Monday, February 18, 2019

Comments by Sam Ruck

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  • Peter,

    I know you rarely, if ever, respond to the comments section, but I wish that you would make a place in your new institute for those of us ‘in the trenches’ who are laymen and not scientist by degree but scientists by necessity. I’ve had to figure out how to help my wife heal from d.i.d. using attachment concepts and anything else that I could. I took a pragmatic approaching, using what worked, discarding what didn’t, always relying on the feedback that she gave as we walked the journey together. She and I have learned so many things; things that I believe have wider application, but it’s hard to get a hearing when western culture only seems to care how many letters one can put behind his/her name. I learned how to take her thru all the ‘extreme’ states without any medicines, as they are called on this website, but am still combating the residual dissociation…but we are getting there…

    There are so many things that occur 24/7 ‘in the trenches’ that you experts simply will never experience in the safety and confines of the office: we, the SO’s, family members and even involved friends have so much to offer, if only someone would take us seriously.
    Yours,
    Sam

  • Hi Krista,
    I am again so impressed that you were able to do all this on your own: that shouldn’t have been necessary, but for your sake, I’m glad you were able to do so.

    I still hope for the day when SO’s, family members and friends are taught how to be the natural allies they ought to be. It took me a couple of years to figure out it myself after wading thru my own issues, to boot, but I see so many places in your article that good allies could have helped, especially in affect regulation, and not ‘facing the enemy’ on one’s own.

    Wishing you the best.
    Sam

  • Ok Alex,

    I want to honestly explain my struggles to you IF I were to do what you and everyone else suggests and “take care of YOURSELF if you want to be effective support.”

    After journaling for more than 10,000 pages these last 11 years during this journey, to help me deal with my own issues, to deal with the inherent stress of this journey, and to help me figure out how best to help and support my girls (as I phrase it on my blog), I’ve got a pretty good handle on what makes me tick.

    IF I were to take care of myself first as this culture suggests there are two things I would do: 1) I would have a healthy, intimate adult relationship, and 2) I would enter the field in which my college degree is, mainly ministering to others…these are the two things that rip at my heart every single day of my life: the void in my life of these two things is overwhelming…and yet to do so, would probably mean leaving my wife since she and I have NEVER had a healthy or especially intimate relationship (emotionally, physically, or otherwise) even though we both love each other. Her past trauma has simply truncated so many of those desires in her: so if it’s ‘me first’ do I leave?

    And the same about my vocational desires. She married me knowing exactly who I am, what my chosen vocation in life was, and within a few years, she made it clear that she would never allow me to follow that desire because it struck at her ‘safety needs.’ Again, if it’s ‘me first’ do I leave her?

    I’m really not trying to be dismissive or argumentative, but one’s marriage vows are there for a reason despite our culture’s infatuation with rewriting them to say not much of anything nowadays. I love my wife: no this isn’t the life I would have chosen or the vocation of my dreams (being in a factory), but I’m trying to make lemonade out of the lemons that we were both dealt. She certainly didn’t choose this. No one says, “please rape me repeatedly when I’m two until I break and fracture and never know what it means to be healthy” (her words not mine). But I love her, and I choose US even though I know it means I’m choosing heartache and stress each and everyday until we get thru this…

    But trust me…that heartache and stress is a great motivator. It pushes me every single day to help her in every and any way that I can. It teaches me to be in tune with her so that I have learned never to coerce her, but how best to create an environment that feels safe and loving to her so that she can heal, truly, deeply and fully as I believe is still possible.

    Again, I am not trying to be dismissive, but what you have shared, which many, many other people have shared to me as well…I just don’t know how to do that AND be true to some other core values in myself and be true to my one and only love. It’s one of the things I truly think the new testament in the Christian bible got right: the idea of sacrificial love and giving up oneself and one’s life for another as the true sign of love and friendship.
    Yours,
    Sam

  • “Sorry that sounds soppy.”

    No, it’s not soppy, concerned carer. That’s what I’ve learned from attachment theory. For us, it’s mostly been a repudiation of the Western independence that is beaten into all of us from the time of birth when parents are foolishly taught to let their children cry themselves to sleep…and the myriad of ways we are told to let others suffer on their own and ‘tough it out’ or ‘pull ourselves up by our OWN bootstraps”. We are all systematically shamed by this culture of deranged independence, and my wife and I simply reject it.

    I make a concerted effort to, essentially, weave a ‘cocoon’ of attachment points between her and myself throughout as many aspects of our lives as I possibly can. And each of those attachment connections strengthens BOTH of us. Just because I don’t have any massive trauma in my past, doesn’t mean I don’t need the deep connection to another human, and even if she can’t give me what I most deeply need at the moment, I’ve still learned to soak up the connections that she is able to give me.

    I really do love the song, “Lean on Me” because it’s so true. Don’t ever feel it’s soppy. Interdependence is what we were all ‘wired’ for: it’s far more healthy than this independence garbage we are all force fed our entire lives.
    Sam

  • Alex,
    I almost missed your longer explanation that you added after your initial post. When I googled transmediumship I only saw stuff in there about, essentially, being a medium. I certainly could use ‘energy’ if it were for real. I don’t have time for pie-in-the-sky beliefs like so many I grew up with. I ONLY care about what practically helps me and my wife…especially because her last ‘alter’ has almost exhausted ALL of us, trying to help her heal and connect because she’s different than ALL the others. She has very little long term memory, and so even though we’ve made progress securely attaching her to me, it’s like that movie of the 50 First Dates, and I have to start from scratch over and over and over, and so it’s hard for her to feel safe, which means it’s been monumentally hard for us to get her connected to the rest of the group, and she was/is so terrified as long as she disconnected from the others that ALL intimacy, emotional, physical and otherwise has ceased for more than 3 years, and we’re all really struggling right now…and I’m just so overwhelmingly tired, and hoping I/we are going to make it especially when we’ve all come so far..and yet I just don’t know how to help her past this…I’ve never had a conundrum like her lack of long-term memory has presented to us on this healing journey…sigh…oh, well, enough of the online therapy session, you didn’t ask for it…I just don’t have any one to talk to about this kind of stuff…we are so far past anything you would read from ISSTD or the popular lit…and I feel like I’m going to break if we don’t get a breakthru… 🙁

    Sam

  • Hi Alex,
    you are welcome to tell me, but I’ll be honest, this journey my wife and I have taken the last 11 years has pretty much knocked out ALL of my ‘practical’ beliefs of the supernatural. I grew up a very devout evangelical Christian and got deeply into the charismatic movements and such during my young adulthood, but there was a part of me that always wondered what was wrong with me when “God” seemed to move in people all around me, and nothing happened to me…

    And then when my wife and I started this healing journey, I just didn’t have the emotional strength for anything that wasn’t ‘real’ or didn’t work, and so many of my Christian beliefs simply didn’t work out into real life, especially my expectations of some kind of supernatural intervention to help me and my wife get thru the hell we were going thru…

    And so I’ve kind of ended up with a humanistic Christianity, which my evangelical friends would call a heresy. I have a theistic worldview, but I don’t expect any help. I personally call it a Narnian Christianity: all those times that Aslan was absent for ages and ages which aren’t in the books by Lewis. I believe the moral codes, I believe there is more, BUT practically speaking, it’s up to me to help my wife heal, not some awol deity that I was never good enough to earn favors for answered prayers.

    I do understand that I’ve said a number of things in this response with which you would strongly disagree, but it’s where I’m at, and so far it’s been pragmatically useful in helping my wife and me survive the trenches we’ve traveled together. I’m sure this is far more than you expected, or wanted, especially as I can tell that for you, your journey seems to have taken you in the opposite direction toward more openness to ‘spiritual’ things.
    Yours,
    Sam
    (edit: and I guess I’ll add I’ve become a lot more socially, religiously and politically moderate from how I was raised…I’m kind of a pariah now to all of my family who are ardent Trump supporters, lol)

  • Concerned Carer,
    I see that no one ever addressed your concerns. Perhaps I can try.

    I think you can see the resistance that the survivors have on this site to suggesting that anything is ‘wrong’ because our culture weaponizes that admission. For my own wife it took 20 years before she felt safe to do so with me and only AFTER I made it clear to her that I loved her unconditionally. Until that point, anytime I would make the suggestion, she would spit back that I was the one with a problem. And so I don’t expect any less of the survivors on this site.

    And I think that’s why talking about mental health ‘trauma’ in the same way we talk about bodily trauma is so valuable. If we see someone with a cast on her/his leg, typically we think ‘oh s/he broke it’ but there’s also an assumption in there that with time to heal, and maybe some physical therapy if it was a really bad break, the person will be back 100% when the process is over.

    But there’s another assumption that while the person is in that cast, there will naturally be things s/he can’t do until the healing has been completed. Most of us don’t assign value judgments to those things that can’t be done, we just accept them as part of the trauma and convalescence period. And if we love the person, we don’t take umbrage that we have to ‘pick up the slack’ while our loved one is healing.

    I feel all those points can be seamlessly transferred to our loved ones who have suffered mental trauma. And the manifestations that occur from that trauma, whether it be ‘extreme states’, excessive triggers, ptsd symptoms or anything else, should just be viewed the same as in the list of ‘currently can’t’ when a person has a broken leg.

    I rarely talk about my wife’s list of ‘currently can’ts’ even though there are a lot of them and some of them cause me extreme stress. And when she begins to berate herself over that list of ‘currently cant’s’, I tend to just say, ‘that’s the d.i.d. and it will get better once we get thru it.’ I tend to focus her and myself on the positives, like a good coach. We both know the negatives are there and we don’t pretend like they aren’t there, but we try to stay forward focused, knowing that what ‘currently can’t be done’ is not our final destination.

