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.

The storm in my head

I have been overwhelmed with various life events I have experienced this past week. I did my best to “handle it.”

My emotions finally came crashing down on me today.

My head is all mixed up now, but I need to get it stabilized as I am solely responsible for my kids this week, and I have a lot of other stuff on my plate.

Hurricane Irma sent my most dangerous perpetrator right to my doorstep. It was a situation where I could not turn my back on my mom and leave her out to die, even though she would have done that to me without a thought.

If I had turned her away, then I would be a monster like her, I think. But, my compassion and decency always has a price for me.

My internal world is all jumbled up in my head, as it swirls around for who knows how long before it crashes and stabilizes.

I went to therapy today, which didn’t end up helping in the stability department. With the tropical storm we had here, the fire alarm went off in my therapist’s building for 45 minutes to an hour.

I switched into a couple of different younger parts of myself who went right into trauma time with the alarm. They were terrified of the sound, and even more terrified of the idea of leaving. This was a “we need to hide moment,” which for us means we literally want and need to hide in a small space to feel safe.

When the alarm finally stopped, it was still going on in our head just as loud (thank you PTSD). The parts who were out could not be convinced it was safe.

Our therapist decided since we were not willing to go outside the building to avoid the noise, maybe it was a good opportunity to talk about what it was triggering.

I thought about that as I watched from inside my head. The others who had come out were thinking about what she was saying. I started to feel us moving to a scene in which an alarm like the one going off meant something. It became clear it meant something bad.

I could see images of scientists and a laboratory. I could hear people talking in the lab. I could feel the little ones inside filling with terror. I thought about mind control programming. I thought about the bad fire I was in as a young child.

The little ones who were out were holding different emotions. One was holding terror, the other sadness. One was frozen, the other about to cry.

The therapist asked for me to come back as she was concerned it was at the end of our session. I could not. The little ones out front had too strong of a hold for me to get back.

The session was like exposure therapy, which was a lot like torture, but it was not something my therapist could control since the parts who were out were not willing to follow her suggestions of leaving.

She finally managed to coax them out of the building, and we got in the car. I could see a text on my phone from my daughter saying her grandma was leaving, which brought me partially back.

I drove home slowly as to avoid an accident or police stop—I don’t usually drive when I am dissociated like this, but I had to get home to see what was happening.

My mom decided in the hour that I was gone to quickly pack up her car and to get out of there just as quickly as she came. It wasn’t safe for her to drive home, but she never listens to me. They had left items in the house that we could easily retrieve for them, but they needed to go quickly and said don’t worry about it.

It made no sense. They could die on the road with the tropical storm winds and rain that they decided to drive through. I shrugged my shoulders once again that this may be the decision that kills her.

As usual for my family, there is no making sense of anyone’s behavior.

I am relieved to have my house back, but I am edgy as hell with the storm in my head. I have been waiting all afternoon for this moment when my kids go to bed so my head can rest.

One of my insiders sent a text to my therapist saying he hated her. Not sure what that was about, but could feel his anger toward her. Maybe he is mixing up her with my mom? Not sure.

Don’t know the point of this post other than to say the storm in my head demonstrates how my parts are attuned to the weather chaos in the world right now.

I’ll be looking for peace again….

Knifes in your soul

I have come to realize this past year that even though I was for an extended time extremely high functioning and stable, that I am actually among the most severely injured from a childhood filled with abuse and other horrific things.

It is not cool to be in this club of the severely injured because with these injuries comes damage, lots of it. And I have found that the mental health system doesn't like messy, severely damaged people.

I am complicated. The affects of my abuse have left behind a complicated and difficult set of symptoms. As a result, my soul has been repeatedly ripped out this year by people rejecting me or my symptoms or my diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

It seems no one who knows how to treat this disorder and my symptoms in a way that would be effective wants to help me.

Rejection. Rejection. Rejection.

Laughingly, I am not supposed to take it personally, or believe there is anything inherently wrong with me.

I am wished good luck in my future treatment and sent on my way knowing there is no future treatment to be had. I fear I have looked under every stone and have run out of options.

But don't give up. Stay alive. It doesn't matter how miserable your life is. This I am told over and over by those who reject me.

The injuries to my soul have been brutal. Especially since it is over and over. To be rejected your whole life, even by the so-called angels who are supposed to help those of us with these injuries.

It is hard for me not to believe that God is punishing me. I haven't had this kind of knife into my soul so much until this last year. I try to find hope, but then I get the knife in my soul again.

How many knifes to your soul can happen before it is completely dead?

But I am not supposed to give up. I am to keep fighting as if that has ever really gotten me anywhere. Big deal, I'm alive.

I would be better off dead, which is a hard sentiment to swallow knowing I have children I should live for.

It is a double bind. Live in torture or harm my children by leaving them.

