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Old 11-18-2018, 11:49 AM #1
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Trig Integration

I added the trigger icon just as a warning to others that this thread is about integration, a topic that can trigger others.

As I see more and more long time members here in this board ask questions due to being curious, fearing it or feel they may be going through this, I wonder if now is the right time to share what I went through and what I know about this topic.

As it was explained to me by my treatment providers and what I went through...

Back story... I was a college student in a psychology class. The instructor required a class activity of doing a psychiatric test during the first class session. then we had to take that test to a mental health treatment provider of our choice, enter therapy, go through formal evaluations for mental disorders, Then participate with one semester of therapy based on the test results. This was an activity meant to demonstrate to the students both sides of the desk, There were many students that planned entering the mental health field of careers.

I did my classroom test, found a mental health treatment provider. After a few sessions this treatment provider set me up with a referral for a psychiatric evaluation with a psychiatrist. I spent many sessions with the psychiatrist completing a very lengthy evaluation process, I released my medical records and educational records.

When the tests results came in months later, my therapist, psychiatrist and I met at a joint session. At this joint session the results of my psych evaluation complete with scores of all the different scales, tests, and recommendations were explained to me. I also received a copy of the report. Among other problems I had DID.

One of my first questions was... how do I get rid of this?

answer....Integration...

What's that I asked.

I was told the definition first...

integration is the mental process humans use to connect thoughts, behaviors, objects, putting concepts together to form one.

I asked another question.... wait, what? Wasn't this in the movie Sybil where she was hypnotized or when in the 3 faces of Eve alters died. you are not hypnotizing me or killing me off?

Answer yes thats how movies portrayed this back in the 1950's through trough the 1970's, much of whats in those books and movies is not what this is now. We dont hypnotize and we dont kill anyone off. Here let me show you with this apple. this apple is your personality.

A personality is a persons memories, emotions, how you react and behave, how you think about yourself and everything around you. What your preferences for likes and dislikes are, how you dress, walk, talk, whether you are shy or outgoing, everything that makes you who and what you are is right here known as your personality. (psychiatrist is holding up the apple and pointing to it.)

my reply was something like ok I'm following what you are saying.

psychiatrist continued by literally smashing the apple with a paper weight while saying along came your childhood trauma's before you were old enough to understand what was happening and why, I believe your records said around 4 or 5 years old you were hospitalized with some major sexual assault mental and physical damage.

All I could do was stare at this now smashed apple on his desk.

the psychiatrist continued Integration is the whole process that we will be doing together, you your therapist and I, to put you and your personality back together into one whole personality again.

I pointed to the smashed apple and said ...We are going to put that back together again, are you a miracle worker? (this got a bit of laughter which lightened the mood)

Psychiatrist said yes we are all going to work together to discover you again. We are going to be learning all kinds of good stuff like what your preferences are, how you think, how you react and behave, you will be learning how to manage your day to day life, what your dissociation symptoms are, what causes you to dissociate, you will be learning how to use therapy techniques to counter those triggers, like breathing, grounding, by the way do you like to take walks?

my answer yes I love walking in the woods and along beaches and rivers.

Psychiatrist reply see how easy that was, we now know you like to walk and where. how does walking in the woods and along beaches and rivers make you feel, what do you do when you do this?

my answer It makes me feel calm and I pick up things that I find interesting.

Psychiatrist reply....let me ask you right now while telling me this were you visualizing your last walk?
my reply yes

psychiatrist reply....... right there you did the integration process. you put together your thoughts with my questions and your memory, emotions, behaviors and gave me an answer.

Thats integration. the process began with your entering college, taking the classroom exam, seeing out your therapist, being referred to me and taking the psychiatric evaluation tests, and now hearing the results. it takes integrating all elements of this to be able to do this.

human beings naturally integrate thoughts and behaviors and emotions when they are very young. a child learning their first words had to hear the parents say the word, integrate that together with their thoughts and then integrate that together with how it made them feel, then that childs brain helps the child to mimic the word ma ma or da da. integration is a never ending cycle of learning about our selves and our world around us.

now lets look at that apple again. everything about your personality is apart and functioning on its own based on what causes you to have your dissociation symptoms. when I smashed that apple how did it make you feel?

my reply scared for a moment I felt far away like I was sinking.

