Dissociative Identity Disorder

Blogging about Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder and Complex PTSD – Ep. 106

Many guests who have joined me on the podcast come from a background of writing about their experiences. This method of coping paved the way, in many cases, to their to where they are today, and continue to aid in their ongoing journey of healing. For some, writing is an exercise in anxiety and simply too difficult an experience to endure because of the painful memories the come rushing back while exploring their feelings in this manner.

Writing is usually a solo activity, which in itself can raise the anxiety level to exponential heights; something of course we’d rather not experience any longer. For many however, myself included, blogging offers a way to get those deep-rooted feelings and memories out of our heads and in some ways, make sense of them. At the very least, getting these such thoughts out of heads, can help them seem not so intimidating.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, Shirley J. Davis, has spent a large part of her life writing, which has allowed her to exponentially aid her own healing journey from abuse which started at a very young age, and leading to Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Shirley Davis shares is a freelance writer, public speaker and grant writer who loves life, and hopes to help others to do so as well. Shirley lives with a severe mental health condition known as dissociative identity disorder but has made huge strides forward through many years of hard work and the help of a wonderful therapist. Her philosophy  has become that life is not just an empty journey to simply survive and then die, rather it is a wonderful adventure to savor and enjoy.

She  writes about healing from complex trauma and DID on her blog, Morgan6062.blog , CPTSDfoundationg.org , and many other outlets including NAMI of Illinois, and the American Psychological Association. 

During our chat on the podcast, Shirley shares some of her survivor story, which includes abuse that started from birth, and continuing through age 15.

  • Her personal experience in life with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and how she interacts with her alters.
  • What prompted her to seek treatment, and what that treatment looks like for her in an ongoing basis.
    • The process of giving her struggles a name, and how this helped her make sense of her life.
  • Making sense of D.I.D., especially early on in her life when research and resources were not as readily available as they are today.
  • Her daily life as a survivor and sharing how far she’s come from the child who was abuse for so long.
  • Making her way to the Fusion stage of D.I.D.
  • Why writing has been such an important part of her life, including getting started with her own blog and CPTSD Foundation.

Be sure and follow Shirley J. Davis’ work on Morgan6062.blog or simply google her name for the many outlets that share her work.  You can also follow her on Twitter @ShirleyDavis18.

Please consider sharing this podcast with someone who might benefit from hearing Shirley’s story and encouragement for trauma survivors and those with living with D.I.D., you never know the difference it could make.  Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.


Podcast – Ep. 99 – Discussing Dissociation and DID, with Kathy Broady, MSW

Since I began recording this podcast, I’ve covered the topic of Dissociative Disorders and specifically, Dissociative Identity Disorder, quite a bit. Each time I talk with a practitioner or survivor of trauma who lives with DID, I always walk away from the conversation having learned something new, and with a further appreciation of the amazing people who live with DID every day of their lives.  You never stop learning on this healing journey, no matter how much research you’ve done or how long you’ve been at it.

I would definitely encourage you to check out some of the previous podcast episodes on Dissociative Disorders, with guests like Erika Reva (The We in Me), Robert Goldstein, Lisa Tobe, Erin Fado, Analie Shepherd, Elisabeth Corey, and more!

Kathy - Discussing Dissociation - Podcast on Beyond Your PastThis has always a topic close to my heart since I too am a trauma survivor and living with dissociation has been both a struggle and enlightening experience for me over the years. 

Anytime I have the opportunity to talk about Dissociation, I always jump at the chance because it means that someone else wants to speak up and share their story, or a practitioner wants to share their work and how their approach is helping trauma survivors with DID. This episode is no exception, as I’m so honored to talk with Kathy Broady, MSW, of Discussing dissociation.

DiscussingDissociation.com has been around 2008, and has been steadily growing ever since; offering a place for survivors, their family and friends, practitioners, and anyone who wants to come and learn about DID and share their experiences in a safe place. This incredible website offers videos, educational materials, shared artwork, therapy resources, blog articles, podcasts, and a host of materials on recovering from trauma. If you’re interested in learning more about DID and Dissociative Orders of all types, you’ll definitely want to make Discussing Dissociation a regular destination on the web.

I’ve been talking with Kathy for quite a while and we were finally able to get our schedules to line up and chat for a bit on the podcast, diving more into some specific aspects of DID, some of which have not previously been covered on past episodes.

