Sharing an abuser with someone famous doesn’t make it any better

When I first started reading the New York Times op ed piece of someone famous recounting how they were abused growing up, my heart started tightening with each word on the page.

I knew, with every word written describing her abuse, and not naming her abuser, she was literally describing one of my many abusers. My chest was tight, and I was barely breathing.

I felt frozen. My mind was alternating between paralysis and flashbacks of this man we shared as our abuser.

She was able to describe every despicable detail of this man and how he started sexually abusing her when she was 14.

My mind was flashing back to a day of being in this man’s van, in my childhood neighborhood, watching in terror out the front of the van window as my mother and this abuser argued outside it. They were arguing about me, and something my mom wanted in exchange for me. I was only 7 or 8 years old.

This was a habit of my narcissistic, sadistic mother. She would trade me to men for things she wanted from them. I think she usually got whatever it was she wanted.

By the time I was in the van watching this “heated negotiation” go down, I was already broken by all the abuse I had previously endured.

My being was silent and resigned to this way of life.

As I write this, I can feel this disgusting man on top of me. His sweaty skin touching me. He was a pig.

My mom got what she wanted from this man for a couple of years. She wanted this former Olympian and pillar of the community to coach one of my brothers to become an Olympic swimmer.

I was excited for my brother because he could have made it to the Olympics. He was a great swimmer, and still has the body of a great swimmer some 40 or so years later. The chaos and pain of our lives derailed those plans.

For this negotiation to work out between the coach and my mom, I had to be on the swim team, too. Sadly, I was a pathetic swimmer, but had to get in the pool with some of the best swimmers who also wanted to be Olympians.

With each lap my weak body swam during those practices, I cried and screamed and wished I was dead while I went from one end of the pool to the other. Sometimes I would swim to the bottom of the pool and try to will myself into staying down for good.

Sometimes I focused all my attention on the cheeseburger I was going to get at the snack bar afterward. Food was scarce for me in those days, so it was a luxurious treat I wasn’t accustomed to.

By this point in my life, I was lost, alone, and like a robot. I didn’t feel human, and thought I was already dead floating around the planet with seemingly no control over my life. I had no one to turn to. It was just me, on my own, in a very cruel world.

My life has always felt ruined because no matter how many years pass, the horrific abuse I experienced is still there. My mind holds it alive for me and won’t let it die.

But, to read this famous person’s account of her awful abuse by this man, I felt terrible. I think she has always struggled to get people to believe her because no one wants to believe this Olympian and pillar in the community also molested children.

I don’t care if anyone believes me. It doesn’t matter to me in my healing.

I reached out to the famous person by sending her a message on Facebook with the intention of validating her by telling her he abused me, too. I never thought of anything past that.

The next day, one of her employees contacted me through Facebook saying the famous person wanted to talk to me.

At first, I was like sure, here’s my info. Then I felt panic and fear sink in. What had I done? I know better than to talk publicly about my abuse while my mom is still alive. It is more than forbidden.

A couple of hours later as I was at a baseball camp with my son, I see a call from Los Angeles come in. I listen to the message and it was her. The tears welled up inside me as this brought this particular abuse front and center in my soul.

I felt pathetic and ashamed because I didn’t even feel worthy enough to speak to her. Not because she is famous, but because I am so ashamed of me and my abuse history.

She has the courage to speak up because she is strong and has made something of her life. She can remember every detail of her story.

I grew up like a piece of garbage to my family. I was disposable as they let my life unfold the way it did. I never mattered to them, so often I don’t believe I matter to anyone but my children.

How can I explain to this strong, courageous woman that I am so worthless as a human being that my own mother facilitated my abuse with our shared abuser?

I can’t just join the “me too” campaign and rock on with my sisters in the world who admitted their abuse.

There is only a small minority of the world who understands the type of childhood I had, and the baggage that goes with it.

My mind shattered. I am not whole. I am a 50 year old woman who lives her life with different “parts” of myself who helped me survive the never-ending abuse of my childhood.

My brain and spirit are ruined most days. I continue to fight and believe that one day I might recover from the brutal experiences of my life.

It’s interesting. I have learned there are those who have been abused who want to punish their abusers, and there are those of us who are only trying to hold onto our lives and have no expectations of trying to get justice because holding onto life is hard enough.

