Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts on MPD/DID

After the last post My Own Questions for a Change.......... I can't/won't avoid dealing with the words "mental illness" that I used towards the bottom of that post. It galls me to use those words in reference to MPD/DID even though I know it appears in that book as a diagnosis for mental illness. I guess the reason for my intolerance for the words comes from my belief one can still be a multiple and not be mentally ill.
Sure being dissociative is different from others, but it's a coping mechanism. It doesn't have to mean one is "crazy" or "mentally ill." Just because someone is dissociative does not mean they are dysfunctional or anymore dysfunctional than most.

The diagnosis itself does not mean someone needs help. It is how it is manifesting itself that dictates that. What matters is how it affects one's life in the here and now.

Now I'm not saying that a person with MPD/DID automatically is just fine. Obviously there's a reason the person used the coping mechanism and to have a normal healthy life those issues need to be dealt with. What I am saying is that a multiple can deal with their issues and still be dissociative AND be mentally healthy.

I realize there are those who would disagree. Some think the only way to be healthy is to totally integrate but I just don't believe that is true. I have had enough major trauma in my life since therapy to know that I am coping just fine. I have even been evaluated by mental health professionals who believe I am functioning just fine too.

If I didn't tell people openly that I have had this diagnosis no one would ever know. People don't "see" anything different about me other than the usual "all people are different" kind of things. Their reactions wouldn't be "that woman needs help."


ER said...

I'm sorry but I'd have to say that I disagree with you on this. I am not ok with remaining DID for the rest of my life because to me that means there is some trauma I have not resolved yet. DID is created out of immense pain and abuse thus to remain split is to remain somehow a product of abuse in my mind. This way of coping with life can be changed so why would I choose to purposely live in a way that is fragmented? Why would I leave myself open to possible further splitting in the future if I could somehow prevent it? I understand that further in this process when one has coconsciousness that the amnesia and lost time is at a minimum but I don't understand why one wouldn't want to integrate. Why would you go 90% of the way and say that is good enough? To me it's like going in for treatment for cancer and telling the doctor that you'd be ok if a few cancer cells remained. That just wouldn't make any sense and I feel the same way about this. While I don't view my parts as cancer I do know that they were created to help me deal with trauma that is no longer happening now. They did their job amazingly well and are no longer needed in that capacity anymore. Now their job is to blend together into one rich, amazing, and wonderful human being. I can see that a person can function as a multiple but why would a person choose to remain a multiple when a cure is possible? Nothing is lost upon integration as all parts are a piece of a whole.

Rising Rainbow said...

ER, You are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, that doesn't mean what I'm saying is not correct for some individuals and most importantly for me. It does not mean that I am not emotionaly healthy.

Different multiples have different systems. They were formed for different reasons and had to accomplish different functions.

I do not lose time and haven't for most of my life. I do not form new parts, although I have been known to dissociate now and then. but keep in mind everyone does that before you decide that's not good.

Each part of me affects every moment of time. I function as a whole even though I still have hundreds of fractured parts. Some of my internal walls are thicker than others but ALL are permeable.

My system was fractured into those hundreds of parts back when I was a small child to keep me safe from the horrendous abuse I endured. In order for me to integrate all those parts, I would have to deal with the memories of each. That's a whole lot of pain and it will not improve the quality of my life. Nor will it change my perception of what is right for me.

Considering the extent of the abuse that I suffered, I chose not to continue therapy because I really had nothing to gain by it.

I spent years resolving the programming that kept me a victim. Now I chose to live my life for me. I am a whole person with fractured memories of a horrible time in my life. The lessons of those memories have already been learned.

It would take most of the life I have left to deal with those fractures. I would rather live this life I love than devote it to the leftover scars of my past. My system is in complete agreement with this decision, as are the therapists who were part of my recovery process.

Can you explain to me why I should suffer more from that old abuse, when it is really ready to be put aside? My healing is done.

That does not mean that there are not multipes out there that need to integrate. I believe there probably are. I am just not one of them....... and there are others like me.

ER said...

I guess if you can function then there is no reason for you to go any further with integration. I suppose there are people who the process of integration and reward of it wouldn't be worth the pain. I am sorry if I offended you because that wasn't my intention. I guess for me I look to integration as the end of my journey in recovery. Just because that is the path I choose doesn't make it right for you and I may change my mind as I go further in this journey. I am only 32 years old and I suspect you know a lot more about all of this than I do. You have suffered enough and if you have found a way to live your life with cooperation and to feel true peace and happiness than more power to you. I would take that and being DID over integrated and still miserable any day. I truly wasn't judging you I really didn't understand why integration wouldn't be the choice everyone would choose but I can understand that if you are polyfragmented then what you've already accomplished is a miracle in and of itself. You absolutely deserve ever bit of happiness. Everyone walks a different path and I respect yours. I was really just curious and if I came across as judging you or attacking I apologize as that wasn't my intention.

Rising Rainbow said...

ER, Nope I didn't feel judged nor did I feel defensive. Just thought you needed more information to understand my perspective. Don't worry about me being upset. It's all good.

