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Beyond Your Past
Podcast - Ep. 84 - Rob Goldstein, No Longer Sick with DID, but Well with DID.
August 20, 2018 Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP
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'

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:01You've just tuned into beyond your past part of the mental health news radio news.

Speaker 2:0:18Welcome back to beyond your past. I'm your host, Matt Pappas, certified life coach, specializing in overcoming anxiety and trauma recovery, and this podcast is all about helping you move forward from what holds you back. Each week. You'll hear from coaches, clinicians, and advocates who've overcome tremendous odds and are now using their journey to inspire you throughout yours. This is your place to feel validated and encouraged as you take your life back and live free from your past. Are you ready? Let's do this.

Speaker 3:0:48Greetings everyone. Thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to tune in and I hope that each episode inspires and encourages you on your own journey. Special welcome. If you're checking out the podcast for the first time, I definitely hope that you enjoyed and that you'll consider subscribing and for those who are regular listeners, thanks so much. You guys rock it. You're amazing and I appreciate the support. So very much a big shout out to my sponsors. I NLP center.org offering world class online nlp in life coach training to people in over 70 countries and to daily recovery support, interactive daily group calls in a safe atmosphere for survivors of complex trauma, equipping you with the skills and information that you can use every day in your own healing journey. Learn more and get signed up for this affordable resource@seeptsdfoundation.org. And if you find this podcast helpful and maybe even a little fun too, and please do.

Speaker 3:1:37Consider subscribing and leaving review and sharing it with your friends. That would be amazing. So today I'm super stoked to welcome in Rob Goldstein to the podcast. Rob And I first connected when he shared his guest blog post over on surviving my past entitled life with did when everything is a trigger. It's really an incredible post and shows tremendous insight from rob on his life with did so. I definitely encourage you to check it out and I'll be sure and put the link in the show notes. He's an active blogger on his own website and also a photographer and digital artist. Rob Joins me to talk about living with dissociative identity disorder, including the struggles and experience of not getting their proper diagnosis until later in life. He shares his experiences with therapy, virtual reality, art, relationships, and so much more. You'll hear me mention later on in the podcast that I was mesmerized by his insight and his vulnerability of sharing time just flew by chatting with Robin. We're already working on bringing him back for a future. Chad, there's so much more I can tell you about it, but let's jump right into it so you can listen for yourself. So here we go with my chat with Rob Goldstein right now.

Speaker 1:2:44So. Hey Rob, welcome to the show my friend. How are you doing man?

Speaker 4:2:47I'm fine. Thank you.

Speaker 1:2:51Absolutely. It's a pleasure. Um, and before we get started, um, again, thank you for coming on the show and for those who aren't familiar with rob, but he wrote a blog post on surviving my past quite a while back, so I'll be sure and link that in the show notes, but we're going to talk a little bit today about his diagnosis living with did and specifically we're going to jump into, um, getting the diagnosis later in life and the, and the challenges that that comes with. So before we do that though, rob, go ahead and take a few minutes, let everybody know some more about you and anything else you'd like to share.

Speaker 4:3:27My name is Rob Goldstein and I've worked in mental health as well as, um, worked as a writer and an artist. I currently have a blog, a rubber dam, Goldstein.com. It's called art by Rob Goldstein. And I use it to talk about, did to advocate for myself. The blog started actually in 2012 as a way for my ultimate to communicate with myself, therapist. And uh, it's evolved since then because I've, I've gotten healthier. I consider myself very lucky because I have a psychotherapist and based on what I've read of the guidelines on the trauma and dissociation website, you know, the, the group that specializes in investigating or doing research into trauma and dissociation [inaudible], um, the guidelines are really quite clear that one of the few treatments that does work for did his psychotherapy, although dbt and other behavioral interventions or certainly helpful for managing feelings and distress.

Speaker 4:4:41So I lucky I consider myself lucky to have access to twice a week psychotherapy, which I've been doing since 2012 and it's worked. I'm much better. I'm much less fragmented than I was when I was first bite. And um, um, so now the blog is beginning to consolidate. It's beginning to evolve into a new way of, um, how do I put it up living? Because when I was diagnosed I worked full time. I listened to it of a workaholic. I managed a treatment facility in San Francisco and we specialize in treating who were diagnosed, people who were diagnosed with borderline personality disorders and other trauma related issues. So I was familiar with, um, and I was familiar with psychotherapy and I was familiar with providing those treatments. So when I was first diagnosed it came as a shock for me, uh, and, and a sock full of this release.

