Decisions, decisions it’s no wonder I hate decisions because I can honestly never please all of me, my alters; the different parts of me all have differing opinions on what is safe or unsafe or what clothes they like and dislike. Having Dissociative Identity Disorder means a constant battle between the different parts of me they have different views on what we should do, what we should wear and who should take control of this body that we all share.
I was thinking this morning of how best to explain what it’s like living with D.I.D and then as I started my day I realised if I explained a bit more about my morning routine and my day it would help those without D.I.D what it’s like living as this person fragmented by my past.
I imagine for most ‘Non D.I.D’ people getting ready in a morning is easy, you probably chose your clothes the night before and so in a morning just get dressed and there isn’t a battle between parts. But for me I stare blankly at my wardrobe and whichever me is prominent chooses the clothes we wear, so some days I find myself wearing trendy outfits, others sensible business like attire and others jeans and a tee-shirt. There are times when as I switch I look at my outfit and think oh no and rush off and get changed into whichever clothes that part of me feels is appropriate. If I try and plan and prepare ahead the night before, it’s not uncommon for me in the morning to look at them and think yikes, a different me has picked these out.
You see its often about pleasing me, the various parts of me and that means lots of compromises to ensure I can wear the right clothes for the right occasion. That means I have to agree to give the other parts of me time when it’s ok for them to be in control and that may mean wearing things I feel uncomfortable in. It’s not uncommon for me to wear a smart outfit with converse shoes, that’s my compromise sometimes it’s a way of letting my younger parts feel less ignored and I get at least to look fairly smart.
Different parts of me prefer different foods and some parts prefer not to eat at all as food is deemed unsafe. At home choosing breakfast is easy we have one set cereal that everyone has now accepted and whilst not a 100% healthy it’s not the worst. Yet if we go away choosing breakfast is a nightmare, the other week there were 7 or 8 cereals to choose from and parts of me wanted the sugar loaded children’s cereal whilst others wanted muesli. I ended up with a bowl filled with a spoonful of two or three different types of cereal, it tasted odd but it pleased most of me.
Organising my time is also a balancing act, if I don’t set time aside for the other parts of me they will take it without warning and make life more chaotic. Setting time aside for them means I have an easier life and whilst I still switch without warning it’s less frequently. But try explaining to someone you are busy on a certain day because it’s cartoon time or painting time for a different part of me, believe me it’s not easy.
Every day I spend chunks of times internally communicating with my alters, it’s not something others see but it happens all the same. In fact I’m now able to communicate inside when I am out with other people and still I manage to hide the fact to the outside world. So if I’m sat in a meeting and I sense a little part of me is getting bored and more noisy in my head I can talk to them. It’s not uncommon for me to acknowledge them and give concessions for time later if they just let me stay up front a little longer. It doesn’t always work but it’s worth the effort to try especially if it means I get to stay up front and in control of this body we share even if it’s only for five minutes more.
Trying to stay up front and in control is not an easy task and it’s draining physically and emotionally, I prefer to be in control if I’m brutally honest. I have had to learn to let go, to let other parts of me take control and for me to take a back seat at these times and I don’t find it easy. However I now can let the little parts of me have cartoon time, sometimes I manage to watch side by side so I’m aware but not in charge. But when I lose time it’s frustrating and annoying and yet often it’s more about me not allowing them to have time in a structured planned way, that’s the cause of this problem.
It’s an odd feeling watching another part of me undertaking art for example, it’s odd to watch this body performing a task, especially when I am not in control. I have absolutely no control over my own body at these times, another part of me does and yes it feels weird and it’s surreal.
Every morning I spend time internally explaining and negotiating our day, I have realised not doing this means I suffer. I suffer by losing time, more frequent switching, more episodes of amnesia, more chaos and more confusion. But yet there are times when just because of circumstances there isn’t the time to do this dialogue and there are times when I try and ignore my alters, as part of an act of defiance and denial.
Dialogue is important and so I also spend time thanking them and acknowledging them for their help and co-operation, for I know without this my life would be far more difficult. If I get a good nights sleep I thank those parts who find night time difficult, if I manage to shop without buying another children’s book I say thank you too. But I also concede at times to so I came home the other day with a ‘Peppa Pig’ jelly in my food shopping and I’m quite often found watching ‘Postman Pat’ last thing at night as a way of settling little parts down.
Many people may find my life confusing, odd and perhaps peculiar but for me it’s just who I am, you see I am slowly coming to terms with the fact I am a fragmented individual. If doing all these things means I feel less stressed, less chaotic and less confused then they are worth doing.
To those who find what I do or how I live my life weird or odd, I want to just say that perhaps if you had lived my life, my childhood you’d understand. If you would like to walk one day in my shoes and endure the internal chaos that is my life, my life with Dissociative Identity Disorder then I’m sure you wouldn’t criticise or condemn or judge.
Having life with with D.I.D is different and I’m learning being different is ok, being who I am is ok, I’m learning to accept my differences and my alters and I guess I’m finally learning to say I have D.I.D, so what.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014