The 5 Year Plan or Not

When I started therapy, August 29th 2011, I went in to get help for my bulimia. At the time it was out of control; I was out of control. My life was not going the way I anticipated. Sure, I heard God’s voice clearly, and followed His leading, but sadness and depression weren’t supposed to be part of this plan. I was working full time, doing very well in the work God called me to do, my family was happy and everything  outwardly seemed great!

I remember on one of my early morning runs with a friend, saying, “I think I need to go to counseling.” She asked me why and I said, “I feel out of control, unhappy, and I’m ready to face my ED head on.” I had been to therapy in the past and it was probably good…LOL! I say that because now I’m aware that therapy isn’t about the “thing” you go in for; it’s about the “things” that are hidden below, that cause you to do that “thing”.  In my early experience with therapy, the T went right to the hidden “things”, only I wasn’t aware or had much memory of them. Hmmmm, should have been a red flag, but I was young and dumb. Or maybe I thought I knew more about it than she did. Yikes!

So in 2011, I walked into my current T office, sat down, and for the next hour I told her everything about my life. I told her about my bulimia, alcohol use, short prescription drug use, my messed up home life (which I’ve since learned was much worse) and that I felt overwhelming sadness all the time.  And  with 5 minutes left I said, “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you my husband had an affair many years ago, but we are good now.” giphyBy then, smoke was surfacing from her notepad due to the nonstop writing of my life story! I’m sure she was thinking, “What the H E double hockey sticks have I gotten myself into??”

She too, didn’t spend much time talking to me about my bulimia. WT_??? How can this be happening again, I thought. She wanted to know about my childhood, hmmmm, this was sounding very familiar. I don’t know when she first realized I was dissociating or that I had dissociative identity disorder, but she was very careful to not “show those cards”, if you know what I mean. Many times I commented that I was feeling very strange, the feeling right before you pass out, without so much nausea. She never seemed shocked by hearing that, and would continue on with what we were doing.

chesterfield-queen-anne-high-back-wing-chair-uk-manufactured-leather-sofas-traditional-sofas-2I used to sit in this blue leather, Queen Anne, high back, chair. It had these rivets around the arm rest and I would start rubbing those rivets when I got that “strange” feeling (which I now know as switching). My thumbs would be raw and sometimes bloody by the time the session was over. It seemed to keep me present for awhile; then one day it stopped working and I was switching.

After quitting and coming back to therapy several times upon hearing her diagnosis, I slowly began to embrace this seemingly familiar way of life. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t crazy, but what do I do with DID?? I don’t know anyone with this. So I did what every good “Googler” does; I headed to the internet for answers! BAD, BAD idea…just saying’! After I got all that out of my system, I began to do real research, read books, ask questions and trust my T, because she was the expert in this field!giphy1

I read one day, early on, that the work in therapy for someone with DID takes 5-10 years. I realize that was written by some doctor of something, who is an expert in their field, so it must be accurate. However, it was a large gap and I wanted the fast track version, which is why I gave myself the 5 years or less time frame. I started out with about 5 parts, I could identify and felt like that wouldn’t take too much time. Of course, now I know that you never end with what you think you’ve started with. Oops!  My community has more than doubled since the beginning and I’m approaching the 5 year mark in August. But I love them all!

Sadness and grief feel very heavy today. I think it’s because I never dreamed this would be happening to me. When I read the book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, I never imagined this was what God had for me and my life. I do know He works for my good and he wants nothing but the best for my life. Trust! Faith! Hope!

As August 29th approaches, there’s a high probability that I will not be finished. What does being finished even look like?? I will have missed the 5 year plan for healing, but God will NOT leave me here. He has things I do not understand, know, or could possibly fathom.

 

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9 thoughts on “The 5 Year Plan or Not

  1. When I was first in therapy (18 years ago) I wanted the quickest road out and I set a “plan” for my healing in a set amount of time. In all honestly I just wanted out of the pain. This time I decided not to make a plan and instead am in it for the long haul. I am finally in a place where I am listening to God and am waiting for his timing. Don’t get me wrong, I still run from God, throw temper tantrums, and have many pity parties but I think I’m more in touch with what I need in life…..and that is the support of counseling for DID.

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  2. I understand what you are saying. When I initially discovered I had been sexually abused, although it was shocking, I thought “right, I will deal with this and get over it quickly”. Boy did I have no clue. Not only could I not access the memories, there was much I had to do first to even accept the trauma. Eventually I was brought to my knees in pain and it was inky when I put down alcohol that I had any chance of dealing with the trauma. They say it takes six years for a DID diagnosis and that was pretty right in my case. Once sober, I went back into therapy/ the voices in my head, the general sense of futility and depression with no real reason to hang it on. The amnesia. Now three years into it and I feel like I am only at the beginning. As much as I want to take big leaps, it is like God will only let me take baby steps. At times I accept that it will take just that- time. On other occasions I wonder if I will ever regain my sense of self and fully heal. I trust God and knows he has my best interests at heart. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Thanks! It helps to know I’m not alone in this. The support and safety I have here is invaluable! You were so courageous! That’s awesome! God has us on this journey for such a time as this!

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  3. Five years sounds pretty darn ambitious for the amount of trauma you have endured. I understand wanting to feel better and the timeline – sometimes a timeline might help us keep going if we think “only another year.” I thought I would be “farther along” by now, but what I am realizing, the longer I go, is that we just can’t know how long it will take. And that is hard. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t working hard or that the therapy isn’t working, it just means our pain needs more attention.

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    1. Yes, you are right. I know those things in my head…it’s just that, like you said, “only another year”. I’ve told others that it takes as long as it takes; I need to believe that for myself. My thinking in the beginning, before I realized the amount of trauma and abuse, seemed doable. Like you said, this all needs more attention, more than I ever imagined. Thank you for your support. We all keep working hard because we know it works! Thanks!

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