A $45 bottle of ketamine got me out of a suicidal crisis & stabilized my DID in just a few hours

I have become super-annoyed by any mention of the 3 phase approach to treating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). As put forth in the DID treatment guidelines by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), these are considered the gold-standard recommended steps for therapists who are treating someone with DID:

1. Establishing safety, stabilization, and symptom reduction.

2. Confronting, working through, and integrating traumatic memories; and

3. Identity integration and rehabilitation.

It sounds like an easy formula for assisting those with DID, but like previous treatment recommendations for DID, this 3-step phased approach is seriously flawed and needs updating (it’s been 10 years of minimal success).

Unfortunately, the vast majority of DID patients get stuck in stage 1, or if they manage to get out of stage 1, it is too easy for them to get knocked back into the stage 1 need for safety and stabilization by triggers in life and therapy.

Talk therapy and learning new skills is not effective enough in helping people with DID to successfully master the phase 1 goal of safety and stability because it is too easy for them to fall back into deeply rooted familiar neural pathways that make them unstable again.

The deeply-rooted neural pathways of someone who has DID is what keeps them stuck in a dissociative reaction to stress, which is why it is critical to address rewiring the brain of a DID person in stage 1.

Instead of therapists challenging themselves to figure out how to successfully help their clients master phase 1, they are actually told by these same guidelines that some people just don’t have the capacity to get out of stage 1, and so they can therefore feel ok when their clients stay stuck in phase 1 and a life of misery. This is completely wrong and cruel to those suffering with DID.

It is quite frustrating that the majority of trauma therapists will identify Bessel van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” as the book that has most influenced them, but strangely, almost every trauma therapist has little to no expertise in helping with the neurobiological effects of trauma, which is kind of the point of this book.

I believe there is a small percentage of people who can successfully manage this 3-phase approach as it is, but what I see from the vast majority of people I know who have DID, people get stuck in the phase 1 need for safety and stabilization. They may get stabilized, but either by working on trauma or some other life trigger, they slide right back into the need for safety and stabilization, which leads the person with DID to feel like they are failing therapy because it seems impossible to maintain enough forward momentum to make progress in therapy.

When your brain is wired for dissociation and PTSD, you can’t simply rewrite the way the brain functions through talk therapy and skills.

What if the very first step is impossibly flawed because therapists have been giving their clients the wrong advice on how to reach stabilization (DBT skills, mindfulness, CBT therapy, corrective therapeutic relationship, blah, blah). These methods can be helpful, but they don’t help the client achieve a strong enough mastery of safety and stability.

The type of stabilization achieved by talk-therapy and skill building is too weak to endure the triggers faced by the highly traumatized person.

Is it possible the answer to phase one stabilization is outside the traditional therapist’s wheelhouse, and involves neurobiology instead? Something that will rewrite the neural pathways?

Is it also possible that stabilization can occur in days-to-weeks instead of the years therapists typically spend on this with desperate clients?

I believe it is possible there is a much more effective and efficient way for traumatized individuals to get stabilized quickly.

An open mind and a belief in miracles is required at this point.

My Experience

As the pandemic was nearing an end, I found myself loosening up on my fight-or-flight mode of survival that served me extremely well during those stressful months. As good as that might sound, what followed for me was a quick dump into the gutter of mental health hell. Apparently, my mind needed to do something with the build up of 14 months of limited parts activity I experienced to hold it together. If you are confused by this, try to understand that I was in the trauma of the pandemic, and to survive, I could only have around parts who were strong and didn’t feel, just like most of my childhood. The emotional and vulnerable parts were tucked away. The parts of me that had been frozen during the pandemic crisis were starting to rapidly thaw. Their emotions were overwhelming.

I rather quickly became depressed, suicidal, anxious, dissociative, and unable to deal with the stress of my children. Each day, I was becoming more unstable. I had reached a point where I had decided I was going to kill myself or go into a hospital (note, there are no hospitals that treat or believe in DID within my state, or even several states away, which makes this option less likely).

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), I was a 10 on the suicide scale. I couldn’t even hold onto the love for my children and what my suicide would do to them to prevent me from doing it. I was too far gone, and my suicide was becoming imminent.

How I stumbled upon Ketamine, stopped a serious suicide attempt, and saved my insurance company $30,000

In a complete fluke, a holistic doctor I work with for health issues had just prescribed generic ketamine nasal spray for depression and anxiety, and had no idea of the severity of what I was suffering because I hid it from them like I do most people outside a therapist’s office. I made the decision that I was going to try it as my last ditch effort before I checked out. The imminent risk and permanency of suicide outweighed any reservations I might have had.

The Ketamine Experience

I simply took one small spray of the ketamine in one nostril. I could immediately feel it coming down my throat as there was a slight burning feeling that lasted for a few minutes. After the burning sensation, I could quickly notice I was starting to feel what I would call a manufactured dissociation as it didn’t feel how I normally feel when I dissociate.

The dissociation lasted for 30-45 minutes, and then I felt kind of high. I was feeling emotions like funny, happy, and curious —funny and happy are definitely not normal feelings for me. I knew not to drive my car or make any big decisions. Though I did shoot off one very wordy email I kind of later regretted 😎.

