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 read 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. 🙂
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. 😉
Thanks for listening.