Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is not an easy disorder to deal with. The biggest issue in my opinion is the disconnect between my Helpers and I. When they are out front, I have no memory of what happened so actually getting to know them is a difficult process. In the past 2 1/2 years I have gone from not knowing I had DID to actually being able to speak to the main Helper Julie and having the others communicate to a much smaller degree by drawing me pictures or leaving notes while they are out. I work daily on trying to communicate with them as a group even on the days when I truly feel like I am talking to myself and may in fact truly be batsh*t crazy. 😉
I have had great success with Helper Polly over the past 18 months or so. She is a very angry, self harming teenager and her self harm was at a very dangerous level. It was not just cuts and scrapes, it was seriously mutilating and a LOT of blood. Arteries were cut at times not just skin or regular veins.
Polly and I were eventually able to make a deal through many pictures and journal entries to stop the self harming. In turn, she had certain needs that she needed to be filled. Her self harming was in response to anger that she had no way to let out or deal with. If I wanted it to stop, I needed to address that time in my life when Polly was formed and take over as the adult to deal with them. It took about 6 months to get her to stop and hasn’t been perfect but she hasn’t done any self harm now in well over a year. Closer to 2 I think. I am horrible with time so I hope you will forgive my guesses as to how long since something took place. I try my best. 🙂 Either way, there has been no self harm and I have even had tattoos done to cover many of the scars. There are a few more to go but for every 6 months or so with no harm, I am willing to have scars covered up by beautiful drawings that Polly has the power to veto if she doesn’t like them. It is a deal and we both keep our word.
So Polly was my first real success in dealing with a Helper to stop negative behaviour. More recently, I have been working with my therapist to deal with an issue caused by a few young adult Helpers. This is very hard for me to talk about and I feel very exposed by doing it but I have a feeling that I should try to be open about it because others may be able to relate and hopefully feel as though they are not alone in this.
Sex. It’s a HUGE issue for me and I am sure it is a huge issue for many persons with DID. Quite often, the host (main personality) is not able to deal with sexual issues or events even if they are within the confines of a loving and safe relationship. Jokes about sex, flirting, sexual advances, sexual discussions and such are nearly impossible for the host to deal with. This is certainly true in my case. I dissociate at the mere mention of anything sexual and it is incredibly difficult for me to even write this without dissociating. I have to stop every minute (literally) and ground myself. Needless to say… without getting too personal, my Helpers handle that issue in my life.
The trouble began when my husband started getting older than the Helpers who share that time with him. At first it was only a minor issue but now they are still in their late teens and 20’s while my husband is 52. The biggest issue is that while they lose interest in an older man, they cause a great deal of risk to all of the Helpers and I by wanting to go find someone younger. This is not something that I can allow to happen so I’ve been trying desperately to find a solution.
Julie who is usually always helpful and supportive to me and deals with the Helpers in a very calm and efficient way seemed as stumped by this issue as I was. My therapist spoke directly to her twice and while she seems to have all the answers about everything else, she was stumped too. She is not a huge fan of Lenny so that doesn’t help. He is such a great man and an amazing husband to me but not every woman has the same taste in men right? Not much of a problem until you share a body!
Julie and I have been doing a LOT of inner talking over the past couple of months and this issue has been brought up each and every time with no forward movement until this past week. It finally occurred to me that she could get the younger Helpers who have been handling that part of my life to step back and not partake in that any longer. They surely have other things they can be doing with their time. 😉 I have a few Helpers in their 40’s and 50’s so I asked Julie if she could have them begin dealing with this issue as they are more age appropriate now. Sadly me staying out front is impossible. I’ve tried so many times but it causes a great deal of damage and my therapy suffers for months afterwards. 😦
Back to my idea of using older Helpers…
Why it took me 2 years to think of that as a solution? I have no idea. I think I was too focused on dealing with what was actually happening and my fears of adultery, sexual disease etc. to look outside of those particular Helpers and even think that others may be able to help. I am not blaming myself. Those are HUGE issues to find answers for even if it looks so incredibly obvious now.
So now we have a deal. Julie will bring out older Helpers for that part of our life and she will allow the younger ones to partake in more age appropriate ventures as the need arises. My husband will be in for a shock. I’ve thought of talking to him about the solutions we’ve found but I have this little devil on my shoulder that just wants to shock him. Right now (fun) badness is winning. *laugh*
My therapist and I agreed yesterday that my Helpers are a necessity in my life and always will be. He actually said that without the Helpers, I could not survive. I’ve known that almost since the beginning of this journey but it was a bit strange to hear him say that since he was always using that most hated word “Integration”. He now sees that integration is really not the solution that he thought it was. Far more important than integration is the ability to make deals with the Helpers and work with them to become or remain as Helpers rather than “Hinderers”.
By working as closely as possible with each Helper over time and dealing with whatever issues they were created to handle for me, I can begin to heal myself and eventually them too. They benefit as much as I do by my healing.
Rather than focusing on Integration, this is my goal (and the eventually realized goal by my therapist too). To make deals, to find ways around our issues, to work together and respect each other no differently than a group of workmates all working together towards a common goal. Some agree, some disagree, some are easy to work with, some are stubborn, some are kind, some are mean… but in the end? A finished project that works and can accomplish what it was meant to accomplish is the goal.
I wonder what the next hurdle will be? I hope its something easy like a Helper who wants to learn how to bake. Any chance of that? 😉