Memory has always been an issue with me. Not in remembering things wrongly but in not remembering things in an odd way. I do not remember things and then if I am thinking of them, sometimes a voice will tell me a little about it or a memory will suddenly appear as if shared. If the memory is too upsetting, sometimes it will only be shared briefly and I will forget again. Sometimes, I will only retain pieces of it. Sometimes, I forget it completely until it is shared again. Writing it out and keeping a record of it in writing is the best way to remember but then again, I may erase it. Not me, the me I am now, but the other me or people within me.
Sometimes they will show themselves to me and sometimes, they will not. Sometimes, they will talk to me and sometimes they will not. It can be difficult if they are talking to me while I am doing something or talking to someone. I am literally multi-tasking because I may have multiple conversations going on and I may miss parts of what the person talking to me has said. People do not like to be ignored. Well, there are people in my head who also do not like to be ignored. Things become complicated. Sometimes, they do not take over completely. Lately, I have noticed something odd. I have convinced the child that I like her and adore her. She still refuses to be named. I do not know her age. But, I will suddenly notice I’m making an odd face or my hand is poking me playfully or dragging at my face in exasperation because she wants to have fun. Nothing harmful or hurtful just little playful actions. I am however 46 and so it is both funny because I am at home so it is fine and concerning because what if it happens when I am not. When I consider what therapy will be like in person, she loves to bubble near the surface threatening to come out but I have spent so many years fighting against this, my instinct is to keep them in as best I can. Of course, I never succeed but it is now my instinct because of how people have treated me and called me a liar, said I’m acting like another person, etc. I’ve always received very negative input regarding the other versions of me even though they are good people.
I call them people because they are. I am who I am based on my experiences, reactions, and thoughts on all of it. In large part, that is what makes us who we are. Well, they have all had different experiences, know different things, have different opinions, and because we share a body and a brain, we have had to work together to some extent. They have lived through my worst moments, carry my most awful memories so I do not have to. Who would do such a thing for me and bear such a burden? They are the best of my friends. I did fear a couple of them at times because they took over for extensive periods of time and that scared me. I did not know what had happened but would get brief glimpses of horrible fear and it was all just very scary. However, I have come to understand that those years or months were so terrible that if I remembered them, I may well go quite mad. It was an act of kindness, an act of survival. In reality, I created them, well my brain did. In a way, we are one, we are family, like having many twins, quads or something only on the outside, we are just one person. I am not scared of them anymore but I am scared of people’s reactions to them and the judgement we suffer.
I have watched some videos by psychologists lately and discovered that some doctors do not believe this actually exists. It is odd to me that someone would question our existence but then, we cannot be seen, can we? We cannot just get up and separate ourselves physically. So, I suppose that makes us intangible. Some believe we are created by psychologists but then, I did not see psychologists at any point until long long after we were here so I am living proof that while I suppose delusions could be caused in some, that obviously there are true cases of this phenomena. I’m sure I cannot be the only one that defies this perception. We are real and though we spring from one, we are different people because we grew into different people. Well, some of us grew, the child is funny because she is aware we have grown. She knows the body is 46 and it annoys her. The current chronic pain really annoys her. She has not grown really. She is still a child and very playful but also, very easily scared as children might be. She fascinates me. She loves pink and I have decided to get some clothes she likes when I can. She can be timid at times and other times, she will burst at the seams. She makes me laugh. She shows me a vision of what she may do or might like to do at the therapist. She shows me a puffy couch and she is sitting there, slowly edging over to the arm as she talks, then over the arm and to the ground, hidden by the couch. laughs. I wonder why she wants to go if she wants to hide. It is terribly funny. Silly girl.
I am a bit offended that they renamed it to dissociative identity disorder because it seems that the the name itself makes it seem as if it is a disorder but I do not think it is. It is a creation of the brain to protect itself, a survival method and so must be natural as a defense for the human mind. That means, it should not be cured but treated as a mysterious defense and the real effort should be on assisting us in navigating how to be multiple people in a society where that is not the norm. According to the oxford English dictionary a disorder is an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions. How can we classify a protective natural default as an illness? Does it disrupt normal function, well yes, but that is because of how others react to it, not because of how I function. How I function is messed up due to how I’ve been treated by others because of it and due to the expectations placed upon me by others. We would be just fine if allowed to just be who we are. What we need is to address acceptance of ourselves, all of us and to come to peace with it being ok. Calling it such a clinical name, removing even the word personality from it as if we are not people, as if we are just some illness…it is offensive to us. I mean, just imagine that someone called you, as a person, an illness. Imagine someone tried to exorcise you. You would be livid and think they were both crazy and cruel. Well, so do we. Then again, you may laugh at it, I do not know. I’m not you. I don’t find it funny, myself.
