A Letter to My Children About My Dissociative Identity Disorder
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
I am so sorry you have a mom with mental illness. It is not fair to you, but please know I am doing the best I can to give you the good life I never had.
I try my best not to struggle in front of you, but I know sometimes I can’t hide it very well. I know you probably wonder a lot about me, and I am sorry you are not in a place to say anything to me about it, and I am sorry I haven’t had the courage to talk to you more.
I love you both with all my heart, and I never want to hurt you.
I know, when I hide out in my room or don’t want to go outside with the neighbors with you, I am missing out on some of your childhood. I am sad about this, but I am doing the best I can.
I want you to be able to count on me, and I think you can. I would like to think I have been there most of the times when you needed me.
I feel incredible guilt about the times I have disappeared from the family and have been gone weeks or months without you really understanding where I was. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I was gone those times because I wanted to stay in your life as you grow up. You see, sometimes Mommy gets to feeling so bad I don’t want to stay alive, but I know I must because you are the most important thing to me and I don’t want to hurt you by leaving you like that.
When I leave you those times, I go to special places where they help people like your mom feel good enough to come home.
I know you know your mom is sad and depressed at times, but there is also so much grown-up stuff going on with me that makes it hard to live my life sometimes.
Sometimes, my brain is haunted and hurt by things that happened to me in my childhood. This is a really difficult topic for me to tell you about because I really don’t want you to know how horrible the world can be, and I don’t know how to tell you how horrible some of the people you love have been to me.
I hate that I am hiding things from you because I want you to be able to trust me. I also don’t want you to be worried about me or you.
It devastates me to be so afraid to tell you who I really am.
When I was a young child, so many people hurt me in lots of different ways and my brain could not handle everything happening to me.
You don’t know this about me because I work hard to hide it from you, but I have dissociative identity disorder (DID), which is why I see my therapist so much and why I am not working right now.
DID is not like what you may have seen on the internet or TV. It means I have lots of different parts of me, and these parts of me were created because of the trauma I experienced as a child. These parts can seem like different people living in my body, and some are even younger than you, but all of them are still part of me and not something you need to fear.
On TV, DID seems to be portrayed as people with parts who are dangerous or really dramatic. My parts are not like that. They are an assortment of people who have have formed out of trauma, so most of them are hurt parts of me, and others are parts of me who developed to function when the hurt parts of me couldn’t.
You never have to fear me and my parts. Since I came from an extremely abusive childhood, it is so important to every part of me for you to get the childhood you deserve to help you flourish in life.
One day, you may ask tough questions about my childhood to try to understand how my mind is separated into parts. I will do my best to answer your questions, but know it is so hard for me to explain the truth to you because I hate to take away your joy and innocence by introducing you to what may seem like evil in this world.
No matter what, know that I struggle to get well and stay alive because of how much I love you. After a lifetime of pain, you are the greatest joy I could have wished for.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Getty Images photo via spukkato