David (Primary Protector) on I et al treatment and Integration
Hearing psychiatrists diagnose us with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) whilst sectioned in residential care felt like we had been giving a death sentence. We were freaks! There appeared some understanding of various other mental conditions, but MPD was a highly controversial condition. People treated us like weirdos, either full of curiosity or full of fear. There was no medication that would ‘sort us out’ counsellors and psychiatrists had no idea how to deal with us, they told our husband there was no cure and to ‘give up’ on us.
Mental health concluded that the best way to treat us was just to ignore us alters, we’d eventually just go away and she’d stop messing them about. We were just figments of Nicky’s overactive imagination, if nobody engaged with us alters she’d get fed up because she wasn't receiving the attention she was, in their opinion, desperately craving.
Attention seeking, over active imagination, liars…..borderline, depressive, psychotic, paranoid, suicidal, unstable personality, etc, we’ve been accused/diagnosed with it all. It got to the point where Nicky actually believed she was just plain crazy, she thought if the doctors and psychiatrists thought she was making it all up, she must be mad because she couldn’t just stop.
Well, we didn't want attention, Nicky sure as hell didn't. We did want someone who would just take a little bit of time to talk to us, some of the children were desperate to talk. After seeing an army of counsellors and therapists we finally came across Katia and I et al.
Hearing Katia explain that she had also had MPD but was now an Integrate was confusing. Here was a counsellor, a professional lady who made her living from this stuff, telling us she’d had this weird condition and a similar experience of Mental Health. We wondered if MPD/DID was real, or if our new therapist was as mad as we were. Either way we decided we liked her enough to give her a try.
When Katia treated us with her specialist therapy for Multiples, Thrive Therapy for the first time in our lives we were not treated with scorn or ridicule, but we found, to our utmost amazement that we were accepted and welcomed for who we were and what we were. Each and every alter was allowed just to be and treated with respect and dignity. Male, female, adult or child we were all welcomed in an age appropriate manner.
Katia’s patients was boundless. She helped the children tell their trauma and learn to play and laugh. She welcomed Joker with his endless humour and contagious smile. She greeted the ‘Dark Alters’ with as much love and care as she did all of us. All she asked from us was that we were willing to obey a few rules. Well, those rules were so simple even the youngest alter could understand. We promised never to deliberately hurt her or damage the therapy room, and none of us ever ever take our clothes off. Eventually we understood Katia expected us to treat her with the respect and dignity she demonstrated to us.
The first intervention Katia ever did with us was getting us to develop our ‘Safe Room,’ – an internal space. With Katia's help, Jack the first alter brave enough to meet her, created it. At first it was just a room filled with beds cos that’s where Jack felt safe. A sanctuary from the darkness we’d all lived in before. A place where nothing got dirty, nothing got broke and nothing got hurt. It was a safe haven, a place for us meet the other alters and eventually to meet Nicky. And for her to meet us. Now it is a wonderful place filled with mountains and oceans and rolling fields. We have flying machines and race cars, even boats and submarines. We now have sunshine and a rainbow instead of darkness and fear.
Over time, as our trust in Katia began to grow, every alter disclosed their story. Sometimes this would happen within a session (A minimum of 4 hours per week instead of the usual 50 minutes and often longer) or over several sessions. Katia would never allow any of us to leave until she thought we were stable enough to remain safe in the world.
As we disclosed the horrific abuse we had endured as a child we often felt we were getting worse instead of better. As we began to peel away the layers, there were times when the nightmares took off with a vengeance and flashbacks increased. Katia never failed us, keeping us safe. She allowed us to text or call or email her if we were struggling. Although sometimes she was unable to get back to us immediately (she was working a full time job as well) she always found time to reply and somehow calm us. Sadly, during times of great distress Katia would be literally bombarded with text and emails Phone calls we saved for extreme emergencies and occasionally she actually responded in person to an emergency call.
After we had been with Katia for a while she invited us to go away with her on a therapeutic breaks for a week twice a year. This normally meant a caravan on the rugged west coast somewhere - days spent building sand castles and looking for fossils. Every alter, child or adult was invited and just allowed to ‘be’. We had some amazing experiences and adventures and although, the children especially, it felt like we were just having a fun holiday, some amazing work was being done. Long hidden emotions and fears were released and laid to rest. It felt unbelievably safe being with Katia in a place where no one knew us, we could run and play and laugh without fear of any repercussions if we had have been seen by someone we knew. It strengthened our already growing bond and trust we had with Katia. By now Katia was not just a mysterious therapist she was a living breathing human being who possessed amazing genuine warmth, compassion, empathy and understanding.
Internally our attitudes towards each other slowly began to change dramatically. In the beginning Nicky wanted to get rid of as much as we wanted to get rid of her. But by working with Katia we began to start caring about each other. The first time I heard the kids laugh it just melted my heart. What is normally such a natural sound was so alien and unusual for us.
When we first heard about integration it scared the shit out of us. It meant we were going to just disappear. In effect die! But once again Katia eased our fears and doubts she explained she would never try to integrate us. What she did promise to do was give us peace. If we integrated it would be because we were ready not because we were being forced or tricked into it.
Gunner was the first one to integrate. It wasn't scary or frightening at all. We all saw how much he had grown and how ‘free’ he was. He had no more sadness and no more trauma to hold. He was free to laugh and free to love. As he joined with Nicky, Katia held him tightly in her arms. It felt weird after he had integrated. Although we couldn't see him anymore, we could still ‘feel’ him. There was momentary sadness but not grief. He was at peace and he wasn't dead. Nicky felt more ‘solid,’ and what used to be gunners memories exclusively, became all of our memories. Even now, several years after he has integrated we still know he is with us. Especially if we see horses or ponies, as he always loved them.
Many many alters have now integrated and each time there is a moment of sadness soon replaced by happiness. Because it just means that another one has finally found inner peace.
I often wonder how much ‘singletons’ just take things in life for granted. Do they ever feel the overwhelming emotions that build up inside you when they hear a severely abused child's laughter for the very first time? Do they appreciate the simplest things like the feel of rain on their face, or the sound of the ocean or really see the stars? Do they experience the wonder, that at the age of 50, to actually hear the birds singing for the very first time? To hear and watch the wind rustle through the leaves? Or really feel the silence of a mind at peace? Do they actually take the time during their busy days to admire with awe the forces of nature or feel the sea breeze on their skin?.....can they really understand what it is to be free?
So many simple things in life we now treasure because to us they are new and fresh. We were too lost in our own darkness to admire and delight in the beauty of the world around us.
Today we are in the final stages of Integration, not all of us will go home. We’re working with Katia at I et al as a mentor and eventually counsellor to dissociative people and multiples in the beautiful Essex countryside and working with her taking multiples on therapeutic retreats.
Today we are happy. But the best thing of all is knowing now that tomorrow we will still be happy!