In my first experience with my own alters

1 12 2012

I was sitting at my keyboard and my fingers just typed out “My name is Sarah”… without any conscious thought to do so, and as soon as I read it, that fact felt solid and true to my heart even though my name is actually Shannon.

I typed “my name is Sara” with intent and a whole argument began where I fought over the spelling of the name Sara. I don’t spell it with an “H” but “She” did.

The experience was frightening and confusing for me and I struggled a lot to find answers for what was happening. This was actually the beginning of more than a year of becoming co-conscience with several of my own Alters. At the time I thought it was their way of introducing themselves and making me aware of their existence so that I could do what I needed to do to heal.

I have a long history of supposed therapeutic intervention meant to help me to function normally so was already under a Dr’s care at the time. They were treating me but they were not listening to me. They were not “helping” me. I was given ineffective drugs for years that did nothing at all to help what was actually going on and most therapists chastised me like a small child for refusing to be a good patient and just take them.

The Dr I was seeing at the time told me that I was just having hallucinations, and that what I was experiencing had no basis in reality.

If you are under the age of 40 you probably didn’t share that experience. We have at least some moderate mainstream acceptance for the existence of Multiple Personality Disorder, even if people’s actual understanding of the condition is far from the reality of it.

I couldn’t, just accept what he was saying. I wasn’t just seeing things. Alter’s that appeared, took over. It was so clearly NOT my thinking. We didn’t share the same belief system or pattern of behavior, and I seemed to have no control over what I was doing.

Telling me that I was having hallucinations didn’t help me to deal with what I was experiencing at all! It didn’t stop me from having to live with the things that I did as these others seemed to take over, and it didn’t help me deal with the actual real life damage resulting from other people’s reaction to what “THEY” did!

I was chronically losing jobs and finding myself homeless and unable to provide any stability for my children. I was also dealing with confusion, guilt and grief over what “I” was doing. I wanted to take responsibility for what I did but often gaps in my own memory seemed to make that impossible.

No one I spoke to seemed to have any understanding of what was happening but I HAD TO KNOW.

The book Sybil was the first thing I found that seemed to give any explanation that aligned itself with my own reality. It was 20 years old at that time, but it put me on a track of discovery and healing that finally really helped.

I became a consumer of information. These were the days when the world didn’t believe that Multiple Personality was “real” and any therapist treating it was considered a quack with a capital Q.

I had to fight my way through thousands of pages of information that truly hurt me to read, in order to glean tiny bits of information that might give me a better picture of what was going on in my brain, but I kept reading.

After I ran out of material that was written for the general population, like all the diaries and mainstream media hype, I was left with only books written for college students studying it.

What they were teaching was counter intuitive to everything I knew about my own condition, so I got away from reading about what the current thoughts on M.P.D. and D.I.D. were, and started reading everything I could find on how our brains work.

I read volumes about taking control of your own thoughts and emotions, self-hypnosis, and psychology. I read about things that seemed unrelated, like how they were treating physical injuries, strokes, other brain injuries, and addiction.

The more I read the less readable the material became. At the time I felt so driven, it felt like I needed information more than I needed air. I never finished high school so much of the material was above my own ability to understand it but I forced myself to read the same pages again and again, often having to look up dozens of words on each page as I read.

So little of it made sense but I kept reading, and then all at once everything I read formed a cohesive picture in my brain and I finally felt like I KNEW.

For years I have tried to find a way to pass that knowledge on. It was so hard to gain and has truly helped me take control of my own life. I am not always happy but I know who I am and how I got to be this person. I know what I need to do to stay emotionally healthy. I put the information that actually helped me to understand myself here.

So many people land here and read 2 or 3 posts and leave, and it makes my heart sad. You can find real answers for what identity disorder really is and how to heal it here, but nothing helpful in just 2 or 3 posts.

If you suffer the way I did, you can learn how to take control and heal your brain. If you have any ideas that might make this site better please comment.

Thank you for being here.

sincerely,

SB

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Does multiple personality disorder even exist?

