Category: Dissociative survivors’ experiences

My therapist is retiring

My therapist is retiring next year. I’ve worked with her for nearly five years and I’m not ready to finish therapy yet, so this is a difficult issue for me. Having spoken to PODS, I’ve realised that many other people face the same or similar situations, so I thought I’d write about how it’s impacting me and how I’m dealing with it. But I have DID, so I have a variety of responses…

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Divorcing old habits

What do you do when the worst thing you think could happen to you does happen? Do you fall back into old habits, ways of coping that you’ve worked so hard to reform? Or do you work the problem? … In this searingly honest and vulnerable piece, Carolyn Spring talks about how she coped with a double loss of attachment figures and how what she had feared the most actually became a springboard towards new growth.

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Can we heal?

‘Can we heal?’ she asked, quivering with the significance of what she was saying, as if her very life depended on it. ‘Can we really heal?’I could well understood the agony in her eyes. I lived for many years overwhelmed by trauma, the symptoms of unhealed suffering. And if recovery is impossible, then why are we even trying?

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Recovery is my best revenge

Is recovery possible? That’s the question that everyone is asking, even when they’re not asking it. After a breakdown, perhaps after years in the mental health system, do we have to simply accept that we’re broken and that we’ll always be broken, or is it possible to live a life where we’re back in control again, where we’re living as we want to live, where life has purpose and meaning?

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Suicide – to be or not to be

I could cope with it no longer. Every part of me—eyelids, throat, bowels—everything was clenched tight in a ball of furious unbearability. This feeling—such a feeling!—loomed up over me like some prehistoric sea-monster, ready to snap me up and devour me, ready to pilfer my bones and pick apart my brain. This feeling was too much.

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Ten things I have learned about child sexual abuse

Understanding the dynamics around child sexual abuse, who the perpetrators are, how they achieve their ends, the impacts of abuse on us—all of this knowledge, this ‘psycho-education’ has aided my recovery. And so these are ten of the many things that I have learned about child sexual abuse, some of the insights that have begun to heal my shame.

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My experience of living with DID: denial

Denial and dissociation are two sides of the same coin. In employing dissociation, we are employing denial: “This isn’t happening” or “This isn’t happening to me.” We create alter personalities to whom it happened, so that it didn’t happen to me.

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It’s a pain: the physical impact of trauma

Physical symptoms are a big part of life for me with DID. Yes, I have ‘multiple personalities’, the “two or more distinct identities that recurrently take control of the body” and I’m not for one moment denying the significance of that or the impact it has on my day-to-day life. But I would say that physical symptoms such as chronic, unexplained pain, headaches and nausea have been and still remain far more distressing and life-impacting for me than the presence of parts.

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Powerlessness

Powerlessness is such a core experience for victims of abuse that often we don’t even notice that it’s there. It is played out in the way that we interact with people and the world – it’s the shadow cast by the sun, rather than the sunlight itself.

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A life worth living

I knew a lot about pain, but I didn’t know very much at all about pleasure. I asked myself: what do I like doing? For weeks I couldn’t answer that question, not with anything tangible or concrete.

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The body remembers

I hate my body. It was there, always there, during the abuse. My mind went away but my body could not. My mind could forget. We parcelled up little chunks of our mind, bit by bit, and sent them off into dim little rooms where they could be forgotten and not heard.

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