“The moment stalks me; hauntingly unwelcome yet gruesomely present. Gutlessly knifing the precious intimacies held dear in my heart; ripping – moment by moment, day by day, month by month and year by year all capabilities front line in an intense psychotic struggle of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde slivering deviously within the fire of my brilliance - silenced by darkness.”
According to an article in Psychology Today titled “Pathological Relationships, dealing with a problem partner” dissociation Isn’t a life skill, dissociation is technically a defense mechanism. (Published on November 22, 2012 by Sandra Brown, M.A)
She describes Dissociation as:
1. The splitting off of a group of mental processes from the main body of
consciousness, as in amnesia.
2. The act of separating or state of being separated.
3. The separation into two or more fragments.
Dissociation is a coping mechanism that most sexually abused, emotionally abused, verbally abused or physically abused children turn to in order to survive a situation they otherwise may not have. Some may argue dissociation to be truly the act of a simple skill; it may seem like a skill, it may be perceived as a skill, it may even seem unreal - but underneath the shell of the stigmatic views one is indelicately ignoring is the invisible hell one had to endure to acquire these “skills” or more adequately put; coping skills or defense mechanisms.
I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. Secondary to my DID, I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks. I have several different Alter Personalities or “Parts,” each with their own identity or function for my compartmentalized system. I, the “host,” have been beaten, punched in the face and left with black eyes, threated with suicide, and cut so deeply as to have required several stitches, emergency room visits and hospitalizations by one of my own Parts, Personalities or Alters. To understand why I have such an angry, violent Part it would be important to understand why I created him in the first place. And, the other Six.
Life offers opportunity, it’s true – every moment of every day is an opportunity to make the choices necessary to better ourselves for ourselves and those we love. And, when love is present, all things are possible. As a child, for me, my environment was split dynamically between a heart crushing, mind slaughtering – state of ill-tendered confusion, harsh, abrasive, emotionally abusive sarcasm, criticism, pressure, teeth gritting, eye piercing fear imposing slams, rage, physical torture and sexual abuse, torture and rape. The dynamic of this is – and put a Megaphone to your ear - is that most of the abuse I endured, suffered; was not from my home – it was that from a trusted neighbor.
Today, I live a “normal” life with three children and a loving husband. I have a job that I love and I am surrounded by people in my life that love me. In fact, I am blessed to have created this life under the circumstances my Parts have endured. Yet, the truth is, it is my Parts that have been living my life and I have been the empty shell – numb – cold – a hollowed core that walks the walk, talks the talk, that feels nothing; stifled, dull; an emotionless nonentity. Through my torture, rape, the malice endured, undue criticism, sarcasm, emotional and physical abuse, my Parts have essentially saved my Life, and for that I am nothing but thankful. But, the distorted reality is, they are broken, suffering, pained - holding up a line of defenses that I needed for my survival. Yet today, these defenses are unnecessary; they are needless and they are stuck in the reality of their past, their inability to escape their suffering, and they need help too. But, they are a Part of Me. They are broken, compartmentalized, separated, detached, disconnected, split-off, disjointed, and each distinct, matchless, unique pieces of myself that are Parts of my personality in desperate need of integration. But, the point stands firm; acquiescent and not withholding – these Parts are all Me. Every switch, every identity, every personality change, every choice one makes, every word one chooses and every cut one slices into my tender palm or beating into my delicate face; it’s all being done by one person, two hands and seven ways of personifying it.
The challenges of living with a dissociative disorder are endless. Yet, there is hope and there are highly effective treatments available to those suffering from dissociative disorders, personality disorders, depression, anxiety and other mental illness. Unfortunately, those suffering will not always have the opportunity to be saved, helped, or even offered the opportunity. Why? Because the reality is, we live in a society where the stigma surrounding mental illness can be so harsh, abrasive and unsympathetic, it sends the depressed to commit suicide, the borderline personality to go “crazy” and the “mentally insane” to commit murder! Well that’s not fair, that’s not true and it’s time to take a stand to STOP the bullying, STOP the boorish attitudes and STOP blaming our mental health patients for being sick. Nobody blames their grandmothers or their daughters when they are diagnosed with breast cancer, but when it comes to a mental health diagnosis – well, now that’s a “horse of a different color.”
Society; life can be a miserable place to live – if you are different or you do not fit – you are mislabeled, treated unfairly, and sent to the dungeons of the stigmatic labels of the dark and gloomy world of psychiatry. Yet, it’s been told, said, repeated; it can be as simple as Choice. Decision. Behavior. Control. So take a step back, remove yourself from your ill-perceived fears, misperceptions, your haunted/ing past and allow your choices of today to free you of the misery you once believed were the chains in your heart and the emptiness of your soul. I know a broken heart feels as if it can never, ever be healed, as if it has darkness deep within that can and will never be reached by a single other person, ever. Just remember that we can choose our destiny, we can choose our future and we are in control of our past.
Abraham Lincoln said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it,” with this quote stands the foundation of “I am present, I am responsible and I accept my choices for my own; my responsibilities and my beliefs and I stand firmly behind my choices, my decisions and my dedication to life.” He’s right. All you need to do is just start living.