6 02 2019

Because of books like Sybil the myth is, that this disorder is multiple personalities inhabiting the same person. That it’s formed by some effort on our part, to remove ourselves from things that we have a problem dealing with. That we choose somehow to “dissociate” to protect ourselves from our reality, and that is what causes other parts to take over for us when we are too weak to handle life. In the last 15 years I have seen little change in that THIS is what is being printed as fact.

There are so many facets that are interwoven to create the experience of DID, but that myth does nothing to explain the actual reality of it nor help you heal from the disorder. There are truths that can do both. This site is great for letting me publish them in small pieces that are easy to understand and digest so that it’s possible to get a better understanding of the experience without needing a college education to get it.

This ‘personality disorder’ is a brain injury. Everyone is effected by these same types of injuries but only a small percentage to the extent that it causes the personality disorders that people expect to see in someone with DID. This is a trauma disorder and the myths of this disorder are not helping people deal with its effects or heal from it so grab some info and get educated, the brain you save could be your own.

Dissociative Identity Disorder has replaced “Multiple Personality Disorder” for the brain dysfunction that results from early childhood trauma but it is no less controversial or confusing to both therapists and the people who experience it then it was when they called it MPD.

It is fascinating to me that a “the world is flat”, phenomenon developed in the Psychiatric community regarding this disorder. Anyone openly admitting to believing it existed was criticized, ostracized and considered a fool. It has taken a phenomenal amount of research to refute the previous claims made about this disorder, including that the therapists themselves have hysterically created it in their patients.

If you’re the person experiencing it you have no doubts but speaking about it to anyone who could help was almost as traumatizing as experiencing it. They doubted the truth and sincerity in all you said or at least felt that you were hopelessly confused because they couldn’t argue it out of existence.

In order to function in my own life I have spent years studying this one thing. I believe that what feels like a “Multiple Personality Disorder” to the person experiencing it, is essentially a filing disorder with the functioning of the disorder and even the formation of it based totally on “normal” brain development.

Memory is basically a filing system. It is essential. To function you need that filing system to process information. If the filing system you have is damaged, your brain may start a new filing system in another part of the brain where the brain is not damaged. This filing system will not have any of the original files in it. It will only contain information processed after the trauma occurred.

Normally your brain stores information in order. What happened when you were 6 then what happened when you were 7 and so on, so that things that are current are easier to access than earlier files and yet everything is orderly and easy to find.

If you have M.P.D. that way of storing information was temporarily impossible because you have more than one place that stores parts of this info. At first the damaged parts are inaccessible but as your brain heals pathways to them can be built, and yet early on those areas are not connected to each other so that when you’re in one area you have no access to information stored in another.

As you get older the fact that you need to access information about the past makes you create neural pathways to more filing areas. The processing parts of your brain are continually trying to make those connections more efficient and useful.

If your brain has several areas of filing this type of information available to it, it may get more creative in the way it files future information. If you had an abusive step father that constantly told you you were stupid when you were 6, everything that supports that belief in the future will be put in that file. In fact any thing that you experience in your life that reminds you of that abuse may also go in there.

The neighbor you babysat for when you were 14, always said what a wonderful parent you would be, so all the supportive details for what a good parent looks like would be added to that file. In this way year by year, you added details to each file that seem to fit what was already beginning to be a basis for your personality.

Now we have formed the basis for forming a set of unhealthy heavily weighted personalities. Until your brain is mostly formed there is no real way for you to experience the wholeness of who you really are, because when your in one file you don’t have access to the information in any of the others.

The qualities that formed the basis for who you perceive yourself to be are unevenly weighted by the fact that any information that doesn’t seem to fit in that file will be efficiently pruned and added to a file that seems a better fit. When the information needs to be accessed, every supporting detail is easily found.

Normal Brain development will make more and more connections to the parts of the brain that you use most. In that way a lot of the healing that people describe that have this brain dysfunction will naturally occur as your brain develops. If it hasn’t reached a certain level of development then no amount of traditional therapy will fix it.

