For, by, and about people with multiplicity, dissociation, and amnesia

Christmas Wishes 2014

A last word from me for the year – thank you to all of you who have been part of this network! It has been wonderful to get to share in your year, the highs and lows, to make new friends and walk alongside old ones. A special shout out to Shelley and Jade who spent a lot of time on the DI facebook discussion group, sharing and welcoming people.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it! Especially for those us who struggle at this time of year due to trauma, loneliness, family stress, and poverty, I hope you can find some peace and hope. If not, I hope you can keep your heads down and hide out until it’s over for another year. My thoughts are with you. We are a caring and generous community that I feel deeply privileged to be part of. I’ve bought a couple of gifts that have been given in your name if you wish. We give so much to each other and in a small way are also helping to make the world a safer place for kids, and to help them communicate.

Christmas gift 14 - nets Christmas gift 14 - pencils I hope each of you are able to find ways to meet these needs in yourselves and your own communities. Much love, Sarah xx

.

Advertisements

Movement afoot!

The Hearing Voices Network of SA has been garnering a great deal of interest lately, due to a visit from Ron Coleman to discuss voice hearing and a network with staff from a number of local organisations. I have arranged a number of meets to gather support and get new projects off the ground – there’s more detail on the HVNSA newsletters here and here. It’s fantastic to be part of an existing model with international groups and support!

Of course, at the DI we don’t have that so much. We use the same models but for different experiences. It’s my hope that the interest generated by the HVN will also lead to more awareness of and support for the DI. So please, if you’re interested in being part of this – reach out. Send me an email sarah@di.org.au and lets catch up online or face to face. We are looking at getting a professional referral directory happening for the HVN, the same would be fantastic for people at the DI.

I am involved in a couple of free forums coming up:

Hearing Voices: the reality of a person’s experience
Presented by Matt Ball with Sarah K Reece
Wednesday 10th Dec (following a meetup)
11am – 12.30pm
Mifsa Panangga, 64 Elgin Avenue, Christies Beach
Flyer with details

Making Christmas Easier
Presented by Sarah K Reece
Tuesday 16th Dec
1.30pm – 3pm
Mifsa, 5 Cooke Terrace, Wayville
Flyer with details
This is not specific to people with trauma/dissociation/amnesia/multiplicity, but will be tailored to whoever is there on the day as a workshop around whatever concerns people have. A meetup will be held afterwards if people are interested.

The Online Discussion Group continues to grow, we currently have over 700 profiles linked in. We recently had some big conversations about safety and diversity and how to manage triggers. One suggestion born out of that was to develop some resources around calming distressed parts and coping with feeling triggered – if anyone would like to contribute to such a project, please let me know.

More food for thought from the Group:

Noel Hunter is a graduate student at Long Island University, doing research into treatments for DID and voice hearing as part of her dissertation. She would love to hear from people who meet the criteria listed here.

Take care,

Sarah

 

A new strategy

Hello wonderful people,

You are well and truly due an update with what’s going on at the Dissociative Initiative. 🙂 Bad news first – after our incorporation I’ve been unsuccessful in keeping our board together. Some challenges with a primarily ‘lived experience’ board have been that none of us had ever been on a board or involved in the development of a Not-for-Profit Org before, and as people’s situations changed they’ve either moved onto other exciting and time consuming projects (like having babies!) or experienced a rough patch in their personal lives that needs their time and focus for now. So, without a board, I’m (Sarah) holding the space and keeping the DI ticking along. After many months of uncertainty – where to from here? – I’ve found a way forwards.

I’ve been running a small business as a face painter and artist in Adelaide for several years, and I’m currently adding my mental health peer work to the portfolio of services I offer. I’ll be continuing to provide training and educational talks about all things dissociation and multiplicity related as well as much broader topics – sexuality, psychosis, trauma recovery, cupcake decorating… 😉 but as a freelance consultant rather than employee or volunteer. What this means is that I’m supporting the DI to continue to exist as a community network offering free resources, funded by my business. I am also developing two other free networks, the SA branch of the Hearing Voices Network, and Homeless Care SA.

