Shattered

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I highly doubt that I will ever forget the day that I sat in a small counselling room with my nurse Mike and his nurse in training Nadia. Mike was a very straightforward man but he knew how to place his words gently when needed. He had been watching and meeting with me for weeks by the day of this day and I assumed this meeting would be like the others. Helpful with some answers and confusing with some new questions.

On this day he had brought me there to tell me that he felt that I had DID. A “real” case. I’d had another meeting a day or two beforehand where the idea was presented to me but all I recall from that meeting was lots of people telling me this is how they felt and they all agreed on my having DID… and I dissociated almost immediately within that meeting because it was too much to handle. Bits and pieces of that day have come back but it was this day with Mike and Nadia is the one I remember a clear as day. Mike had gotten VERY Good at knowing when I was dissociating and getting me grounded again before proceeding so I actually recall most of my meetings with him.

“I believe that you have Dissociative Identity Disorder Heather. I’ve been here 30 years and never seen a case such as yours but everything fits. It all makes sense. You definitely have DID.” He then asked me how I felt about him saying that and I recall being of two minds. One side said “Oh thank goodness for an answer! I am so relieved!” The other side said “No fu***ng way! NOT ME!” I spent the next weeks learning a little more about it. I found out that the 3 dead people who I spoke to all the time were actually alters. It wasn’t long before more alters came forward as I started being open to actually speaking to and acknowledging them. It was a very strange process and I was so incredibly afraid of telling my loved ones. I actually did not tell them for quite some time after I knew for fear of them all leaving me as my birth family had for far crappier reasons. I went away to the hospital with depression and was coming back with that and very Complex PTSD, Generalized Anxiety and DID. I felt that all this was just “too crazy”. They all knew I was crazy but that was just “too crazy”.

Other than fear I felt something that I’d never experienced before. The beginnings of inner peace.
For my whole life I felt like I was desperately trying to keep it all together and find creative ways to explain things I did not recall doing, being places I did not recall being, knowing things that didn’t match up with what someone else knew. I felt eternally confused and in constant fear of people finding out how crazy I really was.  When you have DID and don’t know it? The world is an especially confusing place. I thought at different times that I just wasn’t paying attention and that is why I could not recall things. When I missed days or even weeks, I wondered if I had a brain tumour. When someone would say “I told you that” or “You were invited”, I had NO memory of those things and wondered if my tumour was Alzheimers.

When I finally accepted my new diagnoses (it took a while), I felt a new feeling. I felt shattered. I felt angry that my mother had been so horrible that my brain actually needed to split itself in to pieces just to survive. Any word that you can use to explain the feeling of not being whole? I felt it.
On one hand it was such a relief because this finally explained so much but on the other hand? It was terrifying. It would be almost a year before I was able to truly accept the diagnoses and rename my “alters”. They became my “Helpers” and I began seeing them as parts and pieces of a system that kept me alive. Not some group of hooligans that existed to make my life even more hellish.

There are still many days where I feel shattered. Like someone took my mind and tossed it in to the air like a glass vase. Crash! Pieces everywhere. Impossible to fix even with the best glue. You can stick it all back together and it can even be beautiful in a new way but it will never be what it once was. I needed to grieve that loss and honestly? I still really haven’t.

I feel especially fragmented these days. There are many of my Helpers that need some serious attention but I do not honestly have time each day to do that. Perhaps I should say that I don’t MAKE time.
Why don’t I?
Fear.
The fear of not being able to fill their needs. Some are easy and I can use my own self to take care of certain needs but I struggle BIG TIME with the little ones who want their mommy. They do not need my actual mother. They want a mommy. Someone who can hug them and tell them it is okay. Someone who thinks they are special just for being themselves. I can love them. I can care for them. I can take care of most of their needs but they need a mommy and I still need one too. Sorry if that makes me sound pathetic but I am really grieving that a lot right now. Not only did my mother never offer that love to me decades ago but she is still out actively trying to find now and clever ways of making my life a living hell. It is VERY difficult to reconcile this in your brain.

That shattered woman whom I found 2 years ago is still here but I am less shattered than I was. There are pieces that I’ve fit together and the vase has an actual shape now. It still leaks like crazy when the rain is heavy and pieces keep falling off but slowly it is getting stronger and more sturdy as time passes. My recipe for the glue keeps getting better through trial and error.

I wish that no one could relate to this post because if you do? You have been through hell too and I am sorry about that. Truly sorry.
That said? I believe the glue becomes far stronger, far faster when we band together and help to make each other strong.

Shatter

15 responses to “Shattered

  1. Amazing, hopeful, honest. Thank you

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  2. You are remarkable.

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  3. This was beautiful and I want you to know that you are whole and you are lovely. When I feel like I’m going to shatter again, I think about what makes me strong. Your remarkable ability to talk so honestly about the pain you endured, and to share your story with others who are hurting–that is what makes you strong. It’s a gift, and I’m thankful I stumbled across your blog.

    I was diagnosed with complex PTSD a little over a year ago after traumatic sexual violence, and trying to forget is still a daily struggle for me. It has been a slow process. The whole organization banned together to protect the man who did this to me, and I was so shattered by it that for months I could not even get out of bed. Months went by and every day I actually prayed for my life to be over, but then the clouds slowly began to part and I slowly began to realize that I didn’t have to be a victim of what happened to me. Yes, it will hurt me for the rest of my life, and yes, it completely altered my brain chemistry, and I am who I am today because of that experience, but I refuse to give anybody the power to keep me in a state of misery. When I accepted that I can’t control what other people do, I found my strength. It’s people like you who are so honest who keep me going. I am so sorry for what your mother did to you. No child should endure what you endured but I want you to know that your struggle has given you a beautiful gift to share with the world.

    Thank you for this. It truly touched me.

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  4. Thank you for sharing as we relate so much it hurts. Xo

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  5. I am so sorry, Heather, and I wish I could help you as you have helped so many. Keeping you in my thoughts.

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  6. Its true — its so much better when we band together.

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  7. So relatable. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. x

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  8. I so get this. I also dissociated when I was told even though I suspected it before I went into therapy.
    There is nothing pathetic about a ‘motherless child’ needing a mother. It’s just sad, that’s all. If we see a small child crying for a mother who never comes, we don’t find them pathetic, do we? Our hearts go out to them and we feel the call and want to hug them. I feel it too and I’m very fortunate to have a therapist who gets it and is playing the role of mother to my littlies until I can do it.

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