The aging brain develops outer connections that give access to all the parts of the brain. Like highways connecting one city to the next it allows for the sharing of information across all the structures of the brain. Like highways, you will develop connections to memory areas deemed most important first.

Normal brain development will open up that access and without any outside intervention this “healing ” will occur and eventually all the areas that file personality may be able to share information. May, and not will, because unless there is the need to access an area of the brain, no connections are made.

It doesn’t take decades or more of “therapy” to get over the pain that caused the original brain dysfunction. The brain just needs time to recover and mature. If stress and trauma have been prolonged or repetitive it will take longer for the brain to do that.

Even a lack of understanding for what is happening can re-traumatize someone so that the progress they make is stunted. It feels “crazy” to know internally that there is more than one area of the brain processing your own thoughts. Since that experience is rarely verified and explained to the person experiencing it, it isn’t just placed into perspective and processed as it should be.

This is an area where therapists could be most helpful. Unfortunately they are failing miserably at it. More often then not medication is offered instead of information, and empathy. Ignorance of this brain disorder has made therapists one more challenge in the lives of people facing the disorder, instead of the source of help that they were seeking.





Self harm, Anger and DID…

15 11 2016

One of the side-effects of DID is that tendency of the brain to clump information instead of filing it in chronological order.

It is common for all our feelings of self loathing, anger, sexuality, nurturing; our talents for writing, painting, cooking, sewing, crochet; and our heartfelt dreams and aspirations to be filed that way: just clumped in one area.

When you tap into any of those places it’s magnified and overwhelming. I think of it as being passionate when I can keep some sort of perspective, and disabling when I can’t. We are just normal people with normal people’s needs and emotions…ON STEROID’S!!!

I am totally obsessive to the point of not being physically able to pull away from an activity that I am involved in and then totally uninterested; I am so full of love for a God that would bless us with the wild flowers in our yard that I’m in tears or so cold as to step on them on my way to the lawn mower.

It is little wonder that therapists want to hit us with that Manic/Depressive label. It’s not just hard to stay focused and be successful, it is exhausting dealing with all the different shifts in needs, perspectives and emotions.

One of the things they do in Anger management is to go over the feelings that are in that file and re-attach them in a healthy way to the normal everyday occurrences that triggered them; not rendering them powerless but removing them from that single file and evenly distributing them through out our history so that it’s a lot less overwhelming when we’re in that space.

If you’re struggling with issues where your fighting off self harm, and suicidal feelings this same method of re-filing information might be helpful. Stop fighting the feelings and pick apart as many of them as you can and attach them to a place in your history where they belong.

Examine them again with adult eyes and give them a new perspective with the idea of trying to see each thing in a new way.

Please practice being kind to you my friend. It gets easier with time.





I am on here because

15 11 2016

I never found clear explanations for what I was going through when I was going through the worst of it. DID was a nightmare for me. There were no Internet support groups then. I didn’t know anything except that I was losing my mind.

The things I experienced were so frightening and weird at times that I feared telling anyone what I experienced thinking they would lock me up and throw away the key. Every therapist I saw wanted me on drugs and I felt that brain misfiring thing they kept telling me really didn’t apply.

I felt damaged by all the things I had gone through. It was as if they were saying I was malfunctioning without any real reason or cause, just crazy.

I was diagnosed with manic depression and given drugs that never helped, but no one would listen. Everyone I knew was on my case because I wouldn’t just take my pills and behave correctly like a good patient! I did and do get depressed but I have also found that there were times when my body just needed to shut down and process all the things I was going through.

I have with time gotten less judgmental about my own processes and less quick to grab a drug to change where I am. Like a computer that is malfunctioning, that shutting down process seemed to be just what I needed to stop the malfunctioning loop that I was in.

There are times when medication is appropriate. Constant stress does make chemical changes in your brain and it may just take a chemical to offset those changes so that your brain function can return to normal. If a drug is what it takes to help you function, it may just be worth the trouble. It’s your life. You need to balance the side effects and the results and decide what is best for you.

