Blogging – an outlet to vent, evaluate and reflect.

Just over a year ago I began writing this blog, it started out as a way for me to help tell the community where I live and others that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. I wanted people to understand what it is like living with the legacy of trauma and abuse, to live with D.I.D. I also wanted to publicly celebrate that fact I had managed to spend four years free of hospital admissions something which I felt a great sense of achievement in.

Today the blog has grown and I am amazed at just how many people have read and continue to read my posts, after all English was never my best subject at school. I am also pleased that people find my ramblings helpful and informative, it was something that I hoped I’d achieve but wasn’t sure would happen.

A year on and I know people in my community who read my blog do find it helpful, helpful to understand me, this person who well seemed different. I am the person who they know is forgetful, loses things frequently, seems distance and vague at times; as if not recognising them, and whose mood changes frequently. Initially I tried really hard to try and hide the fact I had D.I.D, or indeed that I’d spent a period of time in psychiatric institutions of one guise or another. Yet it soon became apparent that some people were recognising the signs of chaos and confusion that are a part of my life living with D.I.D.

It’s funny how just telling people face to face seemed too difficult, but the blog allowed me an opportunity to do so. I post my blog on various forms of social media including my own facebook account and so friends from the village soon became aware it was me writing. I believe writing the blog has helped others understand me as a person, and today people will tell me they’ve read particular posts and have found them interesting, most of all no one has yet crossed the road to avoid me.

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But I can’t help wondering if still today people truly understand me, my life and the struggles which we have faced and still face. You see having D.I.D doesn’t just impact on the day to day things in life, it’s the whole concept that invades your being. I’m slowly realising that despite thinking I understood I had this diagnosis, in truth I only did logically because deep down I desperately tried for ages to deny the reality. The reality of course was that I had been abused, that I had grown up as a fragmented individual as a result of the trauma. It’s only in the past year I think I am finally started to come to terms with the legacy of my past.

It’s a legacy that has altered the entire direction of the past four decades, it’s thrown me into the pit of despair and spewed me out the other side. It’s a legacy that to this day causes me to carry deep wounds, which still hurt today. I have encountered things in my life I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy, and the impact upon me and my family has been immense.

I have spent a lifetime dissociating from the hurt and pain of the past and now slowly a step at a time I am reconnecting with the past hidden deep within me. I still find I can’t deal with certain issues without resorting to automatic negative behaviours which hinder me, such as blocking feelings and emotions that then leads to me to becoming overwhelmed. I also find trusting others difficult, it’s hard to accept not all people want to cause me harm, or judge me. Saying ‘No’ to someone still provokes deep anxiety, as for years saying No wasn’t an option I was afforded.

Today I have to forcible make myself face these fears, I have to restrict my diary and keep time free for me, and for my alters the other parts of me. I have to ensure I juggle the needs of all of me that means if I do something serious like a meeting on one day, then the next will be a day of rebalancing my needs, be that having fun, doing art etc. This is my way of ensuring I keep myself on track and limit/manage as much as is humanly possibly the dissociating that is a part of my life.

I doubt many will understand the need for me a grown women to watch cartoons, eat peppa pig jelly or bob the builder spaghetti. I doubt people; who don’t understand me, will grasp this concept of differing needs, yet it is my reality. It is as much a part of the legacy as are the years wasted in psychiatric institutions or the periods of crisis when we were failed.

A year on and yes writing is educating others about the complexities of my life and it has been helpful in lots of other ways too. Most of all though it offers me an outlet to vent, to reflect and evaluate, to remember and to rationalise this life we lead, this life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

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Parenting myself – dealing with my Mr Angry

Parenting myself – dealing with my Mr Angry

I have realised that I avoid my feelings, I shut them down and block them as much as I can in the hope of avoiding them. Why do I avoid them, well as a child it wasn’t acceptable for me to cry or to complain and there were consequences if I dared to show any emotions. That legacy of never learning to deal with my feelings means today I simply can’t cope with them.

