Final Healing(?) in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Nearly 6 years ago my wife and I embarked on a healing journey together concerning her dissociative identity disorder also known as multiple personality disorder. She wanted to be healed, but she repeatedly told me, “I don’t know what healing looks like.” I became her de facto guide on a journey neither of us had traveled before.

But what DOES final healing for someone with d.i.d. look like? Her statement has haunted me the years that we have traveled together. I closely observed her and the other girls. That gave me insight how I work as a “non-dissociated multiple.” It’s a term I coined to describe the fact that I recognize the “multiple” language we non-d.i.d. people use to describe ourselves (though we would never say we have voices in our heads or people would think we are crazy….shhhh!). Instead we say “on the one hand I think this, but on the other hand I think that…” Or “part of me feels this way…” Or “I’m divided…” etc. We use the language of multiples to describe the many facets within our own personalities. And so as I watched my wife, my girls, I realized how similar I am to them other than the fact that I’m not dissociated.

But as we’ve gotten closer to the end, I’ve even had to recognize that we non-d.i.d.-ers use dissociative language to also describe our inner workings. We talk about compartmentalizing things, blocking out unwanted thoughts or feelings, going on “auto pilot” and various other ways we use to describe how we naturally disengage parts of our mind from various things in our lives.

So, what will final healing look like for my wife, for my girls? I’ve tried to answer that for them over the years, but the more I learn, the more I continue to tweak my answers, my description to them. Then recently Tina got a new room and that changed the inside landscape of my wife’s mind. Then unbeknownst to me, she and Sophia put a door in between their two rooms and they announced to me they were going to experiment by “leaving it open” part of each day.

So I talked with the others and struggled to come up with an analogy to depict to them what “final healing” might look like, and I think we finally have something we can aim for now. We are now aiming to put French doors in all the girls’ rooms to connect their inner rooms with each other. Our goal is for these doors to typically remain open, but they will have the ability to be “locked” (compartmentalized) if a girl feels the need to do so. We will not “install” the doors until both girls on either side of the wall express her desire for the door to connect her to the other girl.

So Tina and Sophia have been enjoying the doors that now connect their inner rooms for a couple of weeks. And just tonight two more girls decided to install the doors that will allow them a deeper and permanent connection with each other. I hope this is the beginning of the end of the permanent dissociation as the girls allow access into “their space” by the other girls like a non-dissociated person has access into all parts of one’s personality. Only time will tell, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a watershed event.

Blessings and Happy Holidays to all!

Sam, I Am

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=french+doors&qpvt=french+doors&FORM=IGRE

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 11:29:38

    Over the past year or so I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that *everyone* is “crazy”, or DID to some extent . . . they just don’t want to admit it or can’t see it, LOL! (Beware the person who lays claim to sanity, for they are the most insane of all.)

    I – or ‘we’ – often use the examples of ‘sides’ and ‘parts’ to explain what DID is (and is not) to the uninitiated, then I go on to tack on the disclaimer: ‘It’s the same as yours (parts or sides) – only more so. They have names and emotions of their own.””

    Perhaps we aren’t so normal – or abnormal – after all. 😀

    DID is just a different way of thinking, that’s all. :/

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Dec 13, 2013 @ 17:13:15

      Hey Jeff and all,

      good to hear from you again. I’m glad this post resonates with your experience. My son told me, “Dad don’t say you have voices in your head!” I laughed but try to remember the cultural bias we have about such things. But I believe my wife’s experience has taught me a lot about myself, but also helped me direct her toward the goal for her healing that reflects what I am, but also recognizes that her parts have names and personalities that I will never have and therefore we will NEVER try to make those go away even once she “arrives.”

      Merry Christmas, if that doesn’t offend you or Happy Holidays if you prefer!

      Sam

      Reply

      • jeffssong
        Dec 18, 2013 @ 12:54:46

        Merry Christmas to you, too, Sam! We’re pretty hard to offend, and pretty much embrace all religions as just different aspects and faces of god. So we’re good with that one, too. 🙂

        I think you have discovered what everyone knows, but few ever pay any attention to or wonder about: those voices in your head. Most monominds don’t ever pay any attention to them. “We” do – and have, for a very long time. Have to. It’s part of what makes a working system. By examining your wife’s mind you found (and still find?) yourself examining your own. That’s something pretty rare for monominds to do, at least in my own experience. They just seem to accept what’s there as part of their own life. Maybe it’s true.

        But as you have become aware of over time, DID is the same, but different, too. I kinda like it as a sort of ’embracing some souls’ kind of concept as I’ve certainly said before. A family in mind. (grin: that has two – maybe more – meanings in me.)

        I hope you and your ‘girls’ – and your wife, too – have a wonderful holiday time. Eat plenty of good turkey, that kind of stuff. Have fun. And I know you won’t forget the reason for the season . . . bow, give respect & even more. Our love. 🙂

        Ciao!

      • Sam Ruck
        Dec 18, 2013 @ 15:48:56

        Merry Christmas, Jeff and ALL!

  2. Suzy
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 15:10:53

    Hi Sam,

    I’ve been lurking on your blog after finding it back in August, when my 36-year-old fiance, CJ, and I became aware that he has a single dissociated identity, Tom. With apologies for the long comment, we want to let you know how much you and the girls’ evolving story has been helping us.