Psychiatrists reply... that's being triggered and what you felt was called dissociation. Did you completely sink?

my reply no I listened more closely so that I could hear you.

psychiatrist reply.... thats grounding. you did something to ground yourself back out of your dissociation symptoms. thats great you already have some skills to help you heal and do the integration process.

My reply ..So all I have to do is go to therapy, talk about myself and my problems, learn how to take care of myself and my problems, Im already doing the integration process. Whats it going to be like when its all done?

psychiatrist reply... you are going to be able to do the same things that you already can do and on top of that everything that is these separate functioning parts of your personalities you will be able to do those too. by the way we call all these separated parts of your personality "alternate Personalities"

my reply... wait a minute why call it alternate when you already said its my personality that got smashed.

psychiatrist.. just a formality, the term began back in the 40's and 50's and continued and hasnt caught up with now. What matters is that apple/ your personality was whole and now its smashed and we are going to make it whole again.

As you relearn all this information and coping skills about you and taking care of you and your problems your smashed a part personality will heal back together again to form one whole personality again.

That was the beginning of my DID integration process. lots of info and personal experience more to come later when I have more time.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:32 AM #2
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Default Re: Integration

This is interesting and I look forward to reading more.

Since DID is experienced differently I am assuming integration is too.I'm curious how different(or similar) our integration processes were.
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Old 11-20-2018, 07:14 AM #3
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Default Re: Integration

((((amandalouise)))) Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hope you'll continue. I'm so glad you were able to get professional help when you needed it
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:46 AM #4
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Default Re: Integration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty_Banana View Post
This is interesting and I look forward to reading more.

Since DID is experienced differently I am assuming integration is too.I'm curious how different(or similar) our integration processes were.
Thank you.

How it ...........emotionally feels...........to each person may be different but the ..............process itself.............. is the same and has been since the 1990's. (since I was diagnosed in college dissociative disorders and integration has been the topic of many of my research term papers, thesis papers and I have continued with my own personal research and work in the field of dissociative disorders. integration was one of the in depth topics due to my natural fears about it)

feel free to post your.........integration process......... and how each step in the process ..........felt ..........to you.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:50 AM #5
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Default Re: Integration

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyCheeky View Post
((((amandalouise)))) Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hope you'll continue. I'm so glad you were able to get professional help when you needed it
(((((((((((MickeyCheeky))))))))))) welcome. Im hoping my explaining the integration process and how it felt to me will help others to not be so afraid of getting better/ healing.
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Old 11-20-2018, 11:10 AM #6
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Default Re: Integration

After being diagnosed and getting that initial finding out my diagnosis and having everything explained to me I did what most people do. I did some research and went looking for the movies and books. how they described everything was so out of this world and not in a good way. everything left me with more fears and questions. I kept finding things that were like me then later finding out that what the directors, actors, and authors were doing was incorporating into their works what they their self found on the internet. when I contacted these people none of them could go beyond to the real thing to answer my question. many just quoted others thesis/ research analysis papers. none could actually tell me from first hand experience how dissociation works, why me, and what was going to happen when integration actually happened. I was scared and my being dissociated most of the time reflected this.

I joined so many mental health websites on the internet, all of which contradicted what the last one said and I still could not find anyone that could go beyond what was found on the internet and in books and movies. No one could tell me exactly how a person physically and mentally dissociates, what happens beyond the diagnostics for DID and what exactly happens physically and mentally when someone goes through integration. Like a fish out of water I was flopping around trying to figure things out and everything was just so confusing. even those that were DID on the world wide web could not describe things to me on a more personal level. I kept getting links to other websites and research but no one was doing the kind of work that I was doing of going beyond the common widely known.

Finally I shared with my treatment providers what I was looking for. My therapist looked at me and said... be careful what you wish for, you may not like what you find out, and the truth in this situation is actually less mysterious then most people think. If you really want your answers I can help you with that. We have A/V equipment. We can start recording your sessions. This way you will see for yourself what having DID is like beyond what you find in books, movies and the internet.

How and why you became DID that is going to take a lot of research and study on your part. you start by learning about the brain, its physical parts and how they function. you will have to learn and know things like right and left hemispheres, frontal lobes, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, brain stem, lots of technical medical and mental information. Are you ready to "go back to school"?