However I am slowly realising what happens if you block emotions and it is not good, blocking anger for example means that when I am least expecting it and something incidental goes wrong out pops ‘mr angry’ in all his glory. It’s basically an extreme response to something that really does not require an extreme response and it’s never good. Now don’t get me wrong I am never angry physically it’s usually either a verbal outburst that lasts a few minutes or anger directed inwards at myself.

This week I started my virtual therapy session (I had therapy via a phone call) with the statement ‘it’s been a difficult week’. As the conversation ensued I admitted that I had had such an angry outburst and I didn’t get why, I wasn’t being untruthful because well I didn’t get why. Eventually discussing the issue further it became clear I was blocking emotions still and this time my own emotions, not ones carried by an alter.

I found myself learning such a great deal about feelings and how as children we learn to deal with our emotions, except to do this a child needs to be parented and nurtured. Sadly in my case that parenting and nurturing just didn’t happen and so I need to learn now. Whilst this maybe 40+ years too late, I’m also learning it’s better late than never.

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I realise that yes I’m angry, but anger just eats away at you and deep down my anger is really sadness, sadness at what I didn’t have, sadness at all the things I lost, the things I suffered. So this week I’m starting to learn to feel my emotions in small tiny steps so as not to overwhelm me. I am scared but I know by giving time to these emotions instead of blocking them, they will in time stop bursting out uncontrollably.

Small manageable steps means experiencing the emotion for no more than five minutes at a time, having plans in place to stop them at that point and doing something to make me smile, to feel safe. So if by chance people see me in the coming weeks and I’m sad please don’t worry it’s just part of life and this particular learning process. Likewise if you see me laughing or smiling at myself in the mirror, I’m just trying to utilise the plans I have to control these feelings without them overwhelming me and being too frightening.

Yes I have a long way to go on my journey of recovery and it’s as much to do with processing trauma and dealing with the emotions contained within the memories, as it is the task of parenting myself. I am teaching myself with help and guidance all those things others take for granted, but which for me seem alien and frightening.

I’m providing me with the nurture I never had, the nurture that my mother never gave and whilst she didn’t serve me well, I can. I can put myself and all my parts back on track and start living the life I would have had the opportunity to lead, if only my past had not be filled with trauma and poor parenting. That seems such a positive, to think despite all the hard work ahead, the anguish and pain which I know need to be dealt with the end result is potentially so great. Maybe that’s what keeps me striving forwards, knowing just what I have to gain and knowing I’m not on this journey alone.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Flashbacks and Body Memories

TRIGGER WARNING : this blog post contains very sensitive information and may be difficult for some people to read. Please exercise self care.

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They come like a sudden storm that catches you unaware, the impact of a flashback or body memory is huge. You’d think after all this time I would be used to them, somehow better able to cope and yet each time they hit I’m still left reeling. Ask any trauma survivor and they will say that they encounter flashbacks, it is a part I believe of the trauma impact. I have faced this nightmare for so long now and yet despite thinking I should be able to cope with them, sadly flashbacks still hurt.

It’s hard to explain to someone who has never encountered one the feelings that I have, or how I feel as a result and yet deep down I think it would help for others to understand. The other night was disrupted by my worst type of flashback one that contained a body memory, my body holding the feelings, senses and fears that it faced sometime in the past.

Imagine if you can the horror, I am recounting possibly for the very first time a memory, it seeps out from behind the amnesic barrier erected inside my mind. Suddenly the memory feels real, not only that, my body is remembering the physical parts of the memory, so physical touches, my bodies reactions, smells and odours. The best way to describe this is to say that at times it feels like we are being assaulted or raped all over again, except to me this maybe the very first time I have been aware of this memory locked deep within. So it feels like I’m being attacked right at that moment and I cannot stop the memory from spewing out it’s contents.

I feel real fear, I feel anguish and distress, the other night my body memory left me feeling like I was dirty and so desperately unclean, that’s not uncommon. Yet in reality I was safe in my own home in the middle of the night, the doors were locked and my son slept nearby in another room. But I felt like he (my abuser) was there, attacking me and yet I had no idea who he was. I could feel him in my bodies memory, I could feel his touch and his force and I couldn’t escape.