Sadly, Justice left me the moment I was born. Justice is overwhelming and complicated for me. It is not for me.

In the end, I am fairly sure there is no real justice for any of us who have been abused, because you cannot change the lost innocence and the damage done to those of us who manage to carry on with our scarred lives.

The Benefits of Neurofeedback for the Traumatized Brain

Neurofeedback

Let me begin by saying I am a huge believer in the amazing benefits of neurofeedback for everyone. In fact, if you were around me daily, you would probably hear me griping about why neurofeedback is not done in every doctor and therapist office in the country, and the madness of insurance companies not wanting to pay for this very effective tool for so many ailments.

I was first introduced to neurofeedback this past Summer when I had gone to an “integrative” treatment center for trauma. As someone who was becoming more and more frustrated by the short-comings of talk-therapy alone, I was looking for something that would address the entire mind-body-spirit of my being.

I have experienced severe childhood abuse, which resulted in a lifetime of wrestling with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, and Anxiety.

Many of us would like to believe that once we escaped the childhood abuse, we are free to live a happy life. What most people don’t speak about is the lifelong affects severe childhood abuse has on a person’s brain and physical health, which contributes to the lifetime of struggling with various forms of mental illness as a result.

I have been in treatment for my severe trauma on-and-off for 28 years. I think during that period most people in the field of treating trauma would agree with me that they haven’t always known what they are doing with treating trauma.

Today, so much more research has been done to show more effective ways of treating trauma. For instance, EMDR has solid research behind it as a very effective tool to help many trauma survivors process their trauma faster, which means many people are not stuck with the aftereffects of trauma for their entire life. This is huge, but not always told or offered to trauma survivors. Though, to be fair, trauma survivors are more likely to stumble across EMDR than they are neurofeedback.

If you read a lot about trauma, or are in the field, you should be aware of the cutting-edge trauma experts like Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Dan Siegel, Pat Ogden, and Stephen Porges. There are a lot of other so-called experts out there, but most of them are what I would term “old school,” as they have not embraced the significant importance of addressing the mind-body-spirit when attempting to help people with trauma. They are sticking mainly to talk-therapy only as an approach, and this is a horrible disservice to those who have been traumatized.

I live on the East Coast, and found myself not making any progress with the swamp of trauma symptoms I was stuck in while I was doing extensive talk therapy only. I decided after doing a lot of research to head to California to get help with my trauma symptoms that were so severe I wasn’t able to function in my life. I was desperate as I had been in bed for 17 months, and generally not participating in my life,

After arriving in California, I quickly had an entirely new vocabulary for trauma treatments, and I was open to just about everything. I am tempted to go into all the different therapies here, but I want to stay focused on the neurofeedback. Neurofeedback therapy for trauma survivors was a given for every therapist and good trauma treatment center I looked at on the West Coast.

Ideally, when you begin neurofeedback, you want to get a QEEG or “brain map,” which is a snapshot of your brain and how it functions over a fairly short period of time (for me, it was 40 minutes under different scenarios). This brain map is so valuable because it can be compared to what a normal functioning brain looks like, and it can also be used to show that during the brain mapping period, your brain might look similar to someone who has anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, pain, depression, etc.

In my case, my brain map looked worse than even I expected, so it was a little overwhelming to sit with the results. I had done a brain map of my son who has some attention and sensory issues, so I had an idea what it was supposed to look like.  In layman’s terms. my brain showed a shit-storm of color in areas that should have shown up white, and my brain waves were extremely erratic and all over the place outside the normal range. For someone with complex-PTSD, this validates the daily symptoms we experience.

I learned a very important word called neuroplasticity, which refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize and heal itself by forming new neural pathways. This concept is so, so important to think about when looking at healing trauma.

Once my rational brain came back online, I knew I could repair much, if not all, of what was wrong with my brain through neurofeedback.

Through only 15 sessions of neurofeedback, I came out of it with some extremely important results as a trauma survivor. I don’t know how else to put it, but my mind was stronger. I was no longer depressed. I had less anxiety and an easier time going to sleep. Most importantly to my overall healing from trauma, the 15 sessions put me in a place where I could regulate my emotions better, which means I could tolerate talking about the most difficult parts of my trauma, which is something I was not able to do prior to the neurofeedback.

