Tips on What to do After Someone You Love Has Cut

~By: Jess Mei


After my latest episode with cutting, I realize that most ‘common folk’ are just not equipped to know what to do, or even how to react to self-harming. I think it is interesting how some people act like they are actually offended when we self-harm. Like ‘how could we put them in that situation’. I do try to look at other people’s points-of-views, so I thought I’d try to give some pointers for loved ones of self-harmers. Please pardon me if I come off sounding like I have an ‘us’ versus ‘everyone else’ mentality. But unless you are a self-harmer – I really don’t think you can understand. This is just generalized advice. First, let me see if I can shed some light on the ‘why’ of it.

1. It’s not about you…its not about us, and its not about suicide, either.
Outsiders need to understand that self-harm doesn’t have anything to do with them…that’s why it is called ‘self’ harm. Most times it isn’t even about us, the self-harmers. Sometimes it is about the pain; sometimes it is about the blood. Sometimes we self-harm to heal another part of ourselves. But it is almost never about suicide. We’re not trying to kill ourselves. Trust me – we already know exactly how to do that. Self-harm isn’t about suicide…even when we’re suicidal.

2. Self-harm is full of symbolism and ritual.

The scarring, the blood, the act of self-harm it self is extremely symbolic for us. Sometimes we’ll even write poetry about it. For me, this symbolism has nothing to do with Satan, God, or anything like that. For example, once I’ve used a particular razor to cut, I’ll cut with it until I feel ‘okay’ again, then I’ll discard that razor. I don’t want to even touch it again. It has served its purpose. Now, that doesn’t stop me from going and getting another one (I purchased a 100 pack of blades) – but I don’t because that self-harming episode is over and I feel okay again.

3. Self-harm usually occurs when we are under a lot of stress and are frustrated.
Sometimes we cut because we want to express frustration but don’t want to express it verbally. The cuts then become like little screams, a way to yell, let out that ‘pressure’, and not have to confront the source of the stress and/or frustration. Sometimes we cut when we feel like we’re not being heard or understood. Whatever the reasons, the underlying cause is a great deal of stress and/or frustration.

Okay, so knowing all this, you as the bystander are supposed to do what exactly?

       

      • Don’t look at us like we’re crazy. This is an addiction and coping mechanism…just like smoking.
      • Don’t jump to conclusions and assume that we’re trying to kill ourselves. Dying a death of a thousand cuts isn’t something we’re interested in.
      • Don’t panic and try to remove our instruments of choice. That makes us feel like a child and when the next time comes up, we’ll find something else to self-harm with. And because we would be self-harming with something less familiar, we risk potential fatal injury.
      • If we want to talk about it, please – please just listen. Don’t try to fix anything.
      • If possible, help to keep the stress levels down.
      • Keep a medical first aid kit handy. Be prepared to take us to the emergency room if the cuts need stitches and be willing to fight with us for humane treatment at the hospital.
      • Don’t crowd…give us some space to regroup.
      • If we have DID, know that this cutting episode may be triggering or may have been a reaction to a trigger.
      • If you see us wearing long-sleeved clothing in the middle of summer, don’t make a big deal about it. More than likely, we are trying to hide our scars.
      • Don’t help us if we don’t ask for it.

      Basically, the best action to take is to just ‘be’ there…follow our lead. We usually find our voices after the self-harm and are able to articulate clearly how we will need your assistance and support.

      Advertisements

      Different Types of Dissociative Disorders

      ~By: Jess Mei


      First – let me say that I’m no expert. I’m just one woman who went searching for answers to this ‘thing’ that has both saved my life and changed it so profoundly.

      There is a term for the progression of dissociation called the Dissociative Continuum. The presence of this continuum is now widely accepted by those psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who are familiar with dissociative states. Let’s take a look at this together. I will present them from least to greatest – in terms of the dissociation only. In no way am I minimizing the impact of any of the disorders.

      I. Psycogenic Amnesia
      [Definition]: A sudden inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to merely explain away by normal forgetfulness and is not associated with an organic mental disorder (like Alzheimers Disease).

      There are 4 classifications psychogenic amnesia:

      1. Localized – where all memory is loss that occurred in a specific period of time
      2. Selective – where some, but not all memory is loss of events that occurred during a specific period of time
      3. Generalized – where memory of important events that occurred over the course of life is loss
      4. Continuous – where all memory is loss for the entire past and the memory loss continues into the present

      Psychogenic Amnesia is the most common form of dissociative disorders and appears to be caused by either blunt trauma to the head or as response to an immediate traumatic event.