Afterwards I was left sitting in my darkened room shaking and desperately sad and I thought he (my abuser) was still able to come back and attack me again. I felt soiled and tarnished, my first thoughts were fearful ones followed by lots of what ifs? What if he is still here, what if he strikes again, what if it was my fault, could it be my fault? I thought about the physical parts of the memory, my body memory and how I reacted. Was it normal to react the way I had when I hated it so much, when I was fearful and yet my body reacted in the way it did. Was this right?

After the initial horror and shock had subsided slightly, I tried to logically tell myself this was a memory, that I was safe, it wasn’t happening now. I tried to tell my mind that I wasn’t being attacked at that very moment but that this was a memory seeping back into my consciousness. Shaking and agitated I sat on my sofa, telling myself and my alters; the other parts of me, that it was ok, we were ok.

Then I tried to tell myself it wasn’t my fault how could it be, this person who had attacked me was far stronger than me. Then I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t unclean, that all the feelings both emotionally and physical were from the past, I was just recounting something that happened to us in the past. It took a while for these thoughts to enter my head and start to resonate, it took a while for me to calm down after my body memory.

I tried to talk to my alters, well to the alter who has carried this memory for me and I tried hard to compassionately reassure them. I want them to know I’m glad to be finally unearthing the truth of my past, that I’m finally breaking down the amnesic barrier. That doesn’t mean it’s easy far from it, but it does mean I’m trying super hard to not freak out each time this happen.

In the beginning when I first began encountering flashbacks I use to freak out big style, I’d scream, I’d self harm and I hated, I hated me, I hated my alters. I can recall so many times when I have sat following a flashback and wondered how on earth I would cope, cope with the memory, I didn’t feel like I could survive. But over time though the flashbacks haven’t lessened or the feelings subside I have become stronger and better equipped to survive them. I’ve learnt to rationalise them and accept they are just memories and that it’s not really happening right now. I’ve learnt to find strength in the knowledge I have already coped with this incident, whatever it maybe, when it happened back in my past.

The horror, the shame and the impact of flashbacks may not have changed over the years, but I have and I’m slowly learning I’m a survivor and I can cope with such horrors. I’m learning it’s ok to feel and to cry, I’m learning that though I may have dissociated in the past when these events happened to us, I’m now ready to face them, slowly and with care.

The other night was difficult, each time I have a flashback or body memory it’s difficult and I doubt it will ever stop being so. I’m realising that these events which happened so long ago have a huge impact upon me today. One day I’ll be able to lessen that impact until then I will keep on trying to cope with them and to survive the repercussions that they contain. Through therapy and trauma work I will learn to lessen their grip on me, I will lessen the intensity of the emotions linked to each one. Well that’s my hope anyway, it’s what helps me to keep going to face another day.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

A year of psychology -what a difference a year makes

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Exactly one year ago today I sat down for the first session with my new psychologist, I can recall the feelings of nervousness and anticipation as I travelled to the appointment. My head was filled with questions, would this work? would it be ok? what if he felt after the settling in period that he couldn’t work with me or vice versa? Its funny how despite meeting him for an assessment a few months earlier I really had no idea what to expect as I walked up to the door. I prayed before that first session and every session since as for me my faith is an integral part of my healing and my life.

That first session was more a general discussion, he told me that I would have 1 hour a week in therapy and so the rest of the week I’d have to implement the techniques we would discuss. He made it clear that he couldn’t make me better, he didn’t had a magic wand and that moving forwards was basically down to me, supported of course by him. He also told me that there would be times when I might find myself not liking him or his advice, but that if I ever felt like that I needed to tell him and we could discuss it.

I came home realising that I had a big task ahead of me, after all there are 168 hours in a week and it’s me and my alters without therapy for 167 of them. Suddenly realising there wasn’t a magic wand wasn’t easy, I guess a part of me had always hoped that therapists like doctors make you well, now I knew that wasn’t the case. But I also felt a sense of optimism in that he treated me like an equal, respected my contribution, saw me as a person and he didn’t seem to judge me.
It certainly wasn’t a me and them scenario that I had come to know so well in mental health services, that was a huge difference.

