You’ve come a long way. Misdiagnoses, mistreatment, maltreatment even—but eventually you’re here. You’ve found a therapist willing to work with you—either privately or on the NHS—and so now you’re expecting it just to happen. Right? Wrong!Read More
17 Mar 2016 | 1
‘Can we heal?’ she asked, quivering with the significance of what she was saying, as if her very life depended on it. ‘Can we really heal?’ I could well understood the agony in her eyes. I lived for many years overwhelmed by trauma, the symptoms of unhealed suffering. And if recovery is impossible, then why are we even trying?Read More
7 Oct 2015 | 0
It feels a long time ago now, the time when my abuse sat silent within me. It’s been over ten years. Back then, I didn’t understand any of the dynamics of abuse. The things that had happened, the things that had been done to me, the things I had been made to do—they sat silently within me as heavy weights on my soul, fetid non-reminders of my badness, this toxic mush that I thought was me.Read More
7 Oct 2015 | 1
Coming to terms with flashbacks—understanding what they are, learning how to manage them, and eventually figuring out how to reduce them—is a cornerstone of recovery. Carolyn Spring explains what goes in the brain during a flashback and how to learn to manage them.Read More
1 Jun 2015 | 0
I used to struggle to understand what phase III could possibly be about, because my life was so consumed with just surviving, and then so consumed with working through traumatic material to neutralise it, that I imagined that therapy would always be like that, and that once it was no longer happening, there would be no more need for therapy.Read More
When I first started therapy in 2006, I didn’t know much about trauma and nothing about ‘the three phase approach’. My counsellor didn’t know much more. So although I’d like to say that we started by carefully doing the Phase 1 work of safety and stabilisation, the reality was a great deal messier than that.Read More
Is recovery possible? That’s the question that everyone is asking, even when they’re not asking it. After a breakdown, perhaps after years in the mental health system, do we have to simply accept that we’re broken and that we’ll always be broken, or is it possible to live a life where we’re back in control again, where we’re living as we want to live, where life has purpose and meaning?Read More
I could cope with it no longer. Every part of me—eyelids, throat, bowels—everything was clenched tight in a ball of furious unbearability. This feeling—such a feeling!—loomed up over me like some prehistoric sea-monster, ready to snap me up and devour me, ready to pilfer my bones and pick apart my brain. This feeling was too much.Read More
1 Jun 2014 | 1
Understanding the dynamics around child sexual abuse, who the perpetrators are, how they achieve their ends, the impacts of abuse on us—all of this knowledge, this ‘psycho-education’ has aided my recovery. And so these are ten of the many things that I have learned about child sexual abuse, some of the insights that have begun to heal my shame.Read More
1 Sep 2013 | 1
You don’t need to be an expert to work with people who dissociate, but you do need to understand these fundamental issues. Here are ten steps.Read More
1 Sep 2013 | 0
After trauma our brains are sensitised to threat and our amygdala – our brain’s ‘smoke alarm’ – tends to react to burnt toast as if the house is on fire. In this article Carolyn Spring shows how to turn down the sensitivity of our smoke alarm – and overcome the impacts of trauma.Read More
1 May 2013 | 1
One of the hardest things I found in dealing with triggers was the aftermath: the shame, the self-blame, the sense of failure and powerlessness that once again something had happened that I’d had no sense of control over.Read More
1 Jan 2013 | 0
Denial and dissociation are two sides of the same coin. In employing dissociation, we are employing denial: “This isn’t happening” or “This isn’t happening to me.” We create alter personalities to whom it happened, so that it didn’t happen to me.Read More
1 Jun 2012 | 0
I have dissociative identity disorder. I have many separate, distinct and unique ‘parts’ of my personality. My ‘parts’ or ‘alters’ collectively add up to the total person that is me. I am the sum of all my parts. They are each a letter, and I am a sentence.Read More
1 May 2012 | 0
Physical symptoms are a big part of life for me with DID. Yes, I have ‘multiple personalities’, the “two or more distinct identities that recurrently take control of the body” and I’m not for one moment denying the significance of that or the impact it has on my day-to-day life. But I would say that physical symptoms such as chronic, unexplained pain, headaches and nausea have been and still remain far more distressing and life-impacting for me than the presence of parts.Read More
1 May 2012 | 0
Crisis makes sense. The adrenaline of it can become addictive, or be all we’ve known. Life doesn’t feel right if things aren’t frantic, if relationships aren’t disastrous. Crisis can be an attachment cry. Crisis is the language of emotions that we don’t know how to regulate.Read More
1 May 2011 | 1
For a long time, therapy sessions would end with a fairly typical exchange. I would express frustration at myself for not doing enough, and gently but firmly the response from my therapist would go, ‘Be kind to yourself.’Read More
1 May 2011 | 1
So I’m curious. On what do you base your belief in dissociative identity disorder? This was a tweet I received from a fellow twit based in the US a few months ago. The more I use social media, the more I realise how controversial dissociative identity disorder is. For me, after the last 5 or 6 years, it is ‘normal’.Read More
Who should pay for treatment for survivors of abuse who have gone on to develop a dissociative disorder? For many conditions the expectation would be that help would be available on the NHS, but this is rarely the case for conditions arising from trauma.Read More
I look up and I am in my therapist’s room. I look up and I am in the cafe area of the shopping mall. I look up and I am in bed in the dark. I look up and I don’t know if I am I. There is no thread of continuity between these places, these experiences. Who am I now, writing this, re-reading this, re-writing this?Read More
1 Jan 2010 | 0
A brief guide to dissociative identity disorder, a post-traumatic condition, by Carolyn Spring.Read More
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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