I agreed to having my sessions recorded and the next semester one of my classes I enrolled in was a neuro biology class. Entering that class was a bit of a challenge. I had none of the pre required classes. In order to be in this class I had to meet with my college advisor and the class instructor and explain the circumstances of why I was trying to get into a 3rd year class for medical students. After jumping through some hoops I was part of the class roster. not only was I a psychology major I was now entering into the world of medical fields of study. It was not easy by any means. my life revolved around transcribers and memorizing terms and how this works and how that works and this is connected to that. my therapist, psychiatrist and medical doctors were all great at helping me to understand everything that I was learning. Soon not only was I learning because i had questions about my mental disorders, but I was also learning because I found it all to be so fascinating.

please dont take this as in you have to take medical classes. you dont for integration. I just had questions that I needed answers to and that was what I did to find my answers.

you also do not have to be recorded during your sessions. this was the solution I found for my questions.

these two things we incorporated into my therapy work.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:08 PM #7
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Default Re: Integration

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandalouise View Post
Thank you.

How it ...........emotionally feels...........to each person may be different but the ..............process itself.............. is the same and has been since the 1990's. (since I was diagnosed in college dissociative disorders and integration has been the topic of many of my research term papers, thesis papers and I have continued with my own personal research and work in the field of dissociative disorders. integration was one of the in depth topics due to my natural fears about it)

feel free to post your.........integration process......... and how each step in the process ..........felt ..........to you.
I agree that the basics of integration are pretty much the same but I'm sure the whole process is very different for each person.

I think you're brave for sharing your experience really.Mine feels too personal to share other than the basics.

This is an interesting thread though.There's not a whole lot of info out there about integration.Especially about life afterwards and I'm hoping that will part of what you share here too.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:46 PM #8
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Default Re: Integration

Thanks. Following thread.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:10 PM #9
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Following. To when we can focus and read
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:22 PM #10
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As un technical, un professional untextbook wording that I can get here is the whats and why a person dissociates. (the dissociation process)....

you have all different physical parts of the brain that work together. all your senses are constantly and forever from the day a person is physically born to the moment that they die. All this information from what you are doing, thinking and saying, hearing, seeing, feeling... runs through the body to the brain so fast you do not realize it is happening as electrical currents along the nerves, to the spine and then the spine send the information to the brain.

now heres where dissociation and integration gets a bit confusing.

one of my triggers are common for human being so I will use that to demonstrate. a fear of heights.

Im up on top of a mountain looking down. all my senses run at high speed what I am seeing to the spine.

the spine sends all this information to my brain straight to the Thalamus.
the Thalamus is like an an airport or train station. it sends everything that comes in its door to the right places when its working correctly.

all at once all this that I am going through and what my senses take in gets shot out of the thalamus to different parts of my brain. As this information that there is a trigger happening reaches different parts of my different things happen all at once.

the hypothalmus sends back the message the emotions (fear, anxiety) the brain stem receives this message and speeds up the auto reactions like heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure. the Amygdala recieves the message that there is a trigger and a panic attack in the works and sends its messages around for either flight or fight. depending upon what skills and the type of trigger and how severe that trigger is decides which message the Amygdala sends back around the route.

the hypothalamus gets the news that for this trigger the response is lack of emotions flight response and starts shutting down the emotions.

the brain stem gets the message that the hypothalamus has shut down the emotions and slows down the breathing and heart rate and blood pressure because there is no more emotional responses happening. Because there is this emotional disconnection from the physical going on the brain stem slows things down almost but not quite entering a dream or sleep state. more like a foggy, everything is moving in slow motion, just here but not physically doing anything state for physical functioning called autopilot, automatic instead of consciously participating.

now because of being afraid of heights I am in a dissociation state physically and mentally.

now I knew the mechanics of dissociation. the beyond what I could find out there.

mind you there is a lot more involved with how the brain works and why a person dissociates I am trying to keep this as un complicated as possible. if you are interested in learning more, colleges have great classes on how the brain functions, how and and why we have emotions, what happens in the body to create dissociation and much more.

you can also contact your treatment providers who can help you get actual medical information about the brain and how it functions, and what happens when a person dissociates.

your treatment providers can even help you get brain scans and such to see whats happening inside your own brains when you dissociate. My own scans and MRI's happened during evaluations for physical health problems, some that are a part of my family history. if the scans are not medically needed you may have to pay out of pocket and they can be expensive.
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