Back to writing. I’m in a funk. I think I’ve been triggered by acupuncture, so likely better tomorrow?

After the session I described in my last post, although I did value it, I stopped being able to sleep for more than one hour at a time. I’d wake up every hour, then drift back to sleep, only to be awake again the next hour. I kept checking my watch just for the information. I became unbelievably fatigued during the day.

So that was difficult. I took a day off work, Friday, to recuperate.

I had another session Thursday. I explained that although I’d valued the session, I lost my ability to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Ron was a bit defensive, telling me, yet again, that i would not be able to heal without ‘discomfort’. No kidding. I got snippy, raised my voice, saying does he think I don’t know that, after this many years of therapy? But that not being able to sleep for more than an hour at a time was a serious problem for me.

I don’t exactly blame him. I’d wanted to deal with parts that session after all. Now for this session, I wanted to do something useful, but not deal with trauma, because I felt maxed out. Whenever I express something like this, Ron feels compelled to say things like I won’t heal without pain. Um, yeah. I know.

I went to acupuncture for the insomnia. I’ve gone twice now. So now I sleep three hours at a time before waking up. Which I suppose is progress. Acupuncture brings up trauma for me. I assume that’s healing, but I wish it didn’t. My friend goes, and feels great calm after treatments. Not me.

I am disappointed with this weekend. Long weekend with the unpaid day off. I really did pretty much nothing. I’ve barely left my place.

I read most of a memoir of a woman with DID today. I skipped the first third of the book though where she details her childhood torture and severe abuse. I wanted the part where she is an adult, how she coped. I believe it’s extremely hard to describe how to heal parts. And also just to describe how life is in parts. She actually spends just a few pages describing any therapy she does. And you wouldn’t really know what life appears like to her, from how she writes. She writes like one person, and later describes how parts took care of aspects of her life. From what she writes, the problem with her parts was that although they were talented, like her Writer part, they were rigid and stuck so couldn’t actually do a good job with life.

I think I don’t have a whole lot in common with people with DID. I wonder what it is that I have. I have persistent depression, and sometimes very quickly changing mood states. I speak in odd voices, but not as a regular event. This is more in therapy, or if suddenly under severe stress. I do not have amnesia for what I do. I don’t have parts seizing control to do damaging or bizarre things. I also do not have a history of the kind of unbelievable abuse this woman suffered through.

For me, I have sudden unpleasant feelings that don’t make sense impinging on my life. I have a tendency to avoid situations that could trigger me, and this has crept up to avoiding an awful lot of life. I feel exhausted a lot of the time. Ron says it’s because so much of me is occupied with the past. Not my conscious self, but other parts of me.

I emailed two trauma therapists last week, and both mailed back that their practices are full. They both have really nice informative websites that come up fast on google. Maybe that’s why they’re so busy?

One of the features of parts is I have different opinions at different times. That’s one thing I do have in common with the DID woman memoirist. At the moment, I again strongly feel that Ron does not have the knowledge of trauma or dissociation I need my therapist to have. Although he is kind, caring, faithful and reliable, he just doesn’t have the knowledge. His theories make me worse a good part of the time. He doesn’t see the need to titrate trauma – in his view, I get better by accessing the trauma feelings. It’s not as black and white as this of course, but still, that’s the territory.

It’s just an uphill slog to keep going on with a therapist where I don’t trust his theory. I’m not feeling angry with him – I don’t think it’s interpersonal. Although I do have those ‘rejection’ feelings that I’d have at the end of a romantic relationship – the need to get out.

Ron has meant so much to me. He taught me how to look for real connection. And just having had the experience of being consistently cared about for years was so healing in itself.

Well, that is this mood. It could be I’ll feel differently tomorrow – the joys of being in parts.

Most sessions, we have this discussion of disagreeing about theories. I’m pretty sure I hurt his feelings. Maybe I’ll look for someone with more credentials. Although his training is thorough, maybe someone with higher academic qualifications would be better.

Maybe I’ll save money for a while and not go to therapy. It’s hard to say in the middle of this depression, of being triggered into who knows what. This part of it – the physical feelings of hopelessness that seem to be anchored in something happening to my body, this has not been changed by therapy. It’s the same as ever.

  1. It sometimes sounds like Ron finds it difficult to allow you to titrate. It ends up sounding all or nothing. And also that when it’s too much, he feels shame and then blames you (for not being willing to tolerate as much distress as you landed in.) It doesn’t seem to work out that you can just say, okay, we overdid that. Let’s figure out how to get a better balance on this. There seems to be a feeling of judgment about it.

    I do think, quite honestly, that people who might write about DID aren’t actually integrated. What they have is a stronger Apparently Normal part who can stay in control a lot more of the time. I don’t think everyone who assumes they have healed actually is fully integrated and understands their parts as though they are themselves now. That’s just my guess about it.

    I have realized that confirmation bias means our brains very eagerly present to us evidence for whatever we think in the moment. If there is a lack of connection between feeling states or a lot of internal discontinuity, then confirmation bias tells us very different things are totally correct at different times, especially if we are under the influence of intense emotions. But sometimes when we aren’t under the influence of intense emotions, those facts which lead to very different conclusions are completely forgotten about even though they are part of the truth.

    Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      He does seem to feel shame, or something pretty bad. I believe we’re in some kind of stuck place with it. He has this knee jerk response, if I say I need to not do what we did last time, because I can’t handle it right now. He has to point out that pain is necessary and avoidance unhelpful. We’ve been over and over this, and it doesn’t get better. We both become angry or stuck or something. So that’s exactly right. Why can’t we just say ‘let’s figure this out’.

