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Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a complex and controversial mental health condition that involves the presence of two or more distinct personality states or identities in a single individual. DID has been associated with various forms of trauma, especially childhood abuse and neglect, and is often accompanied by symptoms such as amnesia, depersonalization, derealization, and emotional dysregulation. One of the possible outcomes of living with DID is the development of self-transcendence, which is the ability to go beyond one’s personal boundaries and limitations and connect with a larger reality or a higher power. self-transcendence can be seen as a coping mechanism, a spiritual experience, or a therapeutic goal for people with DID, depending on their personal beliefs and preferences. In this article, we will explore the concept of self-transcendence in relation to DID, its benefits and challenges, and its implications for clinical practice and research.
self-transcendence and DID
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a mental disorder when a patient has two or more entirely different personalities that alternate and cause memory variations, depression, anxiety, and other problems. Transcendence is the ability to rise above one’s limitations and experience a higher state of consciousness. Some researchers have suggested that transcendence can help with dissociative identity disorder by facilitating the integration of different personalities into a unified self. Transcendence can be achieved through various methods, such as meditation, hypnosis, spiritual practices, or psychotherapy. By transcending the boundaries of their fragmented identities, patients with DID may be able to access a deeper sense of self-awareness, healing, and wholeness.
Transcendence techniques for dissociative identity disorder
self-transcendence is the ability to go beyond one’s self-interest and ego and connect with something greater, such as a higher purpose, a spiritual dimension, or a collective good. Some examples of self-transcendence techniques are meditation, prayer, altruism, gratitude, and awe.
People with DID often experience gaps in their memory, identity confusion, and emotional distress. DID is usually caused by severe and prolonged trauma in childhood, such as abuse or neglect.
self-transcendence techniques can help people with DID in several ways. First, they can help them cope with the negative emotions and symptoms associated with their disorder, such as anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, and anger. By cultivating a sense of peace, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance, self-transcendence techniques can reduce the psychological distress and suffering of people with DID.
Second, they can help them integrate their different personality states and achieve a more coherent and stable sense of self. By fostering a connection with a higher power or a greater whole, self-transcendence techniques can provide people with DID with a sense of direction, purpose, and belonging that transcends their fragmented identity.
Third, they can help them heal from their trauma and restore their trust in themselves and others. By facilitating a process of meaning-making and growth from adversity, self-transcendence techniques can help people with DID transform their traumatic experiences into sources of strength, resilience, and wisdom.
Best techniques to help with DID
There are different techniques that can help people with DID achieve integration, depending on their preferences and needs. Some of these techniques are:
- Keeping a journal: Writing or drawing in a journal can help the person become more aware of their different parts and their experiences. It can also help them remember what happened during dissociative episodes and express their feelings and thoughts. A journal can be a safe place where the person can communicate with their parts and acknowledge their needs and wishes.
- Visualization: Imagining different scenes and environments can help the person soothe difficult emotions and cope with intrusive memories. For example, the person can imagine wearing protective clothing to feel more relaxed in stressful situations, or imagine a place that feels safe and peaceful to them and their parts. Visualization can also help the person create a space where they can meet and speak with their parts, and work on resolving conflicts or misunderstandings.
- Grounding techniques: Grounding techniques can help the person feel more connected to the present moment and reality. They can also help the person cope with flashbacks or dissociative triggers. Grounding techniques involve focusing on one’s senses, such as breathing, touching, smelling, or hearing. For example, the person can breathe slowly while counting, walk barefoot and notice how the ground feels, wrap themselves in a blanket and notice how it feels around their body, or hold an ice cube or splash cold water on their face.
- Practical strategies: dissociation can make daily life hard and confusing. Practical strategies can help the person cope with practical challenges, such as keeping track of time, remembering appointments, managing finances, or staying organized. For example, the person can wear a watch with the time and date, keep a list of friends and family and their contact details, write notes to themselves in the house or on a whiteboard, or use alarms or reminders on their phone.
