Dissociative Identity Disorder: Anger and Shame

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

I assume my DID is more clearly visible on social media, but even in Second Life,
when some of the alternates logged in with separate accounts and avatars,
most people assumed I was really good at role play.

Most of my friends describe me as talented, bright, positive, passionate, and

But I’m also depressed, impulsive, sometimes self-destructive, suicidal, and self

I experience depression as if it is a separate self because it feels as if I see the
world through another man’s eyes.

This depressed self impulsively acted out when we  were younger.

He usually wound up in crisis clinics and on psych units.

We’re older and better at coping when the depressed self comes out;
but coping takes so much energy there is little left for anything else.

When I tell people I am symptomatic what I mean is that I have all
the symptoms of a dissociative disorder combined with the symptoms
of major depression.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Symptoms Dissociative Disorders
Art by Rob Goldstein
Symptoms of Major Depression

The depressive loss of concentration makes the memory loss of DID more confusing.

Shame is what I feel when I lose an area of competence.

I know that I am able to write under a deadline but not now.

I know that I can write a competent review but not now.

I know that I can collaborate on projects but not now.

What I don’t understand at my core is why I can’t do those things now.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

And when I sense our culture’s denial of mental illness in my interactions with
friends who mean well the shame merges with rage.

The misconceptions and lies about people with mental illnesses insinuate
themselves into our lives and becomes a given.

A given is a misconception that people unconsciously accept as maybe true.

It’s a given that all people who are homeless either:

A: Drank themselves onto the streets.

B: Chose to live on the streets.

C: Both A and B

The number of people who comfort themselves with the ‘they deserve it’
choice of C: must be huge because all social conventions are collective
and volitional.

We collectively incarcerate and execute gays until we collectively figure
out that we’re wrong; and even then there is no guarantee that the forces
of ignorance won’t convince us to go back to collectively incarcerating
and executing gays.

So it is a century after Dorothea Dix we brutalize the mentally ill with
lethal neglect and homelessness.

Just as we collectively agreed to build institutions to house and safeguard
the mentally ill we now collectively agree to starve them to death on the

By what mechanism do we do this?

We do it by denying the truth of chronic mental illness.

We pretend that people with broken brains will always choose treatment
when it’s offered, even though one of the primary symptoms of
serious mental illness is denial.

These quotes are perfect examples of the kinds of attitudes that
make life miserable for people with chronic mental illness.

I found them on Pinterest by running a search for Mental Illness:

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

I’m to change that I’m broken by denying the truth of it?

I’m broken.

I didn’t beak myself.

I’m sick of starting over.

I’m sick of living in pain.

How do I ‘rediscover’ someone I never knew?

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

My illness places me at the mercy of a political movement that defines my life as useless
because I am mentally ill. This movement wants me to die.

As examples I refer you the thousands of seriously ill people rotting on our streets and in our prisons.

Yes, I have strength and courage. I’d also like to have access to treatment and rehabilitation.

Art by7 Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

I love Thoreau but I don’t think he had chronic mental illness in mind when he wrote that.

I’m not disturbed by my imperfections; I’m disturbed by the symptoms of a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the repeated physical and sexual assaults I experienced as a child.

Imperfections are not listed in the DSM 5.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest


The idea here is that people with mental illnesses are gifted in ways that
should make us feel better about it.

Yes, I’m creative.

But I’d rather be working; which brings us back to shame.

I am gay, ideologically feminist, and believe that gender identity is fluid.

I am also a male raised to be straight in a culture that punishes ‘weak’ men.

I have internalized the message that losing command of my emotional life is
shameful and weak.

When my illness prevents me from using my mind I suffer a lifetime
of internalized self-hatred and shame.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Nothing Seems Real

(c) Rob Goldstein 2016

All images found on Pinterest




50 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: Anger and Shame

  1. Oh I most definitely had this when I was living my Japanese life– this disassociation. This was back in the. Eighties and nineties and I don’t remember information being much available at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is much more information now. Psychiatry not knows that Disssociative disorders are spectrum disorders and that they share some of the features of other childhood disorders such as autism. The young brain is still growing and children under the age of five often interpret events with magical thinking. Dissociation is natural defense mechanism.


