Will Therapy Ever End?

Our current therapist made a comment recently that made my heart sink. They said they thought we’re likely to need, at least, some supportive counselling for the rest of our lives.

The body is in it’s early thirties. If we make it to even eighty, that’s another fifty or so years of therapy. Maybe not weekly like now, but perhaps monthly.

Our current therapist will also be retiring in the near future. We’re trying not to worry too much about that, and trying to focus on getting as much DID focussed work done as possible in the time we have left.

That’s one of the hardest parts about having DID. Finding a therapist who has enough knowledge and experience to actually be helpful to us. In the last eight years we’ve just been lucky to come across therapists who are excellent at working with trauma and dissociation.

We’ve recently spent several weeks in hospital. None of us regret the admission. We got a lot of work done, and nearly all of us were able to talk to our therapist. No easy feat when there’s eighteen of us!

Our therapist is confident that we’ll have the majority of our trauma and DID based work done before they retire. I’m not sure how realistic that is. As much as ongoing therapy (for the rest of my life) makes my heart sink, I also can’t imagine our life without regular therapy or hospital admissions.

Does therapy ever end when you’ve experienced chronic childhood trauma?

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Working With Very Young Alters

Let me begin by saying this: This is what we’ve done, what we’ve found helpful, what’s worked for us, and is not a general how to for every DID system. Maybe this will be of use to you or a DID system you know, maybe not.

We have two very young parts. Two three year olds who, until recently, have mostly been non-verbal. Very scared, very traumatised, very quiet.

In recent days Miss 3A (‘A’ is the first initial of her name, as just ‘Miss 3’ doesn’t work when there’s two the same age) has started playing with, and become attached to a Cabbage Patch doll we bought quite a while ago. She plays gently with is, straightening its clothes, and lovingly brushing its hair. She’s gone as far as naming the doll, but is very scared that the doll will be taken away from her.

Dissociative_Identity_Disorder_DID_Dissociation_Trauma_Post_Traumatic_Stress_Disorder_PTSD_CPTSD_Doll_Therapy_Cabbage_Patch_Doll_Alter_Part_Child_Tramatised

Miss 3A’s Cabbage Patch doll.

Conversely Miss 3C hits, punches, smothers, chokes, and repeats sexual abuse she experienced on the doll. It’s horrifying to watch a child (even a child alter in an adult body) play with a doll in that way. She’s very angry, but also very scared.

Before we’d bought this doll both Miss 3A and Miss 3C were silent. They didn’t talk at all, not even inside. There was absolutely no communication. Since working with them and the doll short conversations have been happening, and both are very slowly spending more time ‘out’ in the body.

With neither speaking much, or being able to write, it makes recording conversations or experiences with them difficult. Lately we’ve been able to have an older part out at the same time who can write down the conversation being had, or notes on play, emotions, or behaviours.

They’re both still very scared, and generally prefer not to talk. Miss 3C being much more scared of people than Miss 3A. It’s very slow going, but it’s progress.

Weighted Blankets for PTSD and DID – A Review.

Earlier this month I bought two weighted blankets and I definitely do not regret it! These blankets have been incredibly helpful for me and have definitely prevented internal chaos from escalating.

I don’t currently have access to any databases or journals at the moment because I’ve deferred from my university course which means I can’t do much research. As soon as I can do some research I’ll be finding out just how weighted blankets help and why they work.

I can’t begin to explain how useful these blankets have been! I’ve been using them to help settle us at home. There have been times where I haven’t been able to settle – I’ve been agitated, on edge and just not quite okay. Having the big, eight kilo blanket over me is bliss. Feeling that weight on my shoulders and/or chest is relaxing, calming, soothing and comforting.

Whilst at respite a few weeks ago the blanket was used (I say “used” because it was staff that used it on me as opposed to me self-soothing). I’d started to dissociate and thought I could manage it without having to tell anyone or draw attention to myself. I failed. I ended up sitting in the van (we were coming back from an activity), curled up against the window, eyes closed, desperately trying to escape from the images in my head. Other clients thought I’d fallen asleep and tried to wake me – a male client gently shaking my arm didn’t help!

Thankfully the staff knew what to do this time (I’d given them a list) and one of them went and got the smaller, four kilo, blanket from my bed. When it was folded up and placed across my shoulders I could feel my body relax – the shaking stopped, my breathing slowed. I was much more present and functional (I could move and talk) within an hour. Now, I’m not sure if it was the blanket, but I think it was. It could just be that I was able to become present, more quickly for another reason – that has happened in the past. Either way, that episode didn’t last long.

The blankets each came with several “fiddle tags” sewn on the top half, however, I wasn’t pleased with them. I managed to give the four kilo blanket a “makeover” before my wrist became too painful – I sewed loops of fabric, cord, ribbon, zips and elastic around the edges. I think it looks much better and it means there’s plenty to play with!

I’m yet to start work on the bigger blanket – I’ll have to wait until my wrist is better. Which does remind me – I shouldn’t be typing, and certainly not this much so I shall leave it there and leave you all with some photos!