One of the rather unusual challenges for me of Dissociative Identity Disorder is that of my birthday, I have to try and consider all the different parts of me, my alters each and every day yet on my birthday its more vitally important.
For I have over the years come to realise that this isn’t just the adult me’s birthday, but all of the alters share this day with me and I know that for some having a good birthday is even more important than ever. Given what I do know of the past I realise that many of the alters have reason to be nervous, even anxious and fearful of this day and so now its my chance to ensure they celebrate in a way I would have wanted to as a child.
For the past two years due to attending an awesome conference in the USA around this time of year I have been able to ensure that all of me has had reason to celebrate and enjoy our birthday. I have been able to give each age group of alters time and fun in a way that has been far easy that usual and that has made the past two birthdays pass without incident. Prior to this my birthdays have been a bit chaotic as those parts of me that dread my birthday time would normally shut down to avoid the stress that they feel at birthdays, we’d lose time and we’d get frustrated at not being around for the birthday period.
This year sadly I am not heading to the sun of Florida and I am unable to attend the ‘Healing Together’ conference organised by An Infinite Mind, an non-profit organisation that is dedicated to improving the lives of survivors with trauma based dissociation with a primary focus on Dissociative Identity Disorder. You can find out more about this organisation at www.aninfinitemind.com
As I won’t be able to give all of my alters a magical time in Disney as a birthday treat this year, nor spend time with others who like me live their life’s as multiples; so share an understanding and are accepting and supportive in equal measure. I am having to find alternative ways to help us survive not only my birthday but the week that surrounds it.
This will mean having a birthday that includes time for me, my younger alters and my teenage ones too, so unlike most people on their birthdays as a multiple I have to share. I also have to give attention to others needs, as I feel its important to remember that my alters are all in reality a part of me, fragmented by circumstances beyond our control. I have a responsibility to ensure we all have a good time, a time that is positive and safe, I need to make sure that all of me feel valued, loved and accepted.
My children will help in this, reassuring me throughout the day, offering support and making us all feel special and I have tried to plan ahead. Crafts are at the ready, treats are planned and my week is organised as best as it can be for someone who loses time yet none of this would be possible without the help and support of others.
Now many people will think its all a lot of fuss for one day yet for me, all of me, I have learnt that this is what works and that in reality is all that matters. As a multiple I know I see the world differently to others, I use plural terms, I have to try and talk internally and watch for triggers, I dissociate and all that entails. Yet as a survivor of parental abuse I am also trying to make up for the past, my child parts need nurturing, caring for and helping so they can now at last understand birthdays are a good thing, a time to celebrate and have fun.
If other multiples have any good tips for how to deal with the competing demands of alters at times like this, please let me know it is only through sharing knowledge that we can learn more about this complex and often misunderstood disorder.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014