The beginning of grief

Today has been a shit day.

My fucking therapist came back from a much needed week off, and is on her game and ready to tackle the subjects I avoid.

Fuck. I want to get better, so I am trying really hard to talk about what she thinks I need to talk about.

Fuck. She wants me to talk about and feel grief over the fact that I didn’t have a Mom, and instead had a monster to watch over me.

Fuck. I feel dead inside. I told her my mom feels dead to me even though we know she is still alive. I feel nothing for her. I learned from the very beginning she was to be feared, and I wasn’t to be loved.

Fuck. I know I need to do this but I can’t find it in me. I am searching and asking among my parts. I am scared exploring this grief could obliterate me if I find it. But, I look, knowing it could incapacitate me and render me back into the psych ward.

Fuck. I found a little substance about this grief/mom thing in my session today. My inside world revved up and felt like total chaos. Parts started talking some about her and us. Thoughts of cutting my wrists or throat kept weaving around in my head.

Fuck. My system crashed into a younger part who doesn’t talk or walk, and seems to only want to go to sleep. The part is in flashback and having body memories and reacting to sounds in a PTSD way. The part seems confused about where we are. I am so off course I can’t pull us out of this part.

Fuck. My spouse needs to go to the Lady Gaga concert she has been excited about. I can’t seem to pull out of it, but my outside children will need me to watch them tonight. Finally, someone gets us out of bed with the help of my spouse. The flashbacks are still happening. The part is still pulling us in. Finally, we break away.

Fuck. I need to go pick up my son. Can I drive? Can I speak? Can I snap out of it and act normal for him. Get grounded for fuck sakes. I mean, at least get back on planet earth. Ok, here, but just barely.

Fuck. The kids are home and in bed. I feel incredibly sad and like crying, but not letting myself explore to find out why. An insider says I know the fucking why. Yeah, it’s a minuscule piece of the grief seeping in.

Fuck. I hate that bitch of a monster Mom I had.

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.

neurofeedback_1

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.

musclebrain

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.

 

 

The loneliness of my DID

For the past week, I have been struggling deeply with my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

I have been rage-fully suicidal, and even a few moments of being homicidal. I don’t understand why I am having all these feelings and thoughts.

I don’t even understand why I have been making violent suicide plans that involve punishing someone who hurt me badly.

This is not uncommon for me, to not really understand what is happening within myself, but the degree of anger and extreme suicidality is unusual.

My brain goes from crazy, enraged to numb and dumb. It makes me feel less than human like this.

I have only one person who I can truly discuss all this with, my therapist. Yet, for reasons unknown to me, I decided to fire her this past week.

I went to session and asked her a question about how she knew a fact about my ex-therapist’s office building she mentioned in our last session, and I lost my mind with her attempt at an answer and I filled with mistrust and feeling betrayed, whether justified or not.

I switched through a Rolodex of parts who were losing their minds inside and outside my head. Suddenly, my whole system of parts seemed like they no longer trusted the therapist. This was unexpected for me, the one who tries to manage all of this.

In fact, I quickly found myself banished to a back seat in my own head. Instead, parts who are suicidal and want to punish the ex-therapist announced a violent plan to kill ourselves that they are convinced would wreck her life the way she did ours.

This feels satisfactory to them, but I try to remind them what it would do to my kids, and her kid. My system never wants to hurt kids.

I get it, she is such a fucking narcissist who has shown me no remorse for what she did to me or us. I get this rage. It is so similar to my own mother.

But, I don’t want to end my life to destroy hers. I don’t even want to destroy her perfect little life, but I do wish she would talk to me and tell me how sorry she is for what she did to me. We all know a narcissist isn’t going to do that.

I have been hiding my craziness from my spouse, children, and best friend. People would freak out if they knew what was going through my head.

Everyone wants to put me in a psych ward, and frankly, I am not interested in getting drugged and stuck in one of those places. I would rather risk it on the outside.

I have no one to talk to about this except a small group of people I know through the internet. Even some of them talked about me going into the hospital ☹️.

It’s lonely, trying to hide this madness, trying to keep myself safe, trying to contain the chaotic insanity going on inside when talking to my spouse or children.

Sleep is a good hiding tool, but too much and the spouse figures out something is wrong again.

I have found that really those who go through this similar experience of DID are the only ones who can really understand it. And even so, sometimes it is impossible to get adequate words out to describe what is happening inside.

I want help when I am at this dangerous level of distress, but I haven’t found anything helpful. Hospitals don’t help. They often times do more harm.

I wish my therapist could help me in this situation, but she is merely another human with her own life and trying to help people the best she can.

So, the answer continues to be loneliness, though I am truly thankful for my cyber friends.

The darkness from within

Today I went to therapy and had parts that have relationships with cults and religion out in session.

