Friday, November 16, 2012

That Question

     Today we had a dentist appointment at 9a.m..  Since for various reasons we have been a night owl for the last few months, we decided the only way to pull this off was to yank our schedule down a bit this week and then pull an all night-er the night before.  Yeah, won't be doing THAT again any time soon. 
     So while we were sitting in the dentist chair (the awesome one that silently glides up and down so I feel like I'm on a mini roller coaster), wearing the sun glasses she gave me to shade against the overhead glare (awesome sun glasses that made me feel like a rock star), two things happened worth mentioning.  First, it occurred to me that while I was happy not to be freaking out at the dentist as I had feared, I was enjoying this way too much.  I nearly shared my glee with the dental hygienist about the rising chair and the rock star shades but rather unsuccessfully covered it up.  I began to ponder that we seriously need to get out more. 
     Then we began that awkward attempt at a two way conversation while one person is holding sharp objects and electric powered tools in the others' mouth.  That's usually the worst part of a dentist trip for many abuse survivors.  I don't have it too bad, but it makes some alters very nervous or frightened.  But the hygienist was very careful and cheerful, giving me plenty of breaks in which I was able to actually reply enough for us to hold a real conversation, which I felt rather proud of.  Good distraction.  The not so good part of the good distraction was my ability as an unemployed person who has suffered severe trauma and is now mentally incapacitated for the time being, to have good answers for the most basic polite conversation starters. 

     "So what do you do?" 

     I live off the goodwill of others while I take an excruciating long time to heal from brainwashing, sexual assault, and torture.       *cricket chirps*
     "Um, I don't work.  I do stuff at home."

     "What are you doing for the rest of the day/weekend?"

     Oh yeah, people actually plan stuff like this.  How would I know what I'll be doing in four hours?
     "I . . .  stay so busy planning for stuff during the week I don't plan for the weekend, I just crash."

     "Oh, that's too bad."

    Nothing like giving a fake answer to avoid eliciting pity only to elicit pity anyway because you're fake answer was just so lame.  So as I learned today, if there are things in your life you can't discuss with strangers and the most basic social questions throw you off guard, you need an alibi.  An alias, if you will.  Prepare for these kinds of questions beforehand and practice them.  You don't have to lie, but know in advance what you are comfortable sharing and what you are not.  Be prepared to share at least something or deflect the question in a way that leaves both you and the other person comfortable.

4 comments:

Miss Anne Thrope said...

Thanks so much for the needed perspective and humor. I commented before as an anonymous poster, and since then have been following your blog. This entry struck a chord with me, and when I finished laughing, I knew I had to comment. Like you, I'm not working, and don't get out enough. I have vague answers involving my health and my pending divorce that I give all the well-intentioned people who ask about when I'm going to start working again. After reading this, I'm wondering how I come off to them -- I'll have to pay more attention to that in the future. Thanks again for the lift on a day when I needed it.

annette said...

You're welcome, Miss Anne Thrope. I'm glad my humor is being understood and extends itself to other people. The "what do you do" question is a continual challenge for me. On the one hand I like to genuinely connect with people, on the other my situation is not well understood or accepted. I'm still figuring it out, and it's nice to hear from others in similar situations.

Literal Gemini said...

Hi, I am glad to have found your blog, as many DID blogs have not been updated since last year (2012). Anyway, I am also living with DID and am currently on Disability, but I of course don't tell people that! my therapist presented me with the solution of the "White Lie". She said people living with significant mental illness HAVE to use the White lie because what they are really going through is just too much for other people to understand/take in. SHe made me feel much more comfortable about telling people I am on a sabbatical from work, or that I travel alot for my job which is why my son is living with my parents, or anything else.. Where at first it was hard to lie because I felt guilty it has gotten easier over time. Although it still makes me feel guilty, I know I have a good reason for "lying", to protect myself and my privacy. Which is an important part of taking care of self.

I also just started a blog about D.I.D. ( literalgemini.blogspot.com ). I am looking for a community to connect to so I am glad I found you. I will be listing your blog under interesting links on my page and will be reading your blog in the furture. I like to see how others cope and live their life as it gives me inspiration. Take Care and hope to hear from you!!

annette said...

Thanks! And thanks for sharing. I'm still hammering out which white lie to use, and still a bit guilty, but it's getting there. As time goes on it's easier and doesn't seem as big an issue.