I came to realise that he uses analogies a lot and over the last year I have learnt quite a few, I also understand; that as uncomfortable as it can sometimes seem, he understands me better than I do at times. Over the past year I’ve kept a diary and looking back through the pages is a visible reminder of just how far I have come.

A year ago the thought of self talk or internal dialogue was alien, I think I thought it was all a bit bonkers back then, today it’s a natural part of my everyday. In fact I wasn’t very good at first it all felt odd, but in the last year I have learnt so much and I now communicate with some of my parts. From what started as a one way stifled conversation as become a huge world changer for me, I now use both verbal and non verbal communication techniques and I have two way conversations with certain alters.

 

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That dialogue has enabled me to begin accepting the reality that I have D.I.D, the reasons behind that namely the trauma and at least starting to understand that it wasn’t me who was responsible. It has enabled me to face the world and begin exploring life in a way I never thought possible. Using dialogue with my alters has enabled me to grow as a person, I will never forget the feelings I felt when I went paddling for the very first time. This wouldn’t have happened without internal dialogue, without support and encouragement from my psychologist who allowed me to believe it was ok to have fun.

Fun is a concept that for me was hard yet now I enjoy my fun days, be that throwing a frisbee, building a sandcastle, doing art or feeding the ducks. I recall that first time I went paddling the one person I wanted to tell was my psychologist, I wanted him to know how euphoric I felt, it’s a feeling I will never forget. Of course my psychologist had also prepared me for the grief and sorrow that would engulf me after the euphoria had dropped away and boy did it hit me like a tidal wave.
I can recall messaging my psychologist and saying it hurt, his response was to remind that no one said healing didn’t hurt. Yet he also encouraged me to really feel and to accept it was ok to cry, to grieve and to hurt it’s all part of the recovery process.

Over the last year I have been allowed to accept and acknowledge my feelings, what they mean and why they happen. I now know I block certain feelings especially sadness and anger and that my childhood dictates today how I think and react to life’s situations. I’m learning I’m a really self critical person and in the words of my psychologist “I need to stop being so hard on myself”. My latest favourite phrase that I’m trying to remember is that I don’t have to be perfect just ‘Good Enough’, I’m sure it sounds easy enough to remember but actually in reality it’s hard to not fall back to my default position of I’m not good enough. Yet my psychologist has persevered and still even this week reminded me again that I’m doing ok.

A year on and I feel like I have been on a journey, one which has at times hurt like never before, recovery from trauma isn’t easy. I’ve learnt so much about me, my thought processes and thinking patterns, as well as much more and I also understand Dissociative Identity Disorder better now. But most of all I now understand more about the other parts of me; my alters and I understand that working with them makes it easier for me. Dissociating and losing time still happens but the aim is that the frequency of losing time will lessen the more I progress.

Progress can be measured in so many ways, for me the past years therapy has equipped me far better to deal with the trauma. It’s allowed me to laugh, to play, to feel bold enough to spend time on my own and to cook tea without dissociating, all things that seemed impossible before. It’s meant learning to feel, to cry, to grieve and to take bold brave steps such as relinquishing control of this body to the alters at safe and appropriate times. This isn’t a monetary target, like those that health service commissioners would understand, for me progress is measured by the improvements in my quality of life. I can see these changes they are tangible and it feels amazing to realise I’m making progress and I’m able to do more now than I ever dared dream a year ago.

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I owe my psychologist so much, because in the last year he has allowed me to begin to reclaim my life, a life stolen from me in childhood. He has enabled me throughout the highs and the lows to feel supported and most of all understood. Knowing there is someone who is skilled enough to help me help myself as I begin to rebuild my life is invaluable. The reality of the past year is I have felt understood, accepted and supported and I feel safe enough in therapy to express my emotions. For the first time I feel safe enough to start to unpack the trauma and I know that I am more able today to deal with that trauma than ever before.

