Being honest with yourself, understanding yourself, and accepting yourself are the bedrock elements of being able to distinguish the inner wisdom from the mind chatter. He has just interviewed his third patient, a fifty-five-year-old laborer with cancer of the lungs. I felt so bad for him. I mean, I just listened, and didn't know what to say. There is no question about the diagnosis. They've exhausted the treatment alternatives. This guy, this poor man, is going to die, and he knows it. The chemotherapy has just made him toxic; I listened to him and felt so bad. He started to cry. I felt like crying, too. Then, if possible, the therapist can call and spend ten to fifteen minutes working on containment of the emotions. If the therapist is not immediately available and the appropriate stabilization work has been done, the client knows that a plan is already in place for times like these. The most important aspect is that a plan is developed conjointly between therapist and client, based on the client's ability to manage emotions and the stage of therapy. This plan is then coupled with enough flexibility on the part of the therapist to operate outside the box when needed. This way of dealing with telephone calls is not the only way. Some therapists use answering services exclusively, others share on-call responsibilities with a group of therapists, and others make a home number available. What is important is being clear about what is acceptable and what kind of help can reasonably be provided over the phone. What happens, however, if you have a friend who has DID and you do not have an answering service to take the calls? Honesty is indeed the best policy.

Talk with your friend about when it is acceptable or not acceptable to call. When you are aware of your own limiting beliefs, quick reactions, and automatic patterns of responding, you then have a heightened sense of whether you are hearing your wise voice--the one that is in sync with your true desires--or repeating the familiar old patterns of reactive thinking. We all have different histories that shape our emotional reactions to things over the years. You may feel in resonance with old reaction habits because they are comfortable and familiar. That comfort can be mistaken for inner wisdom. You can tell the difference between old belief habits and true inner guidance by being aware of what else is going on within you. Are you feeling worried, uncertain, afraid, or anxious? Are you blaming or shaming yourself or others? Are you believing that your way is right and others are wrong? Are you thinking you should do something because of other people's opinions or because that is what your history taught you to do? These are different variations of a mind cluttered with old familiar reactions and beliefs. Shouldn't show my emotions, I thought to myself. It scared me. What would I do if I had lung cancer or if my dad or mom had it? What do you say to a terminal patient? I felt so helpless, so lonely and unprepared. Am I too sensitive? Listening to him made me feel so bad. Maybe that's why doctors don't listen. How can you take it every day?

You know, I feel a kind of awe when I am with a patient. If she calls and you are busy, politely say so. Decide together what the limitations of your friendship will be. Here are two examples of appropriate boundaries that a friend might set: If it is possible, you can come over and watch television or something even if I am busy doing other things. Maybe being around other people will help you feel safer. Honest adult communication and negotiation is what is needed so that significant others do not take on the role of therapist. Once that happens, the friendship is likely to become strained. Switching is another boundary issue in these types of relationships. If you live with someone who has DID, does it mean you have to be constantly alert to which part is out? The answer is no. It is important that you be aware of these types of thoughts and feelings. As you become aware of them, use previous power-booster strategies to keep the beliefs that are helpful and to release those that are not. You cannot truly feel the resonance of your inner wisdom while you are unknowingly immersed in old beliefs or jumbled mind chatter. As you release old judgments and critical beliefs about yourself and others, you will notice how much lighter and happier you feel. You will no longer be weighed down by such heavy feelings as anger, resentment, and bitterness. As you feel happier and more loving of yourself, you naturally shift your focus from what other people are doing to what you want to create for yourself. Feel the Excitement of Your Vision After you have become aware of yourself and allow your busy mind to calm, you can purposefully focus your vision. In your calm body and mind, allow a smile of gratitude to come to your face as you envision what you desire for yourself.

Picture yourself living in this new circumstance or situation. They are going through so much. And there's me just listening, trying to learn, a kind of observer but with nothing I can do. I try to compensate for the feeling of, of impotence by just listening harder, trying to show I want to understand what they are experiencing. I'm troubled by burdening sick people with my needs as a clinical beginner. Someday I know I'll be able to help because of this experience. But still I want to give something back to the patients for being so helpful to me, a student. I guess the residents think we are too innocent, too vulnerable. They tell jokes, seem hardened, inured to misery and distress. I guess I'll be like that one day, and not so far away either, from what I hear. But if so, I think I will have lost something important. The responsibility really lies with the person experiencing the dissociation. Some people choose to always address a friend with DID by the host's name regardless of who is presenting. Others address the various ego states by name if they are asked to do so. It simply is not reasonable to expect to live with someone who has DID and not have him or her switch; It is reasonable, however, to talk about how you might interact with other parts. If a child part will feel safer if you cuddle her and both you and your partner are comfortable with that, it might be a good idea. Yet it is also important for the person who dissociates to have space of her own in the house that can be considered a safe place. That way, if switching feels as if it might be unduly interfering with others in the family, the dissociative person can take a time out in her own safe place, with or without you. Ideally, she will be able to communicate that she is taking a time out.

Another good strategy is to build safety into the various rooms of the house. Feel the comfort, ease, and happiness associated with this new way. Sustain your vision so your energy waves can get in sync. Now give your energy waves a boost: Feel the excitement, the eagerness and anticipation of this vision. Feel the happiness of this desire being fulfilled. These are the feelings that activate your energy waves with quantum communication outside your body. These are the same feelings that will resonate within you, feel right for you, and feel in harmony with you when you are in touch with your inner wisdom on making the best choices for yourself. Feel Your Inner Guidance As you feel the excitement of your vision, you will have ideas and inspiration and opportunities in abundance. You may feel eager to pursue each one that you become aware of. However, not all of them will be helpful for you to pursue. Maybe because I've only been in med school for two years, I feel closer to patients. I mean I'm not that far away from being a layman. I guess you're not supposed to feel like that when you're a busy resident. It kind of frightens me. Do I want to be like them? I went into medicine to help sick people, not to put them down or avoid human issues. Yet, like in my case, those issues are so big, so threatening. What can you do about them? It must get easier than this.