    We’re among the many people who are helped minimally, if at all, by the current therapeutic model. Like you, we aren’t anti-mental-healthcare; CJ’s gotten excellent management tools for his other, better-understood problems than DID. However, because of the nature of his own dissociation, we see no possibility of integration in the forseeable future – nor does integration seem necessary or even desirable to us right now. We agree wholeheartedly that it’s the best goal for many DID folks. However, the understanding our path has led us to is that the one-size-fits-all solution compartmentalizes treatmtent (wait, isn’t compartmentalization the problem in the first place?), dictates outcome, and just does not work for many, many patients and families. Your story affirms our understanding.

    Similar to you, Sam and all ladies, we have done more healing and growing in 8 months than the mental healthcare system alone was able to assist with in 15 years. We’ve followed a very similar path; while CJ has only a single alter who is also an adult man, I’ve treated both personas with complete dignity, affirmation, and yes romantic engagement rather than asserting that Tom is just a figment of CJ’s imagination or a simple coping mechanism. I don’t mean this to congratulate us for being smarter than the doctors or anything like that. I’m just asserting that the current DID treatment standard seems to be based more on a very limited set of sociocultural beliefs rather than an adequate body of data and clinical information. That doesn’t work. For us, we’re using depth psychology and full commitment and devotion between me and each of the two identities… whether they ever turn out to be the same guy or not. For you, well, you have a whole blog about it. According to a lot of people, our approach is wrong. Yet our loved ones are getting better, fast.

    Your blog and a couple of others have moved me to start publicly sharing our process, too. Your experience with commenters has me on the fence about whether to aggressively moderate comments or just disable all commenting. That’s a tough one and I admire how you’ve handled it.

    So thanks, Sam and all the girls.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Dec 13, 2013 @ 17:59:26

      Hi Suzy,

      thanks for the encouragement and I’m so glad our story has helped your situation as well. And thank you for sharing a little about your story as well!!

      About commenters. When I first started this blog, I was rather naïve. So I visited a lot of other blogs and commented on them, naively thinking they’d “receive me with open arms.” Instead I was lynched by some of them. But that made me realize the disconnect between what we are doing and what those at large do. There have been a few commenters that I deleted because they attacked me with personal insults. But the ones who attacked my methods I decided to leave up and answer their objections realizing that I had no hope of changing things if I didn’t respond politely to their concerns and fears. But I will admit in the beginning it was hard. I was raw enough from the fallout of my wife’s disorder and being rejected instead of embraced by the d.i.d. community in spite of the results I was getting in my wife’s life, added salt into my wounds. But at this point the detractors largely go elsewhere, and my hope is that this little blog will be a tiny beacon for change some day. I hope you can join my efforts for change and add your experiences as well. If you do go public, I’d love you to send me a link so that I can support your efforts as well!!!

      Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!

      Sam

      Reply

  3. nique and co.
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 05:42:21

    You have some smart girls, Sam. Those doors are a huge boon to the progression of unity. (I was writing my message and Paige very insistantly wants to know if they have a family room too? And Chrystal wants to say hi to Amy.) My husband says my DID only looks like attention deficit disorder but its far more entertaining.

    So now I will start again. Great job that your little ladies came up with the door idea and implemented it. I am sure you were pleased to see such a big step forward. Additionally I / we would like to wish you and your ladies a wonderful holiday season and a merry Christmas.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Dec 21, 2013 @ 09:07:36

      Hi Nique and Co,

      Thanks for the comments…sadly my wife’s counselor kind of undermined what I was doing. Tina and Sophia still have their door between their rooms…but Alley was struggling with giving up some of her independence to install the door between her room and her little sister’s room. So when she shared her struggles with her counselor instead of helping her overcome her fears, her counselor said, “Maybe you just aren’t ready yet” and Alley pounced on that to justify not adding the door. Sigh. 😦

      But in her favor, the counselor suggested a common room, like I believe you girls have and Alley seems less fearful about that idea. They haven’t installed it yet. So I have to walk a fine line of encouraging them to move forward without being pushy.

      But I’m still working the “inside door” angle too with some of the other girls. I think both ideas have merit and will be a step forward.

      Thank you for your well wishes. I hope you and yours have a merry Christmas as well!

      Sam

      Reply

  4. Nique and gang
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 18:34:15

    Early on, our family room seved as a meeting ground, a place for us to come together and discuss and develope our concerns, rules, and anything else that required a group presence. Initially there were “spaces” within that belonged to each of us. A chair for Jack and Paige, a couch that was Christina’s, etc. However, we found that it became our fun, relaxing area over time. One big factor was having Nique come in to visit. It allowed the seperation that she always had as primary host to begin to disolve.

    Brian encouraged the use of this room by repeatedly asking us to come together as a group and discuss things. He’d ask us to discuss where we wanted to go on vacation, make a group decision and let him know. Until we could make a group decision he would not discuss the matter with any one of us. The things he chose for group discussion typically involved a time limit and something he knew we would all want. Errr… most of us would want. I seldom feel a need to have input as long as we are safe. I see danger in every situation but am working on that.

    I was wondering if a small door, too small to go through but big enough to visit face to face would work as a starter for your girls who aren’t ready. A test door that doesn’t fully compromise Alley’s independence. In this case I can bet that if there was still hesitancy, Brian would remind us that if we didn’t like something it could be undone… a wall reinstalled.

    I don’t know if this information helps anyone but thought to share.

    JESSICA

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Dec 22, 2013 @ 12:06:01

      Hi Jessica,

      thanks for sharing your story. I’m working to help Amy connect with Sophia right now. I’ll keep working with Alley, but I have to do it in a way where she doesn’t feel coerced, as I’m sure you understand. I’m sure we’ll get there. I just have to be patient and creative and work with the girls who are ready for it and I think as Alley sees their successes it will make her more open to trying it herself.

      Take care,

      Sam

      Reply

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