When I first found out that I had Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), I thought it was the worst possible psychological diagnoses that could ever be given to a person. If you research it on almost any site, it will begin by saying something along the lines of how DID is the most severe and disabling of all the dissociative disorders.
I also feared that my friends and family would run screaming rather that deal with such a “broken” human being. These were not their feelings about it all. They were mine.
I felt broken, shattered, incomplete, weak, useless, seriously flawed, and impossible to “fix”. One write-up that I read said that having DID was like having a 3rd degree emotional burn. I truly felt so raw at the time that I would have said that was true.
Fast-forward 2 years and my feelings about it all have changed almost completely. Partially due to the help of a therapist who speaks of the incredible strength my mind must have within it to be able to help me survive. I like looking at it through his eyes.
My brain did not shatter. My brain took care of me! It whisked “me” away from danger and terror so that I did not need to feel the full force of it all. While Heather was tucked away for safety, other parts of me took over and bore the brunt of my abuse. I was still there and aware of a lot of it but I was also protected by this dissociative system. Due to this I/Heather got to do a LOT of things that I feel would have otherwise been impossible.
- My success in school no matter how many schools that I went to.
- Having boyfriends and eventually a husband.
- Raising my 3 children.
- Staying alive.
- Being quite mentally healthy for all I have been through. I am not saying I am healed or spared the pain of it all but I was blocked from enough that compared to my sisters whom did not have DID? Well… I am the only one still alive and/or living a far more successful life than they ever dreamed possible.
I was laying in bed last night and to be honest, it was a horrible night of pain that I can not explain, flashbacks while awake, nightmares when I closed my eyes, a heart rate that shot up sky-high more times that I could count. I was seeing hallucinations and hearing them as well but ONE thing kept me sane through it all. My Helpers. Julie is a bit of a crass gal and says many things that no one else might find funny but she knows how to make me laugh. I do not have easy communication between any other Helper the same way I do with Julie but due to her, I never really feel alone in dealing with anything.
I can not sit here and say that my life is easier because of DID. I have MANY challenges that others do not face. All my lost time, my confusion, the lack of clearer memories, emotions that I do not understand, pains that seem to have no cause, nightmares and flashbacks that make no sense to me at all yet somehow I know they are my experiences. It is hard to keep friendships and relationships going smoothly. Only the most accepting of people can manage the ups and downs of DID with me. I’ve had to give up the job that I worked my whole life to get… then give up many other jobs after that.
The list is long. It touches every area of my life.
All that said? I am still here which is miraculous. To live through my first 3 decades of life is a testament to my DID system. I called my other parts “Helpers” because to me, that is what they were. They have and still do help me through the twists and turns of my life.
I really want to take a minute toe thank my Helpers as well as those other DID systems I have heard about. The Troops, The Girls, Systems, Others, Buddies, Gangs, Bands, Friends, Companies, and Clubs who help others with DID live through their pasts and still try to help them here and now.
We are not weak, broken or flawed. We are strong, smart, creative and collectively powerful.