I’m Melissa, but not all of me are Melissa. We are a dissociative identity disorder system of alternate identities. I’m just one of them.
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Today, we are speaking with Jade Miller. A peer who also lives as multiple. We invited her to demonstrate for you what a session with a peer support specialist is like.
You may recognize Jade’s name from her DID book series, “Dear little ones.”
This episode can be relevant to you regardless of if you have DID/OSDD, or not, as it shows what you might expect in how peer support might work for you.
Stay tuned. It’s about to get intense.
Intro Reel *Static noise*
(Melissa) I have alternate personalities.
(Skittle) It’s really funny!
(Melissa) But what if none of this is real?
(Imitation of therapist) How do you feel?
(SpitFire) Can she just get out of my face?
(Melissa) What if I’m not real?
End of intro *Static noise*
(Melissa) Welcome to The Bag System. We’re here with Jade Miller, and I’m going to have her introduce herself.
(Jade) Yeah. Thank you for having me on your podcast. I really appreciate that. So my name is Jade Miller. Most people know me from my blog, which is called thoughtsfromJ8, and a lot of people know my book series, which is “Dear little ones” books. There’s parts one, two, and three. I think number one is still the most popular. And I have been offering one-on-one peer support for multiples for about two years now. So, we’re here to talk about that a little bit and maybe do sort of a, a sample session so that if anyone is interested, then maybe they’ll be able to get an idea of what that might be like. So, usually what I do in a session, we will have a consult before I ever have a first session with someone, and during the consult is when I ask them, basically, “How can I help you?” Like, what made you reach out to me? What kinds of struggles are you having? What can I help you do with, and for your system that will help make things easier for you.
(Jade) So, we will have that chat under our belt. And this session is going to be a little bit different because we have chatted a little tiny bit, but normally we would have a little bit more history that we discussed a little bit. I do not ask people to go into any kind of trauma in depth, especially the first time that we talk, unless they just really want to. Like some people, it’s like, they don’t have anyone else to talk to about it and it all just kind of comes spilling out. And that’s okay. It’s okay if that happens, but for people who are a little bit more hesitant, I don’t ask people to dive deep. Especially not in the first session or two, just because people need time to see who I am, to get a feel for how I work. So, generally we talk about… I try to get to know them and their system in the first few sessions.
(Jade) So, we’ve already had a little bit of that discussion, and I know that you said there were a few parts that you had trouble getting along with, or you had parts that have low self-esteem. So, what I would probably start off with is asking you, first of all, how things have been. So, how has your week been? How’s your week been with your parts, with your inside people? How have things been going for you?
(Melissa) Oy. It’s… it’s improved compared to last week, if that means anything.
(Jade) Okay. What was last week?
(Melissa) Last week was lot of sleep deprivation, a lot of night terrors, and a lot of dissociating in terms of, of hearing, talking in the Headspace and waking up constantly in terror and sitting up and trying not to fall back to sleep and be like, “Whoa!” Knocked on melatonin and really have to sleep, but you’re sitting in front of… For a while, I was just like, no, no, no, don’t go back, because it’s terrifying. But then you have to. The cycle repeats and repeats all night and it’s terrifying. I was not well mentally in terms of anxiety and just kind of like general dissociation, because when I’m tired, I’m more dissociated.
(Jade) And when you say you’re more dissociated, what does that mean for you? Because, different people use different words to mean different things. Does that mean that there are a lot of parts coming and going? Or, does that mean that you’re spacing out? Or, tell me what that’s like for you.
(Melissa) It can mean a lot of switching. More-so lately, it’s been a lot of hearing talking and feeling spacey, kind of like I’m on some kind of substance. Usually I’ve referred to it as weed. I Kind of lose track of where timelines are.
(Melissa) 20 minutes go by and I’m, what just happened again? And then I feel kind of like a floaty weird sensation in my head. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s not exactly pressure… And often migraines associated. But like, floaty feeling, like I’m on something.
(Jade) Okay. Yeah. And do you feel like there was something that might’ve triggered all the night terrors and the difficulties, or was it just a stressful week?
(Melissa) I don’t know if it’s more so than usual. Gotta think about that one.
(Jade) Yeah. Sometimes, when we have like a stretch of hard days, it’s helpful to look back and see like, was there some inciting event that settled this off? Did someone say something that triggered a memory?
