DID- a Personal Interview

I’ve been wanting to write an update, but every time I sit at my keyboard, I lose focus and have no idea where to start.

I’m okay. Things are better. I’m more stable. I have a new psychiatrist. I have a new scrip for Buspirone. My mom is talking to me. I haven’t been feeling the need to swallow a bunch of pills to kill myself. Work is going well. My social life is going well. The system is okay- though we are working through something at the moment.

Everything is okay.

I didn’t want to just leave a paragraph update, so I decided to post an interview regarding DID  that I recently did (which the article itself will hopefully be published within the next couple months!).

real-did-stories-videos-healthyplace

Age:
24

Location:
California, USA

What’s your current profession?
I currently work in HR. When I’m not bustling around the office floors, I’m writing. I recently published my first book ever! It’s called, Solipsist, and it is a collection of confessional poetry that I’ve been writing during my journey in therapy. (Self promoting! It’s available on Amazon and on Kindle!)

When were you diagnosed with DID? What was your journey up to your diagnosis like?
I was diagnosed in the early summer of 2015. Before that, I had been diagnosed with both Bipolar I when I was 16 and Schizoaffective Disorder when I was 22. I struggled a lot with the latter. I had checked myself in to outpatient services once I was hearing malicious voices. It was really intense, frightening, and confusing. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and the misdiagnoses of SAD really set me back a little bit. It was difficult.

When did your different alters start to develop?
This is a tricky question. I suppose they really began developing around 4-5 years of age. My first alter, I suppose you could call her, was Allie. She’s been my best friend ever since. I’ve been told by friends that even in high school sometimes I would act oddly, or would even introduce myself by a different name.

How many alters do you have in your system? Can you tell me about about each different alter and their character traits?
So far, I’ve come to know 6 main alters. However, I know there are at least 3 more and a possible co-host.

Victoria is 24 and loves to write. She’s the host, typically.

Allie is a southern belle. She manages the system and works time out for everyone. If someone has an issue within the system, she is the go-to.

Goldie, or Marigold, is my protector. She’s from New Jersey, she’s tough, and she absolutely has no problem telling someone how we really feel.

Senka is 5. She’s sweet, loves dinosaurs, and likes to color.

Dee is 16, although I think she may age-slide. She’s a typical teenager and enjoys a good party.

Rogue has no identified age. She was angry abusive, and hypersexual. Now through therapy she seems to just bob around in the background.

Those are the 6. The others are:

Citizen, who is quiet and observant.

Lucy Lovelace, who is a more recently realized alter and I don’t have much information on her as of yet. I know that she was “born” in a mental institution.She has been taking on co-host responsibilities and traits.

Celia. She’s what I call the “emotional accountant” of the system.

How does Marigold protect all of you?
Goldie possesses the quality that I wish I always had: She doesn’t take abuse from anyone or anything. If something hurts the system, she’s usually the first to come out. To anyone who has met her, she’s been described as a little “rough around the edges” due to her brutal honesty. However, she is loving. She offers advice to me when I need it, even if I don’t want it.

How often can you switch between alters? Are you aware of what’s happening during a switch or when you’re a different alter?
To be honest, I don’t know how often it happens. 99% of the time, I don’t think I’m aware. I don’t feel that I even switch. Sometimes, I just feel fuzzy and my eyesight starts to shift. My girlfriend is usually the one to let me know, “so-and-so just came out.” Besides her telling me, I don’t know. However, there are times when they are louder, and there are times that I feel that I may be co-fronting, but I still don’t have any way to confirm that that means I’m switching.

Can you tell me a bit more about your day-to-day life is like?
I wake up, sometimes I’ll have a morning “meeting” with everyone depending on how we’re feeling. I’ll drive to work and Goldie typically drives with me. Every now and then Senka will be in the backseat. I work a full-job. I’d be lying to you if I said it’s not stressful because there have been moments where I’ve switched at work. Senka came out once that I know of- imagine working at your desk and then all of a sudden there’s a 5-year-old and no one knows what to do with you!

When I get home, I like to write. I blog. It’s therapy for me. I’ll spend time with my cat, Rita. I’ll play guitar sometimes. Then, bedtime!

Everyday is so different, but this is basically what it looks like.

