Shame

Shame

I’m feeling a little off today. I had a great day at a fun craft fair (this was written on Sunday because I will be too busy to write this on Wednesday), I had good sales despite a very low turnout, I had some great conversations with other vendors and my work was complimented repeatedly. I feel like I SHOULD feel very happy about my day. The recipe for a good day was completed but somehow the directions were wrong. There is something missing.
I felt it all day.

Before going away for professional help in 2013, NO ONE knew my secrets. I mean no one. Not even one person in this world knew what happened except for me. Even the abusers only knew what they did. I never told one about another. I did try to get help but I would always fail/give up before hardly getting started. If someone doubts the first thing you tell them, you are very unlikely to tell them anything else. Without even realizing it, most adults unintentionally buy the silence of abused children by showing the smallest smidgen of doubt.
“Are you really sure this is what happened?”
“We don’t want to say anything untrue do we?”
“It’s very important that you tell me the truth here.”
If anything even remotely like this is said? We fear not being believed and if we are not believed then we put ourselves at risk for further harm. We feel unsafe.
Silence is now bought and paid for.

After 2013, a very small group of people knew what happened to me. A VERY small group. My nurses in the hospital, a few trusted friends from within the Complex PTSD circles, a good friend and really no one else. Not even my own husband. It was enough though. At that time it felt so freeing just to have a few people know and still be silent with all others. In all truthfulness? That was the extent of my circle.

I still do not feel the need to expose all the “dirty little details” but I am starting to make friends with people outside my Complex PTSD friends and I feel like I am beginning to hide again. I admit to having PTSD but I never say why. I actually feel like I am starting to present myself as 2 very distinct people (and not in a dissociative way). I feel that I am not being truly authentic.

When I began this blog, I chose to not show my full name anywhere. Heather is my real first name and Helpers are my DID pals but my identity was otherwise rather well hidden.

Now there are people who know me personally who read this blog. They can go back and readΒ  over my other posts and piece together little bits if they choose but in the spirit of being and staying positive, I never list details of anything that I’ve been through. I have no interest in changing that because I am VERY proud of this blogs reputation of being positive, informative and honest. Compliments that I hold near and dear to my heart and thank you to all who’ve said it. πŸ™‚

So here is where I feel a bit weird. I am feeling a bit like I am keeping secrets from people. I am meeting all of these new people and I am presenting only one side of myself. The artistic, capable, social Heather. I like those parts of myself but I will admit that I’ve been too afraid to discuss my real diagnoses with anyone. I admit to the PTSD but never to the DID. I am so afraid that I will be viewed as a crackpot. I am afraid to lose these new friendships. I am afraid of losing their respect. Suddenly I am feeling as though I am only showing half of me because of my willingness to offer secrecy and silence due to the fear of being judged.

You see… DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) is a huge part of who I am. It affects my life on a daily basis. By not divulging it to those I am getting to know rather well, it can lead to misunderstandings, mistrust and even hurt feelings. If I do not allow people to know that I quite often just disappear then have no memory at all of that time, they can take my behavior or things said in the wrong way. Quite often people feel like I just don’t pay attention to them and that is so incredibly untrue. They feel ignored rather than understanding how deeply I dissociate.
If I was just choosing not to tell people and I felt good about it? That would be wonderful but I am choosing not to say anything due to fear.
Oh, let me just be honest. I feel ashamed.
The silence and secrecy that got me in to a terrible place in my past is sneaking back in insidiously because I am fighting shame.

There has to be a way to be authentic without scaring people away?
How do you keep the respect of others who really may not understand?
What do you do to avoid the feelings of shame if the answer is NOT breaking your silence?
Where on earth is that fine line? The balance?

I know for certain that I am not alone. I read these comments in my support group, in emails from others with DID, and discussions with doctors. Will there ever be a day when we will not feel the need to hide, be silent or feel so ashamed?

We are not broken people. We were broken by others. Why do we feel the shame and they do not?

I am sorry to leave this post off like this. I really like to end on a positive and helpful note but today I just do not feel that way at all. I promised to always offer you my honesty and for right now, this is where I am. Perhaps I needed to bare my soul so that others can as well? Who knows but there is always a reason for what I do even if I am not aware of what it is at the time. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for listening.

25 responses to “Shame

  1. I hear you heather. Its awful that we did folk feel the need to hide so much. Others with other diagnoses dont feel like that so much, its that did is so stigmatised still. Hopefully it is getting better though and people are becoming more accepting of it. XX

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    • I do agree that it is getting better for sure. I think we rate up there with almost any disorder that included psychotic features because we also often hear voices and some of us hear/see things that are not really there. We are not psychotic in any way but we can appear to be. Know what I mean? It’s such a long road to real acceptance but I have found acceptance with my husbands family and that has been a huge blessing. I hope that you also feel that from someone???
      I got your other email and I will send you my info when I get a moment. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are awesome .. Reading your blogs has made me finally feel like im so alone cause I seem to be so different .. Everyone likes to either tell me I’m crazy or that I have been a “f” up for the last 20 yrs and want me to go away to rehab or really anywhere and come back “nomal” . I go and always come back me to the disappointment of my foot who’s at I’m pushing this way like I have everyone else .. I just wish they could see that if I could be that person they want I would have already done it and as much as they are ashamed of me it couldn’t be as much as I am of me …. Thanks for sharing . It helps ✌️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your honest and open message.
        I will tell you that I was in a situation so much like yours and the people around me just wanted me to get over it all. Over time, I pulled away from each of these people (not easy as they were mostly close family) and started to build a new web of friends made up of people who like me for who I am now. I have come to realize that I am really not the one with the negative issues. Those belong to all the ostriches in my family with their heads stuck under the sand.
        I truly hope you can start to build a healthy circle of support and gradually pull away from this who make you feel any less than perfect just the way that you are.