(Melissa) We have a lot of negative self-talk. Sometimes to myself. And then I kind of feel like I amped it up to the point where someone else starts joining in on the conversation, in terms of the Melissa hate. I have someone who is pretty intensely angry with me and I try to resolve the kind of, I mean, I’m trying to figure out whether it’s coming from precisely, because they yell. I used to think that was a tick, like from my Tourette syndrome. And they would yell. So, usually it includes swearing. So I don’t know if I’m going to necessarily give you an example of what they would say. I thought it was coprolalia from Tourette syndrome. But then it was more like I would have a tic, like a noise, and then, they might respond by yelling at me for having a tic, which I thought was also a tic. Like. I do an OCD compulsion wrong, they might also yell at me a full phrase sentence. Like, how I did it wrong with the inclusion of swearing and calling me names with relation to swearing. There’s been a lot of anger; mostly directed at me from me and from them. So I think that that was also to do with it.
(Jade) Do they ever talk about why they’re angry? I know you touched on that a little bit, but ever you ever directly asked, like, why are you so mad at me?
(Melissa) I have. I even wrote it in a journal once. I pulled up a fresh book. I didn’t know what to call them, and I still don’t necessarily. I call them SpitFire. I wrote a note in a book asking them why they were so angry in hopes that maybe they would reply. A few times, I kind of asked in my mind, how someone would make a prayer in the head; kind of talk to them. I know that one time they said that they felt that what happened to us… was my fault.
(Jade) Okay. You specifically?
(Jade) Okay. Did they give any more details about that?
(Jade) Okay. Because if I had been the therapist, I would have wanted to explore, like, why do you think that was Melissa’s fault? And I know they’re probably not talking to me directly right now, but I’m just curious if anyone would like to pass a message to me, or if they would be willing to talk about that. And, if they want to, that’s totally okay. I want whoever’s listening to know that when I work with someone, I’m totally fine with parts talking directly to me, if they’re comfortable with that. But, I don’t ever make anyone do anything that they don’t want to do. I would not ask someone to do that if they didn’t want to. Sometimes parts don’t necessarily want to come out, but they, and I’m sorry, I just realized I’ve been using the term parts, which is one term that people like. But if your Headmates want to just pass a message, sometimes it’s like, they’ll think a thought and say, I don’t want to talk to them directly, but tell them this. So, if any of your Headmates would be willing to talk about this, I would love to, I would love to explore this topic.
(Melissa) Not currently getting any messaging. It’s weird that I don’t feel as much SpitFire as I do Maggie. She’s feeling very positive right now. I’m not true why. Like, she’s trying to defend SpitFire, or something. But, I’m not feeling anything from SpitFire. I know that when we had talked about it with the therapist at the time, they didn’t know much about DID or dissociation in general, or terminology at all. Like I used the word “system” and they were like, where’d you come up with that word? So they were very… little knowledge about DID. When I would switch, they were like, what just happened? They would literally say, what was that? I thought, you know, that might’ve been obvious at some point, especially since I had made it clear of my diagnosis going into therapy.
(Jade) Well, I just want Maggie to know that nobody is mad at SpitFire. So, I really appreciate her doing her job and making sure that they’re okay. Even if Spitfire wanted to talk to me, it would not be because I’m upset with them at all. I’m just curious and wanting to know, you know, because everybody has a different perspective about life and about what’s happened in the past about what’s happening now. So, the only reason I was asking that question is so that maybe we could explore what Spitfire thinks about Melissa, because I mean, when you have a conflict with somebody, the best way to resolve it is to just talk it through. Not because anybody’s mad, just trying to get to greater understanding between head mates here. So, I just wanted Maggie to be reassured that SpitFire is not in trouble. Nobody’s mad. But I appreciate her, her doing her job and being defensive and being positive. We, all… we all need a Headmate like that.
(Melissa) She’s a nice one to feel.
(Jade) Yes, I’m sure. And that’s what I try to tell people when I work with them, is that every part counts and every part has an important job. Even the ones where it might not be pleasant to experience them doing their job. They think that they’re helping, even if it’s hard for you, at one point, whatever they’re doing was helpful. And they may not understand that time has passed and maybe they don’t need to do that job anymore, but no one wants them to go away. No one wants to get rid of any of them. No one wants them to die or anything like that. We just want to figure out if there’s a different job that they could do now that would be better for everybody.
