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Re: Give me back my hand- (just kidding) shelliR

Posted by Elizabeth on July 30, 2001, at 13:48:54

In reply to Re: Give me back my hand- (just kidding) Elizabeth, posted by shelliR on July 29, 2001, at 23:51:29

> Hi Elizabeth

Hi Shelli.

> It's complicated and it's sounds much more bizarre than it feels, I am so used to it by now. I have different personalities inside; girls clustered around three and eight, related to sexual abuse at those ages.

Okay; so it's basically a variant on DID. My understanding is that the experience of "multiple personalities" is usually related to childhood abuse. Is that right? Are there other correlates as well?

> If you heard them you would not think they are me--the three year old especially, not only has the voice of a three year old, but has the verbal patterns of a three year old: repetition, disinterest in answering questions, etc. and chatters on and on.

I'm very curious about this sort of thing. I wonder what sort of mechanism could lead to the experience of switching personalities (so to speak).

> I worked a lot with them in therapy with EMDR and in body therapy, and at this point while still present, they do not dominate my life.

Did you find the therapies helpful, and if so, in what ways?

EMDR sounds pretty flakey to me, and the evidence supporting it is very sketchy, but I've encountered a number of people who felt it was helpful for them, enough to make me wonder whether there might be something to it after all.

What is body therapy? That's one I'm not familiar with.

> I am co-conscious with them, so I don't have a DID diagnosis.; although really it depends on who does the diagnosing.

Psych diagnoses frequently do. Can you explain what you mean by "co-conscious?" Does it mean that you actually feel like there are several different personalities in you simultaneously? That's so hard to imagine.

> I do not consider myself to have DID because I do not lose time. Only when I am sound asleep, the kids do have conversations with others that I have no knowledge of until I'm told.

Ever had a sleep or ambulatory EEG?

> But, also, generally when I say I dissociate, I mean I feel unrelated to my body and spacey, rather than these children are "out".

Have you noticed any effect of the medications you're taking on this phenomenon?

I've had several bizarre experiences over the years that I think are related to my sleep disorder, and which are considered "dissociation" in a different (but similar) sense (intrusion of sleep states upon waking states, or vice versa). My sleep has always been odd; I can remember physically acting out dreams as early as age 4, and my parents say that I walked in my sleep intermittently throughout my childhood (for all I know, I still do it).

> That is really sad, because there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it is real.

I can understand that. I've encountered my share of people who think that depression is just a more extreme version of grief or a bad hair day or who don't understand that ADD is more than just normal childhood behaviour. These things aren't easy to explain to a person who's never experienced them.

> The sad part is that although the prognosis is good for DID, it is a hellish journey. Personalities that one doesn't even know exist, ruin jobs and relationships and definitely put lives at risk. Can you imagine what it feels like to find yourself in LA from Washington with no clue of why you are there?

Yes, actually. As I said, I seem to have had more than my fair share of peculiar experiences, some of which involved memory lapses/lost time.

> Anyway, I feel a lot of passion about it because people who are multiple have generally experienced a horrific childhood, and then as adults they have still have the coping mechanism that saved them as a child, but now it just screws them up more. So when doctors deny the validity of the diagnosis at all, I see it as another form of abuse for these patients.

I can understand that. I've certainly known doctors, psychologists, etc. who seemed to have prejudices that made it difficult for them to listen properly.
> BTW, Dr. James Chu who used to run the dissociative disorders unit at McLean Hospital was promoted to chief of hospital clinical services.

I've heard of him, and yes, he does have a good reputation. The dissociative disorders and trauma program at McLean (Proctor House 2; I've known 3 or 4 people who were hospitalised on that unit) is supposed to be good in general. I have only discussed the DID issue with a few professionals, and I'm sure my sample is biased (the psych professionals I know are mostly of the cognitive-behavioural and/or biopsychiatric schools, although the one psychoanalyst I spoke to was fairly skeptical about DID, feeling that the term "multiple personalities" is misleading -- more about that below). The general feeling I've gotten has been that DID is often overdiagnosed at treatment centres where the diagnosis is a fad of sorts, and there are those who don't think that DID exists as a distinct entity at all. Others think that "multiple personalities" are "real" in a sense but shy away from that terminology because, in their opinions, the alters tend to be stereotyped and one-dimensional as distinguished from the "core" personality; they see it as a maladaptive coping mechanism. (I think this is mostly semantic, personally.) I haven't met anyone who denies the existence of dissociative symptoms and their relationship to childhood trauma, but the prevailing view on DID in particular seems to be a skeptical one. Personally, I've never spent time with someone who had experienced alternate personalities, so I reserve judgment on the matter.

> I've never had an interaction with stimulants and nardil before and I've tried most of them.(adderal, ritalin, dexadrine).

Okay, then it's probably a safe bet that Concerta wouldn't be a problem for you.

> p.s., do you have a compulsive disorder re spelling :-)

No, I just like giving people a hard time about it. < g >

> If so, I'll drive you nuts. I was most upset to stop taking seglegiline because I had finally learned how to spell it.

Are you *sure* you learned how to spell it? :-)





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