Speaker 4:5:49I absolutely did not believe I had the ID. So that's a bit of my history. I in, in, in uh, in 2012 life changed. It was a little bit and it was a very dark period because I absolutely had no idea what was going on. I didn't understand my own mind. I didn't understand why I was behaving the way I was behaving and I, and I, and I didn't understand what people were telling me. I think the most notable thing was my assistant director at the facility that, that I was the director of, looked at me one day and said, I don't know who you are but, but you're not the guy I worked for. And that just blew me away. I, I didn't know what to do with that, but I had enough presence of mind to take myself to a psychiatrist and try to find out. And oddly enough, the diagnosis came from Kaiser Permanente, which is actually not known for providing the best mental health treatment in the world. So it's been a long journey since 2012.

Speaker 1:7:02I always find it so interesting how we just change and adapt and learn and evolve from the time they get a diagnosis over the years and the way that our life looks initially versus the way it looked before versus the way it looks now. It's just, it's incredible how when we get the right help and we find the right treatment facilities and support systems and resources, like everything just really, really starts to click and make sense. And I know for me, when I was first started going through my recovery and, and learning about what it meant to be a survivor of trauma and learning what anxiety really was doing and learning about the association and all these different types of things. Stuff that some of which I'd never even heard of before when I started learning. And Yeah. And so, but when I started to get, you know, working with a professional who knew about this type of thing and was able to explain it in a way that I could understand it like it was, it was life changing and it really helped of catapult me and motivate me to learn more and to continue healing.

Speaker 1:8:04And so kind of along that front, uh, you know, we were talking just before we started recording was that, um, you know, for many of the guests that I have on this show be a trauma survivors. People who live with did or other types of disorders for any number of reasons. Many times they start to seek out help and get a diagnosis perhaps in their twenties or thirties depending on the situation. But there's a unique set of challenges I believe. And maybe you can speak to this more of getting the diagnosis like later on in life and perhaps like, you know, your fifties or late forties and the challenges that come with that because you've kind of lived a certain way and done a certain thing for decades. And now all of a sudden you started to get help and start to change.

Speaker 4:8:49The interesting thing for me is the discovery that I have adults and um, I've often at this is a and, and, and the ability to connect certain ways of thinking that I now understand are peculiar to bid. For instance, the idea that I had in my twenties that, yeah, if I move from one part of the country to the other and take a name based on my actual name, um, but let's say Robert rather than involved, um, that somehow everything about the past vanishes. This was something that, that I used to think when I was in my twenties and thirties, I would move to a city and it was as if everything that happened before my arrival in that city and taking up a life in that city, everything that happened before then. So I would be able. I would know. I knew a bit about what I was, who I was, what I did prior.

Speaker 4:9:58Let's say two. I lived in new haven and I moved to Honolulu. I knew what I, I knew that I had lived in new haven, but in Honolulu, if you have asked me what I had done in new haven, I wouldn't be able to tell you very much about it. So that was something I thought everybody did. That's the thing about being sort of stuck in your own head and having an illness that you don't talk about or understand or even though you have is that you think that the way you think it is the way everybody else thinks because why wouldn't everybody else be as normal as you are? So, so for me, a lot of the stuff that came with having the ID, all of the signs that, that might have tipped me off when to ignore it because I thought they were all normal.

Speaker 4:10:52I thought everybody forgot what they did during the past week of their lives. I just thought everybody did. And so, um, I didn't know. And when I moved to San Francisco in the 19 eighties, I moved from La to San Francisco. Um, and again, and then that's when I switched the name rob. Prior to that I had called myself Bob and in San Francisco, um, I became a writer and I noticed in my writing that I had all of these characters that I wrote in and everybody said, the people around me said, wow, this is amazing. You really get into these characters. These characters are so real. They're so vivid. And um, and so I began to perform the characters and for a period of time I was living and working as a performance artist in San Francisco. I'm writing my own work. And that was during the aids epidemic, which was also extremely stressful and extremely traumatic.

Speaker 4:12:03And so I was already suffering from symptoms, severe trauma symptoms that I didn't know about. And in the middle of an epidemic that was literally killing everyone around me. And which of course was extremely frightening. And so I became more fragmented and more traumatized. And when the epidemic and did I converted to Catholicism and became matthew. And again, I had an adult alternate. If you had asked me what I had done in the eighties, I, I could tell you that, well, I survived the AIDS epidemic. And then I converted to Catholicism in Matthew and I know I've worked in mental health, but what I would not have been able to tell you anything about how it felt as effectively emotionally, um, and as I was doing fine and I met a partner and for about 15 years actually I worked, I was stable. I mean I had moments, but I have a stable.

