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We have had a few psychiatrists over the years. Because we are in the public health system, things change a lot. When your going private, usually you see the same person for years. This hasn’t been the way it is for us.
We started with Dr M. She was quite a nice person. A little set in her ways, but we liked her. Then again, we were young, and very unwell, we’d have literally done anything that anyone told us, just to feel better and become well again. We first saw her for a year. She put us on meds. She made us go to therapy. Unfortunately back then we had a severe eating issue, we didn’t eat or wouldnt eat hardly at all. We were severely underweight. The therapist she made us go to was attached to the mental health services, and so wasn’t very good. We didn’t like that she would constantly weigh us, and focused on nothing but our ED. She never asked why it was we didn’t want to eat, or why it was that we were so suicidal, or we didn’t want to live. After a year of seeing Dr M, she deamed us well enough not to see her any more. Within the year though we almost got hospitalised to the psych ward once, we narrowly escaped that because our mom didn’t want us to go in there and she would not agree and because we were only 17, she had the final say. After stopping going to Dr M, we were out of therapy for a while too. Eventually we got back into therapy when our memories started to hit us full force. The memories of the SRA and MC and other abuses were plaguing us and causing us to have terrible flashbacks. So we entered into therapy again, this time with a wonderful therapist, who ended up devastating Shirley, and causing a system collapse. But we do still think she was amazing, she did so much with us in the 9 months that we saw her. She was instrumental in us getting a diagnosis of did. But inevitably it ended, and not very wel I might add. She said she lost her objectivity around our case. She did however get us back in to see dr m, and be assessed for a did diagnosis. Dr M didn’t know much about did, but she assessed us and diagnosed us with the disorder mostly based on our therapists account, as we weren’t really able to give her a lot of info, but we’d been seeing our therapist twice weekly and she’d met some parts insiders and had more of a full picture of how things were for us at that time. We then found out that Dr M was retiring. Dr D took over. It was a major change for us because he was a male psychiatrist. We didn’t think we’d be able to connect with him or trust him. But we actually did manage to get very familiar with him, and we saw him for five years. He was a pretty good doctor as psychiatrists go. He was the first doctor to hospitalise us, he also tried us on lots of medications, and we did lots of outpatient groups while under his care, we also had brain scans, and other tests, just to make sure we actually did have did and not something else. He tried to get us admitted to a unit in the UK specifically for did, but they refused to take us because of our blindness. They said our blindness would complicate things and they wouldn’t be able to accommodate us. After Dr D went to a new catchment area in 2007, dr C took over. She was only ok. We had a lot of ups and downs with her when we were under her care. One time Ro who is one of our darker insiders, threatened to kill her, of course that caused a load of problems, after those threats she refused to see us alone any more and would always bring a nurse with her when she saw us after that. Despite the ups and downs though, we did like her and got along with her. In 2010 when we had our formal diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder from the specialists who came over from the UK, she was there for part of the assessment. She believed in did. She spoke to insiders in our system…she saw us and understood us. But in 2013 she moved to Australia. That is when Dr Barry took over our care. And I can honestly say she is the best psychiatrist we’ve ever had. She just gets it. She is a great listener, and knows exactly the right things to say. She is friendly, and she is real. The fact that she is real is really important to us. She’s not afraid to let her emotions show either. She is just an all round good psychiatrist and I feel very lucky to have her. We all do. We’ve had a lot of therapists and psychiatrists I know. But I can honestly say that each of them brought something new to our treatment, each of them played a part in who we are today.
