Dear Boss, today was different.

I’m just as confused as you are. I know you’re dying to ask how one day I can be the gal with the haunted vacant look, moving robotically in the office, steadily working, but trying to stay hidden from the world. And then, the very next day, I can interrogate someone for an hour and a half, and get a couple of admissions in the process. Trust me, I’m never sure if the magic will show up when I need it. The magic in this case was Sabrina. She’s the calm, cool, collected interrogator that looks like a sweet librarian with her cardigan and pulled up hair, but make no mistake, she is waiting for the target to slip up with his words.

Me? Hell, Sabrina got me into this profession. If it was up to me I would have been a writer in a cave somewhere far away from the populace. Sabrina is handy because she can bring the intensity that’s necessary for this job. She can write, analyze and look for patterns. Oh, yes, and she can argue. But, she’s no diplomat. You would never want to send her to the U.N. That’s where we get into trouble, along with the fact that she has a temper.

I listened to the audio file of the interrogation after it was over, and it still stuns me to not quite recognize myself when I hear my voice. It’s my voice, and it isn’t. It has a self-confidence I do not normally possess. It excites me and terrifies me to hear such quick thinking, yet have little recollection of it.

Unfortunately, once the interesting part of the job is over for the day, Sabrina disappears as well. I wish that weren’t the case, but I don’t seem to have control over that at the moment. I’m left with a moving carousel of parts, which is why you see confusing and differing parts of me. You see uber confident Sabrina during interrogations; vacant, depressed Belle when triggered; at lunch time, Letty jonesing for a sandwich if we’re running late to eat; and me when there’s a heavy writing assignment that allows me to close the door to my office.

I’m sitting in your office chatting with you when one of the gals pops her head in and says that the number 2 guy in the agency wants to speak with me on the phone. Usually, it is not good news to get a phone call from this guy, especially at my level. I’m not exactly one of the big dogs. You and I exchange terrified looks, and we head to my office together. I answer the phone with my heart in my throat, and I hear, “Beatriz, what did you do? The interrogation must have gone well! Did you Perry Mason him? This is great! Good job! He’s spinning out. You must have really hit a nerve.” I couldn’t find my words for a bit, likely because it wasn’t Sabrina on the phone with him. I looked over at you, and smiled. You could tell that it was okay.

A Letter To My Boss

I have dissociative identity disorder. You do not know this, and cannot know this. If you did know this, the pieces of the puzzle would finally fall into place for you. Alas, I cannot tell you. It would be too scary for both of us.

I lost the run of myself yesterday. One of my parts leaked out sideways when I became upset with one of our attorneys who causes me to have more than a few face palm moments. His thoughtlessness brought on an anger in one of us that rendered the me you know to the backseat of my system. I felt like a spectator to myself watching me tell you in a very demonstrative manner how thoughtless he was, and how the office had different standards for him, and I vehemently disagreed with you about changing the date of the event because of his carelessness. I don’t remember all of it, but I do recall I felt crapped upon by him, and was quite angry about it.

Later you came back to talk to me about it, and, initially, I didn’t know what you were talking about. I must have shifted again. When you started talking about what happened it all slowly started coming back to my consciousness.

I asked you what your experience was with the interaction. You said you wish it had gone differently. I’m with you on that sentiment. Sometimes I think you may suspect the DID because you asked me if I remembered certain parts of the interaction. We had a good conversation about it, and you asked if you could suggest to me in the future to take some time to myself when you sense I’m getting emotional. I said it was a good idea, except that I’ll always assume I’m in trouble. And then you suggested that you could say to me to take some time for myself, that we’re good, and to come talk to you when I’m ready. It’s a very kind and understanding suggestion, and I have to tell you that I feel broken that you need to make such accommodations. I wish I could be the girl wonder employee I used to be long ago in 2007 before my PTSD and DID came rolling out of me like a broken hot water heater.

These days I try to hide it all, to no avail. It all inevitably leaks out. I’m sure you notice the vacant look I sport when I’ve had a haunted night of nightmares. Days like that I usually also have “second day hair.” No amount of dry shampoo can completely fix that with my naturally oily hair.

Thank you for the undeserved kindness. I wish I could tell you all this about me, but it’s not a good idea to do that. And, so, from afar, I’ll appreciate you, and try to be better.

Spectacular Failure

I failed at something I loved, spectacularly failed. I never thought the end would be like this, but, alas, it is. I now question myself constantly. What else could I have done?  Could the outcome have been different if I had never said anything? But now it is known, even if I’m not believed the secret is out. It is no longer a secret that this person gaslights, and makes you doubt your sanity by denying the truth of what you experienced. The denial of that experience is far more destructive than the original inappropriate behavior. It makes for more interesting reading if I put forth examples of this crazy-making behavior. However, in the interest of discretion, I should not, though I ache to convey the insanity.

There’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve experienced where as the complainant I became persona non grata when I was previously well-received by the same people who now will not even say “good morning.” Some of these people I adored, and had respected greatly. When you originally assess that a person is credible, lovely and a good judge of character, it can be a jolt to your system when that same person no longer speaks to you with no explanation. I’ve cried over it, theorized about it. And now I have to move on, and accept that it will forever be one of the mysteries of my life. I have to work to make this experience not define me, though it is hard to stay out of that tendency.

It’s hard to go back to my okayish self. I’m out of that job with a new one, but the scars remain. I get freaked out easily, and still question my reality and my sanity. I want it to be behind me, but there it is, like a March mud season that does not relent.

I tell myself that it’s okay to come out to the living again. But the fear is right there beneath the surface, ready to bloom to defense or flight at a moment’s notice.

I tell myself that I am more than just a job. I am more than a document I produce. I need to not leave this earth of my accord, despite the nightmares and the flashes of visions where I go into oblivion.

I drive very little these days because I get in that floaty cloudy state far too often. I’m on the bus a lot, and it seems I’ve found my people. The woman who speaks to herself at the bus stop is my sister, my sister in confusion and trying to make a life with a brain that works differently from the rest of the world. The homeless guy on the bus is all of us trying to make it in this life. The mom with 3 kids on the way to the mall is going to give her kids a fun Friday night, just like other moms all over the country endeavor to do on a Friday night. On the bus I can sit there and silently cry about the job I no longer have, and the people I no longer see. There’s a quiet acceptance of each other on this bus-the homeless guy that needs a shower, the woman that talks to herself, the mom with 3 kids that are full of noise and laughter, and me with my head against the window with a broken heart, but a hope for all of us on that bus.