Posted by shelliR on July 30, 2001, at 22:23:16
In reply to Re: Give me back my hand- (just kidding) Ľ shelliR, posted by Elizabeth on July 30, 2001, at 13:48:54
> 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?
Itís a variant, but a significant variant, much less of a disruption of my life as a adult. And yes, abuse has to occur and the child must have a tendency to dissociate. Obviously all children who are abused do not become multiple, some children become suicidal, others become aggressive, etc. I don't know if this is a fact or not, but it seems from my observations that the abuse had to have been kept a secret; even in the case of siblings both being sexually abused by the same adult, it has generally never been discussed until they were adults with the people that I have come to know.
> 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).
Iím not sure what you mean by "mechanism" but the issue of personalities and switching is
so complicated that I will refer you to Frank W. Putnam's Book " Diagnosis and treatment of multiple personality disorder." Putnam (NIMH) had the strictest definition of MPD before its name change. He was also on the committee for the guide lines for DID for the DSM-IV, although the diagnosis got pretty muddled there because of compromise, Iíve heard. His book is sort of the MPD bible for purists. You might also want to read the book I mentioned before "the Magic Daughter: A Memoir of Living with
Multiple Personality Disorder " by Jane Phillips. She is a university professor, writes anonymously, and I think gives a good idea of how it feels to try to work and be multiple.
> > 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.
I sort of have the same feelings about its scientific reality, but it does seem to help people process through memories much quicker and less painfully than without EMDR. My therapist swears by it and one of my closest friends is a psychologist who also swears by it. I donít have a definite opinion for me about it; in the work I did early it was useful, but Iím not sure any more useful than other things, like hypnotherapy which I also used during the same time. In some early experiences with EMDR my kids (alters) came out and in coming out and verbalizing helped "them" to share with me what had happened to them (me) at a very early age, and gave me clues how to keep us all feeling safe.
> What is body therapy? That's one I'm not familiar with.
Body therapy is the combination of therapy with on-hands massage type work. That I found extremely helpful, both for my depression and for letting my kids act out their experiences in a safe place. It was a place where my "kids" got to feel safe touch. One session after light touch one child just shook and cried on the floor for the entire session and it seemed to work things out for her (us) after that and she started to feel safer. I think a lot of trauma remains locked up in the body and body work can be very useful. The woman I worked with was wonderful and I totally trusted her, so thatís why it worked so well. Body therapy can greatly vary depending on the personality and the training of the therapist. Unfortunately it was not covered under my insurance, so I only went for short periods of time. I am thinking of starting again, to work on the depression in my chest.
> > 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.
Co-conscious means that I always know when my personalities are talking -I can hear them when they are talking and I donít let them take over my body. If I was not co-conscious I might recede all the way in, and they would take over my personality and I might find things around my house that I had no idea how they got there (like toys or candy). If youíre multiple the first task is to gain co-consciousness, to get control of your life. I never had to do that step, I always had it. And I can talk to all the personalities inside, ask them things, calm them down if they are scared, etc. Itís like talking to kids, only theyíre inside. They have names, they have their own preferences about things that may or may not agree with mine and they sometimes disagree with each other. I suppose itís odd, but it doesnít seem odd to me. Actually my youngest one, who has recently turned three and a half (a momentous event for a child who had declared she did not want to get any older) has the name Elizabeth. BTW, they get older on their own, they tell me when they have gained a half year or a year and they sound older.
> > 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.
ˇ Ever had a sleep or ambulatory EEG?
No, because sleep hasnít been a problem (except on nardil) and I have no indication that I sleep-walk.
> > But, also, generally when I say I dissociate, I mean I feel unrelated to my body and spacey, rather than these children are "out".
ˇ Have you noticed any effect of the medications you're taking on this phenomenon?
No, I never even deal with it with medicationsójust the depression and the anxiety. Valium will sometimes ground me when I am very floaty. BTW, I think one of the reasons psychiatrists dismiss DID as a diagnosis is because there is no way to treat the disorder medically. Only the affects of the disorder like anxiety and depression can be helped by meds. At this time in my life, depression is so much more of an issue for me than ddnos. And at this point I'm not sure what the relationship is, although my therapist said she has never treated anyone with alters who did not have severe depression.
> >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.< < <
When alters are one-dimensional they are called ego states, not alters. Like if a part inside is always sad and has no other aspects to it, it is an ego state. And DID *is* a maladaptive coping mechanism for an adult. It was a very useful coping mechanism for a child; it allowed him/her to survive an abusive situation, but a partitioning is not at all helpful to an adult. Thatís what the treatment is all about. I donít believe that the prevailing view is generally skeptical. My therapist (a psychologist) lectures on dissociative disorders , including DID, to medical students at Georgetown and I wouldnít call Georgetown med school a radical institution. And many psychiatric hospitals are now transferring their dissociative patients to hospitals like Sheppard Pratt, McLean, the PIW dissociative center, and other hospitals with trauma units, because they are recognizing the disorder and know that it requires special skills for treatment.
Psychiatrists are not dumb, but many are ignorant and choose to remain so.
> > 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? :-)
> Well, I donít take it anymore! When I used to take it then I spelled it selegiline! < g >.
More on the topic of medication, the last three days have been pretty awful for me and I am wondering if the estrogen Iím taking is making my depression worse. I wish I had access to the whole study re menopausal depression and estrogen. Actually, my pdoc has a copy of it I think. Iím going to ask him to leave it for me with his receptionist when I see him (maybe Thursday) so I can see if anyoneís depression increased. Itís either that, or the oxycontin is starting to be less effective. Bummer.
Hope you are continuing to do well.