It’s been a train wreck of a week ! Therapy is hard going with a particular issue from my adolescent abuse years proving very difficult to deal with. We go through a session of EMDR and it comes up at each sitting upsetting me just as much each time. I end up wracked with tears and sobbing my heart out, inconsolable. I just don’t seem to be able to move beyond it. My Therapist assures me it’s moving and we are making progress, to hang in there.
Unfortunately, my DID is out of control between therapy sessions and my alter of my Mother who is the one that does me the most harm (self-harm and suicide attempts) has been the most dominant. We have been to the Emergency Department eight times in the last two weeks to be stitched. I have hidden razor blades and she won’t let me tell my husband or therapist where they are hidden. When I switch to her I become devious, cunning and wait until the opportune moment to self-harm and cut myself. When the damage is done, I switch and tell my husband and it’s yet another trip to the hospital. It’s an appalling cycle. It is so unsafe.
We’ve just returned from ED after yet another cutting episode. He was simply making coffee and I switched when his back was turned and cut my upper arm requiring twenty stitches. I must have had the blade hidden on me. I have no recollection of any of the incident and only returned to my normal self during being stitched. I was totally confused as to how I got there. My poor partner was so upset. It distresses him so much to see me harming myself so much.
In EMDR this Thursday I told my therapist that I had a blade on me to use that night as I had switched to my Mother. When the EMDR had finished she told me what I had said. I had no recollection. I begged her to say nothing as I desperately did not want to give the blade up as I was feeling very suicidal. She called my husband in and they both demanded that I give him the blade. I refused and despite repeated entreaties by both of them, I refused. Eventually, my husband said okay “We’re going to the hospital and they can search you there and admit you if need be but I’m not taking you home with a razor blade on you in the car”. I had no choice. I had to give them the blade. I burst into tears. It was like giving up my life’s blood. The blade was so precious to me.
This is an example of the power of alters and how dangerous they can be. Some are innocuous like my four-year-old alter who just loves breakfast in bed and wants to be with the horses all the time and nags my husband to go walking when he just wants to sit down and watch the Saturday rugby. She is irritating but not dangerous. She does not stay long and switches in and out quickly, usually to lift my mood.
Dissociative disorders are now acknowledged as fairly common effects of severe trauma in early childhood, most typically extreme and repeated physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Personal identity is still developing during childhood so a child is more adept at stepping outside themselves or dissociate from what is happening. Children that learn to dissociate early in life and on a continual basis may utilise this coping mechanism in response to other stressful situations in their life whilst adults may develop dissociative disorders in response to severe trauma such as the experience of war, natural disasters, kidnapping, torture and invasive medical procedures.