My Truth

When Paul announced that the topic for both the Carnival Against Child Abuse, and Expressive Arts Carnival would be “your truth”, I was excited. I struggle with what my truth is, almost on a daily basis; so saw this as a great way to explore my reactions and issues around the concept.  Then the reality of writing about the topic hit me… literally.  I published a post about my truth last week, which received some negative feedback, and all my insecurities came out and had a party.  It became a fight about whether I would look more foolish keeping it up, or taking it down.  I decided to take it down.

I consider truth to be an amorphous concept.  What I wrote last week, was my truth at that time.  What I write today, will be different because I’ve learned from last week’s experience, and gained more understanding about the situation.  If I write another post on this topic in a week, month or year, it will be different again.  Truth isn’t set in stone.  Truth is derived from the understanding of our experiences… but that understanding comes from our perspective, bias, values, etc.

Truth also has political, economic and cultural importance.  This is where I start to get confused – not because I think I’m of any great importance, but rather because so many people seem to have a vested interest in my truth…

  • The False Memory Syndrome Foundation and DID deniers are vocal in their opinion and research that they say proves you cannot repress traumatic memory in the way that many DID cases are presenting.
  • Extreme supporters of DID tell you to seek out each memory and believe it as the truth.
  • My family don’t know what to believe, but they are tired of having a daughter who is unwell.
  • Work doesn’t care as long as they get more than my contracted hours of work, and I don’t inconvenience them with my phobias.
  • ACC accepts that I have issues related to sexual abuse, but would prefer this to have been “resolved” long ago so that they didn’t need to keep funding my therapy.

I find it impossible to ignore all of these conflicting messages and theories.  In some ways, I think it’s dangerous to do so.  Each group has something to teach us… FMS helped to place a check of poor therapeutic practice; our family show us how confusing our experience can appear to the outside world; and so on.  But, I don’t think that it’s up to us as individuals, to get caught up in the debates and arguments.  I think that we owe it to ourselves to be an informed consumer; to gain power over our own healing, and to play an active part in that healing process.  But we shouldn’t hurt ourselves in the process.

I’ve read much of the FMS material.  I’ve debated with the DID deniers.  I’ve questioned the beliefs of the extreme supporters.  Each of those interactions has come at a personal cost.  I begin to doubt my truth.  I become conflicted and destabilised.  Opponents to DID, would argue that this destabilisation was due to the house of cards that I have built my life on, being threatened.  The thing is, the intellectual part of me likes this reasoning.  At times I embrace denial for all it’s worth.  Events which I know occurred are minimised, or I detach emotionally from them.

But, this doesn’t explain how I continue to react to things.  Even in the midst of my denial, I still avoid the smell of tyres on a hot summer day, I must have my back to the wall… the list goes on.  I can appear bright, happy and be super-functional; yet internally I’ve compartmentalised the turmoil, and can dangerously self injure within the hour.  This is where my intellectual/autobiographical truth, and the truth of my sensory memory collide.  For me, healing comes, not from trying to uncover every single memory, but rather in coping with what I am facing in the present – it’s about symptom management, not chasing memories.

It’s my intellectual part that needs to know what happened to me; but this has never been where my healing has occurred.  My greatest leaps in healing have always come from working through a trigger in the present.  It’s shown the wounded parts of me that it is possible to be safe.  Ironically, this safety has often led to more sharing of emotions, and yes, sometimes memories.  But these were shared from a place of strength, not chaos.  They didn’t have the power to sweep me along on an emotional tidal wave.  That’s not to say that I don’t get swept away, I do.  But I’m learning how to cope in the present in a more proactive way… a more emotional way.  It’s uncomfortable, it’s scary, but the benefits are showing.

So what is my truth?  I was hurt in the past by people who should have protected me.  That betrayal of trust now influences my life in significant ways.  I get confused, distracted and hurt by the controversy that is associated with the diagnostic label that a psychiatrist assigned me.  I am trying my best to heal from the wounds of the past, understand the controversy, and (more importantly) live a life.  Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do?


What is the truth… or are they both the truth seen from different perspectives?

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50 thoughts on “My Truth

  1. This is so well written CG and your art is beautiful.

    I am sorry you had a negative reaction to your first post. I did not get a chance to read it, however I believe that you had every right to write it and no one should make you feel insecure enough to have to take it down. I am really sorry that happened. **gentle hug**

    I really agree with what you wrote here and I do believe that truth changes with perspectives. I have completed my artwork but I am still trying to find the words.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your truth a second time.

    Take gentle care of you

    From Kylie

    • Hi Kylie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words…

      I should clarify though, I made myself feel insecure, no one else. Because I don’t come from a Humanities background, I often struggle to understand concepts such as truth. So I was already on shaky ground, and all that was needed to push me over the edge was a comment that I could construe as negative.

      I’m glad someone else could identify with some of what I wrote 🙂

      I look forward to seeing your art and reading your post 🙂

      Take care and warm safe hugs,

  2. That was very well written and it is always interesting to see your perspective on DID and healing.

    I can understand your families as it can be confusing for someone ‘on the outside’ as information is mostly of the detailed medical type or rather sparse.

