Pilgrim's Journey > March 2006 Archives

March 1, 2006

SYBIL movie

Here are a couple of links to updates on the famous "Sybil" movie starring Sally Field that came out in the 1970s...
there is going to be a DVD version released this year, and also, CBS is working on a remake with Jessica Lange:



*sigh* While not the most accurate movie in the world, and being rather dramatic and probably not historically accurate (neither was the book, apparently).... at least it may help to raise awareness about DID... which could be a good thing. *fingers crossed* Lets hope the new movie is well-made and that the producers actually do some research on DID before they make the movie. :)

Posted by pilgrim at 9:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2006

Treatment centers for DID and eating disorders....

Well. I went to therapy today.
After an extremely frustrating and challenging day at work (all ended up ok, but I didn't know that at the time I headed to therapy) so I went to therapy a big bundle of nerves. It was really hard to not dissociate, but I did pretty well and stayed present. Its a good thing I did!
My therapist sat on the couch by me and we had THAT conversation again.... the one I completely had. Inpatient.
*groan*. This is the conversation that we've had about 5 times, in a serious way. I do not like it when she gets that look in her eyes (worried, scared, or concerned) and she gets this tone in her voice, and looks at me in a certain way, and her voice gets all soft. It all spells bad news.
The 1st time it ever occurred was 4 years ago when she decided to call Remuda and see if she could get me in because my eating disorder was raging out of control. I remember her looking at me (same look as above) and said, "Pilgrim.... I called Remuda this morning. " oh, cripes.
Today it was not just eating disorder but also she wants to find me a place that treats DID and eating disorders. I keep telling her, I DONT HAVE THE MONEY. I'm still trying to pay the LAST place I went last summer, and we didn't have the money for THAT either. :( My T just wanted my permission to try talking to my insurance and to try looking around for information to see if she could find someplace for me to go, like over summer vacation, after I go visit my sister and the new baby.
I HATE conversations like this. :(
This is progress, at least: nowadays at least I understand that she isn't just trying to get rid of me, she isn't just giving up on me. Now at least I understand that she is just trying to do what's best for me and trying to find me the best help.
But still. I feel like such a failure.
I know that Jo gets online at night and looks for treatment centers. I know she wants to go. BUT I DONT! I do NOT have the money. My T understands this (I cannot even really afford to pay my T, even though she gives me a reduced rate). I have to sell stuff all the time to be able to continue to go to therapy. Anyway. My T wants to see if maybe we could work something out with my insurance to pay for me, or find me a scholarship or something...
to see if ANY place would take me.
Yah. Like any place is just going to go, "hey, we see this girl is working so hard but isn't getting better, so lets just GIVE her a free ride to come spend the summer in our treatment center". SURE.

Anyway... after a half hour long...um... "pep talk".... and list of what's not working, and how she (T) gets all sorts of contradictory e mails from everyone inside about I'm eating/ I'm not eating; I'm doing good/I'm struggling ; I'm cutting/ I haven't cut in weeks; and ALL SORTS of stuff like that, (so that NONE of us know what is REALLY going on, actually), we just need to find a place that can help me get the DID and eating disorder stuff under control. Etc etc. And how she and i can work as a team to beat this and we can both look for treatment centers and if there isn't anywhere, then OK, at least we tried, and if we just have to keep plugging along outpatient, then ok, at least we tried, and if we can't find a place i can afford to go to, at least we tried.

i hate being this way.

finally i gave her the ok to talk to my insurance and to look around to see if she could find info.

i cant talk about it anymore right now.

Posted by pilgrim at 7:08 PM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2006

DID diagnosis in children

I found some really interesting information tonight on DID/MPD diagnosis in children tonight and just wanted to share it. It is from http://www.empty-memories.nl/article.html

What was so interesting to me, personally, was that I could have been diagnosed in KINDERGARTEN, had anyone
a. known what to look for and b.noticed I was ALIVE and c.paid attention to me.