Speaker 4:13:10Um, something triggered the more serious symptoms. And one of the things I noticed was that I think what brought me to the doctor was I had discovered virtual reality. I had discovered avid towards. And I noticed that the characters I was writing in the 19 eighties reemerged emerged and began to log into virtual reality. We try to have their own lives. And I, I could not understand what that was about. And that is when I began to seek out a psychiatrist. Even though I worked in mental health, I never discussed my own mental health issues. No one saw the fragmentation. People commented that I often seem to stacy or that I seen changeable. But no one noticed that I had did. And in fact, in all of the years prior to the diagnosis I went to doctor psychiatrist after psychiatrist was usually diagnosed as bipolar and frequent resistance, um, which is a symptom of did by the way, treatment resistant bipolar illness.

Speaker 4:14:29And, um, but nothing changed. It wasn't until I got the diagnosis that I began to start to actually get better. So it was interesting. I mean, why the thing that that's ultimately broke me down and made it for me to work was that my alternate, the alternate state, use the ID. We're spending all of the body's time blogging in to virtual reality to have their own lives. And of course, the people in Vr, we're perfectly willing to believe that for them they were playing a game. They were dissociated by choice. They would associating for amusement. They didn't understand that I was doing at pathologically and that the characters they were talking to believed they were real. So that was how I wound up seeing a psychiatrist in the. And the first thing I said to the doctor when I walked in, because I was also a professional in the field, I said, well, something is going on with me, but I know it's not the ID. And that was the start of it. And it was six months later that he did. He diagnosed me with it after seeing existed months.

Speaker 1:15:55That's so interesting that the first thing you said was, something's wrong with me, but it's not. Did like, what was the, what was the expression on his face? I mean, was it just kind of like, okay, that's fine, or how did that go?

Speaker 4:16:08And he said, yeah, well, he just looked at me and he said, okay, that's fine. And we began to talk and I told him some of my history. And what he noticed, I later found out was that every time I came to an appointment, when I did arrive at the appointment, I often didn't remember the previous appointment. Um, I often behave in ways that were unusual from the last time I looked there. And eventually, um, he referred me to a woman who specialized in the treatment of, of the ID, um, my therapist, she works out of New York and San Francisco and it took me almost a year after his recommendation. Um, it took me almost a year for me to finally call her and make an appointment because I just simply didn't want to deal with the possibility that I had something so strange. And the more I read about the idea, the more I realized that bid was associated with sexual trauma, usually sexual trauma and, and, and physical abuse that takes place before the age of four.

Speaker 4:17:18That whatever caused this thing had to have happened when I was very young. And that's the kind of the trail that's really hard to come to terms with you. You have to come to terms with a lot of things. But perhaps the most difficult aspect of did is that if you're going to get better, you have to come to terms with the fact that the people who were supposed to have protected you and, and in fact made it possible for you to have a future. Good. The opposite. And so that wasn't really, that was a very, that was very hard for me to, to, to want to look at because I had made in my mind, I had put all of this behind me. I had put all that aside and bear in mind, I was in my late fifties and I thought, oh my God, here I am, I'm in my late fifties and now I have to deal with all of these things have happened to me before this for if I'm to have anything like, um,

Speaker 4:18:24satisfaction in my life because what are you looking for in your late fifties? Um, you know, you're looking for a consolidation of who you are. You're looking for a, um, you're looking for your legacy and, you know, so what I'm hearing is my legacy is this confusion, this fragmented sort of narrative that I can't make sense of because every period of my life as somehow cut off from every other period of my life. And so, um, it, it, it, it kind of tore me up a bit. And of course, because I was also living in a system that replicated that, I didn't know this at all, uh, that I, I had spent a lot of my life also replicating the abusive dynamic that I thought was normal. I thought it was normal for me to simply just allow people to walk away with my boundaries.

