Welcome to my new blog! I’ve been considering writing one for a long time, mainly because I know how little useful information there is out there for people who live with dissociation. If you want to find out what dissociation is, there’s plenty of descriptions and definitions, but lets face it when you live with something your whole life you don’t need someone else to describe it to you. I entered the er, supportive, *cough cough* mental health services about 15 years ago and have been passed from councellor to therapist to doctor and back again more times than I can count. It took 7 years to get my diagnosis and another 2 years before anyone bothered to tell me what it was! Each new person I saw I had to go over the same speech of what my problems are, then the same argument over whether I’m telling the truth.
Then in 2009 I was finally referred for psychotherapy, though due to waiting lists and so forth it was another year or so before I started it. It was the first time that I didn’t need to convince the guy I was dissociative, he understood and accepted me for it and that was a new experience from a mental health professional! Then last week, after 4 intensive years, it all ended. After 15 years I am an ex-service user, and my god it feels weird. I’m not cured, there is no cure, and I can’t say I reached my goals or found inner peace or anything, it simply got to the point where they had to let me go – long-term patients look bad on the books and management is keen to make the stats work in their favor. Apparently the maximum number of sessions anyone can receive these days is 30 – I’d love to see them try and use that approach on people with physical health needs, but maybe that’s a rant for another day.
So, 15 years and countless professionals later and here I am 28 years old, mother of 3 and starting a new chapter in my life. My only question is how do you survive post therapy? I’ve been told I can go back in few years if I need to but that’s not as reassuring as everyone seems to think it is, that sounds like a safety net for when I fall on my face. I often wonder if anyone else has experienced these feelings after being ejected from the support services.
As a dissociative I tend to think about these changes in 2 separate ways – at times, like now, I can consider the facts objectively (and often sarcastically with an element of black humour) and look to the future logically weighing up my chances of success. At other times I can only feel the changes emotionally, and believe me the emotions are far less logical! Part of my therapy program was trying to connect my thoughts and feelings. Often I would spend session talking about painful experiences in a dissociative way, then several days later the emotional impact of what I said would hit me and all hell would break loose, so in session we would always have to be careful about how much we went through, as the more I went through the bigger the impact later.
Through my time with the services I’ve come up with many theories about the system, about the treatment options, about the awareness of Dissociative Disorders and symptoms and of course the mechanisms and the need for more research. In time I’ll probably cover all these through various posts and maybe (hopefully) they will help someone else who’s trying to understand what the hell is happening to them and how they can cope. For now I’ll leave this as my formal(ish) introduction to the world of blogs.