I have to think of the views and feelings of the alters, the other parts of me. It’s not easy and I am at times bewildered by all of this, yet unlike many who read this blog who only have themselves to think off, I have to take into the alters who make up the person known as Carol.

I have spent this afternoon talking internally, reassuring the alters that today’s blog won’t be on the subject I had intended, I am hopeful they will let me write that blog soon especially now I have reassured them of my intentions and that we are safe.

In fact I can’t be certain but I think they may have intended for this kind of blog to be written instead and why not, they are as much a part of me as I am and this is our blog even though I write it.


Shut downs are not easy, they come when you least expect them and they interrupt my life, they make planning things difficult and they mean we have to be mindful of how we feel physically so we can sense when an alter is trying to tell me something.

Today I have missed the opportunity to get certain tasks done that needed doing and now go on my to do list for tomorrow instead. I have to accept that it just wasn’t meant to be today and that there isn’t any point in being upset or annoyed by this incident.

I am sure that the alter who was unhappy had tried to probably tell me in another way, I just wasn’t able to read the feelings. I still have a long way to go I guess in fully comprehending the feelings we are now encountering. The alter had in truth a good reason to worry the subject is one that could have some risks to it and maybe just maybe they are trying to protect me just as they did when I was a child.

I guess I am not yet able to stop these moments of tiredness but they have reduced greatly over time, and tend to now be when I don’t take account of the feelings of the other parts of me. This is something I am slowly learning to do take account of their feelings, their views and opinions, but it is rather complex and it takes time.

In truth though I owe these parts of me so much because without them taking the pain of my past, protecting me and holding my memories I know that I wouldn’t have survived. I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog, I wouldn’t have a future and I wouldn’t have the joy my children bring me and I wouldn’t have the current day positive memories to go alongside the difficult painful ones of my past.

Having Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t easy its tough at times and there are moments when I wonder if I will get through the difficulties of my past, will I ever get used to being a multiple. Yet it’s days like today when I realise just how much the alters are still trying to protect me, and then I begin to understand just how much they have given me. For all the tough things that come with being a multiple without the alters I wouldn’t have a future.

I need to respect them more and take time to do more internal dialogue, listen to them and I guess learn to be patient with them. As I write this the cartoons are playing in the background and the rest of this evening will go to them. Whether that be more cartoons or drawing or something else it won’t matter they have given me the time to write this blog and for that I am grateful.


Maybe I am coming to terms with my Dissociative Identity Disorder I don’t know, but it’s a bit like having a family and having to take account of others views and feelings. Perhaps I should suggest that to my own family and friends just regard me as being a family, my alters and I we might all share this body and yes in reality they are all part of me, but the way we are, it must seem chaotic to many it certainly does to me.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Challenging Medication Stigma

medication blog

Earlier this week I was sat chatting with friends when the discussion arose about the use of medication and this led me to thinking more about my own need for medication to manage some of the symptoms that co-exist alongside my Dissociative Identity Disorder. Currently my medication regime includes the need for anti-depressant’s and anti-anxiety drugs alongside a plethora of medication for physical health issues.

The public’s attitude towards mental health medication compared to physical health medication means that not only I, but many others too will often feel guilty about the need to take prescription drugs to help stabilise our mental health. It’s often easier to not say that you take anti-depressant’s than to admit that you do, why is that I wonder?

Society seems to stigmatize mental health in such a way that we forget that those with mental health issues are still human beings, for example no one seems to object or mind that I rely on medication to control my levels of thyroxine to make my thyroid function properly, yet may well say isn’t it time you just pulled yourself together and stop relying on anti-depressant’s. Yes people have said that to me in the past!

In reality depression is caused by one of two reasons it’s either situational; as in it has a root cause such as a bereavement, or other life circumstances, or its a chemical imbalance within the brain, in either case the person cannot often change these factors yet we seem to be unable as a society in the 21st Century to show true empathy in many cases.

I don’t like taking all the medication I need but I know without it I am much worse both physically and mentally, hence I accept the medical advice and take the prescribed medications the medical profession deem I need to take. Yet every time I collect my prescription from our village pharmacy I am actually aware and I guess at times ashamed when I come out carrying a huge bag full of potions and pills to help stabilise and treat me.

