Radical Opinions About Dissociative Identity Disorder: Do They Move the Pendulum to the Middle?

I spent this evening reading blogs written by people who identify themselves as having a dissociative disorder – namely Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), characterized by experiences of alter selves. This community was discussing many aspects of DID the pros, cons, advantages, foibles, therapy, practitioners, and more. Topics anyone would discuss about mental health subjects they are passionate about.

I found reference to this blog, and to me personally, in the comment section of Holly Gray’s blog titled: Don’t Call Me Sybil. The title of the article is “How Do I Blog Responsibly about Dissociative Identity Disorder?”

Before going further, I want to say that I have utmost respect for Holly Gray and the work she did on Health Place.com and on her blog – Don’t Call Me Sybil which I have not visited in a long time, sorry to say. Holly is the only person who believes she suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) with whom I am able to discuss issues in a manner that is challenging and useful to my understanding of issues and insights she struggles with. I wish there were others like her.

Holly, unlike me, says what’s on her mind – while I try to make my opinions palatable, knowing that I inflame others and incite them to come to my blog where they make personal attacks on me rather than criticizing my opinions. For example, this Spring I had a commenter so vile and threatening, I was compelled to report them to the local police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. I’ve read comments elsewhere on the Internet that some people find my blog so offensive they tried to get me blacklisted, some made bogus reports to wordpress to shut me down, while others think I should be reported to the police and lawyers. Whaaaat? I don’t know if bloggers who write about having multiple personalities deal with these issues, but I suspect not.

I am aware of the risks I take with each keystroke and, as a result, am overly concerned about how my articles will be received and what vile posts I may get in response – and rightly so. The main difference between Holly’s work and mine is that she enjoys commenters who mostly leave kudos and words of thanks and encouragement – I receive the opposite, with a few supporters. I cannot control responses but cannot continue to blog responsibly worrying about it. As a result, I have unwittingly cheated my readers.

My blogging reality is different. I do not enjoy the liberty of blogging without remembering that I may endure threats to my personal safety by someone who disagrees with me. My questions are: How do I blog realizing I am a minority and will be treated with disrespect and disdain because of my beliefs, not for who I am? How do I blog freely knowing I may be threatened with bodily harm?

Holly taught me a good lesson tonight and that is:

Write what I want, how I want, and remember that I am not responsible for how someone else reacts to my words. But I must add… but am I responsible? Reading responses left on this blog it appears that most in the DID community hold me responsible for their reactions and, as a result, determine that I am abusive, triggering, and disrespectful – not that I am. I simply disagree with their positions. Although I know that is nonsense, it weighs on me and derails my posts.

It was ironic that the comment section following Holly’s article showed a similar difficulty as I experience. Someone read her article and instead of discussing points she made was more interested in finding fault with her opinions. But that wasn’t the main issue – the commenter accused her of saying things she did Not actually say. Holly called him out on it and I applaud her for doing so. It happens to me all the time.

Unfortunately for my readers, I have to be concerned about how my opinions effect people who believe they have Dissociative Identity Disorder because my personal safety is at stake. That reality changes how I write and what topics I explore. Can that fact change? I remain hopeful that my end of the continuum can bring these discussions to the middle where they have a better chance of making a difference in our understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder and the controversy around it. More importantly, I hope we become tolerant of differing opinions,

In closing, I am excited to see that Holly and I are evolving in our understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder and we may be nearer to meeting somewhere in the middle – or near the middle. I have no interest in remaining steadfast to old opinions and as my base of knowledge and experiences widens, so will my views and opinions.

I highly recommend a visit to Holly Gray’s blog: Don’t Call Me Sybil.

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10 Comments

  1. Morgan

     /  12/03/2012

    Here’s some good news: not all therapists are created equal. This has been the bottom line for my success in treatment. I cannot shake the label, as I am a multiple, and there isn’t another dx that fits currently, but I take the point of view that DID is something I HAVE, as opposed to something I AM, a distinction that not all multies make. I prefer peer run stuff to professional stuff. Open minded peers share experiences and bounce ideas off of one another. We are our best sources of information, experience, and support, and we are our best hope for healing and progress, imho. I find trauma specialists w/o knowledge of multies do not help, & often do unintentional harm. The therapist I currently have is a member of ISSTD, but uses them as one of many tools in treatment, and not as a sole source of protocol for treatment. The DID specialists I’ve worked with who use ISSTD as protocol biblically, have caused me intense harm. DID is real, wish it wasn’t, so let’s deal with it. -Morgan

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    • Not all Therapists are created equal? Good one.

      Good for you that you realize you are not your diagnosis. That’s probably why you are doing rather well compared to others who come here. I say that purely by how you present yourself – I don’t actually know, of course, but your insight seems to go deeper than other multiples who come here or post elsewhere on the Internet.

      You sustained therapy harm? Sorry to hear that – I did too. Thanks.