Our SA group Bridges is still suspended due to pressures on my time, but all our other resources are still running, such as the online discussion group and free Welcome Packs. I would greatly appreciate any support from people interested in this field or who have been helped by the DI to develop further resources such as a professional referral directory – if you have a little time please get in touch, you do not need live locally. Mental health staff, people with lived experience, and family and friends are all welcome to be involved. 🙂

I have been developing and updating our website at di.org.au, adding new information pages. Feedback and suggestions about what would be helpful would be very welcome!

Lastly, some food for thought from our online group:

And a quote:

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry’s ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

~JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Take care folks, keep up the good work!

Sarah

Christmas wishes 2013

A final word from those of us involved with the DI this year – thankyou for everyone who has been involved in our community! It is a privilege to share your journey, learn from your wisdom, and celebrate with you the joy and sadness of what it is to be human.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it! May you find or create meaning and love in your life, and built your own traditions of self care and connection. I (Sarah) wanted to give some gifts to you and in your name, especially for anyone who is struggling financially or emotionally over this season, but also to celebrate our community and what we can share and bring to the lives of others. This year I have given gifts of Toys, Blankets, School Pencils, and Fast Growing Seeds, to try and meet a little of each important need – nourishment, warmth, education, and something that brings joy and encourages imagination. I hope each of you are able to find ways to meet these needs in yourselves and your own communities.

Christmas gift - toys

Christmas gift - blankets

Christmas gift - pencils

 

Christmas gift - seeds

Much love, Sarah xx

 

New dates have been set! Both are free, one is within school/work hours, one outside of them. The same talk will presented at each time.

6.30 -8pm, Thursday 19th Dec

OR

11.30am – 1pm, Friday 20th Dec

Mental Illness Fellowship of SA, 5 Cooke Terrace, Wayville

This is the presentation I (Sarah) recently delivered at the World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne. It will run for an hour with an opportunity to ask questions. The talk was developed to help close a gap in the Mental Health First Aid training, which does not mention dissociative crisis. Principles of crisis work are covered, as well as recognising and usefully responding to severe general dissociation, and common crisis points for people with parts (Dissociative Identity Disorder, or ‘multiple personalities’). Sarah is a peer worker with lived experience of severe dissociation and DID, and many years experience in supporting other people in crisis.

Books from the DI Library will be on display, as will our Healthy Multiplicity Poster. This talk is suitable for mental health workers, clinicians, people with lived experience, and friends and family. Please feel welcome to share this information.

Please RSVP directly to Mifsa on (08) 8378 4100. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah at sarah @di.org.au

Goals for SA

I (Sarah) am back from the World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne, with some new goals, ideas, and supportive people on board. One of the most important of these is a number of people keen to support the development of a Voice Hearing network here in South Australia. Obviously I’m passionate about our DI aims and resources also, which complement the VH network but are also distinct. We are going to have discussions about what we can do and the best format for a new, better supported local network – and how it might be part of many other national and international communities who are also doing work around dissociation, the mad pride movement, alternative paradigms for supporting mental health, social justice, and community development.

Here are the plans for the next weeks and months:

  • Rest, recover, catch up on sleep, look after myself (ongoing!)
  • Write up an article about every talk I attended at the congress to share publicly for those who couldn’t attend (I have fairly comprehensive notes)
  • Touch base with my friends over at Mifsa about the congress and the possibility of a new SA network
  • Touch base with my friends involved in the DI about these things
  • Touch base with my local HV group Sound Minds about these things
  • Touch base with other supportive and passionate people for suggestions and advice about mental health networks, community building, and social change – particularly those with experience in these areas
  • Hold a free local talk in SA, the same one I offered at the Congress “Supporting Someone in a Dissociative Crisis”
  • Meet up with people who have put up their hand as interested parties for a local SA network and start to develop some relationships and teams
  • Open the conversation about networks and resources up to everyone via internet discussions and local community gatherings

To keep posted on these developments, please follow this blog or join our Online Discussion Group. If you would like to be involved or attend some of these things, let us know!

Day one of the Congress is over and it has been an amazing experience with deep conversations about identity, meaning, madness, power, community, and diversity. Dissociation and multiplicity are both featured topics which is exciting and wonderfully inclusive. If you are interested in following the congress as it unfolds, Sarah is sharing quotes and thoughts on twitter @sarahkreece. We will be writing more about the conference once it is over.