13 years ago my wife began to show signs of extreme trauma and dissociation. It was a ‘eureka’ moment for our troubled marriage because it finally gave us a place to start dealing with the source of conflict and tension in our relationship (32 years now). The first 5 years were absolute chaos as I had to deal with my own issues, help my wife thru all of her ‘extreme states’ (‘psychosis’, flashbacks, panic attacks, mini-seizures, night terrors, going ‘comatose’, extreme anxiety and more), and slowly welcome into our family and marriage 7 other ‘alters’ who we always treated as full-members of the family (though it took them varying amounts of time to embrace that). Fortunately, that chaos is a distant memory at this point, though our healing journey is not completed.
I had to figure out how to apply attachment concepts to not only help her heal, but keep our family and marriage intact. Those concepts truly are the foundation of so much of our healing journey. And along the way, dissociation’s confusing labyrinth of manifestations began to make sense, and so we were able to tear down many of the walls between those ‘alters’ to the point that my wife is no longer a shattered collection of 8 disparate girls.
Our journey isn’t finished, and we both have come so far…but sadly I fit no where in this world. For a long time I tried to find a place at Mad in America. I have had limited contact with Bob Whitaker and Kermit Cole, but they just can’t seem to find a place for a husband like me who has taken such an active role in the healing journey and fully embraced the journey as ‘ours’ not ‘hers.’
I’ve contacted people all over the internet trying to find someone who might give me a chance to share the incredible lessons we have learned as our family walked thru hell together and made it out the other side as we discovered that deep, full healing is possible without drugs and without violating my wife’s agency.
If anyone would ever have interest in striking up a dialogue with me, it would mean more to me than you can imagine. I know I have something to offer this discussion on mental health, mental trauma and extreme dissociation and the key role family plays in the healing journey…if only I could find someone to give me the chance to do so. Since the day I heard about Open Dialogue, I have always wished it had been available to me and our family here in the States rather than having to figure all this out on my own. The blog below chronicles some of the many lessons we learned on our journey together as a family.