Oh, but I am supposed to get better by some miracle that hasn't come for 50 years now……

The Meadows Trauma Program—No to DID


From the Meadows website:

“For over 35 years, The Meadows trauma treatment program has been helping trauma victims heal and learn the skills necessary to cope with the devastating, and often hidden, effects of trauma. The trauma treatment program at The Meadows was specifically designed for trauma survivors by Pia Mellody and a team of world renowned experts including Dr. Peter Levine, John Bradshaw, Dr. Shelley Uram, Dr. Jerry Boriskin, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Dr. Claudia Black.”

The world-renowned Meadow’s trauma recovery program is only meant for people with certain levels of trauma. 

You can’t have too little, or you better be extremely wealthy ($60k) because your insurance program is not going to pay for it. You can’t have too much because then they feel you are too high of a risk for suicide or some other lawsuit.

I put up a good fight arguing that my DID diagnosis should not exclude me from the option of getting treatment at the Meadows. Unfortunately, it appears the Meadows is basing their decision off the Hollywood version of DID instead of examining whether a person might be appropriate for their program regardless of a DID diagnosis.

I find it very fascinating that these treatment centers are more comfortable with people who are actively suicidal than they are a stable person with DID who is not suicidal. My therapist likes to say that these places just don’t understand the diagnosis, and I am beginning to agree that they are getting their information from Hollywood instead of real life.

I am the first to say that not everyone with DID is in a place to do residential treatment, but there are also lots of people with DID who are in a place to do it and be safe. I consider myself the latter, so this has been a personal frustration for me.

I guess what really hurts me with the Meadows (I have been rejected by many other treatment centers based on my diagnosis) is that some very important people in the trauma field stick their name on the Meadows as consultants for their trauma program.

I just don’t see how these people in good conscience can sleep at night by turning away those of us who have been the most harmed by child abuse, meaning those of us with DID.

It is absurd how afraid people in the trauma mental health field are of those of us with DID.

I have made it my mission to try to educate and change the current lack of resources available to those of us with DID.

The clinical director at the Meadows agreed with me that there are not intensive treatment programs for those of us with DID, but only a handful of hospitals that are in place for stabilization.

I don’t need need stabilization. I need treatment. I deserve treatment. This is not my fault, and it is not ok that the founding members of the trauma movement are not working to provide more services for those of us with DID.

As much as Sheppard Pratt and University Behavioral Health are doing to take people in when they are unstable, those programs are not going to help anyone heal.

Those of us with DID deserve treatment programs where the very best and latest treatment modalities are available to support our recovery.

Recovery is possible, but not for most people who don’t have access to the latest treatments offered at these trauma treatment programs.

For the past year I have been having the hard conversations with those who reject us because of a stupid diagnosis. I do not accept that we don’t deserve help because our trauma was so severe that we developed DID.

In my opinion, don’t you dare call yourself a trauma therapist and then say you don’t treat DID, and equally, don’t consider yourself a world – renowned trauma treatment program if you won’t help those with DID.

If you have DID, please confront these people when you encounter them. We must assert our rights to get better, and let them know that we are severely injured human beings who deserve to be at the front of the line when it comes to getting help.

Then they can sleep at night knowing they are helping all of us who have suffered severe trauma.

Today’s Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder and Sierra Tucson


For the longest time, I have bought into “talk therapy” as the solution for helping me heal my DID. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is great value in talk therapy with a therapist who understands DID.

The highly respected Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, has done significant research on the best way to heal trauma is to work with the mind, body, and spirit. I didn’t fully understand what he meant until I had access to these therapies myself.

I have found that the traditional treatment centers for trauma/DID are giving lip service to his research by adding yoga or “movement therapy” to their programs, and the rest being individual or group therapies only.

In my opinion only, the traditional treatment centers for trauma are backed largely by the members of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). ISSTD is the most influential organization when it comes to teaching practitioners about trauma treatment, and its members are doing what little research exists about Dissociation. I applaud them for this.

As a person suffering from DID and complex ptsd, I’ll be the first to tell you my brain does not operate like a non-traumatized brain. The long-lasting problems of trauma are with the brain, not the emotions so much. My brain did not develop correctly as I grew up, and so my brain stays in this constant state of fight/flight/freeze, which has caused me numerous health and psychiatric problems. Consequently, it has robbed me of living a functional life.

I don’t like to think of myself as a slow learner, but on this very important point I have been. I listened to the ISSTD and their current three phase treatment protocol, and subsequently have been depressed and hopeless about my lack of progress despite my very committed efforts.

I am going to sound like a Republican here, which I am not, but I believe a handful of the private trauma programs run by corporations are doing a better job at treating trauma than the ISSTD traditional model.

Why? Because they are focused on the research done by Bessel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine and others who get that the way to healing is through the mind/body/spirit, and have aimed their treatments in this direction.

