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I developed dissociative identity disorder as a result of chronic childhood abuse.

Yep, that’s right. Multiple personalities. Lots of them.

But not because I was mad. Not because I was mentally ill.

But because dissociation is the only way a child’s mind can deal with overwhelming trauma.

Dissociation isn’t a sign of something going wrong in the brain. It’s a sign of something going right. It’s there to protect us, to keep us sane by compartmentalising the trauma into different parts of our brain.

But that’s only part of my story. A bigger part is how I’ve recovered from DID. And an even bigger part is how I believe in hope, recovery and life. I blog about the bad stuff, the good stuff, and the beautiful stuff.

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Latest Blog Posts

Why saying ‘You’re not bad really’ doesn’t work (and what to do instead)

Why saying ‘You’re not bad really’ doesn’t work (and what to do instead)

I used to think that one day, maybe one day (a long time in the future), I’d be ‘normal’ and then I wouldn’t have these thoughts any more. You know the ones I mean: ‘You’re stupid’, ‘No one likes you’, ‘You mess everything up’, ‘You’re such a waste of space’, ‘Things won’t ever get better’, ‘I feel so ashamed’, ‘I hate myself’, ‘I wish I could die’.
There’s a tonne more. They blare out in my head like the world’s worst playlist, always nagging away at me, undermining me, picking me apart.

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How shame saved my life

How shame saved my life

I couldn’t understand how other people could live without shame. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t cringe at the sound of their own voice, or gag at the sight of their own reflection. I couldn’t understand why some were happy to be the centre of attention – even quietly at the centre, not in a raucous, narcissistic way. They didn’t mind people talking to them. They didn’t mind people noticing them. I couldn’t think of anything worse.

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Anger says no

Anger says no

For a very long time, I didn’t ‘do’ anger.

In the family I grew up in, the adults were allowed to be angry, and even my sister was, but for some reason I wasn’t.

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When there’s no hope

When there’s no hope

Real hope isn’t cheap. Real hope is born out of a bloody struggle. Hope has guts. Hope is what you’re left with when you’ve stared down the despair. So how did I get from hopelessness to hope?

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Where’s your safe place?

Where’s your safe place?

Years ago, when I first started therapy, I was invited to imagine a safe place. I didn’t understand the concept at all. First off, I didn’t understand how powerful positive visualisations can be. Secondly, I didn’t know how to feel safe. And thirdly, I didn’t have anywhere that I could summon to mind and feel positive about. Bummer.

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Self-care: what would you do for you?

Self-care: what would you do for you?

Self-care is entirely counter-intuitive to survivors of abuse. To me as an abused child it is obvious that I am bad. I am being hurt because I am bad. And I am bad because I hurt. It’s a never-ending cycle of self-evident obviousness.

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Traumatic aloneness

Traumatic aloneness

At the moment of trauma, one of the most traumatising, life-shattering parts of it is that we are entirely alone. We call out in the universe for someone to be there for us, and our call returns to us empty. We’re on our own. That’s a tough gig.

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