    Sam

  • Hi Sera,
    thank you for sharing your experience, especially how you were reported to the authorities. As much as I’ve kept my wife out of the system, your story is a cautionary tale to me because this journey she and I are on is so hard many days that my personal journal is filled with the sigh that I’m so tired of life and the wish that I’d never been born. To me that feeling is always there, ebbing and flowing, but it’s kind of freeing, knowing that if things ever get too bad, I have an out, and with that ‘out’ it gives me power over those feelings…

    …And yet on my blog I wrote about how to help someone feeling suicidal from my personal experience, and fortunately none of my immediate family who read it called anyone on me. And when my wife and I take our daily walks together, we walk past a counseling service and part of me loves the idea of just getting some help and support on the days when it’s so hard helping her on my own…but your experience shows to me that my wife’s insistence on our anonymity is probably for the best, even though it means we can’t help others, because it protects me as well as her, sigh…

    I’m glad nothing worse than a phone call and a little embarrassment happened to you. Thank you for being willing to share for those of us who can’t yet…

    Sam

  • Anechidna,
    I think you are going to find different opinions about ‘psychological injury’ on this site. To me it’s a perfectly good analogy between a severe broken leg and a severe traumatic injury suffered to the mind. With proper care both injuries can be healed and the sufferer can go on with life relatively none the worse. But if either injury is ignored, it is likely it will never ‘self-heal’ and then that injury will stress the greater system and if that stress is enough in the future, at some point it could begin to cause other issues.

    To me dissociation is the biggest physiological result that comes from mental trauma, though that may simply be because of my wife and my experience. I’m not an expert, but I wonder if the dissociation is what causes all the differences in brain mapping (though I take all the hoopla over those mappings with a grain of salt!) Anyway, I believe dissociation in the mind is similar to what happens to the body when a broken leg is never healed. From that point on the body will do all kinds of things to get around the natural use of that leg. Sure, some body parts may even grow stronger as a result of having to take over for the leg’s function, but doing so will also stress parts of the body that simply were never made to walk. In the end, the person may even learn to be relatively mobile, but that doesn’t mean that was the way the body was intended to function: it’s just a testament to our ability to adapt.

    But even decades later, as in my wife’s case, once the mental trauma is addressed and with a lot of help (kind of like physical therapy to strengthen the atrophied body parts), her brain/mind is healing. It’s just a lot more work to undo all those ‘workarounds’ caused by the dissociation than if we had know about it in our 20’s.

    Sam

  • zmenard,

    I have tried to teach other SO’s on my blog but simply never got much traction: I have more than 100 articles explaining various things that I/we faced helping my wife heal from severe dissociation: things I struggled with, things I learned while I helped her, practical things and more theoretical issues, but I would guess most people really do want magic pills to give to the ‘problem person’ rather than do the hard work of helping someone heal from severe trauma. It’s really not all that complicated, but it is hard for both: there’s no way around that, and sadly our culture doesn’t do ‘hard’.

    The staff here know I would be happy to do so, but I think our story, because we are such an anomaly, causes some issues with those who have been ‘spoken for/over’ by SO’s and family members since my wife refuses to come here and affirm what I say and affirm that I’m not secretly keeping her in chains! 🙂

    So until they can find a way for me to share without it causing undo distress to some of the survivors, I try to content myself with the comments section and the camaraderie of finding other people like me who don’t think the effects of trauma make one crazy or weird.
    Sam

  • “Family & friends often look to the ostensible authority for the quickest, ‘cleanest’ fix possible…usually some form of sedation.”

    I guess I’ll add the longer version:
    1) I’ve always had ‘authority’ issues and never really cared much for going along with the crowd. Plus I was school valedictorian and graduated from college with a 4.0 and my wife is literally a genius, and so I never really saw the ‘authorities’ as having anything over us.

    2) And we homeschooled our son the entire way: another X against authority. Our son told my wife that she was his hardest teacher until he got into his master’s program in a Boston-area university. And then, even though he didn’t have the pedigree of his classmates, he was the only one that his university recruited for their PhD program; so eh, who needs authorities?

    3) And even though I’ve moved to the political/religious/social center as I’ve helped my wife heal, I grew up pretty far Right, and so we didn’t expect the ‘experts’ to do for us what we could do for ourselves. Moreover, I quickly found out as she and I traveled this journey and as I read up on her issues, that the so-called experts were full of it and didn’t know half of what they thought they did.

    …so I guess all those things kind of made both of us never really look for that ‘quick fix’ like most of our culture does.
    Sam

  • How did I come to that wisdom? The short version is indeed that she is literally the one and only woman to whom I have ever said “I love you” or been with, so I never considered any solution except a win/win for the both of us no matter how hard it’s been for both of us. But the longer version to that question is much more complicated and convoluted, and I deal with many of those issues over on my wordpress blog, but for now, I’ve found a philosophical home in many ways over here.
    Sam

  • Well Krista,

    I’m kind of an anomaly here. My fight in this battle is about keeping people OUT of the system before they ever get entangled in it.

    Our son and I kept my wife/his mother completely out of the system when she started dealing with all kinds of ‘extreme states’ as they like to call it on this website. I hope some day that I can share with other interested SO’s and family members how they can do the same. That’s why I find it so discouraging that all of your family distanced themselves from your own fight…but my wife does tell me I’m the ‘weird’ one for not seeing her issues like the rest of humanity, lol.

    But if I have anything to offer from my perspective, I’ll be happy to do so.
    Wishing you well,
    Sam

  • Hi Eric,

    I did a search for the psychological injury model and didn’t find anything other than this article on MIA. We’ve had some other articles in the past about collaborations to move to a more trauma-based model, and I wish you well. I appreciate much of what you said. I think things will change only when their reaches a critical mass of enough people who no longer accept the various cognitive dissonances that you described. Our understanding that people heal people, not drugs. The understanding that trauma is at the heart to so much mental distress, not some mythical biochemical imbalance. And more.
    Sam

  • Kindredspirit,

    I honestly hear you. I really do understand your concerns: you aren’t the first person to voice these same exact issues. And I accept that you are honestly sharing this with me out of concern for me and my wife.

    I just don’t know how to convey to you that your concerns and misgivings really are based on a strawman. I don’t know where these tropes began since I’ve heard them elsewhere, but our experience is completely different than you and others are imagining it.

    First, if this is your opinion of dissociation, it is NOT our experience of it. For us/her, dissociation is like discovering a long-lost castle in the woods. it’s always been there, but the path is overgrown because no one has used it in decades. But neural plasticity teaches us that once we start to use that path, it will become worn and more and more accessible.

    When the trauma happened in the past, the mind sequesters that pain and anguish from the rest of the mind so that it doesn’t engulf the entire person and a complete breakdown of ALL functioning occurs. The only reason ‘alters’ occur is because of that sequestering. So they kind of take on a life of their own.

    Now I could demand, as you say, that I will only talk to ‘my wife’. But that’s not how each of them sees it. In her mind, she is a real, live entity with her own thoughts and feelings. Each girl has repeatedly voiced this to me when she first began to join us outside.

    And so I accepted this starting place. My validation made her feel safe and accepted. And as we walked together, I helped each girl release the lies she had accepted from the trauma. And as I won each one’s trust, they each wanted to be ‘adopted’ into our family: the colloquial term we use for becoming securely attached to me.

    As that began to happen, the trauma being healed, the lies being resolved, and the secure attachment to me giving her a safe base, we began the process of tearing down the last of the dissociation between each girl. Little by little each girl began to wear a footpath from her own, little, forgotten castle to the main pathways that all of them could access…and once we got to that phase, slowly, they each began to interconnect with the others.

    At first it was extremely important to each that she was a distinct individual, but slowly as they continue to make more and more and more connections with each other, they are less concerned with being individualistic and are acting as a group. And from what I have read, more and more experts realize that we ALL act like ‘groups’ and not monolithic personalities.

    But they still want me to recognize their individuality even as they shed more and more and more of their need to act on their own. Maybe some day none of them will care about herself as an individual, but what I did was give each the time and space she needed to heal and feel safe to integrate with the others. I didn’t demand any of them act like my wife even though I personally feel they are all my wife.

    And at this point I just got engaged to one girl in December: she wants to be my wife. I’m pre-engaged to another. And a third has mentioned it. So one by one, each is CHOOSING to become my wife, but it’s always her choice. I make clear that I will never withhold my love or affection if she doesn’t do what I wish.

    I’m just not sure how you object to me allowing my wife the space and time she needs to heal in the manner that feels the safest to each of them: that seems to be what most of the survivors here want: validated and loved unconditionally, even while I shepherd each girl gently toward the goal of healing and integration within the larger group.
    Sam

  • Kindredspirit,

    some of what you have said I agree with. As well, I am aware of the various controversies around this issue. And yes, I personally operate on the premise of this being about trauma and dissociation and you can see that all over this site when I discuss particulars of how I help my wife. I agree that the various ‘girls’ are simply different aspects of my wife’s unified personality, but if I were to call her experience of things a ‘fairy tale’ all of you survivors would burn me at the stake for invalidating her experience. Instead I walk with her, where each of the girls are at, and yet I’m upfront with them that they are all part of my unified wife, but I don’t make that the basis of my interactions with them.

    The problem seems to be that you want me to be the exact opposite of what most survivors on this site cry for: someone willing to walk in my wife’s reality rather than dictate to her that she follow my reality And yet, if I did that, then you would simply pillory me for being like everyone else.

    Lastly, I DO get what you are saying: you’re not saying anything I haven’t heard before. I simply disagree.
    Respectfully,
    Sam

    (edit: I guess I’ll add that even though I walk in my wife’s reality which is based on her past trauma during childhood, I model a new one without fear and trauma for all the girls, and as they live with me and our son, they are ALL moving toward this one. But I give them the time to do this of their own volition and not because I mandate it as the price to have a relationship with me.)