Speaker 4:19:29I thought it was normal for, for, for people to gaslight me. I thought it was normal for people to lie to me or to break their promises. I thought all of those things are normal things. And so I also had come to terms with the fact that I'd never really had a healthy relationship because I thought that the pathological behaviors of my parents were the normal behaviors that, that, that everyone engaged in. So that was another, that was another almost a Herculean task. How am I at the age? And in my late fifties, I now have to also change the way I am. I need to start setting them. It's they need to bring people who are healthy into my life. I need to, I need to have quality relationships in my life. And this is not to say that all of my relationships who are, were somehow pathological, because I did meet someone who, who knows, certainly he has his problems, but he's, he, he's not an abusive gaslighting narcissist. So, um, you know, it was not as if I didn't have good relationships. It was that I, I had more often than not unhealthy relationships primarily with women because it was a woman who was my abuser. So that was the beginning. That was in 2012, that was all in 2012, late 2012, early 2013 when I was diagnosed and finally started treatment.

Speaker 1:21:10This is just fascinating. And of course we're talking with Rob Goldstein here. We're talking about his life with the ID, the diagnosis, how things have changed. Um, and one of the things that I wanted to kind of go back to, because this is something that I struggled with, I think a lot of survivors struggle with is when you get the diagnosis that is finally true and you start to be able to put the pieces together and everything makes sense. And of course there's a lot of traumatic things that you have to work through and a lot of in regards to your past and the way that you've been living, but you mentioned several times and I've gone through too is realizing that the normal that you knew wasn't necessarily. And, and I, I struggle with to use the word normal because you know, it, it can be quite invalidating and it can be confusing and it makes us sometimes feel like we're not normal because normal is, is such a generic word.

Speaker 1:22:03But in our own life, the things that we do, we feel like everybody does because that's all we've ever known. So we think everybody, you know, his life the way that we do and we forget things and all the, all the things that you mentioned and stuff that I've gone through. Um, but I think it's, it's interesting to talk more about just how you realize that the normal of your life, um, was really something that, you know, wasn't what the general public, for lack of a better term generally goes through her, understands. And that now you're realizing that the things that you did were because of trauma and that there are forces at work with, with your alters who are presenting themselves in ways that you never understood because you didn't even know what an ultra was at a time. And so now you're learning that I have a whole new normal and that I can change some things and I can learn to adapt some things. So, um, maybe like if you want to talk a little bit more about just how you kind of formed this new and again, here we go with the word normal again, but it's the only word I can think of off the top of my head of, of working through not only the therapy appointments, but adapting your life and changing things that you could change and kind of accepting things that maybe you couldn't change. It. Just kind of how life has been different since then. Everything.

Speaker 4:23:25There were several things that I come with the ID if you, if you, if you will. Um, I have my ultimate. So are all very studious. They're all into the acquisition of knowledge. Some of my alternate Snu, they had the ID, in fact, um, I have an adolescent bald for net, um, and it was the adolescent alternate who first went into virtual reality with the idea of trying to find a way to reparent himself so that he could be normal and what I'm going to use instead of normal, I'm going to use the word healthy and pathological because that we were there is we are either healthy or pathological at any given time given what we know about ourselves and, and given how we were raised, react to different circumstances. So for instance, the, we can argue that there are certain elements about our time in general, this period in history, we can argue that this is a pathological period in history because it seems it appears dominated by an unhealthy narcissism.

Speaker 4:24:43Um, we've had less pathological moments in history. And so that's how I think about my life and have had, um, pathological pathological behaviors. Have I. Pathological behavior is a behavior that is self destructive. Essentially, it's a behavior that causes unhappiness for you. Um, it's a behavior that it disrupts your relationships. Um, these are some of the behaviors that I thought were normal or pathological relationship in which one person is in complete control and use his money or a psychological dependence as a way of, um, uh, in abusive ways. So I trust you because I think you are going to be good to me and healing for me. Um, and you give me some of that. Uh, um, you also give me toxic. Um, you gaslight me. Let's say if you lie to me, well, if you're lying to me and I'm, and I know you're lying to me, but I am unable to assert my rights to be, um, to, to, to the truth overnight, assert my right to, to be treated that as an adult and to be treated honestly.

