Today I had my first invitation to sit down with some ladies and talk about my DID. Now, before you get too excited for me or think I must be overly brave today, it was for 3 therapists. One is a friend of mine, who began my journey with DID 3 years ago, when I put a name with what was happening to me. The other two were colleagues/supervisor. They had not seen or observed many, if any clients with DID. They had questions for my friend, and since she has been around me for 3 years, she felt like I would be a better fit to answer their questions.
But you still wonder why? Well, here is the short answer. If I happen to say something that would help even one of their clients with DID, it was worth it. And if they only heard one thing that would help them, as therapist’s, work with DID clients…it was also worth it!
She asked me over week ago, and I agreed to attend. However, totally unlike me, I completely forgot until she called last night. Maybe it was good to not dwell on it for a week, or be nervous about how it may unfold. They were very kind, and grateful that I would come to field any questions they may have. The first thing I said was that I am not an expert, and I can only speak from my own experiences. Those of us with DID know, first, that we are all uniquely different, but second, we are very similar at the same time. Which only helps us, at times put words to what is happening or confirmation and validity to our experiences. It is a way to connect and support each other on this difficult and grueling journey to healing.
I had an hour, that literally flew by, to tell a brief starting point with my diagnosis, discuss parts and their behaviors, triggers, switching, therapy: what works and what doesn’t, what my husband and children think and if they are supportive, have I ever lost time-lol, etc. It went well, for the most part, until…
The table next to us showed up half way through the meeting, and with them a 3-4 yr. old little girl. She was directly in front of me, over the shoulder of one of the therapists. She was coloring, laughing, talking, playing- you get the picture. When the ladies asked about triggers, I decided to keep it real, and responded that directly behind them was a child that I want to leave this table for, so we can color together. And while I tried to keep myself present, in the conversation, this is what played in my head:
Girls: Hey, we want to go over there and color.
Me: No, remember what I said about staying in your rooms today?
Girls: But she wants us to color with her, really!
Me: Perhaps, but this is not the time or place. Remember, I am here to meet these ladies.
Girls: But we wanna color, pleeeaaasssse!
Me: I know, but let’s wait until we get home.
Girls: She won’t be there.
Me: Yes, but you can still color.
Girls: But she likes us, can we go?
Me: Sorry, not right now.
And just when I think I have things under control, the little girl gets up, walks over to our table, lays her coloring page down and walks away. Seriously??? Her mom turns around and says she decided that your table needed this picture…I’m thinking to myself, duh!!
Now, I am rubbing one leg, shaking the other, trying to remember the question, while thinking, “Stay present, stay present, stay present”, and checking the faces of these women because they are totally aware.
All in all, it went well and I told them I would be happy to do it again- in a more private environment. No need to be in public, with potential triggers, talking about trauma, and switching, right?
I had sent a text to my therapist prior to leaving the house. Since I had forgotten, she wasn’t aware either. I try to run things by her that are out of the ordinary, although, I don’t always listen to her input. Yikes! She voiced that I am her first DID client (one of many, many) that has ever wanted or agreed to speak about DID. She followed that statement with the word, “interesting” . What is that about? How do I take that statement? That’s when I shared that if I help only one person today, it will be worth it. I believed it then, and still believe it now.
Awareness is half the battle…and I am willing to go to war if something I say or do will make a difference in the mental illness, abuse, PTSD… arena.