This topic hits me 2 ways. 1) Anger 2) Understanding.
I will tackle my more compassionate side first. 🙂
I understand why people are wary of a Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) diagnoses. You can’t do a blood test for it, no x-ray will prove it, a surgery can not take it out.
I also know that there are people who do lie about it and that is unfortunate but people also lie about being many other things too. I do not feel it should tarnish DID as a whole.
Then add TV and movies that grossly exaggerate symptoms that leave anyone who watches them to think that a person with DID morphs in to totally different people every 10 minutes and the switching is obvious to anyone around.
There ARE times when the switching is very obvious but this tends not to be the bulk of most peoples experiences. I know with myself? You have to know me VERY well to know when I have switched. Only the most observant people do. My Helpers are excellent at “holding down the fort” while I am dissociated to a point that few people even notice.
There are exceptions. I have Ali, a young girl who comes out occasionally and she likes to draw pictures for people. They are obviously drawn by a child and nothing at all like the artwork I can do now.
Hannah and Faith are very young and non-verbal. They do not come out very often at all but when they do? It is obvious to anyone that something is very wrong. Both tend to try to hide, make themselves very small, one pulls her hair over her face while the other just stares blankly at you with fear.
Julie is the most common one though and you need to be very observant to catch her taking over. There are differences though. She is bolder, doesn’t mind a good fight/confrontation, she gets things done SWIFTLY and she doesn’t mind getting in your face to make it happen. I am NOT like that. She will usually limit speaking so no one will notice unless she is going head first in to some “battle”.
Tilly is always in mourning as she is the one that lost our son and holds most of those memories. She cries an awful lot. 😦
Connie, Shawna and Tracey take care of the intimate parts of my marriage. Some people may not find this funny so I apologize in advance but I’ve jokingly told my husband at different times how lucky he is to get to sleep with 3 different women and only need to support 1. From what I hear, the all behave very differently. Lucky guy! He doesn’t disagree. 😉 I can not believe I just admitted to this on my blog. Oh dear heavens…
Most of the others come our rarely and I do not know them very well. Inner communication has not been established and if they do come out? I can not really say who it is. There is still a lot of “I have no idea” in my life.
For the most part, people with DID (myself included) just look like everyone else. We act like everyone else and we can have full lives. We are sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, friends… complete and whole humans in every way.
And my anger?
I do not advertise or tell people about my DID mostly due to fear of the naysayers. I will let people just think I am “moody” or that I am unstable due to that fear. I warily told my closest friends and family 2 years ago but no one in my community knows. Why? Because it really hurts when someone looks at your reality and tells you it isn’t possible, doubts your sanity, or says you are a liar. Sadly this does not only come from people who do not know us. It can come from our own psychiatrists, therapists, (former) friends, and family members.
For someone to just dismiss the possibility that we know ourselves and trust that we are not attention seeking idiots? It’s a slap in the face.
This diagnoses is not a fun one for us to have. I can not speak for anyone else here but I have heard it is the reality for many persons with DID that we spend an average of 10 years in the mental health system and nothing ever really works well for us no matter how hard we try until someone finally figures it out. It’s DID. It is as much a shock to us to even imagine as it is for most people. We do not recall these Helpers or what they do so it is hard for us to imagine it. I know I fought my diagnoses a lot at first. I am sure others do too. We don’t WANT this any more than someone wants depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, OCD or any other mental illness. It is hard enough to deal with it all without needing to prove ourselves like we are a circus act.
This bothered me A LOT in the past and still gets on my nerves now but I have an easy answer for them all. I tell them that they need to live inside my head and TRY to live my life for a week before they just assume that my reality is bulls**t. Seriously? I could use the vacation! If nothing else? This shuts them up.
My entire reason for this blog is to do more than just shut people/naysayers up. This blog was created to help educate anyone that I can reach. I hope it is enough to give this world a little more understanding and compassion.