Your Motivation for October 31, 2018

Good morning, it’s your friend Shirley from the PatientNextDoor support team.

Having an internal locus of control is vital to living a happy and secure life.

An internal locus of control means that you don’t wait for others to make you happy, you make your own happiness.

To find out how to achieve this, look at the link I’ve provided from Psychology Today.

Turning to others for support is marvelous, but depending on them to meet your emotional needs is neither fair nor possible.

Only we know what we need and want.  To expect someone to KNOW what you need and then feeling depressed and angry because they didn’t? Well, that’s insanity at its best.

I hope you are getting revitalized by these Monday-Friday motivational pieces. It is my intention to offer you food for thought and to uplift you every day.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

You can also give and receive encouragement from people who understand where you are and where you have been.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

I and the other members of the PNxD support team are dedicated to helping you and your family find the resources you need.

The reason for our dedication is simple, you and your family mean the world to us!

We truly and honestly care about you.

 

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Your Motivational Quote for October 30, 2018

Good day, it’s Shirley from the PatientNextDoor support team.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

In a world that is becoming more and more divided along race, religion, and political lines I felt the above quote by Helen Keller’s appropriate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of reading the headlines each morning only to be dismayed by the hate I see written about there.

Innocent lives snuffed out by hate and bigotry, children afraid to go to school and their equally terrified parents, it is all disturbing and horrible. The hate being spewed by politicians speak the language of those who would divide human beings as being either worthy or worthless.

It must stop, so let it begin with me.

I wish to speak words of peace and love, not hate. I do not want to spread lies or innuendo nor do I wish to be bigoted against any person.

I am not a religious person and as such will not press anyone to believe in something they do not. However, the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi are ringing in my ears as I hope they will ring in yours.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Amen.

Amen indeed.

The day humanity crosses over from hate and suspicion of others to love and understanding is the day we can all finally take a deep breath and truly begin to live.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We care about you.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of PatientNextDoor. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and PatientNextDoor does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

 

 

 

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We Desire Your Input on the PatientNextDoor Smartphone App and Blog Site

Shirley here. I thought some of you might be curious as to what this rambling woman looked like. So, I included my picture in this post!

HI!

We at PatientNextDoor are striving to make both our smartphone application and blog site full of helpful information tailored to the needs of our reading audience.

So, we are asking all of our family members, users and readers to answer a few questions so that we can make PatientNextDoor better.

They will only take a few moments of your time, and we appreciate very much hearing your answers.

THE PATIENTNEXTDOOR PHONE APPLICATION

-Is App meeting your expectations?

-What features can we add for you?

–  What other services can we provide for you?

–  In your opinion, what can we do to make this the PatientNextDoor phone application the best go-to App for people’s medical needs?

THE PATIENTNEXTDOOR BLOG SITE

-Have we been meeting your needs with the articles we offer?

-What medical conditions (including mental health issues) would you like to see us write about?

-Would you like us to publish your story on our app and blog site?

Answer as many of the questions as you want or all of them and send them in an email to:

admin@patientnextdoor.com

On behalf of the entire PatientNextDoor support team, I wish to thank you for your input.

As you can see, I’m a real human being who tries to help by offering insights, information, and a helping hand to meet your needs.

We are here at PNxd are working hard to establish ourselves as the friendliest and most helpful phone application and website on the Internet.

We will be successful in our goal only because of you.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We care about you and your family’s health.

And We Care About You! 

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Breathing: A Simple Act That Has Become Difficult in India

Taking a deep breath and then exhale This simple act is something that in India could lead to several illnesses and even death. As the air quality in India declines, the new-found prosperity of the nation faces floundering under the weight of the increasing medical emergencies brought on by the very mechanisms that have driven it.

Air pollution refers to the contamination of air by materials that can interfere with the health of people and their quality of life. There are four important kinds of pollution, water, noise, soil and the topic of this article, air.