One year on I want people to understand that with the right help, a skilled therapist and appropriate support people like me, people with D.I.D, people with a trauma background can make progress, they can move forwards.

To my psychologist I want to say Thank You, for enabling me to smile, to laugh, to cry, to grow as a person, but most of for encouraging me to believe in myself and make progress, I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

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Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

What is life really like with D.I.D

Decisions, decisions it’s no wonder I hate decisions because I can honestly never please all of me, my alters; the different parts of me all have differing opinions on what is safe or unsafe or what clothes they like and dislike. Having Dissociative Identity Disorder means a constant battle between the different parts of me they have different views on what we should do, what we should wear and who should take control of this body that we all share.

I was thinking this morning of how best to explain what it’s like living with D.I.D and then as I started my day I realised if I explained a bit more about my morning routine and my day it would help those without D.I.D what it’s like living as this person fragmented by my past.

I imagine for most ‘Non D.I.D’ people getting ready in a morning is easy, you probably chose your clothes the night before and so in a morning just get dressed and there isn’t a battle between parts. But for me I stare blankly at my wardrobe and whichever me is prominent chooses the clothes we wear, so some days I find myself wearing trendy outfits, others sensible business like attire and others jeans and a tee-shirt. There are times when as I switch I look at my outfit and think oh no and rush off and get changed into whichever clothes that part of me feels is appropriate. If I try and plan and prepare ahead the night before, it’s not uncommon for me in the morning to look at them and think yikes, a different me has picked these out.

You see its often about pleasing me, the various parts of me and that means lots of compromises to ensure I can wear the right clothes for the right occasion. That means I have to agree to give the other parts of me time when it’s ok for them to be in control and that may mean wearing things I feel uncomfortable in. It’s not uncommon for me to wear a smart outfit with converse shoes, that’s my compromise sometimes it’s a way of letting my younger parts feel less ignored and I get at least to look fairly smart.

Different parts of me prefer different foods and some parts prefer not to eat at all as food is deemed unsafe. At home choosing breakfast is easy we have one set cereal that everyone has now accepted and whilst not a 100% healthy it’s not the worst. Yet if we go away choosing breakfast is a nightmare, the other week there were 7 or 8 cereals to choose from and parts of me wanted the sugar loaded children’s cereal whilst others wanted muesli. I ended up with a bowl filled with a spoonful of two or three different types of cereal, it tasted odd but it pleased most of me.

 

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Organising my time is also a balancing act, if I don’t set time aside for the other parts of me they will take it without warning and make life more chaotic. Setting time aside for them means I have an easier life and whilst I still switch without warning it’s less frequently. But try explaining to someone you are busy on a certain day because it’s cartoon time or painting time for a different part of me, believe me it’s not easy.

Every day I spend chunks of times internally communicating with my alters, it’s not something others see but it happens all the same. In fact I’m now able to communicate inside when I am out with other people and still I manage to hide the fact to the outside world. So if I’m sat in a meeting and I sense a little part of me is getting bored and more noisy in my head I can talk to them. It’s not uncommon for me to acknowledge them and give concessions for time later if they just let me stay up front a little longer. It doesn’t always work but it’s worth the effort to try especially if it means I get to stay up front and in control of this body we share even if it’s only for five minutes more.

Trying to stay up front and in control is not an easy task and it’s draining physically and emotionally, I prefer to be in control if I’m brutally honest. I have had to learn to let go, to let other parts of me take control and for me to take a back seat at these times and I don’t find it easy. However I now can let the little parts of me have cartoon time, sometimes I manage to watch side by side so I’m aware but not in charge. But when I lose time it’s frustrating and annoying and yet often it’s more about me not allowing them to have time in a structured planned way, that’s the cause of this problem.

It’s an odd feeling watching another part of me undertaking art for example, it’s odd to watch this body performing a task, especially when I am not in control. I have absolutely no control over my own body at these times, another part of me does and yes it feels weird and it’s surreal.