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      • I’m glad you found my blog helpful, it’s good to not feel so alone XXx

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  2. The answers will come. It’s important that you feel safe too. xxx

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  3. Heather i love your honesty, its not always possible to end on a positive note, i love your blog for you saying how it is for you. Reading that post hit close to home for me as i am riddled with shame and always present only part of myself to people, so i know how difficult and uncomfortable it is in not revealing ones full self. I wish i had an answer, but i dont, i just wanted to tell you thank you for that post, it makes me feel less alone. Renee

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    • Thank you Renee. Feeling less alone helps me too.
      I think we both search for feeling authentic? What to say, what not to say, what to show and what not to show is a terribly confusing line to walk on isn’t it?

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  4. Sometimes, not sharing a particular piece of information about yourself doesn’t mean that it’s a secret. You can also choose to keep something private. Take care.

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    • I totally agree. It is not really the info that I worry about sharing. It is the DID moments. I fear hurting someone, appearing as a liar, forgetting important conversations… When people know you have DID, these things make more sense to them. Know what I mean?
      The details are mine to keep. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Heather, I am so sorry you’re feeling low. You have had a busy few weeks with the craft fairs, which I know from experience is pretty exhausting, so perhaps you need a bit of rest and pampering? 😊
    There was a programme on BBC last night about childhood abuse looking into why the children kept quiet. I could only watch a few minutes. Highlighting this is a good thing, but l feel concerned that people who have suffered abuse will be pressured into disclosing more details than they are comfortable with.
    The shame is not ours. It belongs to the abusers and those who chose not to believe.
    Many cwtches Heather – be kind to yourself. X

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    • Thank you Wendy. Very few people know my story and very few ever will. It is a big story and a burden upon ones heart. I feel it when I hear other peoples really horrible stories as well. If you have a heart, it will surely sink a bit when you hear of these things.
      I could have written that documentary but it would have only been 30 seconds long. Children keep quiet because the adults who know the truth tell the children they will be seen as a liar and if that chil is brave enough to reach out? That is exactly what happens. Silence is bought cheaply.
      Thank you for your kind words and your never-ending friendship Wendy.

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  6. When we are getting to know people we don’t start with disclosing our most vulnerable parts of ourselves. This is something people have to earn by showing they are trustworthy.

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  7. It is difficult when people don’t even think of things like you have been through. I admit PTSD from abuse and trauma. I figure, get it out of the way. I do think it is a double edge sword. Tell them if the time feels right. It is interesting nobody asked why you have PTSD. If you find yourself in an incident where you have a DID experience, afterwards, tell the people involved that you really enjoy their friendship, cherish it and don’t want to lose it due to DID that happens to you, but IT IS NOT WHO YOU ARE. You are someone who deals with it. We all have burdens in life but we should not be afraid of them. Be conscious they are there, that’s all. Tell them you mean no harm, ever. If they can’t accept that, then they can’t accept something in themselves and it has little to do with you. You are still authentic no matter what you choose to divulge. We don’t have to over explain ourselves to others, especially when they don’t ask. But, if you feel you have hurt someone due to DID, then let that person know. No shame, and not a secret. Good luck with your new friendships, that is exciting!

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    • Thank you for this. You really nailed my worry… it is not really the DID but the fear of having a DID moment and doing something that offends or hurts others. Even with people who know me well and know about the DID have been hurt and some have not been able to really forgive me which is very hard because I have no memory of doing it. 😦 Thank you for your kindness and taking time to comment. Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Heather. I recently found and started following your blog. It’s been very helpful for me. I just wanted to tell you I appreciate you writing all you do about what your experience has been. I’m trying to come to terms with my DID and still don’t even like saying it. But there’s nothing wrong with it, I don’t look down on others with it. So why do I with myself?? I think there’s something to that shame thing for sure. Thanks for posting!

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    • I appreciate your comment. Feeling alone is horrible and at least here, we can feel less alone right?
      Most people with DID are very intelligent, creative and accomplished. We expect a LOT from ourselves and looking “less than” is a worry (at least for me). I try to be as kind to myself as I am to others but truthfully? I don’t expect others to be as kind to me as I am to them. It hasn’t worked that way during a huge portion of my life. I hope you will keep reading and keep commenting. Have a great week!

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  9. Heather new or old, real friends stay friends. Being truthful is the best way to start any friendship. Don’t be ashamed be proud. Stand tall. This is you and your life change for no one if they can not accept the negative and positive aspects of you my friend then they do not deserve your loyalty and friendship. No one is perfect

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  10. I totally understand what you mean, overall your fear about your DID monents with them, lack of control and responsibility for one’s actions. I ‘ve passed through it. In my case I think it is more the lack of control than the consequences of DID actions.

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  11. Eileen Matthews

    Heather, you are opening up and sharing, the fear about that will disappear after a while……it must be hard, but you are able to say it so eloquently…..

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