I never think for example that I should try to reduce my thyroid tablets because just maybe I am using them as a crutch and I could quite simply give them up and be ok, yet that thought has often crossed my mind when it comes to my mental health medication.  There seems to be an inbuilt shame of failure because I need those particular medications right now, and yet I am acutely aware that when I have tried to reduce my meds I quickly destabilise.

Society’s attitudes to mental health seems to heap on the pressure, we can easily admit we have this or that physical illness but somehow the room will often fall silent if I am brave enough to admit I take mental health drugs. In some though I have to say not all circumstances it’s certainly can be a great conversation stopper to say I have a mental health issue, suddenly people have something urgent to do and seem to then avoid you for the rest of that event.

Take for example a few months ago when I attended a training event on Mental health, I was there mostly surrounded by therapists and supporters, and a very few service users, people who like me have a Dissociative disorder. I entered into conversation with someone who I later learnt was a therapist, she asked me politely if I had a client with D.I.D, and I bravely decided to be honest and just say I had Dissociative Identity Disorder, she looked me up and down and then turned on her heels and walked away. She choose to sit across the other side of the room for the rest of the day and never again spoke to me.

When others asked me I just fudged the issue, I said I had an interest in Dissociative Disorders, and no one moved away or ignored me or anything, strangely I felt frustrated by my own lack of ability to be brave and bold. I so wished I could just stand up and shout out I have D.I.D and I am not ashamed, nor am I ashamed I take medication, but truthfully I couldn’t do it. I just kept fudging the issue for most of the day and I doubt many people in that room realised I was a service user and not a medical professional.

Near the end of the day one kind, understanding person asked me quietly if I had D.I.D, she’d noticed a few switches and had suspected that perhaps I did, I was honest and said yes. When she asked me outright why I chose to not say I explained what had happened earlier and her words resonated with me, “If you can’t be yourself in a room full of professionals when can you be, don’t be ashamed of who you are”. So for the rest of that day if I was asked I said the truth full on “I have D.I.D”, and yes some people walked away some didn’t and in the end I realised it wasn’t my issue but theirs.

I guess the same applies to my use of mental health medication, I can’t help the fact I need to take those drugs to stabilise my chemical imbalance right now but some people think I should be able too. That is their issue not mine and I have no real reason to feel ashamed or guilty I can’t help who I am, and if truth be known if they the skeptics had been through my life and walked even just a few days in my shoes they’d be taking those drugs too.

Society as a whole needs to learn to accept that mental health medications and other treatments are no different from physical health treatments and drugs, if I had a bad heart no one would question my reliance on drugs so please don’t question my need to take mental health drugs right now.

I’m fine ….well not really


This past week I have come to realise that I have a habit, no it’s not alcohol, or smoking, or any other illegal substance…its saying I’m fine – when the reality is something different. It’s as if I can’t say how I really feel to people and so this has led to the familiar terminology that now seems an everyday occurrence in my vocabulary “I’m Fine”.

I spent time this week in my therapy thinking about why I do this, and it’s really got me be waxing the old grey cells. I guess I grew up in an environment where it was best to feel nothing and to want desperately to please people, today despite no longer being in that emotionally abusive environment I still have the need to please, to try so hard to be ‘normal’ whatever ‘normal’ is, and to not admit life some days is down right hard.

I spoke to my daughter about this habit of mine, I asked her if she’d noticed this particular trait in me, and she sighed and smiled and nodded her head, it wasn’t the response I was hoping for. I wanted her to tell me I wasn’t always saying things were great, I wasn’t always saying Yes when I really needed to say NO, that I didn’t say “I’m fine”. Sadly the harsh reality is that I do have this habit, a habit formed out of years of psychological abuse.


Looking back I have always tried to be ‘Super Women’ which I know I’m not, but I felt if I could fill my days with external achievements, get people to like me and accept me then maybe just maybe things would be alright. I could say I had dealt with the past when in reality I was just boxing it away and not dealing with it. If I acted as if I was ‘normal’, coping with life, then maybe just maybe the past that haunts my every day would be somehow be lessened.

