Chapter 41: Humiliation
I realise that this book is very possibly confusing to read and very frustrating. I realise that chances are, you will find contradictions in what is said. That I might start trying to explain something and end up discussing something different. Or that I might feel intensely about something in some pages and later refer to that same topic as irrelevant or having no emotional meaning to me. And when the day comes that I read back on what has been written and pick up on all the above, I have already made the decision not to edit anything. When I decided to attempt to write this book, I did not realise that it would be beneficial to my healing. Already I have somehow been able to reach realisations that will assist me in my healing process. I thought this book was for the sole purpose of explaining to those who do not experience life with DID what it is for those who do experience it. And also that perhaps in expressing my reality I would somehow help those with DID heal in some extent by their realisation that the way their mind seems to operate is not something that is unique to them but a reality of anyone living with DID. I hope that this jumble of words might be able to help DID be understood and remove some of the stigma it carries. None of what I write here is something that I have researched except for the process of the brain. And I have no idea what a qualified professional might think of the realisations that I put down. But this book is a reflection of what my reality is living with DID. And I assume that my reality is not unique to just myself, I assume that what I struggle with is common amongst others like me. I assume that I am not alone.
Healing from DID is intensely humiliating. Everything about it seems like a contradiction. DID is a survival mechanism. Without the identities created to cope, we would not have survived childhood. Therefore DID is supposedly considered a gift. Yet the very gift that helped you survive childhood is the very same thing that threatens to destroy you when the time comes for healing. And healing comes at the time in your life when you find a place of safety. At that time in life when you finally find a sense of freedom, a freedom to experience life as life should be. A time in life that you are so intensely grateful for, where you are so aware of the opportunities to experience that you have never had before. A time in life where you are aware your life has never been better. A time in life where the past can be the past. Except, the more you heal the more you become aware of the past and what it really entailed. Except the more you heal the more you realise how little control you have over your life. Where the more you heal makes you appear mentally ill. Its humiliating to witness, humiliating to experience and a state of being that is a simultaneous experience of excitement to live and desperation to die. Two opposing contradicting emotions where the only way to survive is by learning to disengage from yourself.
Although, perhaps this is where my experience differs from the general experience. I think that in healing a level of dissociation still occurs for most. In a sense that healing should not put ones means to maintain the place of safety achieved in life at risk. Meaning that for example, when in ones place of work, switching and lack of control should not occur easily as losing your employment would render you unable to take care of yourself and thereby put you at risk. So perhaps for others, they experience the switching perhaps at home or only with their therapist. Where there is minimal risk. Where it is safe. For me, my safest place happens to be my work place. Yet losing my employment would mean losing everything for me. It makes life very difficult for me.
I have never been “alter-friendly”. It doesn’t really make sense to hear that come from someone who has “alters” right? But its the truth. While I have no issue with other people have “alters”, I really battle with accepting the fact that I do. And when I say “I”, I mean it from whomever I might be at the time. Even though I am aware at times that I am not “myself”, that I am an “alter”, I still battle to accept it. I do not know how to explain that while I am aware when I “switch”, and am aware that I am and have “alters”, I simultaneously cannot accept it. I am aware that I have been taught to believe that having “parts” is a sign of weakness, for only people who cannot cope with a recurring situation creates separate identities in their heads. Even though I know that I have been taught to believe it, it still kinda sounds true though doesn’t it? I understand that I should not be looking at it in that way, that I should not be saying I created “parts” to deals with things I could not deal with and therefore I am weak, I should be looking at it from the point of view that in order for me to create other identities meant that I had to endure trauma that is beyond a level of trauma that a child should have to experience. That I should acknowledge the level of trauma I was exposed to. I also realise that by not acknowledging the existence of “parts”, I am denying the details of childhood because I do not want to know the details. Even though I am aware that I know all the details, I just do not allow myself to know them on a conscious level cause then I have to accept them and accepting them makes them real. Once something is moved to the conscious part of memory, there is no chance of pretending it does not exist anymore. You are forced to live with knowing. Of course, that just means I am lying to myself. And just like that saying goes, the one that says the qualities that irk you in someone else are the qualities that you hate about yourself, that is precisely the quality in others that I can’t stand in them. Lying. I hate lies. My entire life was based on lies. I was never allowed to be myself, myself was not accepted by my family. I had to be the person they wanted me to be, I had to be a lie. Being honest meant being disowned, being a disappointment and all the rest of it. And its one of the things I love about the life I have now, not having to lie. I am allowed to say what I think, what I feel, who I am. Yet, I still want to lie to myself, believe that none of it is real, that nothing ever happened. The thing with healing though, is it doesn’t really allow you to lie. Its really hard to deny having “parts” when you start becoming intensely aware of switching.