My Truth

I’m very passionate about mental health and abuse awareness, mainly due to my own expieriances. I am very open about my past, which I know is something that many do not like, but I do not see why I should stay silent – afterall that’s what the abusers told me to do and I can’t let them win can I?

I don’t want nor do I expect pity or sympathy. I do not deserve it, and I do not want it, what happened happened and I am only who I am today because of it. I do not want hugs and people saying they are sorry, what I want, what I fight for every day, is for OTHERS to feel safe that they will not be judged. What I want is to make it so that those who currently suffer in silence scared of what may happen if they open up know that they are not alone, and maybe make it so that they no longer have to fear judgement and blame.

I know that my work and my speaking out will not end abuse, discrimination and suffering, but if I can just let people know that they are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence and maybe if I can make a few people stop and think then I am happy with that. I cannot stop abuse, I cannot change the world, but maybe I can help to plant the seeds of change, plant that idea in to the minds of others, and then they can help that idea to grow until one day change can and does occur. Maybe one day the things which I fight will no longer exist, but I doubt that I will see that day. I can do so little, but it’s the best I can do, I just have to hope that human nature is not as bad as I fear and that these seeds if change and the glimmer of hope will take root.

I tell my story, my truth, not for pity, but for the hope that I can help to ignite change in this world. I know most will not believe this, but I know my truth and I hope that a few of you know this truth too. This is why I spend so long creating websites, writting letters, speaking in schools, raising money and trying to spread awareness. It’s an inconvenient truth I know, but it’s a truth that needs to be known, I cannot just sweep it under the carpet when I know that it could help others. So I fight and strive with the hope of helping, of making the suffering of others that little bit better that bit more bearable.  I wish that this truth was not there, that it did not need to be spread, but it is and it does. And for this I am sorry

This is my truth

Common mis-diagnosis’s and co-mobidies of DID

On average a multiple will be in the mental health system for 7 years prior to diagnosis and during this time may receive several varying diagnosis’s. They often include:

Temporal lobe epilepsy’

Dissociation is more common in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy than in any other neurologic disorder. The clinician should refer patients with dissociative symptoms for a thorough neurologic workup to rule out the presence of temporal lobe epilepsy or other organic processes. The standard EEG is of little help in distinguishing MPD from temporal lobe epilepsy because a high rate of nonspecific abnormalities has been detected in patients with MPD, most commonly bilateral temporal lobe slowing.

Schizophrenic disorders

The differentiation between dissociation identity disorder and schizophrenia can be made along several lines.

Patients with schizophrenia hear voices emanating from the external world, whereas patients with dissociation identity disorder hear voices originating from within the individual’s own head.

Patients with schizophrenia may experience visual hallucinations, although they are less well formed than those observed with certain other brain disorders. Patients with MPD occasionally experience hypnagogic phenomena.

Poor reality testing is observed with schizophrenia, whereas patients with MPD have essentially intact reality testing.

Tangential or loose associations accompanied by inappropriate affect are commonly observed with schizophrenia. Patients with dissociation identity disorder may have circumstantial association with appropriate affect.

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder has been diagnosed in 70% of a sample of 33 patients with dissociative disorder and in 23% of 70 patients with dissociative disorder. Putnam acknowledged that a large number of his cases resembled Briquet syndrome or somatization disorder, but, like other investigators, he proposed that once the diagnostic criteria for MPD are satisfied, MPD should be considered the superordinate diagnosis because working with the alternates can provide a therapeutic device that cannot be used in the unified individual.

Malingering

Malingering is said to be an important differential diagnosis in times when an obvious gain may result from mental health intervention. Malingering is the deliberate and fraudulent production of false and exaggerated symptoms to deceive observers for secondary gain that is recognizable with an understanding of the individual’s circumstances.