(Jade) One thing you said, you said you were wanting to feel more comfortable with letting them be recognized as present and have a voice of their own. But I know that that is overwhelming. You were saying that sometimes you find that overwhelming. And I was wondering if we could talk about that a little bit. Would that be all right?
(Jade) So is it a noise, like when they’re all around and talking, it’s overwhelming, or can you tell me a little bit about what’s overwhelming for you?
(Melissa) I think in that, there I was referring mostly to switching and the embarrassment that I feel when it happens. I’m trying to be accepting of them as individuals and say, okay, you have a right to talk to. So why do I get more right. While trying to recognize that and trying to be accepting of them speaking through, I suppose the expression would be, through the body, would be, it’s embarrassing, but I try to accept it. But, at the same time, I keep going back to the whole embarrassed thing.
(Jade) Well, it can be a little bit chaotic. Like, if you’re not in control of switching and sometimes people aren’t able to be in control of that. So, that’s where learning how to cooperate as a team can come in handy. Because if you can have some communication between you and them, and between each part on the inside to take turns, then it can be a little bit less like you’re in the middle of a sentence and someone else jumps in. It can be a little bit easier for other people to understand. And then, just a little bit less chaotic for you.
(Jade) Are your people able to talk to each other on the inside?
(Melissa) They tend to. I catch bits of conversations.
(Melissa) Like, sentences here and there. Sometimes a sentence with a reply from someone else. Voices of both genders of all ages. Yeah. So, I hear them talking once in a while. Like, mostly when I clear my mind. If I’m trying to rest to fall asleep or if I’m like, not really thinking too much state, then I’ll connect. I don’t know if it’s like a window or something. Like, I hear them talking. I didn’t used to as much, so I think that they’re not too chill with it. They’re not used to it either. As well as I’m not used to hearing them., they’re not used to being heard by me. Yeah.
(Jade) And that can feel really scary if they all of a sudden have someone listening to them that they’re not used to. And, one thing that takes time that you can’t necessarily do just in a session is, it takes time to build that trust with your inside people, and it sounds like you’re doing a really good job with that. So that they can realize that it’s actually safe for you to hear what they’re saying, and that it’s okay for them to be heard. And so there’s that aspect of it, and there’s also the aspect of sometimes when people are abuse survivors, it was dangerous to be heard when they were a kid, for whatever reason. It was dangerous. So just having their voice heard at all, whether it’s by you or someone else can feel really scary at first. So, just spending that time to showing them that it’s okay for you to hear them is a good thing.
(Jade) Can you tell me what you’re feeling right now?
(Melissa) A little bit fuzzy.
(Jade) Yeah. I can see on your face, you’re feeling something. I’m just curious about what’s going on for you.
(Melissa) “Laughs nervously* I sometimes get fuzzy with the reference of anything to something negative having happened. Like, in terms of a survivor or whatever. I’m like, I’m not a survivor. I had nothing happen.
(Jade) Oh. Okay.
(Melissa) And, I have a big denial mode, and whenever there’s any kind of reference to anything having happened in the past, I tend to get floaty.
(Jade) Okay. I gotcha. So let me ask this, would there be anything bad about being a survivor?
(Melissa) It implies that something bad happened, which I don’t cope with well.
(Jade) Right. So what would be bad about considering the possibility that something bad might have happened?
(Melissa) It’s very sad.
(Jade) Yeah, you’re right. Is it okay to be sad?
(Melissa) It doesn’t feel okay.
(Jade) Yeah. It doesn’t feel very good, does it?
(Melissa) We tend to go into a lot of denial, like, back-and-forthing in terms of, yeah. I mean, so, sure. I remember that stuff, but then again, couldn’t have happened because, that would mean something happened. And that would mean that the person who was responsible was actually doing something wrong… and that something was wrong and we don’t, we’ll, don’t want to believe anything was wrong.
