The Blind Owl

DID: When Everything is a Trigger

Every day I see people kicked to the curbs.

This is the heart of the pain I feel as I work though knowing the abuse that caused the illness I have had witnesses.

The crime of moral exclusion is essentially a crime of consensus.

The perpetrators hide the truth from themselves under sanitized language and noble sounding rationalization.

“They are food insecure.”

“We are protecting their rights.”

I don’t believe that anyone in this country believes that children deserve to starve, but they vote to let it happen.

If the lives of the unborn are sacred, by logical extension, so are the lives of the born.

Both are sacred or someone is lying.

Birth into a life of destitution, servitude and brutality is worse than no birth. I would rather have had a family that wanted me.

“What relationship could exist between the lives of the fools and healthy rabble who were well, who slept well, who performed the sexual act well, who had never felt the wings of death on their face every moment—what relationship could exist between them and one like me who has arrived at the end of his rope and who knows that he will pass away gradually and tragically?”

The Blind Owl,
Sadegh Hedayat


For all the joy I’ve experienced in my life, I am sorry that I was born.

This is not a bid for sympathy. This is no statement of intent.

This is the profound sadness of a man who has spent most of his life suffering hatreds he did not understand, and punishments he could never have earned.

I will never understand the Southern Baptist man who called a five year-old a ‘Christ Killer”  and physically kicked him down a flight of stairs.

I will never understand the good Christian parents that told their sons and daughters to hold down a six-year old so they could cut off his eyelashes; they were too long for a boy.

I will never understand my Mother’s brothers, who knew that she was too ill to take care of me, who knew that she was hurting me, but who did nothing.

Today I have a partner and a small group of friends who love me and believe in my work.

It is odd to feel so grateful to people for acting on a standard code of civilized conduct.

Civilized people do not inflict pain on people who are already suffering.

It is self-evident.

Thank you God, for delivering me to good people who can see that which is self-evident.

I will never understand or forgive anyone who plays with the pain of another person

I will never understand—

or forgive them.


The Enterprise Zone
                                             The Enterprise Zone

So what is this blog about?

I introduced the blog a year ago by saying that it’s focus was advocacy for the rights of the mentally ill.

That remains the focus with but with a more focused perspective.

I am a typical trauma survivor.

There is nothing unusual about the problems I face.

They are the problems that face and confound most trauma survivors.

My ability to dissociate is not unusual.

Everyone does it.

My brain responds to threats buy escaping  into the mind.

I cannot always will it to stop.

Every decision I make or small step forward often starts a chain reaction of internal conflict and pain.

Anything related to my intellect and to intellectual achievement is especially fraught with conflict.

Whatever the trigger was last week, this week my life feels like chaos.

To leave my apartment is to invite the torture of panic attacks.

They begin as a chill, a sense of going numb, a sense of blacking out, followed by a crushing pain in my chest and the feeling that I am smothered.

The only way through is to mind fully place one foot in front of the other.

The panic attacks are a metaphor.

They make me slow down.

Whatever the trigger is it may have something to do with feeling too exposed.

Maybe I’m just scared in general.

The blog must be a faithful journal of one man’s struggle to have a normal life with a whopping mental illness.

Every time I step out of my comfort zone I bump into this mess made of me.

In a sense turning the blog into a faithful account of my life as a person with DID carries the same risk as confessional poetry.

One’s life is open to inspection, misinterpretation, censorship and the out right demand by some people to shut-up.

I often wonder if the people who admire the poetry of Sylvia Plath understand that it is powered by rage and psychic pain:

from “Daddy”

“In the German tongue, in the Polish town   

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common.

My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.   

So I never could tell where you   

Put your foot, your root,

I never could talk to you.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.   

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

I thought every German was you.   

And the language obscene
An engine, an engine

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.   

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna   

Are not very pure or true.

With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck   

And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,

With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.   

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You——
Not God but a swastika

So black no sky could squeak through.   

