I’ve told this story before, but it’s worth giving it’s own post to. A few years ago, I was seeing a therapist I was not getting along with at all. My life was chaotic, lonely, and very painful. I was scared and confused about my diagnosis of DID. I felt trapped between a therapeutic approach that felt deeply wrong for me (such as getting rid of parts deemed by the therapist to be either too damaged, or too hostile to be integrated) and all the books I’d read that said without therapy I would never recover. Caught in this dilemma, I called Lifeline.
By sheer luck, I spoke with a guy who clearly knew a lot about DID. He listened very attentively as I explained my situation and how distressing I was finding it. He drew out of me my inarticulate intuition that this therapy was not the right place for me. Then he framed what I was feeling in a neat summary that has stayed with me ever since.
Just because you’re split, doesn’t mean everyone else is whole. You can choose to engage this as an illness, or you can go on a grand adventure of self discovery.
That’s it – my philosophy of multiplicity in a nutshell. I don’t mean that people who find a medical model approach to their multiplicity can’t also be on grand adventures of self discovery! But that for me, at that time, these were different options. I couldn’t have both, not with this therapist. So I took a risk that all the books were wrong. I started to wonder how, if we only ever studied those who were formally diagnosed with DID and stayed in therapy, we could possibly know that people never recovered from, or lived with DID successfully without therapy? I set up this idea of The Grand Adventure as my guiding star, my compass that let me know when I was on the right path or not. When a choice would take me further away from it, I didn’t take it. I kept to the paths that moved me closer to treating my life, and my multiplicity, as a grand adventure. Adventure can be painful, even agonising, but it is also awe inspiring, beautiful, profound, and challenging. It takes you places you couldn’t have dreamed of. It’s a very long way from my original plans to be the perfect patient in therapy and ‘heal’ as quickly as possible to get on with my life. And it’s served me well. I’m not waiting for therapy to finish, or integration, or fusion, or to feel like I’ve got over my childhood, to begin living. My life is a grand adventure. Some of it hurts terribly. Some of it is breathtaking. All of it is worthwhile.