The dissociation and high were gone within 2 hours of the nasal spray. I was left with a sense that my mind had been cleared of cobwebs I didn’t even know were there. I very dramatically had a mental clarity I wasn’t used to. I was much more aware of everything happening in my environment.

By the 3rd hour, I began to evaluate my thoughts and feelings because I knew this was a test to help me figure out what to do with my suicidality and depression. I scanned my brain for thoughts, emotions, or voices of parts, and to my amazement, my suicidal feelings were completely gone, and I had no sense of any depression, anxiety, or even dissociation. I was completely grounded in the present with a strangely crystal clear mind. I was actually worried I was going to have a manic episode because I was feeling so oddly good.

My suicidality went from 10 to 0 in just a few hours.

Later, when my kids each did their behaviors that had been over-stressing me these past few weeks, I felt like a super-parent who was not the least bit phased by their antics.

As it was approaching bedtime, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep because: 1. I always struggle with insomnia (and sleep meds don’t always work for me), and 2. I was worried the feeling good and crystal-clear thinking was going to make me want to stay up all night being productive at some random thing. Surprisingly, I took my normal low-dose sleeping pill and easily fell asleep. Even more surprising, I was able to sleep-in the next morning, something my anxiety hadn’t allowed me to do for years.

When the day of my first ketamine dose began, I was looking at either a $30,000+ psychiatric hospitalization, or ending my life and traumatizing my family and friends.

Instead, one spray from a $45 bottle of compounded generic ketamine completely removed me from that suicidal crisis and stabilized me.

My mind has stayed clear, like really sharp, and my emotions have been extremely easy to regulate.

My ability to emotionally regulate was put to the test almost immediately. The day following my first ketamine dose, I was scheduled for a therapy session with my therapist who I was having some serious attachment conflict. The session was indeed volatile, and one that would have normally sent me into a suicidal tailspin. Instead, I noticed I had a few fleeting suicidal feelings during the session, and I moved on, and they didn’t stick with me post session. A highly stressful situation was completely manageable, which is unheard of when it comes to me having attachment conflict in therapy.

Maybe some of you don’t see how big of a deal this is. Before ketamine, I was emotionally wobbly every day. I never knew what little thing might send me off into depression, suicidality, overwhelming anxiety, or into my constant dissociative response pattern that creates quite a bit of amnesia in my life.

My use of ketamine is like someone handed me a brand new life. A life that has been missing for over 30 years. I was finally free of the debilitating existence I had known almost my entire life.

I am finding the experience of my new brain extremely foreign. I don’t feel emotionally overwhelmed. I don’t feel depressed, suicidal, or even dependent on a therapist at this point (I have struggled with severe disorganized attachment, so this is kind of a big deal for me). My mind just feels clear and calm, which I really am not used to.

I waited a couple of days and did a second nasal spray of the ketamine. I was still feeling completely stable before this dose, but I wanted to do what was recommended by the doctor who prescribed it. With the second dose, it was barely noticeable and I didn’t experience the dissociative and feeling high side effects.

I have researched ketamine a lot since then, and I know others typically don’t respond for a week. There are several ways to take in ketamine, and an array of different dosing strategies. The doctor that prescribed the ketamine I used was a believer that low-dose and through the nose to get closest to the brain was the best method.

Ketamine seems to be a miracle for me. Although I live near a big research center that has all sorts of clinical trials going on for ketamine, I know I would be excluded from those studies because of my dissociative disorder (a familiar narrative for those of us with DID). We are just too much with our diagnosis for a lot of things..

Alternatively, there are many ketamine clinics that have set up shop in my state so that they can make a lot of money off this new treatment. Typical treatment prices seem to be around $400 a session, and insurance rarely covers it according to their websites.

For once, the compounding pharmacies seem to be the most economical place to get it, but finding a doctor who will prescribe it this way may be the challenge.

If you are a long-time sufferer who has given up on treatment for DID/CPTSD, or someone who suffers from chronic depression and/or anxiety, I would give ketamine a try if you can get your hands on a legitimate form of the medication. I am not recommending the street drug that is a higher dose of ketamine and will do who knows what to you. Try Googling ketamine near you and see what comes up. There’s lots of research, books, and articles about the way it works and what it has been used for.

There is a fascinating article about using ketamine with complex PTSD trauma survivors here.

I have to believe an angel dropped ketamine in my lap when I was at one of my lowest points. It clearly saved my life, and it just may be offering me the chance at living with a non-traumatized brain. As each day ticks by, I am still amazed at the calm and clarity I feel.

As a takeaway, I hope that each of you who reads this will consider that maybe people with DID aren’t succeeding not because they aren’t working hard-enough, committed enough, smart enough, or don’t have the ego strength or attachment stability to succeed in therapy. Maybe it really has more to do with how their brain is wired, and maybe there are easy fixes such a ketamine that will address the neurobiological effects of developmental trauma.

Just maybe, the most difficult repair is easier than everyone thinks.

Suffering with DID

I went back to therapy 4 years ago to deal with some new trauma, and some old trauma that was awakened by the new trauma.

I stayed in therapy because I had developed a lot of clarity about how inauthentic my life had become.

Honestly, I have never had an authentic life, as my family of origin and the community I grew up in robbed me of my life since as far back as I can remember.

