Writing Forum

The Writing Forum is where people wrote in, before our blog came about. You are still welcome to write in here, as it may serve a different purpose than the blog now. Anyone wishing to share may do so – those who come to meetings as well as those who don’t. We would love to hear from you! You’re welcome to submit any form of written work. Please send submissions by e-mail, and don’t forget to indicate how (with what name) you want your piece signed.

Otherwise, head to our BLOG where meeting topics are posted and where you can interact more freely.

Guidelines for the Writing Forum and Blog are the same as those for sharing at the meetings. They include:

  • Write from the “I” perspective. Examples: “I feel…” “I did…” “I related to what (someone) wrote because I had a similar experience…” Then go on to tell of your own experience.
  • You may ask questions of the group as a whole, as long as you know you may or may not get an answer. Example: “Has anyone had the experience of…”

Writing Submissions (most recent shown first)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ultimately it’s my story
I keep asking you to write chapters of,
ultimately the prologue is already written
though not quite to my satisfaction,
and it is set in stone, past editing.
(even though I try)
Ultimately it’s my future in the balance,
and I’m the one that has to heal
from this painful avalanche
that is still so unreal.
Ultimately, it’s in my hands and not yours
an uneasy sense of control
I’m not used to having.
Can’t you fix me,
just as they broke me?
Without any input required?
Passive, with no resistance.
Can’t it be as simple
as the setting of a broken bone,
painless in a twilight sleep
instead of jaggedly awake
raw nerves exposed?
This disassociation that protects me from feeling,
must we strip it away?
Ultimately, it feels like breaking and not like repair.
Words that I speak feel like wounds ripped open
more than like a soothing balm.
This is not how I imagined “healing”.
It feels more like a continuation
of abuse.
Is it surprising that I resist
this rollercoaster
that you wish to lead me on?
Ultimately I need to accept
this painful healing.
To speak and be heard,
absolved of past actions
that I am not guilty of.
Ultimately I need to find the courage
to move on.

Good Job New Landscape!
Friday, February 22, 2008

The blog idea is great New landscape! The progress New Landscape is making is wonderful!!!

Maybe I’m over stating it, when I say I am so proud of the growth New Landscape has made since it’s beginning in the Autumn of 2004, because really the credit and proud feeling, belongs to all of you for the hard work and dedication to your healing process.

I have just been receiving New Landscape updates/emails since about the beginning of the New Landscape meetings in 2004. I have also healed from DIDNOS, or I am still healing (as healing is a life long process that gets better with alot of work), and I am a psychotherapist as well, so I truly admire New Landscape. You are all pioneers in an area of human development and trauma that so many therapists in the field no little about, and therapists and experts who do know how to work with trauma survivors, (with admiration and respect), must learn from you too.

As a therapist and also a trauma survivor who faltered many times along the road to healing and then finally discovering about DID, the respect for New Landscape and the important work you are all doing, is more personally understood.

So thanks New Landscape … you are shining a bright light on a path of healing for all of yourselves and for so many trauma survivors in need of healing!

Some Thoughts from an Alien
Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hello. I am just one of our host’s “aliens”, as she likes to call us. Probably because we ARE like aliens to her – foreign beings that just come popping out of her here and there and everywhere, saying and doing things that make her head spin. Well, we don’t mean to make her head spin and hurt, but that’s what often seems to happen whether anyone wants it or not. She thinks now she understands how some people can say they’ve been abducted by aliens – because she basically feels like that’s what happens to her all the time! In the least, she’s starting to realize that we’re actually pretty nice aliens, and I think she even kind of likes us more now – even if she has a hard time admitting it still.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell the New Landscape people that I think it’s been really good for her to go to the meetings. Now she sees other alien life forms around (DID people at the meetings) and gets to talk to them – and that’s making her feel less like a weirdo from outer space herself.

I think one of the best meetings was a few ago, where several group members talked about being thankful for their DID. It was so great when our host added to the conversation something like this: “If I really WAS hurt this bad when I was young, and if there really WAS no way out, then what an amazing way to get out! What better way to survive a situation, than to not know or remember it then. If this stuff really did happen to me, then I am amazed and thankful that God would create us in such a way, as to provide a way out. …. of course, I’m getting to deal with it now and it’s not fun….. but how much worse would it have been then?!”

