Succeeding professionally whilst suffering from a dissociative disorder


TAG, the Trauma and Abuse Group has just published the latest edition of its journal Interact (Vol 11 No 2). Articles include the inspirational piece Finding Support in Unlikely Places by Cathy LeRoux.

Cambridge graduate Cathy is a teacher in a secondary school – and has a diagnosis of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

Her story describes the wonderful help she received at a Catholic girls school as a troubled child, making it a place of safety where she could succeed.

Little did she realise how working as a teacher herself would expose her to triggering situations – a safeguarding meeting led her to suffer non-epileptic seizures; the Police’s Guns and knives talk led her to lose consciousness altogether. A day after being interviewed about sexual abuse within her family she regressed to her 12-year old part who responded to an enquiry from a member of the senior management team with “f*** off”. On another occasion her 4-year old part was found cowering under a table in the staffroom.

A brief spell being sectioned eventually resulted in a diagnosis of DID.

One of the most amazing things about Cathy’s story is the lengths the school have gone to, to enable her to continue to teach. For example, the Deputy Headteacher on her own initiative made some small laminated cards that she had prepared for Cathy to give to a student if she felt unsafe. The card is then taken to reception and a cover teacher immediately sent to the classroom. The staff are learning to spot when she is struggling, and the plan now is for them to learn some grounding techniques that they can use if they spot Cathy beginning to dissociate.

Many people suffering from DID hold down successful professional careers. Sometimes it can help to include your colleagues when working out how to manage a dissociative disorder in the work place. People can be surprisingly willing to offer support and help, significantly reducing stress for the sufferer.

To join TAG please click here

For details of an excellent book that includes various anchoring and grounding techniques, please click here



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