  • Like it or not, the SO’s, family members and friends have a real stake in this fight, AND we are the first line of defense against more people becoming psychiatric survivors. My wife couldn’t have done it on her own without me and our son when all hell broke loose with her ‘extreme states.’

    But if some want to treat us like second-class citizens based on their own experiences of bad SO’s and family members, that’s rather short sighted. We ought to be reaching out to those who are open to a new way of thinking, and helping them and teaching them, but also recognizing so many of them are dealing with their own demons, too. We should draw the circle large enough by understanding we are ALL in this together against a system that is truly larger than psychiatry or even amoral capitalism, but the culture at large that tries to sweep trauma and abuse under the rug at any cost: psychiatry is just a tool to help them do so.

    My heart is sad every time an SO or family member comes on this site and decries the trauma their loved one has suffered at the hands of the system: we have a number of authors who have done so recently. But to myself I think, “This didn’t have to happen.” And every time I read a story in the news of a cop killing someone in mental distress, I think the same thing. But until the SO’s and family members are viewed as potential allies and given a real voice for their perspective while recognizing their own distresses and issues, this movement will continue to struggle, I believe.

    I think an Open Dialogue kind of model is the way to go the little I know of it because it seems to bring all 3 stakeholders into the equation: sufferers, SO/family members/friends and ‘experts’; not this ‘survivors’ first and foremost mentality.
    Sam

  • Sorry, Rachel, I did NOT mean you as in you personally. I guess I should have used ‘one’ third, person, general, rather than you, 2nd, person, ‘specific.’

    As for d.i.d. being a psych label and rejecting it. Well once again are we ALL going to start from scratch every time we discuss everything? Or are we going to use the common vernacular and go from there?

    I do understand that for those who have had those diagnoses weaponized against them, then they/you see them VERY differently, than my wife and I who see those diagnoses as an ‘aha’ moment. For us it simply told us what we were dealing with, and then we learned, together, how to deal with it from there.
    Sam

  • I’m sorry you can’t see past your own experience Kindredspirit, and clearing NOTHING is going to convince you otherwise. I have no need for my wife’s diagnosis: I’d much prefer a healthy wife, not spending 95% of our private time with ‘littles’ who are starved for the love and attention and affection they never got from their parents the first time around.

    Rachel, my wife refuses to come on these sites because when we first started this journey, she did the whole survivor sites stuff, but they kicked one of the little girls off even though she broke none of the rules and ever since they have all refused to go back. Plus you add to the mix the toxic notions about d.i.d. currently going on in this culture like the movie Switch and its sequel Mr. Glass that just opened in the theaters, and a host of other books that now love to portray people with d.i.d. as some sociopathic, super killer and even cannibal. And there still is the past excesses of the so called experts(!) of the satanic crap that is still in the minds of some like Kindredspirit as if those abuses somehow discredit the entire issue.

    So instead she/they spends her/their time on other sites. We homeschooled our son, and so the two millennials (my fiancée and girlfriend) have an online personality that fits that profile and they spend it trying to help younger wives and single women trapped in pseudo-Christian, patriarchal situations. And from time to time when they can clearly see the signs of d.i.d. in people, they’ll privately reveal their own to them and help shepherd the women, if possible, to more healthy situations.

    Lavendersage, yes, you know that I HATE the language that is in the common vernacular. We’ve had this conversation in the past. If you went on my blog, you’d almost never find it, but here, I realize my story is only partially known, and so we are ALL handicapped by the decision of whether to use the common language that everyone knows even if we disagree with it or go into a long explanation of what I mean. If someone new came on this website and simply heard me talking about my wife, and then in another place I was talking about my fiancée, and then in another my girlfriend, what would they think? That I’m in some kind of open marriage? So we are all constrained to some degree by the common vernacular. And you have to notice my struggle as I’ll often say both, or put alters in quotes, but sometimes my time and space is limited and so I do the best I can. The writers on MIA often express the same struggle. I’m sorry you don’t like it: I really don’t either.
    Sam

  • But the inner circle consists of survivors only. End of story.

    I’ve been thinking about this comment ever since Kindredspirit made it. I know this is the attitude of some on this website, but to see it so bluntly is still painful.

    I’m glad that’s not my wife’s attitude. It’s not mine either. On my blog I likened how her d.i.d. affects our relationship to a prison. She and I are BOTH in that prison room. But she is chained inside the room. For me, the door is open, and I’m free to leave if I want. So many people do leave in this culture. My one brother left his ‘broken’ wife. But there are others who choose every day to stay in that prison room right there with our loved ones, and vow never to leave until we BOTH can leave.

    She and I have been thru hell together. Even our son had to learn to help care for his mother when the others started to join our family. There were panic attacks, night terrors, hypervigilance, flashbacks, ‘alters’ running off for fun and running and hiding in fear, paralyzing fear, triggers galore. My son and I were with her 24/7 for the first couple of years because things were so bad. I had the day ‘shift’ while he was in college at the local branch, and then when I was at work at nights, he took the night shift. But my wife and I did try to shield him from the worst of it, and never asked him to do more than he freely did. We couldn’t have done it without him.

    On top of that things wrecked havoc in our marriage. Many times I wasn’t even allowed to hold my wife’s hand because the new girls were so traumatized and scared of everyone and everything. Real intimacy, emotional, physical and otherwise, were largely gone. But little by little we got thru it. I learned how to help each of them. The newcomers learned they were safe in our house and with me and our son, and slowly each was ‘adopted’ into the family. The lies associated with the trauma began to be undone and slowly we began to dismantle the worst of the dissociation.

    I’m not unusual. I don’t think I’m a martyr or saint: just someone honoring the woman I love and the vows I made and looking for a win/win solution for both of us.

    Your comments are extremely invalidating to those of us who are in this WITH our loved ones. We don’t get paid. And we certainly don’t get validated in this culture of the me-first attitude where many tell me I ought to just leave or take care of myself first as if that’s really an option.

    I’m truly sorry for your personal experience. The little you’ve described elsewhere on this website sounds truly horrible, but not all SO’s are selfish and manipulative. Not all families are of the NAMI kind looking for an excuse to get rid of the ‘problem’ member. And thus the ‘survivors’ are NOT the sum total of those suffering, and until this movement enlarges the circle and recognizes there are others who have just as much of a stake in a solution as the ‘survivors’, I wonder if this movement will ever really gain traction.
    Sam

  • “Nothing about us without us.”

    It’s kind of ironic, but in our experience, it’s been my voice that is overridden at EVERY point by my wife’s healing needs, sigh. Her needs ALWAYS trump my needs and I have the choice to acquiesce or move on, but she’s my one and only…so I stay and fight for a better ending than either of us have had so far. Even our son has become a ‘big brother’ to all the 7 littler girls who joined the family, but at least they do defer to the mother figure when he wants/needs one: I rarely get to have a ‘wife’ anymore…
    Sam

  • Hi Lee,
    my wife has d.i.d. but we were fortunate that she never got sucked up into the system and so her, my and our experience is so radically different than most in her position. We’ve walked the healing journey together the last 11 years, using attachment concepts as the foundation of her healing, but using other things as well like neural plasticity.

    If you are familiar with the show, United States of Tara, our experience is just the opposite of that. ALL the girls (alters) are securely attached to me (got engaged to the first one in December!). Sure there was some chaos in the beginning, but there was a lot of trauma to heal at that point. Now we are dealing mostly with the dissociation, and it’s a lot more difficult to undo, but we are getting there. I have a little blog over on wordpress under this name/Loving My DID Girl(s), but it never gained much traction, and so I’ve kind of let it go dormant for now. Philosophically I agree with much that is on this website, though it’s hard simply because our experience is so different than most here.
    Take care,
    Sam

  • Hi Sara,
    no nothing is wrong with you or anyone who experiences these kinds of things. The picture of the little bunny and fox says so much. I believe many early childhood abuse survivors view themselves thru that kind of a picture, even if their adults selves don’t realize it.

    The ‘nice’ thing about my wife’s d.i.d. is it makes so many things extremely clear. And I still remember the various little girls (alters) telling me how scared each was and how little she felt, and my repeated reply to each was always, “I know you are scared, Honey. But you’re not alone anymore. I’m a big man. I’ve got you now because I take care of my little girls.” And that’s one aspect of how I helped walk my wife thru her paralyzing fear because I inserted myself into her picture of the little bunny and fox until she could see herself with me holding her, and that fox didn’t seem so scary with me in the picture.

    In attachment terms they call it proximity maintenance. Mary Ainsworth had a lot to teach all of us in her strange situation protocols. The experts are (finally) beginning to study how attachment concepts apply throughout our lives and not just when we are little children, but pretty much I applied the majority of those concepts that they have identified, that are necessary to produce securely attached, healthy children, to my wife’s healing, and it’s been a godsend for us. Holding her thru that paralyzing fear that she experienced was just one thing attachment theory taught us.

    I know each of us likes to view these issues thru various prisms like classes, ‘races’ economic structures, etc, but for me I see so much more relevance in the breakdown of family and social structures. There will always be a ruling, oppressive class to some extent: there always has been throughout the history of humankind, but when the family units and social structures are strong, they enable us to faces those adversities because we know that we are never truly alone in them like that little bunny facing the fox: someone actually is holding us and keeping us safe.

    Sam

  • Capitalism is NOT the problem, nor is socialism the answer. The black and white fallacy going around this website gets tiring. You want socialism and to see how destructive it can be, just look south to Venezuela. And the Scandinavian states that everyone on the Left likes to point to are NOT socialist. They simply have a much bigger social, safety net than we do, but most of their industries are privately owned.

    I would argue that Wall Street is much of the problem. It’s completely out of control. I read an interesting op-ed from the Left this past week that explained why OAC’s call for the 70% tax rate on the 1% is based in the history of this country, and has some good reasons for it. If I remember my history correctly, CEO’s in the 70’s made something like 60x’s the average worker, now it’s more like 400+. That’s immoral. But it’s just as immoral when I went to St. Martinique last Fall, a socialist paradise under the rule of France, and more than 40% of the populace doesn’t work because of their brand of socialism.