  • Living with DID does not mean you are crazy, psychotic, or looking for attention.
  • When talking with someone who lives with DID, how do you address them? Should you address all of their parts or alters?
  • When and Why do people who live with DID switch from one alter to another.
  • The differences between dissociative amnesia and losing time or missing time.
  • Some primary keys for healing:
    • Safety, both inside and outside worlds.
    • Internal communication / System Work
    • Connection to the here and now
    • When and How to do memory work without destabilizing the survivor.
  • Tips for spouses, partners, and friends of dissociative survivors.
  • Are there certain types of trauma that can increase the likelihood of developing DID?

Kathy also wrote a blog post over on her website, and her listeners are offering their feedback and responses…check it out!

Talking with Kathy was a joy, and I’m sure that you’ll get as much out of hearing her share her wisdom as I did. Her approach is genuine and validating with just the right about of humor; you’ll feel as though you’ve known her forever as you listen to her speak about her experiences and her work in the field of trauma recovery and specifically with dissociative disorders.

I definitely encourage you to check out DiscussingDissociation.com and all of the incredible resources Kathy and her team have put together. Be sure and follow their Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channel.  Be on the lookout for a future episode with Kathy as well!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past







All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 84 – Rob Goldstein, No longer sick with DID, I am well with DID.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is Photographer, Digital Artist, Blogger, and Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist, Rob Goldstein. He is also a former guest blogger on Surviving My Past, where he shared some of his story in a post titled, “Life with DID where everything is a trigger“. That post has been incredibly helpful and validating for so many who live with dissociative identity disorder, or those who have a loved one who lives with DID.

As outlined on his blog, Rob writes:

I’m a Certified Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist who became symptomatic with a dissociative disorder in 2010. When I started this blog in late 2013, it was to advocate for myself and other people with trauma related mental health problems.

I wrote in my first profile statement that as I evolved the blog would evolve and over time, I learned about photography, digital art and I rediscovered my writing. I call the blog Art by Rob Goldstein but I can just as easily call it life by Rob Goldstein.

This is my life as I live it, evolve, process its history, and prepare for an uncertain future. My life is my work and my work is my art.

Art by Rob Goldstein is an expression of my emotional and intellectual evolution and an ongoing journal of my psychotherapy. I’m blunt, passionate in my beliefs, and willing to state my mind. If an honest exchange of ideas is what you want you’ve found the right place. 

During my recent chat with Rob, we dive into more of his life leading up to getting the true diagnosis of having DID. As you’ll hear him describe so eloquently and in detail, there were so many things going on in his life that just didn’t add up; people were saying things like, “you aren’t the Rob that I knew before”. He knew that things going on in his mind and in life were fragmented, but hearing things like that was devastating to him. After all, he’d been living his life for decades knowing that something was going on, but wasn’t able to put it all together with a true diagnosis from a professional who understood dissociative identity disorder and was able to get him a proper diagnosis much later on in life.

As Rob points out, what drove him to seek the help of a psychiatrist was the realization that his alters had a constant desire to log into virtual reality to have their own lives. This became such a pathological routine that it was consuming all of his time and finally something had to give.

Our conversation continues with his experiences in life, 6 months after his psychiatrist referred him to a therapist that specialized in DID. However, it wasn’t until about a year and half later, that he finally called and made and appointment with that therapist, because he didn’t want to accept that he could have something like dissociative identity disorder, and due to his research, finding out that DID is often caused by sexual trauma. Quite simply, the thought of it all was overwhelming and something he just didn’t want to deal with.

Rob continues to share more of his story:

  • How things finally started to make sense since he began receiving the help he so desperately needed.
  • He also discusses the challenges of his relationships, and how the evolution of healthy boundaries in all aspects of his relationships was life changing for him and his recovery.
  • You’ll learn how something like VR, that was completely taking over his life and becoming nearly toxic to his well being, is now something he is using to help others and himself along his journey.
  • We discuss his view on how DID has truly been a gift for him, as he’s lived through all of the challenges in his life to date.

There is so much more I could tell you, but I don’t want to miss out on this amazing conversation, so I definitely encourage you to check out my podcast with Rob Goldstein. Whether you live with DID or not, I’m sure you’ll be as enlightened and memorized by Rob’s story as I was. It’s a true honor to know this incredible survivor and talented artist, and I look forward to another podcast in the future with him.

