Friday, April 2, 2010

Misdiagnosis - Skitzophrenia vs DID

Thursday is the day I visit my psychologist. I cannot say enough how lucky I am to have found someone who can help me and my alters. There are alot of therapists and psychologists who dont know how to deal with DID. Some just dont believe it exists. There alot of misdiagnosis - usually saying DID is skitzophrenia.

Let me try and explain the differences between skitzophrenia and dissociative Identity disorder:

DID is a way with coping with trauma, usually sexual abuse. A young mind breaks off apart of themselves to deal with the memories, the on going trauma, the emotions etc. This is basicly how alters created, they deal with what our minds couldnt cope with at the time. However each alter is a part of the host.

skitzophrenia is a mental illness, its a chemical imbalance in the brain. Skitzophrenia actually destories brain tissue. There are a number of symtoms one of the most common is hearing voices. This is where the misdiagnosis comes in. However the voices a person with Skitzophrenia hear are not parts of themselves. ANd usually they believe these voices are coming from outside influences.

I saw alot of psychologists and councellors before Margaret (my current psychologist) but while I went to them to help me with what I had been through I did not tell them about the DID. It took me over a year with Margaret to trust her enough to tell her about my alts.

I was terrified that if a doctor or councellor found out they would have me locked up in a hospital - have me committed. I have a large fear of hospitals - not quite phobia I have managed to enter them without having full blown panic attacks at the door - but they are a place I try to avoid - at all costs.

Luckly Margaret reckonised it for what it was, and has been able to help me with it alot - despite how good I am at avoiding. I have a habit of steering the conversation away from anything to painful. Funnily enough I cant actually say what happened to me without trouble if I trust a person. But when I do I tell it like its a story I dont connect with it within myself. I just say the words. I never let myslef feel the pain.

Part of therapy is to visit that pain in small doses to learn how to handle it. I am just starting to get to this stage in my therapy - first I had to establish trust and make sure I was in a stable place. Which I am for the most part - uni assessments dont help. Another part of therapy was learning how to deal with results of trauma - the symtoms of PTSD. the panic attacks, the fear, the nightmares.

I can handle panic attacks now - it took a long time but now I can focus concentrate on my breathing and calm myself just enough before I am hit with a panic attack. I still panic and it is still hard when I am triggered but I dont go into a full blown panic attack.

Nightmares are harder, but in some ways I am doing better with this than 2 years ago. For a long time a good nights sleep was 4 hours max, nightmares where a constant thing every night. Now I can get a full nights sleep, and sometimes go 3 or 4 nights without a nightmare. However it comes and goes in waves. there are times when I will only get a 1 or 2 nightmares a week and they are fairly easy to manage. Then there are times when the nightmares come back every night worse than ever, alters and myself are triggered really badly and our body remembers. But with time and work with Margaret I hope the bad nights are further and further apart.

Fear - it is still very much apart of my life, not just fear of being hurt again, but fear of rejection from people. Fear of large groups of people or loud noises. Fear of how people will react if I switch and an alter comes out. Fear of never being loved.

This is probably the biggest thing I am focusing on at the moment - trying to get past my fears.


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