Melissa Cote

@mcote1031 | contributor
Writer, Art Lover, Autism Mom, Survivor! Passionate Disability Advocate in New Hampshire
Melissa Cote

Explaining My Mental Illness to My 5-Year-Old

I’m not a sticker chart, menu-planning, activity-organizing kinda mom. Sorry to disillusion you if you thought I was. And I really hope I didn’t give you the impression that I have it all together — that would be yet another misconception. I’m just a mom trying to keep it all together, myself included. “How do you do it?” Or “I don’t know how you do it!” I hear these on the reg, and I always respond with, “I don’t know, I just do.” Truth be told, I really don’t know, and it’s true, I just do. It’s difficult to be a stay-at-home mom or dad. (Don’t wanna leave them out, there are quite a few dads doing what us moms are doing, and they deserve their props too.) My situation is different, and just like I tell my kids, different isn’t bad. I explain my youngest daughter’s autism to my oldest daughter in ways she can understand, and it is hard to explain the “quirks” of being nonverbal with autism and sensory processing disorder to a 5-year-old girl who just wants to have conversations about princesses, dinosaurs, and other really cool animals, and to ask 20+ questions, starting with, “What’s your favorite color?” because hers is purple and she wants the whole world to know it. “Sissy is different, and different isn’t bad” So how do I explain to her that Mommy is different and different isn’t bad? I’ve thought about this a lot, and I don’t know how, but I’m gonna have to do it because she’s starting to see my “quirks.” Yeah, I’ve got “quirks,” and they are not just starting to show — she’s just starting to see them. She’s an amazing 5-year-old, wise beyond her years. I hope when she learns the truth about me she won’t be disappointed. My beautiful girl,You are a piece of my heart, and I love you so very much.Remember how I told you that you have “itchies” on the outside (eczema), and your sister has her “itchies” on the inside, and that with medicine and lotion we can help your “itchies” feel better, but Zoey’s “itchies” are on the inside and we can’t see them and there isn’t a medicine or lotion to help her feel better? We love her and we try to help her get through the bad “itchy” days. Well, I have to tell you something my love…I have “itchies” on the inside too.My “itchies” make me sad, and yes they make me sometimes cry. They make me tired and sleepy, and they make it hard for me to run and play with you all the time like you want me to, and yes, that makes me sad too.They make me worry and stress about things more than I should, they make me nervous and anxious, and so I sometimes get scared and panic, and on those days I love that you follow me around and say, “Breathe, Mommy… breathe,” but it makes me sad and cry that you know to say that to me because you are only 5 years old.My “itchies” make me do silly things too, like lining things up from small to big, checking and rechecking things to make sure they are off and not on, and saying things more than once, over and over because I need to do it. And I love that your favorite number is 100, but it makes me sad that you know my favorite number is 3 because I didn’t know you were watching me that close.I am sorry we don’t do more out and about in the world like most families do, but my “itchies” make it hard for me to be around a lot of people all at once, and that’s why you go out on your adventures with Daddy more than you do with me, but please know this, my beautiful little girl, I am sad that I can’t go on all of your adventures because I really, really want to, but my “itchies” make it hard for me to do that.I want you to know there is medicine for me and I do take it every day, and every Monday when I leave to go to the “doctor” it’s because I’m working hard on getting better because I don’t want my “itchies” to hurt me anymore.So you see, baby girl, we all have our “itchies,” and they are not all the same.We all have our different “itchies” to scratch, some are like yours — they can be seen on the outside — and then some are like mine that can’t be seen and itch us from the inside. And although our “itchies” may be different, please remember what I always say… different isn’t bad!Love you with all my heart,Mommy So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I don’t know what else to say to her because I really don’t know how to explain to a 5-year-old that her mommy has mental illness. Image via Thinkstock.

Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.