But the harsh reality is “I’m Fine” is not a good thing to keep saying, especially if it’s not the truth, trying to please or fit into society just piles on the pressure and doesn’t help in the long-term. The truth is I am who I am, and right now that means if I am honest I’m a bit screwed up by the damage caused from years of childhood trauma and the prolonged and protracted psychological abuse that continued well into my adult life.

I am on a journey of healing and that is going to take me some time and it’s not an easy journey to be on either, I have to face my demons and accept that the impact of all that abuse has really messed up my thought patterns and my own image of myself, it’s caused me to search desperately to be loved and accepted and most of all to fit it to the world around me.

Hence “I’m fine” or the number of different variants of this I use have been a great response to deflect the truth,they have allowed me to seek the acceptance that I still crave and to not face up to the harsh truth that I am hurting and finding daily life difficult. Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t easy, I have to spend a huge amount of my day doing internal dialogue, trying to give time to the alters, and many more things in order to function as a multiple.

negative man

In my past I had little positive reinforcement, I was made to think I was a failure, no good and well that everything that happened to me was my fault. I was told I was never good enough in every walk of my life, so no good at school, no good as a daughter, no good as an object, no good as a parent.  My mother would continually and constantly put me down and make me feel inadequate and so I tried desperately to please her, to make her proud of me, to make her love me, but nothing absolutely nothing worked.

I had positive reinforcement from my Dad, but in my childhood when these self images and default positions were formed he wasn’t always around, that wasn’t his fault just the circumstances of life that my Mother kind of ensured happened. Infrequent positivity wasn’t enough to stop me forming a belief that I was a failure and some how not good enough to fit into the world. My former husband of over 25 years was good at telling me I was loved and good, but again it couldn’t shift the by now well-developed thought patterns that I had formed. Even my children telling me it was ok to be honest and that no matter what they still  loved me hasn’t been enough to shift these thinking traits that exist to this day.

So instead all my adult life I have tried desperately to fit into society, I found it hard to say NO to people even when it was what I needed to say, and I have found it impossible to admit that I am struggling to live with my past, and the disorder that formed as a result, my Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I realise now that in order to heal I have to be honest, not only to others but more importantly to myself, I need to admit that it hurts to have been rejected as a child, to know that your own mother never loved you. I need to prioritise my healing, learn to say NO and instead of desperately trying to say “I’m Fine” be honest and say if its been a tough day.

I need to not still be searching for the acceptance that I never got from my mother, but instead self nurture myself and reinforce positive things in my days. I guess I need to retrain this brain of mine to learn to like me and learn that just maybe my thinking that people won’t like me if I’m honest  is flawed. I don’t need to search for acceptance anymore, I don’t need to keep saying I am fine if I’m not, I can just be honest and if people don’t understand that, well that is their issue not mine.

I doubt anyone who has lived my past would be in any different a place from where I am now, childhood trauma or psychological abuse at any age skews how we think about life and ourselves.  It’s so easy to find ones self craving to fit in, or be accepted and to think you just need to please other people in order for them to like you. It’s so easy to take the default position of thinking you must not admit if you’re struggling or having a tough day, hence my habit of  “I’m fine”. So from now on I need to say if I’m not fine, that doesn’t mean I am going to spew out all my past, it’s just a simple statement of today’s been a bit tough.


My mother didn’t love me I can’t change that and she is no longer here to try to get her too and even if she were I couldn’t make her love me.

But I can stop trying to feel like I must please others and I must fit in, after all they say you can’t please all the people all the time and well wish as I would I’m not Super Woman. I’m just Carol a survivor of a really tough and difficult past and I can’t help that, it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could have done to change that.

I can’t change my past but I can change my future even if that’s tough to do, I just have to hope people in my community, my family and my friends can understand that this is who I am. I need to hope that people will accept me for who I am and not for what I do, that people will support me through this journey of healing and if by chance I say “I’m fine” perhaps say “really?” so then maybe  I might be able to remember that I need to be honest and not put on a front in order to please or be accepted.

Am I fine……well not really right now but one day, maybe one day I will be.