Every morning I spend time internally explaining and negotiating our day, I have realised not doing this means I suffer. I suffer by losing time, more frequent switching, more episodes of amnesia, more chaos and more confusion. But yet there are times when just because of circumstances there isn’t the time to do this dialogue and there are times when I try and ignore my alters, as part of an act of defiance and denial.

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Dialogue is important and so I also spend time thanking them and acknowledging them for their help and co-operation, for I know without this my life would be far more difficult. If I get a good nights sleep I thank those parts who find night time difficult, if I manage to shop without buying another children’s book I say thank you too. But I also concede at times to so I came home the other day with a ‘Peppa Pig’ jelly in my food shopping and I’m quite often found watching ‘Postman Pat’ last thing at night as a way of settling little parts down.

Many people may find my life confusing, odd and perhaps peculiar but for me it’s just who I am, you see I am slowly coming to terms with the fact I am a fragmented individual. If doing all these things means I feel less stressed, less chaotic and less confused then they are worth doing.

To those who find what I do or how I live my life weird or odd, I want to just say that perhaps if you had lived my life, my childhood you’d understand. If you would like to walk one day in my shoes and endure the internal chaos that is my life, my life with Dissociative Identity Disorder then I’m sure you wouldn’t criticise or condemn or judge.

Having life with with D.I.D is different and I’m learning being different is ok, being who I am is ok, I’m learning to accept my differences and my alters and I guess I’m finally learning to say I have D.I.D, so what.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Female Abusers

Please be aware the content of this blog may cause distress to some as it contains sensitive information. Please exercise self care.

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Sometimes words we utter strike a chord deep down, it’s as if they go straight to the core of our being. The other day words describing the situation in my childhood were uttered, they have continued to resonate in my mind over these last few days. It’s hard when the past leaves such a legacy and yet it’s time that past was shattered, the strength it holds over me broken.

I had been talking about how I had been betrayed by the person who is my biological female parent, it was through tears that I talked of her failings and the reality of that time. I found myself asking questions, did she always hate me, did she ever love me, what was it I did wrong, but invariably it led to the one big question WHY? WHY Me?

I know I can’t explain it in any other way than to say that she was not a very nice person, in fact if truth be known she was never going to love me, never going to care for me and even before I was born these things were decided. She was unable to love, unable to care and unable to see me as anything more than an object such was the evilness within her.

Yet she gave birth to me and many would say that my mis-fortune was that I was born to this woman in these circumstances. But I also know that without her body I wouldn’t be here, my children wouldn’t be here, so it is strangely mixed feelings that I sometimes feel. I think once I use to love her and once I desperately sought her loving me back but then things changed and I began to realise just how much this woman hated me. I began to realise how she saw me, not as a child, not as a human being but instead as an object and a commodity.

I hate the very fact she felt she could treat me the way she did, I still cannot comprehend how any woman would behave in the way she did. Yet society has fuelled this disbelief for few people imagine a woman could harm her child in this way. My female biological parent was just a body that carried me into this world, she was never a mother, she never cared for me and she wasn’t able to show me mercy or care. The dysfunctional beliefs she held were nothing short of perverse and evil and she held views many people including myself will never fully understand, views that were skewed and utterly wrong.

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This woman like many other women was an abuser, she didn’t show love or affection she showed abuse, anger, rage, hatred, you name it she showed it. This woman who once carried me didn’t seem to have any maternal instinct, she didn’t see a new born baby she saw one thing an object she hated and one she could use and use to good effect. Growing up I wasn’t her child, I was her possession, I was controlled and owned by this woman and I had absolutely no rights, no choice and I wasn’t allowed such things as free will or opinions. I sat the other night and thought of her and how she would bark out orders to me and my older half siblings. If she said jump people would ask how high, if she said go – you went.

Yet to the outside world this woman was seen in my guises, and to the professionals involved in my childhood, the teachers, the doctors, the social workers and the psychologists she was one of two things. The poor woman struggling to cope with this difficult child and living in difficult circumstances or the problem that no one knew what to do with. She was able to convince many with her lies that she was the victim, she was unwell and yet she was doing her best, it wasn’t her fault I had yet another bruise, or another injury of some kind and my behaviours or symptoms had nothing to do with her. Some people fell for her lies and I was too afraid to correct them instead I just stayed silent and nodded my head, I didn’t tell them she abused me, who would have believed me if I had?