So, thank-you to the group because you’re really helping her out, and that’s helping us aliens out! We love our favorite Mr. D (her doctor helper) and all our pretend family and friends who know us aliens for who we really are. And we’re so glad for New Landscape too. Reading books about others like us, isn’t the same as actually being with others who are like us. I think God helped her find a way “out” way back when, and I think He’s helping US (aliens) find a way out now!
– From Sam – and Michelle helped with spelling and words and stuff

A Successful DID Story
Thursday, November 30, 2006

At the end of the November group meeting the question was posed: What does a successful DID story look like? We didn’t have a chance to share on it, so I’d like to take the opportunity to do that now. I personally believe that anyone who discovers that she/he has DID and chooses to deal with it is a success story. Fortunately, there are no rules or regulations for “success” with DID.

I also believe that, for me, healing from DID is a lifelong, painful process. And that’s not a bad thing. Before knowing that I had DID, my life was in utter chaos, I had no affect, and I didn’t have a clue as to what my childhood was like. My behavior injured others and me. I didn’t care if I lived or died. Today, my life is okay. I have a lot of good days and some bad days. Sometimes I deny that I have DID. That doesn’t last too long. I feel sorry for myself sometimes, but more often I feel sad for myself. No one should have had to go through what I went through. I think most (if not all) DID’s can say that and do say that. I can’t change the past, but now that I know about it through my parts, I can change myself. The choice is always mine.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a Book on the Stages of Death and Dying: She named them as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. She noted that this is not a five-step process to acceptance and that’s the end. One moves in and out of the different stages. As a person who has DID, I see these stages as the five stages of life and thriving as I move from just surviving through dissociating to living a life of purpose and hope. Today, life is what I make it. People hurt me in the past, but I don’t need to continue hurting myself and others. Anything I learned I can unlearn. There are professionals and other DIDs who can help me and support me.

Each one of us at the peer support group in November are DID success stories since we are on the road of recovery. The DID failure story is the person who chooses not to make the DID journey of recovery. The choice is always yours. My hope is that you choose to recover a day at a time. If you do, then you are a winner. If you don’t then your abusers continue to win. What choice will you make today?
~ Jeanette

Symptoms & feelings about dissociation
Thursday, August 31, 2006
by BG

Through my brain, I cannot tour
But each symptom is one disappointment more
Dissociative episodes I cannot obscure
Dissociative episodes I cannot ignore
Dissociative episodes I find hard to endure
Dissociative episodes are my mind at war.

by BG
Dissociation leaves me exposed to everyone. I feel as if I lose my dignity in front of all-my MD, LSCW, group members, group leaders, subway riders, family and myself.

This is true even though I intellectually recognize that dissociation is a no-fault symptom. I find, however, that even professional clinicians have a way to go in understanding Dissociation.

Personally, I do not split into personality-states or ages. With me, I remain unresponsive to external stimuli, be it speech, loud sounds, movement, smell, touch, whatever.

When I “return,” it is often a slow mind-trip back to reality. Common objects look unfamiliar, faces seem long and/or distorted, somewhat unhuman…more animal-like. I usually continue to half-way experience the dissociation as I begin to gradually respond and recognize the true world around me.

To me, dissociation is opposite to mastery…it is a weakness of sorts. I cannot hide from it, or smile it away, or act “as-if,” as when I can sometimes hide feelings of clinical depression.

There is no “thought-stopping.” Sometimes I utter sounds as if I may be trying to talk back to voices. Sometimes I sit stonelike and still, and at other times, I am in motion, most closely described as “marching” or “climbing.”

Coming out of a dissociative episode, or even thinking about it, discussing it, etc., seals out all of my self-respect. Any inside support I have is gone. I feel wholly flawed and ashamed.

There is no escape from having dissociated. Afterwards, I feel alienated from myself and deeply embarrassed as well as frightened and vulnerable. I am frozen in humiliation, thinking I’ve been eyed by even a single individual, whoever it may be. Who were the witnesses? What was witnessed?

Dissociation is not short-lived, though the episode may be; it affects my “affect,” leaving me both visibly and invisibly upset for hours or days after, reflecting on the whys…. It also exhausts my entire body (neurological and physical systems).

Dissociation breaks bridges between myself and others. I have not built a trusting relationship within myself. I am afraid to risk.

Dissociation diminishes me, not only from myself, but also as a family member, as a friend, and even as a patient.

I fear imminent dissociative episodes. Please…not here, not now, not then, not there.