Every woman adores a Fascist,   

The boot in the face, the brute   

Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,   

In the picture I have of you,

A cleft in your chin instead of your foot   

But no less a devil for that, no not   

Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.

I was ten when they buried you.   

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.


Excerpt from Daddy, by Sylvia Plath

A Head Full of Ovens
                                     A Head Full of Ovens

There is controversy among ‘critics’ over whether the poem is confessional.

“Controversy” is a one way to obscure the truth.

I read a blog post the other day about a guy that wrote a suicide note on his blog.

He sounded dead serious.

And now he’s dead.

I was frightened by one of the comments.

It was something like:, ‘I hope St. Peter has them pearly gates all shined up when you get there.” And I thought, Wow. I wonder if people know that their locations can be tracked by their IP addresses. I mean someone could have found out where he was and called the police.

I mean–I wonder if someone tried?

I saw a guy on Valencia Street last Friday. He was wearing a filthy hospital gown, he had a couple of name tags on each wrist.

He was scrounging for cigarette butts as a young couple passed him and politely didn’t look.

His condition was so bad upon release that he was wearing huge filthy pants without a belt and a hospital gown.

I know that he was released, because you can’t get off of a locked psych unit without a nurse to open the door.

You just can’t.

Just Released -Two-
I fight with a past that I relive but can’t remember in a world that looks as frightening and as abusive as the world of my childhood.

I have 14 points of view about everything and some days my head
is full of debate:

“That memory can’t be real.”

“The World isn’t bad”.

It must be bad, if everything they say happen, happened.”

“You think everyone else is the enemy but it’s all you.”

“None of it happened.”

“Why do you stir shit up?”

“The world is good, you’re the one that’s bad.

They can’t all be wrong.

But sometimes it seems they are.

I get confused.

And that scares me too.

The Blind Owl-

from the Blind Owl

“In any event, I do not trust anything. In the past, I have seen so many contradictory things and have heard so many inconsistent speeches; the sight of my eye this thin yet hard substance behind

which the soul abides has rubbed itself over so many surfaces that now I do not believe anything. I doubt the weight and permanence of objects, even the visible and manifest facts that belong to this

very moment. For example, if I were to touch the stone mortar in the corner of our yard and ask it, “Are you stationary and firm?” If it were to respond in the affirmative, I am not sure whether I should believe it.

Am I a distinct, singular being? I don’t know. But, when I looked into the mirror just now, I did not recognize myself. Without a doubt, the “I” of previous times is dead; it has disintegrated. There is no physical barrier between the two of us, however. I know that I should narrate my story. What I don’t know is where to begin.

All of life is made up of stories and tales.

I must press the cluster of grapes and pour its essence, spoon by spoon, down the dry throat of this old shadow. Because at this moment all my restless thoughts belong to here and now, it is difficult to know where to begin. My thoughts do not recognize any hour, minute or history.

For me, something that happened yesterday might be more ancient, or less effectual, than an event that took place a thousand years ago.

Perhaps the reason for the appearance of all these reminiscences is the fact that all my relations with the world of the living are now severed, past, future, hour, day, month, and year all have become the same. These stages make sense to the ordinary people, to the rabble—yes, that is the exact word I was looking for

—rabble with two b’s. These stages apply to the rabble because, like the seasons of the year, their lives have recognized divisions and limits and because they live in the temperate zone of life.

My life, on the other hand, my entire life, has had one season and one state. Even though a constant flame burns in the center of my body and, like a candle, melts me away, my life is in a cold zone, in eternal darkness.

The Blind Owl
Sadegh Hedayat

 A Cry Of Despair

People with DID are hyper-vigilant and I’m hyper-vigilant within the context of being hyper-vigilant.

I apply the corrective lens of reason to everything, and that doesn’t
always work.

Is something good or bad?

I don’t know.

That’s the hell of DID.

It’s not like Schizophrenia.