      II. Psychogenic Fugue
      [Definition]: A sudden act of traveling far away from home or place of work, and having no recall of doing so or why. Many assume a new identity or personality trait completely uncharacteristic of the ‘norm’.

      Research has shown that this new identity is usual really ‘free-loving’ and less inhabited than the ‘normal’ identity. This dissociative disorder does not include those moments when we all drive from point A to point B without recalling the road or things around us. Those occurrence fit better in the Psycogenic Amnesia category. It appears that people who suffer from psychogenic fugue states have no memory of the actions and experiences done while the ‘free-loving’ personality is present.

      III. Depersonalization Disorder
      [Definition]: The chronic experience of a profound loss of sense of self, of feeling unreal – as if in a dream. The experience of feeling like your are completely outside of yourself.

      People who have depersonalization disorder have memories that feel like dreams that sometimes cannot be recognized as real versus fantasy. They can easily tell themselves that certain real life experiences didn’t happen because they [the memories] feel like dreams. Because of the ability of the person who has depersonalization disorder to mentally step outside of self, past memories can be seen as occurring to someone else. The onset of this disorder is abrupt; however recover can be very slow.

      IV. Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS)
      [Definition]: This is a bit of a ‘catch all’ category for any dissociative behavior that doesn’t fit solidly in the definition of the other categories. There is still marked dysfunction in memory, identity and consciousness.

      I’ve had the opportunity to speak with someone who has DDNOS and she says that for her, she doesn’t hear the internal conversations and she retains co-consciousness for much of the time with no distinctive personality taking full control of the body at any time.

       

       

       

      V. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formally known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD))
      [Definition]: The presence of at least two distinct personalities within the body of one person.

      People with DID typically display symptoms of other categories of dissociation. People tell of loss time, amnesia, profound feelings of being outside of self, and hearing internal dialogs that are not those of the primary identity. DID is a chronic, but allegedly treatable disorder. This dissociative disorder holds the most societal stigma than any of the others and if often mistaken for Schizophrenia – a disorder that can be controlled with drug therapy.

      From everything that I have read thus far, there are no medications specific to treating DID. Drugs are given to assist with symptoms of things like insomnia, depression, and anxiety; however these drugs cannot address the disorder itself.

      In my next post, I will speak about various forms of trauma that cause dissociative disorders. Until then, friends.

      10 Tips For Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder

      ~By: Jess Mei

      Here are some tips on reducing the headache of living with dissociative identity disorder (DID). There really are no hard and fast rules for ‘dealing’ with it unfortunately, since what worked well yesterday might not today and what works for one personality, might not work for the others. So, knowing all that – here are 10 general tips for living with DID on a daily basis. The number one thing to remember with all this is – Be Flexible.

      1. If you drive, get yourself a GPS (global positioning system)
      Depending on how fragmented you are, which of the alters drive, and what’s going on inside the ‘system’ (is it chaotic? calm? is everyone mostly working together?) sometimes, the body ends up across town – or worse halfway across the state (or further) before you realize it. Here’s how it goes – one minute you’re standing in your kitchen cooking dinner or talking to your significant other; *blink your eyes* and the next minute you’re behind the wheel of your car without a CLUE as to where you are going, why you’re there, or how to get back. Program the GPS for home first thing. Just last week this [psychogenic fugue] happened to me, and I ended up near the Canadian border!

      2. Put up an internal whiteboard or keep an external notebook.
      One of the most important things you can do to try to keep some sort conscious continuity between your parts is to make it mandatory that all of you keep notes in some central notebook or internal whiteboard. Because we tend to lose time due to personalities switching, it is vital that detailed notes are kept. Some people are able to keep an internal ‘whiteboard’ where the alters write notes of important things they’ve done or committed to (doctor’s appointments, dates, exams); others keep an external notebook that everyone writes in. I’ve been able to make both available though the whiteboard gets neglected.

      3. Let people around you know how to call out your more cooperative personalities – just in case.
      Sometimes when the system is in chaos or is having a panic attack, it is helpful that someone around you that you trust is able to call out a calming personality – one that will get things under control for the system. But only do this if you’re comfortable and trust the person; otherwise, the ‘shout out’ won’t do any good. In fact, it might trigger a protector [potentially violent alter].

      4. Secure your funds.
      Understand that there are more than just you spending your money and wanting to spend your money. So, if you have bills to pay, pay them first as soon as you have money. Better yet – have the bills on autopay or try to pre-pay them so that you don’t have as much debt. That way – the bills get paid whether you remember or not. Make sure that your financial responsibilities and living requirements are taken care of straight away, so that if someone spends your money, it won’t effect your lifestyle. Try to never have your ATM card on you and see if you can set up a two-signature check writing arrangement with your bank. Just going into knowing that there is a big chance that someone will drain your bank account by purchasing things you personally don’t need or want, but they may take a fancy to.

