They also provide a link to a website in the UK – you can find it here. It’s quite comprehensive with a lot of information and resources. I would love to set up something like that here in Australia! I’m going to chat to the members of Bridges and the Dissociative Initiative about perhaps making up our own cards of information like these. One of the things I’d like to see is a second complementary card that discusses dissociation. Something that frustrates me a great deal is that in all the hype over multiplicity, those dealing with dissociation that presents in other ways – such as amnesia, depersonalisation, loss of senses etc. can be overlooked. Multiplicity is one manifestation of dissociation, but severe and chronic dissociation in any other areas can be equally distressing and disabling. I’ve been searching for books on dissociation but not multiplicity for Bridges (as the group offers support to people with either experience) and I’ve been quite frustrated at the appalling lack of information out there! The majority of the books in this field concentrate on either general trauma phenomenology, or multiplicity.
It’s been suggested to me that perhaps considering this gap in the literature, I should write such a book, and I admit I’m giving it serious thought. When to find the time is probably the biggest consideration. What to write, how to structure it, how much research I’d need to do to back up my opinions, and whether to wait until I have professional qualifications in the field for greater credibility are all on my mind. There’s a WEA class on writing non-fiction coming up that I think could help me think about structure, layout and organisation. Part of my concern is also how to make it affordable so those who most need it can access it – perhaps through a grant of some kind? Also, making it shorter, a booklet, may keep costs and therefore prices down. The beauty of this blog is it is free for me to host articles and suggestions, but the net is not accessible to everyone and there is something to be said for being able to underline, asterisks or cross out things in a book if you are so inclined. In rare quieter moments I’m finding myself starting to work out the introductory chapter and the structure… I’m also doing training shortly about how to write grant applications, so I’ll keep this project in mind then. Perhaps I could secure some funding to keep the book inexpensive or even free? Who knows, you have to ask. 🙂
There are some possibilities coming up that perhaps more training and resources will become available here in SA soon. I’m very mindful that at present, while we have the group Bridges, we lack supports for carers/family, and also training opportunities for support workers and professionals. Talks are happening about what we can do in these areas, which is very exciting to me! A year and a half down the road from my first terrified talk about DID, I can now see what I’d like to change about the talk I wrote and better ways to present the information to make it easier to understand. Building a library of books and accessing journal articles in these fields has been absolutely invaluable to developing my framework and understanding of dissociation, multiplicity, trauma, and recovery, as has so many people generously and courageously sharing their personal experiences. There is so much to learn yet, but even the little we know now could make such a huge difference to so many people out there.
It breaks my heart that so many people are suffering so needlessly and so alone with these experiences. I am furious that some staff are still telling people that dissociation doesn’t exist or all symptoms are invented for attention. I am so distressed by the chronic pain, high levels of suicidiality and self harm within a population that has one of the best responses to appropriate support of all the mental illnesses! There is hope and there is help, but so many people don’t know that yet. There’s a lot of work to be done here. I did a course in Mental Health First Aid a little while ago, and it really frustrated me that a dissociative crisis wasn’t mentioned. Most people don’t know what one is, how to recognise or support someone in that situation. We talked about suicide, drug overdoses and panic attacks, which was great. Dissociation is also extremely common, often overlooked, and can be deeply distressing. Knowing how to recognise it and reassure someone in crisis that they are not going crazy, that these experiences are common and can be managed can sometimes make the difference between life and death. This is not rocket science! We can do this. We can make things a whole lot better for a lot of confused, scared, lonely, creative, resilient, amazing people out there who deserve a better deal.