There are so many fantastic organisations, people and books that share a positive – and helpful – way of understanding mental distress. Whilst I can’t share all of them with you, I wanted to gather together some of my favourites.
Each month, I will showcase an organisation, site or publication that I find particularly helpful. This month, I’d like to tell you about PODS (Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors).
Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors
PODS was originally started by Carolyn and Rob Spring as an organisation to support the partners of dissociative survivors (people with complex dissociative reactions to trauma, inc DID). However, after recognising that those accessing their services included survivors, partners and therapists – they decided to change their focus.
Their goal, in their own words, is ‘to make recovery from dissociative disorders a reality through: training, informing and supporting’.
They provide: training workshops for survivors, partners and therapists; a weekly telephone helpful; email support; a wealth of resources via their website; a great newsletter called ‘Multiple Parts’.
That PODS was set up by a couple who have, themselves, survived the impact of dissociation and trauma on their relationship is nothing short of inspiring.
My Experience of PODS
I first discovered PODS whilst searching for UK based information on dissociation. They stood out to me because, at a time when I was trying to soak up information to understand what was happening to me, their site contained some really good quality articles. The information I found on that site gave me a lot of comfort, and helped me feel ‘normal’ again (whatever that is).
Last year, my husband and I went to one of their workshops up north. We travelled to Lancashire both hoping that something in the workshop would help give us a way forward. Living with someone who is dissociative isn’t always easy, and I was worried about the impact of it all on our marriage. The workshop, whilst intense, gave us both a really good practical understanding of triggers – something which has helped us both on numerous occasions. Again, we recognised so much in the presentations that it gave us both the feeling that ‘OK – we’re not alone, here. We can do this’.
My husband has also used their phone line to chat things through with Rob once or twice. I know that the opportunity to speak to someone who has actually been through something similar is worth its weight in gold to him. To me, as his wife, I feel reassured too.
PODS didn’t save our marriage. We’re pretty solid, good at communicating with one another and are very much in love. However, their existence has made things a lot easier for us. It has been a beacon of hope in some of the difficult days, and proof that recovery IS possible. That PODS has started to do some ‘hearing voices movement’ events is great – the fields of dissociation and ‘psychosis’ have been split for too long. I’m glad that they are starting to come back together.