  2. There are posts that I read and I simply don’t have words to express how it affects me. Robert I respect your strength for sharing this well articulated post. Permission to reblog.


  3. What a brilliantly written and illustrated piece, Rob. Reading had me weep- a rare feat, Sir. I don’t have answers. I acknowledge that our society is broken and desperately want to change it. As a CPTSD survivor I understand how you suffer. I’ve labored with professional help to achieve a degree of wellness and functionality – for decades, and yet “right now” I can’t keep a job for more than a few years before the whole world caves in on me. I want to help the millions on the streets, especially our vets suffering with PTSD, separated from their families that don’t understand the horrors they live with and so they can’t begin to help their loved ones. This is a huge, ugly scar in our society and our country. I won’t stop asking the important questions or doing what I can to help from right where I am. I too care and I’m paying close attention, Rob.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I remind people that the only way we can fix a problem we collectively created is to act collectively.

      We have to vote, to write to our representatives and use the imperfect machinery of our government.

      Hillary Clinton has a plan to reform mental health in this country. I will add the unnecessary caveat that you don’t have to like her to see that someone who wants to
      govern is a better leader than someone whose entire campaign is an exercise in narcissistic self-aggrandizement and smears.

      We may not be able to get everyone off the streets but we can get those who can’t take care of themselves off the streets.

      You are right, there is a huge scar on our nation, and it is from the self-inflicted wound of abandoning the one thing that made the United States exceptional: our stand for human rights.

      As long as there are disabled and elderly, dying on our streets the U.S. stands for less than nothing.

      In fact, as long as there are elderly and disabled people dying on our streets anything we say about
      the human rights violations of other nations is an exercise in hypocrisy.

      Sending the mentally ill into homelessness is as brutal
      and inhumane as any Nazi concentration camp.

      This is a hard truth that most Americans don’t want to hear.


      1. Thank you for the go-ahead, Rob. And Dude, do not get me started on my experience with the billing department taking 3 months health care premiums from one paycheck. I told the rep on the phone “Woman, that’s how the mentally ill wind up homeless.” She couldn’t say a thing. Why risk her job for a nobody? I admire how you put that, “Sending the mentally ill into homelessness…”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Schizophrenia hits the young hardest so many of them get sick before they have a chance to build credits. Under the regulations laid down by the GOP Congress the department of Social Security goes out of its way to ‘force’ young people to work because everyone knows that if you starve someone with schizophrenia he’ll go to work. Many people become homeless while waiting for disability.

        Before I got sick, I worked in the public health system.. I mostly worked with young people with a
        diagnosis of Schizophrenia.

        I usually helped people get General Assistance which in San Francisco is about $345.00 a month with about forty or fifty bucks in food stamps.

        The sleaziest hotels in the city are about 100 bucks a night.

        When younger clients get Social Security or SSI they get the minimum because many of them have never been well enough to work.

        If there is a b back payment they have to pay back the General Assistance Program.

        They also get Medicare, which is great for physical illnesses but lousy at prevention when it comes
        to people with mental illnesses. I don’t know is dental care was restored to our State System but
        I do know that you don’t get dental care with Medicare; that’s one of the reasons people who
        are poor and become disabled lose their teeth.

        I don’t know what the minimum SSDI payment is now but in 2011, it was between 800 and 900 dollars
        a month.

        The worst hotel in San Francisco costs over a hundred dollars a night.

        As for residential treatment, my clients had a maximum of 90 days of treatment. We often had to discharge them to shelters.

        One of the reason’s I broke down was the moral dissonance I felt when I had to send a helplessly
        sick man or woman into the streets.


  4. Hi Robert
    I can relate to some of your feelings, people don’t what to think about mental illness, for sure don’t want to talk about. One blessing, if you look at it that way, I don’t leave the house so I’m not judged unless I flip out. I save that for insurance companies. The best thing I did for myself was open up about my background letting people the pain I’ve suffered, It helps some more comfortable to talk about there own.
    We can take comfort in our difference and impact ours and others lives. Something not everyone can stay.
    Have a great weekend. I believe you know Gavin, he is posting a photo gallery of his favorites and if lucky he’ll come around again. I’ve tried to work him again sine we left the prior club, finally got the answer I wanted.
    Take care, give yourself a break, do something nice for whoever and where your at.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks…It’s difficult to be open but it does eventually make one stronger. The good news it that most people genuinely want to understand, that people who proudly cling to stereotypes are in minority.


