I’ve been out of touch for awhile… mainly because I don’t know how to explain the things that have been happening. My journey with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) has had it ups and downs, good and bad days and learning more about myself than I thought was possible. I wouldn’t change a thing because I am putting the pieces of my life back together.
For several months, my therapist and I have been working with Kat, my teenager who has struggled with various addictions. I work for therapist’s who are trained in addictions; I see the struggle people have on a daily basis. This was not going to be easy or quick, but it was possible!
Kat and I are so much alike and yet so different. My therapist has a hard time knowing who she is talking with, as are switching is almost flawless. Yet at the same time, we have completely different personalities (duh)!
She is out-going, fun, adventurous, speaks her mind-freely, confident, hilarious, creative, kind-hearted, always wants everyone to be happy without showing negative emotions. She helps me see the lighter side of life, try new things, gets me out of the dual thinking- right/wrong, good/bad, up/down, and not take myself so seriously. I am grateful for the things she has taught me along the way.
I understand her eating disorder, the struggle to not binge and purge and her need to numb with medication. What I haven’t been able to understand is the cutting, smoking and drinking. It’s amazing how I can hate to smoke or the smell of smoke and yet, I smoke. And what I didn’t realize is that she has a serious drinking problem. I enjoy an occasional drink, but she needs it everyday. This was shocking and yet heart-breaking for me to learn. I understand her using all these behaviors to numb the pain of the abuse she endured. She took all of that for me, so I could survive.
Until recently, she didn’t want anyone to know how much she drank. When she opened up in therapy, my therapist was encouraging, supportive and adamant that she begin the process to stop. We had used EMDR, a few times, with success. One particular session, my therapist used it to target my migraines. We found much needed relief and thought maybe we could target the drinking as well.
Kat hates to talk about painful experiences (but who does). She will avoid, by aggressively escaping any painful situation. The emotions are too much for her. EMDR is a helpful way for her to connect with memories, but not for a long period of time. Like being on a train, seeing the landscape and then moving on to the next scene. She would get an image, connect it with a memory and connect that with wanting to drink.
My therapist felt like EMDR would help her connect the triggers and memories that made her drink. She was right and we began a modified version to help Kat. They would target whatever came up for her each day. We never knew where these sessions would lead, but each of us were willing to go. It was exhausting for her and me both. After each session we would need to go home and sleep; sometimes we never made it out of the parking lot. 🙂
What I wasn’t prepared for was the withdrawal symptoms. They came mostly in the night; sweating, shaking, chills, weird anxious thoughts, cramps, sometimes vomiting and throughout the day were these flu-like symptoms. It lasted about 5 days and she was did incredibly well. My therapist suggested we do an “in-house” treatment. We wouldn’t go away to treatment, mainly because it would be complicated with being DID. She wanted to see Kat everyday and wanted her to be the one to say what she needed daily. Whew, that was hard all by itself!
We had unfortunate “life events” happen at the end of that first week, but we have continued to battle through. I have been incredibly proud of her, her perseverance, courage and strength. She has faced difficult memories and emotions, but with the help of my therapist and me staying present with her, she is winning! On a side note, my therapist had made the time each day to see her, allowed contact outside of the office, and was willing to go to those ‘hard places’ to help her find freedom. That is priceless and I will never be able to thank her enough!
DID is complicated, a way of survival, a painful and grueling work, sad, confusing, unpredictable, a unique gift from God and yet so delicate to walk through. Learning about each precious part of you that makes up the whole of who you are….amazing! I am without words, to express my heart-felt gratitude and support of my family, friends and therapist. Truly a BLESSING!