How Bad is the Pollution Problem in India? 

India is number eight on the list of top twenty nations in the world with the most polluted air, way ahead of China which listed at number thirteen. That means that the amounts of contaminants in the air in India’s city and rural areas are enormous.

The publication The India Times May 2018, reported that every year in India, 26.45% of the Indian population die prematurely from diseases directly caused by that nation’s poor air quality. That figure translates into roughly 355 million people dying every year from pollution.

What is happening? What is being done by the government to help the people of India keep pace with the world economically without destroying the health of its population?

Worsening Air Quality

The city of Delhi has become notorious for its chokingly poor air quality. In fact, it is so bad that the once white marble walls of the Taj Mahal have turned green.

The sad fact is that Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh was declared in May of 2018 the most polluted city on the globe and was forced to cancel flights and close schools as its levels of pollution reached “off-the-charts” levels.

Human activity in India creates both greenhouse gases that are warming our planet and poor air quality that work together to harm the health of Indian citizens.

In the winter months from October through January, the festival of Diwali occurs and with it a severe increase in air pollution. The effects are most felt in the city of Delhi as firecrackers are burned during the festival.

However, there is another factor that makes air quality drop during the winter months, the changing weather patterns caused by climate change.

 Climate Change and Poor Air Quality

In November 2017, the capital city of Delhi in India was hit by air pollution so vile that the city’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described living there as being in a “gas chamber.”

While the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States considers anything over 300 to be hazardous to humans, the air quality index in Delhi was reported to be in the range of 700 to 1,000.

The air quality of Delhi was so high that there was no mistaking but that millions of people are breathing it and were in grave danger of developing lung cancer, asthma and damaging other vital organs.

Those most in danger were the children as air pollution that severe would not allow their young bodies to develop good lungs and could damage their brains. The effects of this damage were irreversible and would last a lifetime.

The Hazardous Health Consequences of Winter 

The mechanism of this seasonal health hazard is easily understood.

As the climate gets warmer, India is experiencing longer dry spells. The increase in warmth and decrease in moisture have created depressions that pull winds from the oceans surrounding India.

With the less rain and green barriers in and around Indian cities, the ocean winds pick up dust that inundates the cities and countryside cause a considerable reduction in air quality.

This dust mixes with the other particulates already present in the heavily polluted air of India’s urban and rural areas making a toxic mess that her people are forced to breathe.

While gases coming from the combustion of wood, fields, and dung are contributors to the health problems plaguing India, particulate matter pollution is the main reason for the massive uptick of lung and other diseases that are killing the Indian people.

Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate matter is made up of fine granules and droplets such as dust, fly ash, soot, smoke, aerosols, fumes, mists and vapors that can remain suspended in the air and breathed by humans. Some forms of PM can be seen with the naked eye, but much of it cannot so people breathe in these toxins unaware of how they have affected them.

An article in Scientific India in 2017 reported that there are many emitters of particulate matter including vehicle emissions, power plant emissions, the manufacturing of products such as electronic components, and landfills.

Vehicle emissions in India have seen an enormous rise since India has begun to experience greater prosperity. Many people in the cities of India have chosen to opt for owning and operating their own car or truck instead of more traditional modes of transportation.

Dangerous sulfur dioxide coming from the combustion of the fuels to run automobiles and the growing number of vehicles being used to haul products by train and airplanes are major factors of air pollution in India.

The Republic of India has been busy creating its niche among the industrialized world building factories to compete on the world market. These factories require vast amounts of electricity and with demand comes supply.

The power plants in this developing country are the second leading coal burners in the world after China. That makes India a significant contributor to greenhouse gases that creates health hazards for her people, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

A Manufacturing a Nightmare

The factories functioning in India release a large amount of particulate matter as waste from the manufacturing process into the air.

The manufacturing plants in India take part in the world’s largest market for used electronic components. Because of the lower cost of labor and a lack of government regulations, about 80% of the world’s greed for electronics is satisfied by countries such as India and other developing nations.