When and why did you start vlogging and blogging about living with DID?
I started blogging a little over a year ago. I didn’t begin my blog focusing on DID. I had been battling depression for years, as well as drug addiction and rehabilitating from suicide attempts. My blog was created with the sole intention of helping other people by sharing my story. Then of course, as time went on and therapy opened up my trauma, I decided to spread awareness about DID.

The vlog came about 6 months after.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I have two goals:

1) I want to spread awareness, not just about DID, but about mental health and specifically the stigma against suicide. I’m astonished at the lack of information on the topic of DID and I would LOVE to educate people!

2) I want to continue writing and publish my autobiography.

What are the positive aspects to having DID, is it comforting to have the company of your alters?
Even though it’s scary and painful, my alters have shown me so much about myself, my past, and what I am truly capable of as a survivor. There’s not one boring day with all of us. When I’m really depressed and feeling lost, Allie is there by my side, ready to comfort me. When I feel threatened, Goldie protects me. There are a lot of positive aspects.

How did it feel to be finally diagnosed with DID in 2015? Did you feel a sense of relief or elucidation about yourself after your diagnosis?
I had mixed emotions about it. I think I had just been getting used to accepting Schizoaffective as my diagnoses and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t do any research at first. Then, slowly after working with my therapist, I realized that DID was not a fluke in brain chemistry; rather it is an adaptive and coping disorder. This is when the relief set in, because I knew there could be an “end result.” Integration. I began delving into books and forums. I picked up the DSM-V for the first time. I was so incredibly surprised to see how textbook my case was! There was definitely a sense of relief. I finally feel confident in the accuracy of my diagnoses.

I think you made a really moving point about how your alters have helped you survive trauma in your life and you hate to call DID a disorder. Can you tell me a bit more about this and describe how your alters have helped you?
I had coined this term in my blog when I first began writing- Glitter Rainbow Imagination, in lieu of the word disorder. I feel that “disorder” implies something that you want to get rid of, something negative and that is harmful to your psyche. My experience is quite the contrary! I had suffered through a lot of abuse, both verbally and physically. If I hadn’t have split, I promise you I would not be here today. Some of my alters, specifically Rogue, carry a lot of intense trauma.

I suppose if you look at it for a more psychological viewpoint, each of my alters are kind of like a filing drawer, and I’m the cabinet itself. Each drawer contains information and memories that are unique to that drawer. My brain has compartmentalized my childhood up until now. Through therapy, I am learning how to unlock the drawers safely, how to read through the files and accept the information.

 

What happened when Senka came out at work and did your work colleagues realise what was happening?
I don’t think anyone really noticed except for one co-worker. At the time, my girlfriend was working at the same office and Senka asked for her. So, the receptionist called her and my girlfriend took Senka for a drive. I don’t think she’s been out since then; she knows she’s not allowed to be out at work.

What sort of things do you discuss with your alters at your morning meetings?
We do a quick “scan” of how everyone is feeling usually. More recently, we discuss if anyone needs to take over for a while. For example, Goldie likes to drive in the morning and smoke a cigarette. Sometimes Senka wants to color after work. It all depends.

Do you have to buy or do certain things to accommodate all your different alters? e.g do you buy toys for Senka or different clothes for your some alters?
Senka definitely has a lot of stuffed animals. She loves dragons and dinosaurs so we have plenty of those! I wouldn’t say that the alters have different clothes- however, when we go shopping, they will come forward and give their opinions on what we should buy, or not buy. So, you can imagine how indecisive I could be!

What’s the most common misconception about DID?
Well, first of all, I find that the majority of the population doesn’t even know the term DID. They know Multiple Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, the extent of their exposure to MPD/DID is what they’ve seen on screen- i.e Sybil, United States of Tara, etc.

The common misconception is there are wild switches and that’s it. One day you’re Jane, the next you’re Rachel. At least in my own experience, it’s not like this. Sure, I switch sometimes. But there is SO MUCH MORE to it than that. It’s complex, it’s painful, there are so many layers. DID is not a little thing to work through. Honestly, I believe I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life.

 

Proteus

Please excuse the silence.

A few nights ago, there was an internal shift which sent me into a seizure. These have happened before; the convulsing, the blood coming from somewhere in my mouth. I’ve been tested numerous times for epilepsy,diabetes, etc. There’s really no medical reason other than stress. I was released from the ER around 6:30 am. My girlfriend and I went back to her apartment, slept for a few hours, then she was off to work and I was off to group.