    No rant this time. Keep up the good work and take care.

    • Hi Ringonz,

      I can often sense my mothers frustration with me… sometimes I don’t need to sense it, she tells me about it! She’s a nurse, but doesn’t have the mental health side of things, just medical. So I know it must be confusing for those around us to try and understand.

      Please, feel free to rant… I thought how you brought in other areas was really interesting – and very relevant to the whole debate!

      Take care of yourself,

      • OK if you insist, but I don’t want to take too much away from your post.

        Mental health issues seem to be a thing people get or don’t get especially in our parents generation. It is in a way strange as our parents and grandparents generations were the ones responsible for the concepts of mental heath issues, PTSD, depression etc.

        We need a spectrum of opinions to form a solid decision, but some go too far and never seem to offer solutions, just poor science. Maybe it is because there seems to be a trend for business and government to slowly give information and in stories rather than facts. Beating around the bush or to give bad news in a good way. I’m not sure how this has come about??

        A good global example is Climate Change where the science is still in its infancy and since it affects everyone opinions are wide, sometimes wild and varied. Even a renowned global animal rights and somewhat extremist organisation has jumped on board to help elevate their causes.

        I do like your comment “For me, healing comes, not from trying to uncover every single memory, but rather in coping with what I am facing in the present – it’s about symptom management, not chasing memories.” I think it is very true and a great attitude towards healing.

        • You raise an interesting point about our parents generation… yes, they in many respects were part of the generation that saw huge changes in the way mental health was approached… but it was still very much a generation where those with mental health issues were “swept under the carpet” so to speak. My cynical friend at work had an aunt who died in the Seacliff disaster. As far as the family can tell, she was there purely due to either postpartum depression, or being an unwed mother.

          This is probably another post, as I do think our parents generation were influenced by the institutionalisation of mental health, and the “just get on with it, you’ve got nothing to grizzle about” attitude that came from the Depression and War years. So in many respects we’re at the crossroads, where there was deinstitutionalisation, but no services to pick-up the pieces, so to speak. So we get violent offenders with serious mental health problems in the headlines… It all adds to the mix.

          I totally agree, we need a spectrum of opinions about any issue. I think that’s where psychiatry has it’s strengths and weaknesses. There are a range of opinions out there, but there are egos and politics that get in the way of a reasoned debate.

          DID is in it’s infancy in many ways, and there was huge damage done in the early years with some unethical practices/practitioners. That could be said for many areas of mental health. Things are better with the licensing boards and regulations, but I still think mental health (especially in NZ) has a long way to go.

          I hate marketing for the reasons you mention – jumping on bandwagons. But then, I can also see why they do it… it’s sometimes the only way to get their cause in the limelight.

          I don’t consider many of the media portrayals of DID to be such good bandwagons for the cause 🙂

          Thanks for adding your comments Ringonz… made me think after a pretty heinous day.

          Take care of yourself,

          • I am sorry to hear you had a heinous day. 😦

            I think egos and politics get in the way of many reasoned debates… and don’t get me started on the media.

            We have a long way to go, but at least now there are people out their willing to devote their time to progressing the cause. It is however a pity there is a small number of individuals who are stymieing progress.

            Well take care and look after yourself.

            • As soon as someone says not to get them started on something, I always feel the need to prod at their sore spot with a big grin on my face… not that I’m nasty or anything 🙂

              It’s been argued fairly successfully that the DSM is a political and ego battlefield. Considering how much influence the document has, that’s pretty scary.

              I agree, things are getting better… but for a fairly small, select number of conditions and diagnoses. But then, one step at a time.

              Take care,

  3. I saved the other post because you put into words how I feel about truth, too. It was well written and I share a similar cynicism. I also understand that putting your personal truth out there can make you feel vulnerable and we question our own truth enough as it is.


    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks… Yes, it is scary to post about subjects that I feel strongly about, but know that someone could easily come and destroy my viewpoint.

      I’m glad parts of the posts resonated with you.

      Take care,

  4. Thank you for this post- it is well written and displays many of the same things I experience. I am criticized for not being DID “enough” for some, and of course the opponents say I am making all this up and am incapable. I appreciate your honestly and putting this out here!

    • Hi Anna,

      I’ve been caught in similar situations, where I’ve been told I’m “too high functioning” to be DID, and other such judgments. I’d like to say that those words don’t get to me, but sometimes they do. I think that’s why holding onto our truth is so important… it helps to ground us and act as a buffer against the different messages we hear.

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      Take care,

  5. As I said before, your original post was beautifully written and I think this post follows most of the logic and feelings in the first and I’m glad.
    This is going to be a long comment and I’m sorry I just don’t know how to shorten it. 😦
    I think that in this world there will always be people who insist on arguing the opposing view on something no matter what the view is. If you look at internet forums about various topics, there’s always someone out there who can manage to come up with an argument about anything. I bet that right now there’s someone who still thinks the earth is flat despite evidence from space.
    My point is that there will always be arguments about everything and mental health is a huge issue because so many people just don’t get it unless it happens directly to them. Your mom may not ever get it because she doesn’t experience it personally. I like to think there’s a balance and MY balance includes your thoughts and thoughts expressed in the comments.