I am not happy about it because I do not like people to see this side of me, not even my therapist. It just seems like it is better left unsaid and unexperienced by the outside world.

My strongest cult part came out when they weren’t satisfied by the way the part before them was handling the discussion with my therapist. This part is quite intelligent, definitely more so than me. It has access to knowledge of religion and cults that I don’t keep in my accessible part of our brain. They can be scary and mean, too.

The time before when this part came out we were at a residential treatment facility in California. The therapist there really wanted to speak to this part, and I was surprised it came out.

He debated religion and discussed his feelings about the value of modern day human sacrifice as similar to what Jesus did. He believes in bloodletting and human sacrifice and claims this is necessary so other people can continue to live on this planet.

By the time he finished speaking to our California therapist, she was visibly rattled, and ended up calling the emergency crisis team to evaluate me. Though we didn’t get admitted to a hospital because we know that game, we were discharged from that program a couple of days later for reasons that are unclear to us.

Today, our regular therapist got her first glimpse of him, and I don’t think she likes him or us any more. She would deny this because that is the type of person she is.

But, let’s face it, no one wants to go down this rabbit hole with us. It is scary and dark and no good can come from it.

Evil scares people, and they fear this is what evil looks like up close.

At least that’s the way I see it.

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 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……

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!

The indifferent therapist who ruined me


There is a woman who lives just about a mile from my house who I have so far allowed to ruin my life.
She is not a lover, or anything so exciting as that. She was my first therapist after my 13 year hiatus from the mental health community.

From the first moment I spoke to her on the phone about a possible appointment with her, she touched my mommy transference button. Not because she was so nice, but because she was indifferent as to whether I came for help or not.

I came in to meet this woman for a ridiculous fee, and she told me I wouldn’t succeed with the first therapist I picked because my DID was too much of a problem. When we talked about me possibly seeing her, she was again indifferent. My mommy transference was triggered again.

I ended up coming to see this woman as my therapist, and it was the craziest, most emotionally dysregulating relationship in my adult life. She saw her indifference as empowering me. It destroyed me instead.

I had always been a person who didn’t need anyone. I can go to the movies or dinner alone and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I love being alone. But she was different.

Her indifference throughout our relationship of whether I was dead or alive propelled me so far into transference land that I couldn’t let go. I needed to do this “mom do-over” correctly, so that she would care about me, or at the very least care whether I lived or died.

As each day passed on, our relationship became more destabilizing to the both of us, though she probably wouldn’t admit that.

She has a need to be the perfect, expert DID therapist in town, so she would never want anyone to think she was less than perfect. Neat, orderly, perfect, and sometimes cold as ice.

I was still obsessed with making this relationship work, even though I started going to an anonymous bar after every therapy appointment with her. I felt suicidal most days over feelings I had toward her, or perceived feelings she had toward me.

I became obsessed with her abandoning me. Sometimes paralyzed by it. We spent endless hours talking about the subject, so I became very clear about her rules of when she would abandon me. She said she would have to abandon me if I ever tried to kill myself, which is kind of a ridiculous rule to have for someone who is DID, but I agreed to it.  She promised that she would never abruptly abandon me, and that if it ever needed to happen, I would know far in advance and it would be a slow, gradual transition to a new therapist.

My protector parts had much more insight than me and my younger parts because we were so attached to her. They listened to exactly what she revealed about herself as her weaknesses, and acted on them.

We were suicidal and we told her we needed to go inpatient. She told us she would help, and she didn’t. The next session we told her again, and begged her to call the admissions coordinator, and she didn’t. This was interpreted by us that she wanted us to kill herself, and we couldn’t bare the callousness of her not caring. What other rational explanation could there be.

That evening when we had given up all hope that she was going to help us, we went to a bar and had two beers. We spoke to her on the phone and refused to tell her where we were because we didn’t want the police to show up in our small town. I offered to walk home since I wasn’t far from it and live in a fairly safe area. She wouldn’t allow it. I ended up driving because I was really ok to do so, and couldn’t leave my car in the parking lot.

She had told us before that she had no tolerance for people who were drinking, and people who were seriously suicidal. The therapist became triggered.

I flew out that night on my own, from my own decision, to a treatment center for people with DID, and spoke with her the next morning. I asked her if she was going to leave me over this, and she promised she wasn’t and that “it is nowhere on my radar screen.”

After entering the treatment center and more and more time was going by and I hadn’t heard from her, I knew she had lied. I knew she wanted out. She didn’t have the courage to tell me this herself. She finally came up with this long list of nonsense that were new requirements to continue treatment with her. She knew my protectors would never go for the list as it was just too ridiculous.