Yesterday morning as I drove to group, I felt extremely different and movie-like. I feel this quite often. Usually, the movie revolves around a victim and a detective. I’m almost always the victim. However, this time, I was the criminal. I had- or we had?- fleeting homicidal ideation.

There is a security gate to the hospital building. You need to be buzzed in. When we approached the gate, *I* was pulled out of my body and began watching everything as a ghost. The door buzzed. He smirked. Loud music thudded in my head as I watched this. It was as if he had just gotten away with murder as he pushed the gate open and walked through the therapy bungalow.

Whenever this happens, I watch the movie as if I’ve watched it a hundred times before; I always have an idea of how it “ends.” This particular movie was about a serial killer right before a rampage. I don’t get the feeling that it is a pointless rampage. I feel an underlying current of vengeance.

Today I’m speaking to my doctor about Abilify. She recommended Abilify and Latuda to stabilize my paranoia and hallucinations.

I didn’t sleep last night. I was so convinced that someone was in the house with me. I could hear footsteps and breathing. My dogs are here and logically I know that they would notify me if anyone were actually in the house.

Anyways, it’s not all negative news. I do feel that I’m gaining more strength from therapy. My girlfriend came in for a quick family session and I found it to be very beneficial. I also found how strong our relationship actually is. Not that I didn’t know that before, but talking it out aloud really opened my eyes.

Tell Me You’ve Gotten My Charts All Wrong

I came to a nervous realization last night. I preface this with a disclaimer- I’m not self diagnosing, nor am I trying to evaluate my own mind because lord knows I am not qualified. However, after researching DID, some key points and symptoms began standing out to me. The ground beneath me shook.

“…Other symptoms include voices heard, self alteration, derealization, depersonalization, flashbacks, trance, identity confusion, and awareness of other states. They also experience… voices arguing, voices commenting, thought withdrawal, thought insertion, made impulses, made feelings and made actions. Finally, these individuals with struggle with auditory hallucinations, which are not psychotic, but the symptoms imitate psychotic symptoms…”

The obvious question that immediately entered my mind was: What if I was misdiagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder? I suppose that doesn’t necessarily cover the paranoia, the visual hallucinations… it was just a thought. I have an appointment with a new doctor on July 1st.

A couple of hours before I fell asleep, the all-too-familiar suicidal thoughts began pervading my mind. However, this time, I didn’t feel that I MYSELF was suicidal. Yet, I still had the feelings. I’m unsure how to describe it.

Actually, early yesterday, I felt as if I was fighting myself just to stay here.

While we were sleeping, my girlfriend said that Senka kept coming out. I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned Senka on this blog or not. I’ll write about her later. She’s 5. That’s about all I know.

I’m going to talk to my therapist about seeing her more frequently. I feel as if I am on the threshold of making some kind of progress or breakthrough…

On White Lines and Morning Prayers

I meant to write this past weekend but found little time to sit and type!

The therapy session went well. My girlfriend came along and was able to give my therapist a lot of insight as to the others- a lot more insight than I expected her to give. I found myself becoming very uncomfortable at the descriptions she gave of Rogue, recanting violent acts, punches and harsh words. Some mental fog consumed me and I was enveloped in thick, muddy time, listening to my girlfriend converse back and forth about my dissociation. Allie sat to my left, patting my knee, telling me to relax. All the while, Rogue stirred beneath my ribs. I could feel my eyes almost dilate.

My therapist recommended that I communicate with Rogue, perhaps through writing. I don’t even know where to begin.

After the session, I felt very detached from reality. I could hear R in the background, “Now you really did it. You fucked up.”

I went home, paced nervously around the house, walking over the carpet spaces in which I was taken advantage of. I downed a beer, two, three. My cousin came home with his friends. I retreated into my bedroom with Allie and I cried into my pillow. The walls were closing in on me. Dee said I should get out of the house. Somewhere in between my melt down and sticking my keys in the ignition of my car, I had gotten ready and left my house. I met up with a good friend of mine/coworker for a drink. The space made me relax more. I was able to forget about R.

Good conversation, good drinks, good music. My girlfriend met us later at the bar, looking absolutely stunning as she had just come from a family quinceañera.
More conversation, more drinks, more music.

