At the time of writing this article, we had our wonderful Discussing Dissociation Community Forum open for a few months. Of course, it started out as a big learning curve for all of us, and even with a few bumps in the road. Even now, much later, I have to say that the DDCF Community is going very well. I feel really proud of our DDCF Community Forum Members — like, really really proud!!! — and it’s been fantastic seeing all the good work that is happening.
Since Laura, our Email Consultant / Forum Manager, is present and diligently reading everything posted at the Forum, I asked her to describe some of the awesome things she sees happening in the Forum community. I wanted to know what she sees our community members learning and what gains are they making.
I wanted her to tell you what she saw so you can think about things with a little more insight too.
Wanna know what she said?
Hey — especially to you DDCF Community Forum Members — have a look at this!
Whew, is it July already? It must be, because the thermometer is going to hit 101 degrees this afternoon, and it’s only going to get hotter from here – but where did the time go?
It’s been about seven months since we opened the digital doors to the Discussing Dissociation Community Forum! The Community Forum is a place for the forum members to support and converse with others who can really understand the challenges of living with DID (and the positives as well).
My role in the community is to be a sort of silent guardian. That silence will be rather dramatically broken when we open the Premium Educational Forum! But for now, at least, I’m a silent guardian. 🙂
As part of keeping our Forum a safe place for DID survivors to share and connect with each other, I read every post by every member. I do a lot of reading!
Fortunately, the guardianship of the Forum has been an easy job. I haven’t seen much in the way of problems that need to be addressed, but I HAVE seen some really positive things happening in our group, and I’d like to brag about y’all for a little bit!
DID can so often be an isolating experience. Even as you try to unlock the secrets of your history that you’ve hidden from yourself, you still find yourself hiding the truth of your self and your experience from everyone around you. Being DID can be a very lonely thing.
It was clear in the early days of the Forum that people were shy and cautious about whether DDCF would truly be a safe place to open up about the truths that they all had to guard so carefully everywhere else.
Over time, however, I’ve seen people begin to relax, to share more deeply and more honestly, and to allow themselves to connect with each other.
Connection has a ripple effect. When some people are able to feel secure enough and to trust the group enough to share a little more of themselves, and they are warmly and caringly received, it helps others to see that it is safe, and then they are able to risk a little more. Each week, each month, the ripples spread outward, embracing more of the group.
I appreciate and commend each and every one of you for the risks you take and the bravery you show by participating in the group. You started as a group of nervous and wary individuals, but you have become a community. You build it a little stronger each and every day, and each one of you plays an important part in that.
Therapy can teach you a lot, but there is also a world of learning to be gained from the experiences of others who have been where you are, or who are where you are. It’s reassuring to know that someone else has felt or experienced something similar to you. It immediately grants a different perspective. Even if you are both facing a similar problem and neither of you has found a solution, it still helps to know that someone else is facing the same thing.
One of the things I like best about our group at DDCF is how everyone supports each other with their responses. This doesn’t mean that everyone always agrees, or that everyone feels or thinks the same, but that they make an effort to support each other even where they disagree or feel differently. They each know what it’s like to wonder if they’re the only one who has ever felt or thought or done a certain thing, so they let each other know that they hear and understand, or that they are listening even if they don’t feel the same way. Nobody is alone. Everyone is part of the group.
For many members, the Forum is also a unique opportunity to learn how to develop and maintain relationships over the long term.
Friendship can be a tricky thing when you don’t feel like you can be honest with the other person about who you are or what’s really going on for you. In addition, DID can mean a lot of unpredictable reactions or reactions that don’t make sense to a person who is unaware of all the pressures and triggers at play.
Relationships and friendships are tricky things to manage in general. Even singleton people need a whole self-help section of the bookstore to help them learn how to relate to each other!
The advantage on the Forum is, that everyone understands there’s more going on than what is obvious on the surface. It’s a safe and supportive place for people to learn how to navigate the challenges of ongoing relationships from both sides of the equation (how they interpret and react to others and how others interpret and react to them).
