The forum went well! And other news :)

The Introducing DID Forum at MIFSA last night went really well. It was great to meet some new people and I was a lot more relaxed with the presentation itself, now that I’ve done it more than once. 🙂 And Bridges, our weekly support group for people who experience dissociation and/or multiplicity, is going really well too! Yesterday we talked about the role that creativity can play in recovering from trauma, and touched on some big issues – like for multiples, how can you know if you’ve discovered everyone in your system or internal family? (short answer – it’s really hard to tell, and many multiples get little ‘surprises’ of discovering another alter after they thought they’d met everyone. Clues that you may not have met everyone yet are if you are still, collectively, missing large periods of memory – eg ages 8-16, if there is a skill set you should have that no one seems to – eg. you know you spent years learning Italian but no one in your current system speaks it, or if there is an entire emotional range that no one in your system handles – eg. anger. On the other hand, you might already be aware of everyone and have some amnesia or other issues that need work just as a singleton would.) But, we also had a really good laugh together, and this is what excited me so much! It’s great that as a whole, the group is feeling more comfortable and relaxed to be able to enjoy a good joke or a funny story. It’s a really good opportunity to practice skills of safe trauma processing, where we talk about some really big heavy things at times, and then put them down and relax into humour and social chit chat. I’m getting so much out of the group myself and feel so privileged to have the chance to meet and share with everyone who comes. Bridges is one of very few peer-led dissociative groups in the world and it’s very exciting to be part of! Hurrah!

And, just to bring me firmly back to reality – my car broke down on the way home, in the middle of a reasonably busy intersection at night. With the help of a couple of passing samaritans, I was able to carefully coast the car backwards down the hill and over to the curb out of the traffic, before the RAA finally came and got me going again. It is however a short term solution, apparently one of my heater hoses has been slowly leaking into my alternator, which is now all crudded up and very unhappy, and as a result my battery doesn’t charge as I drive. So, I’m now entirely on  public transport until I can get that fixed. Bummer!

Today, Cary and I have finished the first draft of a paper based on our talk from TheMHS, Managing Dissociation. We only found out about the possibility of submitting one this week and it’s due on Thursday. If it passes muster, it would be very exciting to have co-authored a published paper! The gist of our message is that having arguments about terminology and the validity of dissociative diagnoses is all very well, but what we need is to help mental health staff to be comfortable and confident in being able to appropriately support individuals who experience dissociation. At the moment, many people with severe dissociative symptoms are given very little support to manage their condition. So, it’s a paper that would potentially have a wide application – we’re saying you don’t need to be an ‘expert’ steeped in the field to be able to assist someone who has a dissociative condition, and there’s simply no need for fear, confusion or reluctance to engage people who experience dissociation. I would be thrilled to get this message out to a wider audience!

I also received an email today saying that my ink painting Homelessness has been accepted by the curator for display at the Bakehouse Theatre during Mental Health week, which also enters it into competition for various prizes! Art is so tricky, I’d never have guessed that would have been selected over the others. Apparently the plan is to exhibit the rest of my submitted work at the Box Factory at the same time. I’ll keep you posted on the details. 🙂

And I am very, very tired after such a huge week, and hoping to get some time to chill out and make some art soon. My happy shoes are calling my name!

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