If your evaluating drug therapy a few things to remember. You may have side effects at first that are disturbing but will pass with time and it can take time to know if something is helping. Discuss your concerns with your Dr. Don’t let yourself be bullied. It may be worth tolerating some discomfort to gain brain function but in the end its up to you to judge if the results are worth it.

I read somewhere that if you can’t explain something so that ANYONE can understand it, you don’t understand it well enough. That was my goal; I need to know how close I have gotten to it. Your feedback is important to me.

I have this whole book on DID written on the hard drive of my computer in California. I came to Florida 6 months ago for a two week visit and stayed, leaving all that I owned behind. I have tried to recreate the basics here as I really want the information out there where someone might benefit from it.

I have run out of things that I remember off the top of my head and I no longer experience most of what disturbed me or confused me. I barely remember what it was like to be that me anymore.

There are those who are firmly in the camp of believing that multiple personalities exist as separate souls. In truth we only have one brain. No matter how fully we feel and experience them, they are in totality only the result of brain damage and our brains creative ability to make sense of what we’re feeling and experiencing as healing occurs.

The effects are confusing and frightening to feel and without any explanation for it we are left only with what ever our own brain creates as the story to explain the experience. Our brain keeps us in a place of homeostasis, because our survival depends on it.

Lacking real information about what has happened, we get a creative expression of what we feel based on our beliefs. This is not to say that the original flashbacks and feelings are not “real”. They are as real as anything we experience, but knowing what causes the effects will change how it’s experienced.

Not knowing what is going on creates fear and instability. We need to understand this extreme difference in experiencing our reality and lacking real information our brain will make one up that makes sense to us, to bring us back into homeostasis, the state we are in when our body is kept stable.

Once the belief is in place that what we are experiencing is “separate personalities” each taking control, which is exactly what it feels like when you experience it from the inside, “they” will conform more fully to that expectation.

Basically that is our brains confirmation that the way it’s filed information up to now, is correct and working for us, and will enable it to continue to file information in ways that make each of those storage areas more intensely flushed out as separate and different.

It’s my belief that each of us has to decide if this is in fact the case. Is it working for you? I couldn’t continue to exist in the space of drama and instability I found myself in. I wanted normal, or as close to it as it is possible for me to get in this lifetime.

I am functioning without drugs or outside intervention these days and I am happier. I don’t need to spend time and money or state resources to maintain my functioning and while I did get help, it is in a big way my own effort that has me here. I feel good about that.

Before anyone on the outside judges the decisions people with this disorder make, they should consider what it would be like, actually being born a fused multiple. Where you share organs and a body, but have separate brains.

Consider parents that make the decision never to separate them. Sure, they live with the fact that everyone on the outside can see that your not like them, but to do that surgery means that part of what you love will die. It can’t exist except in it’s current state.

You can decide what you would do, but is it really right to force your choice on others, when in reality you don’t have to live with the results of the decision?

I have experienced integration. It is a death of everything you know of who you are. It was an instant silence, where I had never before known what it was like to be alone. It was almost more then I could bear.

It was years of not knowing anything about who I was. Like a child I looked for clues and only became more like the person I believed those clues showed me to be.

This is a very dangerous time. If you are surrounded by negativity, what they reflect back at you would all be negative. Building a healthy self concept in that environment will be an imposing task, and impossible if you don’t realize what is happening.

I have changed the environment and watched the changes in me and know what it’s like to feel like clay in the hands of everyone around you. In the end I have chosen the environment that I am in, partially because I am able to live with the person I am when I am here.

There are changes I wish to make but every thought that I have confirming those beliefs, strengthen’s me and I hope will make it possible at some point to exist stably when I move on.

What ever our life as a multiple is, it is all we have known up to now, only we can decide if it works for us.

From this side I can say for me, the change was worth the loss. I really do have vastly improved brain function. I can choose to focus on the parts of me that I liked and add them to my new view of who I am. I had some artistic parts and while I can’t draw like that part did, I have taught myself to paint and feel that I successfully express that part again.

If you are looking for what may actually cause what we know as DID, I hope you find some satisfactory answers here. In the whole of this site I have tried to create a map of my way out. I hope you also find a measure of respect for choosing to live life from where you are.