My cup is currently overflowing with the amount of child abuse I experienced growing up. That may not make sense. Normally, my mind can only hold little pieces, but right now, it is in the unusual place of holding a lot of the abuse in awareness instead of dissociating it all.

It seems like the memories are never-ending, and they are not like memories I can deny or question the validity. They are memories I know to be true, but had somehow managed through my dissociation to forget.

Other people I know with dissociative identity disorder (DID), seem to be surprised by their memories when they get them. For me, that is typically not the case. For me, it is like remembering a horrible old friend you tried to never think of again.

I dunno, maybe I am just worn down with the shitty cards I have been dealt. The never-ending shame and depression I feel about the facts of my life. It has taken its toll.

I have lost all hope of living an authentic life. I have been staying alive these past 4 years for my children. I haven’t wanted to hurt them or ruin their lives by me ending mine.

Always the martyr.

I am suffering. I suffer every day trying to hold onto my life for my children. Jeez, I sound like a cry baby. But it is so fucking hard to hold on all the time.

I just want some peace, love, and understanding based on who I really am, not the imaginary many versions of myself that the world knows.

Almost no one knows me. Not even my kids, which especially breaks my heart. I never set out to be a fake parent. It is just what is best for them. 🙁

I don’t hurt people or do any awful things to deserve the horrible treatment I receive when others find out any of my truth, but I am rejected and tossed into the garbage or worse, just for being my authentic self. That is how we treat victims in our world.

Who is my authentic self?

I am a wounded survivor of horrific child abuse who developed dissociative identity disorder as a result.

That in itself is apparently enough to know about me to warrant the rejection of me.

My ex-minister and supposed friends tried to take my children from me when they discovered diagnosis alone. I hadn’t done anything. My kids don’t know I have it. In fact, out of both their parents, I am confident they would identify me as the saner one.

It doesn’t matter. People can’t tolerate the idea that my mind is what it is. They can’t tolerate believing I endured the level of abuse I have experienced.

So, they get fake me. The me that is probably copied from characters off television shows and people I have observed. And fake me, I really hate.

I don’t really know any other me than fake me, so that leaves me with hating the only me I know.

I hate me.

The world is an awful place, where perpetrators are protected, and victims are the bad guys.

I know I am a victim. I did not deserve the cruelty, extreme abuse, and lack of love I received.

It doesn’t matter, though.

My life is a shit show and I work hard to hide authentic me from everyone but my therapist.

This is no way to live. It doesn’t get better, but the cruelty remains because I am not allowed to leave. If I leave this shitty world, then I abandon my kids and hurt them in ways I don’t even understand, but know to be true.

Stuck.

My abusers. My family of origin. All the fuckers from my community. You have successfully robbed me of my life. I hate you all, and hope you burn in hell.

I will do my best to push through another day. It is getting harder. I won’t make any promises, but I will try with all my might to hold on another day for my kids.

Cruelty. My whole life. Nothing but cruelty.

That’s just the way it goes.

Guilty of hating my mom my entire life

I have hated my mom for as long as I can remember. For me, this memory starts around 3 years old, but when I try to think about what it must have been like as a baby, I am consumed with fear, and the “freeze response.”

I do understand that my mom was an unusually cruel mom, and probably comes from a very abusive upbringing by her own family.

I want so badly to just leave it at my mom was a horrible, sick person who abused me in more ways than imaginable, and lay the blame and everything at her feet.

I want to accept this and move on.

I can’t.

I am still stuck with the feeling that I was born as “garbage” and that somehow this makes it my fault.

My therapist wants me to accept that I did not have any control over the abuse that happened to me. I do accept that. I have no illusion that I had any control over what happened to me.

Though, I have to wonder if I made things worse for myself because I didn’t hide my hatred for my mother from her. I don’t mean I outright told her what an awful person I thought she was. No, I mean, I didn’t hide it in my eyes.

My eyes. They looked at her with bewilderment and sometimes disgust, though I knew to not let her really see the disgust part.

I never understood why this woman chose to have a baby girl who she would choose to hate, torture, and wreck in every way possible. Boy babies were not treated this way.

Then I think to my parenting, and I realize you never know what parenting is going to be like for you until you do it.

Maybe there is a tiny bit of decency in her that had she known what a girl baby would mean to her, she wouldn’t have done it. Probably giving her too much credit there.

As you can see, part of trying to understand what I have been through is involving what has my mother been through. Though honestly, she doesn’t deserve that kind of compassion from me. Only God can decide whether she deserves any compassion.

When you grow up with severe trauma mostly orchestrated by a mom you hate, life would probably seem chaotic to the outside world, but it is actually very quiet to experience. The noise of the terror is boxed away as the knowledge of the terror is all that can be held at this point.

Why does a mom start off hating her baby? The easy answer is mental illness, but that doesn’t really do it justice in trying to understand it. Besides, it is not like she has a diagnosis like schizophrenia or bipolar that would make it more understandable.

What is true about this woman? She is an extreme narcissist. She is an alcoholic. She is sadistic. She is grandiose. She comes from a bizarrely religious family –meaning not your ordinary religious beliefs. I believe she was the chosen daughter in her family to be sexually abused by her father and maybe others. Others consider her very attractive. To the world, she is powerful, although I have seen her when she is weak.

