My Presentation at the An Infinite Mind’s “Healing Together” Conference

* The International’s Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Annual Conference is coming up. The pre-conference is March 12 – 13, and the main conference is March 14 – 16. It’s being held in San Francisco. Information: https://annualconference.isst-d.org/

I’m attending the conference this year and would love to connect with anybody who is going. We could hang out at break times and get to know each other better.

ISSTD is also offering two regional conferences. 

*A Day With Professor Michael Salter” – plus Margot Sunderland, Adah Sachs, Kathryn Livingston, Mark Linington, Elly Hanson, Sue Richardson, Valerie Sinason, and Nancy Borrett – is in London on March 5. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/london-regional-conference/

* “Diagnosis and “Treatment of DID and PTSD in Indigenous Peoples” is in Fairbanks AK on June 17 – 20. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/fairbanks-regional-conference/

~~~~

The vibe at An Infinite Mind’s conference was just like last year’s, except stronger. It was warm and friendly and accepting, also open and trusting and real. Once again, there was a great deal of diversity compared to other conferences I have been to. There were more men, more differently-abled people, more people of different races, more gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people, a wider range of ages, and more people with green or blue or pink hair. That is greatly to be celebrated.

And guess what? There were almost 100 more people there than there were last year! They must be doing something right.

I learned some new things, met some amazing people, touched base with people I had hung out with last year. It’s relaxing and energizing at the same time to be with others who are like me in so many ways, and I wish I could experience it 24/365. But I’m not complaining – the memory of those 24/48-plus hours will buoy me up for many a day.

So – the presentation. I survived, obviously. There were about 30, 35 people there, over half survivors, and the rest split between therapists and support people. I had prepared the talk for therapists, so I made it more general, more inclusive, as I went along. There was time for questions after each section, and that worked very nicely, People quickly engaged and they liked that format.

It felt weird because I went into flashback almost immediately. I’d expected the flashback to come after the presentation, the way it did at previous conferences. But no, it was 90 minutes of flashback, which gradually lifted afterwards. I felt like an actress playing a part, and I could feel that the way I moved my body and my hands was not normal for me. I couldn’t tell about my voice because I was using a microphone, so, of course, my voice sounded very different to me. Although I didn’t feel like a different person, you might say I switched, and another part gave the presentation. I don’t know.

I lost my place once, fell silent, and then said, “I don’t know where I am.” Nobody seemed to take it literally. I quickly found my footing, apologized, and continued. And I did let one set of questions go on too long and had to rush through the end. None of this was a disaster. People came up to me afterwards and thanked me and were very warm and supportive. And nobody knew I was in a flashback unless I told on myself!

So it was just fine – it really was.

One thing I really love about being in a group of RA survivors is that we can go from tears to laughter in a minute. So many of us seem to have the same sense of humor. It’s a bond. I love it! And I’m glad that people think I am funny – humor is such a gift.

The ice is broken, and now there can be other RA presentations. Maybe even a panel! There is plenty of time to brainstorm and plan.

Perhaps you-all could help start the brainstorming and share your ideas in the comments section. If you could go to a conference on DID, what would you want the RA sessions to be like? Let your imagination soar!! Topics, of course, but also format. Academic presentations, art shows, music, anything.

Perhaps I could develop some of those ideas into a blog post.

 

PS This is not an apology; it’s an explanation. The post is late this time because I was on the plane coming home on the 10th. Yesterday, I made time to write it, but I didn’t post it until today. I read it with fresh eyes, did some editing, and and then clicked “publish.” I still have lots of every-day life things to do – get some food in the fridge, read 150 emails and sort out the important ones, laundry, things like that.

PPS The cat is much better! I was afraid he would die when I was away, and I wouldn’t get to say goodbye. Luckily, I worried for nothing. Magical thinking tells me that it was my fretting that made him better, but logically I think it was his resilient little body.

~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

February
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/26 Ash Wednesday

March 
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/9 Full moon<
3/13 Friday the Thirteenth
3/17 Spring Equinox
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan

April
4/1 April Fool´s Day
4/5 Palm Sunday
4/7 Full moon
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/9 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/10 Good Friday
4/11 Holy Saturday
4/12 Easter Sunday<
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
2/10 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (celebration of spring)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

7 thoughts on “My Presentation at the An Infinite Mind’s “Healing Together” Conference

  1. Well done Jean. Wish I could have been there. Would you be able to explain a little more about what you mean by being in flashback when you presented? I think I understand that as not being present or being dissociative? I am curious as to why you refer to it as flashback? This happens to me often so I would love to know more about your thinking

    Like

    1. It would have been great to meet you!

      i have been trying to find words to explain to my therapist what it was like. Very hard! Let’ see — in the theater, a thin piece of material that comes down like a curtain at the back of the stage and has a background, like trees or a street scene painted on it is called a scrim. Dictionary definition: “(in a theater) a piece of gauze cloth that appears opaque until lit from behind, used as a screen or backdrop.”

      So it was like there was a scrim with the memory of what I was reminded of in the back of my mind the whole time. But the picture was seen from the audience’s point of view – I could see myself on the stage, as if I had eyes in the back of my head. It was very weird indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m having trouble putting it into words. Here’s the best so far —

      Scrim: Dictionary definition: “(in a theater) a piece of gauze cloth that appears opaque until lit from behind, used as a screen or backdrop.”

      In the back of my mind, there was a scrim with the memory of what I had to do on stage as a kid. It was seen from the point of view of the audience, even though I never had been in the audience. I was aware of it all through the presentation, as if I had eyes in the back of my head. It was real weird!

      Normally, in a visual flashback, I will see something horrible and then realize it is something else that is benign. But I will see it in the real world. I have had images from the past pop in and out of my mind. Is that flashback or memory? I find my mind confusing.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s