    So, no, I don’t agree that capitalism is the problem. I believe an a-moral and unfettered capitalism is the problem. But on a similar note, I believe socialism could work under the right conditions, too, but certainly not one like we see in Venezuela or even more benignly in St. Martinique were laziness and sloth are tolerated.

    Let’s talk about social nets. Let’s also discuss the value of work, even if it’s not one’s dream job. I have a college education but have worked in a factory for 25 years. I never would have chosen this, and I still hope to leave and do what is in my heart when my wife is in a better position, but this job has enabled me to raise our son and take care of my family, and for that I’m thankful.
    Sam

  • Hi Sera,
    are you just venting or looking for solutions? Not blaming you if you are just venting. I know Will Hall vents here sometimes, too, on the lack of progress.

    I’ve often wondered what it would take to change things. My own failed attempt on my little blog to connect with other SO’s only left me with wondering what I did wrong, wondering if my wife had simply been willing to join me, would others have listened then? Wondering if I had just found the right ‘benefactor’ would that have enlarged my voice and audience? Wondering if I could get out the ‘love-story’ between me and all my wife’s ‘alters’ (I just got engaged to the first new girl. I’m pre-engaged to another. A third has expressed interest in doing so, and all the other little ones are deeply in love with me as a daddy figure: and it’s mutual on my side), would that bypass people’s defenses and apathy and make them willing to listen?

    But, alas, I have no answers; just sadness that I failed and no matter how many times I’ve begged my wife (all of them) to join me and see if that changed the dynamics, she is terrified of the stigma this culture has about d.i.d. (thank you, Switch, et al, sigh).
    Sam 🙁

  • “They were pointing out the contradictions in your posts for others’ benefit.”

    You have framed that negatively. I choose to see it as Shaun F. struggling with new concepts within his old framework. And this website can give him the space and friendly people to help him as he grasps these new ideas and how to work them out practically in his life, or we can be pissy with him for ‘contradicting himself.” He has already shown himself open to new ideas and being ‘nudged’ in a direction that most of us would agree is better, but it’s a BIG deal to him. His way of life is on the line, and for anyone to act like it’s not a big deal is showing a total lack of empathy. I’d rather see him struggle with ideas and concepts and really embrace things as ‘his’ rather that people just bully him into something or put him down for ‘contradicting himself’…

  • Hi Shaun F,
    I know you take a lot of flak on this website, but I think you are asking some of the right questions, and realizing there’s more to things than simply rebelling against ‘the system’. I’m sorry I don’t seem able to convey what my wife and I have learned. It seems you get hung up on her ‘extreme dissociation’ rather than understanding that we are ALL in the same boat; she just happens to be further along the spectrum than most, but NOT by any means the worst.

    Her experience has taught me so much about how I function because I don’t view her in a different category from me. When we first started this journey, she repeatedly told me, “I don’t know what ‘healthy’ looks like, and so it forced me to become as healthy as I could so I could be a good example for her., and yet having distinct ‘alters’ allowed me/us to dissect the issues of trauma and dissociation and neural atrophy and attachment systems, etc in a way that would have been otherwise impossible if I’d had to figure it out using my own experience or others not so far along on the spectrum.
    Sam

  • Shaun F,
    I had hoped to build some dialogue with you up above, so maybe that means you aren’t interested in my experience with my wife and I’ll stay out if you want me to do so.

    Yes, it is about ‘brain wiring’. The trauma causes dissociation. Dissociation over time then causes neural atrophy. But even once the trauma is addressed and ‘healed’, the neural atrophy is still there. THAT is why I consider the dissociation worse than the trauma because it has taken me years to help my wife thru her various alters reinvigorate all those neural pathways that had atrophied to nearly non-existence. I promote lots of tasks that help them learn to work ‘together’.

    But beyond that the dissociation also splits up the brain/mind’s traits/abilities and one alter may control the trait/ability that another needs to address other aspects of an issue she is struggling with. Say for instance eating issues (‘disorders’). One girl struggles greatly with her poor body image even though my wife has a 5’6″ frame and only weighs 127lbs. Well the other girls have a really GOOD body image. One girl told me, “I look damn good for 50!” But connecting her good self image to the girl with the bad self image takes time and reinvigorating those neural pathways and teaching them how to do it.

    Trauma and dissociation and neural wiring and all that are all interwoven but they are not the same and they effect issues differently…
    Sam

  • Dissassociation isn’t the real damage to the brain…it is trauma and will always be trauma. The interesting thing is that we all react differently to trauma.

    Hi Shaun F.
    I do understand why you would feel that way. In the d.i.d. world, most people do everything they possibly can to avoid dissociating. They treat it like the plague and as a result only 6% of the cases are ‘florid’ where you could actually meet the individual alters. So most of the common and expert literature view things like you do and don’t really understand that the trauma and the resultant dissociation have VERY different roles and effects upon a person’s brain/mind.

    But my wife and I have welcomed and lived in ‘the dissociation’ for the last 11 years. We’ve embraced it, and it helped me see that the two really are different and cause different issues even though the trauma causes the dissociation initially.

    The dissociation is far more destructive and difficult to undo than the original trauma and causes so many things that most people simply don’t understand because they never get to see it close up AND differentiated from the trauma. I realize I can’t possibly relay all I’ve learned in the confines of the comment section here, but maybe some day I’ll have the chance to do it more publicly.
    Sam

  • Shaun F,
    now you’re talking my language, but I’m not sure I would say one’s dissociated brain/mind is ‘damaged’ unless you qualify it to mean fundamentally a different kind of damage than what the biochemical people mean.

    If you want to assert that the ‘damage’ is similar as when one breaks one’s leg or other part of the body, then I think the analogy can be useful as I just used that analogy on another thread on MIA to try to explain how dissociation works in ‘psychosis’.

    Dissociation does ‘damage’ the brain/mind in that just like a broken bone, we will stop using that appendage until it is healed. And just like broken bones that don’t heal, then other parts of the body are stressed because they try to take over for the part that isn’t healed, and so there becomes stress throughout the system and everything begins to break down some especially if the environment is hostile.

    In a similar manner, when trauma, that is not healed and assimilated into one’s narrative, causes dissociation, the brain/mind begins to do ‘work-arounds’ in the neural pathways that it must take to maintain general functioning, but it also begins to lose access to traits and abilities where the dissociated memories are stored (I mentioned that to you personally in another thread but can’t remember where right now).

    But thanks to what we know about neural plasticity, that damage is NOT permanent. Heal the trauma, and then, with help, the dissociation can start to be dismantled, but it’s a lot more work than those in ISSTD understand since they never get full access to the person’s system like a primary attachment figure/SO can have if s/he works to have it. Two of my wife’s littles helped me understand the key to undoing the dissociation when we began to redraw their inner working model (attachment theory).

    So like you, I do believe in ‘damage’ if one qualifies it and differentiates it from the unchangeable, organic damage that the biochemical model espouses. And we shouldn’t get hung up on my wife’s ‘extreme’ dissociation. We all fall on that spectrum somewhere and learning to help her taught me how to deal with my own: my issues just weren’t as complicated.
    Sam

  • “I will start bawling like it just happened yesterday. I don’t escape intensity of pain over time. It feels like it will never stop hurting.”

    I understand that’s how it feels, but I assure you, with your husband’s help, you CAN heal and move on from the past. But it takes a willingness to eschew this culture’s infatuation with ‘independence.’ My wife and I have created a relationship of interdependence and all our points of ‘attachment’ that we have deliberately made strengthen her and help her heal, but they help me, too. No one is above needing another’s help and strength.

  • Abrianna,
    would your husband want me to help him learn to help you like I did for my wife? You don’t need to be trapped in the past trauma for the rest of your life, and he can expedite the healing once he understands how. Just have him shoot me an email. It’s just samruck2 at gmail dot com
    Sam

  • Just be careful, Abrianna, when you seek out help. One would think that PTSD would be seen through the trauma paradigm of mental health rather than the biochemical model, and yet I got run off a ptsd site because I suggested PTSD can be completely healed if the traumatic memories are healed. Most there push the meds and their absolute belief that PTSD is a brain disorder.

    And I only share that to make sure you are careful if you seek out expert help. Most of my wife’s PTSD symptoms are gone at this point because I learned how to apply the attachment principles of proximity maintenance, affect regulation and safe haven when she was experiencing them and little by little I got her thru them. In a nutshell, I just treated her like anyone wants to be treated when they are scared: I stayed close by, I allowed my calm demeanor to affect her feelings and I physically ‘enveloped’ her as I reminded her, “you are ok, now. I’ve got you. I’m sorry no one took care of you then: but I’ve got you now, and I take care of my girl.” (most of the ‘alters’ front as little girls) Yes, the PTSD seems to make people want to flee, but I was a ‘gentle burr’ that stuck with my wife, not overwhelming her, but just staying close so that she could feel my presence, and that’s what our brains need, that feeling of NOT BEING ALONE so that they can begin to process the trauma and move on.

    And I am sorry your current residence triggers you so much. Is there any possibility of finding a new place? It’s hard to heal when you can never relax…at the same point, when my wife was triggered was when I learned to walk her thru the triggers and diminished their impact on her.

    I do wish you and your husband well.
    Sam

  • Hi Abrianna,
    well you put so much in that comment. I can’t possibly comment on it all, but maybe I can hit a few points, and just a disclaimer: what I share is based on my wife’s experience and my experience helping her thru these things. Others may experience it differently and my generalizations are just that…

    I do believe traumatic experiences can ‘alter’ the brain, but it’s not permanent thanks to neural plasticity. I think just like when we hurt our leg and arm, we protect it until it is healed. The brain/mind does the same with traumatic memories: until they can be ‘healed, that is understood and assimilated into one’s overall narrative, they will be ‘quarantined’ (or dissociated). The longer the quarantine the longer the brain has to do ‘work arounds’ because those memories take ‘storage space’ often associated with personality traits and mental abilities. Moreover, those quarantines are set at the time of the memories and so they stay ‘in the past.’ And so, my guess, the brain scans show parts of the brain under ‘quarantine’ and not accessible as much.