Be sure and check out this recent post on his blog RobertMGoldstein.com , inspired by our conversation on the podcast: Coping with DID, I Love All of You” and follow him on Twitter: @Robrt_M_Goldste

Thank you again to my incredible sponsors, iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery Support. Please consider checking them out, as they’ve come together to keep the coffee brewin’ and the mics powered up on the podcast!  🙂

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP









All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 80 – Life with Autism, C-PTSD, DID, and Narcolepsy, with Kelli Gettel

Over the last couple of years that the Beyond Your Past Podcast has been in existence (including the previous name of Surviving My Podcast), I’ve had the pleasure of talking with dozens of incredible guests on a variety of topics. Everything from Dissociation, to PTSD, DID, Anxiety, along with clinicians and coaches discussing various trauma informed modalities used with their clients, and countless survivor stories that always leave me feeling so encouraged and honored to speak with such incredible people.

The power of sharing your story can never be underestimated. You never know how much you’re going to help someone who you’ll never meet.

This episode focuses on a topic that I have not yet covered on the blog or podcast to date; autism and being a survivor. So when Kelli Gettel contacted me and wanted toAutism_Awareness_Ribbon - beyond your past podcast share her story of living with Autism, PTSD, Narcolepsy, and being raised by a Narcissistic parent, I knew this was going to be an episode that would be as educational as much as it will be inspiring.

Kelli is an entrepreneur living in the central Pennsylvania area, and a parent of 3 children, including a 4 yr old who also was diagnosed with autism. As you’ll hear on the podcast, Kelli has overcome tremendous odds in her life, as so many survivors do, and wants to help others understand life with the challenges she faces. By doing so she wants to educate others that these are not reasons to stay silent, isolated, and living in fear or shame. Rather, by utilizing the power of research and learning about your situation, you can find ways to adapt and overcome, and reach others with a positive, stigma fighting message.

Some of her challenges we discuss on the show include:

  • Life as a female, living on the autism spectrum; including when she was diagnosed, the struggles of non-verbal communication with others.
  • How Narcolepsy affects her relationships, and how Narcolepsy can be a form of Dissociation.
  • Sensory Struggles; the challenges of not being able to filter out surrounding sounds and distractions to be able to focus on a single event or conversation.
  • Social Rules & Protocols – how she had to, and continues to learn how to interact in a social setting. Things that come natural to others have to be learned and adjusted too, which can cause struggles in relationships of all types.
  • Her ability to think in pictures; in her mind she sees life in the form of pictures and moving images, so trying to translate that into words and communicate her thoughts can be a huge challenge.
  • We also touch a bit on her life growing up with a parent who had narcissistic tendencies, and how she’s learning more about understanding her alters and using the IFS model to help.

As you’ll also hear how Kelli is so proud of her youngest son, who, diagnosed with autism, taught himself to read before the age of two and is a huge Beatles fan, knowing every song they’ve ever written and nearly everything about the band. Which also leads into our chat about some of the things that she wants to share about how she’s adapting to the daily struggles that multiple diagnoses can bring:

Education has been so important to Kelli; especially reading books to help understand what she’s experiencing, and make sense of the challenges in her life. She shares some of the books that she has found especially helpful; some of which you might recognize:

This was such an incredible podcast, and as you’ll hear there was no way we could fit in everything that Kelli wanted to share, in just one show. So be on the lookout for future episodes with Kelli as we dive a bit deeper into particular areas of her life.

If you’d like to connect with Kelli Gettel, you can reach her on Facebook. If you would like connect with her, she requests that you please be sure and let her know that you found her via the Beyond Your Past Podcast.

Thank you again Kelli for joining me! Your story is inspiring, your resiliency is amazing! I look forward to future shows with you.

Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

Thank you to my incredible sponsors of the podcast – iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery Support







All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.


Podcast – Ep. 78 – Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the Living DID Program, with Erika Reva

On this episode of the podcast, I’m talking with returning guest Erika Reva, of The We in Me. I first met Erika through Twitter, and I reached out to see if sheErika Reva - The We in Me - Podcast might be interested in writing a guest blog post for Surviving My Past. To this day, her story is still one of the highest viewed posts  on the blog, which speaks not only to her ability as a writer, but her genuine desire to share her story, continue her healing journey, and also help others who live with DID.