Growing up with her, strangely I can’t think of a single kind thing she has ever done for me. Not one.

My father, who was completely controlled by my mother, had moments of kindness toward me and my siblings. Though, he is no saint in the choices he made in our family. I remember one Christmas when I was 4 or 5, my dad actually shocked us because when we woke Christmas morning, he had bought presents for us. Our mother was furious with him. I don’t remember what happened after receiving those presents, but I know it happened as there is a picture of me opening a present on that morning (a rare photograph of me).

We had normalcy for one moment. A brief happy moment for me.

But back to the woman I hated. When I was 3 years old, I can remember how my mom would pull me next to her in front of her large bathroom mirror, both of us naked, and she would tell me how fat and disgusting I was. In case there was any doubt, she would spend a great deal of time showing me how ugly I was, and how beautiful she was. She explained that I needed to become like her or I would be nothing. Yet, no matter how emaciated I became, I was still fat and ugly in her eyes.

Today, my expression of my hatred for her doing this is to be extremely asexual, unattractive, and to wear boy clothing as much as possible. This really makes her angry.

Maybe it as simple as this. Maybe babies are like animals, and they can sense danger. Though I can’t remember my life as a baby, my body remembers the terror I felt. My mind wants to die as I think back to being a baby so helpless and terrorized at the same time.

I couldn’t fight her, I couldn’t run from her, so my mind froze, wishing I could not exist. And there goes the chronic suicidal feelings I experience.

Stuck with a woman who hated me, and the only power I had was to hate her back.

What it is like to have repressed memories resurface

A message from the Universe, I suppose. Everywhere I turn I am seeing videos and stories about repressed memories.

To some, using the words “repressed memories” brings up the idea they are not true memories.

I have to admit, I don’t even use the words “repressed memories” when I often think about or fight to remember all that has been forgotten from my childhood.

For me, I have always known I was the victim of a lot of child abuse. I just did my best to not think about it, and to try to move on with my life as if that didn’t happen.

There have been moments in my life when I was able to get away with not feeling like an abused person. It isn’t hard to pull off looking normal when people really don’t look that closely at you.

For instance, when I was in high school, my behavior was full of contradictions, but nobody really cared enough to pay attention or say anything to me.

In high school, I was the nerd who excelled in ROTC. I also skipped school and hung out with the druggies. I was a nervous wreck when it came to dating boys, and I was also spending a lot of time having sex with boys and men in dangerous situations. I was both super responsible, and super reckless.

I later learned this was my Dissociative Identity Disorder playing out without me realizing it was doing so.

Even with all those contradictions in my behavior, I didn’t try to figure it out. I was hell-bent on repressing my past and trying to pretend I was alright.

I could remember plenty of abuse if I wanted to. When I was in college and got raped, that stirred the pot for sure. After that, I fell in love with a man, which I later learned didn’t work so well with the idea of keeping my past repressed.

I had plenty of meaningless sex in high school, but now in college, having fallen in love for the first time, sex was extremely difficult, and becoming more difficult with each day that passed. My past was really coming back to haunt me as I experienced flash backs and younger parts while trying to have sex with a man I loved.

Being the martyr most CSA survivors are, I told this man to leave me enough times that he finally did. I was heart broken, which is probably what led to my first psychiatric demise and hospitalization.

Fast forward 30 years, and I can still remember countless episodes of me being sexually abused as a young child. What’s missing is that I often don’t remember right before, some of the during, and definitely not afterward. It’s like I don’t have complete memories of anything, but I know with certainty these incidents I do remember are true.

Nowadays, I am finally working to try to process these memories, and for me, I honestly have no idea when new pieces of the memories are coming.

Yesterday, I was sitting in my car after therapy thinking about a specific abuse situation I had mentioned to my therapist, and I described it in session as a random occurrence that happened to me. Not 45 seconds in my car I was consumed with flashbacks and voices of my mom telling me to get out of the car right before I walked toward the man in the parking garage. I must have been refusing which is a little surprising to me as I normally did what my mom said, but she wanted me to get out into a darkened parking garage by myself when I was around 5. I was terrified and knew no good was coming from me getting out of the car. But the flood of memories could feel her anger and her demands and her pushing me out of the car.

“Get out!”

This little piece of repressed memory has left me intensely suicidal for days. Somehow it was better to think I randomly encountered the creepy man in the parking garage than to know this was yet another man my mom had set me up for.

Another betrayal.

It is not like this is news to me that my mom was a disgusting, narcissistic, psychopath. I have known that for a long time.

But, this little piece of the memory still hurts so much. I guess it is hard to come to terms with someone’s evilness when you keep getting new pieces of evilness tossed your way.

It is not that I forgive, I don’t. It is not that I love her, I don’t. She deserves my hatred and worse, but I am limp with weakness when it comes to having any appropriate or real feelings toward her.

Incidentally, I ask my parts to tell me more, and I am often frustrated when they don’t. I feel like I can handle it, but now I realize each new fact brings new pain.

So what is it like to receive repressed memories. It is fucking awful, and there is nothing you can do to prepare for it. The best I can hope to do is to ride it out without killing myself.

Staying alive has been really hard with this stupid new piece of a memory. The worst part of a memory is not always what seems like the obvious worst part.