    But our brain/mind doesn’t like quarantine: it seeks wholeness and so sometimes it will try to force those traumatic memories back into the general narrative of the person: that’s where you get the flashbacks, panic attacks, ‘psychosis’ and such. And I believe what is happening is an overlaying of past trauma to current reality which is why they feel so disorienting. Add to that the fact that so much trauma happened during childhood when we were highly symbolic and so to the outside person and the adult sufferer this all seems gibberish, but it was the best the child’s mind could do under traumatic circumstances without the aid of caring and protecting adults.

    That’s where I or your husband can come in. When my wife was being assaulted by panic attacks, flashbacks, attachment theory teaches us that I can be a ‘safe haven’ and so I (literally) enveloped my wife like a harbor does a ship and I learned to calm her during those attacks: my presence gave her brain/mind the extra strength it needed to realize they were memories from the past, and little by little I helped her assimilate them into her current narrative and now it’s been years since she’s experience any of the worst of that stuff…but the time warp experience is still pretty heavy for the various girls (‘alters’). After 40-50 years of complete quarantine (dissociation) it’s hard to adjust to their new life in the present…but it comes little by little and I just walk with each where she is. I don’t force it, but I also make it clear that I hope some day they will ‘grow up’ and be willing to marry me, and in December the first one and I were engaged.

    Anyway, that’s my layman’s explanation of what is going on. I really don’t believe in ‘psychosis’, and until I got on this website, I wasn’t used to the term and had to look it up to even see what everyone meant. To me ‘psychosis’ is simply what happens when a memory that is grounded in the past overlaps current reality, and the memory is so strong that it becomes disorienting to the person.

    Now let me qualify this: my wife NEVER had any psych drugs. So everything I’ve said does NOT take into account any of the effects of those mind-altering drugs. But without drugs in the picture, that is how I would describe what my wife experienced and how I helped her thru much of it.

    I do wish you well. Check out some of the sites that MIA lists, that will help you taper off the drugs. And hopefully your husband can continue to be a ‘safe haven’ and help you not feel so disoriented during the psychosis while your brain/mind is trying to assimilate the memories from the past. For my wife at this point, the last girl (alter) is still disconnected to the other 7, so when she switches out with any of the others, they simply ask me what’s going on/what they’ve missed and we go on: no big deal. I’m kind of their anchor that keeps them grounded, and your husband can learn to be the same for you.
    Sam

  • Madmom,

    Are you talking for yourself or just in general? I don’t know if you would accept any help from me, but I’ve had experience with my wife’s ‘voices’ for the last 11 years: how to engage and interact with them. I really don’t think someone needs an expensive class to do it, (sorry Sera) and I’d be happy to get you started. I think you would find it easier than you realize once you got going.
    Sam

  • Sandra,
    may I suggest you widen that scope? There are those of us who have had to learn how to walk a spouse through all those ‘extreme states’, how to pull my wife out of a catatonic state, how to pull her out of panic attacks, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, etc. Moreover, we are the ones who must securely attach someone whose attachment systems are completely broken down. We’re in the trenches 24/7. I don’t denigrate your experience or the ‘sufferers’, but we SO’s are in a unique position as well. I know that OD recognizes this to some degree, but your statement makes me wonder to what degree…
    Sam

  • Yes, some of us can see that, Abrianna. When any of us get attacked, it’s so hard NOT to go on the defensive. I wish we weren’t ‘wired’ that way, but it seems like it’s kind of a default mode that takes a lot of work to overcome, and from the state of our entire country, I’d say not many have made the effort…

  • Thanks for sharing more, Abrianna,
    I’m glad your husband is so supportive, and it sounds like he’s doing the EXACT right thing for you. It’s almost exactly how I’ve treated my wife’s various ‘alters’ (gag) when they share their fears with me. I can either validate the girls, take the fears seriously and help the girls thru the fears…or I can deny their fears and the girls simply hang onto those fears more tightly because ‘no one is listening.’ The former always works better than the latter, and yet so many take the latter route…
    Sam

  • “That being said, it is acceptable for people not to appreciate certain aspects of an author’s blog and to say so in the comments section, as long as the comments themselves are within the guidelines. I know this can be tough for authors, but it is a reality that has to be respected if we are to have any kind of meaningful conversation about these topics. It is a balance that has to be struck, and the guidelines are the best way I think we have to strike such a balance.”

    I don’t know, Steve, There’s got to be a better way. I’ve watched a number of authors get run off because they used the common vernacular and still retained at least part of the common mindset on this subject of mental health, and yet the staff clearly thought they had a story worth telling. It takes most people a while to learn there’s a new way to look at mental health issues: how we view it, talk about it, etc. We can’t just assume these authors are going to get it all right the first time unless there’s a LOT of heavy coaching and editing by the staff to help them.

    To take the attitude that ‘it can be tough for authors’ means we continue to lose allies for no other reason than to allow the survivors to treat the authors in a manner that I bet they never treat anyone in real life. That’s not ‘giving them a voice’: it’s just giving them a pass to be disrespectful because of their past history of abuse. If we’d just been willing to teach the authors a little and work with them as they learned new ways to think and speak of this subject, they might stick around.

    Abrianna is clearly an intelligent, articulate and studious young lady: she could end up being a great ‘point of light’ in this fight. And yet she was just as traumatized by this experience as kindredspirit and others, and this is NOT just because ‘you failed’ (in your own words) on this one, individual thread. I’ve watched this happen repeatedly even before you took over as moderator. I sincerely hope you all can figure out a better way to do this: one that respects everyone and yet gives everyone time and space to grow and learn.
    Sam

  • Every time MIA invites an author to share his/her story, and he/she doesn’t use the ‘correct’ terminology or show the correct ‘attitude’ and perspective as defined by those on MIA, (and which I largely agree with!), then that author gets mercilessly attacked for his/her ignorance instead of trying to use that as a teachable moment. I DO understand that the survivors are triggered and quite naturally responding to the kind of language and attitudes that were used to dehumanize and traumatize them, but how will MIA ever expand the tent if it allows these authors to repeatedly get attacked in such a manner?
    Sam

  • Not everyone hates you, Abrianna. I am truly sorry for the reception you got. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I wish MIA could figure this out. I hate to see everyone upset instead of finding our common ground to fight the real problems and issues.
    Sam

  • Abrianna,
    I didn’t say you were judging her, and I am sorry she was violent toward you. I wasn’t calling you out on that. That was more for the other survivors to clarify that I understood their position and why they are upset.

    But to you, I do hope you will stick around despite how you’ve been treated by some here and try to see what MIA is all about. It’s got a very different perspective than what you appear to be familiar with. We try to see past labels, diagnoses, and even actions and understand the ‘why’ people act the way they do, though you’ll see inconsistencies just because it’s hard to talk about things without a common language, and that language has, unfortunately, been shaped by the current cultural narrative on mental health/illness.

    Sam

  • Hello Abrianna,

    I’m sorry you were received so poorly at this website. I do agree with Oldhead and some of the others that you were kind of set up to fail which is unfortunate.

    I think I can see through many of the statements you made that others found triggering since I’ve never been diagnosed or labeled by the mental health industry, but I admit even I was triggered a little when you described your experience of one person with multiple personality disorder…because my wife has d.i.d. and 11 years later I’ve yet to see her psychotic or dangerous: just traumatized and kind of in a ‘time-warp’ (to make it easy to understand).

    It is clear that you have tried to read up on this issue; sadly there just isn’t a lot of alternatives to the information you have read. I don’t know if you would consider staying and trying to learn why others found your statements so upsetting. There is good information here and it might lead you to other sites as well.
    Wishing you well,
    Sam

  • Shaun F,
    I know you didn’t direct your last comment to me, but it made me think about all the changes I had to go thru to become a good healing partner for my wife. It seemed like the biggest hindrance was how I was raised to believe. When those beliefs just didn’t work out in the real world, the cognitive dissonance began to grow until it got so massive that I couldn’t ignore the warring thoughts in my head.

    I had to break a number of cardinal beliefs of mine to become a better partner for my wife, but in the end I had decided which was my ‘supreme belief’ and so those cardinal beliefs were expendable.

    I guess all that to say I wasn’t open to major change until I had a crisis: my wife’s d.i.d. overwhelming both of us, and much of what I believed was a hindrance to what we needed to make it thru the journey.

    I think most people are the same and they will NEVER examine the cognitive dissonance between what they were taught, e.g. the biochemical model, and real life until there is a major crisis. And sadly, I’ve seen most people in my little sphere bend reality to their beliefs rather than the other way around.
    Sam

  • No, John, that was definitely NOT my intention. I’m sorry it felt that way to you. I was trying to express empathy, that for most of the last 10 years I have been treated EXACTLY the way you have, and how deeply painful it is to be ignored and blown off and treated like I didn’t matter. I guess I shouldn’t have shared this current experience with you: it wasn’t to make you feel badly, but to express my incredulity that I happened upon one person who treated me differently than the rest.
    Sam

  • John,
    I share your same frustration, and yet, to be fair I’m sure the more widely known a person is the more emails he or she gets. I can’t even imagine the amount of emails one must get who has a global reach: there’s simply no way they could respond to all of them.

    I have recently been in contact with someone whose reach is pretty large, and I’m blown away that this person has repeatedly written me thoughtful and gracious letters. He is literally the ONLY person I’ve ever contacted to do so. Sometimes it’s almost brought me to tears after a decade of being ignored and belittled in my attempts to change the conversation how we SO’s can get involved in the healing process of our loved ones.

