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Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I was asked recently by GreengrowsDark to write a guest post about DID. Initially I was kind of sceptical, and had no idea what I’d write, or whether it would be worth reading, but I figured screw it. Here’s my description of my DID.
Some people actually say that mental illnesses are like a disease, which I kind of don’t agree with. I more see my DID, along with PTSD as a saviour. How can I consider something that saved me as a disease? Having DID has made me an extraordinary person; my therapist would say the same. Not gloating or anything, I have “hate myself” moments as much as the next person, but DID is quite extraordinary, so much so that some professionals still don’t want to believe it exists!!! To be honest, I sometimes agree with them. Believing that it’s all a big fabrication in my own mind to get me more attention, that is of course until I realise I’ve been colouring unicorns in pretty crayon colours for the past god knows how long and I have no idea when I started, or how I even got there! Yeah that’s a pretty big reminder of having DID!
I am quite fortunate though, I know some really struggle with their diagnosis, and I suppose I did at first, every different alter seemed to be working against the others. That was difficult. It took a lot of work with my therapist and by myself. We are finally in some sort of agreement though that we have to work together. We are all kind of like a family, they all agree to be up early on Sunday to work together and do family stuff, it never quite works perfectly, but we are all aiming for the same target and we get there eventually! It’s all good, most of the time anyway.
I was diagnosed DID when I was 16. I think. I say I think because I can’t remember that time very well from one day or year to the next. Initially I was found to have 6 alters. I have around 11 active ones now. Some are young children, and one is elderly. They all have their purpose and a certain ‘job’ to do to help us all get by, and continue our life. Upon being diagnosed I think I kind of accepted it well, because I was young and in therapy, so the diagnosis didn’t really matter, I didn’t see it as something to hold me back, if anything it helped me understand the way I was and was a little soothing.
I kept my diagnosis secret from everyone though, and still to this day my parents and family do not know about my diagnosis. They are very anti mental illness. I think I coped so well as a teen because I had no choice, I couldn’t be crazy with DID because that wouldn’t have kept us safe, which is basically the reason DID happened, to help keep us safe, and help us cope. I didn’t do badly either, I did well at school in GCSE’S, passed everything, and even got us into college.
College however kind of sent me off the rails, we had too much freedom. Freedom to be as crazy as we wanted and we did be crazy. It seemed that we were in self-destruct, constantly on the phone to our therapist for help in our supposed crisis. If we weren’t causing harm to ourselves with blades we were trying to screw any male that walked. Some would say it was to gain some control. Simply though I was a suicidal slut. That was then though. I was just in a stage of healing, I guess. I failed college anyway, no amount of help from alters could change that. I smoked far too much weed to let the alters even exist; they were monged out and so was I. I didn’t care. I had a job I messed up too, offering myself up to far too many people and did whatever in the disabled toilets at work and drinking all the southern comfort I could flirt out of the barmen. I don’t know why, and if it wasn’t me doing it, it was an alter. We were all just abusing our body like others had.
It wasn’t to stay like that forever though. We got to a point where we had to stop. We got ourselves into a sticky situation when out with a friend clubbing. We were not being sensible and were sexually assaulted. We had to change! After that the full protection mode DID came back into life. No drink and no weed. The child parts never liked that stuff anyway. We were beginning to look for a settled life, getting further and further away from a destructive family and make all of us happier and safer. We still sort of threw ourselves at men, though not as badly. It was our “open” ways that helped us meet our now partner.
At first he was just a bit of fun, but we soon came to love him. Our therapist was worried, some insiders were worried, and my family were worried, not that they deserved to be. Anyway my partner is 22 years older than I am, hence the worrying. Some still say he is our father figure. Yeah to child parts he is kind of like that, because they know he keeps them safe. He doesn’t feel like a dad to the rest though, just a friend or partner. He knows about our DID. He doesn’t understand it fully, but he tries. We aren’t all openly switchy in his presence, but we have our time to go be alone and whoever wants to can do whatever they want. Colour, read, play or whatever. Due to our past we can’t play or anything in company anyway, because that would feel unsafe.
DID doesn’t affect my relationship really, it can affect friendships though, because some alters prefer certain friends, and can be mean to others, although I am becoming more honest about my DID to friends to try help them understand, why sometimes I am a bit off with them. Everyone has a different kind of personality and so prefer different company. So yeah DID does affect my life. Benefits outweigh the negatives though. My main worry regarding DID is having a family. My partner and I really want a family, but how do you control child alters in the labour room, keep them safe and how do I explain a massive belly to a little boy or girl. DID is hard work! I have to think about everyone inside whenever I do something! It isn’t just about me; I have to consider how 11 other people feel and what 11 other people want. Which can get kind of tough at breakfast time. Never mind when you are considering becoming a Mother!
What’s the other option though? Remember and cope by myself? Now that sounds like more work than I currently have!
DID, is just a really hard jigsaw, maybe one day we’ll put all the pieces together and become one, but I don’t mind if we never finish it!
Thanks for reading.