An average acquaintance would not know, but I have Dissociation Identity Disorder. My partner calls it Magical Personality Diversity because the term “disorder” does not compute with my outlook — that I will always be a multiple, perhaps with fewer parts, but still a multiple even when I am fully “healed”. I can function as a multiple, when healed from the past, even better than a singular.
We (my system as a whole) have noticed a great deal of healing this past month. All my senses have become alive…food tastes like never before, and I am more observant than ever. I now hear parts of songs that I’ve never noticed despite listening to the songs many times. Watching a movie I’ve “seen” a million times before, I am aware now of how much I never actually saw before.
We have done so much work to make this happen. We’ve never dwelled on the emotional side of things — sure, we’ve had our tears, lots of them. But instead of processing the emotional side of things, we processed the symptoms first. Body memories, PTSD-like symptoms, anxiety — all were attended to by looking for, finding, and working with the personality parts that held those symptoms and memories.
Through it all, we kept saying, “It’s ALL shit. What happened at 2 years-old was just as bad as at 15. No one event, no matter how f’d up it was, was worse than the simple neglect, because it’s ALL SHIT, none of it was right, and it was all their (my perpetrators) fault.”
That mantra saved me a lot of obsessing over some of the difficult topics. Like how sexual abuse isn’t all pain, there is often something that feels good — attention, or your body’s reaction. We didn’t need to emotionally figure this out, because it was ALL SHIT, nothing was my fault — NOTHING. Whatever I felt or did was normal under the circumstances because I had been so conditioned by abuse.
So we have spent all our energy on finding the parts instead. One therapist was intrigued by our approach, which she called “search and rescue”, as opposed to the usual idea of healing by making parts go away (by associating or actually dissociating them).
Healing has brought up out of fear. We can be ourselves — which is to say, I can express all my parts. We no longer worry what people think. If my kid parts want to dance in the middle of the craft store, or get excited when they see chickens at a far, it’s all good.
Yes, there are still triggers, but I practice getting used to the things that irrationally scare me. It’s my own exposure therapy. We don’t have to do it constantly — there are some days when eating/food triggers should just be avoided. But when we’re feeling a little better, we try again.
We ARE healing. I feel like we can even sing and create better than ever before. We feel like we’re waking up and coming to life. Stepping out of a dissociative fog, brave and determined.
A lot of what we do is done because we want to prove that we are stronger than they ever could know. They thought they were making a victim — but they made an army out of me.
Here is a spoken-word poem I wrote and performed. It is VERY TRIGGERING, but powerful too, if you’re in a good place to handle it.