    I make a point of not accepting everything I see as a memory at first. Now some would disagree and that’s ok, but for me, I have to be able to work through it until I can either accept it as being completely or likely true, or discount it because I was able to trace it back to something I read or saw somewhere else. With the latter there is a feeling of truth having been discovered and it’s easy to move on and with the former there is a feeling of, “Well damn! I didn’t *want* that to be true but it *is* Now it’s time to deal with it.” My background is different from some in that I have always had one constant memory of one incident that happened. I never blocked it I only minimized it. So I had something “real” to start with. I think people who support FM syndrome like to argue about people who have never had any feeling or memory of any abuse ever. Personally I think they can go to hell but that’s just me. In truth when all of my abuse stuff came up, I read about FMS too I had to for myself and you want to believe it because it means that something terrible never happened BUT when I read all the research for and against it, I came to the conclusion that while it may be possible for a stupid therapist to talk someone into believing something that isn’t true, the instances of that happening are RARE. The typical belief these days is, if you feel like something happened, it probably did. Someone made a good point on memory and false memory.Example: Maybe someone believes that their grandmother abused them because they have memories of her being around at that time and being at her house but maybe it wasn’t her that did it maybe it was the grandfather and the victim thought it was her because she was the one they remembered or maybe it was too painful to accept that “grandpa” did it. It doesn’t make the abuse false, it *really* happened, the details just got mixed up.
    I think it’s healthy to look into memories before accepting them so we can feel true to OURSELVES. Knowing that we’re not liars (and we are NOT) is a huge deal and affects how we feel about ourselves. The truth is people don’t want to believe that child sexual abuse happens but it does and they need to suck it up and deal with it not hide from it. We don’t get any benefits from being abused so why the hell would we make it up, but we have to come to an acceptance for ourselves. Sorry this is so ridculously long CG.

    • ” … when I read all the research for and against it, I came to the conclusion that while it may be possible for a stupid therapist to talk someone into believing something that isn’t true, the instances of that happening are RARE. The typical belief these days is, if you feel like something happened, it probably did.”

      I can’t read that and not comment – tai I disagree with you pretty strongly on both points. Therapist leading is a rampant problem. Not because therapists are manipulative jerks with an agenda, purposefully trying to create false memories. But because very few understand the malleability of memory and therefore take any and all traumatic material presented to them as representative of historical fact. That’s a huge problem. And I believe it’s vital for those in treatment for dissociative disorders to be aware of it and educate their therapists about the unreliability of memory and the importance of treating traumatic material as information, but not necessarily concrete fact.

      I also disagree with the idea that if you believe something happened it did. This erroneous – and, in my opinion, dangerous – belief was widely spread by Laura Davis and Ellen Bass and there’s no scientific basis for it whatsoever. We don’t put people in jail because our gut instinct says they belong there for a reason. And neither is it reasonable to assume someone has committed an abuse simply because we have a feeling they probably did. In other words, just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t make it true.

      As always, I respect your process and point of view. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out what I passionately believe is not only incorrect, but widely problematic thinking among those with dissociative disorders.

      • Whoa Holly 🙂 I think you misunderstood my personal stance on this. I’m *not* saying that I believe that if you “feel” something happened it probably did. I was only pointing out that there has been slight swing in the way some professionals view memory issues. I think people today are being taught to go with their feelings more than they used to. That’s *all* I meant. That’s what I meant when I said “the typical belief today”. I didn’t mean that I personally agree with everything that is said by every author or professional. That’s one reason why a long time ago Paul at Mindparts made a good point in one of his comments to me when I was agonizing over whether to believe a memory. He said to remember that it wasn’t like I was going to try and have the guy arrested over what could be memories and that’s true. I’m not saying that I don’t wish my uncle could be punished but I wouldn’t be the one to pursue it based on what I feel and have seen in my mind. I take the criminal aspect of that very seriously even though I believe in much of what I remember.

        As for the therapists, when I said “stupid” I wasn’t talking about their motives being bad, I was talking about their lack of education on dissociative disorders and how the disorders work. A “stupid” therapist, in my opinion and in the case of what I was talking about *here*, is someone who takes on a client with a dissociative disorder, especially DID when they *don’t* have the training or experience to specialize in that. I think people with DID and other dissociative disorders have to do our research before choosing a therapist because,as you said, it can be a problem if the therapist doesn’t understand the complexity of memory.

        Did I make what I was saying clearer? Sometimes it’s hard to write what I mean because I can’t put the emphasis on what I want and no one can see my gestures or sarcasm etc. 🙂 Are we good? Not that we can’t disagree I just think my comment was taken the wrong way. Maybe I shouldn’t comment before I have coffee?

        • tai, we’re good in my world no matter your opinion on the subject of traumatic memory. I vehemently disagree that therapist leading is rare, and staunchly oppose the if-you-think-it-happened-then-it-did mindset. But that isn’t, and never will be personal.