E Jill Riley

People Don't Know I Have Dissociative Identity Disorder

I’ve watched all the movies and TV shows about dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder. The screen has brought us “Sybil,” “Three Faces of Eve” and the “United States of Tara.” These shows, while introducing this relatively unknown and misunderstood disorder to the public conversation, have turned DID into entertainment. DID is a challenging mental illness that is most often seen in victims of childhood trauma or repetitive abuse. Individuals with DID are characterized by having two or more distinct personalities. It is an extreme form of dissociation, a psychological adaptation where a person shuts themselves off from a painful memory or trigger by mentally escaping to another, safer, distinct personality. DID comes with challenges of memory loss, forgetfulness and lost time throughout a day. I have DID. My friends and family are largely unaware of this because I know how to camouflage myself. Covering up my personality and its quirks is a lifelong occupation. My experience with dissociative identity disorder is not a life of obvious changes, in and out of personalities with stark contrasts like Jekyll and Hyde. It’s a journey of subtlety and confusion. I have spent days driving around in my car unsure of where I was going or where I had been. I lose track of time for hours at a time. My internal dialogue is a smattering of different voices. I am a gathering of fragments of different people, rather than one whole brain. When I work or read a book, it is difficult for me to concentrate because of so many conversations going on in my head. My condition has inflection when I am triggered by past events, people, smells, memories or other triggers. I look in the mirror and the image staring back at me doesn’t look like it’s real. Oftentimes, when I look at photographs of myself, I have no memory of the photograph happening. I have some vague understanding that the person in the photo is me but I don’t remember the moment depicted. My children tease me about my horrible memory but it’s true — my memory is terrible because I can go someplace or have a conversation and later not remember it at all. Recently, I told my daughter we should go to a new restaurant I wanted to take her to and she told me we had already been there. I have no recollection of the dinner we had there together. In the movies, a person with DID has an intentional and obvious switch in their personalities. “Three Faces of Eve” shows a head drop each time her personality changes. When Tara (“United States of Tara”) changes personalities, she also changes clothes, attitudes and experiences. Each personality has its own life. These examples are vastly different than the slight shift I feel when my personalities change. For me, it can be a blankness, a complete whiteout that happens in my brain or it can be a defined shift of emotion. Heavy fear, insignificance, insecurity all characterize some part of my personality. For me (though not for everyone), my personalities don’t have names or dramatic shifts that are obvious to an outside, unpracticed eye. They are all well-hidden beneath a thick exterior that is adept at hiding the shifts. Frankly, I am reticent to post this part of my mental health diagnosis because I know it sounds surreal and made-up. I worry about judgment from others. However, what’s most important to me is that I know my own experiences. I also trust the many psychiatrists and therapists who have worked on my case. I hope my life and writing can bring some light to this misunderstood, mischaracterized and misinterpreted disorder.

Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.

Community Voices

How’s she doing now? One woman’s story of living with mental

She’s different
She’s changed
She’s the person you once knew.

You feel sad and kind of pity her and you may even say things like …”she had it all, what a waste!”

You stopped inviting her to your events, parties, and gatherings. You haven’t picked up the phone or bothered to text her to see how she may be doing and how life may be treating her.

She’s out of sight and out of mind, until a moment in passing with a mutual friend or family member and they ask you … “hey how’s she doing now, have you seen or talked to her lately?”

You don’t know. That moment may or may not have sparked your curiosity about her well being and how she’s handling life or thought …

“how’s she doing now?”

So you call, text, and you even reach out to her via social media. If you call her to see how she’s doing then you’ve done your duty and you can continue on with your “very busy life.”

But, did you really help her to get the help that she so desperately needed to address the mental illness issues that she didn’t even realize that she had?

When you finally do reach her, she eagerly accepts your invitation to talk because she is ready and has been waiting for this conversation. She’s played this talk out over and over in her mind for years and she is more than ready to confide and talk with you.

She explains to you that she is tired and she explains to you that she realizes that her life is not what she had expected or how she thought it would be. She goes on explaining to you that she is “awake” and fully aware and that she truly understands now. She tells you that through years of intense therapy, she has realized that she had dissociated for ten years from the traumatic events that she experienced from early childhood and that even more trauma continued on into her adult life causing her to decline even deeper into dissociation.

She tells you that she understands that the traumatic events in her life had caused her to become extremely sick. She tells you that she is mentally ill and has been for her entire life, unbeknownst to her, until now.

She explains to you that this is a scary new realization for her and that she is sad to come to terms with what her sickness has taken from her. She bears her soul to you even though it terrifies every fiber of her being.

She shares with you the daily pain that she carries around with her over the relationships that were damaged, lost and the ones that are beyond repair.

It took her ten years to realize that she was “sick” and that has been something that she has been diligently working on with the help and guidance of trained professionals. She tells you that she has finally found “her army.”

It took her ten years to finally become “awake” and finally “come to” and she has found her “true self” after years of being lost. She missed out on so much and she wanted you to know that.

she wondered and asked you …

“why did no one try and help me?”

You see, she had learned that those that were closest to her, they knew just how very sick she was and that she was living with a severe mental illness, even though she had not realized that herself.

She was left to deal with her own suffering and lived in isolation. She was cast aside and put out of their sight because “she was out of her mind.”

No, not “out of her mind” she was just living and suffering from a mental illness that stole ten years of her life.

So she asked you why?
“Why didn’t you tell me that I was sick if you knew?”

You didn’t have an answer for her

She broke down and cried and wanted to ask you more but she stopped. She did not want to hear your answer for fear of being cast away again and feeling rejected by you. She wasn’t ready to be cast away again or anymore.

You see, she had already been stung and was hurting and trying to heal from the pain of a conversation that transpired with a family member, a family member whom she confided in and bore her soul to, only to be told …

“I’m glad that you’re finally trying to make things right!”

– A harsh and rather insensitive comment to make, seeing how she had done nothing wrong to “make right” and was unaware of her mental state.

She has an invisible illness, mental illness in fact and she finally knows that.

The stigma surrounding mental illness is undoubtedly real. It makes it damn near impossible for those that suffer from their illnesses to want to talk about it, share their struggles with it, and even harder to ask for help with it, especially if they are unaware they are suffering from it.

If you’re wondering “How’s she doing now?”

Thank you for asking, I’m doing ok and managing as best I can.

3 people are talking about this
Community Voices

“How’s She Doing Now?”

She’s different
She’s changed
She’s the person you once knew.

You feel sad and kind of pity her and you may even say things like …”she had it all, what a waste!”

You stopped inviting her to your events, parties, and gatherings. You don’t ever pick up the phone or bother to text her to see how she may be doing and how life may be treating her.

She’s out of sight and out of mind, until a moment in passing with a mutual friend or family member and they ask you … “hey how’s she doing, have you seen her lately?”

You don’t know, and that moment may or may not spark your own curiosity about her well being and how she’s handling life or “how’s she doing?”

So you call, text, or even try and reach out to her via social media. In your mind, if you call her to see how she’s doing then you’ve done your duty and you can continue on with your “very busy life.” In your mind you’ve done your good deed.

But, have you really?

When you finally do reach her, she eagerly accepts your invitation to talk because she is ready and has been waiting for this conversation and has planned out how she wants to proceed with communication.

She’s played this talk out over and over in her mind for years and she is more than ready to confide in you.

She explains to you that she is tired and she explains to you that she realizes that her life is not what she had expected it would be.

She goes on explaining to you that she is “awake” and fully aware and how she truly understands now. She tells you that through years of intense therapy, she has realized that she had dissociated for ten years from the traumatic events that she experienced from early childhood that continued on into her adult life.

She now understands that these multiple traumatic events had caused her to become extremely sick.

She explains that she was so sick that she was unaware that she was in fact sick at all.

She explains to you that this is a scary new realization for her and that she is sad to come to terms with what her sickness has taken from her.

She cries out to you, sharing with you the daily pain that she carries around with her over the relationships that were damaged, lost and the ones that are beyond repair.

It took her ten years to realize that she was “sick” and that has been something that she has been diligently working on with the help and guidance of trained professionals.

It took her ten years to finally become “awake” and finally “came to” and she has found her “true self” after years of being lost, she wondered …

“why did no one try and find me?”

She had learned that those that were closest to her knew just how very sick she was.

Her entire circle knew that she was living with a serious mental illness and they turned away from her. They left her to deal with her own suffering and isolation. They cast her aside and they put her out of their sight because “she was out of her mind.”

So she asked you why?
You didn’t have an answer for her

She broke down and cried and bore her soul as you gave no explanation. She asked you if you loved her and if you loved her children …

She stopped, not wanting to hear your answer for fear of being cast away again and feeling rejected by you. She was already hurting from another family member that even after hearing her story and bearing her soul, said …

“I’m glad that you’re finally trying to make things right!”  – a pretty harsh and insensitive comment to make to her, seeing how she had done nothing wrong to “make right.”

She has an invisible illness
She has a debilitating illness
She has mental illness

The stigma surrounding mental illness is undoubtedly real. It makes it damn near impossible for those that suffer from their illnesses to want to talk about it, share their struggles with it, and even harder to ask for help with it.

If you’re wondering “How’s she doing?”
Thank you for asking, I’m managing as best I can.

