The Bus Terminal

I have to leave you behind at the bus terminal. It is time for us to board our separate buses. I want to be on your bus, but my ticket has a different number on it. I avoided it for a while by taking a longer layover, but in the end, I have a different destination from you. And the longer I delay my departure, the more time that passes before the inevitable will be clear to both of us: that I should have heeded my original bus ticket in the first place, when I realized we had different tickets.

You, who are kind beyond measure with my PTSD and dissociative disorder -I wish you were on my bus. But, alas, we are not even on the same busline. I will miss how you gently rub my head when I shake unexpectedly, and the fab way we baked that chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from scratch in my kitchen. We learned the difference between unsweetened cocoa and Dutched cocoa. I still have that container of unsweetened cocoa we accidentally bought at first, not realizing our mistake. We planned on doing something with it sometime. But sometime never came, and now there it sits on my pantry shelf. It will likely remain there. I like looking at it, thinking of you in this kitchen, bringing it to life with your presence.

Aside from baking and a fondness for board games, we have little in common. Before I forget, please keep my copy of Power Grid, the board game. I had not played it in years. Let it live on with your friends. Games should be played instead of gathering dust in a study. I will miss playing games with all of you.

My heart does not yearn for you the way it should when two people are in love. We have little to talk about, unfortunately. I think that’s why we usually tried to “do” things together because we both knew, on some level, there wasn’t a connection, a passion, a love -none of that was there. What we had was a friendship, for which I hope some day can be revived if you forgive me for all of this.

I yearn for your companionship, but not your heart, and that’s why my bus ticket is different from yours. We’ve hung out in this bus terminal for a good while, and it’s been a lovely, but I should catch my bus and stop dillydallying. My bus ticket is nonreturnable, and so is yours. As hard as it is, I must wish you well. It was the best layover ever, but we can’t spend our lives in this bus terminal. It’s time to find out where our buses will take us. One last hug, but I can’t turn back when I walk away.

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.

This is why you’re my favorite

The first time you called me I wanted to get back to watching Law and Order: SVU, mind you it was on Hulu Plus, so it’s not like I was forever going to miss a critical moment. Your Match.com profile seemed a tiny bit bitter in that you very specifically noted that “cheaters” should not contact you.When someone is compelled to put that it into their profile it means they’ve been cheated on. You confirmed my suspicion without any inquiry from me. I wondered if this fact would spill into your dating interactions, but it didn’t scare me off completely.

I reluctantly said yes when you asked me out, and where did you take us on our first date? You booked us at a Hibachi place, of all things. I was tempted to cancel. I loathe Hibachi meals, all the hullabaloo with the knives and the squirting of sake into open mouths, not to mention the sodium-heavy mediocre over-priced meal that we get to consume. But something inside me kept telling me to give it a shot, so I did. And sure enough I get there, and we are seated with a large party that is celebrating a 21st birthday. I silently groan inside. But I am already distracted by you, the way you introduced yourself to me in that way that says you are truly glad to meet me. Yes, you do have a round belly, but I shop at Lane Bryant, though I like to brag that it’s the one place where I’m a “small.”

And as soon as you speak to me I realize how much I truly am an ass. Your voice, which I found strange and jarring on the phone, has a comforting quality to it. You don’t quite have a lisp. I don’t know what it is, all I know is that I realized in that moment that I met you that I judged you for it, and It was jerky of me to do so. Your eyes speak authenticity when they meet my eyes. I just think to myself, “Geesh, I’m a weenie jerk. Look at you! You are authentically happy to meet me, and all the beautiful women in this high end sushi/hibachi place don’t even get a stray blink from you.”

I decided very quickly upon meeting you that I liked you, though I was still flummoxed by the prospect of spending a meal with this young group of people celebrating a birthday. Really, this is a nightmare. I still did not like you for this … this first date with a group of young things. I wanted to melt away, so I attempted to do so by opening up the heavy and voluminous menu in front of me. I pretended to study it intently in an attempt to avoid small talk with the others. I didn’t know what else to do. Then I hear you start speaking to them, and I’m thinking what are you doing? I want to reach out and pull you back. You’re asking who’s the birthday girl, and you’re talking them up, and they like you (how could they not?). Me, the idiot behind the heavy menu, looks up and realizes hey, these are people too, perhaps they didn’t exactly relish having two forty somethings crash their birthday dinner. Again, it’s very clear who’s the jerk here, and so far, it’s been the same person all along.

It was a lovely dinner with the young peeps all on account of you, of course. Who am I kidding? You had me the moment you met me the door of the restaurant with that affable “Good evening!” that you greeted me with as you embraced me.

After that date our lives got in the way of us going any further than a few dates. We both have demanding jobs, and your kids live 3.5 hours away and you try to visit them most weekends. There simply were not enough hours in the day for us to get know each other better. We drifted apart, and then, somehow, after many months we’ve started texting and talking on the phone again. I’ve no idea how that happened.

You’re completely unfazed by my PTSD and DID. You live in the here and now, and I find myself wanting to be more like you.

I don’t know what the future holds for us. We may not have a future. I do know that I like you on a deep level that I’ve not felt for someone in a very long time. it might be two weeks before you’re back in town so that we can go on a date, and I’m willing to wait.