I don’t know if anyone still follows this blog. But I don’t update this one any more. I now blog over at therapy bits. The address is
If you want to follow me over there.
I’m still writing about therapy, about my life, about my dog, living with mental illnesses, etc.
I’m still doing what I did when I had this blog. So if you’d like to follow along, please feel free.
I will be deleting this blog really soon. I now blog over at
Please come join me over there!
I thought tonight I’d write about our therapy journey and our experiences of being in therapy. We’ve been in therapy since age 17. It all started with a hospitalisation when we were 17 for acute stress disorder, it was during that hospitalisation that we disclosed some about our abuse and a psychiatrist was contacted and diagnosed us with major depression and ptsd. It was our first ever experience of seeing someone for mental health related issues. After the hospitalisation we kept on seeing the female psychiatrist for about 10 months as an outpatient. She put us on meds and she got us a therapist. However we didnt really click with the therapist. Her name was Eileen, but its not the eileen we see right now. It was a different Eileen. At the time when we went into therapy we were also struggling with anorexia and she would weigh us much to our annoyance. We hated being weighed, which is one reason why we did not get along. We saw that Eileen for about 8 or 9 months, but we did not really get anywhere with her, to be honest I dont know why we kept on going. I could say we were young and didnt know what we needed, didnt know better etc. Eventually our then psychiatrist said we’d recovered enough to stop seeing the therapist and just stay on our meds. Of course that did not last long. We were I’d say a year without any help for our issues and then the shit really hit and we were back getting help again. This time we went to a specialist place for survivors of abuse. We started working with a wonderful therapist named Attracta. She was so caring, kind, compassionate, and we clicked with her and grew to really like her. We disclosed a lot to her and it was actually initially her who diagnosed us with the did. Of course we had a psychiatrist assess us too back then and she came with us for the assessment and it was then that they diagnosed us did. Our insiders had talked to her in session, were sending emails to her, and disclosing bits and pieces about the abuse. Back then our host Shirley was around too and she really had a lot of input in the therapy too. But we did not continue with Attracta long term, she decided that she had lost her objectivity around our case and so she decided to refer us to Margaret who was a colleague of hers. It was devastating to lose attracta as we’d placed so much trust in her. We were really suicidal after therapy ended and we attempted suicide six months later. We started seeing Margaret and we found her to be totally different from attracta. She was quite cold and distant and would do things like prepare for us coming in, for example she would not come get us herself from the waiting room, she had a secretary from the office bring us to her and when I challenged her on this she said she needed time to prepare and ground herself before our session. I never could understand that if I am honest. We stuck with her though for about a year and a half. She did lots of tests on us, she was a psychologist so was able to do the testing, we did lots of depression scales, dissociative experience scale, somatoform disorder tests, other did related tests, etc. After I ended therapy with her I was able to get all of my notes and results of those tests which made for very interesting reading. I was also able to get all of my session notes from both her and attracta. The thing about that place was it was run by the HSE which is a government body so they had to keep very detailed records. I’m glad I was able to get them. It helped a lot. After ending therapy with Margaret I took a short break and then I started with Coleen. Coleen was a breath of fresh air. She was very creative and did not only do talk therapy but did play therapy, art therapy etc as well. When she figured out we had did she did lots of things to accomodate insiders, such as reading to the littles, doing play therapy and art therapy with us too as well as the regular talk therapy. We really liked her and we were with her for 2 years. We would have stayed with her but in 2005 we went back to college and the times didnt suit us and coleen was cutting down on her hours so we decided that we’d finish up with her much to our disappointment. She found us someone else but unfortunately she wasnt very good. The new person pat worked from a psycho analytic approach which was not what we were used to and did not suit us at all. So we were not comfortable and only continued seeing her for about 2 or 3 months. Then a turn of events happened which led up to us being hospitalised in a psych unit for a month. After that first hospitalisation we were without a therapist and it stayed like that for almost a year. For that year we weere in and out of hospital all the time, and overdosing constantly, doing things to harm ourselves or hurt ourselves, it was a nightmare. Eventually in March of 2007 I knew I needed to do something because we were not getting any better. So I rang a specialist organisation and asked them to find me a therapist or I’d end up dead. They found me joan. Joan was a psychologist and psychotherapist. She was a good therapist but had very lose boundaries. She did a lot for us though and I do think she saved our life. She was accepting of the did and got to know a lot of the insiders in our system. She was instramental in us getting a did diagnosis from did experts in 2010. She helped us to make that happen so that we could continue to get the funding for our therapy. What made us leave joan after four and a half years was one day when liz whose one of our insiders talked about severe abuse and her memories of it and Joan changed the subject on her and it really hurt liz. We tried to salvage the relationship but after that we just didnt feel safe any longer. So after six weeks of trying to rebuild our relationship we left. I’d called Coleen and asked her if she still practiced, and after some talking we went back to her and were back with her for 18 months. She was still her amazing self and was very good to us even visiting us in hospital when we had the cancer scare. She was always so attentive to the littles. But I knew I needed a specialist in trauma, and someone who treated did. I didnt think I’d find someone as this is Ireland and did is so rare to begin with and I did not believe there would be anyone who specialised in treating it. But I did a search and I found Eileen. Initially when I found her and read her profile it said she’d worked as a psych nurse for 27 years, and that she treated trauma and personality disorders. Obviously she did a lot more too and worked with a lot more than that but on that basis I emailed her and we talked. And thats how I came to my current therapist. I’ve now been with her almost 3 years. I can honestly say I think I’ll be with her for a long time to come. Its been an amazing 3 years. She has helped us so much with inner communication, we’ve done EMDR, we’ve worked on so many issues. Out of all of the other therapists I had I think Coleen was the best and if I hadnt have been able to find Eileen I probably would have continued to see Coleen. So that my friends is our journey through the last 17 years of therapy. Its certainly been an intense one.