I do believe it is important work to work through memories to move toward recovery. I disagree with those who avoid it and say it is not necessary.

For me, I may not heal, or integrate, or even find happiness, but I will at least know who I really am before I die. And that has to be enough.

Is healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder possible?

I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in my early twenties. I was in my Senior year of college when I suddenly started having significant psychiatric problems I hadn’t experienced before. Even though my life was actually going very well in the world, my internal experience was crumbling as I had my first Major Depressive episode, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation seemingly coming from nowhere.

I didn’t know what was happening, so I quietly went to the campus mental health center, where the psychiatrist gave me a bottle of Xanax to help me deal with whatever was happening.

It completely consumed my life rather quickly. The pills helped a little, but I was seriously suicidal for unknown reasons.

By some miracle, I had the wherewithal to find a therapist off campus. And then a psychiatrist, and quite quickly, I ended up inpatient at the local psychiatric facility for about six months.

During my time in the hospital, I was trying really hard to understand what was happening to me. I was a mystery to my treatment team, too, as I had so much going for me, why was I doing so poorly?

I started having outrageous transference with my therapist. I felt as though I couldn’t live without her. I would start to get better and approach discharge, and then my therapist would go out of town and I would find myself plotting to kill myself at the hospital. I never had feelings like this about anyone before.

I can remember sitting in a chair thinking in my head that I didn’t understand what was happening. And then I realized there were voices in my head commenting on things or expressing their despair about the therapist. I had always had these voices commenting in my head, but I realized for the first time it was like they were different people with different thoughts. I knew I was going crazy.

I started feeling like I wasn’t in control of my thoughts or behaviors sometimes. I tried to speak about it some to my primary treatment team members, but they didn’t take it too seriously as they knew I was not psychotic.

Back then, I didn’t have the words to properly express my experience of what I now know to be Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

When I finally discharged from the hospital, I had a crazy sexually abusive relationship with a counselor from the hospital, and then abruptly decided to get a job at another psychiatric hospital as I was suddenly interested in helping people (and ignored the fact that another part of me had already accepted a job offer from a big corporation).

While I was working at the hospital, I was still trying to figure out me, and would read every patient history, study the DSM, talk to clinicians, sit in on clinical meetings. During my research, I discovered a therapist who specialized in dissociative disorders and trauma therapy.

While still seeing my old therapist back in my college town, I decided to go see the therapist who specialized in dissociation and trauma, and asked her to help me figure out if I had DID.

In case you are wondering, my therapist who I adored and my psychiatrist did not believe in DID.

It is still common today, you have the believers and nonbelievers in the mental health community. It sucks for those of us afflicted.

But I knew I had these strange forces acting within me that I could not explain. I didn’t know anyone with DID back then, so I was really just doing research and grasping at straws to understand what was happening.

It is a blur, but my consultation with the dissociative disorder psychologist led me to a fairly quick diagnosis of DID, and I transferred to her to help me with therapy.

It was a balancing act. I would be in terrible shape during my therapy sessions talking about childhood trauma, and she would also see me as a high functioning successful person at the local hospital when she would come in to see her patients.

What I have found for myself is that if I am around someone who knows I have DID, my parts are more likely to show themselves. My parts found a safe place for them to be “out” and to express their feelings and traumas with the psychologist.

It was a lot. Coming to terms with the truth about my childhood, and learning about all these parts of me.

I managed for a few years to work at the hospital and do intensive outpatient therapy three times a week. Then, the train started coming off the track, and I began a journey of hospital-hopping and instability for the next decade. Sadly, I was so dissociative during this period that I have very little memory of it, so it saddens me to know I lost an entire decade of my life to this illness.

Quite honestly, this was in the 1990s, when there were treatment centers that specialized in DID, but in retrospect, they did not know what they were doing in their attempts to help people with DID. Still, they were important because they were places that understood who we were and what was happening to us, which is not an understanding we could find anywhere else in the world.

As my life was in chaos, and I wasn’t making any progress in therapy, I had a shift in my internal world out of anger toward one of my therapists at the time. This part of me who had enrolled in graduate school to get an MSW had decided that she had enough of the mental health system and the craziness going on in our life.

After ten years of chaos and suicide attempts and more hospitalizations than I can count, with a simple, but determined decision, this part was able to put away the chaos of our lives (the endless number of parts), and we were suddenly living with only 5 parts.

This was manageable.

We had 5 parts who cooperated with one another and didn’t even need therapy or hospitals. The depression, anxiety, and suicidality was suddenly completely gone. We still were not able to sleep without medication, but found doctors to prescribe it for us. Other than that, no mental health care was required.

Our only symptom that we worked to hide every day was our amnesia. We couldn’t remember things that were current (and past important life events), like our neighbor’s first name, or how long it had been since we last spoke to our boss, but we were otherwise doing well.

I don’t want to make light of the amnesia we dealt with during this period as it created enormous anxiety in us everyday that we would be found out that we had a mental illness. But, we knew the skilled clinicians couldn’t help us with this problem, so we did what we do best, we hid our truth.

We lasted about 12-13 years in this fully-functioning (except for the amnesia) period of our life where we were successful in multiple careers, got married, adopted children, bought homes and lived what looked like a “normal” life.

