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Dissociative Identity Disorder: Case study part 3.

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

I walk into the waiting area of my psychologists clinic and see the familiar faces of the reception ladies. They are always so gentle and I am forever grateful for that. It's been two years since I started seeing him and he has moved offices a few times. This one is by far my favourite.

I smile and awkwardly say, "Hello." I feel I should be able to put a weird smiley face emoji in the air above me as I speak.

The ladies, as always, are on their game and consider future bookings for me so I don't have to do this at the end. I wonder how many clients they see red faced at the end of a session wishing they could shuffle out quickly but they have to stay and book another appointment.

After rebooking, I take a seat and wait.

"Hello!" Not long after I sit I hear his voice and I look up to see that ever comforting smile.

"Hi," I say awkwardly back. As I shuffle down the long hallway, I am very aware that my psychologist is walking purposefully behind me. Probably with his hands in front of him or swinging them like he's on a march. We get to the door and he holds his arm up welcoming me in.

I sit in the room and begin staring at the yellow shaggy rug that my feet sit on. I spend most of our sessions like this. It helps me to think when I don't have to look at anyone. I can organise my thoughts better in my mind.

"You sent an email this week that I would like to chat about if that's ok, let me get my phone." Sometimes he gets straight into it, sometimes he lets me take the lead. I wrack my brain, in vein, to remember what email it might be. I can't think what emails I have sent this week, so I give up and just wait.

He begins reading the email to me. "Do you hate me? I'm sorry. I'm sad. I don't know why or what I did. I did the wrong thing I think." A pause. He raises his gaze to mine, with a look that questions "is this ok to read?" and I nod. He continues, "Why did I make so many mistakes? Why did I let it happen? What is wrong with me? L and S." Another pause and another look, this time it's a look of sadness. "You really hate yourself at times."

I look straight down at the rug. "Yeah." I have no recollection of that email. I desperately wish I did. I desperately want to pull those words out of this mind and shove them back into my brain and remove all memory of them from him. I don't want anyone knowing this about me. I sit in my shame and guilt, feeling as though it may swallow me at any moment.

He pulls me out of this swallowing feeling with his calm, quiet, caring voice, "You don't deserve to hate yourself. You didn't make mistakes. I don't hate you, but I understand your fear that I might. I might hurt you like others have and I am sorry that you feel that way because you don't deserve it."

I let the words wash over me, for a moment I let them sink in. I believe them and it feels so nice to rid myself of the guilt. Then, as quickly as they came, the words go and I am left feeling the same way again. I don't know how long I have been staring at the yellow, shaggy rug, but it must have been a while.

I look up, he says, "We were talking about your worries about university."

I must have looked puzzled. He gently asks, "How old do you feel?" It's a question that means I may have missed something. He is clarifying who I am.

I say, "25," my biological age.

He nods and I realise he was just talking to a different part of me for some period of time, a part I don't have access to. As therapy continues, this is happening less, but from time to time it still happens.

His warm, caring smile and small nods reassure me that it's ok and I am safe. I often feel safe with him and I like that. I am becoming more able to take that feeling out of therapy and put it somewhere else in my life. I am learning that I am loveable and I am worthy. I am growing in my confidence to be me and accept every part of me.

Out of no where I ask a question that has been on my mind, "Am I doing a good job of therapy? I feel like it should be quicker."

He sighs and says, "I know, it's hard, and slow, and frustrating, but you are doing a fantastic job. Every session and even in between sessions you open up and give me a little more of your story. You can only do this as fast as you are at the time and that's ok."

I know it's true, I couldn't do anymore than I am, even this is exhausting. But it's still frustrating. "Okay, thank you, I know I can't do more but I feel I should do more."

He nods.

We both sit for a moment considering this in our own way. I don't know what he is thinking but I know it will only be positive thoughts about me. I have come to learn that he only ever has this unwavering, stable support for me and my goals. It's his job to give me the strength to get to where I need to go. I am getting there, slowly. Even if it's hard to see at times.

He breaks the silence with his regular session ending wrap up, "I could sit and talk for longer, but I have to be aware of boundaries and my next client so unfortunately the time has come that I must kick you out."

I love the way he ends sessions. The ending feels super awkward regardless, I like that he can make light of situations at times. It makes me remember that we are all human and this relationship is a genuine one where I see a little bit of him each time. Enough to know I am not talking to a robot, not enough to worry me or railroad sessions. It's a nice balance.

I say goodbye and begin to walk out. I see the ladies on the way out to pay and thankfully shuffle out without having to worry about rebooking. Another session done and I feel somehow a little lighter and a little heavier at the same time. I spend the 30 minute walk home lost in my thoughts.

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