Dissociative amnesic disorder

MPD may prove difficult to distinguish from other dissociative amnesic disorders. With other dissociative amnesic disorders, behavior may be complex, but recovery is often complete, recurrences are less common, and the onset of amnesic spells may be intimately related to stressful events or to ingestion or intoxication.

How trauma effects memory

Traumatic memories are more likely to be “forgotten” than non-traumatic memories due to faulty encoding or retrieving. A major mental process contributing to amnesia in dissociative disorders is known as state-dependant learning. According to this theory, information encoded in one mental state is most easily retrieved at a later time when in that same state. If a person experiencing trauma dissociates into separate state of mind, different memories will become available to that person at different times. Data encoded in one state will not be available to a person who is in a different psychological state; it will only be available when the person returns to the same state he/she was in at the time when it was encoded. For example: Harris, a thirty-seven-year-old pharmacist who was sexually abused repeatedly throughout his childhood by an older cousin, developed a six-year-old alternative personality named Barney. Harris could not remember the abuse until an assault by an armed robber at the drugstore where he worked triggered Barneys return.

State-dependent learning theory explains the severe amnesia that occurs in DID. Experiences encoded in a psychological state of abuse can chain together into a complex and consistent personality if the abuse is sufficiently traumatic and persistent. These particular alert personalities of overwhelming pain and fear are outside the persons conscious cognitive awareness, they live on in an alter personality and are still psychologically active and influential.

The “lost time” or “memory gaps” of someone with DID have preserved their sanity but have also swallowed up vast chunks of their past and identity. The future of a person with amnesia can be compromised too. The inability to integrate traumatic memories caused the person to fixate art the time of the trauma and impairs the integration of new experiences. When Barney resurfaces Harris was unable to concentrate on his job as a pharmacist and fill prescriptions that were beyond the comprehension of a six-year-old child. For many people, traces of the painful memory tend to linger and intrude as flashbacks, obsessions, or re-enactments of the trauma in self-mutilation or other self-destructive behaviours.

Why should WE prove anything to YOU?

I’m annoyed… seriously annoyed… Got banned from a DID forum for “making a mockery of DID” and being a “sorry excuse for a human being”… I don’t even know what I did!!! No one in real life takes anything I say seriously (oter than jack) and now I’m havng to prove myself online as well… should just go back to hiding it

It took 6 years for medical professionals to take us seriously. For 6 years they said stupid things like “stress”, “homesickness” and even “attention seeking”… 6 bloody years… Maybe the mother is right eh? maybe this is all an act to feel “special”? maybe the psychiatrist is right, maybe I am just using it as an excuse to self-harm and take ODs?

And even now about 60% of people think it’s all made up, then again about 50% of people don’t seem to believe in DID at all… I’m trying to change that, tring to spread awareness and educate people, so that others don’t get accused of lying, get things thrown at them, get shunned, and get belittled by doctors.

But now… now I have to prove to online people ASWELL as real life people that I am ill… my god!!! Seriously, why should I have to prove ANYTHING to YOU???? What I experiance is what I experiance, unless we find a way to put you into the brain so you can expriance it too there is no way to prove it is there? But here’s the thing… why would I lie? There are far easier disorders to fake, and why would I fake it anyway?  Why would I mock any illness? Why would anyone?

I understand that the internet breeds suspision, that noone can ever truely know who is at the otherside of the screne (as it were), but if you accuse someone of something then you need to at least explain why… then I can scan a letter from my ex-psych (as I have got one for these such occations) and send it to you. We did not fight for 6 years to be taken seriously by doctors only to then have fellow multiples accuse us of lying. If we are lying then maybe YOU are lying? Thought about that?

So have your stupid forum, ignore how much having someone invalidate us hurts. But in future at least have evidence to back up your claim if you are going to bann someone and accuse them of these things.