Then my dad got sick with cancer. My family required me to come home to take care of him. It was an extremely messy situation that ended with his death (I am leaving out a tremendous amount of trauma that came with this experience).

While he was dying, voices started showing up again.

About 2 weeks after his death when I returned home, I started experiencing PTSD symptoms. Within weeks of that starting, I went to see a therapist to try to prevent myself from getting really sick again. The therapist had no idea I had DID as it wasn’t something I told people, as I certainly didn’t want to ruin the successful and public career I had at the time.

The therapist was a grief specialist, and was actually really good. Since she didn’t know about my trauma background, she didn’t know that her sitting down beside me on a couch in a therapy session would send me into a mute dissociative state.

It was the first time something like this had happened in over a decade. And the therapist recognized it as something significant, and would only work with me if I went to see a DID specialist and got cleared to see her. I reluctantly agreed, having a sense it was a bad idea for me.

Sure enough, I went to see the therapist in early 2015, and my system of parts exploded open with more parts than I even had before. I struggled mightily to hold onto my life and my career.

By 2017, I wasn’t able to work, and was in and out of hospitals with rageful suicidal ideation, debilitating amnesia, depression, anxiety attacks, and off the charts PTSD. My life was splintered into a zillion pieces again.

Now, it is 2019, and I have been working hard the past 3 years with a therapist who understands severe trauma. I am fortunate to have a therapist who takes clients that other therapists throw away.

I am coming to terms with the abuse I endured. I have just barely made it a full year without being in the hospital. I am still suicidal off and on rather frequently, but manage to get through these times a little better. Working on accepting my truth causes a lot of switching between parts on a daily basis, which in turn means I can’t remember easy things that I should remember.

My brain feels like a jumbled mess just about every day. It is frustrating. I accept my diagnosis and don’t hate or even dislike my parts. I accept my childhood abuse as true, but still, I am mentally incapacitated with amnesia and confusion.

I have come to wonder whether healing is actually possible. Maybe it is for some folks, but not for me? I don’t say that in a derogatory way, but maybe the truth is my mind is just too damaged?

These are the questions I am facing these days. It saddens me to think I might not be able to recover my mind the way it was intended to work.

The wreckage from my childhood may be a permanent part of my life. It doesn’t seem fair, but I for one should know life is not fair. 😔

Abused again: Trying not to give up on myself

I woke today with a busy schedule ahead of me. I have been dealing with a lot lately, particularly a very chronically sick child. It was also the day I was going to slip in taking care of myself by getting an x-ray of my hip that I injured 2 months ago and have been dealing with chronic pain ever since.

I wasn’t seeing my normal orthopedic doctor because I needed to get in quickly as I don’t have many self care openings in my schedule these days. In retrospect, I should have caught the red flag of this particular doctor having multiple openings for a next day appointment at one of the top orthopedic practices in town.

Nope. I jumped out of bed to get to the appointment early in the hopes they would take me early so I wouldn’t miss my therapy appointment afterward.

Of course, I sat in the waiting room past my appointment time before the front desk even called me up to fill out additional paperwork. So much for arriving 20 minutes early.

You know those doctors always have more important schedules than the people, so let’s make sure that is reinforced.

As I am finally walking back to meet the doctor, who incidentally wasn’t seeing any patients but me, I noticed in the paperwork they handed me to give the doctor that it has all the prescriptions listed that I have filled at my local drug store. On it, a long list of many types of psychiatric medications.

Great. I am going to get labeled a psych patient and treated poorly, as I have been through that scenario more than a few times.

The doctor pops in and spends 95% of the appointment time talking about himself, his health, the death of his brother, his age, how he doesn’t suntan anymore, what he watched on tv last night, his experience with his last colonoscopy, the cost of medications he takes, and how he treats his his rosacea.

I am feeling really grounded, but taken aback by this strange doctor showing no interest in me, and the clock ticking in my head for my next appointment.

I do my best several times to bring up the pain I am feeling on my side.

Finally, the doctor comes toward me to examine me. He starts touching me and says over and over as he moves his hands around my body “does this hurt?” When he found where it hurt he pushed in really hard and I almost jumped off the table. He says he knew that was where the pain was coming from. It was high up on my left side.

I continue to feel grounded but focused on trying to accurately answer this man’s questions about my pain as he touches me. I am so focused on trying to accurately answer him I don’t realize he is now touching me in my vaginal area and talking about bones in the pelvic area—that have nothing to do with why I am there.

I hear a couple of voices in my head calling me stupid because I don’t realize this man is touching my vaginal area for no reason and talking about how my pelvis bones touch each other.

In a slowed reaction, I realize the voices are right and this man is touching me inappropriately. And I do nothing about it.

I freeze.

I don’t stop him or tell him to stop.

It’s as if it is not happening to me, but I can hear this man’s words and feel his touch that it is happening.

Fortunately, the man seemed spooked for some reason and jumped up to go get an anatomical dummy to show me the bones in the pelvic area, which again had nothing to do with why I was there.

I couldn’t hear him so well any more as my internal world was starting to come undone.

I knew I had to get to my car before I acknowledged to myself what had just happened, so as soon as he asked me if I had any other issues I wanted to discuss, I said “nope” and raced out of there.

I tried my best to drive to my therapist’s office without coming completely undone. I made it there and then felt dead.