The inability to tolerate difficult or overwhelming emotions is probably the single biggest reason why trauma survivors stay stuck in talk therapy and don’t make the progress they need to move on with their lives. Yet, my experience in the old-school trauma circles that dominate the trauma industry is that there is almost no mention or even knowledge about the benefits of neurofeedback for trauma survivors.

If I look today at all the mainstream trauma treatment centers in the U.S., there is no place that is currently utilizing neurofeedback despite the extensive research that supports its usage. The only places that seem to offer it are the places where your insurance will not pay, and you are expected to pay out-of-pocket $40-50k per month for treatment. That’s the only way to get intensive cutting age trauma treatment at this moment.

The good news is that you can find neurofeedback offered on its own in some outpatient settings. I live in a major city, and there are probably about 14 options listed on a Google search for people to pursue neurofeedback. Typically, if you have severe trauma, you can expect to do 30-40 sessions for the neurofeedback to stick for the rest of your life.

When I returned to my home city on the East Coast, I found an excellent neurofeedback provider, and I am really looking forward to updating you on the continued results I experience to lessen my symptoms and to help my brain function the way it is intended.

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My hope is that you take away from this that neurofeedback works for many, many problems people struggle with. Besides the symptoms of trauma, it has been shown to help people with ADHD, Autism, Insomnia, headaches, Anxiety, Depression, and overall improved brain performance, which is why you will hear of Olympic athletes who use neurofeedback to enhance their performance.

Neurofeedback is not new and whacky, There is lots of science to support it. Don’t expect your doctor or therapist to recommend it, because that is not likely to happen. But, if you are feeling stuck or want to get better quicker, it is a no-brainer to take advantage of neurofeedback to help heal your brain.

And if you think your brain is just fine as a trauma survivor, let me mention when I took the brain QEEG, I was feeling relaxed and nothing was bothering me too much. But, what showed up on the QEEG was a huge amount of anxiety that I am so used to experiencing everyday that it did not seem like a big deal and was unnoticed by me. This unnoticed anxiety I am used to living with has already caused me some serious health consequences.

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The bottom line, if you have the means to do so, look into neurofeedback and give it a try. It is easy to do, and the results can be life-changing. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t benefit from a stronger functioning brain, even if you think you have no issues. If you have a severe trauma background, do it. It will save you years of talk therapy time and money, and will give you a better quality of life.

 

 

It will never make sense

I often find myself in a place where I am trying to make sense why abuse has happened to me throughout my life.

It is common for abuse survivors to think about “the why.” I can get stuck in this place because I want to believe I had some control over what happened to me. In other words, if I can just figure out what I am doing to cause the abuse, I can change my behavior and it won’t happen anymore.

I struggle with the idea that there was nothing I could have done differently to stop the abuse from happening. Admitting that degree of powerlessness is extremely scary.

Instead, I struggle to accept there is no logical or spiritual reason these awful things have happened to me.

I have to accept as an adult the people who abused me were sick people, and it wasn’t my fault even as an adult. Power imbalances are still in a lot of places as an adult, and I certainly never learned as a child how to stop predators from hurting me.

You would think I would let myself off the hook for the severe abuse that happened to me as a child. Nope. I am always looking to make sense of it, wondering what I did to deserve such horrific things to happen to me.

It is especially hard to understand when I meet other adult woman around my age who haven’t suffered any abuse as a child or an adult. This knowledge does a number on my thinking, and my beliefs.

My “go to” belief about myself in trying to understand the abuse I have suffered is to believe there must have been something inherently bad about me when I was born.

My therapist often can help me pull out of that belief at least temporarily by asking me about my own children and whether they could have been born inherently bad. Knowing the innocence of a baby, I know it is not possible, except maybe in a Hollywood movie.

On a good day, I have to understand that I will probably never understand the cruelty and sickness of others, and this is probably a good thing.

Accepting that some people are just sick and twisted for their own reasons, and it isn’t going to be logical, is hard for me.

I know, on an especially good day, that both in adulthood and childhood, I did nothing to deserve the abuse from the many sick souls I encountered.