Memory…

25 01 2014

If we assume that the “purpose” of memory is to use past events to help us make future decisions, then keeping a perfect and complete record of every event is not useful or efficient. Our brain is designed to only process information that will be useful at a later date, and to ignore the rest.

When something is learned, circuits of neurons are created, altered or strengthened. These neural circuits are composed of a number of neurons that communicate with one another through synapses. Connections are constantly being broken and new connections made. With repeated use, the efficiency of these connections increase.

The stimuli detected by our senses can be either deliberately ignored, or perceived. Ignored stimuli is forgotten almost immediately and only perceived stimuli enters our sensory memory. This is normally considered to be totally outside of our conscious control. Unlike other types of memory, sensory memory cannot be prolonged through rehearsal.

Information is passed from the sensory memory into short-term memory though the process of selectively concentrating on that one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things, which filters the stimuli to only the things that are of interest at any given time.

When your sleeping information is then filtered and anything of importance is filed into long-term memory. Explicit memory is memory of facts and events, and refers to those memories that are stored and retrieved. These can be Episodic or Semantic.

Episodic Memory is the memory we use to reconstruct the events that took place in our lives. They are normally in serial form where we are actors and our emotions and the actual context of an event are usually part of them.

Semantic memory which is generalized knowledge that does not involve memory of a specific event. It may once have had a personal context, but now stand alone as simple knowledge. In this way you can remember that a wrench is a tool without remembering any event in which you learned that information. It’s a more structured record of facts, meanings, concepts and knowledge about the external world that we have acquired.

Implicit memory is procedural memory. This is the memory of behavior’s that are so deeply embedded that we are no longer aware of them. Once learned, these memories allow us to carry out ordinary motor actions automatically, without conscious awareness of these experiences. It’s the unconscious memory of skills and how to do things, such as playing a guitar or riding a bike.

Because different types of memory are processed and stored in different areas of the brain, memories are reconstructed from elements scattered throughout different areas of the brain by the encoding process. A deficit in one type of memory will not necessarily effect the others… in this way you can remember how to ride a bike and not know when or how you learned to do so.

Newborn’s don’t have the ability to remember their own personal history. Their brains haven’t developed connections yet to the parts of the brain responsible for that. The first connections formed will be those that help interpret information from the sense’s. Only then would you start to form the connections for normal memory functions.

Memory’s are constantly being re-written. They are composite structures and each time you pull them up and go over them they will change. Part of this is from the natural pruning of information that your brain deems not necessary. It is also part of our nature not to leave questions unanswered. If something bothers you about a memory your brain will continue to try to solve the problem for you, even if it has to construct an answer that makes sense to you.

This is totally without any conscious effort on your part and it is difficult to tell what was there and what your brain may have added to the details once this has happened.

Flash backs from trauma are normally sensory memories that are kept in the very core of our brains structure. When first perceived they are normally extremely accurate pictures of what your brain took in at the time of the original incidence. They are not a part of the brain that is consciously accessed.

When in a traumatic situation the amount of information taken in and type change dramatically. Visual information may be shut out completely and other sensory information may be intensified. You may have taken in the physical feel or the scent along with all the emotions you felt at the time and nothing else.

Once it has been brought into your conscience memory it will be processed and re-written in the same manner as all your other memories are. Your brain will help you make it a whole picture that makes sense to you, even if those details had never originally been taken in.

You may have never taken in the face of an attacker but they may have worn the cologne of someone you know. If your brain is searching for more information and that is all it has, it may make the connection between the smell and the person and allow you to “see” them as part of the memory to give you the whole picture you’re seeking. It built the information that you had into a whole picture that would make sense to you. Because of this reconstructed memories are very unreliable.





Alternate therapies…

25 01 2014

Treating your PTSD isn’t going to cure your DID but it does make living with DID so much easier. I had huge success with EMDR. It is a very short term cost effective therapy where the person thinks of the event briefly as it is paired with sets of eye movements or other forms of stimulation.

