I am a believer, who struggles with past abuse issues and many new changes. I started coming to Celebrate Recovery in the fall of 2008. It’s been a great help to me so far. The people are very caring, accepting, and non-judgmental. I haven’t worked on the 12-step program yet. So, I don’t have that testimony to give. But I’d like to share my testimony up to this point.
I grew up going to church as far back as I can remember. We looked like the perfect Christian family. Nobody knew the abuse I went through. The abuse started when I was at least three years old. Since God was often the only One there for me, I developed a close relationship with Him when I was very young.
From that young age, I always knew there was something different about me, but I didn’t know what. God knew what was wrong, though, and one day He would heal me. I just didn’t know that day would be July 21, 2008. Even when I was three, God was orchestrating my healing.
At age 12, I was saved. I’d always felt drawn to having a ministry of some kind. In the 80’s, at a different church, I started a ministry of going to the juvenile detention center to talk to the kids. During that time, I went to the pastor and told him what I went through in my head each day. When numerous prayers for me to be healed weren’t answered in that church’s timing, I was told I was possessed. That pastor told me the only way for me to be free, would be for me to kill myself. I was told to stay away from people, and people were told to stay away from me. So, I stayed away from most people for the past twenty six years. I’d always been terrified of people because of all the abuse in my life, but after that, I was terrified of church people, too. I’d been rejected by a church, and felt rejected by God, too. Those were the lowest times in my life.
In 1991, I started into therapy, seriously wanting to know what was wrong with me. Six months into therapy, I asked the question that changed my life forever. I asked, “Is it normal to see other people in the mirror?” That’s when I was referred to a psychiatrist. So, I asked her my list of questions, “Why did I end up places and not know how I got there?” “Why could I be somewhere familiar, even at home, and not know where I was?” And then, “Is it normal to see other people in the mirror?” She diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from all the abuse. Then she said I had MPD- Multiple Personality Disorder. She said the other people I saw in the mirror, were my personalities.
MPD can develop in children under the age of five, who have suffered severe, repeated abuse or trauma. It’s a coping mechanism; a way for a small child to survive. My first personalities were created when I was just three years old. More personalities were created all throughout my life. At age three, when the first personalities were formed, I went away into hiding, and the personalities lived the next forty-eight years for me, so I didn’t have to.
At age three, when the first personalities were created, they went to live in their own inner worlds. So did every one created after that. Reality had proven to be too ugly and scary for them.
I’d always felt that whatever was wrong with me, was a curse. But in 1998, when God began healing me and integrating the personalities, I began to see MPD differently. I began to see it as a blessing; a gift from God to help me survive. I’d been told that integration may not work for me, since I had over 200 personalities. But God began the healing. And I fought it every step of the way. All I’d ever known was life with MPD.
I’d been told that the integrations would be the worst thing I’d ever have to go through in life. It was the worst thing, yet, also the most awesome thing. I was consumed and held by God’s presence through it all. Step by step, He was healing me.
In June 2008, a friend who I’d told my story to, was encouraging me to find a church to go to. So, I wrote Suncrest, explaining my story, and was graciously welcomed to church by Greg, Laura and Mike. That, in itself was healing. Laura began bringing my son and I to church. I knew I was heading toward the final integrations, and knew I needed to be at Suncrest for that to happen.
On July 20, 2008, at church, I noticed something big was happening, but I didn’t know what. Ever since I was young, just being around people triggered flashbacks, and whoever I was around would suddenly morph into my abusers. It was the only way I’d ever seen people. Yet, that Sunday, it suddenly changed, to where I just saw people as who they were; not as my abusers.
Then on July 21, 2008, suddenly, the MPD was gone. And I was just one person, for the first time in forty-eight years. God had healed me of MPD. There were no other people in the mirror, anymore. And suddenly, I was living in reality again; the first time since I was three. There’s so many changes I’m trying to get used to, now.
Throughout my years of healing, people made it sound like being just one person would be awesome. But I tell people that being one person is not all it’s cracked up to be. Living in reality is highly over-rated, too. There are many times each day, I still really miss it all. There was a huge grieving process for each personality that integrated. A time of mourning, just like mourning the loss of a loved one, took place. After all the integrations, it is even more intense. But God’s grace is sufficient for me. I’m told it can take two to ten years to adjust to life after integration. So, I’ll need a lot of God’s grace. I still have the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and dissociate, but in time, I expect those to heal, too.
People have asked me what it’s like to not have MPD anymore. It feels like I’ve landed on another planet. Just about everything in my life is very different, now. I’m learning to feel more than one emotion at a time. I’m learning to live in reality. Learning to be just one person. And getting to know who I am. Learning to live life, after forty eight years of basically being gone. It’s like I was in a forty eight year coma. The last time I was out, I was a scared, abused three year old.
Due to all the abuse, I never felt human; just sub-human. But one night in Celebrate Recovery, a song was being sung that said, “I am human.” God is helping me to learn that I am human, too.
Over the years, I’ve told some people about my MPD. Some have always been fine with it. Some stayed friends awhile, and then left. Others wanted nothing more to do with me as soon as I said MPD. And two people literally ran away from me. They ran faster than I thought they could, too. When I gave my testimony at Celebrate Recovery the first time, I was terrified of how people may react. I expected people to run out of the room, but they didn’t. They stayed, listened, and were very accepting and non-judgmental. That was very healing to me.
Romans 8:28 says:
All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
God has brought everything in my life, together for good. I am in awe of the healing God has done in me. I am humbled by it all. I feel like God is restoring me to who I would’ve been had I never been abused. Celebrate Recovery is helping me heal, now, too.
I’d had MPD and lived in the inner worlds for forty eight years. I prayed for healing for twenty six years. I endured ten years of integrations and healing, believing one day, I’d be healed. Twenty six years ago, I wrote, “Lord, dream for me. For I’m too tired to believe. The way seems much too rough; too long to bear.” The answer was always, “You will be free, and all will see, the Lord can make you whole.”
It got to where, on July 21, 2008, I knew all I had left to do, was trust God enough that I could let go of the MPD. I didn’t know if I trusted Him enough for that. I hesitated. But as soon as I let go, and fell into the arms of God, I was healed.