This is where we share your stories of recovery and integration. People who improve their lives deserve congratulations and recognition for their achievements. Even better, these good results can encourage everyone else who is struggling along the recovery path. If some can do it, doggone it, so can we all! Each of us in our own special way, of course. We add to this regularly, so keep sending us your best news!
Thanks So Much! - Lynn W., Editor
Last week, I made peanut butter cookies from scratch. I got out the Betty Crocker Cookbook and followed the recipe. I cleaned up as I went along. I had the energy to make 8 dozen cookies that turned out to be really delicious! I left the kitchen clean to boot. While this may seem simple, it is not. It is a monumental marker of my healing progress. My energy level is good and I am interested in more things. I get out of bed with ease now and sometimes even make the bed. It is amazing to feel good enough to make cookies, clean up after myself, walk to the mailbox with ease and participate in my life instead of just making it through. I have not cooked fro scratch in more than 8 years. It is really neat how these small things sneak up on you and remind you that you are feeling better. It is even more of a reward when you realize that health is happening. On top of it all, the cookies were delicious!" -
Thanks again for the wonderful MV. I have most every copy now and have them filed away in the file cabinate so that I can refer to them at any time. My Therapist is also really excited that I am trying to write to you. She is working with us to write our story. It is scary and exciting at the same time. We are finally taking the time to read old journals and discuss them with my Therapist. I have learned a lot from them and am getting an understanding of our community and where we are from in this world. A lot of the things that I find the best are the articles about the different aspects of being who you are.
I'm also very happy to let you know that there are finally morning meetings with full cooperation and joining in. We feel like we are on a fast pace track right now. But we are also in Therapy once and sometimes twice a week. I wanted to let you know that you always bring a lot of bright thoughts when I think of you and the MV's newsletter.
Our therapist is introducing us to self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy and it helps! It was unexpectedly easy for us to let go and get immediately into his instructions and suggestions, then to use the self-hypnosis without him, on our own, any time we feel tense or stressed or lost. We were surprised how easily we slipped right into it, but our therapist says that we have been using trance-work our whole life. He's right! We learned to escape the horrors of her childhood and our own adulthood by leaving the body and being so adept at it. And get this: We can fall asleep more often without having to take sleeping pills, we have fewer nightmares, and we actually feel like being HAPPY a little more often.
I would like to share this accomplishment with readers.
It might seem small, but for me it is huge. All my life, I have had difficulty reading books to completion. I loved to be read to, but actually reading myself was very difficult (although I was an excellent reader). I would dissociate, and "leave", and often not return to the book at all. Sometimes I would read aloud to try to stay "present". Even my favorite books seemed painstaking and in pieces. I would return again and again to read one paragraph at a time, only to dissociate. It has been only recently that I realized that this was dissociation rather than disinterest and lack of discipline.
This year I have discovered to my amazement that I can now read for 5-6 hours at a time. Not onlydo I retain the tonality of the book, but the plot and characters and nuances as well (when I say "I" I mean the collective "I" ). So not just one part of me is remembering details! I read Barabara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible and Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace; both of them are fairly long. I loved both of them and returned to therapy from vacation ecstatic!
Integration at last!
The most important thing about my whole therapeutic experience was finding the right therapist with whom to work. The right therapist/client fit is tantamount to having the right guide on any tour. If the tour guide doesn't know where he is going, you won't reach the desired destination.
I went through several therapists before I was blessed to find the right fit. He understood I was divided into many "selves" (Dissociative Identity Disorder) He never let me lose sight of the fact that "all of the parts were me." We honored those parts, explored them, dissected them and bonded with them. It was all a part of the journey to wholeness I chose for myself. My therapist told me that some "multiples" choose not to integrate fully, but rather forge a bond with all the alters to be able to work co-operatively. I was tired of all the chaos, tired of all the missing time, and tired of trying to fake my way through life. I had to do something differently because my system had broken down to the point of planning suicide.
From the start of my therapy, my goal was to completely integrate.....whatever that was. It was a term I heard, a concept I read about but could not imagine, having no frame of reference. (I didn't know anyone else who had D.I.D. And, other than my therapist, I had no one to answer my numerous questions about the process.)
For years the "magical" integration seemed like the proverbial carrot I dangled in front of myself. No matter how hard I tried to understand how to accomplish integration, it continued to elude me.
Even as it slowly started to make sense, and I could finally get a feel for what I was trying to achieve, I was very impatient with my slow progress. My therapist assured me repeatedly that I was moving forward. Progress was measured in baby steps, not the giant steps I expected. He reminded me that my old system of multiplicity had not been created overnight and correcting it would be a slow process.