Here are a few quotes from the website:
Why children are not often diagnosed:
Unluckily, children are not often diagnosed with DD or DID because of several reasons:

Dysfunctions existing in the family that cause or contribute to the development of DD or DID will not allow or will prevent family from seeking help.
Health workers may lack familiarity with symptoms / presentations of dysfunction in children and may overlook or misdiagnose these children.
Initial presentation distracts from real diagnoses. These children are usually referred because of complicated psychiatric histories, including multiple caregivers/placements, and behavioral difficulties that have not responded well to a variety of interventions, including pharmacotherapy.
Presentations of DD or DID in children, is more subtle and different than those seen in adults. Thus, identification is more difficult.
As with adults, children mistrust workers, and protect himself or herself from showing alternate identities

Importance of early intervention:
Early intervention with children is crucial for five main reasons:

DD and DID are among the sequela of childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse. Thus, early recognition makes early intervention possible.
Early intervention is desirable because children often respond rapidly to appropriate therapeutic intervention, unlike their adult counterparts, who take many years.
If not treated the condition usually is for life though switching decreases with age. Different identities appear over years in reaction to new life situations but usually this is if the dissociation “skill” is practiced (e.g. a new part after 16 years when having marital difficulties, but had dissociated through this time).
Pattern of dissociation can remain and significantly affect the person, causing serious dysfunction in work, social life and daily activities (e.g. cutting off at social gathering because of fear of groups).
Repeated dissociation may also result in a series of separate entities, or mental states, that eventually take identities of their own (eg. a client, no longer in traumatic environment, but associating children with her past trauma, had one of the “identities” care for her children and she could not remember bringing them up. Another client had an identity going to work/university).


Observations should be carried out when the child is in similar neuropsychological states to that which caused DID, through narratives, games, location assessments, etc.. In these situations the “trauma” or “memory” is “retrieved” because of the highly stimulated neurological, psychological and physiological state.
Memories are activated/retrieved by the association/ conditioning that has occurred in the past, which are similar to the “recreated” state during the observation/ assessment.

Outside of the main presentations (above) there are various symptoms that should be observed/considered in the assessment of DID children:
a vast variety of symptoms, particularly:

Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms (e.g. nightmares, night terrors, intrusive traumatic thoughts /memories/flashbacks, disturbing hypnagogic hallucinations, traumatic re-enactment, numbing and avoidance) and differentiating these with DID
self injurious behaviors
fears that are unusual or exaggerated for their age or their situation (e.g. terrified of shower, where skin scalded or bathtub because of drawing attempts took place), or social phobias in adolescence, due to group ritual abuse.
somatic concerns / complaints
high anxiety levels
significant behavioral inconsistencies/shifts/ fluctuations that occur between settings, tasks, abilities, age appropriate, etc. activities, during different environmental settings, etc. or during observations conducted over extended periods
calling/referring to oneself in third person, using or answering to other names – a belief of the existence of other identities that take over or of having imaginary friends that control their behavior
requests to be called by a different name or treated differently
marked mood swings and circumstances
fluctuation moods and behavior, including rage states indicating lack of self-regulation
mood disorders / intermitted depression (e.g. seasonal; after a calm period representing periodical abuse)
depression or intense episodes of depression and suicidal feelings
trance states
amnesia and transient forgetting
inattentiveness/lack of concentration in some settings but not in others
excessive daytime dreaming “spacey” behavior
hysterical symptoms
sleep disturbances
sexually reactive or offensive behavior
auditory hallucinations/ hearing voices experienced “inside the head”(Schneiderian symptoms include auditory hallucinations and passive influence experience)
sudden shifts in behaviors, postures, expressions, voice, language, etc.
tantrums or destructive behaviors
inconsistent consciousness / fluctuation of attention, such as trance states or black-outs
denial of behavior observed by others, specially behaviors considered negative (believed to be lying)
extreme inconsistencies in knowledge, skills and abilities, accompanying personality switches. Developmental issues are inconsistent / inappropriate, e.g. active imagery companionship, inappropriate sexual behavior.
physical complaints or injuries of vague origin
substance abuse in older children / adolescents
* feeling of dividedness, experienced as discrete alter states, hallucinated internal voices, or behavior outside the child’s control – most important finding in assessment.