Useful books and articles on DID, dissociation and trauma

We’ve had a few requests for sources on dissociation, PTSD, DID, etc. Now bare with us, we are not very good at referancing lol, so hopefully got the format right :P

Benjamin, L. R., & Benjamin, R. (1993). Interventions with children in dissociative families: A family treatment model. Dissociation

Braun, B. G. (1985). The transgenerational incidence of dissociation and multiple personality disorder: A preliminary report. In R. P. Kluft (Ed.), Childhood antecedents of multiple personality (pp. 127–150). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Coons, P. M. (1985). Children of parents with multiple personality disorder. In R. P. Kluft (Ed.), Childhood antecedents of multiple personality. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press

Dell, D. F., & Eisenhower, J. W. (1990). Adolescent multiple personality disorder: a preliminary study of eleven cases. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Kluft, R. P. (1986). Treating children who have multiple personality disorder. In B.G. Braun (Ed.), Treatment of multiple personality disorder. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press

McMahon, P. P., & Fagan, J. (1993). Play therapy with children with multiple personality disorder. In R. P. Kluft & C. G. Fine (Eds.), Clinical perspectives on multiple personality disorder (pp. 253–76). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press

Waters, F. W. (1990). Profile of nine cases of childhood multiple personality disorder (Summary). Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Multiple Personality/Dissociative States, Chicago, IL

Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Lauren E. Duncan, Linda M. Williams. Gender role socialization and male-on-male vs. female-on-male child sexual abuse. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, November 01 1998. Page(s): 14

J. LeDoux. The Emotional Brain. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

D. Laub & N. Auerhahn. Knowing and not knowing massive psychic trauma: forms of traumatic memory. International Journal of Psychoanalysis(1993) 74, 287-302.

L.Nadel & W. Jacobs. Traumatic memory is special. Current directions in psychological science (1998) 7(5), 154-157

M. Hunter. Abused boys: The neglected victims of sexual abuse. Americam journalof psychiatry (1993) 150, 1043-1047

Patterns if sexual abuse among men

Study of victims of male rape

Sidran Institute

Also the books that we review here are pretty good sources of information

Common “risks” of living with DID

Many people with DID suffer from certain phobias and that creates elementary trouble in normal living norms. This has a tendency to make a person introvert and often develop acute depression or aggressive character.

This disorder keeps a person in a make-believe world, and the due to the confrontation of personalities within a single entity, patient can hear voice of someone or talks relentlessly with an imaginary person or describes himself as a different personality. While doing so, becomes an object of fun in the society that tends toward the identity crisis and the patient can be converted in a hyper-eccentric personality.

The disorder creates a self- harming tendency. Due to frenzy, a person can do serious harm that can be fatal.
DID can be generated from previous traumatic experience and the memory of past trauma may create a mental stigma; the affected person cannot overcome from this memory and a suicidal tendency is aroused within this person. This tendency recurs frequently and ultimately many multiples commit suicide…

Sleep disorder is another allied problem within DID  and during sleep-walking or night terror a person being induced by hidden trait of personality may perform anti social activities that may spoil his/her normal living.

However, it is possible to live as a multiple. Not that society seems to like this idea… the above are merely risks, and risks occur in any walk of life

To remember or not remember, to repress or not to repress

Quite often people tell me that I am lucky to not remember a lot of the abuse… But I’m not sure…

I do remember most of the abuse when I was a teenager, I remember the rapes and the beatings… But before the age of 14 is mainly blank, and as most multiples split before the age of 8… well put 2 and 2 together I guess…

I remember bits,it comes to me in flashes… not like flashbacks (I get them of my teenage years) but literally split second images in my head, or overwhelming emotions for no reason, or even sounds and smells… but I don’t know what any of these relate to…

My earliest memory it went I was very young, living with my grandparents. I only really remember being in the garden jumping from rock to rock over the flower beds before trying to climb across a pipe over a river lol. After that I remember being locked outside at about the age of 4, but I don’t know why… And I remember cold water being poured on me when I cried…

I don’t remember my mum and step-dad getting married when I was 5, nor my brother being born when I was 6. But I do remember my mum  attempting suicide not long after my brothers birth… I remember her laying on the floor in her own blood… apparently I called for an ambulance and went with her to the hospital, but I don’t remember this…

I have a scar on my stomach, it’s always been there and I’ve always wondered why, all I knew is when I looked at it I got a sharp burning sensation theere and felt intense fear… but then a few months ago I put my hand over it and *FALSH* I was 10 years old, in my parents kitchen, and my mum was coming at me with a knife… she stabed me… next thing I knew I was laying in our shower 22 years old with the water running again crying… but at least now I know where it came from.