The exposure of dissociation evokes a shame that is difficult to erase from my mind. I feel as if I need to be concealed from outsiders. I even choose to “alone” myself.

Dissociation is but one part of my inadequate identity. Questions shoot to the root of my complete self and remind me of my inadequate mind; my inadequate self-sufficiency, my inadequate employment…my inadequate total being due to mental illness.

These are the trappings for which I have well-developed defenses. This is part of what inflames my mind.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

At the February meeting of New Landscape, four topics were brought to the floor. These topics were discussed at length. For me it was like putting them all together and stirring them up and coming out with the topic of *validation.*

People were sharing how they have been validated from the outside in their process of healing. I was feeling deprived. I am a survivor of Satanic Ritual Abuse and I don’t remember my past, and those involved are dead. Now that I am aware of my DID, my parts tell me of my past.

This discussion helped me to realize that I have been searching for validation from the outside while it is being given to me daily from within. My parts have revealed to me why I do certain behaviors, why I’m afraid of certain things, and what happened in my past. Since I hear things I don’t want to hear, I sometimes dissociate from my parts, or just make a conscious decision to play games on the computer to shut out the information. That’s another way of saying that I disregard my parts. When I disregard my parts, I disregard myself, for I am my parts and my parts are me.

The realization that my parts are validating me gives me the desire to pay attention to my parts. Now I will make every effort to validate them. When I validate them, I validate myself.

Looking for validation from the outside can or cannot happen. Looking for validation from the inside is a guarantee. My parts want to share their stories and their feelings with me. This is how they validate me. And I would like to offer my parts that same guarantee by listening to their stories and taking on some of their feelings.
~ Jeanette

Relating to Others as I’m Getting Better
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Submission from me/em (em is me spelled backwards):
As I have been “getting better,” I have been having a harder time relating to my therapist. After struggling with this for over a year, I have finally realized why it is. I am writing about it here in the hopes that anyone who has had a similar experience will share it, as I have never read about this in the DID/MPD literature.

I think I had/have two kinds of MPD: regular MPD and reverse MPD. Regular MPD is having many versions of me. Reverse MPD is having many versions of an outside person, mainly my therapist. There is the man with the compassionate, listening voice. There is the man with the efficient voice, checking his calendar to schedule an appointment. There is the man I see saying goodbye to the patient before me; that man has nothing to do with the man who walks back into his office with me-if it did, I wouldn’t be able to talk to him.

There is also regular and reverse integration. Regular integration is having some of my versions blend with others until they are no longer so distinct. Reverse integration is having some of my therapist’s versions merge. When they do, it seems as if I have lost him-the individual ones of him I have become comfortable with. It is hard for me to understand that the compassionate-listening one is the same person as the efficient-scheduling one. It feels as if the listening one no longer exists. The ones of us who related to the listening one don’t have anyone to relate to anymore; they haven’t transferred anything over to the composite stranger now standing in as a replacement. It doesn’t help that my therapist keeps saying he’s the same as he’s always been. It isn’t getting through.

It’s as if the total cast has changed, me as well as my therapist. It’s like bringing in replacement actors for a Broadway show. They still use the old script, but it isn’t the same production.

To outward appearances, reverse MPD isn’t as dramatic as losing time. But for me, it is much more devastating. It is losing people. It is losing my therapist. Oh my god.

Response to “Loneliness”
Saturday, July 9, 2005

Last month, Cathy F. wrote that she welcomed the Writing Project (which was an email distribution at the time – but is now called the “Writing Forum” here on the web), as she lives too far away to attend meetings; now she has a way of communicating with others in New Landscape. After describing her experiences, she wrote that “To everyone else [non D.I.D. people], who are allowed to complain about anything in their lives, I must always smile and say that ‘everything is fine’ when it is not. … Does it upset anyone else out there suffering with this disorder? Can you tell me how you deal with it on a daily basis?” The response below is in answer to Cathy’s question.

I am in my sixties and just took a 5-day total-immersion Spanish class taught by a method that made learning as much fun as being in kindergarten. The morning of the second day, I began to cry-because I never knew learning could be fun. My father had taught me Spanish when I was a baby, but I haven’t spoken it since I was two. He always made learning a chore, with hours of forced repetition. I couldn’t tell anyone in the class why I was crying and tried to disguise it as a runny nose.