The other day, my lovely fiance brought me a coffee made perfectly to my desires and I thanked him, I thought it was so sweet. He then informed me it was already made. Now, people forget stuff like this all the time however, I know for a fact I did not make a coffee. I thought I did not have time at the moment. It was a decision but I really wanted one. Later that day, I went looking for a tube of ointment. I had used it on my son a day earlier. I knew I put it back however, I could not remember putting it back. In fact, I could not remember what happened after at all. When I could not find it and thought hard, realizing that, I was stumped. I would have put it back. I could not remember anything at all between putting it on him and then being in front of my computer. It’s like I just teleported. This resulted in a whole house search with my fiancé to find it and eventually finding it on my son’s couch, but he did not put it there. Now, this happening once awhile can be put off to bad memory but it happens all the time, it has always happened all the time. This is my normal and so, in an attempt to be normal, I learned to accept being called forgetful, a dreamer, a liar, all sorts of things. It was hurtful but it was better than the truth. We learned to pretend to be one person as best we could. It never really works truly and always results in being considered odd and all sorts of things but what are we supposed to do? Tell people that we are multiple people? Well, that elicits a worse reaction, now doesn’t it? It’s a no win situation really. So, now I am telling the truth because frankly I’m just tired, I’m exhausted of having to lie and cover up who I am. We are incredibly tired of the whole thing. We just want to be ourselves but we have to learn how to do so and how to deal with the many hurts we suffered, the issues we have from them. Hiding this alone for 46 years has been just exhausting. At times, I even forgot there were others. laughs. Then I would remember, I think they would make me forget and remember when needed. It is a different way to live for sure, but it is really not scary. It is in fact great fun at times and I am never truly alone. I think that if it I had been accepted for what and who I am much earlier, I would be much more functional than I am. I think if others could accept us for who we are, we could be much more functional. As it stands, it is very difficult.
I especially hid this as a parent because I was terrified for my children, not of us who loved them, but because of what others might think and do. The fear of having my children removed just because I was horribly hurt as a child. How awful to have to be fearful of help due to the harm it may cause to my children. It is others, not me, who would do such things. My children grew up loved and cared for, protected. In no way was I the perfect Mother but who is? I love them, we all love them. In a way, they are our children, we all raised them. We all took part. They simply thought I was silly and different. Well, I am, I certainly can be. laughs.
I have lately considered the possibly that I may well have some form of autism. I recognize myself quite a bit in my son, I understand him perfectly, though others do not. I get it. It makes me wonder. I certainly fit much of the classifications but I am no doctor. laughs. It’s just been in my mind lately as I remember things from my past. I’ve always had a deep connection to the earth, completely unrelated. I know, I jump from topics, to me this is natural. I have always felt better in nature, my feet in the dirt or grass. I literally feel better in every way. I feel deeply connected to trees, flowers, rain, wind, all of it. I love it. It is like an extension of myself that I miss when I am not physically connected to it. Like a limb removed from the body. I raised my children to respect nature, the earth, the trees. To me, this is natural and I never understood why others never felt the same. I just don’t get it. As a child, I felt like an alien among humans. I never felt I belonged with anyone, I never felt a connection to people. I always felt like I was outside looking in. It’s hard to feel alone.
Reaching out for help has been hard for me. My distrust of mental health providers in general and bad experiences with them in recent past, my fear of them instilled from childhood, has made each step towards help feel like marching through thick unyielding mud. It has been incredibly hard to admit I need help, to try, to trust. Each bad experience has served only to solidify my doubts and fears. Yet, I have pushed forward and now found a therapist I really love. I feel comfortable with her so much as is possible for me. I feel that she tries to understand me so I believe in her genuine want to help me. I am frightened but also excited at the chance to possibly heal somewhat. I wonder what will become of me. Is there a future for me? I have raised my children, completed my task mainly though it is of course forever and a bond I cannot live without. The need me, to different extents. Still, what are we now? We never really lived a life beyond what we were told to do or had to do. So now, I wonder, what comes next? I am left confused. I am not abused and running now. I am not raising small children though I do still assist my autistic son. We still live together and so, he is my current focus but he is not a baby. He does not need me as much. I no longer truly know what to do to help him achieve him goals all the time and so am going through a process to get access to those who do for him. It feels as if I am about to be left to decide my life, only I never have before. I feel lost and afraid. What am I now? Who am I now? I have so long been defined by what has happened to me, by my children and being a mother. What is left now? I should have come to this point around 18 years old. That is when people start their lives and decisions with guidance. For me, it was all just reactions or being forced or told or having to. There were no real decisions. There were no wide expanses full of options. I do not meet the general perception of normal, normal things are very difficult for me. So, what will become of me, here, at 46 … beginning life, injured, in pain physically and mentally, limited. What do I do with this world of options that scares the hell out of me?
Not exactly what you expected, is it? Where is that strong Lady Pandora? Oh, we will come to that story too but you see, Pandora is only one part of me. She is a part of me that sustained much harm and hurt. She is not the whole story, none of us are. Some parts, I may never know and they may never tell. So, you must know all that came before and after so much as I can tell you, so much as I know. We are parts of a whole and you cannot hope to understand her without understanding where she came from. We were born of pain and we fought a lifetime to escape it and to get to where we are. We fought so hard that we never gave thought to what would happen when we got there, when that fight ended. So, here we sit, telling our story and trying to find a way forward now that we are free, because we must break the silence that has caged and tormented us for so many years. Telling is scary. Freedom can be terrifying, if you’ve never really known it. We wonder what it is we fought so hard for and I think that is part of why we fought so hard to find a good therapist. We know fighting, running, protecting…but we do not know how to really live. Maybe we thought we would never really get here, deep inside but here we are. So, now what? I have removed my entire family but my children from my life. I have a good fiancé. I am getting assistance for my beautiful youngest son. My oldest is doing well, I am so proud of him. I’m proud as punch of them both. It is what I always wanted. It should be the happy ending to my story, right? Yet, I’ve not a clue how to function in it. laughs. Murphy’s law, right? Perhaps, with therapy, with time, with understanding… I can figure out this thing called life before I’m in the grave and live just a bit of it myself. I have served my purpose, so now, what is it I want? I do not know. It’s a rather new question.