These quotes are from an article at the above listed website by
Dr. M. C. Barreda-Hanson
Director, Department of Psychology
ACT Community Care
and The Canberra Hospital

Posted by pilgrim at 9:20 PM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2006

My therapist is on vacation

Spring Break is upon us (not for me yet) and so a lot of therapists are heading off on much-needed vacations. Mine is gone this week also.
Its always hard when she's gone.
I handle it a LOT better than I used to. A few years ago when she'd go off on vacation, I took it personally. As in... she's just trying to get away from ME! *sob* Then I would struggle terribly the whole time she was gone. There'd be a lot of cutting and eating disorder stuff and a lot of general miserableness. Lots of steps backward. Then Mae would draw her pictures, and make her promise to keep them in her purse on vacation, to make sure she didn't forget us. I was always told, growing up, that "out of sight" meant "out of mind". And we were all convinced that if our T left on vacation, that meant she was abandoning us and never coming back. One time, Mae "babysat" the teddybear out of T's office just to hold onto something of hers, and made her promise to come back. Of course, no matter how many times our T would promise, it was never reassuring enough. We'd all leave a bunch of voice mails on T's phone. I dont even want to imagine what they must have been.
Things are better now. Mae did want to babysit the teddy bear again, but didn't get a chance to ask for it last week because things were too busy. But so far, no one has cut or anything, and we've only called to listen to T's voice on her answering machine twice just to hear her voice, but haven't left messages. That's progress! Mae is completely convinced that something bad is going to happen this week and has been real jittery, even during the night and keeps waking the rest of us up, and keeps needing to be reassured that no trees will fall on our house, no one is going to die, our T is going to come back, and on and on. I've been having some bad dreams, but they are not too bad. So far things are going ok. I go back to therapy one week from tonight.
I sure hope she comes back.

Posted by pilgrim at 5:52 PM | Comments (2)

March 15, 2006

Books on Multiple Personality Disorder/ Books on DID

It can be hard to find good books on Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) ...also known nowadays as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I have found a great site online that has a very long list of books on MPD/DID and it even has some comments on most of the books. Face it, there are some real klunkers out there... but some books are quite good!
Some of the books are listed here through Pilgrim's Journey... you will see them listed through Amazon.com and you can click on them to purchase them. I have clicked on a lot of them and they've been good ones.

The book list I'm talking about is on Astrae's Web...

Posted by pilgrim at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2006

Treatment Centers for DID/MPD

I have been doing research online for treatment centers for DID/MPD. There is one site that has a comprehensive list on it: Try this link . I don't know how updated the list is-- it is at least a couple of years old, because I know that one of the centers has been renamed. However, if you're looking for treatment for DID/MPD, this will at least give you someplace to start.

Posted by pilgrim at 10:02 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2006

So much for a happy welcome back. ALL MY FAULT.

My therapist came back today from vacation and I was really hoping it would be a good session. The past few days Mae and the kids were so excited and I prayed that today would go by fast so we could get there. And I was even praying that I would be brave enough to talk about the things I really needed to. There are a couple things that happened last week that I REALLY needed to talk about. But did I? Naturally, no.
I got in the office, and I was uncomfortable. It felt like I hadn't been there in a long time. Only a week and a half, but to me its a long time, because time goes by so slowly. I didn't feel safe. I was so happy to see my therapist. But for some reason, she didn't LOOK right. I don't even know why or how to explain it. Her smile or something... supercilious, maybe. I could have taken the opportunity to talk about what I needed to-- a terrible nightmare I had the other night, But I was SOOOO afraid right then. I knew that it would open up a whole can of worms, and I just didn't feel SAFE. I didn't know if she was safe again or not. She's been gone on vacation. Maybe she's changed. Maybe she's different. Maybe she's decided that she hates me. I dont know. So then...She gave me a lecture about eating disorder stuff and cutting, and I shut down. I started to see through a long tunnel, and couldn't get myself out of it.
She kept on asking me questions. I felt about an inch tall and all this yelling was going on in my head, Missy especially. Finally I couldn't take the yelling anymore, flopped over on the couch, and disappeared.
Someone else came out and finished the session.
Yep, way to go, freaking idiot that I am.
Now Mae is upset, the kids are upset, Missy is pissed, Jo is more depressed, because they all didn't get to talk and say what they needed to, and its ALL MY FAULT.
I'm such a stupid person. I want to beat my head against a wall right now.