          • CG made a great post. And I will write about my feelings on it tomorrow. Right now I’m heading off to bed. But I wanted to comment on this thread of comments here since my name came up. The false memory debate is what caused a change, and CG rightly acknowledges that. During that debate, if you were on the side of treating trauma or recovering, you were helped by that debate because clinicians know more and are more careful (if you get a good one). The FMS people, with poor tactics, went up against people like Davis & Bass (leaders of a movement who have done more harm than good in my opinion because they went strictly by “feelings meant facts”). Both sides were not willing to find common ground. But the answer lies on the common ground.

            My point, which you recalled Tai, about not being in a position to have someone arrested was aimed at addressing someone (you) who was determined to know whether to label something as historical fact. I said the actual details are not what are so important as your internal reactions. I was encouraging you to focus your energies on your internal reactions. If you focus on trying to untangle memories, you can get all tangled up.

    • Hi tai,

      I do think that opposing viewpoints are a vital part of how we gain knowledge, so I hope they don’t stop debating. What I do wish though, is that they don’t involve the already wounded in the debate.

      While I understand where you’re coming from with your need for the truth, it really is a complicated issue. I’ve done a great deal of reading around the issue of memory, and it is a scary and wondrous thing. There are so many opposing views on how the memory works, which is why in many ways I sidestep the debate by focusing instead on managing my symptoms in the present, while acknowledging how they came about in my past.

      I know I was hurt, my somatic, sensory and emotional memory tell me that. I’ve had consistent memories of some abuse which support that belief; and yes, I’ve uncovered more as my journey has gone on. But my need now, is to live in the present.

      You were hurt tai, by people who should have protected you. While I know it’s really attractive to try and “truth seek” with the memories, please be careful. Go gently on the ones sharing the information.

      People will believe what is comfortable for them. It’s a long slow process to change a persons core beliefs.

      Take care and go gently,

    • Hi Tai,

      I’m going to share with you what I talked about in therapy today, because I think it touches on many of the issues you raise here…

      To set the scene, I’d emailed Allison earlier in the week to say that I was really struggling with the validity of my DID diagnosis (not for anyone else, just me). Allison suggested that we do a form of psychodrama, where first we have the parts who don’t believe in the diagnosis talking to Allison as a representative of the parts who do believe in the diagnosis; and then vice versa until there is a resolution of some form – or I get too uncomfortable.

      I started off with what was referred to as the “intellectual denial” parts (M). The issues she raised were about the inexperience of a previous therapist; the FMS arguments; memory being malleable; the book Courage to Heal being too suggestible (I haven’t read it, but it was on the inexperienced therapists book shelf); being an attention seeker… Yeah, M sort of let rip.

      Allison acknowledged what was said, and then asked me to swap to the position of believing in DID. The main issue was that when M says that we’re not DID, is in a denial state or is questioning the experiences too harshly; it sends a message to the system that the abuse didn’t hurt or isn’t real. It was also pointed out that even when M was talking from her perspective, she still said “we” instead of “I” 🙂

      We then talked about what had just happened. Allison acknowledged all the fears. We talked about the book Courage to Heal – which is often cited as the origins of the “if you feel like something happened, then it did” thinking. Allison has read the book, and said that while many therapists believed that wholeheartedly in the past, it’s now only part of the picture. There’s a huge difference between someone coming into therapy and saying “I feel like something bad happened in my past”, but having absolutely no somatic, sensory and emotional issues; and someone coming in with that line, and experiencing the associated issues. Allison’s theory (and I’ve heard it numerous times from other therapists and mental health professionals), is that they treat the person as how they present in therapy.

      I know there are some therapists out there who don’t do this, and actively seek memories – can name one immediately 🙂 They are the reason we have regulating bodies, codes of conduct and ethical boards.

      So tai I can totally see where you were coming from… your truth is that you knew something bad had happened in the past, but you were minimising it. I’ve seen glimpses of the awful pain that you have experienced as you come to realise the full impact of what happened to you. My heart goes out to you… it really does. I appreciate your friendship and the kick buttus comments you make on my blog and Polyvore sets.

      My personal worry for you, is that in your need to seek the absolute truth, there are ones in your system being hurt like the ones in my system who talked today. It’s only the second time I’ve been close to tears in Allison’s office. I don’t know if that is happening for parts of your system. I really hope it isn’t, but that is always why I ask you to go gently with your truth seeking.

      I’m so sorry if you felt in any way personally confronted in the comments here. I’m a pacifist and argument avoider by nature (ah yes, co-dependence, you have me under your spell)… but I also like to have reasoned debates. Sometimes that can be difficult on a blog when you don’t know the space the other person is in…

      I’d really like to thank you, Holly and Paul for adding to the debate… I hope you take from it what you are able, and possibly revisit this post or the ideas presented in a week or so – not because I think it’s a brilliant post, but because I often find that revisiting something that challenges me is where I do most of my learning.

      Please feel free to email me, or add another comment if I’ve managed to confuse you – quite possible as I now think this comment is longer than my original post!