I do not understand for the life of me why the ISSTD is not strongly supporting a treatment model that the mind/body/spirit approach addresses.

What I hear over and over from ISSTD trained therapists (and I am thrilled they are trained) is that they believe having a positive long-term relationship with the therapist is the solution. And don’t get me wrong, I do think it is an important part of the solution, but I believe this long-term talk-therapy only approach is doing great harm to the DID and complex trauma community.

Too many people either lose hope and give up on this treatment, or spend a big part of their lives doing only long-term talk therapy and only getting a little better and suffering through life. I have been suffering through much of my life despite access to good therapists and being highly motivated.

Recently, I had the accidental experience of going to the private psychiatric hospital Sierra Tucson. I wanted to go because their program is completely different than ones I had been to in the past, and they have a focus on the mind/body/spirit as the solution for trauma and the co-occurring problems that go with it.

I feel I must mention this about Sierra Tucson before I go further. As an institution, they are terrified of DID and don’t really want to treat it because they are afraid a person with DID will commit suicide while in their program. They had a series of suicides a few years back that got them into a lot of trouble, and as a result, they are skittish (this is what an admission’s person there told me). Of course, none of the suicides were from someone with DID, but the industry-wide fear and discrimination against those with DID persists.

I also should let you know that me, my spouse, and therapist had to beg them to let me come to their program. After two days, they finally agreed to admit me on provisional status.

That said, I want to talk about my experience there. Once I was admitted, I experienced that about 95% of the staff who worked with residents to be extremely caring and kind professionals. As someone who grew up not being cared for at all, and never receiving this level of care in any other treatment setting, this instantly created a huge change in my brain and how I perceived the world.

Once I started the program, I began individual therapy with a primary therapist, small group therapy with the primary therapist (where we were allowed to talk about our trauma), management of my treatment by competent psychiatrists, talk therapy with a somatic experience therapist, lots of good groups with a couple of exceptions, DBT therapy, family therapy, and the option to work on spirituality if you wanted to (though I would argue the entire experience is a spiritual experience for those that allow it to be).

I also got to experience what they refer to as Integrated Therapies. I went there in a lot of neck and back pain, so I got to meet with a pain doctor who got me off the opioid drug I was taking, and replaced it with supplements and a nonaddictive muscle relaxer. He set up for me to have regular physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, and personal training to recondition my very unhealthy body.

Other Integrated therapies I experienced were acupuncture (which one time reduced my ptsd symptoms by 50%), Somatic Emotional Release body work, Shiatsu massage, Equine Therapy, Ropes Course,  EMDR therapy, Bio-Neuro Feedback, nutritional consultations (where they discovered I was pre-diabetic), yoga, Tai-Chi, DNA testing to determine the best medications that will work for my body, and psychological testing where the psychologist actually meets with you to go over the results (there were no surprises in my diagnoses).

Every person I worked with was on the same page and like a therapist to me. I got some of my best therapy from my physical therapist. The woman who styled my hair gave me an hour of solid self-esteem boosting therapy. The massage and acupuncturists all gave good therapy besides just their normal tasks. The chiropractor was fantastic and showed she cared about me. The techs who are in charge of knowing where you are were some of the kindest people I met. They were all so sincere with the love and care they gave me, which was such a healing mechanism in itself.

I can’t lie and say everything at Sierra Tucson is perfect, but their treatment modalities and culture of caring for patients is superb, and that makes me say you may want to consider it if other therapies for trauma haven’t worked for you in the past.

In my opinion, Sierra Tucson runs into problems because it is a corporation that clearly puts profit over client welfare. But, interestingly, as a business, they don’t realize what a gold mine they are sitting on for Trauma and Pain treatment, which are definitely their strong suits. They focus on advertising what a great substance abuse program they are, and in my opinion their substance abuse program today is only average, and I would definitely go somewhere less expensive if that was my issue.

Unfortunately, in my case, my primary therapist was depressed and dealing with her own trauma, and this greatly impacted what happened to me at their program. I had an opportunity to change because they were moving her to a less stressful group, and I made the critical mistake to stay with her and my group until I gave my trauma history.

My primary therapist dropped the ball on me from start to finish while I was there, and I believe this ultimately led me to getting administratively discharged in the middle of my program stay. I don’t want to beat up on her because she is a nice, well-intentioned therapist who in my opinion was working while impaired.

My Primary Therapist never asked me about my trauma history, so she had no idea how extensive it is. She gave me the assignment to give my Trauma History to the group, which at first I thought was a bad idea, and then I was feeling strong enough to do it without emotion.

I gave my extensive trauma history (only about 60% of what I know) to my group as she asked, and the next day she came to get me and said she was “worried about me.” At some point she asked me if I thought I had alters coming out trying to sabotage my treatment or wanted to leave against medical advice. This was 100% false as I am fortunate to have co-consciousness with my parts, and all my parts were quite happy about our experience there. I was never suicidal or wanted to self-harm while there. But the truth didn’t seem to matter as people who never even met me made the decision based on her statements.