At first my protectors rightfully said no thank you. Then I panicked in a huge way and begged her to stay, and agreed to all her conditions, and she wouldn’t allow it. She told me I needed to listen to my protectors. She gave us three referrals and that was it. Only one of the referrals agreed to see me when I got back into to town, but after she spoke with this previous therapist, she literally backed out of agreeing to see me.

I must have interviewed 20 therapists who said they treated DID. At least half were nut jobs, and the other half were either not good fits or nice people who were extremely inexperienced.

I received in the mail a certified letter from the therapist containing all the SuperBills from the year before that I had requested the year before, and the 3 useless referrals. In other words, she was trying to cover her ass.

I called her and wrote her and begged her to either talk to me or help me find a therapist. She never talked to me again. She left me for dead, which is actually meant to be literal. She is no different than my biological mom.

In my entire life, I never begged someone to act like a human being and just help me by doing something as simple as calling me so I could understand what happened.

That was 17 months ago. And even though I did find a good therapist, and realized my relationship with the first was extremely bad for me for various reasons (primarily because we were triggering each other nonstop, though she would never admit that), I haven’t been able to leave my bed other than to go to an appointment for 17 months now, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I have also developed several health problems over this 17 months.

Today, we do see her across a parking lot from time to time. Depending on the day, sometimes I think of running her down, other days I realize she is just another imperfect human being and care nothing about her. My little ones inside still want her to be their mother, even though we try to explain why she wouldn’t be a good mother for us.

Some days we still cry over the loss of her, and more often, for what she did to us. In the end, we didn’t mean anything to her, and she didn’t care if we lived or died as long as she was clear of any potential law suits. She truly had become my mother in many ways, but when you are mental health provider you have all the power to ruin someone by simply saying they are borderline and extremely difficult. Doesn’t matter if that has any basis in reality. It enables her to protect her do-gooder image, no matter if it destroys me.

I don’t know when, if ever, we will be functional enough to get out of bed and live our lives again.

We know we shouldn’t let this severely less than perfect person wreck our lives, but we truly feel ruined and have no insight on how to move out of this condition. It is so hard to forgive someone who betrays your trust on this level, and then makes it your fault. Narcissism.

I am all for therapists taking care of themselves, and if she needed out, she needed to get out. But, this should have been balanced with my welfare, my chance at survival, and maybe an explanation for what was happening. I am actually a fairly reasonable and forgiving person to those who know me. I don’t know that I will ever forgive her, not that she cares.

So, this has left me bedridden and missing out on my life. I am sad about this tonight, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do to make it any better. I guess my horrible luck in life continues on.

There are days when I want to kill her, but those are rare and I choose to think of killing myself instead. Either way, without a doubt, she has killed an important part of me already with no remorse. Yet, another very difficult fact to accept into my life.

It is scary to think sometimes the helpers are sicker than the patients. Ah, but to admit so would be bad for the profession, so no one will be admitting that here. The helper is always right, no matter how much baggage she secretly carries.

Please pray that one day I will find my way out of what has become a very imperfect life for me. I deeply appreciate the stranger therapists, who were in the business for the right reason, and tried their best to help me because they cared about human life.

Figuring out the puzzle

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When I was a child, my mind was specifically made to not think. I wasn’t to understand what was happening. People around me did things to my mind to ensure that. I was simply worthy of being kept alive for the purposes of a lot of sick people.

The first time I remember something substantially unusual about my life was when I was around 10 and the first Star Wars movie came out. Back in those days, we didn’t have movies like that, so it was a big deal to be going. I remember waiting outside the theater with my friends (another family took me), all of us filled with excitement. The next thing I remembered was walking out of the theater with my friends as they were excitedly re-enacting the movie scenes. But, for me, I had no memory of the movie at all. I was terrified someone would find out that there was something terribly wrong with me, so I didn’t say anything to anyone, and pretended to know what the movie was about for months. It was so disturbing for me, I still have not watched that movie.

Then, throughout my life there were voices in my head commenting on various things and criticizing me. Even though I heard multiple voices and sometimes we talked back and forth with each other, I talked myself into believing that everyone had voices in their head. It was especially easy to do that when the whole “inner child” concept took off.

In high school, I didn’t put much thought into it, but I changed identities frequently and maintained opposite identities at the same time depending on who I was around or what I was doing. This was not your normal finding your identity experience. This was bizarre, and I knew it, but chose not to think about it.

Some of my identities in high school were band geek, druggie, political activist, ROTC rising star, non-drinker, heavy drinker, business entrepreneur, school skipper, slut, good girl, athlete wannabe, advanced student, special ed student, and of course the lost child who wanted help but never asked.

By some miracle, I got into the state college. It was a miracle because I hadn’t remembered or paid attention to about 90% of what I think they taught in school. I got in because I had such an interesting list of activities and successes (minus the not so good ones I left out). I was let in under a provisional status that gave me a couple of quarters to prove that I could do college level work.