      Take gentle care of you, and with warm safe hugs if they are wanted…

      • Hey CG,
        Your comment was not confusing in the least, it was, as with all of your writing, very wise and caring.:) You know me well enough to know how I reacted to the discussion here and I appreciate your concern. I’m going to *try* (lol) to keep my reply short and just clear up 2 things. I really don’t want this to become about me. This post was about YOUR truth and I’m here to support you. So let me get myself out of the way :D. First I can see there is a lot of emotion surrounding the book “The Courage To Heal” and I guess that I feel the need to state (not to you) that I don’t hold that book as fact. I’ve read it ONCE and only the sections that had information similar to what I had read elsewhere from other sources. I guess I assumed that it was understood that I have the ability to read something, take what I can from it, and disregard the rest if it seems illogical or too staunch. Any research I referred to was not from that book. Lastly, I feel the need to make it clear that I DO believe that there is a middle ground somewhere, it just hasn’t been found yet or agreed upon by the professional community and as you said, it really hurts those who are suffering, that’s the sad part. Your statement CG: “There’s a huge difference between someone coming into therapy and saying “I feel like something bad happened in my past”, but having absolutely no somatic, sensory and emotional issues; and someone coming in with that line, and experiencing the associated issues. Allison’s theory (and I’ve heard it numerous times from other therapists and mental health professionals), is that they treat the person as how they present in therapy.”
        is exactly how my therapist is. We had a bump in the road at first and we learned from it so I can trust her more now. Your concern for me personally CG is also extremely valid. Every time I “remember” something I fight with it and dissect it and beat myself up about it. I think that’s why I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach while discussing this, becuase I fight with every molecule of my being to make sure anything I remember comes from me and not externally and I cannot accept that if I simply think something happened, it did. And I think that goes to the point you’re making towards me CG, if I’m understanding you :D. You worry because you’ve seen my process and you’re concerned about the effect it has on my system. Did I understand you right? I found your account of your session to be really interesting and it reminds me of how I feel inside many times, questioning everything about myself and also feeling the hurt from parts who feel betrayed or like no one believes them.

        I have had a tremendous amount of trauma dumped on my head this last week(prior to this discussion) and I’m struggling to deal with it. I am now dealing with the fear of blogging about it becuase of fear of judgment, but I’ll try and work through it.

        Again, I’m so very sorry that things got off track from your subject. This was about you and I hope I didn’t ruin that. You’re my friend and you always will be. And I hope we continue to make, using your awesome word, “kick buttus” comments to each other because I know they come from friendship and affection. Big safe, warms hugs to you my friend!

        • Hi tai,

          Thanks for clearing up those points.

          Yes, The Courage to Heal is an emotive subject – possibly because it has a reputation as being fairly extreme. As I said, I’ve never read the book – mainly because of the controversy, so I don’t know much about it. It was raised in my session with Allison because of that reputation and being on a previous therapists bookshelf. I don’t even know if she read it 🙂

          I’m glad you can trust your therapist and that you worked through that bump you had early on.

          Yes, you’re right about my concerns for you. I’m not saying to believe every memory as fact; but rather, believe your emotional responses in the present day. You know that bad things happened in the past, you’ve got consistent memories for them. So when you go into battle over each new memory, there is a danger that the ones holding that emotional memory are being hurt. Yes, gently reality check the memory, but don’t hold an inquisition over it 🙂 The pain you describe is exactly what I feared might be happening for you… go gently on those parts.

          Please keep blogging… it’s your blog, your voice.

          Don’t apologise… blogs are meant to encourage thinking and debate.

          Take care,

  6. Really great post CG, lots to think about and mull over.

    I went to a training day at the weekend, which was brilliant. One thing that struck me was that the speaker said, although you can’t ‘prove’ (explicit) memories, you can’t fake are the somatic symptoms, the attachment patterns, the PTSD symptoms, the triggers – in other words the somatic, sensory and emotional memories. I think that truth can help validate your experiences.

    • Hi thesamesky 🙂

      I agree, those somatic, sensory and emotional memories are so telling. Each of my siblings has different somatic and emotional reactions which show the dysfunctional environment we grew up in. This knowledge helps me to validate that there were problems in the family… that I’m not the “odd one out” making this all up.

      I’m still trying to work through all my triggers, and the associated emotional reaction to them. I’d like to think I’m getting better at managing them – some days, I’m not so sure.

      It sounds like a really interesting course. I’ve read a few articles about the difference between the explicit and sensory memory, but I’d love to hear someone speak about it. There’s a different dynamic to witnessing others reactions to the ideas.

      Take care,

      • It was a very interesting course, called ‘Dissociation, Trauma and Time Travelling … or Living and Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder’ (details here: It was a mixture of learning more about the attachment roots of DID, hearing from a lady about what it was like living with DID and learning from therapists who work with DID. It was the lady with DID who explained the different types of memory (because the course was also open to clients and she was talking about denial, the reasons denial is so strong and was giving helpful information to counter it).

        • *sigh* now I wish I lived in a bigger city where I could attend things like this. I’ll check out the site when I get home… thanks for the information.

          Ah, Denial City… I know it well 🙂

          Take care,

  7. Hi CG,

    Great post and well said.

    “Truth isn’t set in stone. Truth is derived from the understanding of our experiences… but that understanding comes from our perspective, bias, values, etc.”