(Jade) Yeah. It can be really hard to sit with those feelings. And so one thing I try to help people work on because we don’t have these skills naturally. Sometimes is, I try to help people learn to sit with a negative feeling; even just for a minute. And then we can move on to something else because you build your capacity by practicing. It doesn’t mean you have to like, sit with a bad feeling for two hours all at once, but just for a minute. Just feel it for a minute and then move on. And then that builds your capacity to do it for a little bit longer next. Because, sometimes when people have been through things, they don’t know how to tolerate negative emotions at all, because every negative emotion can make you feel like you’re going to die. And, I promise that you won’t, but it does feel that way. And that sucks. That’s a skill that a lot of people don’t have, is knowing that this feeling that I’m having is going to go away. Because it feels like it’s going to last forever, but it won’t.
(Melissa) You sure?
(Jade) How’s the floatiness?
(Melissa) It’s a little better.
(Melissa) I, I’m hearing some backtalk, but other than that, I’m feeling less, like floaty.
(Jade) Okay. Do you want to tell me about the backtalk?
(Melissa) I hear someone calling me names.
(Jade) Okay. Is that Spitfire, or someone else?
(Melissa) I think, SpitFire.
(Jade) Okay. Well, thank you for doing your job, Spitfire. I know that you think that you’re trying to help. I know that whatever you’re doing is trying to help something good come out of this. So, I really appreciate you doing your job. Does Spitfire want to talk, like directly?
(Melissa) I don’t sense they do. I think they’re more interested in having me know that they’re mad than having other people know that they’re mad. Usually. Most of the time, when we switch, it’s like, very short micro switches. kind of like, a sentence here, or most of the time ,when, when we switch, it’s just like Spitfire, or any of the others might come out for like, a sentence, or like, a noise. But, they rarely, like, do a lot of explaining or anything.
(Jade) Well, SpitFire, I also want to know… I also want you to know that it’s perfectly valid to be angry. I’m sure that whatever your reasons are, they’re good ones and you have every right to be angry about whatever you’re angry about.
(Melissa) That’s what I try to tell her too.
(Jade) Hmm. What do they think about that?
(Melissa) I’m not sure. I try to validate, like saying, I’m sure that there’s a reason, and I don’t know what it is and I can’t judge it because I have no idea what it is. I can’t say it’s not true. Or, I just kind of want to work on it in terms of whatever it is. I like it to be resolved because I want to connect on some kind of level in terms of getting to know them a little more. And hopefully, I mean, I think there’s a little bit less, it’s less intensely yelling when they come forward now than they did before I was saying those things. They’re still very angry, but they’re less, a lot of yelling, bitter language and more like bitter tone of voice than yelling tone of voice than it used to happen. So that’s an improvement.
(Jade) Yeah. Well, I think it’s okay to, to tell Spitfire that they’re allowed to be angry for as long as they need to be angry. Because I, I think that it’s a good long-term goal to want to have a friendship with them. But also, like, if someone feels like they’re being rushed, sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard for someone if they feel like, well, I mean, I know this person really just wants me to stop being angry and be nice.
(Melissa) Yeah. I kind of would see that perspective. I try not to overly push and I kind of, like, go once in a while and talk about it. But overall, like, I feel like I go back and forth too much in terms of being accepting, and being like, no wait, back off. Like I’m a yo-yo. Maybe they can’t trust that.
(Jade) Yeah. It could take some time. I mean, you said you’ve only been diagnosed for a little over a year, right?
(Melissa) Yeah. Something like that.
(Jade) That’s, like, a very, very short amount of time to try to cope with everything that you’ve learned. It’s a big deal to realize that you have Headmates, and even to just make the progress that you have in a year, I think you’re doing great. I mean, just to know all the things that you know now about your system and your inside people. That’s amazing in a year. Like, I work with people who’ve been trying to heal for 20 years and they still can’t communicate on the inside. And that doesn’t mean that they’re doing anything wrong. It’s not their fault. It’s just, to have the realization that you have after just a year. That’s, that’s really amazing.
(Melissa) I think, it’s a lot of research into how to connect, like how other people have and kind of developing my own scenarios. Considering communication with them is a little bit like, or a lot like communication with anyone in general. And I have decent communication skills. So, I think I can apply that fairly well to them as well. And I think that made a, a difference. You know, trying to reach out regularly.
(Jade) And, what things have you found have worked really well for learning to communicate with your Headmates?