Since then she has joined me on the podcast to discuss DID and Self Harm, and we’ve remained in contact through social media and periodic emails following each other’s journey. After one such recent email exchange, I learned of a new program she had created, called Living DID. After hearing more about it, I knew I wanted to see if she’d be interested in coming back on Beyond Your Past, to share with us how this program came to be, what it’s about, and the feedback she’s received from participants who’ve taken it.

As Erika outlines:

The feedback has been wonderful and many others with DID & trauma disorders have contributed their stories and journey’s for us to share as various examples throughout the discussion based course. Each week we delve into detailed discussion based lectures that pertain to various topics on DID.

Week 1- intro to us (The We in Me) and the course.
Week 2-  Protectors, these parts that are often demonized and feared will be discussed
Week 3- Triggers
Week 4- Littles, the young traumatized parts that are protected and hidden
Week 5- The problems with Docs, we have 2 systems who have also agreed to join us and discuss their struggles as well as our own story and several others who have given us permission to share, so they can remain anonymous.
Week 6- Therapy, an in depth look on what therapy can/does look like for someone with DID and as the psychologists ways to best help them.
Week 7- Relationships & Closing – Focus this final week will be on relationships within the system, people such as romantic or friend type relationships as well as the correlation of BDSM & the trauma community that is vastly overlooked.

As you’ll hear, Erika has fostered collaborative relationships with her local NAMI chapter, and the Chicago Police Department to help educate first responders on how they can prepare for and have a better understanding of, the challenges of walking into a situation involving victims of trauma and those living with DID.  She’s also been invited to speak at an event sponsored by #SickNotWeak, not-for-profit corporation started by Michael Landsberg.

It’s always such a pleasure to talk with Erika, and to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder with her and others who live with it and have decided to take their story and use it to try to help others. The more light we can share on this topic, the more we continue to educate ourselves and those who are affected with DID.

Be sure and follow Erika and her work with Living DID on , TheWeInMe.com – and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheWeInMe.

Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to Beyond Your Past on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, Spotify, or your favorite podcasting app! 🙂

Matthew Pappas









All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 73 – Lisa Tobe, The diagnosis & challenges of DID and Complex Trauma

If you live with any type of mental health challenge, or know someone who does, you know what a struggle each day can be. No matter what you deal with each day, you have learned, and continue to learn to adapt to what faces you. You make your way through life, one step at a time, building up your resilience along the way. Gaining confidence, perspective, and self-compassion in the face of tremendous adversity that not everyone can understand.

However, before we can begin to live, learn, and adapt, we first have to figure out what it is that’s going on inside our minds and bodies; the diagnosis.

That’s a challenge all to itself, and one that can unfortunately take years or even decades to assess correctly. Unfortunately for so many that is all too often the case; misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all leads us with endless amounts of unanswered questions about who we are and why we are the way that we are.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, Lisa Tobe, talks about her struggles with being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Complex Trauma.

Lisa is a Executive Director of Wildflower Consulting, LLC. – partnering with clients to design, facilitate, and evaluate policy, system, and environmental strategies that improve public health.

During our chat, we discuss topics including:

  • The challenges she faced in getting the diagnosed at 27 years old, and the years leading up to the diagnosis that included a hospital stay.
  • The depression, and suicidal thoughts that plagued her for years before she was able to get a proper diagnosis.
  • Triggers and Flashbacks associated with PTSD and Complex PTSD.
  • How writing helped facilitate healing and understanding of her alters.
  • The power of sharing stories with yourself on a clinical level.
  • Her memoir and starting a non-profit to help women who have survived all types of violence.

I always find it so amazing that during a simple conversation on a podcast, you realize you have so much in common with someone. This show with Lisa was no different, especially when she talks about learning about her particular type of DID and how similar that is to Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS), which is what I am recovering from.

There is safety and validation among survivors and those who get what it means to live daily life with these types of challenges. It’s a testament not only to the resilience of the human spirit, but the willingness to reach out and share and help others who struggle.

Thank you again Lisa for coming onto the show, I look forward to talking with you again once your book is published.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa, her story, or about her non profit for women survivors of violence, you can email her at lisatobe.consulting at gmail.com or at Wildflowerllc.org

I hope you’ll consider leaving a review and rating Beyond Your Past on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, or your favorite podcasting app!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP