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Understanding My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

It’s like in the movies after a bomb goes off too close to you. When they play that sound bite where it sounds broken with a high pitch that stays until you come back to the present moment. When your vision blurs and the room is moving. It feels like your heart is in your throat that’s closing while your stomach feels like it might either implode, fall out of your butt or maybe you’ll projectile vomit… Then you blink and you’re back to wherever you were, possibly in your chair and the therapist looking at you.

Personally, I knew. I knew what was happening but didn’t want to believe it and didn’t want to be a hypochondriac. I knew in silence while not wanting to believe it for various reasons. What will my family say? What will my friends think? If people know, how will they treat me differently when all I want is normalcy? Other reasoning, am I too sick for treatment? I know the assumptions people will make before I even mention what this diagnosis is—thanks Hollywood you have done us a great disservice. Will I lose control of myself? Will I lose control of my brain?

Will people think I’m bad before I even open my mouth? Will they be scared of me? I know they shouldn’t be, but the science is not as advanced as some would like. Some treatments are controversial, so when I speak will they tell me I’m wrong?

This disorder is born in the darkness, kind of like Bane from Batman. It lives and it thrives in the darkness and silence.

Anxiety is something I’ve known my entire life. My oldest memories have slivers of happiness but most were filled with sadness and anxiety. This isn’t your normal anxiety though; this is every moment, every breath, every thought — if you’re wrong… you could die. My thoughts began having their own thoughts. Talking to myself became so normal, so fast. I had to be every step ahead of anything and everything. Any and every daily scenario, I had 100 possibilities, 200 ways to handle it, 50 places to hide, maybe 25 last resort things to beg.

By the age of 7, I had fully come to terms with the fact that I was insignificant in this world. I knew that my life on this earth would be short and end in domestic violence. When I say I came to terms, I mean I fully came to terms. I went through denial, anger, begging and bargaining, all the way to grieving and acceptance. I knew as a girl who could possibly eventually turn into a woman, my life/wants/needs didn’t matter. It was like a joke to think I mattered and who did I think I was anyway? I was to listen, be quiet and not cause any trouble. There was so much stress on everyone already, I couldn’t bear to be the reason for more.

By the age of 4 I knew what sex was. I knew what different kinds of sex were. I knew what was happening was wrong, I also knew my life and needs were not important. I wasn’t going to make a fuss, as I was to listen to my elders and not cause a ruckus. The games in the basement were a secret that I could never tell anyone about or they would stop. I didn’t like what was happening, but I also wanted my family member to think I was cool and to hangout/play with me, so I didn’t tell. One night my family went out to dinner and that was the night I almost ruined the family. I can still see where we were sitting in the restaurant and how busy it was. My family was talking amongst themselves and I almost brought up the games; I would never make that mistake again. There was a moment this night when my family member and I were alone enough for a split second. I was told that I was the sick one, how could I ever think of family like that? I was told how disgusting I was and if I told anyone they would also know how bad I was. Maybe I would even need to go away.

This was like the greatest sin in the history of sins and it was all my fault. I was so embarrassed and disgusted in myself.

From that moment forward I was so confused in every area of life with every thought. I had come to realize that I didn’t know what was real and what was fake; this came as a shock because I thought I knew, but multiple family members at this point had denied my reality, one being a parent, so I started believing what other people said about me. That was my stone cold truth—others’ perceptions.

These plus other traumas throughout my life thus far have been the reasons I developed dissociative identity disorder. We never asked for this. It’s not our fault. We aren’t bad people and sure as hell aren’t to be feared. Listen to us because honestly if you think about it, we are the untapped potential of humanity. We are the real super heroes.

Please visit the SIDRAN Institute to learn more about trauma and dissociative disorders.

Photo by kevin turcios on Unsplash

Originally published: February 26, 2021
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