But some professionals saw through her lies and yet they still failed to protect me, they left me living in an intolerable situation and basically ignored what was going on in front of their very eyes. They saw things, they knew she was the cause of my extreme nervousness, anxiety, tension, stomach cramps, physical injuries, emotional scars and a mountain of other things too, but they didn’t step in and help me. Instead they left me living in this nightmare and they doped me up on medication to make it more bearable ‘for this poor unfortunate child’ these are the words they used to describe me in medical letters and reports.

This woman was at the time untouchable it seemed and I grew up knowing that this horror was my life and there was no escape, well except to dissociate which is what I did on many occasions. This woman wasn’t my only abuser but she was the key to it all, she was the person who controlled the access other people had to me and she benefitted from others abusing me.

There are words that I keep hearing in my head currently that seem to just not want to let me go, that resonate inside me and tear at my heart. Words that basically sum up how this woman saw me, treated me and felt about me. Those words are ‘my mother prostituted me’. I don’t know if people today will believe me or not, to be honest I don’t care what others think, I know the truth and the truth needs to be set free.

I need to be set free from the past and that past is worse than most peoples worst nightmare, I so desperately wish it wasn’t but I can’t change what happened, or the things done to me. I cannot change how she hated me or how she viewed me it’s too late to change who she was. This was my reality it doesn’t have to be the legacy I take forward, I can choose my future and the hold she has over me. I can break free from the fear I once held, the fear of a woman who despised me, who hated me and who basically throughout my childhood sold me to whoever was willing to pay.

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I’m currently struggling to come to terms with the starkness of the reality, I am slowly realising that all I was worth to my mother was the price people were willing to pay. It’s hard to come to terms with the pain this truth holds, even though I know it’s true beyond doubt, it hurts. It is like someone is stabbing at my heart and trying to tear it to shreds, it’s an all-consuming pain that’s how much it hurts.

All I ever wanted as a child was to be loved, accepted and cared for, I got that from my father but not my mother. That isn’t my fault the blame for this lies with her not me the child who was robbed of her innocence. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact I am not to blame, but it’s not an easy road to journey along.

However unpalatable it maybe to society, females do abuse, they physically, psychologically and sexually abuse children. Female offenders are not uncommon yet somehow society seems less willing to accept this truth, it’s time attitudes changed so victims like me have a fighting chance of getting help and support to break free from the women who hurt them. It’s time we realised mothers can be the perpetrators of abuse.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

Is My Care Plan Written About A Stranger?

When your care plan doesn’t reflect you and your needs

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There are times when I feel Mental Health professionals just do not understand Dissociative Identity Disorder and what it’s like to live with it. There are times when I feel that I am judged by my time in hospital and it appears assumptions rather than facts about me rule the day. Unfortunately the arrival of my much awaited care plan signalled it was one of those times. It’s clear from reading the document which outlines my care needs, the interventions put in place and potential signs of relapse, people still need educating about D.I.D.

I knew it was unlikely to be positive when the boxes which stated I and my carer or significant other had been involved in developing the plan were marked ‘ Yes’ . This is the first time I have seen a care plan in over a year and neither I nor my family have been consulted about it at all. More frustratingly I guess is the fact we have only received a copy because we have asked repeatedly if one still existed.

It seemed strange to see a note attached to the plan which my care coordinator had written saying ‘we can discuss any amendments on my next visit’, amendments I thought, I want to re write the whole darn thing! Yes it’s that bad really, which is sad given I’ve been with this particular team for over 8 years and they know about my diagnosis. It’s even more bewildering given that some though perhaps not my current care coordinator have been given specific training on Dissociative disorders.

