How My Husband's Dissociative Identity Disorder Affects My Mental Health
Living with someone who has dissociative identity disorder (DID) can sometimes feel like you are in an episode of “The Twilight Zone” (or maybe an entire season). One minute you are having an everyday conversation about what needs to go on the grocery list, and the next minute you find yourself sitting alone, in mid-sentence, your DID partner having wandered off to another room — maybe raging, maybe singing, possibly crying — in most instances having no memory of where he was or what he was doing, and certainly not of what was going on the grocery list.
Then, on occasion, you might wake to the tickle of strands of hair from the bright auburn wig on the head of the body snuggled beside you in bed (wearing her stylish lingerie) after having fallen asleep in the muscular embrace of your entirely male husband.
On yet a different morning, you may have words of love and appreciation showered upon you, followed by an afternoon of hatred and disdain spat out of the same mouth, but now the words of the alter personality who resents being trapped in a marriage he never agreed to. The evening being something different again, filled with the giggles of a little person living in an adult’s body.
And through it all, there’s me. I am the caregiver, the support person, the significant other. I wonder if I will develop compassion fatigue and so I read about how to prevent that from happening. I sometimes worry I’m actually just making everything up, so I seek out forums where others with loved ones who have DID share their stories… and I have solace knowing we are not the only ones.
People say I’m brave. They tell me they don’t know how I manage. They ask me if there’s anything they can do, if I’m remembering to take care of myself. And I know all the right answers — “oh no, I’m not brave, everyone has their challenges! And really, we manage just one day at a time. No, I can’t think of anything we need, but thank you. We’ll keep your offer in mind. Yes, of course, I do take care of myself.”
I’m not exactly lying, but it might be that it is all I can do in that moment to give you the right answers. If I’m not careful and start to examine all that is bubbling under the surface, I might disappear forever into the rabbit hole of my emotions. My own confusion, frustrations, fatigue, anger, jealousy; there will be a time and a place to go there. Just not now.
This is indeed a season, but not a season of a television show; it is merely one season of our life and there are many more seasons to come, healing my many husbands… and keeping me sane along the way.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Editor’s note: This story has been published with permission from the author’s husband.
Image via contributor