Monday, May 5, 2014

Disbelief: A Common Response to DID

     I get it.  You looked as uneasy and skeptical as I felt when a woman announced that she had been raised in a cult that kept her drugged and impregnated and kidnapped her five children.  "WTF?!"  Someone has just said something so outlandish, so out of your comfort zone that you at first don't know whether to feel concern or disbelief, but at the end of that three second battle disbelief wins.  "I have this thing called Dissociative Identity Disorder, it's basically a big new word for multiple personality disorder.  It's not what it sounds like- well actually it kind of is."  The sudden uncomfortable silence as your mind processes and battles that - "WTF?!"  You gaze at me reprovingly because you are my friend but I have just crossed a major line trying to pass off such a lie.  I am obviously crazy and attention seeking, and you thought I was better than that.


     "I don't believe you."  I don't know how to respond to that so I say nothing, flailing in the silence.  I briefly try to piece together some words, but I have used them all.  "Well at that point there really is nothing you can say" my therapist tells me.  I never hear from you again.


   I Google "Dissociative Identity Disorder" looking for insight, help, and support.  I find instead pages of people debating whether or not my condition exists, or whether I am just attention seeking, or a liar, or delusional.  I questioned the existence of DID too, even after my first unofficial diagnosis- until some of my alters hid half a grand of my loan money.  I definitely know better now but some days I still root for the naysayers.  I'd like to bring them cookies and milk and hide behind their vehement belief in a simple, calm, one personality per person world.  If it shields them from their fear of the existence of multiple personalities why shouldn't it shield me from my fear of it as well?  I'm told this is normal.  "Give your mind a break" my therapist says.


     We have an unexpected mandatory meeting with a financial advisor.  The lady is very nice.  She has long soft dark curly hair, soft curves, soft smile.  She folds her hands in front of her as she explains in an equally soft voice that it's not that they don't trust me, it's just that they don't think giving free account access to a person with multiple personalities is a good idea.  I stare at her stupidly and blink.  That's a good point, and I'm not offended at all.  I'm just taken by surprise at the word alters coming out of her mouth. 


     I'm thinking about getting a dog.  One of my favorite choices is the Boxer.  I've read that they need to have a firm owner, one who lets them know who is the head of the pack.  As I relate this to my sister, she looks over at me with concern on her face; "But not all your alters could do that you know, you'd have to get a dog that works for all them."  I'm a bit mystified that she is bringing up the subject of my alters -wasn't there some unspoken rule that we not talk about that?  I thought it made everyone too uncomfortable, so for the most part I'd stopped mentioning them.  And I'm a bit put out that she's right.  Of course I need to choose a dog that all my alters and I can care for.  I'd just been ignoring that, the way I frequently ignore the whole "DID thing".  I realize that of the people in my life who know about my DID, I am in the decreasing minority who struggles to accept it.


Miss Anne Thrope said...

This sounds *so* familiar. You get so used to the blank stares and the incomprehension that you actually feel that they're right -- you don't have anything that wrong with you, and people who are so good at dividing up reality into what we can handle and what we can't of course are going to decide that this must be one of those things that is true for us, but perhaps not actually *true* true. After all, hasn't that been the case for so many things? It is shocking to me when my counselor or best friend refer to it. Half of me wants to ask, "So you actually do believe me? You think that's true?" and the other half wants to say, "No, can't be. That sounds so incredibly serious. Can't be." Because denial really isn't just a river in Egypt.

annette said...

Ha! Very good point about "your" truth. Is it better or worse when people put quotations around facts as if they were optional? I suppose we all try to believe only what we want to, or only what we can handle. I also am surprised at other people referring to my DID at how serious it sounds, and that they're talking about my life. Puts a mirror up, doesn't it?