To the dude from last summer and the summer before that

We have to stop meeting this way. I am putting a stop to it, against my addictive urges.

We are not going to meet tomorrow night.

I want to see you, but I can’t.

I never told you that I’m a sex and love addict in recovery, and that I have dissociative identity disorder. Previously, I told you that I have PTSD and a severe dissociative disorder. That was my way of downplaying my DID. I know I did this because DID is most definitely unsexy. It’s so not sexy that it’s unsexy.

I rationalized getting intimate with you too soon two summers ago because I liked you. I told myself it was okay because it wasn’t casual sex as casual sex is my bottom line behavior. But then we went our separate ways, and we’ve just had false starts since then.

Out of nowhere I hear from you the same day that I learn of a loss that I’m grappling with. I can’t trust myself to go out with you when I am feeling this way. I have to sit with this loss, feel it, and not try to numb it away by being with you.

I can see myself going to bed with you, and regretting it when I don’t hear from you for another 6 months.

I am no longer interested in playing out this script. I am throwing it away. I truly hope you have a good life.

Be well,

Beatriz

a hard thing

The day before yesterday I learned that Sara, a WordPress blogger, took her own life. I’ve been bereft since then, mainly because I feel I have no right to feel this way. For a period of time, Sara and I corresponded after she posted about her experience at Sheppard Pratt. In that particular posting she ranted in that brilliant and funny way of hers about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). I resonated with her rant because I also find it exhausting that too many of these places that treat PTSD and DID put all their eggs in the DBT basket. DBT is not a bad concept, it certainly has its’ good points … but please it is not the be all and end all cure for PTSD. I had completed a stay at Mclean Hosptial’s residential program for traumatic and dissociative disorders, and it was interesting for both of us to hear about each other’s experiences in what many consider the top two psychiatric programs for PTSD in the country. From our correspondence you could see that we both found our programs acceptable, but way too ballyhooed for their own britches.

Sara was much more articulate than I was in ranting about it. I wish I could recall the specifics of what she wrote.

I am most disappointed in myself because I fell out of contact with her. It’s one of those things that happens when life gets in the way.

I will further admit that I became aware that Sara lived less than a 3 hour drive from me. In the back of my mind I planned to tell Sara that I lived close enough to drive to her, and I would ask if she would like to meet. But, it never came to pass. My own life struggles take center stage far too often, and that plan never got off the back burner. Now it will never be.

I sit here stuck now in front of my laptop computer, immobilized from disappointment and undeserved grief.

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.