- Personal crisis plan: A personal crisis plan is a document that the person makes when they are well, to help them cope when they are not. It can include information such as what triggers their dissociation, what signs indicate they are dissociating, what helps them calm down or ground themselves, who they can contact for support or help, what medications they take or need, what they want others to do or not do for them, etc. A personal crisis plan can help the person feel more prepared and in control when they face a crisis.
- Therapy: Therapy is an essential part of treatment for DID. It can help the person understand the causes and effects of their dissociation, process their trauma memories in a safe and supportive environment, develop coping skills and strategies for managing their symptoms, improve their self-esteem and self-compassion, build trusting relationships with others, and work on integrating their parts at their own pace. There are different types of therapy that can be helpful for people with DID, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), or trauma-focused therapy.
These are some of the techniques that can help people with DID achieve self-transcendence, which means going beyond one’s limited sense of self and finding meaning and purpose in life. self-transcendence can help people with DID heal from their trauma and embrace their identity as a whole person.
Example use cases
DID can result from severe trauma, abuse or neglect in childhood, and can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. However, some people with DID have been able to recover from their condition by using self-transcendence techniques, which involve expanding one’s awareness beyond the self and connecting with a higher purpose, meaning or value. Here are some examples of people who have recovered from DID by using self-transcendence techniques:
- Jane was diagnosed with DID at the age of 25, after suffering from years of physical and sexual abuse by her father. She had 12 different personalities, each with their own name, age, gender and history. She underwent psychotherapy and medication for several years, but did not experience much improvement. Then she started to practice meditation and yoga, which helped her calm her mind and body, and access a state of inner peace and harmony. Also, she joined a spiritual community that supported her in her healing journey and encouraged her to explore her true self. Gradually, she was able to integrate her personalities and achieve a sense of wholeness and identity.
- John developed DID as a coping mechanism for the horrors he witnessed as a soldier in the Vietnam War. He had four personalities: a tough and aggressive soldier, a scared and vulnerable child, a rebellious and angry teenager, and a calm and rational adult. He struggled with flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and depression for decades, until he discovered art therapy. Following this, he began to express his emotions and memories through painting, sculpting and writing, which helped him release his pent-up feelings and gain new insights into his condition. Also, he found solace in nature, where he felt connected to something greater than himself. Through art therapy and nature immersion, he was able to reconcile his personalities and heal his trauma.
- Lisa was born into a cult that subjected her to extreme abuse and indoctrination. She developed DID as a way of escaping from the reality of her situation. She had 16 personalities, each with their own role and function in the cult. However, she managed to escape from the cult when she was 18, but was still haunted by her past. Later, she sought help from a therapist who specialized in trauma and dissociation, who helped her understand and accept her condition. She also started to volunteer at a local animal shelter, where she felt a sense of compassion and purpose. She developed a strong bond with the animals, especially a dog named Max, who became her loyal companion and protector. Through therapy and volunteering, she was able to overcome her fear and distrust of others, and integrate her personalities into one coherent self.
Here is a list of weblinks that discuss healing DID through transcendence techniques:
Transcendence and healing | Medical Humanities: This article explains how transcendence can promote healing by altering or cultivating beliefs that can modulate the body’s response to pain or make sense of pain. It also argues for a monistic rather than dualistic conception of mind and body, which supports the idea of medicine as a healing art as well as a curative science. The URL is https://mh.bmj.com/content/30/2/70
ORIGINAL ARTICLE Transcendence and healing – Medical Humanities: This is a PDF version of the same article mentioned above. The URL is https://mh.bmj.com/content/medhum/30/2/70.full.pdf
Transcendental Meditation(R): Technique & Benefits – Cleveland Clinic: This webpage describes the Transcendental Meditation program, a type of meditation that involves silently repeating a word or phrase in your mind to settle yourself into deep consciousness. It also lists some of the physical, mental, cognitive and emotional benefits of this technique, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. The URL is https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22292-transcendental-meditation