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  2. Morgan

     /  12/02/2012

    Pt2: Of DID whatsoever. I never tell them I am multiple. I let them figure out whatever label they want me to wear for themselves. Usually the result is that they jump out of their skin after some time, and they help ‘us’ navigate our life from where we are at.
    I am making progress, though I wish it were faster, more efficient and less painful. I am also a mommy, and I am very careful and diligent in being the best parent I can be. I even work with a child therapist just to make sure my children suffer no psychological damage because of this nightmare I live in.
    As for ISSTD, I admire that their effort & energy is in the right place. But frankly, the trainings they’ve provided my therapists as well as therapists I’ve worked with from their website have been a real let down. Perhaps it works better for other multiples? Idk.. In the US, the closest site I found to being any good has been Sidran, though PODS in the Uk is superior by far, and researchers in other countries like Denmark and Sweden surpass the US.

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    • Morgan, it’s terrific that you challenge therapists to diagnose you without help from you. That’s the only way to get their true opinion – good for you.

      I’d like to hear more about what you find the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) to be lacking in their training. My former psychiatrist continues to be a member. Much of their site is banned unless you are a member and spend lots of money to join.

      Sidran is only a publisher – so I thought. Do you find help from their publications. PODS is a peer-run group – again unless I’m wrong. Either way, I hope you get help.

      Yes, the road you are on is long and painful. DID therapy often tears down patients and reduces them to infantile behavior. I can’t imagine how you can shelter your children from the fallout.

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  3. Morgan

     /  12/02/2012

    When I first had zero success getting treated for DID, I did try other avenues. Having DID has been horrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I was reevaluated many times by professionals who believe DID is not real. I have been treated for schizophrenia, schizo-affextive do, bipolars 1, 2, and NOS, and BPD, before being declared ‘abnormal psych’ and being sent to the people who take on hopeless cases. I’ ve never pushed or tried to convince people that I am a we, and that I have DID, or that DID is real. And yet, it was the dx that I seemed to get over & over, even by folks who didn’t believe it to be real. I’ve ‘educated’ professionals (their words). It is the most accurate of what is in the DSM that I personally experience. Perhaps the labels should be scrutinized, all of them. Anyway, I’ve found some treatments to be beneficial, but I find I get the most benefit when I work with professionals that either have never had a patient with DID, do not believe it exists, and have little backround knowledge…

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    • Hello Morgan, Maybe your are fortunate that you cannot find a DID therapist like I did. DID therapy nearly killed me with the trauma and constant stress. I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

      How can you get treatment if you constantly need to educate mental health professionals? You deserve better than that. I’m wondering if you figured out what you need to work on and disregard the diagnosis? Have you tried a trauma therapist? Perhaps someone who treats trauma could help. They have a lot of tools in their box.

      Take care, I hope you find some relief. JB

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  4. Morgan

     /  12/02/2012

    Pt2: Hi again! My point is, is that the few vocal hostile people do not outnumber all of us more openminded people diligently reading and following your blog and not posting comments. You make us think, no matter which side of the DID debate we adopt, and thinking is something sorely needed as I personally struggle in my recovery with my dissociative identity disorder and navigate my own recovery in a world where I have a disorder that people don’t believe exists, causing me to feel invalidated and shunned, have a treatment modality that is archaic and borderline barbaric, and exist as more than one persons in a singular unit in a singular time frame. Tis overwhelming! I will continue reading and following your blog, in hopes that everything works itself out – Morgan

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    • Morgan. I am totally unaware of who comes here to read and am surprised that you, someone with DID, comes here. Thank you for doing so and for posting.

      It must be a frustrating situation for you to try to get treatment that you find appropriate. Do you feel you are making progress to wherever you want to be? More and more people are questioning and disagreeing with the current treatment modalities for DID. Have you had any conversations with therapists or the ISSTD?

      Best.

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  5. Morgan

     /  12/02/2012

    Hi! I like your blog, and I have dissociative identity disorder and believe in its existence too. I have learned much from your blog. I have been on both sides of this DID issue, and have been victimized as well as helped in my journey to wellness. I am so sorry for what you have been through in your personal journey. No one should have to go through that. I am also sorry that many people where I live (in a major city) also do not believe in DID, and so do more harm than good when it comes to treatment, and compound the damage already done multiples seeking treatment to begin with. Many of the treatments for multiplicity need to be strongly scrutinized, and not all treatments are beneficial and/or work for everyone. I have had ‘appropriate’ treatment for DID that has rendered me psychotic, have been made to believe I’ve suffered abuses I have not, and had my ‘system’ sabotaged by ‘qualified professionals’. Prejudicial fear generates anger. Anger fuels anger. There is a middle ground to the intolerance. My..

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    • Hello Morgan, Thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your experiences.

      Given all the negative experiences with the DID diagnosis, I’m surprised you are still with it and not taking other avenues.

      I am finding more and more people who do not fit the mold of usual DID treatment. Would you be interested in sharing what you find is appropriate for you?

      Agreed, fear generates anger. The more we share our experiences and talk about what is important to us the closer we can come to understanding each other – and hopefully to acceptance.

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