I am grateful to each one of you for your inclusiveness and your caring and your generosity to each other. I value the efforts you each make to hear each other and connect with each other, both in your similarities and in your differences.
One of the unexpected (but extremely cool) things I’ve seen happen in our Forum is that it can facilitate internal communication, or even help people get started on it.
It seems to me that certain aspects of our Forum gives insiders an opportunity that they might not be able to find in their every-day worlds.
Perhaps their words are erased or deleted or changed, either by themselves or by other insiders, before anyone else in the internal system gets to see the message.
Perhaps it feels too risky to leave notes or write in journals because some outside someone might see, and it doesn’t feel safe.
Perhaps the messages are simply ignored, the insiders never heard.
There may be dozens of reasons why internal communication is a struggle.
When insiders post on the Forum, however, their words can’t be changed or erased. The full and unedited message remains visible for other members of their internal group to see – and to respond, if they so desire.
And other members of the community can respond also. No insider is left unheard, and people may learn how to listen and respond to their insiders by reading the posts that other community members write.
It has been amazing and just so cool to see systems beginning to communicate amongst themselves, and to see insiders feeling safe enough to develop some conversations and connections with the forum community.
Internal communication is one of the most fundamental building blocks of healing. For some systems, it comes easily and naturally, but for others it can be a real challenge just to get it started. I’m thrilled to see that the Forum can provide this opening for some people.
Appreciation for You.
It has been a busy seven months! I am so appreciative of each and every one of the members at DDCF. Each one of you is a valued and important part of what makes our community such a warm and supportive and overall great group, and I’m happy that you’re part of it!
And there is so much more to come! We have exciting things ahead. We’ll be moving to a new and better format (those of you who have been frustrated with the technical issues, please hang in there a little longer – I promise you, it’s going to get better!) – AND, we’ll be opening the long-awaited Educational Forum, where Kathy and I will be playing a more active role in the group.
I hope to see all of you there! 🙂
Oh, that’s just music to my ears!
I have to agree with Laura. I have definitely seen DDCF Community Forum Members make progress in all kinds of ways. I’d like to make special mention of these 10 areas:
Learning how to see, recognize, and hear your other parts
Encouraging your own DID system members to participate
Learning different ways to define progress as you meet your inside parts
Feeling acceptance as your parts speak with other systems’ parts who feel likewise
Finding common ground with other DID systems who are on a similar healing path
Having fun, posting silly jokes, and just enjoying each other’s company
Being there for each other during some very difficult times
Speaking out, and appropriately addressing conflict
Learning about different aspects of dissociation
Sharing positive, helpful, encouraging resources
And yes, as Laura mentioned, we outgrew our simple little newbie forum platform. So, as a big, giant show of support to our wonderful DDCF Community Forum Members, we moved to a better forum platform, one with more bells and whistles, but is also more user friendly. The tech team is did what they do best, and our new platform is FANTASTIC.
It’s exciting to see the ongoing growth happening! Now growth will be in adding forum areas for other populations.
- Spouses, partners, allies — would you like your own forum area?
- Professional mental health providers — would you like your own forum area?
- Would you be interested in more education and teaching about DID and effective ways to address DID?
These areas of our forum are on their way!
In the meantime, for you who have not yet joined in, if our Forum Community sounds like a place where you wanna be, YOU are invited to join our DDCF Community, even now.
DDCF is open, available all day and night, and our friendly members are still chatting with each other. What would you be willing to contribute as a DDCF Community Forum Member?
Click HERE for more information about joining our group TODAY.
So one more round of applause, and one more large – ginormous – massive – humongous – monumental shout out and THANK YOU for our DDCF Community Forum Members. Your examples of hard work is amazing, and y’all make our community as special and wonderful as it is. Laura and I genuinely appreciate each and every single one of you. Please keep up the good work. Y’all are awesome!
I wish each and every single one of you the very best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation