I'm having some trouble with one of my close friends and I need some advice in what to do.
He's suffering from mood swings and depression partially due to his multiple personality disorder.
He recently (last night) had a brutal breakup with a potential boyfriend, but said almost-boyfriend ended up bashing him for his MPD and calling it a "BS disorder" and that my friend is only doing it "for attention" mostly because he was probably stressed, tired (it happened a bit after midnight, over Skype), and most likely not in his right mind. It still a lot of damage to my friend's psyche,
To give a background, my friend lives in his own condo with a roommate and is finishing college this year. He was physically and mentally abused as a child and neglected as well, so it is remarkable that he is able to survive on his own so far, and I'm really happy for him.
However, he has many many personalities and to control them, he set up a mind "world" for them to live inside. Some are nice, others aren't. Most aren't. Luckily they only show up in times of distress or depression, which is happening more often now.
He feels as if no one wants him any more than a friend or a friend with benefits, and I am not sure what to do to help him. I know he has some attraction for me as he has admitted that, but I'm already in a committed monogamous relationship so I cannot be the love in his life. It's stressful for me to as it really pains me to see him collapse like this.
This is also really stressful to me, and with school and other projects it becomes hard for me to help him as much as I would like. Luckily he's fine with that and can cope with most things by himself, but every now and then there's an experience he needs his friends for.
His friends are another problem. Several "friends" of his have also abused and abandoned him over the years, using him for sex when he thought it was something more. This is causing him to become very paranoid about others and his personalities to stir even more.
I'm really worried for my friend's health and mental state and I'm not sure what to do. Therapy was used before and that just led to pills that didn't work. Like I said, he's been on his own for a long time now and I know he is very strong. I just fear he is reaching his breaking point and I don't want to see a good friend institutionalized or worse.
Please give me some advice and what I can do to help him. He desperately needs it, and I don't know where else to turn to at the moment.
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Dear, Sweet DT,
You are such a true friend it does this ol’ bear’s heart good to see your deep concern for your furiend.
Obviously, the first thing that I always mention is professional help, but you say he’s already gone down that road. Just to talk about it again, though, there are therapists and then there are therapists. Some are better than others, just like with anything else. Papabear went to therapy once, and, frankly, I don’t think I got my money’s worth. I would have looked for someone else to see, but my circumstances changed and I moved on.
There are many alternative treatments to MPD, not just drugs, including hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other therapies focusing on everything from behavior to eye movement patterns. I’m sure he has not tried them all, and some treatments work better for certain people than others.
It’s great that your friend has done so much with his life despite his struggles with MPD (also known as Dissociative Personality Disorder and incorrectly sometimes called schizophrenia, which is something different). It is also quite impressive that he has developed his own technique to try and isolate these secondary personalities to, I assume, protect himself and other people from them. It’s pretty easy to understand that he has more “not nice” personalities than nice ones because they are his outlet for his frustrations stemming from his unhappy childhood and continuing with the present day mistreatment of people around him. I’m not a psychologist, of course, but that seems like a no brainer.
So, central to your letter, really, is that your friend is, sadly, surrounded by many losers and users who break his heart and make him upset. You are an exception, but, as you said, you are taken. Next question would be whether the two of you have a mutual friend or friends, a person or two whom you both like and respect who might go the extra distance for the guy you’re concerned about.
Unfortunately, you don’t mention anyone like that in your lives. Is it possible to gain friends like that? Absolutely. In fact, if you think it would be okay with your friend, you can have him contact me and I can at least offer a little virtual support and hugs. Maybe talking with him one-on-one will help me come up with thoughts and suggestions that could help him further.
You can also try and research support groups in his area for people with MPD. There are a few Meetup groups (http://mpd.meetup.com/) but that only works if you happen to be near those areas. There is also a group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dissociative-Identity-Disorder-DID-Support-Group/174362435919715).
So getting rid of user “friends” and finding a local support group would both help. Since the MPD is aggravated by stress and upset, meditation would likely be of a great benefit to your friend, too. Learning breathing techniques, yoga, tai chi, etc. could all serve to calm him, perhaps lessening the emergence of his more hostile personalities.
I would also like to suggest the Furries4Life group for your friend (and you), both on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/311636512250169/ and the main site at www.furry4life.org. F4L, in my opinion, is the most drama-free of the furry social sites. Their FB page specifically is moderated to prohibit drama. He might have some luck there.
Minimizing stress and developing supportive social group will both go a long way toward helping your friend. They are not a cure, but they can help.
Thank you for being a friend to a furry in distress. You’re a good person, DT.
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