Speaker 4:26:08And your response is then to accuse me of being a liar. In the past I might have gone silent and just simply accepted it. Now what I would do is I would say I'm sorry, but I simply cannot be friends with someone lies to me. So I can now look at somebody. I can look at someone I can say directly to someone who's lying to me, please stop lying to me. If you don't stop lying to me, then I will have to assume that you're incapable of telling me the truth and I will have to stop being your friend because that's not healthy for me. So that's a huge difference in my life because prior to the diagnosis, even when I'm in my fifties, I was far more passive about my boundaries and far more passive about my right to be treated as an adult who deserves to be spoken to with almost. I didn't know I had that right. And now I do adjust as I didn't understand the functions of my alternate, why they came out, what their purpose was. Know. At first I felt a great deal of shame. Now it's, it's 2018. And um, I understand that my alternate, it's helped me to survive that. The alternate named rob got me through one of the darkest periods of my adult life. I can't think of a period more stressful, more painful than the 19 eighties when I was living in San Francisco. And watching

Speaker 4:28:03the majority of the people around me dying from this disease that seemed to come out of nowhere. It was horrible. It was miserable. And to some extent I'm glad I don't have all the time handbrakes on it. But I do know that the alternate that got me through it, um, definitely alive. It kept me alive. So, um, hi, to some extent I'm grateful because I might not be here if I had not had did and such as that extent did is again, if you can make it to the point where you can begin to heal and consolidate then did has been a gift to you even. Yes. Even through all of the pain and suffering,

Speaker 5:28:52that's such an incredible way to look at it. And I think a lot of times when we're in the midst of healing or the midst of working with a therapist or in the midst of trying to get a diagnosis. So we're trying to figure out exactly, you know, what in the world's going on with our life, we don't always see things as a gift. You know? I know. So often we think of it as a curse or it's something we've got to deal with or something that nobody understands and it affects us in so many horrible ways. But you know, it's interesting how you say that it's a gift because when I learned to how much dissociation saved my life when I was experiencing the childhood trauma between five and 10, like, you know, like, like I said before, I didn't, I didn't know what the association even was until I started seeking the help of a therapist and figuring all this stuff out.

Speaker 5:29:37But to me, I mean, even though like even though the association can be a struggle right now and in adulthood when I'm no longer in the traumatizing circumstance, what the after effects of that obviously are still with me. So dissociation now as an adult can be a bit of a pain. Um, but our struggle to deal with. But at the time it saved me. It was something that kept me alive. Literally, you know, my mind did not allow me to be fully present during the acts of those abused because it knew that, you know, I might not survive it or so it was a gift and I think that's a great way to look at it is. And it's something that I really try to embrace and I want to get your artwork here for just a couple of minutes before we wrap this up, but I want to just really let you know, kind of reinforce this point that, um, you know, whether you live with did or any, any dissociative disorder or anything else when you can, if you can get to a point of it realizing how much it saved you and how much it may have helped you or at least been some sort of a comfort for you or a help.

Speaker 5:30:39Like that's an incredible realization. To be able to understand that and to, and to take something that we think is so traumatic and confusing and infuriating and frustrating and like, wow, this, this might've saved me. I might not be the person I am today or even here at all. If this hadn't happened, right?

Speaker 4:30:58Yeah, I believe I have a quantum mind and um, and that's now how I see my, that's how I see the did. It's a quantum mind. Um, and at this point, through my treatment, I'm also much more aware of others. I'm better, I'm better able to communicate with them. And, and it's the, I suppose that the real trick here is they exist that don't exist. Um, my brain has no, my brain has little places on it, have neural networks where each of these little critters that lives and um, uh, and while they may not be separate people, they, they are, they're not, but they are, they are moved but not move. Um, that's the part of the association that is kind of a little weird and kind of hard to. It's hard to live, I believe in dbt is called living with the ambiguity, living with the dichotomy.

Speaker 4:32:13And so that's the dichotomy they exist. They are me, but not me. Um, which is how I experienced them internally. So I have no choice but to live with my own internal experience of my life. They're part of me, their histories are my history. Um, and so now it's kind of the task is too to accept their histories, to accept the pain that they went through and to incorporate it into my understanding of my life. Does that narrative eventually syncs up with my narrative and it all becomes one narrative because as it stands now, it's still very much separate narratives and um, and so my goal is to be able to bring these narratives together so that I can write a memoir and, and make it about me because I can't write this memo more if it's about mood as a dozen different people. Um, I have to find a way to bring all of that together and make and make it a whole. Now that may never happen. That may never happen. And that fine. I, I took, I wrote a little note to myself before this and, and did the note was I no longer think of myself as sick with did. I'm beginning to think of myself as well with the ID.

