This weekend I will be sitting at home here in a rainy North West village, and all the while I will be thinking of a amazing group of individuals who run an non-profit organisation in the US. This weekend An Infinite Mind will be hosting their 4th Annual conference aptly named ‘Healing Together’, I have had the privilege of attending their last two conferences and so wish I was with them again this year.
An Infinite Mind was founded by Jaime who is such an inspiration to so many people, her drive and passion for helping others is truly amazing. The organisation was formed out of a need for more accurate information on all Dissociative Disorders, especially DID and it does so many things, from training, education and outreach programs, to providing low to no cost supportive therapies to both survivors and their families.
The Healing Together conference is one of a kind, when I first heard about the conference there simply wasn’t anything quite like it anywhere in the UK, and certainly as far as I am aware in Europe either. I can remember trying to convince my family that travelling so far for a conference on Dissociative Disorders would be worth it. I had no idea just how much that weekend would transform me, it gave me a new vision, a new perspective on life as multiple I met people from all walks of life and for the very first time I felt accepted and understood. It felt like I was amongst friends, people who understood what it was like to live as a multiple and who were welcoming and full of optimism. I realised that people like me shouldn’t have to hide their diagnosis in fear of being shunned, I have D.I.D so what! were key words that conference and it left a lasting imprint on my mind.
To this day whenever I face a new challenge I think ok, I have D.I.D, but ‘so what’ I can do this, and if I am anxious of others thoughts or views I tell myself I am who I am, I shouldn’t be ashamed of my diagnosis or the fact I am a multiple. I guess I stopped seeing myself by my diagnosis and so I changed my outlook, I stopped being ‘I have D.I.D, my name is Carol, to ‘I’m Carol I have D.I.D, so what’, I also happen to be a good mum, a not to bad public speaker, and I’m creative too. In other words my D.I.D no longer defines me, it is just something I happen to have.
None of this would have been possible without that time in Florida back in 2012, and the time I was there allowed me to be me and to start to heal from my time in hospital. My youngest son attended the conference with me that year and we began to rebuild our life as mum and son, and my alters enjoyed the down time as well. The conference is held in Orlando, and that year the conference hotel was located next to ‘Downtown Disney’ I remember thinking how much I could just be me, whatever alter I was. Instead of hiding my dissociation and trying to pretend we were ok when deep down we were struggling, I could just be me, a multiple, someone with child alters and adult alters, who lost time, forgot things, felt confused and all the other issues that comes with the territory of having D.I.D.
My family must have been impressed with the conference, they saw the changes in me brought about by attending this brilliant event, for last year the entire family came along as well. Now Florida isn’t somewhere you can just head for a weekend, well not from the UK anyway so we traveled with the intention of attending the conference but also having some magical Disney time too.
I was delighted to present a plenary session last year with my daughter on ‘Parent and child dynamics and multiplicity’, even my sons contributed to the presentation so it was a truly family affair. The presentation was well received and I know helped others trying to deal with the whole issue of family dynamics and D.I.D. My children truly believe that there are positives as well as challenges to having a parent who is multiple and I needed to hear that too in all honesty.
Attending last year allowed all of us an opportunity to learn more, and to understand from each others perspectives, it was once again an awesome experience. Its hard to explain how much this conference means to me but its as if I have found a place where I feel ok to be me, without worrying about being judged or standing out. I have met people who I now regard as my friends, and who this year I will really miss. As the conference has drawn nearer I regret not being able to attend and so wish that this weekend I was sitting in that hotel close to Downtown Disney, learning, healing and having fun.
If you want to know more about An Infinite mind their contact information is available in the resources section of this blog, to learn more about the Healing Together conference watch the video below. Whilst it might be too late for you to attend this year, the conference will run next year, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
For someone like me to travel a few thousand miles to attend a conference on Dissociative Disorders it has to be good, others must agree too as this conference is now truly international, with attendees from a number of countries. I for one can’t bear the thought of missing the conference again next year and so I have already penciled the dates into my diary, as soon as I can my flights for 2015 will be booked. Maybe I’ll see you there too.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014