I started college and was driven to succeed. I did extremely well in most subjects. I spent my first ten weeks learning everything important for college. I didn’t even know how to write an essay when I got there, but I worked hard and caught up with my peers. I became extremely good at debating both sides of the issues. I believe this was probably because I was able to switch into different parts to argue each side. This got me heavily involved in politics on campus and in the state. I became a rising star in the political successes I experienced. I was also really good at accounting, which was weird because numbers tended to bore me, especially as a career. But, I was good at it.

I fell in love with a guy the first quarter I was there. I lived in a co-ed dorm, so we had some wild parties and it wasn’t unusual for boyfriends and girlfriends to live together. In our one dorm room, we had 5 people living there, and it wasn’t much bigger than a regular secondary bedroom in a house without a bathroom.

Sex, alcohol, pot, and pizza were everywhere. Though I was in no way a virgin when I entered college, many of my dorm mates were, and were losing their virginity quickly and stupidly. I had one really stupid sexual experience with a guy I didn’t even like because I was trying to fit in. Dumb mistake. That experience started something that stayed with me in a negative way, even to this day.

The man I loved, and did want to have sex with started out ok. But then I quickly started to have problems having sex. I would just freeze,  have a flashback, or just not want to have sex for reasons I didn’t understand. I mean, I loved this man, I was attracted to him, I felt safe with him, but as each day crept along it seemed to get worse, except every once in a while I would change in a way I couldn’t explain and have a good sexual experience with him. It was good sometimes, and bad most of the time. I truly had no clue what was wrong with me. He loved me and wanted to stick it out with me, but when we hit the 3 year mark I let him go. I couldn’t do it to him anymore. I knew something was really wrong with me because my sexual problems kept getting worse, and I didn’t think it was fair to do that to him.

I was able to keep succeeding at some important roles and clubs at school, and my grades were very good, which landed me a top job with a highly competitive corporation. They expected me to be somebody based on my resume, but none of us had any idea what was brewing inside for me.

After achieving success after success my Senior year, I found myself feeling depressed, crying a lot, and thinking of suicide. I had no idea what was wrong with me, so I kept it a secret and went to the elaborate student mental health center at the University. At the student mental health center, the psychiatrist literally yelled at me and told me to stop crying, and gave me a prescription for Xanax. At first it was helpful to get me through the days and the tough academic demands, but then I started reaching a point where I needed to keep taking more and more to feel ok. Finally, I started feeling suicidal again, and fortunately I found a good therapist and psychiatrist off campus who helped me get inpatient at a local private psychiatric hospital. I have no memory of how I found those two people who helped and cared about me a great deal.

I spent the next 6 months at the hospital, kind of a psychiatric mystery on why I wasn’t getting better. At the time, I was put on every anti-depressant available, and none of them worked. At the same time, I started to realize these strange conflicting feelings going on inside me. I was attached to my therapist, and I remember one time she was going to be out for a couple of days. During those couple of days, I was feeling ok, but then I also started having suicidal thoughts and other conflicting thoughts. I remember the voices in my head increased and were talking to each other. I also remember my body not always feeling in my control.

I tried to discuss this with my therapist and psychiatrist, and unfortunately, they did not believe in dissociative disorders, or at least thought they were very rare (not true). So, they continued to believe I was only suffering from Major Depression, which I was, but I also had other complicating factors going on, which explained why I wasn’t getting better. They finally put me on lithium, the drug mainly used for people with Bipolar illness, and it seemed to help my depression, or it was completely a coincidence.

I was finally well enough to leave the hospital. I still had serious mental health issues going on, but I finally was able to go home. Going home eventually made it so I could see an expert in what I suspected was going on with me, and she diagnosed me with Multiple Personality Disorder, which is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder. I hadn’t read up on it really because there was no internet back then, and books hadn’t really been published on the subject, or at least available to the public. I just knew it felt like other people were living inside my body, and I learned about therapists who were treating this condition. I knew I was not experiencing life like the “Three Faces of Eve” or “Sybil,” but a less dramatic form of that was taking place in my life.

So, essentially, I self-diagnosed myself. I do not say this to brag, but to let you know the frustration I feel for myself and others who are in a mental health system that refuses to wholeheartedly believe in this diagnosis, or believe it is so rare that they don’t expect to see it in their professional career. The truth is it is extremely common, and somehow, we need to wake up mental health providers. I can’t tell you the number of mental health professionals in my current city who call themselves “trauma experts,” but refuse to learn about or work with people who have a diagnosis of DID. As a result, people with DID spend years and years getting the wrong kind of treatment, and essentially lose a significant part of their lives to the illness because the mental health professionals diagnosed them incorrectly because of their own bias or ignorance. This must change.