Step 5 — Healing
Woohoo! Now for what you’ve been working so hard for, and, most likely, it will be even better than you’ve imagined. For so long, you couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be healthy, happy, and when you get to this final stage, you will look back and wonder how it could have been so bad for so long. You will look back and know that all the pain, all the work was worth it. That’s how it’s been for me.
If you have DID, it’s time to begin welcoming the parts home where they belong, as part of you – a whole you. I won’t go in depth here about integration: that’s a whole other post of its own. But, I will say that it’s great. And, by now, it may have begun to happen as a natural result of the work you’ve been doing. Contrary to what some people believe, it doesn’t have to be a big deal, and I can tell you from experience, it does NOT mean death to the parts!
But, the beginning of health is not the end of recovery. That will continue for a long time to come. Don’t plan to quit therapy anytime soon! You’re still going to need support and guidance as you learn to navigate life as a healing person.
One important, life-changing aspect of healing means forever giving up the role of victim. Scary thought isn’t it? Not having everyone’s attention on you and your sad story is a real paradigm shift, I know. The up side is you get to have real relationships. You get to care about others and their problems. You’ll have conversations about all kinds of things and be amazed at what you learn from others. You’ll develop interests that have lain fallow for years, because now you won’t be spending all your time and energy on getting well. You can look outward instead of constantly looking inward at what’s happening with you.
Giving back, contributing to society, becomes important at this stage. Stepping outside yourself and your problems to contribute to others gives you a whole new perspective. I think it’s probably best to avoid becoming an amateur counselor, because you might get dragged back into your old stuff again. There are so many possibilities out there. What do you like to do? Consider volunteering at church, working at a food bank, joining Habitat for Humanity, rocking babies at a NICU, getting involved in your children’s activities. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Find out what makes you you. Are you a quiet, indoor person who thinks a great day is to curl up in a corner with a good book? Do you thrive on being with people – going out to lunch and chatting the afternoon away? What’s your favorite color, your favorite food? You may never have been allowed your own opinion on anything. Well, here’s your chance. Grab it and run!
And here’s the best part. Live! Enjoy life. Laugh, relax once in a while and allow yourself to bask in recovery. This is not the end of the road. You may always have scars that cause you pain, and complete recovery is a process. Remember, Even healthy people grow throughout their lives, and you have so much time to make up for. Get with it!