(Melissa) We used to journal; like writing. I would write to them type-wise in a program. And they would reply, uh, not always. But they sometimes, I didn’t know who was replying. Sometimes I felt who it was and they was, or they would say who it was, but overall, like, it was so, so in terms of communication. I think that the best method I’ve found so far is speaking inside my mind. Thinking to them. Hoping for a response. And then I would often feel their responses. Like, their emotions and their voices or their tones, or like, I can recognize it as not being mine.
(Jade) Right. Yeah. That makes sense. And that is fairly common for people who are more blended.
(Melissa) What would the term blended mean in this scenario, other than co conscious? Like, what’s the difference between co-consciousness and feeling their emotions, and blended?
(Jade) I don’t think there’s a lot of difference. It’s just a difference in terms, honestly, it just depends on who is saying it, but sometimes, it can mean that you’re feeling the feelings of more than one part at once; more than one inside person. Or, sometimes it just means that more than one person is aware of the outside right now. So, it really just kinda depends on who’s saying it. So I’m curious what’s going on with you right now because you look, you look like you’re thinking really hard. Um, can you tell me what’s going on?
(Melissa) I heard that, someone say, “Am I a person?”
(Jade) Oh, okay. Are they wanting to ask me or you?
(Melissa) I don’t know exactly. I just know that I heard them ask it. Like in a tone, as kind of like, “Am I a person?” Like, as if it’s kind of like, special.
(Jade) Well, in my opinion, absolutely everybody in your, in your mind is a person, and they’re all there for a reason, and they’re all valid. In my opinion. Yes, you are. Do they want to talk more about what it means to be a person?
(Melissa) I’m not sensing any switchiness? I can hear more talking than can feel switchiness, and I’m feeling a little bit floaty. Like, I mean, sometimes I don’t expect it, and I just kind of like, boom. And it’s often a buildup until suddenly you just like, and I don’t expect it. But so I don’t always assume to say, I wont.
(Melissa) I still feel like, I’m me, Melissa.
(Jade) Yeah. That’s all right. I know that none of them know me. I mean, you and I had just met right before we did this, on Zoom. So, I know that they don’t know me and it would make sense to me if they don’t want to talk to me just yet. And, if you were a client that we met regularly, then they would have time to observe from week-to-week and decide whether they wanted to talk directly or not.
(Melissa) Right. Yeah. You gotta build up that trust for a little while. It’s usually how we work in therapeutic sessions, is to take time to kind of get to know the person’s. See, can we trust this person? Although some people, they’re a lot faster to speak with than others, depending. I would think that they would be more likely to speak with you more so than they would be like someone who, who doesn’t relate or who isn’t accepting. They’re more likely to speak with someone who is a combination of, knows that they’re there, is okay with the fact they’re there, and that they feel some connection with that person. Which is often people who also have DID, or someone that is in a trust relationship, like a therapist, which isn’t usually family or friends. It’s a little selective, but usually when someone knows what’s going on and accepts it, it’s a lot more common to have a switch.
(Jade) Yeah. And I don’t look for switching, like, like we’ve talked about a little bit. I actually asked my clients to try to go slowly if they can, because I just feel like that’s important. I feel like, um, a lot of people in the did community can be prone to trusting someone with too much too fast. And I just want to make sure that before they say anything to me, that they would feel vulnerable with me knowing that all of their people on the inside are okay with them sharing with that, that with me. So my philosophy that I’ve gotten from greater minds than mine is slower is faster. So I actually ask people if they can go slow.
(Melissa) What can they expect from a first appointment with you, would be more like, evaluating their connection with their Headmates, or their history.
(Jade) Yeah. So, what I like to do after the consult is to just get more detail about what’s going on for them. It’s kind of like a triage in, like, an ER, I basically want to ask them, like, where does it hurt? What is it that’s hurting? Where can I, where can I hone in and help you? I would say that probably my wheelhouse is trying to resolve conflict between inside people. So, that is one of the things that I am best at. So, if they already have communication with their inside people and they say, well, so-and-so is not getting along with these parts because, or, you know, whatever the case may be. That’s something that I can go, okay, well, can we talk about that? Can I talk to that person? Would they be willing to talk to me? Or could we just explore what’s at the root of this conflict? Because a lot of times, what’s at the root of the conflict is maybe someone is believing information that’s not current. So, if they believe at some point in their history… This is just an example. If they believed that criticizing the host, or criticizing another inside part would keep that part acting right, right in quotes, then they wouldn’t get in trouble just as an example. But now they may be an adult and they live on their own and they’re not in a situation where they could get in trouble. So, that part may not know that, and they’re still doing their job and they’re still being critical and they’re still trying to make the person act a certain way and they just don’t need to do that anymore. But they might not know that.