At the end of the night, my girlfriend and I had gotten into a small argument, which I can’t blame her for. We had been at the bar with another friend, who so happens to have a coke habit. We had gone into the stall together. She asked me if I wanted a bump. I said no. I held my hand out as a table as she did took a line. Another line. I wanted it, it was so close to me. But I thought to myself, “I’m not going to waste my sobriety and I’m not going to hurt my girlfriend.” She put the coke away.

Moments later, my girlfriend walked into the restroom with us. I guess I looked suspicious, or so she said. When we got in the car to drive home, she spun around and said, “Really? One night and you’re already snorting coke?”

Like I said, I can’t blame her. I was a desperate junkie not too long ago. I think I was just upset because A) I had been proud of myself and I was excited to tell her, “Babe! Guess what!! I was strong and I didn’t do it!”
B) I hadn’t taken my meds that night and I was feeling it.

The next morning everything was fine. She asked me again to reassure her. I did. We made up and went to the dog beach with my little ones. I think we both needed the sun and sand. The weekend ended off with homemade tie-dye shirts.

On a completely separate note, Ramadan begins next Thursday. I wanted to begin a week early. Unfortunately, I did not set an alarm for Morning Prayer- Fajr- today, but I did make up the prayer when I woke up. I will be fasting this week. God willing he will rope me closer to him, to myself, to love and to general patience this month. I need faith again.

To Be Released Momentarily

I have an appointment with my therapist in two days with my girlfriend. This will be the first time a significant other will be with me in a therapy session. I’m pretty excited about it. It’s important to me that she is included in my progress and recovery.

Today’s Statistics
Anxiety: 1
Depression: 1

Two nights ago I was curled in my sheets, fantasizing over opiates, staring at an empty beer bottle by my dresser. Yesterday, I was distracted, though content. Today, I feel better. I think my mom threw me for a loop in which I spiraled momentarily.

Rogue has been padlocked up for days now, under the secure arrest of Goldie and her firearms. Sometimes, I can hear Rogue’s voice reverberate in some hollow space in my head. She’s restless.

I know I should probably disclose this to my therapist but fuck, it’s so uncomfortable. It’s SO uncomfortable. I don’t know how to even discuss it, where to begin, what to say…what if she comes out? I don’t know how to control her. At least I have Goldie as protection.

I feel as if I am constantly chasing my memory. Even with simple things and routines. Granted, this has only happened a handful of times this week, but a sentence will come out of my mouth that I had absolutely no control over. At all. I even had to stop and really think about what the hell had just happened.

My seconds are over-lapping. Tunnel-vision, blurred vision.

When I Went Rogue

I woke up and the moon raped me. 

I was just dreaming about my girlfriend when I found myself kicking the air violently and swinging my fists. I had been dreaming that I was attending group therapy with my girlfriend and some man was interested in her. He had his arm around her shoulder and his other hand on my wrist to prevent me from throwing a punch. I fought him off.

I have been plagued these past hours with haunting memory of the past night. I had been driven to a breaking point somehow. Rogue came out. She is ruthless and violent. She hurt my girlfriend and she hurt me. I am tending to a bruised face now- my bruised face, from punching myself. 

  
I am terrified. I am terrified of being given up on. I am terrified at the idea that I physically inflicted pain on the woman I love. I am terrified that she has had enough and will leave me, alone with my alters and alone in the crux of my trauma recovery. I am terrified that I am toxic to her; I believe with all my heart and soul that I’m good for her, but this process may hurt her too much. 

I feel guilty for unleashing myself, for splaying out all of hidden trauma and anguish. How could I be so selfish to burden her with such heaviness? Why can’t I piece it together by myself?

A truck came flying at me, so to speak, and WHAM! I had been hit by flashbacks of when I was much younger. 5 years old. My cousin had been taking care of me and my aunts house. It was a Saturday. She was at work and we were home alone. I don’t remember much of the surrounding incident. What I do remember is him asking me to play a game with him… In which the end goal was to give him oral sex.

My body hurts. I am fighting a war within myself everyday specifically with these memories. 

A Relevent Mental Health Question for 200 Followers

6 am, check my phone, check my notifications- 200 followers!!! Thank you for actually reading my blog and being so helpful to me! This is such a fantastic support network. Thank you.

Something that is on my mind…I have a question for anyone who would like to throw their opinion on here. On the subject of mental illness, how do you feel when someone equalizes it to another illness?

