i had a great apt with dr. barry yesterday. we mostly talked about me starting the independent living skills course. i told her i have been trying to implement some things so that uncontrollable switching does not occur during the day while we are working on the classes, because the staff at the residential centre where I’ll be living are only trained to work with disabled people, they arent trained to work with mental illness. although there will be at least 3 of us with mental illnesses living there. i know this because two of the other girls who live there told me they struggle with mental illnesses. but anyways. i dont want the younger parts coming out at inappropriate times. i am going to work next week in therapy on implementing some strategies to avoid this if i can. i will make a team of insiders me and a few others, who will participate in the classes during the day. i think that will be the best thing to do. then the kids can come out in the evenings when we’re alone in our apartment. they can watch tv, play games on our phone, blog etc. that way its fair and everyone gets to have time out in the body. dr. barry thought this was a great idea. we talked about my anxiety around starting. i am a little anxious but i suppose thats to be expected. i know there is going to be six of us doing the course, 3 guys and 3 girls. the thing I am most anxious about is using public transport. I just have no confidence, despite my trainer nathalie telling me that she thinks i’d be fine and be able to do it with no problems. when my mental illness got severe some years back i stopped doing routes with my dog, i didnt go anywhere alone, i always took a taxi places etc. i’m determined that on this independent living skills course that I will change this. I want my independence back again, plus also if I dont tackle it now, when it comes time for Nitro to retire they will not give me a new dog. I just have to be brave and face my fears head on. Wish me luck guys.
my motive in writing this post is to explain what did is. did, or dissociative identity disorder is the mental illness, or one of them, that I struggle with. did used to be called multiple personality disorder or mpd. the diagnosis name was changed to dissociative identity disorder in the early 90’s. when you have did you can be known as a system of alters or parts. there is the host, or the birth person, and then there are the alters, or parts. everyone shares the body. when you change from one part to another its called switching. you may have seen the tv show united states of tara, did is not really portrayed well in that show. the media flaunts it as usual. switching is not really as bizarre or outrageous as its made out to be in that show. alters can be any age and of both genders. you can even have alters who are non human, animals, or inanimate objects. we do not in our system have alters who are inanimate objects, but we do have a couple animal alters. there are many different types of alters, including protectors, child alters, angry parts, age sliders, teens, adults, we have darks, these are alters whose role was to work against the system. some can be self destructive. did can be a crazy roller coaster ride. some days it can be a challenge to live with. but when things are stable and everyone is happy it can be a blessing. there is always someone in the system to do what you cannot. dissociation is a tool I used to survive. I needed to survive abuse, and dissociation helped me immensely to go on living.
dr. barry and I had a great chat yesterday. I told her I’d applied for the job of a peer support worker. She knew about the job. And she was very supportive of me applying. She did say she felt it would be a challenging role. But she said it was only challenging because its a new initiative. And when new initiatives come on stream, they are challenging for all employees. She said it would be good if I was able to speak to someone either in this country or in another country who’d already worked in a similar role. I hadnt thought of doing that. It is something to consider. She said it will be a challenge working with other service users, and also working with other mental health professionals who may not have worked in this type of role before. They might be set in their ways, so it might take them some time to adjust to this way of working. I know she’s right. I’m up for the challenge though. She said she just did not want my mental health to be compramised in any way. But she feels if its something I am passionate about that I should go for it. I’m so happy she is supporting me. Everything is good right now and I’d really like to have it stay that way for a while. The fact that I’ve done this is giving me purpose. A reason to be happy. A reason to feel good. She said if I dont get it she knows I’ll be disappointed but that she hopes it wont devastate or overwhelm me. I dont think it is going to though. I think I am just happy to try for it. If I get it of course I’ll be ecstatic. If I dont yeah I’ll be disappointed but I wont crumble. We spent most of the appointment talking about the role and what it would be like for me to work. I dont think I’m done talking about it yet. I told her about the last therapy session we’d had. About how we are working on me being there for the younger insiders and being more mindful of switching and when and how that happens. She thought that was good and a wise idea. We set the next appointment for 10 days time again. That was my choice. I felt able to go 10 days without seeing her. I’m proud that I can do that. Its a huge step for us. I was all dressed up when I went to see her because of it being world mental health day and I was participating in an event for that. She said I looked lovely. I blushed and said thank you. But it felt so good to be complimented by her. I’m very happy with how the appointment went.