I used to keep a dream diary, in the hope that it would uncover some of these memories, but no such luck… there are other things like that scar, things that I feel pain or fear when exposed to, but I don’t know why… I guess the main point its that it’s hard to recover when you have no idea what you are recovering from… that and thanks to the false memory people noone believes the memories anyway, so then you start to doubt them yourself… and then because you doubt the “recovered” memories you start to doubt ALL of your memories… I don’t know what is and isn”t real, I have no way to be sure… I’m not even sure that I am real, I mean meybe I have no memories because I am not the core/host as I thought, but an alter created to replace the host when they were 14?

this book is  a fantastic one about repressed memories, it’s one of the only things that has helped me regain any degree of confidence in who I am and what I remember.

The alternative of course is to remember everything, and to be haunted by it… I do remember my abusicve relationship between ages 16 and 19 fairly well, there are a few months and weeks missing here and there but it’s almost in tact. From this I get flashbacks and nightmares often…

The problem is I can never be 100% on which symptoms/effects are from what I do remember and which are from what I do not… Makes a comparison kind of difficult… That and I am so so so scared of the false memory syndrome people coming and telling me I’ve made it all up, etc. and belittling me…

In conclusion I guess…the options are both ****, I think it’s a bit like comparing apples and oragnes… there are good and bad points to each, or maybe it depends on the person, maybe some people cope better with knowing and some with repressing…

DID is real, it can be hell, but it also can be fun.

I know that a lot of people don’t believe in multiple personalities. I find that interesting. I’d rather not believe in it myself ;) However, given that I live with a group of people in my head who insist they are real, and who take control of my body on a regular basis, I’m trying to learn to accept the fact that they’re real, and have been real since I was about 6 years old.
I’ve wrestled a lot of long, lonely, difficult hours with this.

  • They’re not imaginary.
  • They’re not because I’m malingering.
  • They’re not because I’m well-read about DID.
  • They’re not there because I’ve seen movies.
  • They’re not there to get me out of anything.
  • They’re not there because its “convenient.”
  • They’re not made up.
  • They’re not invented so I can stay in therapy longer, or to get attention, or to be cool, or anything like that.

You know why they’re there?
Because stuff happened that my own mind couldn’t handle. And maybe because I was a little too creative, and a LOT too sensitive…

I promice that this is real, I do experiance this, all of it.

  • It sucks sometimes.
  • I’ve lost friends.
  • I’ve lost support.
  • I have to take responsibility for things that I didn’t even know I did.
  • I have to fix mistakes that I dont remember making.
  • I forget things all the time.
  • I never know what time it is
  • I can’t remember almost 14 years of my life
  • Its inconvenient.
  • Its a pain in the butt.
  • Its terrifying.
  • The headaches are AWFUL
  • It takes us hours to make a simple decision as everyone refused to agree
  • Sometimes I loos a few hours and end up in a different city with no idea where I am or how I got there
  • Acting like a child when in an adults body never ends well…
  • “coming back” to being yelled at by people when I have no idea why is upsetting and SO confusing
  • Its full of flashbacks and pain and loneliness and fear.  Sometimes having noone, no company other than the others you share a body with as all the “singletons” can’t understand and end up leaving you
  • And having people you might not even like take up residence inside your head.
  • Some of these people may have different mental illnesses to you, so on a day to day basis the body can go through anything from self-harm to purging…
  • You end up having items in your woardrobe that not only do you not rememmber buying but that don’t even fit