Many the people of India are involved in the processing industry of electronics. However, insufficient protective measures are taken as workers dismantle old electronic components by using chemicals to leach printed circuit boards, burning waste off wires and components, and washing metal parts of milled black powder.

Outside of these inhumane and unsafe working conditions placed on the people of India who labor daily in these manufacturing plants, are the enormous contributions these plants make to particulate waste into the atmosphere of India.

Landfills as Polluters of the Air

The characteristic barrage of horrible odors emitting from a landfill is caused by the release of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas. Materials from the construction and demolition of buildings, like drywall, create large amounts of these gases.

While low levels of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas are not harmful to humans, long-term exposure of up to two weeks can cause coughing, irritated eyes, nose and throat, headaches, nausea and breathing problems.

Usually, the symptoms of exposure to landfill gases will go away if the exposure ends, but the longer people are near these stinky gases, the worse their symptoms will become.

The person exposed for extended amounts of time can present with sleeping difficulties, weight loss, chest pain and be at high risk for life-threating asthma.

Landfills also produce methane and carbon dioxide which are produced when bacteria break down organic waste.

The asphyxiant Methane also is emitted by the growing number of landfills in India’s countryside. These gases are self-perpetuating and even after the landfill is closed can continue to be ejected for more than fifty years.

Landfill gases will migrate from the landfill site into the air and infiltrate homes of people living nearby. They can also travel underground through utility entry points such as water and power lines and create a significant health hazard to people many miles away from the landfill that produced them.

Methane and carbon dioxide are colorless and odorless and displace oxygen in enclosed spaces such as basements of buildings where these gases have infiltered from a nearby or distant landfill.

People who live or work in enclosed spaces where methane and carbon dioxide are present can present with reduced coordination, fatigue nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness or death.

If unchecked, landfills could become the number one leading emitter of methane in the country.

The Statistics of a National Tragedy: Rural Pollution

 

What is even more stunning is the fact related by a news article by CNN in May of 2018.

The article stated that 75% of air quality deaths in India occur in rural areas as opposed to city regions. So, it is not just people living in cities like Delhi who are dying young, citizens living in the countryside on farms and small villages are dying too.

The worsening air pollution in rural India isn’t caused by only one source; it has many causes.

People who live in rural settings everyday use fuels such as wood, coal, crop waste and cow dung to light and burn the fires that they cook with as women prepare the meals for their home.

The polluting particles created by combusting these fuels don’t stay within the home, instead, it travels beyond the walls adding to the already dire poor air quality of the country.

Also driving the pollution coming from rural areas is the large-scale crop residue burning that farmers do in their fields during the autumn and winter months.

Burning off crop stubble is a traditional way of returning nutrients to the soil. Even in modern times, farmers in India cannot afford the large and expensive farming equipment that would replace stubble burning and lift the danger of the smoke contaminating the country.

The Economic Times reported last week that 32% of the pollution hitting Dehli was a direct result of stubble burning in  Punjab and Haryana. While the burning isn’t the only reason for the massive pollution in Dehli, it is a large contributor of it.

Unfortunately, it is the winter months the winds shift making the air quality almost unbreathable as the smog from the burning of the fields keeps the smoke inland and not drifting out to sea.

The Economic Impact of Poor Air Quality to India

In a report published in the India Times in June of 2018, the cost of poor air quality makes it clear that if not ended, the decreasing quality of clean air will cost India dearly.

The cost to India regarding labor losses stood at 405.8 billion INR ($55.39 billion) or .84% of its gross domestic product. That price tag is even higher than that of China which also lost big that year.

Just yesterday, October 27, 2018, Delhi found itself bracing for the wicked onslaught of smoke, fog, and haze they are expecting in the next few days.

Smoke from unregulated crop burning and burning landfill sites, pollution from vehicles and factories added to toxic fumes from firecrackers means that the air quality in the city will once again become a “gas chamber.”