With the therapist’s assistance, this helps the brain make the appropriate connects and rewire itself in regard to trauma. Slight warning here. My first experience with EMDR sent me into a panic attack where I felt sheer terror. I was safe with a therapist that I trusted and she helped me through it without a problem. I tried it again a few weeks later without any problems and felt some immediate relief. It took more visits then my therapist first expected but it made functioning possible in a short period of time when YEARS of therapy hadn’t helped.

These I have not tried but I am very encouraged to believe in Alternate therapies over traditional ones or using drugs to deal with the effects of PTSD.

Energy Processing Therapy: This works with the energy median pathways in your body, which can become imbalanced from the impact of a traumatic event. It works by re-balancing your system as you think of the traumatic event.

Hypnotherapy: In PTSD treatment they will focus on re-wiring the brain to change perceptions on the subconscious level. Using the power of suggestion, plus processing formulas. I would confirm with the therapist before starting that their use of this form of PTSD treatment will focus on the present and future rather than on rehashing the past. I would take DID issues off the table, at least until you built a level of trust with your therapist and both decided where you wanted to go with it.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming: These techniques sever and recreate neural pathways by using language to re-frame, redirect and reorganize the coding of experience in the brain. Like hypnotherapy, NLP focuses on the present and future rather than the past.





Little’s and animal alters…

25 01 2014

Little’s or child alters and non-human alters appear to be fairly common. There is resistance for acceptance of non-human alters from people who don’t understand DID and often use this as a reason to ridicule the possibility that DID is real.

In reality these alters are very young children. Stop and consider how this could be. You define what you experience. If you have DID you are experiencing each alter from inside their thoughts and feelings and while you get that they are not YOU there is no real reference to tell you who or what they are, except what you are thinking, feeling, and sensing.

Young children have wonderful imaginations and honestly don’t know that they can’t be a cat, or a dog, or even a chair. When frightened they may want to be anything but what they are! They have been shut down at a point when they were making themselves disappear by being something else.

Inside their brain they have studied every detail and know exactly what it would be like to be a cat, or a dog, or even a chair and the thoughts and feelings you get are those of what they believe they are at the time they were last aware.

Once you are aware of any alter, you make a judgement about what you are experiencing and label it. From that point on they may begin to evolve to conform to your belief system or they may fight and reject it outright, but either will make very real changes to who they are. The fact is, they are as invested in being them, as much as you are in being you.

For that reason only the first few appearances of an alter are pure in the sense that your consciousness has not effected theirs yet. Approach these type of alters as you would any small child or non-verbal alter.

If they are yours, understand that they may be pre-verbal and have no means of expression of their pain or fear. They need nurturing and reassurance, not judgement no matter how weird what you are experiencing may feel.

I interacted with mine inside my head until she no longer needed that anymore. You might try written communication to help reach out to these parts.





The trauma effect…

18 02 2013

Because of modern brain imagery we can see how stress and trauma affect the brain. They have learned that it affects the higher functions of the brain first. The younger you are when you experience it, the more devastating its effect partially because the higher functions of your brain are not developed yet.

Trauma damages the brain. They have done brain scans of trauma victims and can see on the scan the noticeable “Dying back” effect on the brain. I have experienced it again and again from the inside. Just like with a stroke, you lose functioning. It’s actually the loss of the ability to access that damaged area of the brain that everyone sees with a stroke victim.

Scientists have been able to Map the brain for some time now and can show how behavior deficits are directly correlated to damage to the area of the brain that those connections would have been dependent on.

When damage occurs, at first the brain will attempt to simply remake a connection. If it isn’t possible to just reconnect, it will try to find other ways to process the information its receiving, like assigning other areas of the brain to process that information.

It will only do this if a) a simple reconnect isn’t possible and b) it keeps being asked to process information the damaged area of the brain would handle. If you stop asking the brain to process that information, the ability to process it is just lost.

There is a measurable difference in the way each side of your brain processes information. If the left side of your brain takes over something that the right side of the brain was responsible for, it would process that information differently then the right side would.








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