    I love that. I remember you telling me once that, “two people experiencing the same thing side by side, will come away with a different understanding of what occurred and why.” There are so many layers to truth. Which is why I like the theme “My Truth.” To me, that theme and your post emphasize that ultimately, what matters for each of us is our truth, not THE truth. After all, THE truth doesn’t exist (that’s my opinion, I’m not suggesting you said or even implied that.)

    I love your art here. I was struck by it the first time I saw it too.

    • Hi Holly,

      Thanks for kind words 🙂 I was really worried about how this post would be received…

      Truth is a really tricky subject. I still don’t understand all of the implications around it, but I try to stick to my truth and being true to what I experience. That’s not to say I don’t get confused – I do. But by trying to stay in the present and deal with the emotions and symptoms, I’m hoping to make my life worth living.

      “THE truth” is heavily debated. I particularly like the irony of the debate within scientific circles… interesting when each of the camps truths about a subject conflict, yet they’re the ones telling the “truth”. I know that’s the extreme thinkers, but it still amuses me 🙂

      I like the middle of the row approach to most things… learn from everyone you can!

      Take care,

      • “I particularly like the irony of the debate within scientific circles… interesting when each of the camps truths about a subject conflict, yet they’re the ones telling the “truth”.”

        Ha! Yes, excellent point. It is rather amusing that even among scientists polarized thinking exists. It’s hypocritical, really.

        I’ve been thinking about what you said about people having a vested interest in your truth. That’s a lot of pressure. I like what e.e. cummings has to say about it:

        To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

        I wonder if it ever gets less exhausting.

        • I hope it gets less exhausting as we become more sure of who we are, and our place in this world. Everyone feels that pressure to conform… some people manage to handle or ignore it, so anything is possible.

  8. One question. What is meant by “destabilisation was due to the house of cards that I have built my life on.”?

    Also I have to agree with both tai and Holly. I could be wrong as I have no experience in psychology, but I think you can lead someone to create a simple “false memory”, however I don’t think you can create a complex one without a lot of work and even then it would not make sense in reality. Since humans can question things logically and can be somewhat sceptical it will unravel if you try and work out its structure. Obviously for some people this process can be difficult and potentially dangerous.

    There are a lot of great points made from everyone here and it is requiring too much thinking for me to put it all into words. However I do agree with the point made that healing is working through the emotions and triggers and managing them. It is though and exhausting work, but it worth it.

    • Hi,

      The house of cards comment is one that I hear from the FMS side of the debate. What it means to me, is that if DID is a fake diagnosis, or if my symptoms are created through therapist suggestion, then basically the life that I know will collapse in on itself, like a house of cards. The first sign of this happening, would be a destabilisation, due to the discomfort the realisation would bring.

      The problem with many of the extreme positions against DID, is that many of them are based on the experiences of some people who received unethical therapy in the past. There were law suits against therapists and hospitals brought about by people who were subjected to bad psychiatric care – many are recorded online through the FMSF (False Memory Syndrome Foundation) site. The cases were horrific, and did involve very complex memory recollection. So there is some basis in the fear that the memories could be created. This is where the FMS were positive in their work, they created a balancing check on the practices in the past. I’m not sure what the implications were in America, but I know that those law suits helped to change the way therapists approached trauma based therapy.

      The ideal situation would then have been, as suggested by Paul, that each camp come together to work on a middle ground. To take the best from both sides of the arguments, and work out a way forward. Instead you get a continuing debate that no one is winning – especially the client!

      I do believe in the basis of my post… healing is about managing your symptoms, living in the present, while acknowledging that past. The past isn’t forgotten, not by any means… but it’s power over us is eased.

      I hope that sort of explains it. If not, feel free to ask more questions, although I’m not an expert, so it’s always just my interpretation of theories and experiences 🙂

      Take care,

      • Thanks for your explanation. I am going to have to look into this more. To me FMS as described by FMSF and the house of cards analogy does not fit or make complete logical sense.

        Well take care… and for the record I believe DID is real and to me seems a logical response to mental and physical trauma.

        Take care everyone and look after yourselves.

  9. My former therapist pointed out a study that showed that memories could be implanted. However, the sensory stuff could not. There was an experiment done where they somehow convinced the subjects (through a whole series of things) that they had been kidnapped from a mall when they were kids. However, even though they insisted that they believed it had happened, they never felt nervous when approaching the mall…unlike those who really had experienced something majorly traumatic at the mall. The picture memory may be tainted, but it is a whole lot harder to implant the sensory stuff.

    Even when there is some sensory stuff, it just did not have the intensity as the real deal and/or it was short lived. It did not have the staying power.

    I have seen both sides of the “debate”…although I hesitate to call it that since the deniers won’t even consider the possibility that they could be wrong and will not address anything that shows they might be.

    I think it is something that each one of us to settle for ourselves. For me, it was pretty clear. I suddenly have incredible memories…memories I need to have come to the surface in order to keep my son and I safe. Therefore, I did not experience the decompensation that typically happens when you have that much sudden recall…about three solid days worth. I was protected from that. And yes, it made me kind of question some things.