In fact, the quality of air in Delhi dropped to the worst ever recorded there in October, this year, with ongoing construction and manufacturing bringing on a blanket of haze and particulate matter.

This increase in air pollution and lowering of good breathable air robs India more and more each year as its citizens face health crises and loss of the ability to work.

If nothing is done, the deaths, illnesses, and loss of income to the manufacturing sector which is driving the economy of India will falter and die.

With the loss of the ability to compete in the global marketplace, the country of India will lose her push for wealth for all her people.

What Can Be Done?

 India is a democracy, and as such, they have highly competitive elections. Since the most significant spike in winter is caused by stubble burning in the rural areas, India is hard pressed to impose fines on its farmers. This makes the problem very difficult for politicians who depend on their votes and cooperation to handle.

However, the government of India is waking up to the hard facts of how air pollution will rob their country of the economic power they have been seeking.

The Indian government has invested in control sources of pollution, such as ordering diesel buses to convert to natural gas and offering drivers the odd-even rule where private cars may use the roads depending on their registration numbers on their license plates.

The government has also decided that to tackle the poor air quality of India, they must coordinate efforts across all ministries, including finance, agriculture, rural development, power, and transportation.

To do so, they formed a committee who recommended switching to clean energy sources for cook stoves, public transport, and industry.

They also proposed to lower the traffic of pollution causing vehicles clogging India’s roadways by imposing a higher fuel tax and parking fees, plus charging congestion charges.

The government also decided that making more vehicle-free zones and cycle paths would get people out of their cars and onto new bicycle paths.

The government of India also began researching other means to help their people breathe better and found an excellent resource in California of the U.S. California had discovered that for each dollar into actions for clean air; they reaped a return of $30 US.

That makes following the example of California by India highly valuable to utilizing the financial resources to help her citizens breathe.

In 2013, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, teamed up with the Air Resources Board to begin the implementation of the India-California Air Pollution Mitigation Program.

The India-California Pollution Mitigation Program looked at technical solutions like cleaning up car emissions by forcing owners to keep their vehicles in top working order by doing periodic checks.

When problems were found during these mandatory checks, vehicles found to be not working correctly and thus adding to the pollution problem would be required to not operate on roadways.

Following this suggestion, India’s supreme court recently banned the registration of diesel vehicles in the city of Delhi to tackle the horrific pollution problem there.

Other measures Delhi have implanted include raising penalties for burning rubbish and better control of road dust.

To tackle the domestic problem of air pollution, in December of 2017, the government of India decided to remove subsidies for polluting cooking stoves by 50%, making the use of clean fuels more appealing to Indian households.

Working Together India Can Conquer Its Poor Air Quality Problem

While much work needs to be done to improve air quality, India has several considerable incentives to do so. Not only does her people want to breathe the air without a mask, but they also do not want to die early from a preventable illness. Also, Indian children deserve better than to have profoundly damaged lungs that will never heal.

By working together as the great and resilient people they are, the population of the Republic of India will tackle the horrendous air pollution that plagues their land.

It is not a matter of if India will win over poor air quality, but judging by the history of her people, it is a matter of when.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We attempt to bring you high-quality information about health problems that families face all over the globe. Our reason is simple, we care about the health and happiness of you and your family.

Please, always remember,

the people of PatientNextDoor care about you.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of PatientNextDoor. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and PatientNextDoor does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

 

 

 

 

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Motivational Quote for October 29, 2018

Hello, it’s Shirley from your PatientNextDoor Support Team.

I don’t know about you, but there was a time in my life when I wanted someone, anyone else to take the reigns and run my life.

The problem with that thinking was that I was the only one who could be the leader in my life. No one else could.

The reasons are simple.

No one else knew what I truly wanted from life

No one else could change me.