    So I do share your frustration and angst, but I’m not sure how anyone ‘of note’ fixes the issue in the age of email.
    Sam

  • Rachel,
    thanks again. I try to remember the dynamics going on here, but it is hard when I’m hurting as well. I remember when my wife and I first started down this path and her ‘defender’ joined us, filled with vitriol toward me. Admittedly, I had done some things over the course of our first 20 years that had contributed to her vitriol, but I also realized that I was a convenient figure for her to vent her anger from the original abuse. But at least she and I had a relationship, and as I allowed her to vent all that anger on me, in time, it dissipated and now that ‘alter’ and I just got engaged in December (10 years later).

    But I know there is little hope of me overcoming the anger of many who were wronged on this website because we simply have no relationship other than the words we see on our screens…

    As for your parents and other SO’s, my heart goes out to them. Many of them aren’t trying to be ‘evil’ but the system is set up against them as much as it was you, and my wife and others in mental distress. I believe there are many out there who wouldn’t shove their loved ones into the ‘system’ if they knew there was a viable alternative, but helping them learn there is an alternative is the problem and Open Dialogue and Soteria just aren’t widely available. And it’s not easy the path my little family took, especially when the system waves magic pills in front of them and says these will take care of all their problems…
    Sam

  • I guess as I re-read what I wrote, maybe I should clarify to the survivors on this site because of comments directed toward me recently, that I never manipulated or coerced my wife. She was the one who asked me to engage the others, and then they ALL begged me NOT to read the literature that was available on d.i.d. because they were afraid I would stop loving them and engaging them, and so I obliged them until much later when I had seen such good results for us and knew I wouldn’t be influenced to change the methodology we were using….and it was only then that I realized how radically different we were doing things than most people.
    Sam

  • Steve and Shaun F,

    when my wife and I first started our journey into her world of d.i.d. I was told exactly that: if I engaged the ‘voices’ I would strengthen them. And to a degree that is true. By engaging each girl/voice/alter, I validated her. Unlike most d.i.d. cases, I encouraged my wife’s to become ‘florid’ by our complete acceptance of the girls/voices/alters in our marriage and family.

    But in doing so, this gave me a much deeper access into the various ‘compartments’ of my wife’s personality and her memories. It allowed me to directly access the various memories and the lies associated with the abuse and begin to disentangle them and undo them. Once I helped each girl/voice/alter heal the trauma and securely attach to me, that seemed to propel her ability to begin the integration process with the others in the group..and so we came full circle. By validating the voices, we did enter a period of deeper division, but once the healing was mostly done, it seemed to allow them a MUCH deeper re-integration than much of what one would read is possible in the professional literature.

    But, Shaun F, let me assure you that there is MUCH more than just emotions behind the voices. The designations of ANP and EP are grossly simplistic. Each girl in my wife’s system seemed to control various personality traits and mental abilities that I had never or rarely seen in my wife. And as the healing and integration continued, these were unleashed and my wife’s overall personality began to radically, and beautifully, change.

    Sam

  • Dr. Breggin,

    I cannot understate the role of unconditional love as my wife has healed from early childhood trauma, and yet to say that ‘all you need is love’ (cue the Beatles) would be a vast over simplification. Early childhood trauma, at least in my wife, including neglectful parents and abuse from someone outside the family filled my wife with all kinds of lies that she believed about herself: I’m unlovable, I belong to my abuser; if my own parents don’t love me, how will anyone else; I deserved this, this happened because I’m bad, etc, etc. As well it has kept her brain in trauma mode (hyper-vigilance and fearful) for nearly 50 years. It has taken us more than a decade to unpack each of these lies. I had to be willing to say and do whatever it takes, 100’s of times to help her unlearn those messages and learn new thought patterns. We still don’t have the fear-factor completely turned off, and the issues caused by the dissociation which create neural plasticity issues are labyrinthine to put it mildly. It’s simply not a quick or easy fix that she could ‘choose’ to let love wash away.

    Again, unconditional love is important. My wife had to know that I was in this for the long haul, that I would continue to love her no matter her response or lack of response to me, no matter the hardships we went thru. But it’s the kind of love that is far more than just the giddy feelings of being ‘in love.’ It’s the love that says I will go thru hell with you and back no matter how much we both hurt.
    Yours,
    Sam

  • Thanks, Rachel,
    I do understand the dynamics going on and how many SO’s are abusive and destructive. I had a ton of change to do myself before I really became helpful and healing for my wife.

    And as sad as it is, I do think you are right that since I’m seen as ‘normal’ maybe some people will listen to me who wouldn’t listen to my wife. And yet, the enmeshment and co-dependent charges come up enough against me, that I realize most figure if I don’t see something ‘wrong’ with my wife, then there MUST be something wrong with me, sigh. Even my wife will say there’s something wrong with me since I don’t see her like the rest of the culture does. 🙁
    Sam

  • Steve,
    I have tried, but I’m not going to beg or scream if I don’t get a response. And I also clarified that I understand the staff’s right to do whatever it pleases, even if I do believe we SO’s hold a crucial key in this fight against the predominant way of doing things…how to empower those people who are in the best position to help someone who is in mental distress…In the end I’ve been told this site is for therapists and survivors: me wishing to be part of the solution isn’t going to change that.
    Sam

  • KindredSpirit,
    Again, I’m a trigger to you: you aren’t reacting to me, but to your experience with your SO and then transferring that experience onto everything that I post.

    I’ve got an entire blog of specifics if you care, but I try not to use this website as a platform to pull others over there: I really have kind of let that blog die as the world doesn’t seem interested in anything other than their magic pills. It’s hard work to do what I do to help my wife heal. And our 27-year old son is doing just fine: he has his parents and the ‘alters’ have always deferred to the ‘mother’ figure anytime he wanted her, but in the end they ALL are part of his mother and my wife.

    As for their integration it goes on every single day as I live and interact with each of them, as I help them rewrite their ‘inner working model’ so that internally they view themselves as interconnected. They are more integrated than the pseudo integration that ISSTD fosters, where it FORCES the issue. My wife’s ‘alters’ are being drawn together despite themselves, because as I help them release the pain and trauma of the past, I believe her mind is reaching to be whole and united.

    As far as enmeshment…well I think that charge comes from a culture that is toxically independent and hyper-individualized. I am securely attached to each girl, and that’s all. In a few weeks she’ll fly out to Boston to be with our son for a week as she does a few times a year, and she has her own women’s things that all the girls enjoy going to, and last summer she was gone a couple of weeks. I missed her, of course, but we made it just fine.

    Yes, I’m aware that there is a group of people that hate me on this website and think I only come on here to praise myself, which is why I go back and forth between interacting and withdrawing. Maybe it’s time to withdraw again, I get tired of there being no place on the entire internet for us SO’s who haven’t drunk the biomedical model koolaid, and this is the closest I have found, but enough of the survivors have made it clear they distain me and so I try to keep my distance until my loneliness overwhelms my care about being repeatedly attacked…and then I try again…only for it to happen again.

    I am truly sorry for your experience, but your experience is NOT ours.
    Sam

  • Steve,
    you are coming at things from a very different perspective than I. I understand you and others here have seen a LOT of coercion, and so you default there, and insist on the patient’s rights and autonomy. But I come at it from a couple’s perspective, an attachment perspective, where my wife and I are ‘in this together.’ Sure, ultimately, she decides whether the things I do are helpful or not, but after watching her for 30 years and more so these last 11, interacting with her, carrying her thru many things (at times even literally), I’ve learned that I can set the environment of our relationship to be healing in ways she doesn’t always understand, but she benefits from them anyway. We’re in this together. We walk side by side. Sometimes I do, indeed, lead. Other times she leads. But neither of us are our own little island of autonomy. That’s back to the toxic individualism that others were talking about on another thread recently.
    Sam

  • JClaude,
    I don’t think I’m a scapegoat: I’m a trigger. Helping my wife I learned we all get triggered. There are good triggers and bad triggers. Good ones, like a certain smell or song, can trigger happy memories, but bad triggers throw a person back into a traumatic one. And sadly too many family members are the cause of the trauma in our lives, and so I understand that I’m lumped in with the bad family members for too many people.

    Heck, even in the d.i.d. world there aren’t many of us SO’s who welcome the ‘alters’ into the marriage and family with open arms like I have. Too many reject the ‘alters’ like United States of Tara showcased. It was sad that show was made under the supervision of one of the best known d.i.d. therapists in the world, and yet almost everything they did on that show, in my opinion, was the exact opposite of how they should have done things. So I do understand how much skepticism I’m met with…it’s just sad because I really do like the philosophy of MIA and think we SO’s are a key piece of the puzzle to fight this scourge of forced hospitalizations.

