A plea for funding for more research and education of Dissociative Identity Disorder

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We the undersigned survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, our supporters and professional mental and medical healthcare providers hereby make this plea for funding for more research and better education of “Dissociative Identity Disorder” formerly known as “Multiple Personality Disorder.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder “DID” is a defense mechanism that is created in childhood. This dissociating is how a young child’s mind learns how to block out the torment that we are subjected to, such as mind games, molestation, rape, sodomy, ridicule, verbal attacks, screaming and many more forms of abuse and trauma by our caregivers and perpetrators who are usually dealing with their own mental disorders and conditions.

If a child is forced to rely on this method of survival on a continuous basis, then eventually it becomes the defense mechanism of choice. We live our youth running in fear, and hiding from these care givers and perpetrators on a daily basis and doing what we can to survive, and that is for us “to dissociate.”

Eventually if the torture, torment and/or trauma continues then the mind begins to appoint different segments of each memory and event with different names and faces, with their own memories, personalities and characteristics so that no one segment of the mind is overloaded with too much trauma and the child can grow without becoming mentally disabled.

We are not insane or crazy! The majority (if not all) of survivors are not even aware of these “alter personalties” in youth. These alters “or fragments of the mind” are what cause huge gaps of memory loss even into adulthood when we are able to escape our youth. And we become highly functional citizens of our communities despite the turmoil that our minds are still in. If we were not able to create this system of “Dissociative Identity Disorder” in childhood, and if we were forced to remember every horrific event that happened to our young bodies, we would surely have lost our minds and gone insane.

Our minds are filled with many noises and thoughts that interfere with noises outside of our heads. Each alter is very real to us and presents themselves “on the outside,” just as they are on the inside because they were forced to stop thriving during periods of severe trauma and, or abuse.

We live in fear but for the most part we are not sure what that fear is because our minds are so fragmented from a lifetime of separating every single memory into shattered pieces which is what “Dissociative Identity Disorder” is. The majority of survivors live with depression so severe that we cannot get out of bed for days at a time. We also suffer with severe confusion, amnesia, severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts, severe panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorders, and many more symptoms that affect our daily lives.

We often suffer with chest pains, migraine headaches, severe stomach pains, visual difficulties, chronic fatigue syndrome and many other aches and pains throughout our bodies. All of these symptoms and syndromes are due to the excessive trauma that we endured and extremely high stress levels that we lived with as young children growing up in extremely abusive and otherwise traumatic environments.

When we do leave our abusive and traumatic environments, we no longer need to rely on this defense mechanism but we do not have any other means of coping with life so we continue to dissociate and keep creating new alter personalties in order for us to handle day to day living. This is when survivors of severe childhood trauma who suffer with “DID” need qualified psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and other mental and medical professionals to help us reprogram our minds to deal with stress in safer and healthier ways.

When and if a survivor does seek professional help in adulthood, we can be almost assured of abandonment by our loved ones and friends who do not understand this disorder and who would prefer to keep the hideous secrets hidden, and by society in general who simply refuse to believe that this disorder even exists. We run the risk of being accused of lying about our violent childhood’s and even our mental condition. In reality we are silent survivors who were violated, abused and traumatized as children and now in adulthood are still being traumatized and abused by not only the same perpetrators from our childhood but also by a system that is supposed to be qualified in this area to help us.

Our mental and medical healthcare system must understand that babies cannot grow up with an “intact and healthy mind” when we are treated so inhumanely. Just like a soldier comes home from war with post traumatic stress and other mental disorders because of the trauma that they were subjected to and witness on the battlefield, survivors of childhood trauma and abuse are prisoners of war from our own battles, and will inevitably exhibit signs of mental anguish much like that of the brave soldier, if not rescued by the proper authorities and taken away from our violent environment in childhood when we needed rescuing most.

Even though there are a small handful of professional believers out there, most of them simply do not have the proper training and knowledge available to them so that they are able to diagnose and treat this disorder correctly. Individuals who are suffering are forced to change doctors not only once or twice but three or four times and more, but there are too many others who have just given up on the system because they cannot find the qualified help that they need.

Our friends and family members quickly lose interest in our friendships and relationships because they simply cannot understand how “DID” affects an individual. These supporters need more information and education on dissociation and how to befriend a person whom they know are “DID” survivors.

Survivors of childhood trauma with this disorder can be treated if placed with the correct mental health team. It has taken eight years for me but finally I am to a point where the depression has lifted a bit, even though I will probably be on antidepressants for the rest of my life, I have found better ways to cope because of the help of my mental and medical health care team. Along with mine, there are a few more success stories out there, but the system has failed far more than it has helped.

There have been many stories of psychotherapists suggesting abuse to patients and then diagnosing the patient with “DID” just because they have “memories.” But for a true survivor to be diagnosed correctly takes months and even years for “legitimate” alter personalities to show up in therapy.

We need more research in this area and we need for our professional care givers to be better educated on dissociation and how this disorder begins in childhood and continues on into adulthood. We need guidelines for our therapists and psychiatrists to follow in order to diagnose this disorder correctly and we need our medical healthcare professionals to be better informed and educated about dissociation and how our mental health has everything to do with our physical health.

Please help us to gain the respect and dignity that has been denied us for an eternity! Help us stop our suffering! Give researchers more funding so that they can learn more about Dissociative Identity Disorder! Train our healthcare providers to help us learn better ways to cope with stress rather than to dissociate. Teach our healthcare providers better techniques for diagnosing and treating survivors of severe childhood trauma who have this disorder. We survived our childhood torment all alone, please help us to gain the good mental and medical health that we deserve from good qualified healthcare professionals.

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Retrieved 11/04/11.    signatures

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17 Comments

  1. authenticating my symptoms — dissociation & its ingredients « under ground
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