Basically, imagine taking 9 or 10 (and in some cases, many more) people from different walks of life, with completely different personalities and histories and likes and dislikes, and putting them all in a verysmallroomforaverylongtimetogether and see what happens. ell them to share this space for and endless amount of time, add one therapist standing outside the door of room who can see inside through a very small window, shake the room up, and enjoy…

Telling us things like “multiples personalities do not exist”, “stop acting, you’re fooling noone”, “stop looking for attention”, “this self pitty thing is getting old”, “there is no such thing as DID, next time you fake a disorder make sure it’s a real one”, etc. really doesn’t help… it is real, we experiance it, if it’s not real then what are we? why are we here?

Though truth be told there are some good points… like for example you are never truely alone… and it can result in some fairly funny siturations once you learn to laugh about it (which you have to do or you’d robably end up crying or suicidal). You’ll also never be short of clothes, something for every possible situration lol. If you can’t handle doing something then you can ask someone else to take over, though I feel bad for doing this… And it’s also a great excuse for things, you always have someone else to blaime events on :P

DID can be good

Documented effects of childhood abuse

PTSD

* Nightmares
* Flashbacks
* Memory and concentration problems
* Hyperarousal
* Hypervigilance
* Intrusive memories
* Avoidance
* Abnormal startle reponses
* Feeling worse when reminded of trauma

Dissociative

* Out-of-body experiences
* Derealization
* Amnesia
* Fragmented sense of self and identity

Anxiety

* Panic attacks
* Claustrophobia

Substance Abuse

* Alcoholism
* Drug addiction

Many abuse victims report that they remember seemingly random or minor details of the abuse event, while forgetting central events. For instance, one woman who had been locked in a closet had an isolated memory of the smell of old clothes and the sound of a clock ticking. Later, she connected these details with feelings of intense fear; only then was she able to recall the whole picture of what had happened to her. PTSD also causes problems with non-declarative memory (subconscious or motor memory, such as remembering how to ride a bicycle). This can show up as abnormal conditioned responses and the reliving of traumatic experiences when something happens to remind the sufferer of past abuse. These types of memory disturbance may also be related to physical changes in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex.

Headaches and dissociaite identity disorder

The single most common neurological symptom reported in DID/MPD is headache. Suffering frequent headaches is so typical an experience for multiples that it is one of the major clues psychologists look for when diagnosing DID. Most multiples report that their headaches are extremely painful, often to the point of being literally blinding. Medication seldom works to relieve the pressure or pain. There are some different explanations for why multiples get more headaches than the general population.

STRESS: Life can be very stressful for multiples. In addition to normal daily problems, you have to deal with post-traumatic stress arising from your abuse history. Other stresses specific to multiples include lost time, waking up in the middle of situations and having to appear as if you know what is going on, and trying to find ways to continue functioning when all you want is to hide under your bed forever. All of this can leave your nerves ragged and muscles bunched up in tension. It can also drain you of emotional strength. Headaches are a natural result.
Considerable physical stress is also a consequence of having a dissociative disorder as you use your physical senses to contain and come to terms with your psychological disabilities and “strange” experiences. Take derealisation, for example, the effort to focus your vision all the time can cause eye strain and, subsequently, acute headache. On top of this, it can be incredibly distressing, frustrating, and frightening to experience episodes of derealisation. The emotional toll is enough in itself to cause headache. But it doesn’t end there because, in addition to the physical effects of trying to deal with dissociative misperceptions, and the emotional effects of it, most dissociators also fight hard to hold everything together and look “normal” to the outside world. This can be exhausting, especially when selves are struggling to get out. As the brain works furiously to manage all these layers of stress, the dissociator develops a worsening headache.
To ease stress headaches – find what works best for you to decrease swollen, tense muscles. This is different for everyone – some prefer ice whereas others need to stand in a warm shower. Massage can be helpful. Music is soothing but, for some people, the noise simply adds another layer of stimulus onto the load the brain is already having to deal with. Some find the only thing they can do to help the pain is sleep. This works by giving your body a chance to rest and revitalize. There are also a number of self-hypnotic techniques you can use to let the stress and pain go. As dissociators are highly hypnotizable, these techniques can be particularly effective. You can create any hypnotic scenario you want from your own imagination. For example, fill your mind with a gentle, soothing color that washes the pain away.