Posted by pilgrim at 6:17 PM | Comments (3)

March 22, 2006

Inpatient, Inpatient, Inpatient, and major frustration

All my therapist seems to want to talk about is getting me into a treatment center. All I want to talk about is staying OUT of one. We are definitely at odds.
I need to talk about a lot of things, but she thinks it isn't therapeutic unless I can get through everything FIRST w/out doing ANY eating disorder stuff OR self-injury stuff. All of a sudden, these things are the big issue. I do not know why.
I want to scream.

Posted by pilgrim at 6:30 PM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2006

People are from Mars, I'm from another Galaxy

Today I feel like I must be from not just a different planet, but an entirely different Galaxy. I can't relate to anyone. I am so far away from everyone else.
So. My therapist wants me to come up with a plan to stay out of treatment this summer. So I've been working on that. I thought I was working hard on that, but apparently it wasn't hard enough. So I have to work harder. She doesn't think that talking about things is therapeutic right now because it might lead me to turn to bad behaviors. So.. I can't talk about stuff with her that I need to. I also have no one else to talk about things I need to. So that means that I don't have anyone to talk with about the things I need to. Which means that things just build up more and MORE. Where does that leave me? I feel like I'm exploding inside already.
Really, where do I go?
Who am I supposed to talk to?
I listen to people around me talk. You know what they talk about? American Idol. The Apprentice. Other tv shows like that. I do NOT watch dumb things like that. I watch things like The Discovery Channel, science shows--- shows where I can learn things. I have no clue whats happening on Lost or American Idol or One Life to Live. And that is ALL they talk about. They're lives are about men, shopping, tv, manicures.
How can I care about such things when I am dealing with flashbacks, internal chaos, trying to get everyone inside to get along, Mae crying, trying to reframe my entire past?

I'm just stupid and I hate everybody and I want to go away and I hate myself the most.

Posted by pilgrim at 9:49 AM | Comments (1)

Meal plan and losing my mind

Well THAT didn't go well.

I love my nutritionist. I've been seeing her for years. We usually joke around and laugh a lot and look at pictures and stuff. My T used to work in the same office suite as her, where we also had group, and there are other therapists. But then last fall my T moved out and made her own office closer to home. Well I haven't been back to those offices since my T left.
And I went back tonight to see my Nut.
And I saw my T's old office, where someone new is now. And I cried and cried and cried. So many old and good and bad and good and hard memories and I just cried through my whole N appt. About how I miss T being there. How things were better then. My Nut. misses T being there too-- they are friends but now they don't get to see each other every day like they used to.
So I spend my appointment sniveling. I'm such a dumb ass.
Then she made up a meal plan. One I have to stick to. T is SERIOUS. She wants me to follow it. They are holding INPATIENT over my head. I think the meal plan is unreasonable and too much and I think I'm being set up for failure. Inside my head, Mae and Carolineine and Jo and Missy are yelling their various "I dont eat that!" and "I hate X food" and "Well that isn't so bad" and "If she thinks I'm eating THAT..." So I cried over that. And cried some more.
Then I ran out and left. No goodbye. Just took off down the hallway and escaped.

So its only a matter of time before my nutritionist calls my therapist and tells her how things went tonight and how I ran out crying. And now I'll probably get another lecture from my T on Tuesday, and I'm already in enough trouble already.

Posted by pilgrim at 6:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2006

Just DO it.

I barely know where to start with an update for this week. My life is always an adventure. I'm sitting here after a pretty lousy day and trying to find an upside to it (it's over with! things could have been worse!). My therapist told me the other day that she's worried about me, that she fears that she's running out of time with me. Read: she thinks I'm going to die before we can save me. She is pushing me harder and harder to work at recovery more. I am TRYING. But TRYING doesn't cut it. What is it that Yoda says? "Do, or do not. There is no try. I HAVE to work harder. I have to stick to my meal plan, no matter what. I have to talk to people, no matter what. We have to work together inside, no matter what. I have to stay conscious of what is going on around me, no matter what. We have to stop the self injury, no matter what. This week I feel like a real loser. Things aren't going very well at work. I have also been sick.
So our plan is to keep sticking to our meal plan (it's been 6 days so far), to keep from cutting (it's been....hm...about 2 weeks I think), and to keep working together inside and not argue so much. We have a lot of homework from our therapist to do. And at work, well, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Posted by pilgrim at 5:28 PM | Comments (0)

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