Dissociative Strength

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.

Zen Seaglass.

25 responses to “Dissociative Strength

  1. excellent post! I feel the same way–

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  2. Great post. I dissociate to cope at times. it is how I survived. I think it was a creative and brilliant skill I developed young in life. Great you have had many successes in your life. I know how hard it is to give up your job. After 25 years of working in an area I loved, I had to take a medical leave and have been unable to return. I miss it and grieve it every day.

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  3. Dissociation is a gift, at least that is my experience of it. What began as a response to trauma has become a life skill.

    Learning auto-hypnosis for labor and delivery was a snap, courtesy of my dissociative skills, and I have no memory of pain or even discomfort from my second child’s birth. Since then, it’s been a skill for dealing with unpleasant situations from root canals to uncomfortable airplane trips.
    While I wish that the things that caused me to develop a dissociative “disorder” had never happened, I have found that there are compensations.

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  4. I had wondered If it might not feel that way sometimes. I sometimes space out in an uncomfortable situation.

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    • Dissociation happens to everyone to different degrees. Like driving your car and suddenly being 10 minutes further down the road and not recalling driving there. If you have suffered trauma, usually the dissociations are a bit more complex but there are MANY dissociative diagnoses. DID is the worst but there are many less life altering ones as well.
      I am going to be adding some information about them in the next few weeks. 🙂
      Have a great day!

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  5. When you first told me about your DID Heather, it made perfect sense to me, as I’ve said before. It is sad that you have had to give up so much because of your diagnosis (it’s soul-destroying having to give up work/hobbies due to any illness – I know!), but it has enabled you to do so much too. Like being here. : ) How wonderful that you and others with DID can now see it as something good coming out of something terrible. Great blog!xx

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  6. Thanks it was refreshing to read as I’m so scared right now. I’m sure people will think I’m crazy. They’ll want to take my kids. I’m scared of it. I Dint know how to bring them out safely. I can’t do it on command they just take over. I’m so lost right now.

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    • I know it is hard but try to stop and take a deep breath.
      You are the same person that you were before you were diagnosed.
      I know it is terrifying and I remember that feeling so well. Heck, some days I still am.
      Very few of us can control who comes out and when. I will do a blog of setting some rules for the system. That might help you???
      And one piece of advice? Just start talking to them. Even if you feel like you are talking to yourself, you aren’t. They have been with you your whole life and have always protected you. They will continue with that.
      If you have any questions at all, just ask.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. So much. I need some help. System. Host. All of that i Dint get. I Dint know if or who is host. Co concious like what the hell? Thanks for doing a blog so others can read it. I did try the Converse thing in my head the other day and it freaked me it cos one did answer. Makes me feel nuts. Thanks. I’m crying cos somebody else gets it.

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      • Yeah, it is weird when you actually start to speak to them. I only have a few that speak to me but I am really used to it now and we actually joke a bit now. It’s not all serious stuff every second. 🙂
        Be patient with yourself. You are not nuts.
        If you have DID then you obviously went to hell and back. Your other parts were created to help you survive. Without them, you may not have. Having DID only proves that you are an incredible survivor.
        Do you feel that you are the host? The main person? A good clue is if you have memories from most of your life even if they are very broken up or spotty. If “you” have been around since the beginning, you are most likely the host.
        You can decide what you want to call them. I suggest making it a positive word though. I call mine Helpers because they helped me survive the survivable.
        Co-conscious is when you and a “Helper” can actually exist at the same time. That is a VERY basic explanation but the general idea. 2 people in the room rather than 1.
        I am so happy that you feel better after reading the blog. That is the whole reason why I started it.
        I wrote a blog on DID earlier in this process. You might find it helpful.
        http://heathershelpers.org/2014/09/12/dissociative-identity-disorder/

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      • Thank you. Very helpful

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      • Thank you. I reblogged it so i can read again.

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  7. I’ve so missed reading your blog due to password malfunction :/ you are so inspiring…thank you for giving hope to other people like me x

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  8. Password malfunction. Reminds me of somebody else who changed their password on me

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    • I don’t know if this would help you but I do not have the ability to change my passwords. My husband has “administrative control” over password changes so if any Helpers tries to go in, they can’t change anything without his code and he knows to NEVER give it out. Not even to me because Helper Julie can do a fake Heather VERY WELL.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Trauma and Dissociation and commented:
    There are positives in having Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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  10. You are strong, Heather, an inspiration

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