At the lunch table that day, I was sitting with 7 other people from the class. One of the women, about my age, said she had started to cry in class. She told us her parents were holocaust survivors who had fled Germany in 1939 and gone to the Dominican Republic, where she was born. They wanted her to speak English without an accent, so they didn’t permit her talk Spanish or German. She left the Dominican Republic for Canada when she was two. This Spanish class brought up memories-Spanish sounds and words from her childhood that she hadn’t realized she knew. Everyone at the table understood.

I would love to be able to talk as freely about my own experiences, but I have come to realize that if I want to be accepted into the community of the world, I can’t. Still, I was grateful that she told her story. I even encouraged her to share it with the teacher. At our next meal, she told me she did and thanked me for suggesting it-the teacher was very understanding.

Before I started to heal from D.I.D., I wasn’t able to relate to the pain of non-D.I.D’s. But I am finding, as I get better, that being able to understand the pain of someone who is not D.I.D. is healing and helps me connect. Often I can relate what they feel to something similar that came up in me, and then I feel part of humanity in a way I never did before. It feels good to be able to share the feeling, even though I can’t share the words. LEM

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

I’d really like to thank New Landscape for beginning this new writing project. I have been receiving your notices of meetings in NYC for some time now but cannot attend them because of distance and time. Thus I have been very thankful to know that there are others out there like myself (although I feel badly for us all for having to suffer in this way) but was always disappointed that I could not actually directly communicate with any members. This writing project seems just the ticket for finally making personal contact with everyone on this list. Thank you!

I have been dissociative since childhood, only getting substantially better over the past 12 years when I found a psychologist and a meds doctor who believed what I told them and acted on it with the right drugs (for depression and anxiety) and intensive therapy. I do not have the experience of living with my others “out”. (When my mind switches into those states it is like I am asleep and “wake up” with time lost and no memory of what happened. ) Most of my troubles occur with seeing and hearing things that aren’t there or “hearing” people say things to me which they really aren’t saying! I find it very difficult to determine “reality” at times like these but usually have to wait until things sort themselves out.

Worst of all is the silence. Only two very close friends at work know of my condition. To everyone else, who are allowed to complain about anything in their lives, I must always smile and say that “everything is fine” when it is not. This is what gets to me most of all. Does it upset anyone else out there suffering with this disorder? Can you tell me how you deal with it on a daily basis?

Thank you all for really listening to me about this. I feel much less alone.

~ Cathy F.

My New Landscape Experience (2 Entries)
Sunday, May 15, 2005

**** I’m an “almost better” who read about and e-mailed New Landscape, and then went to the meeting. I’d like to share my experience with those of you who are wondering about it. Topics were brought up and we shared on those topics, or any other topics we wished to share on. For me, it was an opportunity to be with other multiples and share with other multiples. It was non-threatening and non-invasive. It provided me with a sense of belonging. I felt at home with other multiples who are in the process of recovery. I heard how other multiples dealt with the specific topics that were being addressed. I am only one person (many parts). I felt validated in this group. I don’t have “multiple” friends. Non-multiple people don’t understand me. The people in the group understood what I said and I understood what they said. It was a real boost in the arm. I like knowing that there is such a group that I can plug into once a month. I hope to meet you there in June.
~ Jeanette

**** At the May meeting, I spoke about feeling empty and being unable to feel now that I am getting better. I would almost welcome feeling horrible, just to feel something. I spoke about trying to follow my therapist’s suggestion of giving one of my young parts a block of special time each week as a way to reconnect with my feelings, and of having a place in the house to store her things. She is young, and she likes arts-and-crafts and hair ornaments that are inappropriate for the 60+ adult we like to think we are. Also, our apartment is small, and we don’t want her things all over the place-both for space reasons, and because we want our apartment to look like a grown-up apartment. My therapist suggested putting her things in a box, and when the box was full, she would have to get rid of something if she wanted to add something else. Another member of the group shared how she arranged her apartment so she could easily convert it to be comfortable for one age level or another, depending on who was out. And another spoke of different ways of making her younger parts feel safe enough to come out and play and enjoy themselves. It was helpful to me to hear them share. I often have to run things through a translator when I talk to people. But I never realized that I also run things through a translator when I listen to people. It was only at this past meeting of New Landscape, when, for the first time ever, I didn’t have to run things through a translator either way – talking or listening – that I realized it.
~ Laura