      About the DID. That could definitely be true. I also think though, that we tell stories in the way we have learned from other people. So when we tell our story, it’s very tempting to write as if we were experiencing life the way everyone else does. Because ways of telling stories are kind of copied, in a way. So if our way of experiencing life is different, then it would take a huge effort and a lot of understanding to break that way of telling and tell it another way. This woman is writing her story as if seen from the outside by someone else, it almost seems like.

      I hadn’t thought about the changes in opinion quite like that. It’s a big issue for me, thinking these different things on different days. It becomes hard to make any kind of decision.


      • Yes, it does make it really hard to make decisions. I’ve found that too.

        About the woman telling her story as if from the outside. I think that’s how I would have told my story a few years ago. I am not DID, but my competent, adult kind of self felt that way–kind of outside my own life. I know what you’re saying though.

  2. leb105 said:

    Which part is of the opinion that Ron is unqualified?

    • Ellen said:

      He’s qualified in a lot of ways. Just not so much with my specific issue. My more adult part thinks this. Thx

  3. I read quite a few books about others with DID. My experience was like some but different from others. Some I felt like they were pouring out my life on the pages of the book. Others it was totally different. I now believe that each persons structure of parts is uniquely their own designed to survive in a given circumstance. The problems arise when circumstances change but parts don’t adapt. It is like they have one way of handling things and that is it. No compromise, no changing….in fact my parts felt threatened by the changes I went through in counseling.

    I am sorry to hear that things are not working well with Ron. One of my counselors was very nice and caring but she really didn’t understand what I still lived with after integration. It is weird and hard when I tried to talk to a person that did not understand. I decided to go on my own and every so often wish I was back in counseling. No easy answers. Your parts are part of you trying to understand a function how things work now. They want their voice but feel split off from the way you describe it. I hope you find a solution that works for all your parts.

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting. I hadn’t really thought of parts as being problematic because they couldn’t change, but that is exactly what this author said also. I guess for me, my parts are child parts and don’t mature, so they are stuck.

      It is so hard to try to talk with someone who doesn’t really understand, however sympathetic. Thanks Ruth. It’s great to hear first hand experiences from DID people. I’m DDNOS, but as there is even less written about that, DID seems my best bet for research. Maybe at some point you will return to counselling with a different outlook than when you went in the past, as you’ve grown so much. Cheers

  4. Speaking in more general terms than just DID, I find that reading books written by people with long term mental health problems are very unsatisfying and unhelpful after having followed mental health blogs here. Books necessarily squeeze everything together and try to shape it into some sort of continuous narrative with an end point, I guess in a way what you are saying about telling stories using an understood ‘script’ or way of telling. I don’t think this is a good reflection at all of the reality of what it is like for many (most?) people in long term therapy, the endless ups and downs and circling back around to deal with the same things over and over again, sometimes with small gains but equally with what feel like enormous dramas, and progress only visible in retrospect. Plus I have my doubts whether you ever really get fully ‘well’ if you have serious long term problems. You get ‘better’, sometimes for long periods, but there is often still stuff underneath which can come to the surface when you get stressed in particular ways.

    • Ellen said:

      I do agree with what you say here. Getting better is so up and down, two steps forward one step back, that it doesn’t lend itself to a straightforward narrative.

      My favourite read recently was about a woman who didn’t have dissociation issues. She went into Freudian type therapy for anxiety. She struggled for years, and at one point was in a mental institution. She proceeded with her Freudian therapist through everything, and after many years, ended up with ‘a life worth living’. It was encouraging in that she comes through really bad times, but at the same time, it doesn’t sugar coat the struggle. Just to say there are books out there about mental illness I can relate to, but so far none about DID written by anyone with real skill for writing.


  5. When you are suffering from something in therapy and bring that to Ron, he becomes defensive and suggests you need to tolerate the distress better. That just seems so harsh to me. If I say to E, I can’t talk about this or read this or keep working on this right now, she always accepts it. She wants to show me that 1) I’m in control of the topics and the pace we work on them (which is empowering after having had a lot of early emotional and sexual experiences where I had no control); 2) that I can trust my own judgment about what is and what is not good for me at a given moment (again, incredibly validating after having a step-parent and first husband who constantly told me that my reality was not reality at all). These goals seem so integral to me that I literally cannot imagine having a therapist now who essentially told me to toughen up and take whatever he is giving out that day.

    (I know Ron has given you a lot that you value, but sometimes when I read about how he talks to you in session, I just feel mad on your behalf. I’m sorry to be so negative about someone I know means a lot to you. I hope you will read it as my care and concern for you and not just as arrogant judgment. Though I will admit I’ve been known to have indulged in arrogant judgment before.)

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for caring Q. Just keep in mind though, the way I’m telling this is driven by my own feelings. Ron never actually pressures me to speak about certain things for instance – he’s very non-directive. True enough he seemed defensive to me on this occasion though. The trouble I get into is I launch into areas not realizing how debilitated I will be afterwards. And Ron is not very sympathetic to that, though I remember years ago he did say it’s up to me to try and manage the topics in therapy to what I could cope with. But generally, if I say I need to stay away from certain things, he points out I won’t get anywhere much if I avoid things. But if I didn’t say that, he wouldn’t push me to any specific topics.

      I also have been know for arrogant judgement. 🙂 . We arrogant folks need to stick together. I do think in this case, some of my issues with men and authority and closeness are coming up. On the other hand, Ron is not helping me with those, and it’s his job to do that. In addition, he just hasn’t read the research from the last fifteen/twenty years on trauma. It’s not that he’s read it and found it shallow – he hasn’t read it. So that to me is a really negative thing. So I’ve cancelled my appointment for this week, and it feels like a relief not to have to go, so far, not to have to argue yet again. It’s also a huge loss. We’ll see.


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