    A case in point, is a new commenter (Robert) over on Sera Davidow’s old blog about NAMI. He didn’t know where else to turn living out in Iowa, and NAMI was there. My little blog is about empowering SO’s and parents to realized they can do things to help and stabilize their loved one that NO one else in the world can do, not even the drugs. I walked my wife thru her self harm issues, her panic attacks, her flash backs, when she went comatose on me…I figured out how to help her using attachments concepts to such a degree that she has completely healed and those things haven’t been a part of our journey for years now.
    Sam

  • HelpStillNeeded,

    Sadly I’m a huge trigger issue for too many of the patients, victims, etc here on MIA. I’m seen as speaking ‘for’ my wife, rather than speaking ‘to’ other SO’s and sharing all the things I’ve learned from my wife and from our journey together. That’s the entire point of my blog: to empower other SO’s to take the lead in their loved one’s healing. I’m not anti-therapist, but I learned very quickly that NO therapist can be in the trenches 24/7 like we SO’s are, and so it’s not even appropriate to expect them to do what i had to learn to do to keep my wife OUT of the hospitals and OFF the drugs. But I have no interest in causing dissension. MIA isn’t my website, and the staff are at liberty to pick and choose whom they will give a voice. At least they haven’t run me off like so many of the other websites who espouse the biomedical model. Philosophically, I am naturally aligned with MIA.
    Sam

  • Hi RobertJ,

    there is an alternative to NAMI, but I had to figure it out on my own (and then later I came to this website and they have pointed to a couple other alternatives, but with very limited availability). I’m so sorry for your struggles: I do understand them very much so. When my wife first started going thru things, I was completely overwhelmed: physically and emotionally. I was just lucky that my background was such that I didn’t look ‘outside’ very hard and we had a decent alternative counselor (theophostics) to help us until I got my head screwed on right and figured out how to help my wife. I try NOT to push my blog much over here, and I’ve kind of let it die anyway: just wasn’t enough interest in it from others. But I tried to outline some of the basics of how I used attachment theory and neural plasticity to help my wife overcome her deep, childhood trauma. You can look me up on wordpress if you have interest. No matter what, I wish you well and I’m sorry for your distress.
    Sam

  • Honest question,

    for all of you who are anti-psychiatry. Does that include anti-psychology? Or is that viewed totally separate? I never seem to know based on the comments. Any who follow my comments know I’m a HUGE believer in attachment theory, but maybe that’s seen as good psychology and not in the domain of psychiatry….
    Thanks for any clarification…
    Sam

  • Respectfully, but my wife’s diagnoses of d.i.d. was the BEST thing that ever happened for our marriage. For 20 years we struggled…there was constant tension, and more arguments than I wish. But when it was suggested she ‘might’ have d.i.d. it was a eureka moment for me, and it finally gave me a place to start.

    That’s the problem with the anti-psychiatry position in my opinion: it wants to completely eradicate everything without any kind of thought. Tear it down: burn it down! But it’s not all wrong. My wife’s diagnosis saved our marriage. Sure, we didn’t take the ‘approved’ route to help her heal, and NO drugs, thank God! but without that diagnosis we’d still be wondering what the hell was wrong when we both, clearly, loved each other…

  • Hello, Ekaterina,

    I’ve been thinking about this article since I read it yesterday. You and I have very different philosophical approaches to this subject, and so I don’t want to get sidetracked too much by that. My wife has d.i.d., and I never saw her as crazy or mad or delusional or psychotic. I find those terms more to show the ignorance of the user than offering any insight into the person. Once I entered the world of the 8 girls (alters) and learned to see things from their perspective, most made sense, even the ‘extreme’ stuff. I came to understand that most of their ‘world’ was frozen in time, created by the original trauma. So they were kind of in a time-warp so to speak and there was nothing ‘psychotic’ or ‘delusional’ about their perspective once I adjusted for that. And so I decided to walk with them wherever each girl was/is, and little by little she decided she liked her new world and life with me and our son better than that old, scary and lonely one…and that’s where the healing began.

    All that to say…I do appreciate your sense of wonder and mystery. If I had taken the typical route and labeled my wife with those kinds of terms and drugged her rather than walk with her thru all the stuff that came along on this journey, I would have missed so much. I’ve always felt like I had the privilege of watching a star be born as each of the 7 new girls joined me outside, securely attached to me, began to shed her chains to the past, trauma-formed world she had known, and then began to stretch her wings and start to fly in this new life she found with me and our son.

    Having read the majority experience on this site, I am so glad my wife was never trapped in that, or I would have missed the amazing, though difficult, journey with her.

    Yours,
    Sam

  • If you ever get where that doesn’t work, the option we took was I validated the angry voices, understanding that much of their anger was based on past wrongs and trauma, and then slowly I helped them to see that today was no longer the same as in the past. But I also had to take responsibility for the anger I had caused the first 20 years of our marriage, much of it in ignorance, because I didn’t understand what was going on.

    It’s a two-step process, but worked well for us. In fact the angriest of all (my wife’s defender) who vehemently hated me when she first joined our family, she and I recently got engaged after a long pre-engagement.

  • I do wonder if a better way to teach others empathy for hearing ‘voices’ is to help people see the similarities in their own internal communications. Like I said before, after watching the 8 girls in my wife’s system interact and helping them to heal and dealing with lies associated with the original trauma and oft repeated things, I began to wonder if my own internal communication was just a milder version of what she/they were experiencing. I also wondered if the dissociation was a factor for my wife: that as the dissociative walls began to come down, new areas of her mind began to release ‘pent up’ memories and associated words, sounds and such and these would feel very foreign to her at first until she began to accept them as part of her larger self.

    idk…watching her taught me to learn to listen to myself better and recognize and validate those things that I had previously ignored for a variety of reasons…maybe this makes no sense to anyone else, but it seemed to help me empathize with her and listen to myself better…a win/win

  • “We’re all single, no matter who we live or sleep with, and we all die alone. ”

    I’m sorry that’s the world you live in. People who are securely attached are never alone. It really has nothing to do with being single or married because it OUGHT to be done during childhood, but I understand that so many parents are effed up that many people aren’t securely attached when they get to adulthood. And so once that opportunity is missed in childhood, typically, an SO is the only other ‘primary attachment figure’ that any of us will have, and they are really the only ones with the ability to address those issues later in life like I learned to do for my wife…but who gets taught this stuff? Certainly I didn’t: it was a big learning curve so that I could do what my wife needed done to help her heal.
    Sam

  • I’m still learning, Sera. Until I came to MIA 2 years ago, my wife, son and I operated in a little bubble completely outside the system and the only contact I had with others was thru my little blog. We had no idea, other than thru TV and Hollywood (and I discounted those portrayals), that people with mental health issues were treated so inhumanely, because I NEVER treated my wife that way. And so I accept what you all (from the system and mistreated by family) say, but it’s just beyond me because despite all the issues the trauma causes our marriage, we have walked this journey TOGETHER and I have viewed ‘her issues’ as ‘our issues’ to be overcome together.
    Take care,
    Sam

  • Hi Sera,

    perhaps ‘peer’ isn’t the correct word for me. Typically I refer to myself as my wife’s healing partner, but I’m also her primary attachment figure (as she is mine) and a host of other things. I do understand the fear of NAMI on this site, but me saying a 1000 times “I’m not like that” isn’t going to convince anyone of anything, and I don’t expect people to read thru my blog to see otherwise. I do understand ‘power dynamics’ but our marriage couldn’t be more egalitarian, and I learned VERY quickly that even my suggestions had to be couched very careful in non-coercive terms so that everything, ultimately, was 100% her choice.

  • Hi Rachel,

    it’s not about ‘lumping’ people into arbitrary categorizations. I agree that being married doesn’t make a person mature/loving/sacrificing nor does being single make a person the opposite. Attachment theory, (and it is one of the most deeply verified theories out there AND one of the easiest to see in action for the doubters of anything by the ‘experts’), is about how humans (and many other of the higher animals) are wired to support each other. Yes, that support can be done in a group or community to an extent. That used to be more true of our own culture until modernity fractured our families and communities. But a communal life still can’t fulfill the deepest needs of our attachment ‘wiring’ for lack of a better word.

    I’m sorry that your father would say such an ugly, simplistic and untrue thing to you. For myself, I didn’t really understand a lot of this until my wife’s d.i.d. crashed unto us 11 years ago, and I was forced to grow up and get educated or we would NOT have survived because she simply was NOT in a place for about 5 years to be much of a spouse for me, and even now the ‘littles’ have limited most of our adult connection (not just sex) for nearly the entire time. But using attachment principles, I learned to weave our lives together to hold BOTH of us together thru the needs her past trauma has forced onto our relationship.

    Sam

  • Hi Sera

    our son lives in Waltham. Sometimes I wish I could swing by and meet you and we could find a point of collaboration. We may not see everything identically, but I appreciate much of what you have to say. I keep hoping some day to find someone who realizes we SO’s hold a vital part of the key to changing this battle of perspective and also keeping our loved ones out of the system…when we know what is needed…I keep hoping to empower other SO’s to understand they don’t need an ‘expert’ do the overwhelming majority of things our loved ones need to feel safe, loved and begin to heal.

    For me, I never saw my wife as crazy, but she always said that just meant I was weird and not normal like most people, lol. I guess that’s a good thing. But after living 11 years with her florid d.i.d., I realized that there really is very little that is different between me and her…just a matter of degrees mostly, and in fact, I learned a lot about myself by observing how the various girls interacted. Even the ‘extreme’ states associated with d.i.d. really don’t seem that extreme nor that far out of my own experience once I began to look for points of similarity.

    Take care,
    Sam

  • Hi Rachel,
    it makes me cringe to hear you use the ‘monster’ word. My wife once used the same word about herself despite the fact that neither I nor our son ever treated her that way. I hate this culture that stigmatizes because of its ignorance.

    I wish you well and I hope some day you are pleasantly surprised that there is a man out there who neither sees you as crazy nor a monster because that’s true of how I see my wife…and honestly all of you who struggle with the fallout from trauma.
    Sam

  • Hi Plebtocracy,

    I’m sorry for using initials…it just means ‘significant other’. I try to use that term since we seem to be in a post-marriage age, and I try to be as inclusive as possible…though the lack of ‘lifetime’ commitment that comes with marriage, does strike at one of the key needs in trauma victims for safety and stability in the relationship in order to heal deeply.

  • Thanks, JClaude,

    but you and I both know that words break the spirit in a way that sticks and stones can never do. It is what it is, and though I fully support Bob Whittaker’s philosophy, I understand I will never, truly be welcomed on this website. So I will continue the fight on my own, and maybe when my wife is ready to ‘out’ herself, she’ll join me so we can show the world how mental health issues ought to be handled: within the love and safety of an attachment relationship..

