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

Posts tagged ‘mental health’

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, 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!



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!

Attending the Hearing Voices Congress

Hello all,

I’ve yet to find someone who can manage the newsletters so I’m sorry that updating has become so erratic. This month the most exciting news is that we’ll have a strong presence at at this years World Hearing Voices Congress in Melbourne in November! I’ll be speaking on the topic of Supporting someone through a dissociative crisis, and also submitting a poster about  “About Multiplicity” for display . Hurrah! You can read the abstracts I wrote here. We are expecting to also have three other DI group facilitators present which is unprecedented! This conference is a truly incredible opportunity to become steeped in the approach of the Hearing Voices movement, which have been the basis of a great deal of our work here at the DI. I highly recommend attending if you have the opportunity.

Bridges has navigated the move to a new format. We are about to celebrate our second birthday with the traditional Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and one of the challenges we were struggling to manage effectively was the different needs of our new members and our long term members. The day group meets fortnightly and has been reformed back to the style of group that we started with particularly aimed at newer members. Members suggest topics for discussion around the management of dissociation and multiplicity. Our small team of facilitators volunteer time to provide support and share from their own experiences.

The evening fortnightly group has been closed to provide a safe place for our long term members. This group has moved to a tight-knit friendship format, being held in members homes over dinner. It has become a private space for members to connect, relax, play, and support each other. We’ve spent the past few months bumping along trying different approaches and this seems to be the one that meets the most needs at the moment.

The DI Board has come back together after a period of illness and/or demanding life circumstances for most members. We’ve reflected upon the demands of a board entirely formed of peer workers, and running a not-for-profit and the conclusion has been that we all value having the DI as an organisation very much and wish to continue developing it. We are planning to meet bi-monthly to work on the next administrative needs of the organisation.

The DI Open Group on Facebook is growing steadily, with 170 members currently. Hopefully we will be able to recruit some more volunteers soon to help us to manage our online resources. If you think you might be able to help out, please get in touch!

One of the recent topics of discussion in Bridges was nightmares, here are some relevant links you may find useful:

Best wishes,

Sarah K Reece