just hold on

You’ve come to realize the depths of your self-loathing today. You subscribe to “dissociative identity disorder” google news alerts, and today you received such an alert. The news alert featured a story with a video of someone describing their experience with DID, and in the video the person briefly spoke using the voices of all of their alters. You find yourself wincing as you watch this, and you ask yourself Why? Why would I wince at this? You wince because you see how it looks to others. There’s no question it looks strange. You look strange enough in life (with your thick glasses and nondescript face, for starters), and to have another piece of strangeness (DID) juxtaposed upon your original strangeness sometimes feels like a strangle hold, an infinite prison of madness and weirdness.

As much as you have grown to love Letty, your younger alter, you hate having DID. You wish you could somehow give it back, return it, exchange it, anything but have it. But, that is not how this works. It’s not how it works with any mental illness. It’s here, ensconced in your being, and you have to learn how to cope with whatever ails you.

DID is the great division between you and the rest of the world. It’s the big secret that you have to constantly weigh when and if to disclose it to people. You know, you’ve heard it all …

“DID is what saved you, kept you from going insane, made it possible to survive your childhood.”

Lately, you truly wonder what the worth was in being saved. Saved to function in some half-assed way with the DID albatross? Yes, because that’s a full life, getting all triggery, and freaky from time to time with PTSD, DID or a lovely hybrid of both. And, you argue that DID helped you go insane. It most certainly did not protect you from mental illness.

If only DID was like a rock you could throw back into the ocean. Alas, no. DID is something you have to work around, like a part of the road that tends to flood. You either avoid that road when it rains, or you do the hard work to fix it.

DID is full body robbery. It robs your mind, your body and your voice, all at the same time. The professionals call it protection. Let’s dispense with the euphemisms. It’s robbery. You see people with similar talents to you, and you are keenly aware that they are going to surpass you. You are further aware that they are going to surpass you because they are not held back by mental illness. You can plot all your career setbacks, and they are all attributed to your DID or PTSD. Either you let promotions pass you by because you know you should minimize your stress, or you’ve had situations with people because you are so sensitive. It’s been abundantly clear to you that the best loves and friends you’ve lost can be connected back to these two issues. You despise that you are this way. You desperately want to NOT be DID, but you might as well throw a penny into a wishing well because that’s how likely your desire to NOT be DID will come true.

You find yourself again thinking of the news article that brought a spotlight to your self-loathing, and you realize your own hypocrisy in that you want people to accept you, DID and all, but you wince at the mere sight of someone telling their DID story on the news. Ok, so you’re a hypocrite, but now what? What is one to do with this information?

Right now, in this moment, all you can do is tell yourself that in another time, and another place, heck, maybe tomorrow, you will feel differently about yourself. You’ll be kinder and nicer, and you’ll be glad you’re here. Until then, all you can do is hold on, and try not freak any more people out along the way.

3 thoughts on “just hold on

  1. I am very sorry you feel this way about yourself. When I talk with all 7 of the girls in my wife’s network, I don’t ever see it as freakish. And you may not understand it, but my wife’s d.i.d. has taught me a lot about myself. We really aren’t so different than each other. I embrace so much more of myself, the warring factions within, the different perspectives and such realizing that the dissociation and ptsd is the main thing separating us, not the voices that I hear.

    I hope some day you will have people who will accept you and the others as is and help you along the healing path with that acceptance.

    Sam

  2. I hear your pain and struggle. I don’t have DID but I do have PTSD. I understand how it does hold me back in my career. Actually it cost me my career of 25 years that I loved. I work every day on accepting who I am and I am starting to see my brilliance and magnificence. My PTSD is bringing me deeper into life. So you are right you just have to hold on. It does get better. I was in the darkness for many years. Now I have only moments of darkness.

  3. Hi, Beatriz,

    It sounds like you are grappling on a deeper level, and you’re mourning the past — anger and resentment are a part of the grieving process. It’s a difficult thing to face and accept that where you are now is not only about environmental conditions in your early life but also how you responded to those conditions. You are an adult now, and you have the power and knowledge to take care of yourself. You no longer need to dissociate to protect your body and mind. Dissociation is no longer relevant to your response to your life. But you still dissociate because your mind hasn’t caught up with the times, along with all your peeps. I still dissociate sometimes, but now I know what it is and how to deal with it.

    Somewhere inside you is the part of you that is loving of yourself unconditionally. Right now, the part that is angry and resentful is the one to the front. That part does need to be heard, but challenge her, ask her questions, find out what she wants. She may have an important message for you that has nothing to do with what other people are doing or achieving. She may be trying to tell you HOW to move forward. But you may need to dig a bit, be patient, be gentle, show her that you can defend and protect her, listen and love.

    You have been in my thoughts. The holiday season has always been difficult for me, and most often when I can still be triggered. I learned finally that I need to take charge of my experience of the holidays and not let others determine my experience. It’s made a huge difference.

    Yes, hold on. Change is scary and hard. It makes sense there’d be some resistance and anger. But keep in the forefront of your mind that you are doing the best for all of you. Happy holidays!

    Cinda

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