  5. I relate to so much that you’ve posted here that you had me in tears. As for those damn affirmation memes. I know people mean well, but to me they just scream that I’m just lazy and don’t want to get better. I absolutely hate them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Behavioral Health System in the U.S. basically treats everything as if it is an addictive process. Something as serious as schizophrenia doesn’t really qualify but if the client ‘refuses’ to take medication the client is ‘guilty’ of not ‘thinking’ constructively and is therefore responsible for the ‘consequences’ because everyone knows that ‘sometimes’ and addict has to hit bottom. It’s an absurd model for the treatment of mental health, woefully ineffective for more serious forms of illness and an insult to the intelligence and complexity of the human mind.


  6. This is a very insightful post Robert. I understand that some of these ‘inspirational’ quotes are ridiculous and some can even be detrimental to the understanding of mental illness. But I like some of them. I’m a believer in positive affirmation and there are a lot of people that think those are silly or a waste of time. I have OCD. It’s a part of who I am, but it’s not who I am. It took me years to separate that. OCD is hell and no motivational quote is going to fix it. I get that. But I do find that surrounding myself with positivity helps me personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OCD is painful. It is a differently serious disorder that responds to different kinds of interventions. I don’t think anyone is the sum total of his or her illnesses. But I do think that embracing what is broken is important to reaching acceptance. My problem is not with the idea of being hopeful about life…or the idea that each of us can find the gift of wisdom in the ruins of our broken dreams…My problem is with the idea that all of us are equally blessed with the same advantages and are therefore completely responsible for our condition in life. I also say that if you are in pain and something works for you, my opinion is meaningless.

      Never stop doing the thing that works for you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that we have to accept who we are..illness and all. I think that once I truly accepted that my diagnosis was correct it allowed me begin to manage it. If you fight against acknowledging the illness you can’t make up any ground with. It’s sort of like an unwelcome guest you have to learn to live with. If you constantly fight against it, you will never get anywhere.
        There is no doubt that we are not all blessed with the same advantages. It’s naive to think we (those with mental illness..even those with the same diagnosis) can be lumped into the same group. Mental illness is not a cookie cutter thing…and the help that some get easily is something others couldn’t acquire if they fought tooth and nail.
        It’s wrong on every level.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank for your reply. That’s my point… Embracing damage, as Josh so nicely stated it, is not the same as saying, I give up. And there are different degrees of severity in all illnesses; to base treatment for all mental illnesses on the outcomes of people who have the least severe manifestations of it is not only absurd; it’s corrupt. There are mild dissociative disorders that manifest as brief flights of fancy and then there is Dissociative Identity Disorder. A system that refuses to respond to fact by providing the necessary treatment is lethal.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I often tell people that they aren’t truly broken as long as they are here trying. I try to differentiate between broken and damaged. I am damaged, and can’t do many things that I wish I could, but I still serve a purpose most days, and that means I am not broken. I think it is mostly semantics.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi, Rob. I started reading this post and I laughed out loud at the role play the part of 2nd life. Apologies. I just have that kind of sense of humor. I also truly get an insight into your story- just because you have this “illness” -it doesn’t mean every time you feel or express yourself that that is a symptom of your illness. You are a person -a complex person -as we all are. The environment has a lot to answer for when it comes to this political movement you speak of with changing how we approach mental health issues. We all have them. As hard as this was to read -it inspired me to keep on my path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Daisy…I can understand your amusement at that line about Second life. People are able to deny what is clearly evident. It is probably one of the most dangerous aspects of human nature.


  9. I have a Major Depression Disorder diagnosis as well as DID. I don’t have any wise words, just letting you know that I can relate and I am here and that yes it does get better, a huge walloping amount of better and I believe that you too will get there. Good and healing thoughts to yous.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. This resonated with me in so many levels. I too find it very annoying reading most of the quotes that are supposed to make people suffering from mental illness feel good about themselves. It is just not that easy! One day the stigma will end,and there will be better understanding of all this. I hope I am alive to see that day.

    Liked by 2 people

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