Reconnecting with an old psychiatrist – friends reunited?


The envelope dropped onto the mat and I knew the moment it was in my hands that it was from my local Community Mental Health Team, they are good they send every communication in a marked envelope so not only do I know who it’s from, but I guess if he’s clever so does my postman. I often wonder what my postie must think delivering these envelopes marked mental health team through my door, it’s certainly a conversation starter.

This particular letter was from the appointments secretary, requesting my attendance at an appointment next week with the newly appointed locum psychiatrist. Now I don’t mind seeing a psychiatrist it’s not something that I am ashamed of after all he or she is just another human being of equal but no less importance than myself, but there are times when these appointments can be challenging.  I have had a number of different psychiatrists over the past decade and they have varied in their competency from the good, understanding partnership approach to the extremely arrogant and officious I know best.

Having a diagnosis of D.I.D can make this even more fun, I have had those who are  accepting to those who are beyond  sceptical  and somewhere on another planet. Yet each of them has had the ultimate power to detain me, take away my rights and  submit me to things I really don’t like, this makes it always stressful therefore to see them.

My last psychiatrist was in the end not too bad, we had our disagreements, I didn’t like his approach to my diagnosis or to me, but he did at least respect that by not making me see him very often and in fact he never once forced me to take medication I didn’t want to or spend a single day as an inpatient. So overall he rated ok, he wasn’t the best but boy he wasn’t the worst either.


The letter that came though this week has opened up some challenges, the locum psychiatrist who I am to see, previously worked for the local health trust in fact he was the doctor who against my wishes detained me under the mental health act. What joy will it be to see him again after what seems like an age and probably is I guess, our last major encounter was in 2007.

So at the moment I am slightly apprehensive, but I am also quite looking forward to the challenge that our meeting will bring, you see in 2007 no one had diagnosed me as having dissociative identity disorder and so I was just labelled with a variety of different things. I wasn’t as strong as perhaps I am now, I hadn’t been in secure services nor faced the trials that come with fighting a Mental Health Act Tribunal.

This meeting will allow me an opportunity to tell him just how we are today, that I am not bitter that his actions set me on a journey that took me hundreds of miles from my family, that back in 2007 what I needed was understanding and not enforcement. I’m actually looking forward to telling him how I have reduced my medication regime, that I no longer feel suicidal and that I am working hard to deal with my past and the damage it has caused to my life.

I am hoping he will see my name and remember me, think he is going to see the person who he saw in 2007, the women who was suicidal, in pain and confused. A person who had given up on life and wasn’t able to express to anyone what was causing all this hurt, because then he will be even more surprised when I walk in his room transformed in part  from those dark days.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not at the end of my journey  I still have difficult challenging days, but I don’t feel suicidal anymore  in fact now I just want to work hard with guidance from my psychologist to repair the damage my childhood caused. My desire today is not to self destruct but to understand the different parts of me, my alters, that doesn’t mean all days are great, that I  don’t feel down sometimes. Some days I can’t stop crying others I find sleep hard to come by, there are flashbacks and memories which aren’t easy to live with, but then no one has ever said having Dissociative Identity Disorder was easy. The fact is having any mental health condition is a challenge and having a difficult childhood leaves a lasting legacy from which a person needs to heal.


My forthcoming psychiatry appointment will be on mind this week, and I will want to try to hold it together for the appointment, not to be tearful or having a tough day. But if there is one thing I have learnt during the past decade it is the mental health services have changed, cuts have been drastic especially in the number of inpatient beds available, thus my psychiatrist will still hold the power to section me, the difference is the goalposts to do that have changed.

As my care coordinator kindly told me this past week getting into hospital locally today you have to not only be suicidal but  much worse and even then they’ll do everything to keep from admitting someone. They have too few beds to go around and they can’t afford to detain me, so suddenly the power balance held by psychiatry for me at least has lessened. Now that is something to celebrate isn’t it, it certainly makes this forthcoming appointment less daunting.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Art and creativity from a multiples perspective.

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Today I came across some of my old art work and it has been strange looking back. Most of the art I uncovered was completed during my bleakest of days and is quite revealing.