(Melissa) Right. Or, it’s hard to break, kind of, like, the way that it’s always been done; kind of thing.
(Melissa) A first session, or the beginning would be more-so evaluating a system and then finding goals for what you want to work on.
(Melissa) Followed by… Your first appointment, do you have some kind of protocol, like in terms of saying, okay, so you can be confidential in terms of this, or like there’s some kind of a contract, or like a permission or something like that. That sometimes, in terms of like, I don’t break confidentiality unless, kind of thing.
(Jade) Yeah. I do have a client agreement and since I’ve automated my booking, I actually forget to point people to my client agreement. Like I should, but I have a client agreement with all of that in there. Just letting them know, um, these are, these are the terms they may experience emotional distress if we talk about things in the past. And that that’s normal. It just kind of spells out, I am bound by confidentiality, except for, if they tell me they’re going to hurt themselves or someone else, or a child or elders being abused. You know, the typical state law that applies to me. You know, just spells out, like, I take notes. The notes are stored on a locked device for six months. If they don’t have another appointment for six months, they’ll be destroyed. You know, they can request their notes. Just, you know, all those little technicalities that people have.
(Jade) Also, important for people to understand that are listening, that are thinking about booking appointment. I am not a therapist. And in the client agreement, it makes sure that they know that, and that I don’t have licensing as a therapist. So, I, I am not a licensed councillor, or therapist. I am a peer worker.
(Jade) So, the, what I bring to the table is my lived experience. And just, just to clarify that with people.
(Melissa) Yes. Which is something though, that a lot of people are looking for. Because, I’ve heard a lot of criticisms in terms of a therapist who might not have lived experience. They’re like, well, you have a degree, but well, what do you know, really? So, you offer something that a lot of people are really just can’t. Like most people, they just can’t. Especially in terms of DID, and a therapist with DID. I mean, how often would you come across that statistic wise. You offer something very unique and very positive. So I think it’s not like, Oh, I’m not a therapist, but it’s not like a limitation. It’s actually something really positive that you offer. So I think that’s really great.
(Jade) Yeah. Yeah. I’ve heard a lot of stories about therapists that just don’t seem to know how to handle DID. And now, I am not against therapists. I want to make sure people know that there are a lot of really wonderful therapists out there. And I don’t think that therapists are bad. So, I just want to make sure that I say that on this recording, I am not anti-therapy at all. But, the lived experience like you’re saying is a very missing piece sometimes. And when the therapist doesn’t understand what the experience is like, it can make some of their help, not as helpful as it could be.
(Melissa) I think it depends on the individual systems need in terms of what they would like from a therapeutic relationship. Even if it’s peer, peer support it’s still therapeutic. So, I mean, it depends on what they’re looking for. If they want to have that kind of connection with someone that can relate, as well as someone who can actually help them through this process. I mean, it just has a lot of value.
(Jade) Yeah. Yeah. And that brings up a good point. I do work alongside therapists with clients at times. So, sometimes clients will employ me and their therapist. So sometimes it’s more of a supplementary role. And, I also wanted to mention too, another good point that you’re bringing up is a lot of therapists believe, because they’ve been trained to believe, that integration is the only sole goal for people with DID. And, I’m very open-handed. If someone wants to work toward integration, I think that’s great, and I will help them if they want to. But if they don’t, I also think functional, healthy multiplicity is an option for some. So, It’s totally up to that person in their system. And so, like you said earlier, defining goals is a good part of the first few sessions too, to just find out, you know, what is it that they’re wanting to see happen?