No one else could or wanted to take responsibility for my actions and words

But most of all, I am an adult and adults take responsibility for all they do, good or bad. We set priorities in our lives and don’t blame others for our failures or allow others to take the glory for our successes.

Putting it bluntly, allowing or expecting someone else to fulfill our needs and make us into their image is behaving like a child.

Yet, when we take charge of our lives we must remember one vital thing.

We are responsible for ourselves and cannot change someone else. It is impossible, so don’t try.

Yes, children are an exception to the rule. They require our protection and guidance. But adults are not children.

Taking charge of our lives is the most powerful example we can set for our children and our world depends on us doing so.

I hope you are enjoying the motivational quotes and sayings I try to bring you every weekday. They are meant to inspire thought and to encourage you on your travels through life.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or just want to leave me a note, please write them in the comment section. I appreciate the feedback.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We care about you.
 

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Your Motivation for October 26, 2018

Hi again, Shirley from the PatientNextDoor support team giving you your daily boost.

Yep, I must agree with this saying. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

So, if at first, you don’t succeed, try a different approach to the problem. That way, you keep yourself open to success.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

 

Never forget, we at PatientNextDoor truly care about you.  

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Your Motivation for October 25, 2018

Good morning everyone. It’s Shirley from the Patient Next Door Team.

Sometimes we get all caught up in what is going on in life and lose sight of who we are. It is vital to step back once in a while from the noise that distracts us, take a deep breathe and concentrate on who you are, what you want, and if you have achieved the life you wanted.

Doing so gives us a chance to see ourselves and where we are more clearly. Then we can change course if need be and make different plans to achieve what we want in life.

Enjoying your life means knowing who you are and by following the advice of the saying above is a wise decision.

Have a great day everybody!

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We really and truly care about you.

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Your Motivational Quote for October 24, 2018

Happy Wednesday everyone, it’s Shirley from the PatientNextDoor Support Team.

I have to agree wholeheartedly with this quote.

I have faced many severe and overwhelming life changes. However, having worked through them I have a better understanding of myself than most people will ever have.

Yes, facing life on life’s terms is tough, but the growth and maturity one gains are wonderful!

There are two saying in the mental health community that has helped me tremendously.

One is Face Every problem And Recovery (F.E.A.R.) Running from what frightens you does not make it go away.  However, facing those fears and working through them does.

The second is piggybacked onto the first.

The Only Way Out is Through. Working through the problems of your life is the only course that works. You can’t ignore them, you can’t go around, over or under them, all you can do and be successful in life is to work your way through them.

But, cheer up. Even with life’s ups and downs, it is still a beautiful experience. Bad days will come, yes, but those are usually outnumbered by the good only we get so caught up in the drama and trauma that we forget about the good.

Enjoy your life, we’re all in this together.

Shirley

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Healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder by Traveling the Road Less Taken

If any of our PatientNextDoor readers have seen the movies Sybil or Split, you may think you understand what dissociative identity disorder (DID) is about.

If so, you would be wrong.

Neither could you understand what was once called multiple personality disorderis like by watching television programs like The United States of Tara.

Hi, it’s Shirley of the PatientNextDoor support team and I was diagnosed in 1990 with dissociative identity disorder.

In this article, I am going to try and give you a better understanding of not only what dissociative identity disorder is, but also what it is like to live life with the condition.

Robert Frost and DID

 In 1916, poet Robert Frost wrote a piece he titled “The Road Not Taken” in which he describes his traveling down a forest path and trying to decide which way to go upon encountering a fork.

To be honest, Mr. Frost never intended for his poem to be anything but a whimsical description of walking in the woods. However, people like myself have found deeper meaning in his words.

Dr. M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist, and author wrote a book in 1978 that gave fresh meaning to the poem written by Robert Frost.

Dr. Peck’s book talks about confronting and solving problems and how painful that can be. Human beings, he tells us, will take the path of least resistance if they can to avoid the hardships that come from changing their lives.