At one point, I remember having to really look at what I was trying to accomplish. I had to realize exactly what I was going to have to give up on my journey to wholeness. I was going to be culpable for everything on a conscious level. I was going to have to feel my own pain. I was going to have to learn to deal with everything all by myself with no help from any alters. Hardest of all, I had to give up that secret little thought...... way, way back there in my mind.....that I was in some way, superior to others in my multiple "selves". If I integrated, I would then, just be like everyone else. But that was what I wanted, wasn't it?....... Or was it? I almost stalled out permanently at this point in my quest for integration.
Even though chaos lived comfortably in my head, I wasn't sure I could stand the quietness....what if it was too quiet? What if it was boring? What if I didn't like integration and couldn't find my way back to my chaotic, though familiar, alters? For me, being multiple was like having a crowded and noisy gymnasium in my head all the time.
Occasionally, as I was starting to integrate some of the alters, I would feel as if the gym was suddenly emptied and I was standing in that big empty room all alone. It was startling to me to say the least. Is that what it would be like all the time? What would I do with all the silence in my head? Would I be lonely without all of the voices fighting to be heard? I was really frightened that I might be making a big mistake.
Again my therapist reminded me that in taking baby steps, I would have a chance to familiarize myself with the occasional calmness in my head. Luckily for me, as I integrated alters, I was able to make "outside" friends along my journey. It has proven to be a wonderful, and unforeseen trade-off.
Now if my "gymnasium" seems too empty, I simply call a friend and fill the void with their warmth, humor and love. I don't know how I ever got along without them in the past......and I can't imagine ever being without them now.
Integration has been a blessing for me. Everyday is an adventure, and I never know what each day will bring. I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to integrate fully. I feel I am growing and changing for the better. Best of all, I can now say I know the meaning of inner peace. I never thought I'd ever be able to say that! Inner peace!!! Imagine that!
I am a survivor and MPD
It has been a long journey. It has been about 10 years of therapy now, I think.
In the early days I didn't know any Recovered MPDs. It was lonely and hard to know where to go if no one had been there before me. There were so many treatment theories in those days.
It has been a painful 10years. Most of the time I thought that the light at the end of this tunnel didn't exist. Towards the end I was convinced it didn't.
I am writing today to tell you that I have reached the light. I have found joy and peace. I have my life back. I have love and friendships. And most of all I have healed my soul.
I have been through many bad things. Now I am going through many good things. I have a lot of catching up to do.
The beginning of my healing journey started when my then therapist, Nancy W., gave me your book; MPD From the Inside Out (Sidran Press). She warned me to not be afraid of her implication of me being multiple.
I was hardly afraid, I was so relieved. I had always known and never known, if that makes sense. I knew I was, I just didn't know there was a name for it. That book was my bible for many years. I went on to deeper and more painful levels as the years went on. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do. Yet it has been the most rewarding. It has been 10 years now. I have since stopped therapy because it was getting in the way of having a life (grin!) That was a joy to discover!
I am doing great and have a life. I hardly think about MPD stuff anymore. But when I do I think mostly about the wonderful people that made my healing possible.
So I guess I was thinking of you today and wanted to tell you. Thank you so very much for all you did and do. You are my hero today.
I have a message for the others out there: There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you walk through the pain. No matter how painful, no matter how hopeless, no matter how long, you will run right into it if you just keep moving forward and never give up.
I NEVER thought I would say this but here I am, Life is Beautiful and I'm happy to be here.
P.S. I had the honor of giving your book to a friend that took her first steps on her journey not too long ago.
Jennifer W. of California
I want to share my "awakening"
A brief auto biography first. I am 61,divorced and a grandma living alone and not to mention have been in therapy forMPD/DID for almost 8 years, wow. Today(Saturday) I awoke feeling fairly good. I was going into a neigbor to help him with his moving/yard sale. The day was pleasant enough with lots of people to converse with....
Moving on in the day, I came home at 3 p.m. and proceeded to clean my patio and pool area after which I ran errands. By around 5:30 p.m. I was hit with my occasional lull (sounds better than depression) and started calling people hoping for someone to go to dinner and a movie....no luck. So my low got lower and my decision was to vegetate in front of the tv.
Soon the reality of what I was doing all day, almost every day came as lightning ....what is wrong with me? I haven't worked outside since my separation and PTSD handcuffed my head to my hands and my wonderful business went belly up.....I needed to paint and create clothing besides doing the selling and that came to sudden halt in 1992 with everything else in my life.
