I’ve been there: down on my luck, completely overwhelmed with everything spinning around me, and no where to turn to. Where I live, therapy is easily $100 a session. I don’t know about you but that’s a LOT of money to me! While I believe that many systems would greatly benefit from therapy for their Dissociative Identity Disorder, that’s just not always a realistic option. So if you find yourself needing therapy but you’re unable to get it, what do you do?
**Pro tip: We understand that you may be the only alter willing to make some of these tweaks. That’s ok! Remember the golden rule of DID? Any effort you make will still lead to positive results. Focus on YOU and what YOU can control and your system will start to hop on board. You’ve got this!
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WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.
Focus On What You Can Control
Trust me, I know how devastating it can be to finally admit that you need therapy and then be unable to get it. But I also know that a lot of healing can take place outside of a therapist’s office. So if you find yourself wanting therapy but not able to swing it at this time, there’s hope!
The most crucial thing that your system can do at this time is to shift your focus towards what is realistically within your power to control. Life can be crazy and not everything in the following suggestions is going to be something you can control at this time. That’s ok! Think about your specific circumstances and what you can control and you’ll be able to get some big things moving.
And here’s a pretty cool bonus: if you’re able to get therapy in the future, having some of these things down pat will open up room to talk about your deeper concerns with your therapist. Essentially, all the work you do now will be like leveling up your future therapy sessions! Win win! So what do ya say, ready to get started? Let’s hop right in!
Working On The Essentials
Mental health is a very complex field of study and, since I’m not a professional and I don’t know you personally, I’m not able to give suggestions for your specific case. But what I can tell you is that life is going to get unnecessarily more difficult for you and your system if you’re chronically tired, burnt out, and struggling to stay in the moment.
While what you specifically need is as unique as you are, there are universal things that every single person will benefit from. When therapy isn’t an option, focusing your efforts on the following essentials will pay huge dividends.
I know this seems like a given but honestly: is your system getting good quality sleep? So many times we just assume that we’re doing what everyone else is doing so we must be fine. But lemme tell you, if you’re not getting good sleep, you’re not as “fine” as you think. Ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, your body probably isn’t getting the best sleep. Trust me, I understand how hard it is to get quality sleep. My sleep has been sabotaged by everything from noisy neighbors, sick babies, deadlines, anxious thoughts, and so much more. Getting quality sleep can be tricky!
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. I invite you and your headmates to spend the next few minutes brainstorming how your body could realistically get better quality sleep. Once you start sleeping better, you won’t know how you got along without it!
Another essential is what you’re putting into your body via your diet and when and how you eat. Now, everybody is different and every body is different so what a “good diet” looks like to you is going to be dramatically different from someone else. But go ahead and ask yourself the following questions:
Ideally, your system would be able to say “yes” to all of those questions regardless of your unique dietary needs. If you answered “no” to any of those questions, hooray cause you just found something that you can improve! Go ahead and spend a few minutes brainstorming how your system can realistically turn any of the “no’s” into a “yes”.
**Pro tip: I know how easy it can be to become really dogmatic with your diet or to obsess over every little detail. Here’s the good news: the human body is incredibly strong and capable of recovering from a huge number of ailments. Taking a few steps off of your overall dietary goals here and there is not the end of the world. Give your body a hug, recalibrate if your system needs to, and carry on. No need for shame, guilt, or any of that stuff. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The next essential is getting your body moving. We all know what the CDC recommends and I can already hear you listing off all of the time constraints you have, physical limitations, and other reasons why you “can’t workout”. Personally, I used to blame my heart problem, my family’s demands, and the fact that I just plain didn’t want to. All valid things, mind you. But you know what? I reached a point where I realized that 1) I could always be doing something to move my body and 2) that my body movements are a gift from me to future me.
I don’t know you and I don’t know your life but I do know that you’ll feel better if you can move more and that you are 100% worth it. Even if you can’t do a traditional workout, your body (and brain!) will still thank you for your efforts. It can be tricky finding ways to add in movements to your day so here are some ideas to get your creative juices going.
Are any of these things going to get you shredded? No. But they will help you add in more movement to your day and help you become more comfortable and confident with your body. There are all kinds of ways to sneak movement into your day so get creative and make it fun!
Learning how to calm your mind with meditation is another essential. If you haven’t given meditation a go, now is the time. Meditation is getting a lot of hype right now and for good reason! While it may sound like you’re “doing nothing”, it’s actually an incredibly powerful way to connect with your inner self, calm your mind, and put distance between you and life’s many stressors.
If you’ve tried meditation before and it didn’t work out for you, consider trying a different type. There are so many kinds of meditation and it may take a few tries to find one that really resonates with you. For me, envisioning warm light filling my body just doesn’t do anything for me but boy oh boy does noting work on me! Before I found a meditation style that worked for me, I thought it was a complete waste of time but now, it’s almost as critical to me as brushing my teeth. It’s magic, ya’ll.
An often overlooked activity that has a profound effect on mental health is journaling. This free and simple activity offers so much insight into your deeper self. Many people find the act of journaling to be very therapeutic; like catching up with a close friend. By connecting with yourself, you’re often able to get a more accurate idea of what is negatively affecting you and what you truly want and need.
There are a handful of different journaling types so there is something for everyone! Below are some that I’ve tried and really enjoyed:
Now do you have to be a writer to journal? Not at all! The goal is to be able to reflect on your inner motivations while letting them go as needed. You don’t need to be an author to do that.
**Pro tip: My personal favorite technique is to grab a “wet pen” (one that blots if you take too long to write), and just zone out while letting the pen move. For me, I feel an internal “click” when my subconscious starts controlling the pen. It may take a sentence or two for you to find your rhythm but when you do, I find that my subconscious is able to write things I had no idea were floating around in my head. Talk about powerful! You can apply this technique to any type of journaling so give it a try!
Most Bang For Your Buck
If you’re like most people, you probably just read that article and thought to yourself “I need to do serious work on all of these areas!” Try to not let that stress you out cause having a lot to work on means things can definitely get better for you.
I know that sometimes even the essentials can be overwhelming, especially when you’re part of a system! So if you need work in a lot of areas, where is the best place to start? I’d say to start off by focusing on sleep and meditating. These two areas give the most dividends with the least amount of work. If you’re already a champ at sleep and meditating, go ahead and add journaling to the mix. Once you have a solid grasp on those three essentials, you’ll have a better idea of what your unique situation needs next.
Wanting therapy but not being able to get it can be a hard spot to be in but you know what? You’re tough and you can get through this! If you’d like a little extra help, check out articles under “New To D.I.D.” to give your system a jump start with the essentials. You’ve got this!
Now that your system has options while you wait to get therapy, what can you do to keep things going well? Check out this article about how to use journaling to communicate with your headmates. Also, this article about how to build your support system will help. Both of these articles will keep your system moving in a great direction! You can also check out our courses to help you in the meantime! If your system was recently diagnosed, we suggest that you start with our course Diagnosed With DID.