I had therapy today. It was a full session. I felt so anxious going in to see Eileen, but by the time I left the anxiety had disapated. I was so relieved about that. I did not want to go through my whole day feeling anxious!
We did some work with one of my alters, Liz. Liz has been, and still is struggling with self harm urges. She was able to talk about that today and get some support from Eileen with her feelings around cutting and self harm. It turns out one reason for her wanting to self harm is because she feels like no one notices her, and another reason is she feels lonely, and unseen, so thinks that by cutting people will notice that she is there, the thing is though, people do notice her and see her, its just she isnt receptive to that most of the time. I was very surprised that she told me how she felt, because, she usually isnt one for sharing deep feelings and stuff.
After we worked with liz, we did some body work, sometimes I find it hard to notice my body, have awareness of it, so we did some exercises where I would feel my body parts, notice how they felt, tell Eileen and then work on why I felt how I felt. It was so good and I really did get a lot of information, I did notice that most of the time I am at a 5 rather than at a 10 when it comes to noticing my body and being in my body.
We talked about books and reading and I told her I prefer to read books about true events, like the Cathy glass books, or other books written by survivors of trauma and other stuff like that, because it makes me feel like I am not the only one that went through that stuff. I also like to learn, and sometimes I will read books on trauma, that are meant for therapists. I remember a few years ago a therapist saying to me that I should not read books that are aimed at professionals. It was like she felt threatened by the fact I was reading that stuff. Eileen said she didnt see a problem with me reading it. I told her I bought the body keeps the score, by vessel van der koke.
She is on holiday for a week now so I wont see her for two weeks until May 25th. She said I could email her as much as I need to though which is a good thing.
I was contacted by an author who wanted to post some of her writing on my our blog. So here is the first piece of writing. I found it very interesting and I hope you do, too.
The Shaky Evolution of Mental Health Therapies
From trepanation (boring a hole in the head) to technology, a brief history of mental illness treatments
Before the Greeks: mental problems thought to be caused by “supernatural” demonic possession.
Primitive Therapies: The Ancients
• Bathing: Greeks used to cure depression
• Bloodletting: to cure psychosis
• Trepanation: drill a hole in the head to let the demons out
• Hysteria therapy: the wandering womb (Plato’s cure-all for women…soothe the womb, solve the problem)
From 1450-1750: 40,000 to 100,000 executed as witches throughout Europe. Approximately 80% were women
Pre-Modern: Weird Therapies (Cruel and Unusual Punishment?)
• Insulin coma therapy: load em up with insulin, then wake them up
• Rotational therapy (spin out that illness)
• Hydrotherapy (submerge the patient)
• Mesmerism (magnetize the illness out of the body)
• Malaria therapy (a feverish cure)
• Chemically induced seizures
• Phrenology (bumps on the skull indicated what was wrong)
• And…of course the ever popular….ice pick lobotomy (quite popular into the mid 20th century)
• 50,000: number of lobotomies total in U.S., most between 1949-1952
• 2,500: of the 50,000 estimated number of ice pick lobotomies in U.S.
Mental Health: You think it’s not your problem? Think again.
• 1 in 5: American adults experienced a mental health issue: that’s 57.7 million Americans EVERY YEAR.
• 1 in 10: young people experienced a period of major depression
• 1 in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
• 10th leading cause of death in U.S.: Suicide.
• 38,000: number of suicide deaths in U.S. annually. That is 2X deaths in U.S. by homicide.
Moving into the Modern Age:
• Psychoanalysis: Enter Sigmund Freud…and “talking” therapy: Freud begat: [all broke from Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Carl
• Medication: using drugs like lithium
• Electroconvulsive therapy. Shock treatment. First used,
What we know:
450 million people worldwide have mental problems. 1 in every 16 person on
50% of all mental problems begin before age 14; 75% before age 25.
20% of young adults have mental problems.
35% of teen girls (7 in 25) have eating disorders.