2 people are talking about this
Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.

Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.

Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.

Melissa Cote

Dissociative Identity Disorder: My Parts and Their Roles in My Life

Where do I begin? I really don’t know, but I will try. I will do this as best I can without hurting myself or hurting or insulting the parts of me that have tried to keep me from the hurt from my past and the hurt that they fear is lurking and waiting to prey on me and on them. You see, I am indeed a rare puzzle of mystery and of untold and hidden secrets. Secrets that I myself do not even fully know. However, there are parts of me that do know, and they are (and have been) keeping them locked and hidden away from me for years — decades, in fact. These parts mean well and really do have my best intentions for my well-being and mental stability, yet these well-meaning parts are tired. They are ready to meet me and I feel that I am finally ready to meet them as well. This is an introduction long overdue. I feel that “we” are all ready to come to a “meeting of my mind” kind of moment. Let’s first talk about those parts of me that I’ve already met and what role in my life they’ve assigned themselves to. The Keeper “The Keeper” is a beautiful little girl about the age of 6 or 7. She has long blonde hair, wears a white frilly nightgown and carries and holds on tightly to a very loved teddy bear. She also carries all of my deepest secrets that are hidden, and she has since I was about the age of 2. She takes this role extremely seriously and I feel her with me the most. She means me no harm; in fact, she keeps me from harm by keeping these secrets from me and has for over 40 years. She tells me that I am not allowed to go down that trail as of yet and she will stop me dead in my tracks if I try to run on past her: “This is not your time to run towards the unknown path; there are things up ahead on this trail that you are not ready for.” I have to make peace with what she says for now. I do try because I trust “the Keeper.” She and I have met a few times. She’s sweet, loving and she worries a great deal for me; she also cares a great deal for my other “parts” too. The Manager There is another “part of me” that I refer to as “the Manager.” She is quite the personality and tries to maintain all order concerning me and “my parts.” “The Manager” has the toughest role, and she reminds me of this a lot. Her job is to keep all of my “parts” in line and she likes to run a tight ship within my psyche. To her, this role is extremely daunting, yet she strives for excellence and thrives on perfection. If she gets pushback from another “part,” she has no qualms about reminding them of her title and asserting her role as such. She can be quite intimidating to all of “us.” When she takes over, “we” all know that she has “switched” in. Autopilot Then there is one that I refer to as “Autopilot.” I’m not ready to talk about her yet… we know of each other but have yet to be formerly and properly introduced, and there is good reason for that. We’ll just move on from her, for now. The Medium I really do adore and have beautiful and loving feelings of safety and of light for “the Medium.” She is extraordinary and her gifts are so rare and magical. I really do love when she decides to “switch” in. She is simply the most beautiful energy and I’m blessed to have her be a “part” of me. She brings messages of hope and peace from multiple energy planes. She has given me the most amazing gifts that I have been able to gift on to others. I thank her every day and I really do believe that she’s also grateful for our life together. The Feeler “The Feeler” feels all, and has from the very first time “we” felt any kind of hurt or trauma from any of the catastrophic moments we’ve gone through in our past 40 years. She is rather emotional and the others find her to be the “weakest” of us. Oh, but she is mighty strong and fierce for what she’s had to feel over the years. I admire her strength and longevity. She is one of the toughest “parts” of us. The Motivator “The Motivator” works tirelessly to push all of us to do things when we are tired and feeling sad from being on-call and overworked from this unrelenting job of trying to keep us all together and in line. Sometimes she needs to “switch” off for weeks and months at a time to recharge so that she can rally us all back to being productive. That is exhausting and I appreciate all of her efforts. I try to express that to her as much as I can; I really do hope that she knows that. The Organizer “The Organizer” feels underappreciated the most. She hates that “we” tend to slack off as she thinks that “we” could all be doing so much more. Her anxiety can reach extreme highs when she doesn’t see things going exactly her way. She does get snippy and tends to verbally lash out … a lot. She really is trying to work on that though. “We” know that. The Cleaner “The Cleaner” does exactly that; she cleans up physical as well as emotional messes. She does not particularly like her role, but she knows that someone has to do it, and she knows that she is damn good at it. She tends to get easily bothered by some of the bigger messes, but all said and done, she gets it clean. Those are just a few of “my parts.” Well, the ones I’ve met. I realize that there are more. I’m ready for the big meeting; it will happen when “we” are all ready.