(Melissa) Hmm. I was gonna make a point earlier. It kind of slipped, but it was about the agreement, not breaking confidentiality, unless there’s like there’s danger to hurt themselves. I think that a lot of people have a misleading kind of, Oh, if I indicate I might scratch myself, or if I indicate that I would have negative feelings about like suicidal thoughts without necessarily intention to kill myself, it’s not the same thing as actually intending to, to actually hurt yourself. So, if you’re in a therapeutic relationship with a peer support specialist or therapist, and there’s a confidentiality agreement saying that, like, I feel so depressed lately and I really just wish I didn’t exist anymore. I wish sometimes that I could take my life. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to, and there’s a difference between that line in terms of whether someone will break that therapeutic agreement. They can feel at ease with expressing that.
(Jade) Yeah, that is a very good topic to bring up because I think language matters. I think, if someone said, well, I’m not going to be at our appointment tomorrow because I’m going to kill myself. I have to say, or do something. But if someone says, I’m just so upset about this and I wish I didn’t exist, that I don’t have to do something about that. So I think the language can matter. But I also understand because I’ve been through the experience of being forced into a psychiatric admission. I understand how hard that is and I understand how unhelpful that can be. So, that is really the last thing that I would want to do. And, you know, unfortunately, I am compelled by state law. If someone said, I am going to kill myself tomorrow at three o’clock, I have to do something. But, it is the last thing that I want to do if someone is not intending to take their life. I would never want to force anything. I think just the experience of being forced to do something that you don’t necessarily want to do, and don’t don’t believe is helpful, can be re-traumatizing. So, that is not something I would want to do, unless I really felt that they might die.
(Melissa) Right. It’s not even just a therapist thing. It’s a human thing to say, hear someone say, I’m going to kill myself and then…
(Melissa) …not do anything. It’s a human thing. It’s like a responsibility. It’s a fellow person on the planet; kind of thing.
(Jade) Yeah. Yeah. And also the topic of self-harm. I know that a lot of people are really scared to talk about. And, if it’s not something that’s going to potentially kill them, I don’t have a problem talking about self-harm and I don’t have to report it to anyone. So, you know, if someone’s struggling with that, that’s something we could talk about without them being worried that I’m going to have to report them to somebody
(Melissa) That kind of answers a lot of questions. That was very informative. You know, I think that people can feel very, I would hope, can feel very comfortable approaching you. Or, actually I tried to research in terms of other peer support specialists who work with DID, and it’s not exactly like a pool. *Laughs*
(Jade) It’s hard. They don’t let us list ourselves on sites where we could be found.
(Melissa) Really. Oh.
(Jade) Yeah. Because I don’t have a license. So, I reached out to Psychology Today initially. And there’s a box you can check this as unlicensed, but then when you’re actually paying for your membership, you’re required to submit your license number. So, I don’t really understand the logic. So, there’s not really anywhere that we can list ourselves.
(Melissa) It’s hard to find anyone, but this is an amazing resource for people who are listening to kind of reach out to you. So if they do want to reach out to you, there’s going to be a link on my website, thebagsystem.com. Your website is talktoJ8.com?
(Jade) So, my blog is thoughtsfromJ8 and then the peer support site, everything links together. So, you’d be able to find it either way. But, the peer support site is peersupportformultiples.com. So, if you want to actually reach out to me about working with me, then you can go there. But you know, it all links together somewhere or another. So.
(Melissa) It’s really interesting to meet someone who’s been through this unique experience and who also kind of reaches out to other people from the perspective of someone who feels like.. Like, as a peer support specialist, which I’ve looked into this before for, for other mental health conditions that I’ve been through. You need to be recovered for a certain amount of time or consider yourself in a state of a positive wellbeing for a certain amount of time before you can be a peer support specialist. I think it’s important to know too. So when they’re reaching out to you, they can know that you’re from a standpoint of someone who’s really been through the works, and worked at to the point where you are, where you can say, I can be a peer support specialist. Because, it’s not just anyone who can do that.
(Jade) Yeah. And if anyone is interested in more of the backstory about why, what I’ve been through and why I chose to be a peer supporter, I also have a video called Edelweiss and they can find that on the peer support site as well. Across the top, there’s a link that says Edelweiss. There’s a video. You can watch more in-depth about my story, what I’ve been through, where I’ve come from and why I want to do this. And hey, I really appreciate you having me on your podcast. I just, I’m so glad you reached out. And I really enjoyed talking to you and your inside people today. Thank you for that.
(Melissa) I was so pleased that you reached back. Thank you so much.