Dissociative Identity Disorder: I Think I’m Me

It took 15 years of avoidance, the view from the end of a very long rope, and one newborn baby, to make me face my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and to realize most people who have DID do not act like the main character of the Showtime series United States of Tara.

Before my child was born, I did not know anything about it and I didn’t want to. The only thing I knew about Multi Personality Disorder (now known as DID) was that every time I’d heard mention of it, the context of the conversation could pretty much be summed up like this:

“Those people are crazy.”

False. I’m not. In fact, I’m very intelligent and the process my mind created for me over the course of eighteen years of my life is meticulously and intellectually organized and understandable after coming to terms with the trauma that caused it.

Furthermore, the other “me.” is still me, and she is a teenager. I’m not a doctor, but now that I am learning more about the condition, my research would suggest that she is teen because that is the time in my life in which I endured some of the most severe trauma, and my mind felt the need to protect me.

Therefore, when I am dissociated, my emotional coping skills, social cues, and communication, reflect that of my teenage self around that particular time of trauma.

For me, the problem is that my teen-self was just as articulate and just as smart. As a teen, I was developing the guts to defend myself against my father via my mouth. (It usually ended up in the need to outrun him.)

Thus, she is the me who steps in now when Dissociative Identity Disorder wins the boxing round.

It sucks. It’s humiliating. It’s embarrassing. It’s enabling and disabling all at the same time. It causes me to lose track of days, projects, deadlines, commitments, forget whole conversations, say things I don’t mean, and lose my cool when I’m in a verbal altercation and someone throws the right words with their punches.

“She” is the side of myself that I hate. The side who would kill you with words and read you your book, and she knows how to hit where it hurts. She will destroy you and spit words in such a way that after you are done defending yourself, you will still play in your head over and over because they were accurate, but expressed in the most destructive way.

She’s not crazy, either, but she is a victim. She is scared, defenseless, and angry, so my mind’s choice to become her is dangerous. She will do anything it takes to defend herself or me from one more bad thing, but she’s a fraud and she knows it. She’s helpless, vicious, emotional, cold, careless, and reckless.

She is my DID, and if she wasn’t as smart as me, professionals could just feel sorry for me or write me off as “another crazy.” But I understand DID more than most people in the psychology field because I live it, and it seems to create even more of a struggle for me.

I do not take medication. I don’t write notes to my other selves or have conversations like Jekyll and Hyde situations you see on TV. I haven’t followed the DSM-5 method of treatment or integration. I don’t do any of those things.

I face the pain behind it head-on and I do that because my daughter’s future demanded it. That doesn’t mean that I can always control it. Understanding and the ability of articulation do not negate or invalidate the challenges of any mental health diagnosis, and neither should stigmas or personal biases against established mental health conditions.

When mental health professionals or educational institutions allow those things to cloud their judgment in providing services or meeting the needs of those who struggle with uncommon mental health diagnoses, it is people like me who suffer the consequences.

It is children like my beautiful 3-year-old daughter who are robbed of their futures because their parents cannot break through socialized perceptions of mental health conditions that have become common belief and spilled over into common practice.

We are not all the same! What helped me face it? Facebook. After 6 years of therapy had failed me, spilling my thoughts and being able to track my conversations on Facebook saved me. I helped myself, and I’m nobody.

I’m a mental health patient. I’m a suicide loss survivor. I’m a child abuse victim. I’m a domestic violence survivor. I’m a rape survivor. I am a “disabled” person.

I am a lot of things, but what I am not is a psychologist, a suicidologist, a doctor, an LCP, MSW, MD, any other certification or title, you name it! I’m not any of those people.

I’m someone who can be (no, someone who is!) part of the answer educational institutions and medical researchers are looking for. So goes the same for every single person with a mental health condition or illness.

We are a million different people, not one diagnosis, and there is no single solution.

This Isn’t The Blog That Goes Viral

Everyone has become an entrepreneur.

When you dig deeper into the world of writing and online blogging, you notice a few things right away.

You notice what you can do, the people you can reach, the followers you can gain — all with a few clicks of a button and some skillfully worded compositions.

The more you realize this, you begin to review all the latest trending topics and read more of the work written by others. You tell yourself with each entry to “go big.” Then, you compose as if you’re Shakespeare just beginning his journey.

By the time your blog is perfectly composed and you’re prepared to publish your profound revelation, you can’t ignore the excitement that’s building.

“This is it! It’s perfect! They’ll love it! This will be the one that goes viral!”

With confidence in your click, you ready your fingers for the official “last edit.”

Submit.

If you’re a night owl (and the best writers are), it will probably be midnight before you’ve even gotten this far. Since the world is asleep, time is on your side, along with your iPhone, iPad, Evernote, and Twitter.

You’re set.

You click and you publish! It’s finished. Then, you immediately begin checking your stats.

As it’s published on every social media feed and you toggle from screen to screen making sure, you grow anxious. This will be the blog that astounds the masses!

Four hours later …

Two views, no recommendations or likes, and no shares. You can feel the self-doubt invading your mind. You hurry to read over your post (7 times) change a few words, correct a typo or two, second-guess your headline and change the title.

Anything you can do to perfect it. It doesn’t matter, rationally thinking, that most of the online community is asleep or that you shared during prime hours for minimum traffic.

If it didn’t become an instant success then it must be you!

You’re convinced.

One more blog published and the world wasn’t changed — yet again.

You’re finished.

As your mind races and whispers lies in your ear and you rethink your whole plan for your future; as you tiredly scramble for quick fixes, more views and traffic — reformatting your entry for the thirty-first time.

Before you jump to the “I’ve done all I can do” conclusion and consider setting your writing aspiration aside . . .

Allow me to mention a few things I’ve observed, as a newly beginning blogger.

Everyone has become immune.

Everyone has become immune to emotions, connection and feelings. We don’t invest too much of our heart into our writing and we don’t invest too much of our heart into others.

But our nature compels us to want to connect with others on an intimate level, and it goes beyond just business. While we’re all perfectly content with discussing politics, HTML codes and marketing, networking and CSS, there are everyday, ordinary people who read and seek out raw, passionate and emotional, connection!

So, you might have given it all that you had. You might have arranged every word with meticulous brilliance. It’s not that.

It’s this:

Why did you write it?

If you can’t answer that question with an impassioned response that provokes your own soul and mine, that’s why your blog didn’t go viral.

If readers wanted to hear how to build their own online network, market a product, or skim through articles on guns, freedom, war and world issues, they’d turn on the television or browse their social network pages.

That’s not what people want.

They want to know what breaks you.

They want to read about what makes you who you are. They want to know the worst thing you’ve ever done, the dirty secrets that no one knows and the very things that rouse your soul.

They crave hidden memoirs of the night you were powerless to desire and your body ravished by the best sex you’ve ever had; erotic compilations of what sparks arousal when you’re alone; what keeps you awake—

Your fantasies. Your failures. Your fears.

That’s what they read as they lay awake, yet again, one side of their bed still cold.

They want to see the real you, ripped open and exposed to the world.

They want reassured that somewhere out there is a person as intricate and complex as they are!

They’re not really alone.

Connection.

We all want to feel connected in our disconnection. Connection is what we hunger and we’re starving.

I once read it summed up like this:

Write something that requires you to tear a chunk of your soul away and leave it dripping, bloody, on the page. — Gary Rogers

People want to see the human side of other people. So, the next time you write your late night entry, after dinner and a few drinks of vodka, in the words of Gary, requests of the readers, and as eloquently as I can demand:

Write something worth a damn!

As I mentioned, this isn’t the blog that goes viral.


Bossy Kids
Team Bossy Gals