I know I am a good person. I am not perfect, but overall, I am a compassionate and loving person who carries around a lot of deep wounds underneath.

I have to stop trying to make sense of my life, and why so many people hurt me.

The logic will never explain the behavior of sadists, narcissists, and pedophiles.

I hope to one day be free of trying to take any ownership of “the why,” because no one deserves what happened to me.

No matter what.

Understanding Frozen

My therapist seems to think my mind is coming unhinged because I am unable to sit with the idea of how little control I had over all the abuse that happened to me and others during my early childhood.

I admit, logically, the sense of responsibility I have for me and others getting abused doesn’t make sense.

My mind has taken a sharp turn into the land of everything was under my control, and I should have some how stopped it all.

I know the problem lies in that I am taking my adult brain back in time to look at these horrific events as if they are happening now.

My adult brain feels like it is all my fault. Everything.

I don’t know how I got to this place, but I am here.

Just last week I knew these things were not my fault. Today, my brain doesn’t comprehend that belief.

Today, I found myself telling my therapist she just doesn’t understand. Because there were no boundaries between anyone in my family, what was done by my family members is my fault because we share the same blood. I am at least equally guilty for sharing their blood.

I guess it stems back to that old notion of evil. If my family was evil, so must I be.

Regardless, my mind won’t allow me to believe it was not my fault. The atrocities I witnessed, my fault because I froze and did nothing as a child.

I don’t always save myself as an adult, but I do save others. I am that person you can count on. I am that person who will stop a bullet coming at you. I am that person you want in the fox hole with you.

How did I become the adult version of me after growing up frozen in the face of danger?

Frozen. That awful word from my childhood that plagues my being as I wrestle with my past.

I should stop trying to be logical about all this, I suppose.

My silence about cults

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I come out today as a cult survivor in the hopes of being one more person to speak truth to the unimaginable trauma caused by these cults. It is a very scary thing for me to do as I have been taught my whole life to keep this secret, or risk death.

I have always known I have cult experiences in my background, but I chose not to mention it to people because I did not want to get dismissed as “crazy” because I have seen how people react to this topic.

I have two cult experiences in my background, and in some ways they were related. Both of my cult experiences revolve around an extremely twisted Christianity.

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I was raised in what I call The Community. If it had another name, I wasn’t aware of it. The Community involved sexual abuse, sex trafficking, money, drugs, mind control, pedophilia based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, sadism, ceremonies, and what is now an extremely powerful church in the world.

The Community is something I am still reluctant to talk about openly, even though many of its members are dead or elderly. They were, and quite possibly still, very powerful.

The Community morphed from nothing into an extremely powerful church, which scares me in that I would imagine the current church stewards would go to any lengths to protect it, and not allow its beginnings to be public. I don’t disclose the church name out of fear.

Growing up, I lived in a Middle Class neighborhood that only as an adult did I realize was out of the ordinary or peculiar.

My neighborhood was unusual in that all of our family friends (other Community members) were both tied to the beginning of a church, and the children were involved in all types of sexual behavior from a very young age.

They raised us to be extremely obedient, and to not discuss what went on in our community to those outside. In fact, we didn’t discuss it in Community either. We just did what we were told.

As a very young child, I was told by my mother to show up at different places in the Community. Sometimes this involved meeting men who were considered prominent members of the greater community, but they all had ties back to the church.

When I met these men at their places of work, homes, or in a specific meeting place that was designated for these pickups, I was expected to do whatever these men wanted without complaint or any type of resistance. It was through these experiences, I learned my value to my family and the Community was sexual.

Obedience was life or death, so I complied and died a little inside with each occurrence.

One especially sick member of our Community was involved in the mind control piece. He would lock us in a little room for hours and scream at us in the name of Jesus Christ, and no response from us was the right answer to get him to stop. He always finished by telling us because we had not accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, we were going to Hell. Then he would sexually abuse us while talking in a whisper to Jesus.

My grandmother was a big player in this church. She gave a lot of her time and money to it. It was all she had since her husband was abusive to her.

My parents would periodically leave me at my grandmother’s house, and I always feared they wouldn’t come back for me.

