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High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery stories

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High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery stories

Postby Rosee » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:31 am

I'm a high-functioning Dissociative. I have no plans to write a book but I would be happy to answer questions. I'm well aware that DIDs are all at different levels of awareness and healing and that our stories differ hugely so, keeping in mind that I'm an expert in nothing but my own life, I'm happy to share my own experience. It took about twenty years for me to be diagnosed with DID. I suspected MPD on and off since my early twenties but the thought scared the life out of me. Being finally diagnosed and learning more about DID, my life began to make a lot more sense. I don't see myself as a victim. I don't see myself with a disorder - this is just how I developed given the circumstances I was brought up in.
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby lifelongthing » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:43 am

I'm a high-functioning Dissociative. I have no plans to write a book but I would be happy to answer questions.

Thank you so much, Rosee. I think my main questions are these:
* Can one get all alters to be (relatively) happy/okay without integration?
* How does time gaps affect your life as high-functioning?
* Any tips for working with DID (in a business I mean)?
* How do you schedule body-time when you have an entire, full life to take care of as well?
* How did you work to become high-functioning? I assume therapy, but were there other choices as well?
... But I'd love to just hear about how you arrange your life in general.
Obviously, if there's anything at all you don't feel comfortable answering - don't!

I don't see myself as a victim. I don't see myself with a disorder - this is just how I developed given the circumstances I was brought up in.

I think that is very important. I've never really felt like a victim - but after finding out what was so different about me vs other people I've felt empowered to work towards the life I want, knowing more how to do that. We are who we are, and that is okay - just the way we are.

Hope it's okay I just re-posted this here where it belongs :)

-Nin
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby Rosee » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:17 am

lifelongthing,

Can one get all alters to be (relatively) happy/okay without integration?


In my experience, yes. I feel that's where I am now. The only struggle I have now is the after affect of long term anxiety and what was sever depression - the result of the long struggle to be diagnoses correctly. PTSD is a part of my diagnoses.

How does time gaps affect your life as high-functioning?


To be honest, looking back, I get quite sad at the lost time, and still struggle from time to time to come to terms with it - for example, when my kids were younger. My psych-doc asked me once to do a timeline and it threw me into a depression. Today, I live a much more sedate, simple life, so I don't experience much lost time, and there is 'memory-sharing', and often some guess work involved. The main thing is that it doesn't freak me out anymore and that helps when it comes to filling in the blanks.


Any tips for working with DID (in a business I mean)?


Sorry, no. I found it quite difficult when I was working. Here's an example of one of my work days... I thought I was working and cooperating just fine when one of my work mates threw some papers in the air and said loudly, "I can't do this anymore! I can't work like this!" It turned out she was referring to me and I got moved to another department. I never did manage the work place and was put on disability in the mid nineties.


How do you schedule body-time when you have an entire, full life to take care of as well?


I don't. It would be too exhausting. Instead I worked to simplify my life and make peace with myself - my whole self.


How did you work to become high-functioning? I assume therapy, but were there other choices as well?


For ten years I was treated for severe depression. Given my childhood history and my father's suicide when I was 19, doctors were happy to diagnoses severe depression and throw anti-depressants at me. I let this go on because I was afraid that I was going mad and that I might lose my children. The next ten years things were starting to be taken a bit more seriously given my psych history.

In the meantime I had always been a great reader and I read everything I could get my hands on that seemed anything close to what I was dealing with. Before home computers and the world wide web, I was standing in a book store once and my hubby asked me what I was looking for and I said, "I don't know but I'll know when I find it."

Knowing something was going on and finding the words to describe it was difficult. It was almost like I had to create a new language to explain what I was dealing with.

As for therapy. I talked with psych-docs on and off for almost ten years before anyone came close to understanding what I was going on about. Hospital stays were the most productive, feeling safe to open up was helpful. My children were getting older so that lifted a lot of the pressure and stress I was feeling about keeping my secret. I was also getting older - and braver - and a little pissed off that no one had figured this out yet.

Then almost six years ago, I was feeling really bad and went to my doctor for some anti depressants. I had been med free for some time. He suggested I go for reassessment as I hadn't spoken to a psych-doc since the mid-nineties. I talked with a psych-doc on the NHS on and off for about three years when she said she would like to refer me to a psychologist. I saw him a few times and he diagnosed DID just like that! After all those years of struggle.

Of course it's with hindsight that I realise how well I actually coped and reading about other people's struggle with DID. My struggle was down to ignorance and lack of information. Today, it all comes together and I'm doing okay.
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby lifelongthing » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:05 am

Thank you so much for your reply Rosee - definitely gave me quite a few pointers to think about and work on. I want to say you're an inspiration to me :) You seem very at peace and that's what I'm working towards myself. Acceptance of all of myself and living with this in a more harmonious way.