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Now I don’t profess to being a skilled artist because I am certain that I am not, but art is such a useful tool to express inner emotions and deeply hidden thoughts. I find it very useful and relaxing too I can immerse myself in creativity and allow myself the freedom of expression.

I have recently embarked on using art as part of my healing journey because of this I am more aware that some pieces of work offer huge insights into my own thoughts and my alters too.


So this evening I have been reviewing the different pieces of work that I found and it’s quite eye opening and if I am honest fascinating.

I can look at a picture and see the differences within the piece that indicates more than one part of me has participated in its creation. Different strokes or techniques for example can sometimes be easily recognised or quite subtly hidden.

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Analysing one picture against another is a bit like looking at a collection of pieces created by different individuals and I can see that some of my alters like painting flowers, another buildings, another landscapes and others seem focused on a mix medium of words and shapes.

I am no expert and I cannot interpret my artwork to understand the hidden meanings contained within them, but I am beginning to realise that art has a useful role to play in my healing. I can recognise certain themes that have continued through the years to this day and I realise that I need to set time aside to do more art.


They say a picture speaks a thousand words, I believe that in my case as a multiple my pictures allow my alters to speak without the need for any verbal communication.


Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Uncovering my feelings from the past – Life with D.I.D


In the past few weeks  feelings have become a key day to day issue for us, we are experiencing feelings for the very first time and whilst it is good to know that I am human, it is also tough. This week in therapy I was gently steered towards recognising that the feelings of anguish, low mood and panic are not just the alters but in reality my own.

Trying to comprehend that these feelings of desperation and utter sadness actually belong to myself is daunting mainly because I have no idea what is hidden behind these feelings. You see whilst I do understand I suffered childhood trauma, and some of the things that were done to me and by whom, I still have many, many blanks and its these I fear now.

I fear the feelings too as for many years I was too afraid to feel in the way others would do, I wasn’t quite robotic about this but I would press down any feelings as much as I could in order to protect myself. I basically resorted to the default position of my early childhood, say nothing, feel nothing, try and hide out of the way of difficult situations.  Therefore I have hid from anger and sadness as much as I could, I haven’t objected when people have walked all over me and if things get too much I hibernate. lock myself away from the rest of the world in order to keep safe.

For me the default position has been regularly reinforced over the years, as until 7 years ago my main abuser still had their claws in me and thus would continually subject me to the psychological side of my abuse that she was so skilled in. So now I am trying to amend the thought processes and default positions of over forty years, that is no easy feat and is something that is going to take time.

Feelings are for me scary at times especially those that I used to avoid, so it’s no wonder that I tried to label them as someone else’s and not my own. In recent weeks as I have started to feel  these brief moments of feeling  they have  been very much the alters. Now I have to face up to the reality that  in fact they carry the feelings that in truth are mine which I couldn’t deal with, couldn’t  process back in the past.

This means accepting some very  painful truths,  including the fact that the feelings I have encountered recently which have left me in floods of tears, are a sign of my own pain and suffering  and this is a long standing anguish built up over many years of abuse.




Following my therapy session I realised that I have so much more learning to do, and so much of my past still to confront my feelings being one part of that, which I guess I had not anticipated. I have to accept the fact that I need to feel and that it’s safe to feel now,  the past caused me so much damage and pain and now I need to let those inner emotions free.

I am basically going to embark on a journey that will at times be painful and uncomfortable to say the least and yet it is a journey worth making as in the end I will be able to feel like others do, no longer fearing my emotions but able to express them safely and in an appropriate manner.

I will in time feel a little more and I will hopefully come to terms with the facts that are revealed, I know that I am in safe hands, my psychologist will I am sure offer guidance, insight and specialist knowledge to me as I progress along this journey, but most of all the alters which have been my protector s for so many years will be making this journey with me.

These parts of me that have remained hidden for so long through my dissociating will work with me through this process, we will heal together and we will feel together.

I have to trust them to release to me my feelings which they currently hold for me at a pace I can deal with. Yes there is a bumpy road ahead but I cannot think of any other group who I would rather take it with, than my alters, the other parts of me.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014