    What really clinched it for me was that anytime I found my thoughts even starting to inch over to the “naw…this can’t be real” side of the spectrum, I experienced such an uproar inside that it was unbelievable. No, I did not hear “voices”, but I sure “heard” something. It was as if everything in me was screaming “No…believe it!!!!!” I had no vested interest in believing this stuff was true. It certainly would not make me popular…or anything else positive. Yet, the uproar inside validated it more, I think, than anything else could…at the time. And, as it turned out…my safety depended upon my believing it.

    And as things in my life played out…I got even more validation. Life events…things said, and not said, by my parents. Odd reactions from them…gave me a lot of validation. I did not even tell them what all I remembered. It would have been too dangerous. I only told them a little bit…and boy…their reaction was incredible. Yep…validation can come in many ways.

    I hear your struggle, CG. Thanks for sharing. I can guess where the house of cards thing came from. Just ignore it. Some people are so caught up in their own vendetta that they don’t even know how to respond in a humane or compassionate way.

    I offer hugs.

    • Hi OneSurvivor,

      Wasn’t it Elizabeth Loftus who did the Mall experiment? I could be wrong there, but I know she did a similar experiment in the early 90’s. I never heard about the sensory memory part of that experiment though, so it might be a different one. It makes sense that the people in the experiment would experience little, or no trigger reaction when going near the mall – I could imagine them almost feeling a sense of curiousity though.

      The problem with any debate, is that when there are egos, politics or money on the line; it’s not often that a middle ground is reached. People have too much to lose.

      I’m glad you found both internal and external validation for your experiences… and more importantly used those experiences to stay as safe as possible in the present.

      Was I that obvious with the house of cards comment? I’m trying not to let it bother me, but it does 🙂

      Please take care and warm safe hugs, only if wanted.

  10. I was sad to see your first post removed, but I understand why you chose to take it down. This is your space and you get to control it. I try to avoid discussions with groups of either extreme on this matter, so many speak from a point of ignorance, neither having experienced the way we process life, nor experiencing the confusion that goes with someone who processes life the way we do. And like many other diagnoses it falls on a Spectrum. Most don’t want a spectrum, they want to be able to confine soemthing to a box. the problem is most people don’t fit in one box or another. I send you well wishes on your healing journey, and that you have peace with your truth, even in the face of dealing with a world that is not at peace with it.

    • Hi Storm Dweller,

      Writing this post was difficult, not only because I know I’m not strong with abstract ideas such as “truth”; but because I do doubt my experience at times. During my times of high functioning, I wonder what all this mental health fuss is about… then I spend a night of doing intense coping trying to understand the emotions caused by a trigger.

      I agree, some people don’t like, or understand the idea of a spectrum existing. I know at times I appear more “normal” than “normal”, at others I’m curled up in a ball in the corner of the lounge rocking for comfort. It can be difficult for people to believe the extreme dysfunction I experience, when they are talking to me in my work or appointment state of being. They prefer, as you say, to put you in a box with a label on it. Sometimes those labels can be helpful, sometimes they can be a barrier.

      Sending you positive thoughts and all the best,

  11. While I commented up above, I wanted to make some more specific comments about what you did here.

    First, I am so drawn to the Polyvore image you made. The contrasts are so huge. And it’s an amazing statement. So often, for me anyway, I am aware of the existence of these dual realities. That I know things can appear “okay and normal” on the outside (with color even) and yet be fully aware that right behind that is darkness and pain. So, your ability to do that piece really struck me. Thank you.

    I think of truth as being not amorphous, but that it’s sometimes just hidden. For me, when it’s hidden (often by many layers) it feels like truth is changing. But really what’s changing is how I see my truth. This is where my therapist helps me a great deal. Therapy, for me, is trying to help hurting parts to see the truth and having that truth be our guide.

    I completely understand the different messages you get. You know I struggle with these too. While we often can learn from many of these, many are distractions, and obstacles that hold us back from seeing our truth.

    Thank you for a wonderful post!

    • Hi Paul,

      I can now see where you’re coming from in regards to your definition of the truth. I agree with you that the truth can be buried within layers.

      When I described this post to Allison, I described it as my attempt to ease my hang-ups about diagnoses and the different messages that I receive from the outside world. So in many ways, this post was a big picture look at truth, and hanging onto what I believe to be true, in that I was abused, it was wrong and it hurt me. While what you are describing is the next layer down, where you’re sorting through the truths which establish that bigger picture. Or am I just trying to find a way where we can both be right?

      I still struggle with the truths at that level, as there can be so many conflicting versions of events – even within the system. Which is why I suppose I try to balance out the need to know biographical and sensory memories.

      Thank you for the compliments on the Polyvore set. It seems that a few people see different things in it, which I suppose is what I was aiming for…

      Take care,

  12. Hi Castor Girl,

    I found your blog via Jeanette Bartha’s blog.

    I just want to say what an awesome piece this is, along with the profound and moving visual image.

    I too struggle with the concept(s) of “truth.”

    I often times have to find this place inside me…hmm…like if I were in the woods alone without all the authoritative opinions…what would I think without all those other voices of truth and/or science telling me what I am supposed to think. Not that I shouldn’t (or don’t) take into account what others say or have researched or discovered, etc. But first, what do I, me, my self…what do I think about a certain concept or situation or relationship or whatever?

