I am often quite disturbed by people who write about Dissociative Identity Disorder without living it.
I am definitely aware that is somehow a fascinating and difficult condition to grasp even when you find yourself in, that’s why most of the time when I read discussions about it I feel deeply hurt though I know there was no intention to harm anyone but to share better information about the subject.
There are no proper words to describe how we feel and experience the different people that compose us and I understand how strange and weird it is to imagine that you are sharing your body and lifetime with others that live just inside. Immediately arise the word fantasy: if you have people in your head they have to be made of fantasy material.
That’s what I thought for most part of my life too because I got no other way to explain what was happening to me. The fact is that those supposed imaginary friends were taking action in my life: I was them and I was not them depending on the perspective I was looking at myself, when I was able to. Otherwise I was simply one of them at one moment and another one the moment after or, sometimes, two or more of them at the same time. Each one got its purpose in life, its goal to reach, its narrative to fit into. All my life I felt halved at times, like I was never really true because I was never able to embrace at once the whole of my inner souls and, at the same time, the fantasy theory I was using was able to explain almost nothing I was experiencing. I guess it was just a frame I was using to survive among the desert of other known frames and that’s why sometimes I was feeling terribly ashamed of myself and so deeply alone: how could I have possibly told someone about being not ‘one’?
I spent a huge amount of energy and time trying to cover all this, training myself hard to fit inside a one sided narrative. It didn’t work for long: the more I was showing myself as ‘one’, the more I was feeling guilty and fake and the more I was in the need of setting a space for the others ‘me’ to express themselves, to show their truth, to tell their needs. On the other side, the more I was letting my inner souls express, the more I was feeling weird, ashamed and in the need of self isolation.
Inside freedom was paralyzing my possibility to be in the outside world, my being in the outside world was suppressing my possibility to be true. A hard dilemma that isn’t solved yet.
So, here comes the point of this article. Fantasy is a word that hurts us and terrifies us.
If you really would like to feel for a moment what we feel, you need to understand that each of us is felt as real, most of the time (we also have moments of denial) and has the need of being recognized. No matter how strange can be their body or narrative or the way they think and act. They are real. Real to me, real to my life, real because they act in the world in many ways, real because they have needs, desires, feelings, perspectives, thoughts, beliefs, abilities, sensations, dreams. They are no fantasy at all!
When I think about the family in my head as a fantasy world — yes, it still happens — I fall into desperation and all my life seems just an act of frode. It ruins all the good I can provide, all the will to stay alive. Me, without my others me, I am nothing but a bunch of useless void flesh.
If I was supposed to show you my others me, you would meet an androgynous young male, a grown strong man, a fairy lady (now became mortal because of her love), a kind of wise ghost, a little child that speaks with cats and a totally nerd guy. All of them have different habits and dress their own way, they all have their taste in life and, most important of all, their role. So, to make you know them a bit, I should let them come out as they are, without the usual compromises I learnt to have in real life in order to survive. To make you understand a bit more, I could try to dress as they are in my head.
Would that freedom be a relief? Sure it will be! Would it lead to an even more fragmented me? I don’t know, but I don’t guess so. Anyway what I know is that, when I see some video on youtube in which people show their so-called alters, I don’t put them all in the same pile. Some of them are truly moving, are made by informed people and are not so fake as you might get them. Some of them are just like I would figure out a show of my many me to make you understand a bit how it works inside.
To make you understand a bit! It’s not that in real life we change clothes each hour, even if there were times in which, before to go outside, I got to change dozens of times and the more I was trying to understand what was wrong with the usual dresses, the more I was paralyzed until some moment of real panic and crisis.
If we don’t show openly what is going on inside us anyway, it is mostly because we are like we are due to past traumas and survival was, and still is, possible because of our fragmentation and the hidden nature of our condition. We also hide our true poly nature because we figured out a way to seem like the one sided people. But we are not, not in the way you may get it. The one sided human that we present to the world is often the only passport we have to be accepted. It’s a tool and , let me assure you, not a perfect one. Point stop.
So, even if I know that it might be not the best way to make people understand what Dissociative Identity Disorder is, I don’t feel like judging who try to make their inner mates visible, recognized: it’s a way to validate themselves, to unravel what seems to be impossible to unravel and, by that way, to accept and understand themselves. Most of them are young: they have courage and, at the same time, they lack the global vision of what can be a better way to make non-DID people get the complexity and the nuances of our inner worlds. I feel less offended by some of them than by the movies or series on the subject: they were painting persons with DID in ways much farther beyond reality.
Does it mean that all the people who post videos of their alters are in the continuum line of dissociation that goes until DID? No, I don’t mean that. Many of them might just be looking for fun, to their eyes it seems that having DID is like a fashion style and not a severe condition to live with. Personally, I don’t bother too much about them anymore.
I mean also that, among them, there are some who’ve probably found a way to cope with their condition while letting their alters somehow visible, meanwhile they try to provide to the listeners a bit of information more. Do we have to throw them all in the same garbage? No, if we are clever people. We need to know things better before judging and then we can discriminate between idiots, seeking attention people and the ones who found this way to both cope, accept who they are and use the way they are to get popular. I am a little over my fifties and along the years I got times in which I was very deeply different in real life: some of my alters got their times to test reality and I assure you that was not the best way to cope. It was all messy then and I ended without any grasp of who I was. Maybe, if there were internet at the time and I was posting video of my other people I would be less ashamed of who I am and you would be more aware of what is like being myself.
When I discovered the DID community on Reddit, I felt at home for the first time in my entire life. They speak our language, so if you like to understand more, you might go there before speaking out loud. I recommend that community for professionals too. Why don’t they come to listen to us? There is also a community dedicated for the ones who want to ask questions without having the condition, it’s called AskDID.
I think we should be less concerned by youngs on the media and should be more harsh with the many professionals instead, that still nowadays fail to recognize the disorder, to the ones who still use the word fantasy when they speak about your soulmates while inviting you to get rid of them and to grow up — this is part of my experience and how I was first addressed by a psychiatrist. We should be concerned about the fact that DID is still unknown in many health facilities and that serious informations about it is almost equal to zero in many countries of the world. So the voices of the youtubers or whatever are the only sound in a desert, but is the desert the main trouble, not their voices.
This is THE very insulting reality! And this is what should be pointed out as the real big issue to solve!