Dr. Peck also discusses how to become one’s own person by suffering through the hell of honest self-examination to find one’s life anew.

This path of most resistance he titled, the road less traveled.

Achieving healing from severe childhood abuse and especially dissociative identity disorder takes years of arduous work and self-examination. Working with a dedicated therapist, it is such a difficult path that many who begin the long walk to health choose instead to quit or will die in their attempt to find peace.

That is the significance in this article.

I am going to tell you about not only the facts as they are known about DID but also about my travels down the road less taken.

Defining Dissociative Identity Disorder

The newest guide used in psychiatry to diagnose mental disorders in the DSM-5, released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2013.

The DSM-5 gives the following diagnostic criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder:

  1. Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states, which may be described in some cultures as an experience of possession. The disruption of marked discontinuity in sense of self and sense of agency, accompanied by related alterations in affect, behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and/or sensory-motor functioning. These signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual.
  2. Recurrent gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events that are inconsistent with ordinary forgetting.
  3. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  4. The disturbance is not a normal part of a broadly accepted cultural or religious practice. Note: In children, the symptoms are not better explained by imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.
  5. The symptoms are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or another medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures).

Yes, I know. It is a very clinical definition.

What it means is that my world is experienced differently than yours. No, I am not a person with more than one personality. Rather, I am an ordinary human being with one personality that did not knit (associate) together when it should have.

The reason it didn’t is that at the time when I should have been meeting the critical milestone of becoming a cohesive “I,” I was too busy trying to survive emotionally and mentally severe and repeated child abuse.

Dissociative identity disorder is not a “FREAK” disorder that happens because someone wishes to have it, it is a developmental disability that has made my life a chaotic mess.

Even thirty years after beginning treatment, I still and will always have alternate ego states that make life difficult.

The Most Obvious Question; What are the Alternate Ego States?

The symptom that the public thinks of when they hear the term dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder is the existence of the alters. Many do not examine the research and evidence about alters but instead choose to believe what they see on TV or at the movies.

A person living with the diagnosis of DID can have from two to hundreds of personality states. However, these alters are not separate people, they are extensions of the same person.

I’ll explain that closer in a bit.

The first thing I want to tell you is that you have alternate states too. Each time you do an activity, you are drawing on the experiences you had before in a similar situation.

For instance, you act differently at work than you do having a romantic night out with your partner. Those are two distinct ego states that you use to understand how to behave in either situation.

Surprised? Many people are when I tell them about their own alters.

The fundamental difference between your alters and mine is that yours were successful in associating in early childhood and where mine were not.

My alters are no more different people than are yours. I am one person who happens to have over 100 ego states that are not associated, thus the term dissociated.

It isn’t hard to see how chaotic life with dissociated ego states can be. Because of amnesiac barriers put up to keep the core self from knowing about the horrendous abuse the child is going through, the alters in a person with DID may not know about each other.

Knowledge of the existence of alters might not happen at all except during the period when the human brain reaches maturity seems to clear the way.

During this time, the brain is pruning away synapses (connections between brain cells) that it isn’t using. This happens all through a human’s lifetime, but during brain maturity, new connections are made to strengthen the ones that are the most used.

So, in my case, at the age of 30, my brain was able to make connections that hadn’t been formed before, and I began to have memories that spontaneously returned.

For the record, I was not in therapy yet, so the idea that my memories were implanted by a careless therapist doesn’t hold water.

I suddenly and inalterably became aware of what had happened to me in my childhood and the presence of the alternate ego states that had kept me sane and alive.

Another important thing to understand is that dissociative identity disorder isn’t only found in the United States.

It is a human disorder and can be found all over the world. In fact, it is believed that 2-4% of the global population have dissociative identity disorder.

What Causes DID?

Explaining the causes of DID would take a book, in fact, I am currently writing my fourth book about it, and it is taking an enormously long time to compile it.

