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Dissociative Identity Disorder: Why I'm No Longer Afraid of the Dark

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It’s not something I thought about; losing time. I thought I was just a lot more forgetful than most (which is probably partly the case).

Finding out the way my brain worked wasn’t exactly how most people’s brains worked was distressing. Even till this day I have times when I feel like I’m either “crazy” or making it all up. But when I can relate to and understand other people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) so well; well, those are the times when I can’t seem to completely deny it.

My experience, like everyone else with DID, is unique in its intricacies. For me, it’s as if I’m changing clothes, with each “outfit” being a completely different way of processing the world, different likes and dislikes. It’s an unsettling feeling to have to “blend in” with my own personality (parts); though I admit this is an unnecessary struggle I have put myself through.

I have people who time and time again have proven to me they love me in whatever “form” I come in and for that I am so very grateful. Now it’s my turn to continue learning to love myself more so I can show up in the world able to boldly and more wholly express myself and my truth. It was so very important for me to have an outlet through all of this, and writing songs became the way for me to channel all that messiness into something that felt a little bit like light. I don’t know where my music will take me, but I am so grateful for the peace and sanity it has provided me.

Writing the song “Afraid of the Dark” was particularly therapeutic for me. At the time I was feeling afraid of everything! (The literal dark, people, my future, leaving the house, my own mind.) Writing about it made me think: “OK, ‘this’ is a terrifying mess. Now what am I going to do about it?” This was me choosing to learn how to love my-selves and slowly heal. It became a defining moment in which I took some of my power back by pushing forward anyway; despite my fear and uncertainty. Writing this song was the first time I began to feel truly proud of myself and brave.

My hope now is that someone else would see the documentary “Busy Inside” and maybe feel a little less alone, a bit more understood and perhaps less alien. The mind is incredible and so complex, but we are all in a way dealing with the same things as fellow “humans.” I believe that even people who don’t have DID will be able to relate to this film in some ways. I’m so honored and happy to have met such wonderful people like Olga Lvoff (director), Victor Ilyukhin (producer) and Justin Ervin (cinematographer) who made me feel seen and OK being exactly who I was.

“Busy Inside” premiered on the WORLD Channel’s America ReFramed series on Tuesday, March 16. You can watch it now on PBS here, or on the America ReFramed website, where it will be available for streaming through April 15. 

Lead image: Marshay Smith in BUSY INSIDE, Courtesy of Diplodocus Films

Originally published: March 24, 2021
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