My grandmother had very rigid religious beliefs. Her house was spotless, and there was no room for a normal child in that environment. She had very strict rituals about how meals were to be eaten, and no amount of crying would change the rules. When she bathed you, she scrubbed your skin in the most painful way to clean all dirt and sin from your body.

Still, my grandmother’s house was less abusive than what I experienced at home.

From time-to-time, a well known cult called The Way International (you can Google them or find them on Facebook) would come to town and my grandmother would give me to them. I would ride in the back of a station wagon with other kids I did not know to the bonfire in the woods where other Way members were gathered.

These Way members were all fairly young, mostly in their early 20s. At these gatherings, the Way members would drug us, and teach us about our destinies as children who were chosen to sacrifice themselves in the way Jesus did. They also would talk of bloodletting as a practice to show our allegiance to God. After our religious teachings, the Way members would take turns having sex with us.

Some would say this is fantasy, and that’s ok. I don’t need anyone to believe me at this point in my life. I live with the scars, and have no interest except to try to heal from this.

Part of my point of this writing is to express that the work of the Devil can also be done through those who believe they are practicing Christianity.

In my cult experiences, the only time Satan was brought into the picture was to teach me if I did not embrace these Christian teachings, then Satan would be waiting for me.

When your foundation in life comes from this type of disturbing beginning, you don’t escape unscathed. Your mind is damaged almost beyond repair, and for me, this beginning was partially responsible for my development of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

This is not simply religious extremism. This is a perfect example of how children are subjected to organized abuse.

As much as I would like to believe these people and groups don’t exist, they do. My memories are clear, and always have been.

Unfortunately, every single child I know from this Community suffers from mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Many of us may have physically escaped a cult, but find we can never seem to outrun the cult indoctrination completely. It lingers in our minds and comes out at certain times of the year and through certain triggers we may not even understand.

The mind control programming that goes with cults is extremely challenging to overcome, and with so many people skeptical of the cult concept to begin with, there are very few people in the world who even know how to help people who have received this type of programming.

I would like to say I am in a place where the programming and fear from the cults no longer affects me. Unfortunately, I still have parts of me who believe in these teachings, and when I try to talk with my therapist about these experiences, sometimes my brain takes off like a rocket into paranoia and dangerous false beliefs.

Robot Me is Supposed to Stay Alive

What a crap day. I woke up ok, but then went to therapy. I told the therapist I didn’t really have anything I needed to talk about. She smiled with the “are you kidding” look.

I rambled into discussing how I feel like a robot because I don’t need love the way other “normal” people do. I don’t like to give love or get love, except for with my kids and my dog (though, the therapist discounted the dog because it isn’t a human).

I tried to tell the therapist that the people who systematically abused me as a child have ruined me and there is no coming back from it, so what’s the point of life.

Apparently, robot me is supposed to stay alive to raise my kids because that is my purpose in spite of the misery and sadness I feel everyday. The therapist doesn’t care.

She thinks the purpose of the game is for me to stay alive. I disagree.

Fuck her. She has her own happy little life and my suffering is just a speck of thought in her life.

Today she said her usual “see you tomorrow” because I have another appointment with her. Every time she says that I think this is the time I will kill myself so she can’t just get away with “see you tomorrow” and hope for the best.

Yeah, I am pissed at her because it feels like she doesn’t get my pain or doesn’t care enough about my pain. I wish she cared about me more, but I have no idea what that would look like.

I am the pathetic adult today. I have no answers, just a whiny, psychotic grasp on life. Sometimes I really wish I would just let go of life, but I know not all of those who live in my body agree with that plan.

So, I am stuck in this miserable life. I know others inside feel blessed by our children. I feel psychotic with a headache. Seems like I got the short end of the stick.

And that’s the way it fucking goes.

The unbearable shame of sexual trauma work

I feel like dying today. One of my younger parts went to therapy and talked about how bad they are because they wanted to have sex with other kids when they were little.

This younger part talked of wanting sex to fit in with the other kids who were having sex, and wanting it because it felt good. It is so intolerable just to type this.

The shame is so deep, and is ricocheting through my body from part to part. I actually feel nauseous when I am not feeling like killing myself or cutting.

Though it is not sexual abuse in the way that someone forced us, the Therapist says it is abuse because adults introduced us to this sex as a child and condoned/expected the children in our community to engage in it.

