Posted by: Marie | December 20, 2010

(469) Snapshots of me – Part 1 of 3

Post #469
[Private journal entry written around noon on Wednesday, July 14, 2010]

Today was a therapy session day . . .

I find myself looking forward to these days because I know I will come out of the session having found another level of relief and comfort.

I brought my crate full of stuff again: blanket & travel pillows, photos, my notebook and clip board . . . he again helped me carry all my stuff up the stairs to his office.

The Structure by Martin Chen

Once we settled in, we started the session by talking about the status report I sent him last week . . .


Me: I really struggled with whether I should send that status report to you or not. But, after I sent it, I was glad I did. I was glad when the decision-making was finished – for better or for worse, I had made a decision and acted on it and there was no going back.

Edward: What did you think might happen when you sent it?

Me: I was afraid you would think I was making it all up – or over-exaggerating just for attention, just to be dramatic.

Edward: I don’t think that, Marie. I think you are telling me the truth. My experience of you is that you aren’t inappropriately dramatic and you don’t exaggerate. My experience of you is that you are very honest and you tell the truth.

Me: Thank you . . . that means a lot to me. (Tears start welling up . . . whew, that didn’t take long.)

I guess it is hard for me to believe I will be believed – even Mark didn’t always believe me. So, I am afraid of not being believed.

Edward: I believe you.

Me: Thank you. (Deep breath)

So, what do you think happened?

Edward: What do I think caused you to lose the memory of some of what we did in the last session?

Me: Yeah.

Edward: I think you simply did what you have often done when you start experiencing pain. I think you distanced yourself from the pain by forgetting about it. It is a coping mechanism that has gotten you through a lot of very difficult times. It has allowed you to survive.

Me: But I’m no longer in survival mode. I shouldn’t be using coping methods like that anymore.

Edward: It is healthy to process pain when you have the resources to do so. But, when you don’t have access to those resources, distancing yourself is a very successful coping mechanism. In fact, please allow me to congratulate you for coming up with such a brilliant coping mechanism! You are to be commended for that!

That method of dealing with pain has been all you have known for so long. And now you are creating new ways of coping and dealing and processing. It is all good. You are doing wonderfully. The pace at which you are healing and growing is perfect.

Me: Could you tell I was disconnecting?

Edward: Are you asking if I could see obvious signs of dissociation while we were talking?

Me: Yeah.

Edward: No. There were no obvious signs. Your eyes didn’t glaze over, you didn’t stop talking, you were still showing emotion and carrying on a full conversation. I could see you were struggling with your emotions, but given the circumstances, that was to be expected.

Me: Did I act . . . well, weird . . . strange . . . ??

Edward: Are you asking if you took on another personality?

Me: Well . . . I don’t think I have DID, but I lost big chunks of our conversation. I’m trying to figure out what happened. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but sometimes I wonder . . .

Edward: I have worked with a number of people with DID. I know what DID looks like. No, Marie, I can assure you that you do not have multiple personalities. I think you just separated yourself from the pain for a period of time. That response is common and is within the “normal” range of responses.

Me: Okay . . . .

(A huge flood of emotion hit me and I actually sobbed a bit . . . Edward gave me some time to catch my breath.)

Edward: Were you very concerned about that?

Me: Yeah. I don’t know why, but I was. The idea of having DID doesn’t concern me as much as the idea of having it and not knowing . . . being out of control and not even knowing I’m out of control.

Edward: How are you feeling about it now?

Me: I’m feeling a huge sense of relief. I just got really scared when I lost chunks of time. I’m not used to that happening and I didn’t have an explanation. It really scared me. But, I’m okay now after hearing what you said.

Edward: Good. Rest assured your response was very normal. Does that address your concern?

Me: Yeah . . . thanks.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. I really like the way he continues to validate how powerful and protective your coping mechanisms have been, even if it’s time to learn new ones … that acknowledgment is very helpful, I think, in allowing those mechanisms to evolve.

    Although it is completely possible to have DID that doesn’t manifest in a way that even a very good therapist would recognize, I don’t think you’re multiple either, based simply on the fact that you identify your younger/lost parts as still being Marie … you refer to them as “young Marie” or “little Marie” and seem to have a strong sense of their being parts — albeit perhaps distanced parts — of yourself. You might not like them, and you may not have full access to their memories, but you do seem to have a sense of their continuity in your identity.

    The good news, though, is that even if you did have DID, or DDNOS leaning toward the DID end of the spectrum, Edward’s therapy protocol would be excellent … it’s about communication with self, and acceptance, and validation. Half the DID therapists I hear about don’t do nearly as well with the core pieces of depth therapy which are really essential for any dissociative.

    • Hey, David –

      I always appreciate your insight into this stuff . . .

      It is all so new to me, including my cognitive awareness of my own experiences and the language used by the mental health folks to describe such experiences. So, I’m still working my way through it.

      I have also come to the conclusion that I don’t have DID but that I do seem to have some level of dissociation that occurs on occasion to a mild degree.

      I like your point that I seem to see the child parts of me as part of me and not separate from me. That is very true. I had never realized that distinction.

      Thank you for your ongoing encouragement!

      – Marie

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