However, I’m going to briefly touch on what is currently known about this enigmatic disorder.

It is well-established that DID forms in very early childhood, usually before the age of 5 or 6. The root cause of DID stems from extreme child abuse and/or neglect. A young child’s mind is not capable of coping with the abuse perpetrated against their bodies.

A Brief Explanation of Dissociation

Everyone dissociates. I’ll give you an example. You go to the movies to see a film you have been looking forward to for months.

You get your popcorn and soda then find your seat and full of anticipation settle in. You feel happy because no people are sitting on either side of you.

The movie begins, and you get wrapped up in the drama unfolding on the screen by your favorite actors.

Before you know it, the film is over, and you suddenly become aware that not only have you not touched your soda or popcorn, but people are sitting on either side of you applauding the film.

You were so involved in the film that you dissociated and focused only on the movie. Everything else in the room became non-existent.

Dissociation is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation designed to help humans survive in a hostile environment. When we were evolving, there was a distinct evolutionary edge if our ancestors could freeze and try to make themselves both emotionally and physically invisible.

Usually, once the danger was perceived, they would flee or fight. However, in the case where there was no escape, and they were helpless to protect themselves, they had no choice but to dissociate not to be detected.

People like myself who live with dissociative identity disorder have taken this normal defense mechanism that all humans have and maximized it for survival. Children cannot either escape or hide from an adult who wants to harm them so naturally, they use the only defense they have. They dissociate.

There are many theories as to what causes dissociative disorder and the formation of separate alter ego states, but as I said, it would take a book to explain all of them. One thing is for sure, DID is caused by extreme and repeated crimes that are perpetrated against very young children.

The Brain Structure Changes Found with Dissociative Identity Disorder

The fear response is one of our most basic human traits and involves the most primitive structures in our brain. If we detect a threat, it is our amygdala that responds first. This almond-shaped region in our brain regulates how we see our world.

If all is well, it has other duties to perform, but if it perceives danger, it goes into action. The two primary structures responsible for the fear response are the amygdala and the hippocampus.

The amygdala releases stress hormones that enter what is known as the sympathetic nervous system to be distributed to other parts of the brain to ready our bodies for the fight/fright/ or freeze response.

These hormones trigger a cascade of hyper-alertness with our pupils dilating, our breathing increasing and a spike in glucose to the muscles to ready them to run. Organs not deemed necessary are shut down such as the stomach or intestines.

A region known as the hippocampus works very closely with the amygdala. Its function is to interpret what the amygdala has deemed a threat to help the person know if the threat is real.

Typically, the hippocampus will dampen the fear response set off by the amygdala when it sees the danger is either not real as our “thinking” part of the brain is finally aware that danger has been detected and can perceive the fear response is not necessary.

After the fear response has passed, the stress hormones that were flooding the human’s body will subside and return to baseline.

However, if a young child is being repeatedly experiencing the fear response from their amygdala and hippocampus, these hormones have no chance to return to baseline.

Instead, the hormones are continually keeping the child in “red alert” status. This state of constant flooding of the child’s brain with the hormones causes damage to the child’s developing brain.

Beginning in the 1990s and continuing to this day, researchers had at their disposal new diagnostic techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that allowed them to see the brain like never before.

The first psychiatric patients to benefit from this brain imaging breakthrough were veterans who had returned home after serving in the military.

The researchers began to use MRI imagery to investigate these men and women to try and understand post-traumatic stress disorder. What they found amazed everyone. The amygdalae and hippocampi of these young people had shrunk.

When the specialists thought about why this would be so, they realized that the stress hormones that were secreted because of terror had changed their brain structures.

If wasn’t long before they began placing people diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder in these fantastic machines as well. What the researchers found is astonishing.

In a study published in the journal Am J Psychiatry, some of this research using MRI technology reported that patients diagnosed with DID had hippocampal volumes reading 19.2% and amygdalar volumes 31.6% smaller when compared to healthy subjects.