OVERSTIMULATION: Multiples are very prone to pressure-type headaches caused by too much incoming stimulus. This barrage of psychic “noise” includes things which impact on all our senses and overwhelm them. It may come from inside – for example, too many alter selves standing near the front of consciousness. The noise may also come from outside – too much sound, too many bright colors that blur in front of your eyes. There are two probable reasons why multiples are overly sensitive to external stimuli – because of their chronic abuse experiences, multiples have developed a hyper-alertness which means they are constantly aware of everything around them incase danger is lurking – and because they have so many different “eyes” perceiving the world around them, often simultaneously. As one survivor put it, “Sometimes things have too much meaning. It’s as if we’re all looking at something at the same time, and our different perceptions get jumbled-up and become too much to cope with, and then our head feels as if it’s going to explode. And of course we all have separate feelings and opinions for what we see. It can be unbearable. There are so many eyes/minds, but only one sensory system to process everything. Even just a walk down the city street can leave us with a crippling (but somehow painless) headache.”
To help ease headaches cause by over stimulation – ask inside for everyone to step back and give you some space and quiet. Explain that it is more effective for them to tell you about their experiences when you have time and energy to listen properly. Alternatively, they may like to write their thoughts/feelings in a journal if they can’t wait. Some multiples find it helpful to carry pen and paper around with them for this purpose. There are ways to achieve ventilation of some of the noise – deep breathing exercises are good for this, and again you can use a number of self-hypnotic techniques, such as picturing a steam-valve on the side of your neck. If you find it overwhelming to go out in public surrounded by “noise pollution”, you could try wearing a walkman that playing peaceful, soothing music which blocks out the other noise.

SWITCHING: Switching from one alter self to another causes headache mainly when there is some kind of conflict between the selves for control. The solution to this is better communication and cooperation within your system. When there is a disagreement about who should be “out”, many selves may be happy to accept a third party to take the out position as act as a mediator so both voices can be heard through her. Often this third party is an automaton self who has few sensitivities of her own, and so is not disturbed by being a channel through which others can communicate. Another suggestion is that, instead of coming completely out, the two selves stand in a place on the edge of inside, where they can be heard without a complete switch having to occur. Most people find that, as their co-consciousness increases, struggles for control (and the consequent headaches) cease to be a problem. There are some multiples who experience headache or other symptoms, such as nausea or dizziness, with even the most uncomplicated and unconflicted switches. This is usually the case for those who are early in their healing process, or whose dissociative barriers are profound. It is not surprising when you consider the physiological changes that happen when a multiple switches between alter selves. It has been proven that selves have their own unique pattern of brainwaves. Furthermore, everyone has at different ages a different biochemistry and mental capacity – thus the switch from adult to child is going to be more physiologically complex than between two adults.

SPILLAGE: When alters have disputes between themselves at a subconscious level, or when one is seething because of some anxiety they have, the tension often emerges in the form of headache. In this way, the person who is out may have a migraine without being aware that it is being caused by a stroppy teenager who is figuratively stomping around inside because she is angry about something. Alter selves are also notorious for sending headaches to the front person as a kind of message. This headache can be seen as a kind of acting out. In cases like these, pain-killing medication is of no use, because there is no actual physiological problem – the pain results from emotional disturbance. To help with these it is necessary to get the selves talking to you about what is going on for them. If they are willing to do this, there is a better chance they will get their needs met than if they simply radiate wordless feelings and pain.

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