Abstract digital painting in red, black and blue

Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Problem of Denial

Yesterday my partner stared at me in shock and said, ‘you’re such
a collage of so many things.’

I don’t know what he meant.

I don’t know what my partner means when he tells my therapist about the “straight one.”

The ‘straight one’ makes my partner feel unwanted and that’s unacceptable.

So, I’m always learning, always questioning, always asking myself what I can do to better manage my symptoms to keep my friendships
and protect my loved ones.

I can ask my partner to accept my illness but I can’t ask him to be more than human.

It’s hard to live with someone who has DID and my stance is I’m responsible for the behavior of my alternates.

I’m also responsible for letting people know what they can expect in
a relationship with me.

Photo-shopped detail of a wall mural on Folsom Street in San Francisco
Looks are deceiving

Looks are deceiving

I’m a ‘high functioning’ patient except when I’m not.

This paragraph from the PODS website is a perfect description of what that means:

“In practice, the vast majority of people with dissociative identity disorder do not obviously present as if they have ‘multiple personalities’. Instead, they present with a number of both dissociative and post-traumatic symptoms, as well as many apparently non-trauma-related issues such as depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety. According to Richard Kluft, a leading expert in the field, only 6 per cent of people with DID present their ‘multiple’ or ‘dissociated’ identities publicly and obviously. Elizabeth Howell describes DID as ‘a disorder of hiddenness’, as the vast majority of people with DID, often motivated by shame, will attempt to conceal their symptoms and way of being. This in part explains why, despite dissociative identity disorder being so prevalent, few people are properly aware of it. In fact, many people with DID are high-functioning members of society with good careers before some crisis or build-up of stress leads to a sudden and catastrophic ‘breakdown’” PODS (Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors)

I  had that sudden and catastrophic ‘breakdown’ in 2009.

I felt hopeless, helpless, and child like; I was emotionally five.

I had two inpatient stays and a couple of months of intensive
daily outpatient therapy.

I began to re-stabilize in late 2014, when I started Art by Rob
Goldstein, but I’ve never returned to my earlier baseline
level of functioning.

Different people meet different parts of me and those who
don’t spend time me never see the DID.

This gets to the unique problems posed by social media.

I like collaborating with the creative minds I meet online.

The problem is that I can’t always do what I think I can do.

A part of me may agree to read a book that another part
doesn’t want to read.

A part of me may agree to do an interview but a week goes
by because the part that’s ‘out’ doesn’t know about it.

How do you live with or collaborate with me or anyone else
who has DID?

I. If you’re the spouse of someone with DID schedule joint
sessions with the therapist. It will make life better for both
of you.

II: Believe that DID is real. if you forget your friend has DID
you will take the symptoms personally.

III:. If your friend says she’s too ill to work believe it.

IV. If you want to collaborate with me, you must read my blog. You
can’t really know me if you don’t read my blog.

V. It’s OK to feel frustrated.  The illness is unpredictable and
causes sudden changes. Be compassionate to yourself when
you lose patience.

I’m a difficult man to know.

I’m a collage of many things.

Again, from POD:

“If you try and tell people that you have different alters and that some of them are a different gender, and have different names and ages, then they really do look at you as if you’re mad. How do I know that I’m not actually just mad? How do I know that I’m not making all this stuff up? I don’t want my kids to be taken away, and I don’t want something on my record that stops me having a career, once I can cope with work again. When I’ve lost time and I don’t know what I’ve been doing for the last few hours, I’m not so much bothered about what it is that I’ve been doing as I’m really upset that I’m being ‘mad’. It’s almost like an obsessive, ruminating thought that just goes around and around—it’s quite ironic, I suppose, but I guess the fear of being mad is what I think is sending me mad!”


(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

17 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Problem of Denial

  1. Hello My Deareset…its been forever and a day.
    (Sigh) think of you often but still have no clue how to navigate round these parts from time to time…

    My favorite lines in this piece… “I’m a difficult man to know. I’m a collage of many things.”

    Beautiful truth. And as a talkative introverted woman, I’d say the say the same about myself.

    Miss you so,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know it isn’t easy being you. If you could change it and be just one person would you do it even though you would most like lose other parts of yourself?Over the past few years of sporadic communication, although I always see you there, I find you to be an interesting person and I love your art. I like reading what you write when I can. I know your life is sometimes very hard and I wish it could be easier for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You ask an interesting question. My first impulse is to say no, but that’s because we learn to accept and adapt to the familiar. I don’t know who I might had I had a healthier childhood. I think at this point I’m content with learning how to get back to a less fragmented way of being.

      Most of the difficulty in my life seems to stem from my denial or the denial of those around me.


      1. Let’s just be honest, what you are doing here is very important, for others, and for you.
        My blog is sorta the same but not as important, my photos cheer me up, they force to embrace beauty.
        You are perfectly beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You can m aybe be high functioning and also at the same time not, and people don’t get that. I see the high functioning in you all the time but also the compassionate sensitivity and changability, you’re a beautiful complicated tapestry but you do so much for others they see only the Phoenix rising not when you are vulnerable ♡♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m really glad because I want them to so you can keep doing what you do so well. I support your endeavours, you do a lot and you do a lot for others. I hope you get that given back in kind for you though. HUGS

        Liked by 1 person

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