I let it happen again. My therapist probably doesn’t even believe me. How can these things keep happening to me?

I lost hours of time in my therapist’s parking lot as I switched between parts trying to process what had happened. I fought tooth and nail to not let other parts cut open my throat. The rage inside me is at its worst when this idea is present.

I am extremely angry at myself this happened to me today as I was just speaking about how this happened to me with another doctor some years ago, and I thought I had grown so it wouldn’t happen again.

My therapist asked me if I wanted to file a complaint. I didn’t. I know full well that my list of psych meds alone discredits anything I might have to say happened to me, which is probably why he targeted me to begin with.

I told 3 people today this happened to me. That is progress, but still I am awash in confusion how I keep letting this happen to me. Where are those strong parts of me when this happens?

Will it ever stop?

Drifting

Drifting toward health.

Drifting toward death.

It doesn’t seem like this should be so confusing, but it is.

Some days ago, a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, stood in my childhood bedroom watching in freeze mind as my mother threw out her toys into the big green dumpster my mother had wheeled into the room.

This child did not understand, as any reasonable person wouldn’t, why her mother insisted on stripping every bit of humanity out of her.

She caused no trouble in the house. She did everything her mother or brothers told her to do. She had sex with whoever wanted it. She tried not to breathe as she was afraid it would upset them. Her existence was so minimal.

Still, with trying to do everything right, her mother hated her with such sadistic pleasure.

Her mother had made sure to strip her of everything.

Decency. Humanity. Love. Free thought. All gone.

She was forced to live in a room that only had a bed and a piece of office furniture. There could be no signs of a human child living there. Only nothingness, so she would always know she was nothing and nobody.

The little girl is stuck in this place, long past trying to understand her life.

Confusion, obedience, and an ounce of pain belonged to her.

I watched her for days. She was stuck there. I was stuck watching her. I had no explanation to give her. Yes, it was all vaguely familiar to me, but I wanted to keep it “not me” because that looks like such a painful, awful existence. Who would want that?

Feelings of suicide had been circling us as a system. I was not in as much control as I usually am, partly because watching this little girl made me want to die.

So I let the others inside me deprive the body of oxygen until I reached an altered state of consciousness. Here, I could go to the little girl in the bedroom.

Like I would do with my own wounded outside children, I reached down and picked her up and held her. She had never been held before, but she did not resist me and gave in to trusting me and let me carry her away.

I held her tightly against me, with her legs wrapped around me, and I could feel her pain and confusion. It is stuck in my heart.

I wanted to promise her that she would never be hurt again, but I knew I couldn’t do that in this very imperfect world.

She had endured more pain and suffering than a nation of people.

She would experience it no more.

I delivered her to the angels in heaven as I knew of no other place that promises the end of suffering. I told her she would be safe there, and the angels would love her and take care of her.

After I delivered her, I gasped for breath to get some oxygen in my earthly body. I was barely there. I was barely making it out alive.

I struggle to care about the damage done to my brain, or my almost lost life. It seems unimportant in the scheme of things.

I look to my childhood bedroom everyday since then, and it is empty. She is gone. She is free from the cruelty dealt to her.

I am relieved to have set her free. And uncertain as to what this means for me.

Namaste

My journey has changed

Some of you may have noticed that I have been missing in action for the past month or so.

I was really not doing well and needed intensive inpatient help with managing the symptoms of my DID and PTSD, particularly the level of suicidality I was experiencing.

I decided to go inpatient and it lasted longer than I expected. If I wouldn’t have really pushed to get out, I still easily met the criteria of someone who needed to be inpatient. But alas, I always feel terribly restless and triggered when I am inpatient, so a month was as much as I could do.

I am now happily home with my family and working to transition back into my real life. Still figuring this out and hope to share it with you as I uncover the new path of my journey.

I experienced incredible levels of amnesia and confusion while inpatient, but I was still able to gain some important insights into a new direction for my life.

I plan to share these new plans with you as I unpack myself back into the real world and my real life.

For now, I can say I realize I do have a life to live while doing this work, and I don’t have to “fix” my life before I can start living it.

I am also happy to say I am not currently feeling suicidal, which is remarkable because that is my typical normal. I know better than to get overly excited about this as I know it can change on a dime, but I do feel a sliver of hope that it is currently absent.

Speaking of hope, I did manage to gain some hope despite the incredible amnesia, confusion, transference, and uncomfortableness I experienced staying in this inpatient unit. Nothing like being locked up and power taken from you as a survivor that is seemingly required for inpatient treatment.

I am feeling well today and I am looking forward to sharing my new journey with you, and my experience during my inpatient stay.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support I received from you all.

With love and hope to you all,

Kathy

Lost and alone

I have been quiet lately, feeding off my mom’s voice in my head that if I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. So, I am breaking the rules.

Lost would probably best describe how I have felt most of the time lately. I can’t remember things, much more so than usual. My sense of “time” is completely off. Can’t tell you if it has been one week or 2 months since things have happened.

I am living day-by-day, not knowing if I will make it through the day.

I plan for my future and my demise all in the same hour.

I am suffering from wicked thoughts of suicide that are in my brain but don’t feel like my thoughts. It’s confusing.