Speaker 5:33:50I love it. It's incredible. I am well with the idea. I think that's great. It's an amazing way to look at the situations and life that you've gone through, how you've been able to adapt and overcome and come to a greater understanding of yourself, be able to enforce more healthy boundaries, getting involved in healthier relationships, see the red flags for relationships that are not healthy and be able to put up those boundaries and take a step back. And I, um, I think we can all be encouraged by it. And, uh, one of the things I wanted to cover quickly, um, is just to share some, maybe I'm a bit of your artwork. If you go to your website, which is Robert M Goldstein Dot com, which will be in the show notes as I said. Oh, there's information there. There's your, uh, you know, there, there's an about me section, there's your blog posts and then there's also the digital art and the photography section. So maybe if you want to talk a little bit about how art is helping you or what it means to you to be able to use this kind of modality. And,

Speaker 4:34:47but, you know, I started writing when I was, um, I'm first started running when I was eight years old. So writing has been something I've done all my life. And, and, and in fact, shortly after I think perhaps six months into my therapy, I began to find hidden boxes and I was a weird experience, you know, when I mean hidden, I mean hidden in the open. I don't know if you've ever had this, if you have this experience, but I can see objects but not see them. So if it's an object that an alternate didn't want me to see, for instance, like a huge crate full of writing, then really the box could, could be in the same room with me for three years and I wouldn't open it. I wouldn't notice it. I would walk around it and I think that may have something to, with not feeling a lack of ownership.

Speaker 4:35:39But it's another kind of interesting trick of the mind where if you're not supposed to see something, it's an alternate. That's a protector doesn't want you to see something because you're being protected from the inflammation. Then you simply will not see it. And so in my therapy I began to find, um, I began to find boxes of writing, writing. I didn't recognize writing in dialect writing a, just it's, it's three crates full of writing. And so eventually I began to look at some of this work and I began to revise some of this work and it does. I said I started the blog as a way of letting the alternate communicate with their, um, with my therapist. One of the ways I started to also understand the, what I call the digital dolls, the avatars of virtual reality, um, was that I was also telling my therapist stories in much the way that a child would tell a story using dolls, these digital dolls, the dolls that you might give a kid who had been molested in order to, you know, have them tell you with the dolls what happened.

Speaker 4:36:59And so that's really what was going on. Um, at this point, what's going on is that I'm, I'm collaborating. I, I started as a collaborator full operation with a writer. Um, she's very witty. She's really, really smart. And the alternate began to began to collaborate with her around creating the characters and so the alternate that do go into the yard strategy going into the R and taking on the balls of the characters in her story Halabaloo, that's the name of the story on Teagan's books. And so what's fascinating for me is that they can go into the ar and switch off consciousness, set up scenes, take turns taking photographs of the illustrations that we're working on, get into costume. I'm in fact designed some of the sets and make some of the props and, and spend and spend four hours with each other collaborating as one on, um, on illustrating a section of this story.

Speaker 4:38:18It's a, it's a brand new experience for me. I think when I first told you about that, I sold it. I was very excited because it, it's like for me, it's like going to sleep, except that I'm aware I'm not in charge of what's going on, but I'm aware of what's going on and I can watch them work with each other to make these photographs. And so the photograph that, that people see in the illustration, the videos that we make in order to, um, help her to promote Hullabaloo, while I know that they were made by me, I don't feel a direct ownership. My pride in them is the pride in I'm taking, provide in those parts of me that have learned how to use vr in a way that's healthy so that they can find satisfaction, uh, find creative satisfaction, not understanding why that's important.

Speaker 4:39:22When I first went into Vr, when we were first rolling into Vr, Vr was disruptive to my life because I was no longer able to work because all of my time was spent switching from one alternate to the other and each alternate had its own friends. And it's all in relationships. Very disruptive to my life. The fact that the people I was interacting with were gamers who had no clue and really had no reason to have a club, um, wasn't helpful because they didn't know what was going on with me. And in a gaming environment, everyone and everything is fair game. So it took awhile for me to learn how to use Vr, the vr platform in a way that was healthy. Uh, I, uh, I was, um, I had to withdraw lately from any interaction with the other gamers because that was always lead.

Speaker 4:40:28That didn't admittedly led to the repetition cycle. Taking in what was shocking to me was that even on line, the repetitions cycle, the cycle of meeting people who suffer from the same personality as my primary abuser, that that little rule was still in effect. And it was surprising for me to realize that, that the, that the mind can be that powerful, that even if I'm not seeing the people directly because I'm trained to look for the narcissist who will abuse me. That is what I find. And so learning how to learning first, that that's what's going to happen if I'm not careful and putting safety measures into place so that I can use. I'm really a, an important platform in a way that benefits my life was an extremely important thing to do. And it did take a while and I think a lot of people might've given up and said, you know what, I'm just not gonna, I'm just not going to use vr anymore because, um, because it makes people crazy.

