Hello, I’m a new poster. I’ve been my partner’s carer for quite a while (we’ve been together seven years and her mental health and gone up - I’ve been everything from 24/7 suicide watch to almost not being needed). I have never resented being her carer, she brings me so much joy and love but some days it can be really tough.
She has Disassociative Identity Disorder, it’s been heavily repressed but recent therapy and distance from her family has allowed her to unearth it. I know her various alters and we manage as best we can. But recently she has found an alter with very high levels of trauma, and it’s taking its toll on me. Pretty much every night I have to talk a terrified 6 year old out of a panic attack (she doesn’t remember me, doesn’t understand what’s going on). I do my best, but I don’t know if I’m hurting or helping at this point.
I am currently caring 24/7 atm to avoid dangerous behaviours or worse, she was in a ward but they just didn’t understand DID. I cook, I clean and I’m off a lot of work so I can look after her. I’m exhausted and I don’t know what to offer her. She says she feels overwhelmed and out of her depth and I don’t know how to advise. I know I can listen and love her and we still have great moments, but I am also out of my depth. We are trying to get her more specialised care, but atm everything seems to be triggering panic attacks or worse.
Anyone got any advice? Thanks x
My experience of MH issues is that as much as the carer can support, they cannot cure. That comes from the person agreeing to, and getting, good professional help over some considerable time.
It’s easily said but it is a battle to get help and services and that’s where you can help most.
By ‘over supporting’ you run the risk of enabling or concealing behaviours and incidents that mean the person doesn’t get the help they need.
I’m not saying you in any way do this deliberately, it all comes from love, but by keeping the lid on things or managing situations for her, she isn’t learning how to manage for herself or to go to professionals for help.
It is a fine line, the one between supporting and enabling, and you won’t always get it right but being aware of it does mean you can become more aware of your own needs and realise when you are being pulled too far into her illness. In a way she has to own it herself rather than you taking all the responsibility.
Btw, this is only from my experience and what I’ve learned on here. I’m not a professional
Thank you for this . She is in twice weekly therapy and is getting full support from professionals, but this feels like we are in crisis mode.
I just don’t know how to do anything differently abd she and I are very aware of the dangers of over supporting.
But if I go into work for the evening and leave her alone, an alter can come forward and self harm/drink/binge/purge, which leaves her in a state of panic. I come home late (that’s the hours I work) she has a panic attack/disassociative seizure that can last for hours (when they last longer than an hour and a half we have to go to a and e). Then we get no sleep and the situation replays tomorrow.
Her family are the cause of a lot of the trauma, so they aren’t involved. Mine all live elsewhere and are leading their own lives. I should say, I’m 26 - so just trying to do my best.
I know I can’t heal her, that’s not my job, but I don’t know what to do when she is in such extreme states of panic or distress. She’s a danger to herself atm.
Thanks again x
I googled DID because I’m completely ignorant about it and found this site. You probably already know it, but just in case?
It must be very hard on you both. Perhaps you would benefit from professional help yourself, in order for you to understand what’s the best way forward or how to best help. Certainly for you to understand the the ‘right’ or ‘best’ thing to do in any situation and be confident that you are helping or at the very least not harming the situation. Could the professionals who are helping your partner suggest something/someone for you?
I don’t want any explanations on here,it’s private between you, but do you know and understand the triggers in the past that have brought about this condition? After reading about it I have a very, very shallow understanding which boils down to perhaps something bad happened to your partner anytime from childhood onwards (maybe the six tear old?) and in order to survive she had to become someone else but the original personality(s) emerges? I know that’s extremely simplistic and maybe doesn’t apply to your partner at all. However maybe if you both understand the ‘whys’ and accept that there is a way that this condition can be managed, perhaps by your partner working out a management strategy herself, with guidance from professionals and help from you.
Don’t forget that you are important too and also deserve help and support.
You have been coping wonderfully but you and your own sense of self mustn’t be submerged and crushed by your partner’s condition, which of course is no fault of hers.
Let us know how you are doing.