      5. Have a place for important papers or unexpected documents (traffic tickets, IRS notices, etc.) and make sure that everyone in the system knows to have a look at that place when they are out.
      This falls in line with trying to keep as close to a continuous consciousness as possible. Not all alters are considerate or care to cooperate with the others; Some are extremely reckless, in fact. Make sure you keep all your documents in one place; here’s a real life example of why. Imagine you’re in your car and for whatever reason, you get pulled over and find out you have outstanding tickets and a warrant. That would annoy even the most gentlest of people. Something similar to this happened to me. So, make sure you keep your papers in the one place – no matter how horrible (I’ve had some alters hide documents from the rest of us). This is a tough tip to adhere to as you’ll have to get the others to agree and not hide stuff. Be willing to be a mediator.

      6. Keep an emergency contact phone number (next of kin) in your purse, wallet, and/or cellphone.
      Even people without DID should have this information handy. For those of us with DID though, it is also important that we have the contact information of our psychiatrist and/or therapist or treatment facility.

      7. Set up a safety network for yourself in case of a panic attack or similar emergency. It is so important to have a support team when you have DID.

      Your team might include your significant other, understanding friends, your therapist, even your child. It is also important for me to say that it isn’t always necessary that any of these people know that you have DID, either. People that care about you will assist you anyway they can and most times – without asking a lot of questions. Seek out those people you can trust and build your safety network from there.

      8. Keep all prescription drugs secure and keep a journal of when you take them.
      Unfortunately, there are alters who are suicidal and who hate the body in general and hate all the other personalities as well. At some point, these alters do come out and sometimes harm the body either by putting it in dangerous situations, by self-mutilating, or attempted drug overdose. So, it is best to keep the drugs in a location that these alters don’t know about. It is also a very good idea to keep a log of when you take your medication. Otherwise, if an alter comes out and doesn’t know you’ve already taken your required dose, that alter may take another dose as well.

      9. Become a good actor/actress.
      Learn how to ‘play it off’ when someone comes up to you that you’ve never met and acts as if you two are good friends. These people may be strangers to you, but could be best friends with one of your alters. You simply do not know because you did not have co-consciousness during the interaction with that person. So, become a good actor and/or actress when this occurs. Use your judgment with this one – I mean – you know a creeper when you see one, right? There’s a difference. Just be careful.

      10. Be prepared to have your child alters come out at Toys -R-Us and other places.
      If you have child alters, be kind to them and have some things for them to play with around the house. I learned this the hard way when while at Toys-R-Us, one of my child alters came out, grabbed a toy and went running down the aisle with it – footloose and fancy free (at least that is what I was told later). Mind you – I’m a 42 year old woman. I don’t have stuffed animals. I don’t even have board games – yet there was the body running and playing. So, now I have a few toys at home and I have ‘the talk’ with my child alters before I go out to the mail or to the grocery store as I got really tired of finding sweet cereal and toys in the shopping cart at checkout time.

      I do hope these tips will be helpful for you. Let me know if you have questions.

        Disclaimer
        All the pictures and news shown on this blog are the property of their respective owners. We don’t hold any copyright about these pictures and news. These pictures have been collected from different public sourses including different websites, considering to be in public domain. If any one has any objection to displaying of any picture and news, it may be brought to our notice by sending email & the same will be be removed immediately,after verificaton of the claim.

      My Personal Story and Diagnosis of Dissociative Disorders

      ~By: Jess Mei

      Sometimes it takes a major triggering event for dissociative disorders to present themselves. Yes, sometimes I spaced out, showed little or showed no emotion, had bouts of insomnia – but who doesn’t, right? For me, my triggering event was a cancer scare in December 2006. After two follow-ups, that included ultrasounds, barium imaging, MRIs, etc. – I was given a clean bill of health. But you see, during the wait time between me seeing the doctor and getting the clean bill of health, I was faced with my own mortality, and my mind flashed before me my life – such as it was.

      I began having horrible nightmares and flashbacks of images of abuse and molestation that I’d already known about to some degree, but now was seeing details. I had frequent anxiety attacks and had migraines everyday – all day for weeks on end. My concentration and memory decreased significantly. I often found myself in places and didn’t remember how I’d gotten there and I began to lose time…sometimes only a few minutes, sometimes whole days at a time. I mentioned several times to my husband that I suspected I had Alzheimer’s and I even mentioned it to my family doctor, who ruled it out because of my age.