  • Hi Plebtocracy,

    I’d be happy to tell you whatever you want. Using attachment theory I have navigated my wife thru all her panic attacks, flashbacks, and self-injury issues until they are a distant memory for us now. I have also securely attached each of the 8 girls in her system (the ‘alters’) to myself, and that seems to be the necessary step for them to begin to connect to each other. We’ve worked on her inside world (the inner working model) and as we’ve restructured that, it provided her the foundation to radically alter her self perception from the trauma she grew up with to a more healthy and non-dissociated one now that she is in a safe relationship with me.

    Respectfully, but a therapist simply could never do what I or any SO can do for someone who is severely traumatized and whose attachment system has been destroyed (I’ve done this 24/7 for 10 years straight and my ‘billing schedule’ is a steal, lol). It’s really not rocket science: essentially it’s just good parenting/relationship skills, and I had to be willing to be whatever each girl in the system asked me to be whether that was friend, boyfriend, daddy and now I am engaged to one of them. But therapists could teach SO’s, family members and friends so they wouldn’t have to figure it out on their own like I did.

    I don’t know if this is what you were looking for. There’s so much more, but it’s kind of hard to do it here.

  • Helpstillneeded,

    I can’t comment ‘officially’ but from my perspective, I’ve watched commenters get attacked mercilessly on this website if they aren’t exactly in line with some of the survivors’ opinions. I do understand that they are probably just triggered by their personal traumatic-experiences, but it’s kind of sad because I’ve watched some people who could have been good allies in this cause be run off just because they didn’t 100% subscribe to some of the things that some of the survivors feel is a must.

    Beyond that this website also has a definite tilt toward the Left which puts another unnecessary hurdle in front of commenters. I’m kind of a moderate politically, socially and religiously and open to most ideas, but the constant Leftist tilt that is simply assumed by many of the authors and commenters is another hurdle.

    I still read many of the blogs, but I find myself more often than not refraining from commenting anymore because, as an SO of a woman with d.i.d., I know I’m a second-class participant here.
    Sam

  • Hi Sharna,

    attachment theory is more than just about good parenting. My wife has d.i.d., and I’ve used some of the major concepts of attachment theory (secure attachment, proximity maintenance, safe haven, inner working model) to help the various girls (‘alters’) attach to me, heal their trauma, and then begin the process of connecting to each other as I have literally helped them redraw their inner working model to reflect a unified and healthy self versus the dissociated and traumatized one they started with 10 years ago when they first started to join my life, marriage and family. I keep hoping some day I’ll find someone with attachment understanding who will listen to what these concepts can accomplish no matter the time of life (we are in our 50’s now) or the early trauma suffered. It’s been almost breathtaking the transformation I’ve watched and been a part of in my wife’s life.
    Happy Holidays and best wishes,
    Sam

  • Hi MedLawPsych,

    I’m pretty systematic though definitely not ‘clinical’ as I help my wife heal: she/they let me know anytime I cross that line, lol. Attachment theory has provided most of the key guidelines that I needed to help her. We’re 10 years into this now, and most of the girls are interconnected internally as well as externally, to various degrees. She’s definitely more ‘together’ than she’s ever been in her life, and though I use that as a d.i.d. pun, let me be clear that I NEVER saw her as crazy, delusional or psychotic: just traumatized, and I was her fox hole buddy who helped her thru that trauma.

    I was fortunate to keep my wife completely out of ‘the system’, though my wife has an alternative counselor who was invaluable in the beginning until I dealt with my own issues and learned the ropes how to help her best (she was my teacher).

    I can’t speak for psychotic depression, but the ‘voices’ in d.i.d. seem to be the different parts of the brain that have been dissociated from each other and to the one in ‘front’ (host or alter) who hears them in the beginning, they seem like something outside her experience/being. But with healing and tearing down the dissociative walls, those ‘voices’ just become part of one’s ability to communicate internally.

    I could talk forever on this subject, but that’s what my blog is for. I’m pretty proud of how far she/they have healed and interconnected, and I’ll leave it at that.

    Sam

  • Hi MedLawPsych,

    First, I want to state that I appreciate your attempts to be thoughtful.

    When you asked ‘what to do with a person who is delusional and hallucinating’, this is my take. First I think you are making HUGE assumptions by using the toxic words ‘delusions’ and ‘hallucinations’. They prejudge the person’s experience.

    My wife has d.i.d. I ALWAYS assume that the various ‘alters’ (gag, ack, hate that term) are describing their reality correctly, and it’s up to me to enter into their reality instead of judging theirs by my own. Once I learned to do that, their worlds made sense.

    It’s kind of like entering the Matrix. It is VERY MUCH a real world to the people who are in it. And me declaring by fiat that they are delusional and hallucinating carries NO weight to someone inside the Matrix. I’ve found it much better to enter the world my wife’s ‘alters’ live in. Yes, it was a world created in trauma and it was frozen in the past, but my presence in that world gives them a stability they NEVER had before. And as I interact with them, love them unconditionally and give them the safety they never knew, then little by little they have started to examine their world with the current one they have with me…and all of them are moving to the world they share with me and our son. But I never do it by coercion. I make it clear that I love each of them no matter what they choose or believe.

    So back to your question. I believe it’s the wrong question. I believe everything the girls tell me has a basis in truth and in their experience and when I walk with them in it, then it frees each to move forward and into the present.
    Sam

  • kindredspirit,

    I’m sorry that is your experience, but it is NOT true of all families and SO’s. I get a lot of SO’s desperate for information how to help on my blog, but the system is stacked against us. Even my wife has ‘drunk the koolaid’ of chemical imbalance theory. Fortunately for her, I never did even before I found this website, and so I will NEVER let her get close to the mental health system no matter how much work it takes to help her thru things largely on my own.

    I hope someday this website will embrace those of us who are NOT in league with NAMI, but who honestly have no other support and little information out there on how best to help. My little blog shouldn’t be ‘unique’ in all the world, but I’ve been told it is by others looking for information outside the prevailing theory. Maybe some day MIA will start a subsection for SO’s like it has for parents.

  • yeah, I think proximity maintenance speaks fairly directly to this issue and what happens when our hyper-independent-oriented culture insists that children wean off the safety provided by their attachment figures before they are able or ready. Heck, my wife and I still practice it for our son in his doctoral program to keep him grounded during the extreme stress he’s under. None of us ever outgrow the need for a safety net.

  • Hi Bob,

    I do hope some day that this section, or one similar, is expanded to include the SO’s who also have to help a spouse/mate who is experiencing mental duress. It took me a long time to figure things out on my own so that I was a help instead of a hindrance to my wife’s healing. I’ve had other SO’s repeatedly tell me how little help there is out there for those of us in our position, especially help that doesn’t follow the biomedical model of mental issues.
    Yours,
    Sam

  • Hi Carlene,
    thanks for sharing. 30 years and counting for me. I guess I’ve been lucky(?) that my wife never takes me seriously when I tell her how I’m feeling nor my family the few times I’ve mentioned it publicly, so I’ve never been institutionalized and suffered that indignity on top of the daily struggle just to keep going. For me it’s all about hope…or the lack of it. And when my hope wanes that things will ever get better, the struggle to keep going increases, and vice versa. Today’s an especially hard day to find some hope to hold onto.

    I really don’t understand why suicide is such a difficult concept to grasp and why the ‘experts’ seem so ignorant of the mechanics of it, sigh. Maybe I’ve been journaling about my life for so long that the subject is just obvious to me at this point when I’m struggling with it and when I’m not and exactly why and the various strategies I have to keep it at bay.
    Take care,
    Sam

  • Sasha,

    I love when you report what is going on in NYC. I wish we lived closer and could participate, but I wish you wouldn’t forget about the ‘third wheel’ of the mental health equation: the SO’s and families who want to be part of the solution and who refuse to go the traditional mental health system way for their loved ones who are in distress. I’m ‘in the trenches’ 24/7 with my wife. I never let her get on any of those drugs. And in many ways I carried her thru so many things like panic attacks, flashbacks, the ‘chaos’ of integrating all the newcomers (alters) into our family and marriage, and so much more. Not all of us go want to go the NAMI route. We are on the frontlines in a way the professionals simply never will be. We are often thrust into the decision of ‘making the call’ or not doing so. My wife was fortunate I never did that, despite the chaos, and so we muddled our way thru things until we began to figure it out, and now she/we are doing so much better, but there needs to be help and support for others who’d like to do the same, but didn’t get as lucky as we did to figure it out on their own.
    Sam

  • shaun f,

    I don’t support Trump! but my greatest concern is that both sides have become so tribal that neither even attempts finding a place of common ground anymore. No one talks of us all being Americans and assuming the goodwill of the other side even if we disagree. Hence, Stephen Gilbert’s Stalin and Hitler reference.The rhetoric is full, self-righteous, tribal war as the leaders on both sides fearmonger in order to keep people from calming down and realize where we are heading if things don’t change.
    Sam

  • shaun f,

    I get that you have clients who are truly distressed, and as I pointed out from the start, I did NOT vote for Trump because of his many personal faults, foremost for how he treats women because my wife is an abuse victim. Hence, I would never vote for a man like that.

    But what I tried to do was put TAD in the context of the larger cultural war where both sides dismiss the real distress that each feels. By framing this the way that Chris did his main point got lost in the partisan rhetoric. And so, he effectively ‘preached to the choir’ rather than having any hope of reaching beyond the far Left. He even made it difficult for those of us in the center…because I personally am tired of the dismissiveness and partisan attacks from both sides.
    Sam

  • I do understand it wasn’t your main point, but that’s how this article comes off because of what seems to be your strong tilt to the Left. When you caricature Trump the way you do(a fascistic, narcissistic, tiny-handed orange moron ), you immediately lost 1/2 of your audience. Even though I agree with your main point and consider myself a centrist at this point, I really struggled with the rest of the article as I internally told myself this was just another partisan hit job.

    Your main point deserved better.
    Wishing you well,
    Sam