Just over a year ago I began writing this blog, it started out as a way for me to help tell the community where I live and others that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. I wanted people to understand what it is like living with the legacy of trauma and abuse, to live with D.I.D. I also wanted to publicly celebrate that fact I had managed to spend four years free of hospital admissions something which I felt a great sense of achievement in.
Today the blog has grown and I am amazed at just how many people have read and continue to read my posts, after all English was never my best subject at school. I am also pleased that people find my ramblings helpful and informative, it was something that I hoped I’d achieve but wasn’t sure would happen.
A year on and I know people in my community who read my blog do find it helpful, helpful to understand me, this person who well seemed different. I am the person who they know is forgetful, loses things frequently, seems distance and vague at times; as if not recognising them, and whose mood changes frequently. Initially I tried really hard to try and hide the fact I had D.I.D, or indeed that I’d spent a period of time in psychiatric institutions of one guise or another. Yet it soon became apparent that some people were recognising the signs of chaos and confusion that are a part of my life living with D.I.D.
It’s funny how just telling people face to face seemed too difficult, but the blog allowed me an opportunity to do so. I post my blog on various forms of social media including my own facebook account and so friends from the village soon became aware it was me writing. I believe writing the blog has helped others understand me as a person, and today people will tell me they’ve read particular posts and have found them interesting, most of all no one has yet crossed the road to avoid me.
But I can’t help wondering if still today people truly understand me, my life and the struggles which we have faced and still face. You see having D.I.D doesn’t just impact on the day to day things in life, it’s the whole concept that invades your being. I’m slowly realising that despite thinking I understood I had this diagnosis, in truth I only did logically because deep down I desperately tried for ages to deny the reality. The reality of course was that I had been abused, that I had grown up as a fragmented individual as a result of the trauma. It’s only in the past year I think I am finally started to come to terms with the legacy of my past.
It’s a legacy that has altered the entire direction of the past four decades, it’s thrown me into the pit of despair and spewed me out the other side. It’s a legacy that to this day causes me to carry deep wounds, which still hurt today. I have encountered things in my life I wouldn’t wish on my own worst enemy, and the impact upon me and my family has been immense.
I have spent a lifetime dissociating from the hurt and pain of the past and now slowly a step at a time I am reconnecting with the past hidden deep within me. I still find I can’t deal with certain issues without resorting to automatic negative behaviours which hinder me, such as blocking feelings and emotions that then leads to me to becoming overwhelmed. I also find trusting others difficult, it’s hard to accept not all people want to cause me harm, or judge me. Saying ‘No’ to someone still provokes deep anxiety, as for years saying No wasn’t an option I was afforded.
Today I have to forcible make myself face these fears, I have to restrict my diary and keep time free for me, and for my alters the other parts of me. I have to ensure I juggle the needs of all of me that means if I do something serious like a meeting on one day, then the next will be a day of rebalancing my needs, be that having fun, doing art etc. This is my way of ensuring I keep myself on track and limit/manage as much as is humanly possibly the dissociating that is a part of my life.
I doubt many will understand the need for me a grown women to watch cartoons, eat peppa pig jelly or bob the builder spaghetti. I doubt people; who don’t understand me, will grasp this concept of differing needs, yet it is my reality. It is as much a part of the legacy as are the years wasted in psychiatric institutions or the periods of crisis when we were failed.
A year on and yes writing is educating others about the complexities of my life and it has been helpful in lots of other ways too. Most of all though it offers me an outlet to vent, to reflect and evaluate, to remember and to rationalise this life we lead, this life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014