Finding out that I had Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was a shock. That sentence doesn’t come even half-arsed close to how overwhelming the diagnoses was. To be honest? Almost 3 years later? I still feel shocked. I still wonder if it is really true. I don’t need society to not believe in DID, many people who truly have it can find it hard to believe.
I look back now and laugh a little bit at what I thought was wrong with me. I was depressed, suicidal, silent, in incredibly emotional pain and constantly hurting from “phantom” pains that I could not explain. I remember being sent to Homewood (the hospital PTSD program I was admitted to in January 2013) and being 99% certain that if they actually knew what I was thinking? I’d be put in a locked and heavily padded cell and never let out again.
I heard voices. LOTS of voices. How did I explain that to myself? I was certain that I had a connection to the afterlife that was so strong that I could hear their wishes, wants and frustrations.
I saw hallucinations. I explained that away by assuming that was also my dead loved ones coming back to see me but looking different from how they did on earth.
I do believe that I have a strong connection to those who have passed and I believe spiritually that they never really leave us but this was way deeper than that.
Something a lot of people do not realize is that people who have DID are usually the last to know about it. We don’t go to our doctors assuming that we have this obscure diagnoses. We go because we are confused, we miss time, we feel “pulled” in many differing emotional directions about a singular event.
I had all this but I really believed with all my heart that my true diagnoses when they figured it all out would be “Batsh*t Crazy”. I am not joking. I was either insane, had a brain tumour or I was just plain batsh*t crazy. I assumed it was door #3.
It took me a long time to accept the diagnoses. I believed the doctors and nurses. They were professionals with YEARS of dedicated service to people with severe PTSD. I believed them but I didn’t believe in “it”.
Wasn’t Dissociative Identity Disorder” a crock of poop?
Wasn’t it a clever way used by monsters to beat a murder conviction?
Sybil was a majorly popular movie and book that saw the diagnoses of DID skyrocket only to later learn that none of her story was true.
I checked out the YouTube channels of persons claiming to have DID and while I can not say if they are being truthful or not, they present wildly differently than I do. I am not dressed like a street-walker with heavy make-up one minute and then suddenly call for a “switch” like you would in a game and suddenly this male person would appear. Off comes the make-up, up goes the hair, out comes a deep voice… Perhaps this is how it goes for them but for me and other people I have met with DID, it is far less flashy.
I am not one to say who is telling the truth or not and that is not what I mean here. I am just saying that how many people portray it is exactly opposite to how I experience it.
DID for me is smoother. One Helper can flow in as another flows out. I come back out front and no one around me even realizes that I have been gone. Heck, sometimes I don’t realize that I’ve been gone.
Have you ever been listening to someone and suddenly your mind drifts to something else you need to think about? Suddenly they ask you a question and you have NO CLUE what they are talking about? For me DID is much more like that except it is not me daydreaming or thinking of some other chore on my list. It is a Helper coming in for some reason and leaving when they feel I am safe again. I have no memory of any thoughts at all while I am gone.
When I did eventually believe I had DID… basically because everyone who knew me had the same reaction to the diagnoses “Oh THAT is what it is!” and my very quiet and sweet husband said in an unusually stern voice, “Seriously Heather. Accept it. You have it.” that I finally accepted the professionals were right.
It was made much easier by having so many people who saw it in me and knew it was true. It really helped me a lot.
So why the name “Helpers” for my alters (other than I strongly dislike the word “alters” for some reason.)?
Well… that is easy. I have a very firm belief that the only reason why I am alive today is because I had the Helpers to help me throughout my life. Without them absorbing some of the trauma, I would not be able to bear it all by myself. I believe in large part, I have DID to thank for that. I don’t bear my trauma alone. My Helpers carry it with me. It is still a heavy load but being able to share it is a blessing. Not the curse that I once envisioned it to be.
They are my Helpers because they helped me to survive.
It is also very important that they are looked at in a positive light. There are other names that just don’t give me a positive vibe. I find that professionals also tend to speak about other identities as though they are a dirty word. They are something to be erased. Integration is often the goal. In my case? Erasing the parts of me that helped my survive is the last thing I want to do.
I am out front almost all the time now. I have more say in how my Helpers behave. As a team, we’ve overcome some huge obstacles and we work better together now. I can regain control while still being thankful and respectful to those that helped me the most.
I am going to talk a bit more about my Helpers next week. Who they are, what they handle, why they take over, and how they have changed over the past 3 years now that they have me accepting them and making a place for them in my life.
I hope you all have a great weekend whether you live alone in your mind or carry a crew with you every place you go. Hugs all! ❤