I’ve been thinking a lot today. Mostly I have been thinking about our teen years. So much happened during that stage of our life. It was before we were ever diagnosed with did, because we were unofficially diagnosed with did in 2001. But it was during our teen years, that we discovered we had any mental illness, namely depression, and an eating disorder. And it was during our teen years that the abuse came out, came to light, but I am not going to write about that now. What I am planning to write about was the bullying we endured twice during our teen years. The first time we were bullied, was when we were still in the boarding school in Dublin. For those who maybe don’t know, this was a school for the blind. When we entered secondary school at age 13, was when the bullying started. It was intense. It was horrific and horrible. The girls who bullied us were very nasty and mean and would stop at nothing to cause us pain. Eventually we told one of our teachers, our class head teacher. She said she’d sort it out, and she did. The bullying stopped and we thought we’d gotten through it and it was over. Only a few years later, when we left the bording school and returned home to go to school at home, it started up again. Only this time we had a much harder time than before. We were in a school of over 500 pupils, all of whom could see, we couldn’t as we are blind. At first when we went there it was a novelty to the other girls. They’d never been in school with someone who was blind. Lots of them were eager to show us around, be our friends, take care of us. But of course this didn’t last. When the bullying started, it got really bad really quickly. They’d call us names. They’d make us cry. They’d do things to injure us…for example knocking us over when we were carrying our backpack, trip us going up the stairs, put superglue on our chair, you name it, they did it. It was when they tripped us while we were walking up the stairs that everything blew up. We broke our arm then and had to go to hospital. So then, the bullying all came to a head, it was found out by the teachers and principle. Of course this made the bullies very angry. They then started to do things outside of the school so they wouldn’t be noticed. So while the teachers thought it had stopped, it really hadn’t. It was escalating further and further. Eventually we couldn’t take any more. Eventually we tried to end our life. We were taking Prozac and we overdosed on it. Luckily for us, our mom found us. We were rushed to the hospital and it was only then that we met our first psychiatrist, Dr M. Dr M diagnosed us as having clinical depression and anorexia. She put us on antidepressants. She continued to see us as an outpatient for over a year until she deamed us well enough not to see her any more. We still had to stay on our meds though. I supposed if the bullying hadn’t happened, we might have never seen anyone and we may have never have gotten into the system as early on as we did. Sometimes though i wonder if becoming a service user of the services for mental health at such a young age was helpful. I’m not sure still if I think it was or not. Thats part of our story and I hope someone out there is able to relate to it in some sort of way. It was hard for me to write and think back and remember the awful experiences of bullying and of our teen years. But I am glad I decided to open up a little bit more than I have done in the past about what happened to us.
SO CAROL ANNE AND ALICIA BOTH TOLD YOU ABOUT THERAPY AND THEIR PART OF LAST NIGHTS THERAPY SESSION. NOW ITS MY TURN.
I’D BEEN WANTING TO TALK TO EILEEN ABOUT SOME STUFF FOR A FEW WEEKS. FINALLY LAST NIGHT I JUST CAME FORWARD AND WE TALKED.
MOSTLY WE DISCUSSED THINGS ABOUT THE DARKS. WE TALKED ABOUT HOW TWO INSIDERS IN THE DARKS ARE STRUGGLING WITH TRYING TO NOT MAKE CONTACT WITH ABUSERS. THERE’D BEEN SOME LOST TIME THIS WEEK, AND, I TOLD HER IT WAS BECAUSE THOSE TWO INDIVIDUALS WERE OUT THEN. THEY’D RECIEVED SOME UNWANTED EMAILS, AND PHONE CALLS, WITH ORDERS WHICH THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON. AND THEY HADNT DONE SO.
EILEEN SAID SHE REALLY RESPECTS THEM FOR THEIR EFFORTS IN NOT FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THE ORDERS WHICH THEY WERE GIVEN. SHE SAID THAT THAT NEEDED TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED. SHE ASKED ME THEN HOW THE DARKS FELT ABOUT SHIRLEY HAVING SPOKEN TO HER A WEEK OR TWO EARLIER AND I SAID WE DIDNT FEEL THREATENED, THAT SOME OF US DIDNT CARE, BUT FOR SOME OF US IT WAS A HUGE STEP, AND IT MEANT WE REALLY DID TRUST HER BECAUSE WE WERE ALLOWING HER ACCESS TO OUR CORE, SHIRLEY, OUR HOST, THE MOST VULNERABLE OF US ALL. SHE ACKNOWLEDGED HOW THIS MEANT A LOT TO HER AND SHE WOULD TAKE IT SLOW AND GO EASY ON SHIRLEY AND NOT TRY TO RUSH INTO THINGS.