It’s the torment of knowing that one was driven out of one’s mind.

It’s the torment of being nearly sane because one’s emotions lend themselves to analyses and will sometimes yield to intellectual discipline.

I see that I am safe and know that I am encircled by evil.

I see that life is beautiful and know that it is a nightmare with an ugly end.

I can see the facts of things but I can’t process them. I can’t explain them to the parts of myself that can’t know anything – that little boy that haunts so much of my work.

The little boy, locked in remembrance of something that my have happened, but maybe it didn’t –and he doesn’t know, because no one can disrupt the reality of it all.

So now I know the answer to the question I asked myself a year ago.

What is DID?

It is relentless fear and confusion.

It is a longing for respite.

It is a cry of despair.


(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017



29 thoughts on “DID: When Everything is a Trigger

  1. You have a gift in painting the larger picture and in revealing your pain, vulnerability and confusion. I wish you well and as others have advised – get a good rest and hang in there. Kudos to you Robert.


    1. Thank you. My goal with this is to do what I can to prevent this from happening to other people. Silence and apathy are the friends of child abusers. We must learn to understand that nothing — absolutely nothing justifies depriving a child of a future and the tools it needs to thrive. There is no adult pleasure that is more important that the safety and care of our children.


  2. Brilliant.
    This “I must press the cluster of grapes and pour its essence, spoon by spoon, down the dry throat of this old shadow.” Oh the imagery. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would say that you wear a lot of hats but that is part of the cause and effect. There are people who skim by without being noticed that wear a lot of hats, I am one but except for general depression based on things I have long been able to control I am stuck in a rut in some instances, yet crash out full throttle with other things. I enjoy your honesty and writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for you comment. I think that all of us wear or have worn many hats. I think that sometimes I get impatient with myself…or sometimes I have a week or a month when life somehow feels more acute. Whatever the reason, this past couple of weeks just haven’t been easy. It’s nice to hear what other people have to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Something you said really struck me in this post. That all people disassociate. That hit me, you’re absolutely right, We may not do it with our identities, but in some way or behavior, we protect ourselves by doing so.
    I am very glad I came across your blog, Through helping people to understand DID and your pain, you help us all to understand our own pain and disorders. You also do a great job of humanizing those who are being dehumanized by so many.
    Plus I like your art.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Josh. I hope that something I do here will wake enough people up before it spreads. We actually debate which children deserve to eat even as our political leaders tell pompous lies about the virtue of their faith. Thank you for reading my blog and leaving comments…:)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You convey your pain so well. Maye your body just needs a little recovery time after the emotional upheaval caused to you a few days ago. There is nothing wrong with that. I see nothing wrong with taking some time out. Look after yourself, take care xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I guess you’re right. I think being disconnected from my body causes me to see it as a thing–also the way I experience time. Sometimes it moves very quickly and sometimes an hour seems to last forever. It feels like it’s been months…but it’s only been a couple of days…that’s probably why I feel so tired.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes that makes a lot of sense. You share that with many sufferers I’d say, Time is a massive factor. I think the risk of suicide for a lot of people would be far less severe if time didn’t stretch out and seem infinite and unending. When you are suffering, it makes sense that it gets distorted. If, furthermore, your pain is processed through different parts of you, different identities, then it’s being processed with the energy it would take many individual people to do, all in one go. It makes sense. Rest and look after yourself xxx


      2. Yes. You understand. When I’m ‘triggered” (a word I’m starting to hate) it throws the entire system off. Whatever the trigger, it is processed in distinct ways. It leaves me feeling completely drained. And yes…Time seems to slow down — I don’t feel as if I’ve slept, even if I have…it just makes everything feel hellish. The good news is that I know it will pass, that it actually feels much worse than it is…and that I will eventually begin to feel more focused and creative…but I think that the most compelling reason for being careful about who I let into my life is the the time it takes to recover from a mistake.

        Liked by 1 person

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