I try not to act on any of the suicidal plans, yet at times I find myself getting up to go do whatever is my demise of the hour. Most times I catch myself when I am getting up and am able to stop myself. Sometimes I haven’t been completely lucky with that strategy.

Some days I feel morbidly depressed. I have resorted back to hiding in my bedroom as much as possible. I spend countless hours staring out the window, and suddenly I have an extreme depressive feeling, which follows with a graphic idea of killing myself.

I don’t know where these graphic suicidal ideas are coming from as I am much more practical than to think of these ways if I was suicidal.

I imagine there is extreme anger and pain behind the graphic ideas about my demise.

As I said, it gets so confusing. I think parts of me are “leaking” into me in a way that I cannot distinguish me from them. As such, their thoughts seem to make perfect sense to me.

Yes, I should stab myself with a butcher knife and lie down in my bed to bleed to death over night.

That is so not me, but yet it is me.

I would never do that to my children, but in my head it feels as though I will.

The world is so lonely for me right now. I am fortunate to have a spouse, therapist, and friend who know about some of this and are trying to get me help.

But, I worry no help exists.

In my life in the mental health system, there have been times when I know if I just went and worked on “x” I would stabilize or feel better. Honestly, I have no idea what x is for me this time.

Lost, pushing through each day hoping to gain some clarity the next day. It doesn’t come.

I am wasting my life, lost, never feeling grounded to this earth and my life.

The clock ticks, and ticks, and ticks. My dilemma stays the same. My fragility about my life continues.

I must have some hope hiding in me somewhere, but it is well hidden. The confusion in my mind keeps it from coming to surface. It is amazing to see the mind work so intensely against itself.

I plan for the future. I plan my demise. I don’t know how this will play out. I hope for the best, whatever that turns out to be.

The slowing clock on my madness

I have been trying. Really hard. Trying to get my life back. Taken yet again November 2014.

I feel like a failure. I fail myself over and over. I fail my family. My friends. My therapist. Most importantly my children.

Stuck. I have been stuck so much of the time over the past 3+ years. I can’t move. Can’t get out permanently for any length of time.

I am supposed to be the master of my own life. I try, but can’t feel it or make it work. Sometimes briefly, then it crashes down on me hard.

Frustration with myself. Sometimes I know what is wrong with me. Those times I eventually fix it. Climb back to looking semi-normal for those that need it from me.

Lately, I have no understanding. My preoccupation with death. My daily internal conversations. My fantasies about it. It doesn’t end or slow.

I try to be positive. I take the pills my DNA says should work for me. I take the supplements they recommend for me. I do my best to have movement in my life. I try to keep my stress level down and reduce the toxins in my life. I go to therapy.

Still, my feelings of suicide rage through me. Every day.

I try to act as if it is not happening in hopes of fooling myself out of it. It doesn’t work. It waits for me and grabs me solidly every time my mind has a moment to itself.

People say you should get help with this. I want to say, oh, ok, let me go do this so I can get on with my life.

I know help doesn’t exist for me, which is the scariest thing of all. I want it because my family needs me to get it, but I cry inside knowing it doesn’t exist. It is not there, just as I am barely still here.

I know you optimists, or those unfamiliar with particular kinds of madness, don’t agree. You think I am giving up. I have lost my way and just need to find it.

I am doing everything I can. Nothing is working.

I am smart, yet I fail myself. Stuck in the maze. I have always hated mazes. A weak point for me I guess.

No one can save me but myself. But I can’t figure it out. Though I try to look stronger on the outside for those few who are paying attention, I am actually weakening on the inside.

I want to see my 13 year old develop into the amazing child she is. I want to help my 6 year old make the baseball All Star team. I hold these feelings for short moments, then they escape me and I am back in purgatory.

There are those that care for me, but at the end of the day they don’t know what to do to help me. Most of them are barely holding onto their own lives with mediocre sanity.

It doesn’t matter the back story of how I got here because I am here, and the backstory changes nothing.

I love those of you who say you are not giving up on me, but truly have neither the time or energy to try to help what appears to be something not to be helped.

I am not seeking your pity. Don’t feel sorry for me. Feeling sorry for me has never helped. Changing the world does. I wanted to do that, but my inner demons have stopped me dead in my tracks.

Feel pity and empathy for my family as they deserve better than me.

I think they know how much I love them, but maybe they won’t understand the failings of my mind, my inner turmoil about the person I am. The person my family of origin made me into.

I pray my children and spouse have more faith in God than I have been able to hold. I have fought it my entire life, trying to understand why God has not been merciful in the torture he has brought into my life.

Children don’t deserve what you have given me. You say you love me as your child—this is not love. I will not accept man’s free will over your ability to love and be powerful. You did this to me, without mercy, and you expect me to believe you love me.

You have hurt my kids. You have ruined the life I was given. And for what, some lesson about mankind that only a few people will know?

Though God has decided my worth, I ask each of you to pray for my children and my wife. Give them peace and love and understanding.

I have tried so hard to do this for them. I have tried unsuccessfully to get help for my complicated madness.

The places to turn for help are evaporating. The seconds on the clock are vanishing. The madness of the mind wearing out.

My heart has beat for my wife and children. I have fought for them. My battle is losing. I hate myself for not being able to outsmart it.

Hold my family in your prayers and wrap them in the love they deserve.

Blessings to you and yours.