Today though, something changed....At first I did my normal routine of putting me down.....how could I do nothing, what's wrong with me, crawl back into space, I am useless, I don't even do volunteer work. After all I haven't had enough hours in the days to do more than I have been doing and the energy expended just doing whatever I do has left me exhausted every night. Then, taking some deep breaths and sitting quietly something wonderful came to me. The excitement inside was at first questionable and at any other time I would have called my therapist and await her "yes, how wonderful!" yet I didn't.
I realized using my inside therapist (who seems to keep us all amazed of course when I remember to call on her) resulted in what appears to be major healing....
By george, I think that time is beginning to belong to if not all of us at least a majority....I HAVE A FULL DAY for me....yes, yes, yes, that is what I am getting.....not a long boring day with nothing to do but a full day for me to do whatever it is I want to do. For so long in therapy questions posed to me as to have I lost time.
"What do you mean, therapist?"
Then my co-consciosness afforded me the reality "Dear therapist, time disappears and I haven't enough hours to complete anything"....(Sure when there are so many interruptions in my day as I switch there can't be enough time.)
I am so excited and wanted to share this awakening with you all and can't wait till Monday to tell my therapist how "bored" we were that the day was so long and I want to start deciding what I am going to do with my time! How wonderful healing is! How difficult the road has been and I do know, it is not over yet.
I especially have my own concerns as to what direction I am heading in. Going back to the outside world when I have created a safe haven for myself is by no means easy but I honestly feel it will be fine.
For me to have gone through so much these last 8 years seeing and finding out what I missed and forgot for 52 years has to be more difficult than taking the steps outside my safe space. But wish me luck, these are only positive words from some of us and I can feel the panic from others inside yet the awareness and my love for me has grown and with the respect I owe myself for whom and what I am will be my encouragement.....
I also say thank you so much from the bottom to the top of all my "hearts" to have you all and MV, the lifelink to know I am never alone, not really.
A Butterfly At Last?
I have been co-conscious since March, 2000. Kind of. In June, 2000, I felt like it was time to tell my parents I remember the abuse, "I" was there. For those of you who dissociate, you know just how important and life-changing that statement is. I invited my parents to attend a session with my therapist. In the safety of my therapist's office, I read my letter of confrontation, confession and forgiveness. All of my parts were together, were remembering the abuse, were admitting it's truth and were speaking that memory to my abusers.
There was an almost immediate freedom. The unspeakable had been spoken and heard. And denied. There was also a gradually growing despair. The key role for many of my parts was linked to guarding the secret. There was no more secret to guard. We weren't ready for that. In July, 2000, I tasted life with all of me. Peace, joy, romance, cloud nine... I felt like I'd finally "made it". I also began to feel disappointment and loneliness with all of me. Loneliness and pain didn't fit into my picture of an "integrated" life. I did what a lot of us do and will do, I went back to a very familiar friend called "dissociation".
I knew I was ignoring some of my parts; I told myself it wasn't my fault - my circumstances (travelling Australia) simply demanded it. I heard myself think, "You should be taking the time to listen to your self; it's your choice." I also wanted to hold onto those special feelings of peace, joy and romance. Keeping the happy feelings seemed to require snuffing out the painful truths. Dissociation.
Dissociation got me through life - a sometimes very difficult life - for 27 years. In fact, when I was the very sickest, I received the most help and professional concern. I crashed. I was off work for a month. During that time, I read an author write that as she integrated, she learned that she was "addicted" to dissociation. "That's me," I thought. And if I'm honest, I'm also addicted to mental illness and the attention it gives me.
I'm learning to let go. It's the only way in which I can be my self. I spent a lot of time mapping out my "cycle" - my emotional cycle, not my menstrual cycle! I know which thoughts and/or actions signal the different points in my emotional clock.
While I was in Australia, I found a wooden puzzle that reminds me so much of my self. It's got two layers. Both layers are in the shape of the country Australia. The top layer hides the bottom layer. Both layers - when they're assembled correctly - create the same size and shape of Australia. The bottom layer is lots of tiny pieces shaped like Australian animals - kind of like my young ones. The top layer is more socially expected - the provinces and territories of Australia...
Australia wouldn't be Australia without each of its animals, provinces and territories and I wouldn't be Wendy without each of my parts. Each of us needs to find our own way and our own path. I have found harmony and peace in allowing all of my parts to make one complete Wendy. And then... I am free to let my heart be gentle and loving;
Free to admit the specific pain of my abuses;
Free to let my self flutter like a butterfly in spring;
Free to admit that I have a mental illness;
Free to admit that I'm learning;
Free to admit that I am me.
All the best as you walk your path,
ISST-D 8400 West Park Dr. Second Floor
McLean, Virginia 22102 USA
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