It is hard to come to terms with having DID, learning about all these other parts of yourself, while confronting the unproductive ways you have learned to cope with the world at the same time.  Usually working on the dysfunctional behaviors comes when memory work is on hold for a time or when it is over.  You can put memory work on temporary hold to do emergency work on a special behavior that is a significant problem, such as suicidality, sexual acting out, physical acting out, etc.  Sometimes hospitalization is the only recourse to keep you safe, i.e., when you are a true danger to yourself or others.  We were dangerously suicidal approximately 5 times and needed to be hospitalized to keep ourself safe, early on in treatment.  We didn't want to go into the hospital, but we realized that we couldn't promise to keep ourselves safe.  It was a hard choice to make, but one we were grateful for when we were feeling better. 

It took us a while to learn that we could put those suicide plans on hold and not have to act on them right away.  We could set them aside for days or even weeks.  Gradually the need to die became a wanting to die which we walked around with for years.  We walked around wanting to die, wishing to die for over 7 years straight.  Antidepressants took away the need to act on that desire, but not the desire itself.  We have recently only gradually begun to feel like living! 

Living with Chronic Unremitting Depression is difficult.  We still have days when we have little cause to live.  We still have extremely low energy, have difficulty going about the business of daily activities of living even.  Cleaning our apartment is a Herculean task that takes days spread out over weeks - one or two days a week for a couple of hours, when we are good.  Cooking is a cause for lots of pats on the back.  We are not the most social person.  We socialize at church, with people in our apartment building, with a few friends and family on the phone.  We have one friend who lives near enough to visit, and we see her about once every 2 months.  Yes we tend to isolate, and don't feel comfortable with new people.  This has to do with the shame feelings we are working on.     

We go out usually only when we have to due to extreme anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) that makes us hypervigilant and increases our startle reflex to the max.  Driving is something we do only with an anti-anxiety agent, tiny dose, and prayer!  It works.  We can go to the grocery store or wherever and do what needs to be done and get home without any panic attacks.  

We are still dealing with our tendency to rationalize things.  Life cannot be rationalized away all the time.  The unexpected happens, people have emotional moments in their lives that have an effect on our life.  We do not always react in the best possible way, although we try hard and have improved drastically since being diagnosed and treated for Bipolar Disorder.  Life is easier now with this new treatment.  We also use a light for SAD ( Seasonal Affective Disorder).  

We are living proof that being multiple is not the end of the world or fatal or the end of life.  We enjoy going to the movies, going shopping with a friend, attending parties in our apartment building, or church ward.  We have a cooperative multiple system that is co-conscious and therefore don't have much unplanned switching of the host personality.  We encourage any of you who are DID to be as social as possible, to go out with friends, to be as discrete as possible about being DID due to the stigma attached to it.  We are still looked upon as something contageous or harmful to others.  It is a shame that mental illness still is looked upon with such fear and ignorance in this day and age.        

We still have a considerable number of insiders, over 30.  Our host's age is mid fifties, and we are still in therapy dealing with the after effects of the abuse we endured as children and young adults.  It has been a long uphill road since that first discovery at age 42.  We have come a long way on this journey, and have far yet to go.  We will keep traveling until we are satisfied that we have come far enough and are content with where we are in our life.  Who knows where that will take us, or how long?  But we refuse to allow others to dictate what is the "perfect" outcome for us.  We will know it when we get there.  We have integrated many personalities at this point and have some that want to integrate still waiting for the right time to do so.  Where will this leave us?  I don't know, but we will find out when it happens.  We have learned patience living with this illness.  Nothing happens overnight with DID, you learn to wait for things to work through. 

We don't think that total integration is the only answer to the best outcome for DID treatment.  It is whatever is best for the individual system, that is the best answer.  I have not met anyone, personally, who has integrated totally.  Then, again, I have only met a few people with DID.  It is not as common as Bipolar Disorder or other illnesses.  We are working to integrate our child insiders first, then adults.  However, that order could change.  Nothing is written in stone.  We need our children to deal with the shame from childhood effectively, so there is no integration going on at present.  Only they can remember with clarity how it felt and what was said or done, so they are necessary for the healing process to be effective.

When dealing with the shame, only one memory came up at first.  The child was two years old, so the feelings were the basis of the memory, and they were intense.  We spent the greater portion of the session dealing with allowing the feelings to be felt, because they could not be allowed to be felt and processed at the time they were generated as it was too dangerous to our physical safety.  Had we reacted in any way physically, we would have been further abused for it.  It was difficult to sit in a room with an observer (therapist) feeling that shame.  Trying not to let our cheeks burn as hers did, not to cringe small trying to disappear as she did, not to move our hands to put our clothes back in place as she was doing.  That the observer was male made it worse somehow, as the abuser had been male also.  This was only the part of remembering that we did in the office.  There was more remembering since then done at home, spontaneously since the session, which is how remembering goes for us.  This is how memories are processed - until all the remembering of all the parts of it are brought back to consciousness and put together.  When that is all done and the whole thing is together, then we can put the memory into the past where it belongs.  This is what is done with each memory. 

This is why healing is so hard and takes time.  This is why the person remembering can be irritable, easily startled, "difficult" and just moody at times.  It is not easy processing memories.  It is like reliving parts of the memory all over again until all the pieces are fitted together and can finally be laid to rest.  The person doing this work deserves respect for their efforts to heal.  It is tiring and nerver jarring to say the least.  If you know someone who is doing this, even if they are not DID, please respect their efforts to heal from whatever has hurt them.  It takes bravery to face this road of healing, cowards don't make it.  They stay very very ill until they decide to work on healing.  Or some manage to deny all of it and function sort of partially normal to a degree, but are never the same.  Some of us who work on healing will not the same when the work is done.  Then we are not the same but a more evolved and grown up version of ourselves.  To be the same would negate all the work we have put into dealing with memories and dysfunctional behaviors, work that has cost us a large portion of our life.  Please be patient with us, we are a work in progress. 

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