Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Many of you know that I have dissociative identity disorder. I thought I was doing better, but yesterday one of my selves, Letty, came out in a very public way. Thankfully, it was not at work.

But still, it was mortifying. Blessedly, people were kind, calm and understanding. I am beyond lucky that this was the case.

Has anyone else had this experience?

I don’t know what to do, and it feels like the real world is closed to me.

Whiteout

It’s just like any other road trip that is expected to be uneventful. You get in the car, and all is calm without a hitch. Ten miles into your trip the snow starts falling in such innocuous flakes at first that they could almost be dandruff. Not to disappoint though, the snow picks up, and before you know it, it’s a big deal. It happened so incrementally that you initially did not panic, but you are now in that place where you know you cannot go back, you cannot pull over, you can only go forward ever so slowly. It’s that kind of situation where you know in your heart that at the end of this trip you will either reach your destination with the feeling of a victor finishing a grueling marathon, or you will meet your demise in your some horrible car accident that is the stuff of nightmares.

And that is the current state of affairs with DID integration.

Once I accepted the diagnosis it was a bit interesting at first, learning more about myself, figuring things out, etc. Discovering Letty was even a joy once I got passed the scared stage. Up until recently I had the idea that her purpose was to “keep a look out” for danger. The “keep a lookout” part was only half the story. The person she’s looking out for, apparently, is the other piece of the puzzle …

“He be comin’ back!”

“Who’s coming back, sweetie?”

“My Dad is comin’ back! He’s comin’ back! I wish everyone would stop sayin’ he’s not comin’ back! It’s mean!”

“Honey, no one is trying to be mean. It’s just that he’s very sick, and that is why he cannot come back to us. I know he wishes he could. We wish he could, but he can’t. Remember when I told you that he is addicted? That is a kind of sick.”

“But … but shouldn’t we go see him to tell him that we love him so he knows?”

“Oh honey, I wish we could. But it wouldn’t be good for us to try to do that.”

“You be like everybody else that tries to tell me to stop. I’m not gonna stop lookin’ for him. I not gonna stop …”

And she cries, and cries ,and cries. I am beyond exhausted.

Unrelated, or maybe it’s related, who knows … I’m taking an introduction to chemical dependency class for my own knowledge, and even reading the textbook gets Letty going.

Alcohol dependence is a progressive and fatal disease for those unable to exercise abstinence from alcohol.

“He be comin’ back!”

“Cirrhosis of the liver for those unable to stop drinking is an inevitable …”

“He comin’ back! You’ll see!”

Yep, I’m definitely in the midst of the whiteout.

You are sick

You are sick.

And, when you start to feel the physical pain of that sickness it takes you back, back to that place when you were a kid with a dangerous fever. You felt like you were dying, but you were told to stop putting on a show. But, it was real, and the reality of sitting at Thanksgiving dinner with a fever has never left you. The memory of the doctor admonishing your parents for taking so long to take you to the doctor still rings in your ears.

And then there was the time you threw up right in the middle of reading group, in fact, you threw up all over the reading group table. You threw up there because you did not want to go to the school nurse’s office because she would surely send you home. And if you were sent home your mother would be called, and she could not afford to come get you.You were already in trouble because you told the nurse the last time you were sick that Omega, the next door neighbor your mother put down as the alternate emergency contact, scares you because she drinks too much. So, your mother is the only person they will call, but if they call her she will have to come and get you, and that means that she won’t be paid for the rest of the day. But, you threw up in reading group! So, of course, they call your mother. She comes to get you, she gets mad at you, and she does not get paid. You could have written the script yourself at the time.

You’re trying to tell yourself that sickness is not the same now. You are not in trouble, and you are not going to die, and you will certainly get paid while you use sick days. Though you know you will get paid, you can’t help but ask the doctor for a note excusing you from work, just in case. It feels kind of dumb because you know you don’t need it, but you still ask for it, and you take it, and put it in your purse. You hate the fact that having it just makes you feel better.

You implore yourself to come back from the past, and leave it be. No one will be angry at you for taking care of yourself. No one will yell at you for saying you are sick. You can speak the truth of your illness with no fear. You are no longer reliant on your parents for care. You can take care of yourself, and make your own choices about your health. The nightmare of neglect is over.

You know it’s over, but part of you does not know this. And therein lies the problem. The second day of your illness you wake up with a sore tender spot on your head, as if you banged your head. But you have no recollection of banging your head, and you know that it was likely one of your alters, or one of your peeps, as you call them. You’re too tired to inquire extensively within. You’re too sick, and too tired, so all you do is beg. You beg the system to not act out, to not hurt the body. It’s all you can do, it’s all you have the energy to do because you are sick.