Mental Health: Friendship and Dissociative Identity Disorder

This was my post for mental health week.

I think I’m late.

Animated Gif

This post is directed to abuse survivors and their families, but don’t
let that stop you from reading it.

My therapist sent me a copy of 101+ Ways to See DID, by Kathy Brody, a specialist in treating Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Screenshot
101 Ways To See DID by Kathy Broady MSW

These are a few of the symptoms described by Kathy Brody that I experience:

feeling completely blank
the sensation of not having a body
a sense of seeing through the eyes of other people
an inability to recognize myself
confusion about age
and hyper-vigilance.

I have trouble

maintaining relationships
connecting to others
being touched
and physical intimacy

I have numerous perspectives and completely opposing interests.

For every yes, there is a no; for every trigger, a chorus of reactions.

A sense of being alien in a world that makes no sense is one of the most painful and pervasive of my symptoms.

Am Illustration

Life with DID is exhausting.

When I tell people I have DID, I expect them to believe it, but most people don’t, and some of my friendships fail because of it.

Kathy Brody describes recognizing or refusing relationships as one of the symptoms of DID.

People take the sudden loss of connection personally, and I understand why.

I do have close friends in real life, people I’ve known for most of my life, and I have a partner who loves and accepts me; I am blessed.

The worst thing a friend can do to someone with DID is act in ways that make the symptoms worse.

I have a relative who knows the history of my abuse and used that knowledge to trigger me, when I realized it was intentional I cut that
person out of my life.

My rule for family members is if you say you love me but act in ways that make the illness worse; you really don’t love me and need to get out of my life.

It was a struggle to gain the insight to set limits because I was raised to believe that I was responsible for all of the bad things that happened to my Mother.

I was not allowed an opinion or a mind of my own.

An MRI that shows the location of patient's alternate selves on her brain. The patient is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder
The MRI shows the location of the patient’s alternate selves on her brain.

DID is not invisible, not even online.

Bloggers can’t see my facial expressions and mannerisms, but my blog’s long time followers are familiar with my various writing styles and images.

My skills come and go, such as the ability to write or build computers or make images.

I have different vocabularies and reading interests, and some of me
doesn’t read at all.

The range and intensity of my emotional expression are more than most normal people can understand or tolerate; and I am frequently asked if I  know how old I am.

The answer is no, and why does it matter?

Art by Rob Goldstein

What DID is:

DID is a childhood-onset disorder that begins as a result of extreme
abuse.

DID is a symptom of a broader cluster of symptoms called Complex-Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder.

DID is a psychiatric disorder that only improves with psychoanalyses.

What DID is not:

DID is not multiple personality disorder.

DID is not a bid for attention.

DID is not something my therapist is imposing on me.

DID is not borderline personality disorder.

DID is not pathological narcissism.

DID is not hysteria, an excuse for bad behavior, or the result of negative thinking.

DID is not a choice.

DID is not ‘clinging to or refusing to let go’ of the past.

People and governments that sexually and emotionally abuse children are evil.

It is not the past I can’t release; it is the confrontation with evil.

Please vote wisely this year.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2020

I am not a doctor, my experience with DID may not be the same as yours. If you think you have Dissociative Identity Disorder please seek professional
help.


If you or someone you love is feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

The Blind Woman with DID and an Alter Who Can See

At the bottom of this post is an excerpt from a YouTube Psychology Vidcast by Dr. Ross Avilla.

In this video he discusses a woman a known as BT who was thought to have lost her sight from brain damage.

BT also has Dissociative Identity Disorder.

The video implies that she developed DID as an adult, which is not likely.

According to the Washington Post:

German psychologists Hans Strasburger and Bruno Waldvogel, went all the way back to her initial diagnosis of cortical blindness. Her health records from the time show that she was subjected to a series of vision tests — involving lasers, special glasses, lights shined across a room — all of which demonstrated her apparent blindness. Since there was no damage to her eyes themselves, it was assumed that B.T.’s vision problems must have come from brain damage caused by her accident (the report does not say what exactly happened in the accident).

Waldvogel had no reason to doubt that diagnosis when B.T. was referred to him 13 years later for treatment for dissociative identity disorder, once called multiple personality disorder. B.T. exhibited more than 10 personalities, each of them varying in age, gender, habits and temperament. They even spoke different languages: some communicated only in English, others only in German, some in both (B.T. had spent time in an English-speaking country as a child but lived in Germany)….

Then, four years into psychotherapy, something strange happened: Just after ending a therapy session, while in one of her adolescent male states, B.T. saw a word on the cover of a magazine. It was the first word she had read visually in 17 years.

…Strasburger and Waldvogel say their finding is evidence that DID can unfold at a very basic, biological level. After all, it was not just high-level cognitive functions, like reading, that were affected by B.T.’s condition — even basic things like depth perception were difficult for her. And B.T.’s doctors could see all that playing out in her brain right in front of them on the EEG.

The case study shows that DID “is a legitimate psycho-physiologically based syndrome of psychological distress,” Dr. Richard P. Kluft, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine not associated with the study, told Brain Decoder. The condition is not just a product of culture and psychiatrists’ suggestions, he said; as in B.T.’s case, it “represents the mind’s attempt to compartmentalize its pain.”

The Washington Post

Internet Safety for Survivors with DID / MPD

Discussing Dissociation

Hi Everyone,

I am busily working on some new posts in response to the excellent comments made by the readers here.  You have been asking good questions and making thought-provoking points.  I’m looking forward to responding to as many of these comments as I can.  Thank you for your active participation – it is really exciting to see so many folks showing up around here already!!!

In the meantime, since all of you are frequently online, and clearly many of you are dissociative trauma survivors, I want to encourage you to read some very well written articles about internet safety and internet predators:

  • Internet Predators: They Really Are Everywhere
  • Internet Predators: One Way They Work
  • Internet Predators and Child Alters: 10 Ideas to Keep Them Safe

These excellent articles are all available on Rocking Complacency, http://rockingcomplacency.wordpress.com.   For that matter, this entire blog is good.  If you are up to…

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