I am so humiliated to have this as part of my foundation as a person.

I mean, we are not talking about occasional sex between children, this was more like everyday sex. It was so normalized.

When I was 6, my mom and another mom in the community had a marriage ceremony where I married the boy from across the street. From that day until I was 10, I had sex on an almost daily basis with this boy. At his house, his mom would come in the room while we were having sex to put away his laundry.

The shame runs so deep when I think about her coming in the room while we were having sex. I can’t even pretend they didn’t know.

I feel like such a whore. How else can I be expected to feel. My only value as a child was to have sex. No one had any other interest in me for any other reason.

The Therapist says I shouldn’t feel like this because it was my parents’ fault. But, she does not understand that I share DNA and blood with them. We are one, no matter how hard I try to disown them.

The violent and humiliating sex that came from my home to the other kids in the community feels as if it is my fault. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was my family and others who did some really bad stuff to other children, and I can’t seem to separate myself from them. This was my life, so it was all I knew.

Often, I try to convince myself this didn’t really happen, but too much of me knows it did, and frequently.

It makes me sick to think of it. It makes me want to die from the shame of it. I am trying to hold on and get through these coming days of misery of accepting the truth and the feelings that go with it.

I don’t understand why God put me in this family. There really aren’t words for understanding any of it. I will try my best to stay grounded in the present so my other insiders don’t act on their suicidal feelings. I want to take a pill and go to sleep for a few days, but I can’t if I want to heal.

I must sit with this unbearable shame.

Sad hope of the 4 year old girl

A 4 year old little girl. She leaves her room at night, crawling on all four to get to her parents’ room. She chooses to escape the brutal sexual abuse of her brothers and their friends if she stays in her room.

She hopes this time when she goes to her parents’ room they will respond with love and kindness. Each night she has renewed hope that it will happen.

The mom and dad are alcoholics, always on the verge of passing out from the alcohol at this time of night. If the dad hears her, he yells at her to go back to her bedroom, which she does with tears in her eyes, and her heart broken.

If the Mom discovers her on the ground of their room, she sometimes shows her compassion. She quietly pulls her up into the bed with her, and scratches her back before she quietly sexually abuses her with her big, drunk, disgusting body.

The four year old keeps hoping one day it will be different. It never was…

And this is her foundation for life.

The Debilitating Amnesia that goes with my Dissociative Identity Disorder

Confusion

I live with debilitating amnesia every day. I can’t remember what I did hours ago, and definitely lose my place in time, like not knowing what day (or year) it is, and whether I did something yesterday or it was really 3 days prior. It is a maddening aspect of my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) that I try to compensate for so I can function in the world and people won’t suggest I get locked away.

Since I have DID, most people believe that one with DID can’t remember because they have switched into another part and “lost time” as we like to call it in the DID world. This is not true for me. I have loads and loads of trouble remembering things that happen when I know I was present for them (not switched into another part).

Some people have theories about how my DID influences my amnesia, but at the end of the day they are just theories, and I have no idea whether they are true or not. I have had DID therapists suggest at times I have “cognitive problems” because they couldn’t make out why I have this severe amnesia and still seem to be present. The way I experience amnesia is definitely not the way it is written about in text books about DID.

Some times I feel completely lost in the world because my amnesia is so bad. It does fluctuate on how severe it is. Sometimes I can’t even remember the names of people I have known for years on one day, and then the next I have no trouble remembering names. I use Google all the time to give me clues to things I need to remember. I am betting Google didn’t realize this use of its product.

I don’t believe it is a cognitive problem because there are days when my entire brain is sharp as a tack and I can remember everything. This confuses the therapists even more.

My best friend with DID shares a similar plight. Sometimes it is funny to watch her experience the same struggle with her memory, but other times it is scary to realize how much we have to hide and develop strategies to “pass” in this world as functioning. Sometimes we both just laugh and laugh because neither of us can remember what we talked about yesterday that was so important to the both of us.

I have learned that these missing current day memories are in my brain, I just need  prompts for me to be able to retrieve them. Often times if someone starts giving me some clues, I can piece it together and voila, I can actually pull out the complete memory. If I don’t have clues, I might never be able to access it, or even know what I am looking for.

