When Your Dissociative Identity Disorder is Running the Show

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 dominate. 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.

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 entreatries 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 all the time. 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.

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