Specifically with Schizoaffective, Bipolar Type in my case: those of you have SAD, is it “okay” for someone to also call it Schizophrenia? If I have Schizoaffective Disorder, is it appropriate for me to say “I have Schizophrenia. I have Bipolar Disorder” as two separate illnesses? Why or why not?

I may be totally wrong, I’m not sure- as far as I understand my Glitter Rainbow Imagination, I have Schizoaffective Disorder, which is on the spectrum of Schizophrenia, however, it is not correct of me to go so far as to say, “I have Schizophrenia.” Two completely different disorders, correct?

My Hypnotist is also a Hellion

The past few nights have been really difficult. M has been here, prominently occupying my daily life. He alerted me of his presence with a, “Hello, Sibyl. Good morning, Bitch.”

I can feel him injecting black dye into my organs. I can see it flowing through my veins. They’re darker. I am clouded with it. He shuffles through obscene pictures of my girlfriend fucking other people, of my cousin mounting me… he wants me to know how absolutely worthless I am to anybody’s health.

I feel quiet and helpless. Two mornings ago I found myself hidden once again beneath my covers, crying into my mattress. I feel that at any point in time, someone is going to break into the house and kill me.

Exhaustion has befriended me. I hope it’s as simple as a med adjustment. As the days progress, my itch for opiates intensifies; the release of warmth and comfort. I’ll be okay, I’ll be okay.

L’appel du Vide

Yesterday, my day was comprised of authoritarian voices telling me not to step outside, that the rain was acid, I would burn alive. There’s acid in the food, don’t eat the food, they all know…

I am in a movie, a film. I have already died, most likely. The room is very quiet. Mourning and silence suffocate the air around us.

The film focuses around the last few hours of my life, before I am brutally murdered, or before I have taken my own life. Within these last few hours, major changes occur. Changes that could have severely reconstructed my life, had I not died. In the end, what a shame it was that death had taken me so soon; if I had only been alive just one more day, my entire human purpose and outlook would have shifted for the better.

Sometimes, I am replaying my final hours from the grave, displaying the cynosure of the plot to my audience (or perhaps only to myself).

Often, I feel as if something is wrong during my final hours, though my innate sense of danger is marred from depression, or the like. There is frequently a soundtrack that plays in my head to go along with whatever scene is happening at the moment.

When I was younger, I thought that I just had a very vivid imagination and that I was just a natural born raconteur. Which is all fine and well, until it began to really control me. It would get to be overwhelming. I would feel as if I was stuck inside of a snow globe- sometimes for days at a time. It’s similar to the feeling you get after you’ve seen a phenomenal action film, and you feel as if you’re IN the film for a couple hours afterwards… does that happen to anyone else? I call it Film Dysphoria. Perhaps it stems from feeling that I am constantly being watched.

Which reminds me, when I was a teenager, I was absolutely convinced that any home I went into, there was hidden cameras.

I would search and search relentlessly for the cameras. I became so uncomfortable that I would refuse to go into rooms alone. Every now and then, I’ll still have the feeling, but it’s not ruling me.

I think I’ve mentioned this before… whenever I have night mares that I can’t wake up from, I kill myself in the dream. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m dreaming when the dysphoria becomes unbearable. I have fleeting thoughts of, “What if I kill myself to wake up?” This is a very genuine thought in the moment, I’m sorry to say. It scares me.

L’appel du Vide.

Lather

Sometimes my family makes me feel as if I am truly insane. At least in regards to my cousin, my abuser. I bring this up now because my other cousin asked me this simple question: “Is it possible… I mean, you say you hallucinate… is it possible, that these stories of what happened with him (my abuser and HIS cousin), your real mental health, your drug use, your self harm are just hallucinations?”

I know that these things happened…but in regards to my cousin… damn. The family doesn’t even acknowledge it as true. CPS dropped the case. This guy never received any punishment or reprimand. Can the world actually be that cruel?

I feel as if I’m missing bits and pieces of everyday life. I’m not paying attention completely. Maybe I’m just really exhausted.

It’s time to find a new psych. I’ll put some calls in today and see what happens. Perhaps I need an adjustment on my meds. Last night the conversations grew louder. This morning though… it’s been a while since I’ve had them like this. It’s got to be the depression.