After arriving back home, I am devastated that I don’t have the money or access to get the therapy I need. Needless to say, my depression and functioning is not good.

But, one very important thing I must say. My brain changed while there. I feel different. Not entirely by any means, but my brain feels a smidge healthier, and I have not had suicidal thoughts since I went there. And I don’t know how, but a traumatic event that happened to me over a year ago no longer has the emotional charge it had before I went. I can now think about it and not feel suicidal.

I can’t explain this change in my brain in words, but it was like I could feel what a normal, calm brain felt like. It is definitely different and not something I could ignore.

There really is an answer out there for my damaged brain to recover and leave the suffering behind. It is hard for me to believe, but also extremely upsetting because they put me out for no reason, and I can’t afford a comparable treatment program at this time.

In the long run, I am sure it would be cheaper for my insurance company to pay a reasonable amount to a comparable program, but I don’t think they think that way. I am going to try, so I hope those of you who pray will pray for me, and those of you who send positive energy, will send it my way.

Healing is possible…..

Arizona Desert


I am at a treatment center called Sierra Tucson in Arizona for pain and trauma. I have been here 11 days now, and I am having the most amazing treatment experience. 

It is the first time in my life I have felt like I mattered, and my feelings were important. They have a completely different approach to trauma treatment than all the other trauma programs I have gone to. This is working for me!!!

I get such a broad combination of therapies to help me. I am doing massage, shiatsu massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, EMDR, somatic emotional release, somatic experiencing therapy, equine therapy, individual therapy, group therapy where we actually talk about our trauma, and lots of educational lectures and other services.

It is a grueling program, but I am hanging in there and doing it, and it is helping me so much.  I highly recommend if you are up for the challenge of pushing yourself. This used to be a self-pay treatment program, but they now take many private insurances.

I always want to pass along things that work for me, so if you are considering this and want more information, let me know. It may take me a day to get back to you, but I would love to tell you about my experience on this journey so far.

Sending love from the Arizona desert!

A Decade Lost


I never had a true suicidal thought until I was 21. Sure, in my teens I did plenty of things that looked like they were unconscious, wreck less suicidal behaviors, butnit really wasn’t conscious.

I’ll never forget when I first started having true suicidal thoughts and feelings. My life up to then was always extremely busy, and I was not the type of person who stopped to smell the roses. Then one day, it was Spring of my Senior year in college and my life came to a screeching halt. 

I suddenly found myself sitting on the benches of my beautiful undergraduate college and just staring at the trees and watching all the happy people walk by.

I had no idea what was happening, but I turned into someone else overnight, and my first response was to hide it from my closest friends. None of them knew I was circling the drain moreso as each day went by.

I was so confused. I had everything going for me and I was overwhelmed with sadness, depression, anxiety, and a desire to die. Where was this coming from? What was happening?

I went to college prior to the internet, so I had nowhere to turn to to learn I was having a Major Depressive episode. 

Though I don’t remember how, I did manage to find help through a wonderful therapist and psychiatrist who provided me with great care and concern.

The irony was I was living next to a private psychiatric hospital, and used to watch the patienrs down the hill as I walked my dog on the path of my apartment complex. Maybe I knew I would be one of them one day.

I was thrust from never having a suicidal thought to having them everyday. It’s a big change in your brain to make that switch.

Fortunately for me, I found help, and this was pre-managed care, so the hospital kept me for about six months until I was kind of better.

True to my frequent Identity shifts, I left that hospital and went back to the major city I was supposed to live in post college, and moved into my condominium I had purchased just before things went South for me. Oddly, I walked right over to the private psychiatric hospital in town with the best reputation and got a job there much to everyone’s puzzlement. I already had a contract signed with a major corporation for a job I accepted pre-breakdown.

It turned out what I had learned for my myself in the hospital all that time turned me into a great mental health clinician, who could truly empathize with the patients I worked with.

I was good at that job, and loved working with the patients and co-workers. It felt like home to me. 

Unfortunately, as time went by and I continued in therapy, my life slowly started to unravel in the most curious way. I started realizing I lost time, couldn’t remember my childhood, had a fake relationship with my family, and had voices in my head frequently talking to me, and eventually taking control of my body.

I was privileged to be in the right place at the right time, so I didn’t have to wait the typical 7 years to get correctly diagnosed. I went to a reputable DID specialist who worked at the same hospital to find out what I suspected, I had DID.

The revelation of the DID seemed to cause my life to unravel even quicker. Sadly, I eventually became a patient at the dissociative disorder unit at the hospital I was working at. And from there, a decade of my life was lost to the mental health system. A decade I can never get back, and is mostly lost to dissociative amnesia.