Speaker 4:41:46Well, the other solution to that is to use it in a way that doesn't make you crazy and can use it in a way that allows you to use your own craziness creatively. I mean, because to be crazy is not necessarily to be insane. To be different is not necessarily to be abnormal. I mean we know this. So how do you, how do you make, um, alternate that wants to have their own lives? Who, who perceive digital bodies as their long? How do you make them work for you? And how do you allow them to have some sense of themselves as valid? Because we have to validate all of the nights. We have to, we have to welcome all our ultimate, allow them room to breathe and that's how they will eventually become part of the hall. So that was a huge. That was a huge hurdle for me when I realized I was doing it. Um, I got very excited, very excited because I kept saying to my therapist, I kept insisting that there must be a way of using this kind of technology without having it make me fit. So the fact that I was able to find a way to do that, I'm just really thrilled and I know that was rambling.

Speaker 1:43:17Oh No, it's all great. It was, it was perfect. It's such a great way to end the show is just to listen and to learn and I'm following along and I'm just kind of mesmerized by what you're sharing and how, how the evolution of your healing and using vr and how at once you know, at one point it was something that was literally, you know, so almost toxic for you and now you've learned to use it to your advantage and it's helping you. It's helping you reach out to others to be in this new collaborative opportunity. I think it's just amazing. I would love to, to bring you back again at some point if you're interested to share more.

Speaker 4:43:55I would love to do that. One of the things that I want to really tell people is don't be afraid of your. Did. Don't be afraid of looking for collateral. Long as I was saying was that really helped me, was bringing it up to my oldest friends. I'm talking about people finding people I knew when I was a teenager and hearing from them the things that they noticed. And, and to my surprise, what I've discovered is that almost every month at every juncture in my saw the did but didn't know what they were looking at. So they saw it. They could describe it to me, I could understand it as did after I knew it, but they didn't. They saw it. They didn't know what they were looking at. So if, if people have friends, no contacts with people they knew in their lives, um, people who, who might've known them 30 or 40 years ago, you may find that the people that you interacted with, the people who were your friends, saw what was going on, didn't understand it, but can describe it to you.

Speaker 4:45:14And this is actually a hugely help. This is helpful because this gives you a sense of the history of it. This lets you know that you're not imagining it, your doctor's not imagining that because because many people simply don't, including mental health professionals don't want to believe did exist and one of the reasons for that is that did contradict the strictly behavioral model that we now call for psychiatry. So did he says we have a mind and not only do we have a mind, they have a mind capable of creating multiple minds. Behaviorism says we're behaviors and, and, and, and, and both are true. Behavioral therapies really do help people to deal with the distress of coming to terms with the Agi. Psychotherapy will help you learn how to manage your mind.

Speaker 5:46:15Well, rob, thank you so much for your insight, for your wisdom, for sharing your story. I know it's going to help so many people. Um, I have many listeners who who live with the ID or have family members or friends and I think this is just going to be. It's going to offer new insight to just your journey and to getting the diagnosis later in life. And how artists helped you and blogging and reaching out into new opportunities. So I'm so glad that you were here. Why don't we wrap it up. You can tell everybody again where to find you on social media. Find your blog and all that stuff.

Speaker 4:46:48Okay. So my blog is Robert m dot tom or art by Rob Goldstein. And I'm on that blog. If you go to the contact page, you will see my twitter feed and feed. And

Speaker 3:47:04thanks for listening to beyond your past part of the mental health news radio network. Information share on this podcast is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for or supersedes professional medical health or mental health counseling. Thank you again to my sponsors, I nlp center.org and daily recovery support. I hope you'll consider checking them out as they've joined forces to help keep the lights on here at the podcast and help beyond your past to reach as many as possible with a message of hope. If you'd like to learn more about working with me as your coach or if you're curious about what life coaching is and how it might be right for you, that head on over to beyond your past.com and claim your free one hour session, or we can talk about the struggles in your life in the areas of anxiety and trauma recovery and see if coaching might be a great fit for you. Thanks again for listening and I do hope that you will subscribe to the podcast, leave a review, and share with all your friends. See you next time.

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