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.
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.
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
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:
I’m to change that I’m broken by denying the truth of it?
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?
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.
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.
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.
(c) Rob Goldstein 2016
All images found on Pinterest