- Nin [+]
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby bourbon » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:50 am

Rosee wrote:I don't see myself with a disorder - this is just how I developed given the circumstances I was brought up in.


After I'd had the SCID-D assessment the person who diagnosed me how I would feel if I got the "label" of DID... I said the exact same above. It wouldn't make a difference except give me validation for what it is I am going through and empower me to do everything in my power to get the life I want :)
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby boopsy26 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:58 am

bourbon wrote: Rosee wrote:I don't see myself with a disorder - this is just how I developed given the circumstances I was brought up in.

After I'd had the SCID-D assessment the person who diagnosed me how I would feel if I got the "label" of DID... I said the exact same above. It wouldn't make a difference except give me validation for what it is I am going through and empower me to do everything in my power to get the life I want :)

Love this :D

I thought I'd chime in here and share, since my experience is quite different.

It is actually the DID that allows me to be as high functioning as I am, I think. I've never really had a time that I wasn't high-functioning (though I came close when I was retraumatized a couple years ago). I had never had therapy until a couple years ago, and because the dip####t therapist retraumatized me I now can't be without it. So, really, therapy helped make me worse and almost not functioning, rather than the other way around. Of course, getting worse sometimes is absolutely necessary on the road to getting better.

I have pretty severe PTSD and depression, am consistently suicidal, have extreme anxiety in general, and am highly social phobic and introverted. I do not take meds. Yet, I perform regularly as a comedian, without being too specific I do extensive research and clinical work and teach in the area of psychology and trauma, and I also train people at a gym on the side. Most people would describe me as laid back, weird, always high energy and chipper, assertive, and confident. This has always struck me as very odd, but made perfect sense when I realized the DID. Somehow, I'm able to completely dissociate my history, symptoms, anxiety, and fear and just be a person who is the exact opposite of what one might expect with what lies underneath.

But there are difficulties, of course. Time gaps being one of them. Because I am so super busy all of the time, generally my "forgetfulness" or "absentmindedness" is just attributed to my being busy. Plus, I take extensive notes, write absolutely everything down, always carry around note pads and an organizer to keep track of everything, replay any meetings with new people in my head over and over so that I don't forget having met that person, and I constantly have an almost running tape in my head repeating what day it is, what is on the schedule for that day, where I just came from and where I'm going to, who have I had contact with today, etc. It's a lot of work, but keeps me functioning. I guess this would be my biggest tip for working in a business, too. However, I do not do well in uptight, conservative, office type environments. I get away with my DID because of my sense of humor and comedy and so my "playfulness" at times, or my sudden outbursts that seem inappropriate or whatever it may be is just laughed off and not really paid much attention. When I've worked in conservative type environments I've always found myself in quite a bit of trouble. So, I just stay away from them rather than try to impossibly conform.

I also make sure to always put time to exercise in my schedule (if that's what you mean by body-time). It is the one thing that I know for certain will help me maintain some balance of sanity and helps to decrease my anxiety and depression. It's part of my regular schedule and I don't allow myself to miss it no matter how horrible I feel or how busy I am. I know without it, I can easily slide down a very slippery slope.

And, as for integrating parts- I would like nothing more than to have that happen. I, personally, don't understand why anybody would want to be happy without integration. For me, this separation, compartmentalization, and dissociation is Hell. It's too much work. I am extremely high-functioning, but yet I always feel that at any second I am going to break and it's all going to be over. I can't have a break down. I have too much to lose. So I live everyday in terror... not of my past, but in the dire possibilities of my future.
I am many, but we are all in this together.

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby lifelongthing » Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:23 pm

if that's what you mean by body-time

By body-time I actually meant time set aside for other alters to be in the body. We personally don't schedule time, but we're only now starting to communicate at all so it's not really an option either. But I'm thinking it would probably be (more) necessary if one has a job and a full life, perhaps.

And, as for integrating parts- I would like nothing more than to have that happen. I, personally, don't understand why anybody would want to be happy without integration. For me, this separation, compartmentalization, and dissociation is Hell. It's too much work. I am extremely high-functioning, but yet I always feel that at any second I am going to break and it's all going to be over. I can't have a break down. I have too much to lose. So I live everyday in terror... not of my past, but in the dire possibilities of my future.

I didn't ask that so much because I don't want to integrate - but because I would like to know if I can aim for that even though I know I'm not ready to integrate yet either. I think it's good to know what the possibilities are for us and whether or not (relative) happiness/contentment for everyone is even attainable without it. I'm sorry you live in terror, though. I hope you find a way to integrate eventually!

