This week saw the launch of a book that has been in the making for a couple of years, and it’s a delight to finally see Living with the Reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder – Campaigning Voices published. The book edited by Lady Xenia Bowlby and Deborah Briggs is a compilation of individual chapters written by people who are impacted by Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Back in 2010 I saw an article about a campaign day for those survivors and supporters with D.I.D, they were asking if people wanted to speak. I’m not quite sure how it happened but before I realised I had volunteered to get involved. It was a decision that meant in March 2011 I stood before a room full of people and spoke about my life ‘Living with D.I.D’, I say I but in reality it was a part of me who stood there.
I have an alter named Caitlyn who is the part of me that is super confident at public speaking and is a good trainer. She stood in this room and she presented our story, I think she had decided the best way to explain our story at that time was to use a multi media presentation. Mainly I think because she wanted it to be her work, to be right and we only a short time slot and well our story is quite complicated .
That day was a success and I can recall traveling back home from London with the two people who had supported me on that day feeling it had gone ok. A few months later I was asked if I’d be willing to write a few thousand words on my presentation for a book, a part of me said yes. That book has been 3 years in the making and thanks to the dedication of lots of people and Karnac books is now complete.
A part of me wrote my chapter over a weekend as I sat in a hotel room a few miles from where I now live I knew I couldn’t write this as the presentation we had given wasn’t my work but Caitlyn’s ‘
Whilst Caitlyn is a part of me I had at that time very limited awareness of her, we didn’t have and still don’t internally communicate fully though I try now but it’s still very one sided.
Once that weekend was over in 2011 I kind of put it to one side, I couldn’t tell you what I’d written or how it flowed as it wasn’t me that wrote it. I’d made that very clear in my chapter as it only felt right to give the credit to Caitlyn who I now know slogged away until it felt right. So this week when I received the call to say the book had finally being released I was excited, after all it’s not everyday something like this happens.
Book available from. http://www.karnacbooks.com/Product.asp?PID=35245
Imagine my surprise when I went online and saw a few pages from the book as part of a preview, as I read I realised Caitlyn knew more about my internal system of parts then I did. She clearly knows more about me and the life I have had than I can recall, and yet I know so little about her. It’s clear she is far more confident, professional and organised than the majority of me and she is blunt and honest at the same time.
My children tell me that when I or rather Caitlyn was writing essays for my degree she would complain to anyone who interrupted. Apparently she even hung up the phone on them if they disturbed her mid flow and she’s a burner of the midnight oil if she has a task to complete. Be that the chapter for this book, my essays or training presentations. Of course Caitlyn is a part of me, one of many alters and yet she is a fragmentation of this whole person people know as Carol. I’m quite pleased I have a part of me who is good at public speaking and good at writing in this way, it’s a talent and a skill I often lacked as a schoolgirl.
When the book arrived on my doorstep I read the whole of my chapter and yes it was strange to see Caitlyn’s words, I recall some of the events she talks of and yet there are things here and there that I read and think and I wonder was she really writing about me. Though I know of course she was and that the chapter is all about me, all about my life and my past. Its hard to read back about my past, especially seeing her call my mom our other biological parent, it kind of hits home I didn’t have a mom. I know that deep down but denial likes to rear it’s ugly head here and there.
Reading about my time as a child, my time in hospital and the times when my Dad clearly helped me deal with the symptoms of my dissociating from the perspective of another part of me hasn’t been easy. Yet I can say that since this chapter was written 3 years ago I have made strides towards progress. Progress comes in many guises and for me three things stand out. 1. I now manage and employ with help – my own PA’s/ support staff so am free of the retrainsts of a care company which I find is far better, 2. I’ve started having internal dialogue and some side by side working with some of my parts and 3. I’m now with a psychologist who is helping me to learn more about me, all of me. These things are signs of real effective progress, signs that I’m learning to live with D.I.D, most of all I’m learning I am one person with many parts and I can learn to like all of me.
I’m grateful to have been involved in such a great project like this book, it’s a brilliant legacy to the campaign and a huge asset for those working in the field of Dissociation. I’m certain it will be an invaluable tool for many professionals, survivors and supporters and I hope it remains such for many years to come.
I’m pleased I know so many of the contributors for this book, from the art of Kim Noble to the wise words of Ruth Cureton, Deborah Briggs and Oriel Winslow alongside many others. It shows me that the way society treats those with Dissociative Disorders is changing, by working together we can ensure that everyone including myself has a brighter future and a hope for better things to come despite Living with the Reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014
Please note I have not been asked to write this blog by anyone associated with the book nor do I financially benefit from any sales of this book.