Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Positives and Negatives

People have described me as flaky, high maintenance, difficult, hysterical, confusing, compulsive, and dishonest.

That last one, dishonest, is a common reaction to people with DID.

If I wanted to fake an illness I’d choose something people would believe

People tend to go with what makes the most sense based on what they know.

Most people know nothing about the mind, much less states of minds.

The other wordson that list are alternate descriptions of the symptoms of DID.

Gaps in memory look flaky, but they’re more than forgetting. These gaps
are the same as not knowing.

High maintenance means I require more medical supports and more patience from friends and family.

Panic attacks look like hysteria.

Personality switches are confusing because my alternates have different interests.

However, the words people use aren’t all negative.

People also describe me as, loving, intelligent, empathetic, compassionate, loyal, strong, and honest.

That last, honest, means I say what I think is true based on what I know or think I know.

The goals of treatment for dissociative identity disorder

My ultimate goal in life is to be a good person; it’s an ongoing project and a choice I have to make every day.

What are the words people use to describe you?

Rob Goldstein 2019

This is a companion to a previous post; ‘A Lifetime’

Dolls: A Nice Little House

Peter draws a skinny little boy named Tony and puts him in a cell.

Tony is more like his Mother than his Father.

Tony is more like his Mother than his self.

A doll’s eye fades to black.

Tony’s cell is really a nice little house in a forest of pink trees.

These things sometimes happen:

A garden of morning glories never opens.

A dead bee stabs the sole of your foot.

A giant toad leaps on your chest at midnight:

all the months of August in a row.

Rob Goldstein 1985-2019

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Learning to Trust

The patients’ job in intensive psychotherapy is to ask why.

Why do I seek out women who are devoid of the capacity for love?

Why do I veer from an extreme identification with the middle class to an extreme identification with the poor?

Why do I force myself to fail economically just as I get closest to winning?

Why do I sometimes behave as if I hate myself?

I first grappled with the problem of internalized stigma during the early days of the AIDS epidemic when I wondered if the AIDS was God’s judgment.

None of the intellectual and political constructions that served me as gay activist in the 1970’s could defeat the internalized homophobia unleashed by AIDS.

I watched men die from grief, self-hatred, and fear and I was nearly one of them.

This was when I realized the true function of any ‘ism’ is to convince the target to self-destruct.

This was why any novel written about gays before Stonewall usually ended with suicide or the impoverished death of the gay character.

AIDS was the greatest tragic ending, infused with the dissonant myth of a loving, yet vengeful God.


Internalized homophobia was the least of my problems.

AIDS was trauma on trauma.

I didn’t know I had a dissociative disorder.

I was living in the worst possible place at the worst possible time
for someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Any spot on my arm sent me into panic, so much, so I became a frequent
flyer at the local crisis clinics.

The shrinks eventually gave me a prescription for Xanax.

Xanax
                                 Xanax

The only thing I knew about Xanax was it made the fear go away.

The pharmaceutical industry reported Xanax had an anti-depressant effect.

By 1986 I was on a prescribed dose of eight milligrams a day.

A seizure when I decided to stop the drug was how I learned  Xanax is addictive.

2011 photograph of a mannequin in a shop window on Mission Street taken in 2011 with a Blackberry
Xanax

My DID allows parts of me to form attachments while protecting the parts that are fragile and afraid.

One goal of my treatment is for me to learn to trust a woman.

This process of building trust with a woman who wants what’s best for me and who acts in my interests is a path to becoming whole.

John C. Calhoun Homes
A digitally altered snapshot of one of my childhood homes.

As I enter my 8th year of intensive psychotherapy, the questions I must
ask are less confounding.

When I entered treatment in October of 2011, I felt like a helpless child.

It is now October 2018.

I feel more whole.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2018
The Photo of Xanax found on Google Images

First posted November 1, 2015-updated November 8, 2017 – Rewritten and Updated October 21, 2018

 

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DID: When Everything is a Trigger

My Mother wasn’t allowed to have a mental illness.

As an infant I was left at the mercy of a woman whose family
knew she was beating me.

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

The perps hide behind the sanitized language of noble sounding
absurdities.

“They are food insecure.”

“We are protecting their rights.”

American Voters say they don’t believe in a country that let’s children starve
but they keep voting for perps who are fine with it.

Bette Davis judging you meme
‘Judging you’ found on GIPHY

If the life of a high school student or migrant child isn’t as sacred as the life of a fetus,  no life is sacred and what you really want is control.

Pro-life gives all kids an equal chance to grow up to be their best.

Marching children into lives of pain and ignorance is child abuse.

For all the joy I’ve had, I’m sorry I was born.

This is no bid for sympathy.

This is no statement of intent.

This is the sadness of a man whose had a profound confrontation with evil.

People who sacrifice children to ideology are evil.

I will never understand how my Mother’s family decided to let to suffer.

I was an infant.

Why was the ‘shame’ of my Mother’s mental illness worse than the murder
of my future?

How I do I forgive this?

In a sense, turning my blog into an 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 feel her 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

I saw a guy on Valencia Street last Friday.

He wore a filthy hospital gown; he had a couple of name tags
on each wrist.

I know he was medically cleared for discharge because patients don’t
leave locked psych units without a nurse to open the door.

They just don’t.

A trained physician sent a gravely disabled man to fend for himself on the streets of the Mission.

Just Released -Two-

I am sick with a past I can’t remember, in a present as abusive as the past.

Photograph of graffiti left by homeless people who sleep on Clation Alley in San Francisco
The thoughts of  homeless men and women who sleep on Clarion Alley in San Francisco

My brain is a raging debate:

“That can’t be real.”

“You’re dirty”.

“It didn’t happen.”

I get confused.

The Blind Owl-

from the Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

“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

 A Cry Of Despair

I try to apply the corrective lens of reason to everything I think and feel.

Is something or someone good or bad?

How do I know?

What is DID?

It is relentless fear and confusion.

It is a longing for respite.

It is a cry of despair in a world that normalizes abuse.

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017-2018 Revised 10/07/2018

 

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