I TOLD HER I THOUGHT THAT SOME OF THE DARK INSIDERS WOULD NEVER COME AROUND TO THE IDEA OF GOING TO THERAPY AND ATTACHING OR TRUSTING SOMEONE AND THAT THEY PROBABLY MIGHT NEVER TALK TO HER. SHE SAID THATS OK AND SHE WOULDNT BE PUSHING ANYONE WHO DIDNT WANT TO TALK TO HER TO TALK. THAT ITS NOT A PRODUCTIVE WAY OF DOING THINGS. THAT IN TIME IF THEY FELT LIKE IT SHE’D BE THERE AND WILLING AND READY TO TALK TO THEM. AND WE LEFT IT AT THAT.
THE SESSION WAS PRETTY INTENSE. I FELT BETTER THOUGH AFTER TALKING. BUT THEN, I ALWAYS DO.
Resilience has a number of important tools.
Resilient people are aware of the situation, their own emotional reactions and the behaviour of those around them. In order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why. By remaining aware, resilient people can maintain their control of the situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.
AN UNDERSTANDING THAT SETBACKS ARE PART OF LIFE:
Another characteristic of resilience is the understanding that life is full of challenges. While we cannot avoid many of these problems, we can remain open, flexible and willing to adapt to change.
Do you perceive yourself as having control over your own life? Or do you blame outside sources for failure and problems? Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. They believe that the action they take will affect the outcome of an event. Of course, some factors are simply outside of our personal control, such as natural disasters. While we may be able to put some blame on external causes, it is important to feel as if we have the power to make choices that will affect our situation, our ability to cope and our future. Responsibility is not blame it is taking ownership.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THAT BIG PICTURE:
Aim for long-term goals, whilst you tick off and enjoy the short term ones.
STRONG PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS:
When a crisis emerges, will you be able to spot the solution that will lead to a safe outcome. In danger situations, people sometimes develop tunnel vision. They fail to note important details or take advantage of opportunities. Resilient individuals, on the other hand, are able to calmly and rationally look at the problem and envision a successful solution.
HAVING STRONG SOCIAL CONNECTIONS:
Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, it is important to have people who can offer support.
Talking about the challenges you are facing can be an excellent way to gain perspective, look of new solutions or simply express your emotions.
IDENTIFYING AS A SURVIVOR, NOT A VICTIM:
When dealing with any potential crisis, it is essential to view yourself as a survivor. Avoid thinking like a victim of circumstance, and instead look for ways to resolve the problem. While the situation may be unavoidable, or perhaps unappealing you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.
BEING ABLE TO AS FOR HELP:
While being resourceful is an important part of resilience, it is also essential to know when to ask for help. During a crisis, people can benefit from the help of psychologist and counsellors specially trained to deal with crisis situations. What might be other useful supports for you?
Can you roll with change? Be prepared to look critically at you, your attitudes and your choices and plans. Are they working? Maybe you are limited yourself. Maybe it is a great idea, but the timing is wrong. Maybe it’s time to try something else, something new? Or mix some new things in with your existing practice? Be open to change if needed.
I had some time to talk in therapy last night. It went like this.
Me: Eileen, did you think about adopting me?
Eileen: I know that’s really on your mind a lot lately, isn’t it?
Me: Yes always.
Eileen: Have you tried going into that room we created inside, with me in it?
Me: Yeah, but its not the same as having a forever family. I just want a forever family who’ll love me, see me, take care of me…
Eileen: But what about the rest of the system?
Me: They could come with me when I move in with you.
Eileen: And what about Nitro?
Me: Oh he can come too. You can have all of us wrapped up in one big parcel.
Eileen: Its a lovely image to think about isn’t it?