In some ways, people would consider me high functioning DID at this moment because the cracks in my mind are mostly hidden. People think I am doing ok because I am getting out bed, making all my appointments, not feeling depressed or overwhelmingly anxious, taking care of my kids, and in general, participating in life.

What lies beneath that high functioning is a stressed out system trying to maintain that appearance and not get “caught” by someone for how little I can remember. With the amnesia comes simple things like remembering to eat or go to the bathroom. The messages that should come from my body to my brain somehow get hijacked, which is why I often only end up eating one time a day.

I think because I struggle so much with my memory, I have been a strong advocate beginning this year to healing the mind/body/spirit as an overall approach to DID healing. I simply don’t believe talk therapy is enough for all the faulty wiring going on in my brain, and this is not talking bad about talk therapy or myself, but more of the truth of all the baggage that goes along with exposure to severe trauma as a child.

I did about 15 sessions of neurofeedback recently, and I believe this has helped my brain function better considerably. I am less anxious, less depressed, and feel mentally sharper. But still, I struggle with my memory every day to varying degrees.

I will continue doing therapies that are designed to help my “trauma brain,” so that I can function better. Even though this will not be the cure to my DID, it definitely makes it easier for me to function from day-to-day, and thus makes the recovery work for my DID more stable.

For some reason people don’t talk enough about the amnesia that goes along with DID. For me and many others, it is really one of the most disabling aspects of having DID. It would make for a boring Hollywood movie, I suppose. But outside of Hollywood, we should raise awareness about this crippling amnesia so that we can get clinicians and researchers working on getting a better understanding of it, and hopefully with that understanding, more therapies to address the problem.

My amnesia is one of the reasons I would like to integrate my parts. I feel like if all the parts of me were together as one, this missing or lost information wouldn’t happen. It’s just my theory, and why I am working so hard to heal my parts.

 

 

 

 

Your Pity Doesn’t Help

I like to write about my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) to educate people about the disorder, and because I selfishly hope it is somehow therapeutic for me to open up about the secret life I have lived my entire life. And I will forever be an advocate for those in need of help.

At times, in order for people to understand the origins of my DID, I have written about the horrific abuse I experienced in my childhood. It is unimaginable to most people, and frankly, sometimes overwhelming to them.

A common response I will get from people who have read about my history is pity. They feel so sorry for me, which is a hard pill for me to swallow. I don’t feel sorry for me. I feel angry and hurt and lost and sad.

I guess if I was still a child that pity might have meant something to me. Maybe.

I am a survivor now. I am way past needing anyone to feel sorry for me. Nothing can change my past. It is done.

As I sit here writing this I realize this kind of sounds rude, and I really don’t mean to. It’s just hard for me to hear someone have pity for me. It doesn’t help me.

I am fortunate to have survived a childhood that many children wouldn’t have. My DID allowed me to survive as a child. Now, as an adult, my DID threatens my survival from time-to-time, and definitely makes my life more difficult to say the least.

Still, I don’t want your pity.

I want your understanding of DID. I want you to be outraged how people with DID are treated in the world and by the mental health system. I want you to be aware of the severity of child abuse going on in this world, and likely even in your own neighborhood. I want you to save a child you suspect may be getting abused. And I want you to contribute to making the world a better place by helping people with DID get the resources they need to heal, or at least live.

I am fortunate to have many blessings in my life in spite of the DID. I have an amazing spouse and am blessed with two gorgeous children. I have had times when I have had really successful careers, and have felt good about the work I have contributed to this planet to make it better for others. I have a nice home, health insurance, cute dogs, and I live in a nice neighborhood with many loving people in my life.

If you read any of my other writings you will also know my life is not a bed of roses. But, I am making it through life anyway, and I am hell-bent on healing despite the odds and the naysayers.

For me, what matters most is the people behind me who aren’t as fortunate to have the resources and support I have. They are living in a daily hell, and they need all of our support, advocacy and love.

No one needs pity. When has pity ever helped anyone?

People who have been so severely traumatized as children their minds split apart so they could survive need so much more from you than pity.

Start with trying to understand, and follow with compassion. And hopefully the rest of my wish list for you will follow.