Sam said...

I am so glad that you voiced this opinion. To be honest, I haven't seen many mulitples who aren't looking toward Integration. I don't think its a bad idea - but I am unconvinced that it is the solution we should work for. My (very wonderful) partner is of the same opinion that to relive the abuse and have each of my alters reundergo that would be more damaging than the comfortable although somewhat bizarre life we now live. Okay I am often suicidal and lets face it - weird, but to have all those littles reabused - because I can't get to the info without them experiencing it - we determined it years ago in therapy - thats just ludicrous.

Anyways...enough blabbing. I applaud that you have honestly described your outlook.

ER - I hope that you are able to achieve the integration you want, I understand that for some people, it is absolutely the correct way to go. So I wish you and everyone integrating the best of thoughts.

Kahless said...

I will come back later in the week when I am not so tired and therefore more coherent in my discussion. Its just my inclination is to disagree with you, but from a different angle to ER.

For me mental illness doesnt mean that you are not emotionally healthy. If I mirror this to physical illness. Physical illness could have no symptoms, or many symptoms, it just means different to the physical norm. Would that not be the same for mental illness. I feel reticent to write this, but I will think about it and come back. My inclination is that it is more about the stigma associated with the label of mental illness, as opposed to fact itself. If you were a haemophilliac, would you be so disinclined to label yourself as having a physical illness?

Anyway, interesting thing to think about. I must say I hate both mental and physical illness labels!


Rising Rainbow said...

Sam, part of this for me was about having worked through my issues so that I no longer struggled with suicidal parts, self esteem, distinguishing appropriate boundaries etc. All of those things that would say a person still have "work" to do of they were not addressed. I think it's important to make that clear.

Being dissociative, particularly if an individual still loses time, can be a pretty difficult maze to work one's way through without help. I would not have opted to stop therapy had there been any kind of risk in doing so.

I know it's tough to do that work because I definitely did mine all the way through until I no longer had those negative messages I gathered during my abuse playing in my head. Those messages were all based on untruths, manipulated by my abusers. I had to uncover why I believed those messages in order for me to get free of them.

That meant that littles with key memories had to be exposed. BUT there was something very valuable I gained from doing that work and I didn't stop until the last of that work was done.

Those littles that relived difficult times would not undo that healing process. They are proud of what they have survived and they achieved that perspective allowing their stories to be told.

Kahless, sure I am objecting to the label as one of mental illness. That's for sure because I believe it depends on how a person is functioning that should decide if they are mentally ill or not.

As for the haemophilliac, that person has a physical illness that affects how his/her body functions. They are always at risk because of that so I'm not sure that's a comparison that fits.

I am not at risk, nor are those around me because my mental health. Even when times get tough, I know how to deal without help. My mental health is fine except for what it says in some book and I know more than a few professionals who would tell you the same.

It's not the diagnosis that makes a person mentally ill. It's how that person functions. If the quality of their life is affected or that of those around them, then there is a problem.

Ivory said...

Want to know something funny? One day in therapy, I was so exausted and frustrated that I asked my T if he met one of my alters and didn't know there were others, would he think that alter needed therapy? That included meeting all of the alters and not knowing there were others. He had to agree that only one might need therapy, but even then, she is not dangerous in any way and would probably be able to function pretty well. BUT you put all of them together and POOF! I'm a disorder. Go figure.

Gail said...

I think even "normal" people have this to a certain extent. We each have our ways of coping and each part of us copes with certain things.

I have no experience, no degrees, just making a comment on my opinion.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we are DID and are choosing not to integrate, we call it co operation and communication, we donmt call it half doing things or only going 90% and not the other ten.

We have a policy those who want to integrate can and those who dont wont. its a choice that is made out of necessity rather than choice. And those r easons are personal to us.

The integration debate will rage long into the future, but thankfully some open minded therapists (including our own) dont push that blindedd you must integrate theory into our life.

We had some alters who supposedly integrated whilst seeing mon let me tell you they hadnt and didnt they just played the game. Perhaps some multuiples who have chosen to integrate have indeed just played the whole integration game for people who want to see it.

Rising Rainbow said...

Ivory, funny how that works, isn't it. It's the interactions or lack of them that make the difference I think.

Gail, you're right about that. This way of functioning is not that far off from "normal." I remember trying to explain to a therapist one time what went on in my head and the response I got was "That's normal." Kinda makes me laugh today. The difference is in the degrees and as the healing comes the degrees get less and less. It doesn't feel like giving up any parts for me. It's more about the acceptance of those parts.

JIP, you are right that the integration debate will probably continue well on into the future. And fortunately for you and me there are therapists out there who understand that true healing is possible without integration being the goal.

One of those therapists pushing integration would have caused lots of harm to me, maybe even my death. I suspect from our talks the same may be true for you.

Hopefully in the future more therapists will have learned that integration shouldn't be the focus, acceptance should. With that integration will come if a system an individual can survive that way and those as fragmented as me will get what they need too.