Me: I wish I didn’t have to just think about it. I really really wish you could do it. Your family are really lucky to have you…do they even realise how lucky they are?
Eileen with a laugh: I am not so sure they see it like that.
Me: Well they should. Why didn’t I get a family like yours? If you adopted me I bet you’d make rules, would you?
Eileen: It would be nice to have a life without rules wouldn’t it?
Me: Sure it would.
Me: I bet your family are really nice people? Even if I don’t know them yet.
Eileen: So you really want either me or Dr Barry to adopt you? How would that happen, Dr barry cant move in with me?
Me: Ok, I’ll spend half the week with your family, and half with Dr Barrys. That’d work?
Eileen: You have it all worked out don’t you?
Me: I wish I could see you. I hate not being able to see. If I could see you could give me a picture of you to look at.
Eileen: I know. That would be nice. But maybe we can record my voice, maybe I can do a meditation for you, or something nice like that. What do you think?
Me: Ok, but I still wish I could see you..what do you look like?
Eileen: Well I’m five foot 8, with hazel eyes, I have brown hair with a hint of red and blonde going through it, its not very noticeable though, just a hint of those two colors…and, I could stand to lose a few pounds…
Me: I bet your super skinny. And you wear glasses too, you forgot that bit.
Then our time was up. But I’m having more time next session. I guess we’ll talk more about that then. I wonder if I can convince her to adopt me in some way?
I had a pretty good therapy session last night. We had to change the time of the session at the last minute, from the morning, to the evening time. Eileens mom fell and broke some of her ribs, so Eileen had to take her for x-rays and stuff in the morning yesterday, so thats why we ended up doing a session at 7 30 in the evening.
We had a long talk about Shirley, and what will happen to me if she becomes stronger and more active. I said to Eileen that I had been worrying this week about that…about whether I’d still be needed or not. Eileen said that she sees me as always being needed, because I am as close to the core as we have. Shirley had said to her in the last session that she felt that me and her were similar to each other in personality. She had said that of what she knows of me she thinks that I am most like her. Eileen said that right there proves that she needs me, that she has entrusted me to run the day to day life, and she’s always going to need me because she told her she didn’t feel strong enough to ever do that again.
We talked about dissociation and people in the system not sharing things with each other, keeping things to themselves, and kinda splitting off into their own camps and corners. We decided that over the next few weeks we’d work on lessening the dissociation and bringing more of peoples memories and experiences together so that they could receive more support, and maybe we could all support one another in the doing of that.
Liz and Alicia also had time last night, but I’ll let them discuss their parts of the session separately if they want to do that.
I started my voluntary position yesterday. I’m volunteering at the basement resource centre, the local drop in centre i go to for people who have mental health difficulties. I got on fine. I really enjoyed the two hours that i did. My job was to answer the phone, the door, and also to enter in some data into a spreadsheet. I was pretty nervous about doing the spreadsheet work as i don’t have much experience of using excel. But i did fine. I got all the work done in one hour. So then i just spent the second hour answering the phone and the door. Overall i was really happy with my first day though.
Im looking forward to the weekend. I joined a walking group for visually impaired people. Basically what it is is that we go for a walk, and each of us has a sighted guide, and then after we’re done with the walk we go for something to eat. Its nice just to be able to socialise with like minded people and also with other visually impaired people. I hope the weather will be good for us tomorrow but i think it probably wont because i watched the forecast and it said rain and more rain.
I got a call today from the nutritionist on dr barrys team. Her name is Karen. However i missed her call. I rang her bak but she never picked up. I’m hoping she was calling me to arrange an appointment. Since emilys been struggling so much lately, it would be nice to see someone and try to get that under control. There was a long waiting list to see Karen, but dr barry put in a word at last weeks team meeting to push things along, and it looks like now that it has worked. I’m hoping she’ll get back to me on Monday with good news.
Well thats all the updates from here. I hope your all doing well, or as well as you can be this week.