Thank you for answering all my questions boopsy26! It's really interesting to see DID from a high-functioning perspective :)
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby Ghosthound » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:44 pm

Boopsy, I want to say your explanation was extremely informative for me. This sort of thing is incredibly useful in figuring out things I need to work on, and where I'm going wrong.
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby sev0n » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:58 pm

boopsy26 wrote:It is actually the DID that allows me to be as high functioning as I am, I think.


My story is similar to yours as well Boopsy. I don't know your age, but it's getting harder now I am getting older. Depression is worse for one, but I too think it was the DID that allowed me to accomplish so much and such varied things in my life.
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Re: High functioning Dissociative sharing their recovery sto

Postby Johnny-Jack » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:00 pm

I'm a person with DID who would probably be considered overall high-functioning but mostly in the area of job success. I have several areas that are barely functioning. So this isn't really a recovery story.

My alters mostly stopped switching in by age ten when we ended the abuse. They mostly went inside and the gatekeeper was extremely passive in his monitoring of me, the host, because the body was alive, we had a job, etc. Since age ten, I haven't lost much time at all, so DID was easy to write off as a potential problem. Throughout adulthood I had periodic depressions that would cause me to stop working, lose everything I'd gained, then have to start over again. Work-wise I'd always bounce back more successful, but suicidal thoughts became a daily reality.

I've read so much about DID and the mind that I should have had this figured out and healed decades ago. Jonathan, who was my unknown companion and eternal supporter, left me a couple decades ago and went into hibernation. From that moment forward, to avoid triggers, I shut down more and more to a minimalistic life that looked productive.

As an alter, I've always had friends but now these are mostly at work and they don't know all about me. People turn to me for support. They like and trust me and this validation has been enough to point to and tell myself, see, I'm not a total failure. I make a difference to some people. Unfortunately, just not enough to me.

* Can one get all alters to be (relatively) happy/okay without integration?
Yes, and I think we've worked toward that. But it's only relatively happy. The littles especially won't be truly happy because they recognize more and more that they're a child in an adult body. They can never be truly normal, what they were. It also feels like their natural and completely inevitable growth is toward adulthood. But their ability to mature is hampered, probably crippled, by their unhandled trauma, which is still there, under the surface.

* How does time gaps affect your life as high-functioning?
The only time gaps since age 10 have been brief, a matter of minutes, all less than an hour I think.

* Any tips for working with DID (in a business I mean)?
Send out a message internally that your job is important for a roof over your heads and food on the table. Everyone can thrive better if there is no inappropriate switching during work. Emotional things or time in the body need to happen outside of work. So now, if the host really wants stability and continuity at work, the host must then provide for everyone's needs during the rest of the time. That said, I also let my littles out at work if no one's around or if there's repetitive work that they might enjoy and that lets them help and feel useful.

* How do you schedule body-time when you have an entire, full life to take care of as well?
I'm "lucky" that my life outside of work has become so miserably isolated that most of the non-work time can be doled out to alters as they ask for it. My lifelong habit is to hog the time, however, so I have to work hard to share, even though if asked I would say "sure I want to!"

* How did you work to become high-functioning? I assume therapy, but were there other choices as well?
The presence of Jonathan inside (to age 33), who guided me towards wise employment choices. The presence of Quato, who allowed me to compete via a brazen attitude, street smarts, and the ability to lie cleverly when needed. Marc instills a deep belief that I am worthy, valuable, equal to anyone, so that I'm virtually never intimidated. In childhood, Jack developed a simple but solid morality from outside the family and made me conform to it. He didn't include lying as our DID required that. Other alters provided other benefits. This was all internal work done by my mind, not me as an alter.

Reading, reading, reading about the mind, psychology, self-improvement. Years of a variety of therapy, including things like biofeedback. Consciousness-raising work like the Landmark Forum, which included pulling back and processing memories. None of these got through to me that I was multiple though, that that was what all my problems and the "weirdness" in my life stemmed from.

I regret probably more than anything in my life that I did become "high-functioning." If I had not been able to cobble together a functional life, if crippled in many fundamental areas like relationships, I would have been forced to look more deeply into what was wrong. If I had lost more time, I would have had more clues to suggest what was wrong. The ability to function, for me personally, was in many ways my curse.
John(ny) academic, Sphinx gatekeeper, Marc 46 noble
Aaron 44 logger, Jonathan 33 suit, Nigel 21 reader
Quato 19 rebel, Dan 15 jock, Faolán 14 detacher
Jack 11 hillbilly, Ty 10 Brit, Brody 9 AllAm
Luke 8 farmboy, Chase 7 rich, Carter 6 softheart, Greg 6 sad
Inky 5 jumble, Johann, Hansel 4 twins, Max 3½ freeze
Little John 3 quiet, Ashár 2 wolfdog, Henry 2 lost
Edward 1½ knight, Zeb 1 baby, Adam 8mo core
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