we had a great therapy session this past monday. we mostly talked about the possibility of me working. we talked about what would need to be put in place so that our having did would not effect our ability to do the job. that if we get the job of course. heres hoping we will…fingers crossed. we discussed me possibly ageing. eileen said she thought i was really reflective and she felt if i wanted to that maybe it would be a good time to try ageing up from 19 to say 21 and go from there, do it slowly over time. i still dont know how i feel about it so i’m waiting a little longer before i make a final decision. we talked about emily, emily is 12 and has been having some issues with throwing up lately. this is because she is scared of change, and so she is trying to control food and how much food we put into our body. eileen is going to work with her next week some more because we cant have her throwing up its just not a good coping skill. liz was out for a while too this past monday. her and eileen talked about the fact that she is feeling low and quite depressed. she liz is struggling with being 16 and having the emotions of a 16 year old but being stuck in the body of a 36 year old. she is finding it tough to be a teen and she is wondering about her purpose now that she rarely cuts and doesnt drink to numb her feelings. eileen told her that she has plenty to offer the system and working together with me we could form a great team. liz still isnt fully convinced though. we are going to work on putting some groundrules in place about switching and when that can happen. i told eileen i want to work on being more in control and not allowing the littles to just switch out when they feel like it as it can be problematic and actually quite dangerous. i need to work on presenting as a competent adult. i keep thinking that people can see some huge differences in us when we are out in the world or talking to outsiders but eileen reassured me that actually no that they dont, that i present as normal and you’d never know i had did or insiders if you werent told. i’m glad about that because if i am to have any chance at this job opportunity i need to be focused and present fluidly and as a competent person. it was a good session though and i feel we got quite a lot accomplished.
the interview with the police went well. the two officers who came to my house were very nice. they told me they were specialists in interviewing people who have difficulty making a statement to the police. they reassured me that i didnt have to go ahead if i didnt want to. that they werent there to pressure me into talking. that if it was too much for me and too stressful that they understood. i told them that because of the did i was very stressed and anxious about talking to them. it helped that they’d read the report that dr. barry did before they came to my house. so what we did was this. i didnt go ahead and make a statement. instead they wrote a few lines saying that it was too stressful for me at this time due to my did and due to the fact we were really fearful of our abuser. then after they wrote that one of them read it back to me and i signed it and we left it at that. i am happy with the outcome. they had told me that if they investigated that it could possibly go to court and i’d have had to give evidence in court. there is no way i could do that. i know for a fact that it would cause switching and a whole lot of stress. so i think i did the right thing for now. they told me that in the future if i need anything to go directly to them. and if i changed my mind in the future the file would still be there but for now it wont go any further. that is a relief to us.
so on friday of this week i am going to be doing a case conference to educate the junior doctors on did. basically that means that my case history will be presented, to all the doctors both consultants and junior doctors, and all of their teams, that is, social workers, clinical nurse therapists, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists etc. for my part i will be interviewed on what its like to have did. what its like to live with a did diagnosis.
i am actually looking forward to it. i am not in the least bit nervous. dr. barrys junior doctor dr. wall is going to be interviewing me. dr. barry has already told me what i will be asked. so i know what to expect and am prepared.
she wants me to tell them about how i came to the knowledge of my did, like, how it felt for me during the early years, and she also wants me to tell them about switching, and how sometimes you can switch spontaneously, and sometimes it is out of your control and you arent aware of what is going on and how it is to come back having had that happen. she also wants me to give some pieces of advice on how best they can help me when i am in a crisis.
this should be interesting. i plan on telling them that did is not a game or just to get attention, it is a serious and often debilitating disorder. i also plan on telling them that in a crisis its so important to listen, really listen to what is being said and hear what i am saying.
i hope i do justice to the disorder and come across as articulate and clear and that they will learn something from my interview.