An abstract street shot that depicts a man who appears to be vanishing

20 Ways to Live with ICD-9-CM: 300.14, 300.15

What is life like for someone who lives with and loves a man who is symptomatic with severe Dissociative Identity Disorder? (ICD 9 code 300.14,  300.15)?

My partner and I had a frank conversation about the stress of  living with me after a joint session with my therapist.

My lack of memory and the fear provoked by descriptions of incidents I can’t remember is “triggering “and causes a switch.

I cannot describe what I cannot remember.

If Kaiser were doing its job, my partner would receive a weekly call from my case manager so she could understand the true scope of the illness and make more accurate safety assessments.

The online Merk manual describes Dissociative Identity Disorder as follows:

“…chronic and potentially disabling or fatal, although many people function very well and lead creative and productive lives.”

With proper treatment, many people do go on to lead creative and productive lives.

I intend to be one of them.

I need a treatment team that includes an intensive case manager who understands the importance of sustaining my family system.

When I told my partner to call my Kaiser case manager when he has
fears he said, “Why? They do nothing. They blame me!”

We decided to work it out for ourselves.

  1. He cannot cure the disorder, but he can take part in the healing.
  2. Getting better sometimes means more symptoms.
  3. When he feels resentment, take a break.
  4. Denial is normal but destructive.
  5. Everyone changes when a family member is engaged in psychotherapy.
  6. Love the person, even as you hate the symptom.
  7. Discrimination against the mentally ill is real — it only seems invisible because it is accepted.
  8. He may find it empowering to become more active in the politics of mental health.
  9. He always has the right to say no.
  10. Mental health professionals have varied degrees of competence, integrity, and commitment.
  11. He is not responsible for enabling the failures of the nation’s Behavioral Health System.
  12. I am a patient, not a consumer. There is a difference. Never forget that.
  13. It is OK to be angry when it makes you effective.
  14. You and your family member’s case manager should be in weekly contact, especially during a crisis.
  15. It is important to have boundaries and set expectations when speaking with care providers.
  16. The current suicide rate of 20% among people with PTSD related psychiatric illness is based on what’s happening to real people.
  17. A mandated hospitalization is NOT the worst thing that can happen to someone with a mental illness. It’s not the cheapest either.
  18. When it comes to safety, don’t take no for an answer.
  19. Never let your family member go to the hospital alone. Patients receive better care when the staff knows that someone is looking.
  20. Your family member’s illness is also an emotional trauma for you. If you decide to stay and take part in the treatment, you will need your own supports. 


Facts About Mental Health Care: the suicide rate is the highest in thirty years
Facts About Mental Health Care

Update: My partner now attends a monthly joint session with my therapist.

Image and post (c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2016 all rights reserved




17 thoughts on “20 Ways to Live with ICD-9-CM: 300.14, 300.15

  1. Reblogged this on Real Life and commented:

    Much of this resonates for me living with and loving my husband who suffers from addiction and PTSD. Checklist a helpful reminder of ways to stay healthy and love myself through the difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this. I need to remember these numbered suggestions in my journey through love with my husband who suffers from opioid addiction. Would you mind if I reblog this?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Communication is really important in any relationship but especially when mental disorders are involved. It’s great that you were able to have a frank and open conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. With 23 years, you’ve had an amazing journey, Rob, cherish that. ❤️ It seems you have both come to a lot of understanding. I was struck by the importance of your #20. An important reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the most important thing is to differ between the person and the disease and to understand that the person is not the disease. It sure needs a lot of understanding and love. But true love always sees the true being behind the surface! Wonderful post, Robert!


    1. I’m very lucky…and I know it. This month marks our 23rd anniversary as a couple. I have never loved anyone more; nor have I ever been as loved so unconditionally.

      I am very lucky.

      And I know it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is no grester gift in this world. Reading your words about your gratitude, deep appreciation, and love gives me a wonderful feeling. Thank you for sharing, Robert ☺


Comments are closed.