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.

“All life is sacred” until you say ain’t don’t work for me.

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

If the life of a high school student ain’t as sacred as the life of a fetus then
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 nametags
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 the 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

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

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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Poetry: In the Dark

Warning: content may be triggering

Digital painting based on a wall mural in San Francisco
In the Dark

in the dark

in my bed

by the wall

his tongue

my ear

his tongue

my mouth

his head

my thighs

wet silence

red blood

he enters

he fills me

my mouth

his breath

my face

his knife

I wait

in the dark

in my bed

By the wall

Rob Goldstein (c) 2015-2018

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Coping with DID: “I love All of You”

Dissociative identity disorder is a childhood onset, complex-post traumatic disorder in which the child is unable to consolidate a unified sense of self. Detachment from emotional and physical pain during repeated traumatic events results in alterations in the way the brain encodes memory.  This leads to fragmentation and gaps in memory. Exposure to repeated abuse in early childhood results in the creation of discrete behavioral states that can persist over later development, and evolve into the alternate identities of dissociative identity disorder. The Mayo Clinic

This morning as my partner left for his weekly visit to his ailing Mother he said, “I love all of you.”

I sat as wave after wave of love, pain, gratitude and fear passed over me, then I said, “We love you to.”

I am not an easy man to live with.

One must be willing to live with constant self-examination and bluntly stated opinions.

This September marks the beginning of my eighth year of psychotherapy.

Eight years later, I am someone new. I accept the DID, I accept the violence
that caused it and I accept that I was gifted with a mind that went to  extraordinary lengths to keep itself alive.

I am proof of the existence of the human mind and the will to survive and thrive.

A 2011 Graffiti Mural in San Francisco's Clarion Alley
Fighting Shadows

To ‘Seal Over’

At the long-term psychiatric hospital where I worked in the early 1970’s, we
used the term ‘sealed over’ to describe a patient who is skilled at hiding
his illness.

Most of us must learn to ‘seal over’ everyday distress and anxiety as a
skill of daily living.

Healthy people don’t often consider the energy and skill it takes to interact
socially and succeed in our careers.

An illness that impairs social skill is crippling.

We don’t think about what it means to lose our health and ability to work
until we must think about it.

Blackberry Photograph of a mannequin in a shop Window in San Francisco
Xanax

What is Healthy?

I define ‘healthy’ as striving to become an informed citizen, having a balanced sense of humility, respect for the rights of others, a sense of compassion, and respect for life; which means the born, the fundamental right of all children to food, shelter, education, safe cities and schools.

I define healthy as doing my best to pull my weight; which means using my skills to dispel the lies that make it hard for people with DID to get the right treatment.

2011 Blackberry Photograph of Mannequins in a shopwindow in San Francisco
Cruising

Mental Illness is Not an Act.

There are thousands of easier ways to get attention: one can write a good novel, produce a brilliant portfolio of art, write moving poetry, become a skilled surgeon, strive for excellence at any job that affirms your humanity.

If I’m trying to get your attention by destroying my life in public it means I’m sick.

A man who has to shoot schoolchildren to slake his rage is sick.

The question is not why people have mental illnesses, the question is why Americans collectively refuse to recognize mental illness as a set of real and
serious illnesses?

I cannot ‘think’ my way through DID or Bi-Polar illness.

Mental Illness is not a choice and the ‘well’ make it easy for the ‘sick’ to choose isolation.

Getting well in a sick world

I had the worst possible parents in the worst possible neighborhood in one of the most institutionally abusive and violently racist cities of the United States in the 1960’s, and yet I entered adulthood with a fundamental sense of right and wrong, and a fundamental understanding of our political system.

I was broken in a dozen different ways but I knew it was wrong to lie.

I knew it was wrong to hurt people.

I knew it was wrong to abuse the weak and innocent.

In that, I am healthier than 39% of the American people.

2011 Blackerry shot of a graffiti mural in San Francisco's Mission District
Campos

What does it mean to be well with DID.

Being well with DID means that I’m still in pain, raw and uncertain. I’m still anxious and often panic-stricken. But it also means I’m alive as I am supposed to be and better at managing symptoms. It means always searching for new skills and better ways to be healthy.

It means asking the unwanted questions.

Rob Goldstein 2018

 

Who Does He Think She is?

When we log into Virtual Reality usually one aspect is present.

Everything we do and say reflects a single menu of interests and attitudes.

The person called “I” can imagine being almost anything.

So virtual reality is not an escape; it’s a becoming, and our primary tools for becoming are the animations and objects we make or buy in the moment.

We shoot most of our photos in a dark surreal nowhere.

That is how life feels to us.

Sara is the oldest alternate.

She used to come out when the body was little and dress in Mother’s gowns.

Sara used to wear Daddy’s tee shirts and pretend they were a nightie.

Mother used to send us out on Halloween dressed like a little girl.

Sara liked it when the neighbors told her how pretty she was and Mother liked when Sara came out because Mother wanted a little girl.

Sara had to go inside when we started school and became a boy.

She often feels lonely.

Digital Portrait of a female avatar in a fur coat
Portrait of Sara

When Mother hurt us, Sara came out, dressed up, and danced
for us.

Sara is nice.

She likes people.

But Sara is a protector.

She’s a smart street kid from the Deep South with her nails out.

She’s a fighter but she’s fair.

I guess we made Sara from what we liked best about the girls
and sissy boys we grew up with in Charleston.

Sara likes torch songs from the 1950’s and 60’s.

She especially likes Julie London:

First posted in 2016.

(c) Rob Goldstein  2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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