Karen answers Stampede’s 2nd question

Comment by Stampede on November 6, 2008 12:30 pm

I have written before and I shared with you that I have DID as well and was diagnosed 6 almost 7 years ago. Your story is a true inspiration to those of us who think integration is impossible.
After reading your book I looked at reviews and such to see what others thought . Every so often I doubt my diagnosis because I feel lost in my healing process. I actually question do I really have it. In the reviews, many people still say there isn
ʼt such a thing as DID. Even doctors I have seen or read about say there are many people that are diagnosed that donʼt really have it. Doctors still say it is very rare for people to have complete and separate alters or identity parts. Because of this, I constantly question my diagnosis. In one review I read where a doctor was sending people to a treatment center and the center treated them for DID but they never really had it. That scares me because I have been to that treatment center and know others who have been and all with the diagnosis. They were treated and I wonder now did that treatment center knowingly treat people that werenʼt really DID. I also wonder was I one of the ones they treated who doesnʼt really have it.
Did you ever struggle with such questions? In therapy, I have have been taught about radical acceptance. Did you do that? I just am having a hard time with radical acceptance. I don
ʼt believe things at face value and I question the reality of this disorder or illness that I have all the time. Because I am just an alter in this system, I question the abuse also. I question the memories. It is like a snowball effect.
I question the memories as to their authenticity, then I question the diagnosis, which in turn makes me question the doctors and therapists that I see. It cycles then back to questioning the memories. Did you have trouble with this or did you just accept what Dr. Baer and your alters told you?
I just want to feel better about my life and reality of it.

Dear Stampede,

I am glad you wrote back to me and shared all your concerns about the authenticity of multiple personality disorder. I had my doubts, too!  However, I couldn’t deny all the evidence that surrounded me.  There were many signs throughout my life that were unexplainable to me, although I kept silent about them.  This illness is such an lonely illness, and despite all the alters that lived within me, I never really knew who “I” was until after integration. 

MPD is real illness. Please don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.  But on the other hand, I know how hard it is to believe in the possibility of switching alters, and that the hallmark of this illness is losing time.  MPD is a dissociative disorder.  People with this disorder have many periods of time for which they cannot account.  If you do suffer dissociative episodes, then you might receive a sense of calm thinking of it this way: “My mind has fragmented and has stored all signs of abuse and trauma into different compartments.  Through integration, all these compartments will become one clear set of memories that will be mine and mine alone”.

During my years in therapy, I chose never to read about, ask too many questions, or look to others who claimed to suffer from MPD/DID.  My reason for doing this was simple.  I did not want anything to influence my healing in a negative way.  Neither Dr. Baer nor my alters ever told me what to do.  As a matter of fact, Dr. Baer never treated me as special or like a freak, or ever acted as if I were being untruthful.  In my therapy, Dr. Baer sat in front of me, listened intently, and never once told me anything I already didn’t really know.  All the memories I shared with Dr. Baer were already set in stone somewhere within my mind; it just took time to dig them all out in order for me to heal.  I learned one very important fact about myself: that no one, including Dr. Baer, could influence me or lead me to believe something that wasn’t in my own memory in the first place.

My abuse was real.  My memories are not false.  I wish they were.  I blocked them off from destroying me by creating alters to take away my pain.  Nevertheless, there are doctors and other professionals who don’t believe this is possible. That is why Dr. Baer and I decided to share our story.  I believe that for me, and for most in therapy, the most important part of healing is bonding and building trust with one therapist.  I thank God that the path that Dr. Baer, my alters, and I pursued was the reason we accomplished all that we have.

I am not a professional therapist and can’t give you advice, but I can share that in my opinion, I would stop reading too much about this illness, seek help on a one to one basis with a therapist that you can build trust with, and let go of worrying about what everyone else thinks.  Your journey may be difficult, but it will be possible with the right help and the faith that you can survive.




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