I’m more conscious though of the glaring misconceptions that stare at out at me, the plan has a list of skills and support they expect my PA’s to provide none of which mention dealing with my alters; the many parts of me. The person who employs my PA’s hasn’t been consulted about these either so was rather taken aback when I showed them the care plan. My PA’s are now meant to be specialist mental health care providers apparently, of course they aren’t, because to have this would cost far more than the Local Authority will fund. But my PA’s do provide valuable help, support and assistance on a day to day basis and they help deal with and interact with the many parts of me. That’s a skill in itself and one that needs to be recognised…but it is not even mentioned in the plan.

My community mental health team seem to think I can just stop switching, on command! The plan states ‘carol to undertake independent activities where she is required to remain in an adult state’. I liked the word ‘required’ it seems so out of sync with what it is like living with D.I.D, after all I can try and manage my time, juggle the needs of the various parts of me but I can’t just switch off the switching. Yes I try at times to stay focused, it takes a great deal of effort, I know I still switch from one adult me to another and at times will suddenly descend into a child part. I’m working hard to work in cooperation, watch and observe as little parts of me take control of this body we share, but I have no ability to ‘remain’ in an adult state at command. It’s simply not yet a feasible option.

I’m quite good at covering it up and people who don’t know me well may not even notice the switches that take place, but that’s the same for most people I know with D.I.D. The majority of people I interact with don’t notice the internal struggles that go on constantly as I try and remain at least aware of what my parts are doing. But I’m still losing time, I’m still having periods each day when I wonder what the hell I have been doing. I have to balance my time and my days to try and give myself a fighting chance each day and yet they expect me to just on command remain adult. I wanted to laugh because they refer to the time I don’t have care and they assume I stay adult me in this time. This is more than half my week and yet they assume I can just be an adult! I think they might be surprised if they saw me at these times, because their assumptions are so far of reality it’s quite sad.

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Take for instance the other day I had no PA’s I watched cartoons well my little me’s did, and then we had breakfast which was chocolate. (I observed but had no control). Then I lost time, apparently I snoozed and had a mid morning nap before even more cartoons. The rest of the day I switched from one part to another and back again, some were adult parts, some teens and some little parts. I think I failed if they expect me to ‘remain adult’ oh well I live with D.I.D., the professionals clearly don’t understand it.
The plan goes on to talk about how my daughter and I are meant to monitor and report back any risky behaviours and it says ‘ increase periods of stabilisation and reduce the risks of self harm or harm to others’ I have never harmed others, the only person I ever hurt was myself. I find this assumption so offensive, just because I have self harmed, just because I have been in secure hospital settings does not mean I have ever been a risk to others! How dare these people treat me as if I maybe a risk. I’m going to be asking for their proof that I have ever been a risk to others because I know I haven’t and I want the comment removed.

The plan outlines my signs of relapse, well given the signs they suggest are indicative of a relapse I should be in a hospital right now. Well dissociating on a daily basis is deemed a sign of relapse and having flashbacks is too. I’m doomed if these stay on my list, I have D.I.D for goodness sake of course I will dissociate! I also want to know which individual never has arguments with their family, because if I do it’s a sign of relapse. Yes seriously the signs are so silly even my family are dumbfounded by them.

Finally there is that solutions box to relapse, it’s great even though I have no PRN medication it’s listed as a technique to use. But worst of all 5 years after my last hospital admission the threat of readmission still remains, the plan states ‘if risks continue to escalate to a level above carols ability to cope in the community consider hospital admission’ why? Surely there has to be other solutions first, maybe extra therapy. They assume increased dissociating is a risk, with such signs in the plan I can’t win, if relapse and risk are dissociating, if it’s having arguments with my family how can I win. I have a dissociative disorder of course I will dissociate and when I’m stressed or have increased anxiety I will dissociate more frequently. That doesn’t mean I need to be locked away in a hospital. It means I need help maybe support to deal with the stress and the anxiety, why do mental health professionals still look at the problem they can see and not the cause.

My plan is an absolute joke, it’s so poor it’s insulting and as I maybe changing teams soon it needs more than ever to be right. I don’t need a battle right now I want them to just get it right, to understand me and my D.I.D, is that too much to ask?

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014