    Once I find that place within me, my muscles relax. My mind quits twitching. I can breathe. I can tell myself it’s o.k. Then, when I’m ready (as long as it isn’t some sort of emergency situation), I can look at and consider what another says without so much undue pressure from all sides without and within.

    The times I can’t find that place within? Well, I know I’ve survived before and that there will come a time when I’ll find it.

    Thanks for the awesome blog post and for sharing your truth…and letting me ramble a snippet of mine…

    ~carol welch 🙂

    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you for the visual you conjure with your words… You’re right, our truth comes from within. It can be so hard to hear that truth when the voices of others drowns out your own.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting… I’m not at my most amiable on Jeanette’s blog, so thanks for taking the risk of coming here to read 🙂

      Take care,

      • Well, I think you’re plenty amiable and that you share your truth in a respectful manner. It comes through in and between the lines. Sometimes that can be difficult in the 2-dimensional cyberworld of text and flat screen.

        Keep up the great work!


        • Thanks Carol,

          I know that I get defensive on her blog; but I try to be respectful, as it sounds like she has been through an awful ordeal. I wouldn’t wish what she went through on anyone. I wouldn’t wish any sort of trauma history on anyone.

          Take care,

  13. CG your drawing is spectacular. It speaks to me on so many levels.

    I share your confusion over truth and your view that it is constantly changing. It is frustrating to have issues I can’t discuss with the general public because I can never be sure how they’re going to take it. Are they inwardly calling me a liar? Are they shaking their heads at how I’ve been led astray? Are they concerned for themselves to be around someone so “crazy”, someone on “medication” someone who needs a constant connection with a therapist all the time… and so on.

    Last night I talked to someone after one of my coda meetings. She and I have known each other for a while and I knew she had bipolar as her first diagnoses. Later I learned that she also had PTSD, like me. After months, last night she finally very softly confided that she has DID. I don’t know how long it would have been before I admitted this to her if she hadn’t said it first. I hate that this little trick which has helped me survive is now my dirty little secret, but there it is.

    Isn’t it amazing that we can now come here into blogland and talk about what’s real – because truth is really what we feel inside and all the rest of it is nothing.

    • Hi Shen,

      Thank you, the collage is one I did through Polyvore – it’s one of the few ways I can consistently express myself artistically.

      Judgments can be a harsh thing – especially when we’re imposing them on ourselves. I know people judge others all the time, possibly because I am sensitive to that (and my own issues), it’s all to easy to project onto others what they might be saying about me.

      You’re right, there are layers to the secrets. It’s an indication of how safe your friend considers you, that she shared her diagnosis with you. I know some people are very open with their diagnosis, and others aren’t. It’s very much an individual choice within a friendship setting.

      We have a term in librarianship… all the rest is noise, a distraction from what you need to know and concentrate on.

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting 🙂

      Take care,

  14. Castor Girl, your art work is one of my favorite in Expressive Arts Carnival No. 8. It shows the different perspectives that as abuse survivors, we do have to look at and work our way through.

    I do believe that truth is relative. Time, experiences, and wisdom often change my truth. I learned a long time ago that when 2 people are arguing and telling their stories that the truth is often found somewhere in the middle between the 2 different points of reference. Thanks for sharing your post on truth.

    The Courage To Heal was one of those books that helped me tremendously on my healing journey. I have read several posts recently that put down the book but in my experience, I grew a lot from reading and doing the exercises in the book. I read the book the way that I read all books – by taking what felt right to me and leaving the rest alone. I don’t buy everything that I read in any book. At the time that I read Courage To Heal, I had 6 years of memories of incest happening to me. It was a few years later before I remembered sitting in church and calling myself an adultress at age 3. I still don’t have those memories of any abuse happening to me before the age of 3. Like you I deal with what I have. That clue causes me to wonder but I have enough memories to work on without creating any more – false or otherwise. The comments here are an interesting addition to your post.

    • Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for the compliment and sharing your experiences with The Courage to Heal.

      The Courage to Heal is in the library where I work, and I often see it being taken out by our students. I should probably look at it one day, although I fear that all of the controversy around the book will influence how I see it. I’ve read Kate1975’s quotes from it, and found some of them helpful. I suppose it’s like all books, there are some pieces which will ring true, and some which are best left.

      I’m so sorry that you would of considered yourself an adulteress by the age of three. No child should experience anything like that.

      I’m really lucky with the people that visit my blog, they add so much and take the topic in new directions that I would never have thought of.

      Take care,

  15. Your art that you shared, is so beautiful. I’m really drawn to it in a strong way.

    Being able to move through a diagnosis and live a life…that really is the goal. Such an important one, and so often such a hard one to achieve.

    I love that you are open to look for truth in the midst of all of the chaos and differing opinions. Your words are strong, as is your truth.

    Thank you for sharing this with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

    • Hi Tracie,

      Thanks 🙂

      It’s easy to forget that what we’re all trying to do it make our way in this world. Some of us have (way) more challenges than others, but there is still the goal of making the most of what we have. At times that can seem impossible, but there has to be hope.

      Take care,

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