As we have already established, the amygdala is responsible for the fear response. If it is continuously being activated without returning to baseline, it is easy to see how it could be damaged in the pliable brain of a young child. Under these circumstances, this vital brain region does not develop correctly.

The abused and/or neglected child lives in “red alert” status all the time and reacts fearfully to objects or people who are not a threat. This fear response may or may not be visible.

However, blood tests were done on children known to have been victims of abuse or neglect paint the story. The results show a spike in these hormones in their bloodstreams.

Damage to the hippocampus not only changes the brain’s interpretation of the perceived danger but also changes the way the traumatic event is consolidated into long-term memory.

The hippocampus’ job is to interpret an event by encoding it and storing it in such as matter that the person can recall it later.

For instance, a memory of petting several kittens would be “filed” together with similar experiences so that later in life holding one kitten will trigger the past memory of playing with several.

If this mechanism is impaired by the hippocampus being underdeveloped, storage errors will occur, and the memory of abuse may be put in a harder to access place. The result of this “misfiling” of memory means the person is unaware they have this memory until it is suddenly triggered by something with the five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch or sound.

In this case, the person would experience a flashback.

What is it Like to Live with Dissociative Identity Disorder

 I have had people ask me how they could form DID because they thought having superhuman powers would be fantastic.

Let me state here that I DO NOT have superpowers and living with DID is not something one should desire. The chaos and emotional turmoil of living in a dissociated system are overwhelming at times.

I have been hospitalized over thirty times, once for more than seven years, not because I’m a nut or dangerous, but because living as a person with dissociative identity disorder is exhausting.

I have times when I get triggered and lose hours or days, coming to myself not knowing what I have said or done while gone. That’s because I wasn’t truly gone, one part of myself had taken over to handle the perceived dangerous situation.

A majority of the time the danger isn’t real but remember my underdeveloped amygdala can’t tell the difference and my hippocampus cannot stop the flow of stress hormones.

When an alter takes over strange things happen. I have found money, had money disappear, had people accuse me of saying harmful things to them and broken the law at least once.

None of my alters have ever been violent, another myth that is perpetrated against people who have been given the diagnosis of DID. In fact, like all people who are living with a mental health issue, we are far more likely to become victims to than to hurt others.

I could go on and on debunking popular myths, but this article has already gone long. Perhaps we can revisit this subject again in a later article or series of articles.

Bottom line, dissociative identity disorder is not a pleasant and joyfully fun disorder to live with. It is exhausting, debilitating, and at times scary.

There is hope. Psychotherapy is the only cure that they have found will help people like myself who have dissociative identity disorder. There are many forms of psychotherapy, but I have found my way to living where I am, in relative peace, by taking the road less taken in therapy.

If you or a loved one have been told they have dissociative identity disorder, do not panic. You can find a therapist to help you by doing some legwork or seeking help online. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISST-D) has a wonderful website with further information about dissociative disorders, including DID. They also have a “find a therapist” page.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to ask questions and leave comments below. I will get back to you quickly and answer as best I can.

Discovering you have dissociative identity disorder may feel scary at first, but once you realize how this coping defensive mechanism saved you the fear will leave.

We are human first, multiples second. Please, remember that, all of you.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

There is a condition group for dissociative identity disorder, and I am always watching out for questions there.

Remember, our app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

We care about you.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of PatientNextDoor. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and PatientNextDoor does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.
 

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A Note from My Heart to Yours

Wherever you are in your life today, this saying is true. No matter where you have been in your past, this is true.

Life isn’t meant to be a trial until death. Somedays it is hard, but the sun always returns.

Just a note from my heart to yours.

Shirley from you PatientNextDoor Support Team

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone. With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

The app isn’t just free, it is ads free!

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you and hope you will join us in aiding others in finding resources and hope.

I’m thinking about you this morning because I care.

 

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