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What My Week Looks Like as Someone With a 'High-Functioning' Dissociative Disorder

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This week I wrote notes to my personalities to try to explain to them we are working on Integration. I explained how the process of merging personalities means that I am embracing them and trying to draw from their strengths so we can work as one person. I asked them questions and wrote down their answers. They are skeptical. They keep yelling at me, “You’re trying to kill us!”

This week I registered for classes for next semester. I’m getting my Master’s in counseling.

This week I spent a morning where I was two personalities at the same time. I couldn’t think clearly since I was thinking both of our thoughts at the same time. I couldn’t feel since I was feeling both of our emotions. I wrote out some of my thoughts to try to separate us. Writing out my thoughts helped me stay present. I worked on grounding myself. I was scared that personality was too strong. Eventually she receded and I felt like myself again.

This week I went on a long walk with my husband through his favorite park. It was a beautiful fall day. I brought my nice camera and took photos of him and the trees. He photographed me. He kept saying I seemed lost inside myself and sad. I told him I kept thinking about integrating the personalities, and how it scared me. He tried to draw me out.

This week, I kept flipping to my child personality without realizing it, and having to switch back. I was so embarrassed when I realized I was the child personality in front of my professor.

This week I went to work in the school counseling center. I counseled four college students. All of them went well. I was excited since it seems like I am actually good at this counseling thing, even on bad weeks like this week.

This week one of my personalities was telling me I should let her give my class presentation since she loves public speaking and I am terrified of it. I couldn’t decide whether that was a good idea. I practiced for a friend. I had my personality give the speech and then I gave the speech. She said my personality is a better speaker, but I did a better job since I know the material. So I decided to give the presentation.

This week I spent a lot of time texting or emailing my friends as I tried to stay grounded.

This week I went to my professor’s office and cried as I talked about how overwhelming life had been for me recently. She tried to help, but didn’t know what to say.

This week I was excited to lead a poetry workshop for people with mental illness. It was out in the middle of the country. As I drove out there at night, I was focused on the road and didn’t notice my speed was creeping up as I went down a hill. I got pulled over by the police chief in the church parking lot where I hold the workshop. I sat there quietly, fighting tears. No one showed up for the workshop. I sadly drove home. I felt like I was trying so hard to make a difference in the world, and no one cared or wanted to show up.

This week I helped with a group class presentation. It went really well. As I was speaking nervously, I thought, if my personality can be confident speaking, then why can’t I? She is part of me. So then I drew out some confidence and spoke more confidently.

This week I had difficulty sleeping. One of the personalities kept screaming at me late at night, telling me to hurt myself. Or she would whisper to me that I deserved to be hurt. She kept making me feel so low and worthless. I kept trying to ignore her and block out the words.

This week I spent a lot of time resting, eating junk food and bingeing on Netflix. I was so exhausted from fighting with the personalities that I kept running out of energy and crashing at home.

This week the child personality was angry with me and often refusing to talk to me. She is mad since I have been talking to the other personality so much. The child says that she and I are supposed to be on the same side while the other personality is our enemy. I keep trying to explain that I am trying to get us all to communicate.

This week my husband and I spent a half hour trying to decide on a movie to watch. We finally chose one. We both hated the movie. But at least we agreed on something?

This week I felt so overwhelmed by fighting with the personalities that I kept zoning out, going away somewhere since I didn’t feel like I could handle my life. One day I dissociated mildly all day, just to take the edge off. Nothing felt real. It helped me stay calm.

This week I took my elderly client to her exercise classes. I work as a caregiver and take care of a woman with dementia. We met up with her friends at Burger King to gossip and ate homemade cookies with our breakfast.

This week my dad brought over furniture and mementos from my two grandmothers, who both died over the past year. I sat in my house surrounded by their things and cried.

This week it rained all day but one, but my client wanted to get out of the house and do something active. I took her to the mall, where she kept wandering off and we kept being chased by aggressive salespeople. I had three panic attacks, one at the mall, one in the parking lot and one while driving. I wasn’t able to have the time and space to recover from a panic attack, so then I had another one. I am good at hiding them so no one notices. When I have panic attacks, I flip to the child personality and feel so scared and hopeless. I was the child personality all afternoon, until I finally realized what was going on and flipped myself back.

This week I tried to encourage two friends of mine who are having a rough time, but I didn’t know what to say.

This week I saw my counselor. He was impressed with all of the work I have been doing to integrate with and manage the personalities. He gave me tips on how to handle them. He said I should be strong and firm with the one personality since she is a bully and bullies respect strength. He said I need to parent the child personality. We talked about what I was like back when I was sick. He looked at me and said, “You’ve come a long way, kiddo.” I smiled. This week was rough, but I managed it well. I have come a long way.

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Getty Images photo via Skodadad

Originally published: January 3, 2018
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