      In the past, I’d already been diagnosed with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD) and had undergone behavioral and drug therapy for it. THIS was something all together different. My one voice that I heard internally pretty often that I’d nicknamed ‘Chatterbox’ because of her incessant talking had suddenly become several voices, some male – some female – some childlike. At first, I thought that it was all just my subconscious, especially one female voice that constantly berated me; but I noticed that these voices spoke even when I wasn’t intentionally trying to get them to do so. I had my own thoughts, and apparently they had theirs.

      In the midst of all this internal chaos, my marriage was falling apart. How could I explain to my husband what I was hearing, seeing in flashback, and remembering? What would he think of me and my family if he were told. I didn’t want him to look at me with disdain. I was ashamed…scared and ashamed. I asked him for time for me to sort through all this new chaos, these new and horrible thoughts, the voices. I needed time. In the end, I waited too long. He moved out and although we tried to work things out – it just wasn’t possible.

      I suffered from migraines so severe, they were giving me small seizures. When I’d turn my lights off in my office, my superiors were told I presented an image of being unavailable. All I was trying to do was remain at work. I was eventually prescribed a medication that served the dual purpose of helping minimize the occurrence of migraines and stopping seizures. Fun stuff boys and girls!

      Months had gone past, there I was trying to hold down a top management position, not remembering what I’d said or committed to the day before. Finding myself in a meeting without a clue as to what the meeting was about. I’d find stick-it notes on my computer screen with a name of a colleague or superior, and a time and sometimes the date. So, I had to gleam from this half-written note what I was suppose to do ‘with’, ‘for’, – whatever this person. Ultimately, I’d either completely miss the missing (in cases where the stick-it stopped sticking and fell under my desk) or I’d show up completely unprepared. My job performance plummeted. I lost the minute respect I’d earned from my peers, superiors, and staff. Hell, if they had bothered to point and laugh, I don’t think I would have remembered why they were doing it. I was eventually asked to resign from my position still without knowing what was truly going on with me.

      Confusing Times

      Confusing Times

      The voices were non-stop now since I was no longer employed and they had plenty to say. I was blamed for allowing the molestation occur. I was shamed for knowing that at times – what was being done to me my body responded to positively. I’d never been so suicidal in all my life. But god help me – I didn’t want to seek professional counseling because I just knew – knew the person would want to put me away in a ‘nut house’, so I endured…day after day, week after week – panic attacks, heart palpitations, nightmares, daymares, and internal criticism the likes of which I had never experienced before. I hit rock bottom one evening when I picked up a razor blade and started cutting. Each cut felt like a small scream – a shout to god, a plea for relief and I cried and cried deeply – finally for myself, my kids, my husband, my childhood.

      The next day, I was able to get in to see a clinical psychologist who specialized in trauma. I played games with her, but I can’t tell you why. I’d arrive late to every session, sometimes as much as 20 minutes late. After a few sessions though she diagnosed me with severe depression, depersonalization disorder, c-PTSD, and Dissociative Disorder, not otherwised specified (DDNOS). After a series of particularly bad sessions where we’d started talking about my mother, I flipped out on her and she refused to continue our therapy sessions. I never did tell her about the voices.

      It was more than 4 months later when I finally tried to reach out again. I found a therapist who specialized in dissociative disorders and trauma. She was very cool in her manner, not falling for my ‘usual’ bag of tricks. I told her of a particularly horrible memory, that with past therapists – would have their mouths gaping open. Not this gal. She called me a survivor and asked me how she could be of service to me. I started answering her question and the next thing I know, she was handing me tissue and directing me to try to re-ground myself in the present. She gave me some exercises that I still use today to help with re-focusing my consciousness, quieting the voices. In her diagnoses, she agreed with the previous therapist on everything except one – she diagnosed me with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

      So that’s my story pretty much in a nutshell. Currently, I know of at least 10 others all living inside us. We’ve survived because we had each other. Now it is time to Live.

      Check in with me daily – I’ll be posting some useful tips that I learned from my therapist, as well as other helpful websites and information specific to dissociative disorders.

      Together – we can LIVE.

        Disclaimer
        All the pictures and news shown on this blog are the property of their respective owners. We don’t hold any copyright about these pictures and news. These pictures have been collected from different public sourses including different websites, considering to be in public domain. If any one has any objection to displaying of any picture and news, it may be brought to our notice by sending email & the same will be be removed immediately,after verificaton of the claim.