Category Archives: Fear

Healing Together One-Day Conference

If you haven’t heard of the Healing Together Conference, it is an annual multi-day conference held in Florida for therapists who treat DID, survivors with DID, and supporters. It’s been well established now. I’ve never been because I’m fearful of exposing my anonymity (even though there is no obligation to “out” yourself, just being somewhere in public at a known DID event unnerves me).

I get that there’s a growing movement of younger survivors who want to be “out” as DID/OSDD. That’s awesome for them. If that’s their goal for their recovery, go for it.

For a lot of us, however, we stay anonymous for many reasons. One is social stigma is still alive and well against this disorder. People regard it as an anomaly or a curiosity to be studied for entertainment, rather than for advocacy. The difference being that the focus becomes questioning of the survivor. The same old story pulling attention away from the abuser(s) and their crimes.

The second reason (which is true for us), is it is unsafe to be out as a survivor of ritual abuse. Our main abusers are still out there. One of the more harassing ones is dead now, but I still wouldn’t put it past the others to attempt to silence me if my identity was verified.

Safety must always be first, and foremost, in all of our recovery efforts.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with me and the conference?  Well, beginning this year, An Infinite Mind (the non-profit organization responsible for organizing the conference), announced a new annual tradition.  This is the development of a one-day mini-conference.  The plan is for the one-day con to travel annually to different regions of the United States.  For its first kickoff, they are hosting it at McLean Hospital in Boston, MA.

McLean Hospital is one of the country’s only inpatient providers that specializes in Dissociative Identity Disorder.  Not only are they one of the few, but they are one of the leading providers in the field.  And if that’s not enough, guess what they pride themselves on?  Their efforts on on de-stigmatization of the disorder.

Good people and a safe environment!

I was telling [the fiance] about the conference, and how I have always wanted to go, but I’ve been fearful about my anonymity. “But this one-day thing is going to be at McLean! That’s like if they had it at Sheppard Pratt.”

“Then you should go.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Really?” I looked at him. Even after all this time, his unfailing support catches me off guard.

“Absolutely!” He energetically responded. “Let’s do it, babe.”

“Us, together? You’d come with me?” I’m still shocked.

“Of course!” He began feverishly typing in to the computer. “Let’s see what I can find out.”

So he read about An Infinite Mind and the Healing Together one-day conference.  He remained just as enthusiastic and supportive and began researching hotels and flights to Boston.

Today, we took some time to look at the agenda.  There’s some great topics I’m interested in, like new research, mindfulness as a grounding skill, and trauma-sensitive yoga.

“Oh, look at this! This is for supporters!” I pointed and read out loud to him, “Optional Chat and Chews. Grab your lunch and come join your fellow attendees to discuss what’s on your mind. These are moderated by mental health professionals.  There’s one for survivors, and there’s one for supporters!”

“There is? I need to go to that. There’s not a lot of things out there for supporters.”  He responded.

It’s still a scary thing for me to contemplate, but I’ve committed.  I’m going with [the fiance] and I’m super happy he is finding his own independent value to coming with me.

I’m still not going to reveal, “Hey, I’m Nel. That chick that has had a blog about DID recovery for the past 7 years, and writes a lot about SP.” But I’m super excited, nonetheless, for my own healing, to learn the latest research, and widen my symptom management toolbox.

See you soon, Boston!


Tinnitus and DID

Trigger Warning: Mention some medical procedure from when I was in the NICU as a baby.

I’ve had a high pitched ringing in my ears for as long as I can remember. I remember being very little and having it.

I’m fairly certain that the originating cause was my very low weight, premature birth. They say the NICU is quite traumatic for infants because babies (especially preterm/newborn) cannot distinguish between good/bad stimuli. It’s all overwhelming. And now here’s a baby getting stuck with IVs all over her body, heel sticks, and spinal tap with no sedation. Lots of noise, pain, and stimuli.

For most of my life, I have dealt with it well. I mean, it’s always been there, so what difference does it make?

But for one of my parts, the ringing gets louder for her and it drives her nuts. She gets so distracted by it and angry because she feels helpless because you can’t get away from it.

That helpless feeling triggers fear in another part who is ridiculously terrified all the time. So she’s easily switching forward and I can feel the terror.

Sigh. I went to an audiologist 5 years ago and he basically said there’s nothing you can do but play music or a sound machine to try to distract you from the noise. Sounds great except when (for work) I have to go to a meeting, or the prison, or the courthouse, I can’t bring anything like that around.

Well I’m not sure what to do about this one. I’ll have to explain this to K. on Monday.

Worry and Fear: My constant companions

This morning, I was reading a daily affirmation about excessive worrying.  In a nutshell, the affirmation said excessive worrying is a common trait of survivors.  That it’s okay to feel worry–but that we can work towards being grounded and present in the moment and feel positive about ourselves.

Meg, one of my teen parts, snorted, slammed the book shut, and shoved it to the side of our kitchen table. What a bunch of crap. She folded her arms across her chest. Like it’s that easy.

I could see where she was coming from.  In working with many of my child parts, it’s super hard to decrease their anxiety.  Some of my parts are so firmly locked in “trauma time” that they’re in a perpetual state of terror. Even those parts that are grounded in the present balk at K., our therapist, and her attempt to ground us: “It’s 2018. You’re safe.” What happened to us is real. It happened many times. It could happen again!

To be clear, we aren’t in any danger of being abused. It’s just so hard for my parts and I sometimes–even when we know we’re okay–to truly feel safe.

Within the ritually abused parts, there are some who still throw out programming and flood us with terror on purpose (for talking in therapy). I haven’t the slightest idea how to even begin with those parts.

I have this baseline of anxiety all the time, and I guess we have a lot to be anxious about. Besides going about being a “normal” adult with a full time job, a fiance, a family, friends…I’ve got a second full time job and family inside that constantly needs redirecting that we are safe. We are nowhere near perpetrators. Then the backlash comes when parts who want to be near perpetrators trigger off programming.

In my last session, I was crying to K. (which I rarely do–actually cry in front of her). “I haven’t been in my body in months.” I sobbed. “I hate this feeling. I hate only being half-present. The last time I felt in my body was at Sheppard Pratt.  What do I have to do? Go inpatient every time I want to feel grounded again? I can’t keep going inpatient.”

“What do you do?” K. paused. She waited until I looked up at her again. “Internal communication.”