Dissociative Identify Disorder: A Sliver of Grief

It was easy to get lost in a virtual reality; I’ve always lived in one

My experience of dissociative identity disorder is unique yet part of
a pattern of signs and symptoms expressed by different people in
similar ways.

Each person is unique but our bodies are variations on a theme
shared by all animals.

I like to give a clinical context to my discussions of life with DID.

People with DID are not crazy, I use reason to cope with a chaotic
inner world.

I’ve addressed the experience of psychological regression in earlier posts.

Digital painting of a child weeping in a pool of blood

Regression: n. a return to a prior, lower state of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning. This term is associated particularly with psychoanalytic theory, denoting a situation in which the individual reverts to immature behavior or to an earlier stage of psychosexual development when threatened with overwhelming external problems or internal conflicts. —regress vb. —regressive adj.>>>>

 

Atavistic Regression, a term first used in hypnosis, describes a reversion to the ‘ancestral self’.

Dissociative Identity Disorder begins as a protective self-hypnosis that becomes more extreme and elaborate over time.

“Self hypnosis is central to the development of dissociative symptoms and DID.”Dissociative Spectrum Disorders in the Primary Care Setting

A person with DID may experience atavistic regression on a spectrum from feeling oddly younger to becoming a child self with all the mannerisms and speech patterns of a child.

Child alters often talk in a child-like way, but unlike a biological child they can normally understand abstract concepts and long words. They are often found to hold memories of child abuse which occurred at around the age the child alter feels he/she is.  Some may have the speech or appearance of a very young child, the youngest being unable to talk, read or write. Child alters should not be confused with the concept of having an “inner child”, which applies to non-dissociative people.  Child Alters and DID

Bobby is one of the teens: he has access to a lifetime of information.

My first best friend

A brownie snapshot of a boy age 8 and a girl age 5
My Sister was my first best friend.

I last saw Sandra In 1980.

We watched the sun set at Colonial Lake and reminisced about a game we called Super Girl; I lay on my back and raised her up on my hands and feet: she stretched out like an acrobat and flew while I sang nonsense lyrics to the theme from ‘Superman.”

When Sandra died I went numb and flew to West Virginia; I spoke at her
funeral and flew home the next day.

Sanpshot of the wing of a plane against a surreal horizon taken with my Samsung
On the Flight from Charlotte to San Francisco

Death’s Anniversaries

“Anniversary reactions are the re-experience of a prior traumatic event — a death, a disaster or an individual tragedy. They are triggered by a specific date or event that strikes a chord deep inside our minds, which can be a traumatic portal to the past. A birthday, a notable date or a holiday can link to an earlier moment in our lives that was full of trouble, hurt or conflict. When they do occur, a person who may be highly functioning can be overcome and feel powerlessness, even immobilized.”  Mastering the Anniversary Reaction

When Sandra was born, I was 4 and already dissociating.

When Sandra started walking, I ‘became’ a little girl. I called
myself Sara.

We spent hours playing with dolls or making mud pies on the porch.

Everyone grieves but not everyone grieves in fragments.

After my sister’s birth, my Mother’s abuse worsened, as did the anti-Semitic
abuse of our Evangelical neighbors.

Jews were not the ‘right kind’ of white people in the segregated South
of the early 1960’s.

When I was six I signed my name ‘Antonio’.

I don’t know how many child parts knew my sister and loved her.

Shortly after Christmas, I noticed I felt like a child.

I lost confidence in my writing and lost skills; I forgot how to
proofread and spell.

Then grief and tears and a thought: my first best friend is dead.

‘My first best friend is dead.’

A Sliver of Grief

The Nurse picks
you up and shows
you to

Daddy,

and I
cry

because

I live in

the future

and
you are
dead–

and I am
alone.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2019

This film is an over the top yet accurate depiction of how DID feels inside:

Precious Illusion

as I watched

your photograph fade

and

disintegrate

I wept because

I knew

it was

the last time I’d

see you

(c) Rob Goldstein January 2019

A scan of a weathered photograph of a young woman in her teens
Sandy at 17

 

This month marks the second anniversary of my Sister’s death. I need to take a few days off from my blog to let myself grieve.

I’ll be back soon…

Rob

My Dad’s a Goldfish – For John M

A powerful expression of love and respect from Mary Smith

My Dad Is A Goldfish

A friend has recently gone into a care home. He has a rare form of frontotemporal dementia. It is progressive and irreversible. The brain’s frontal lobe controls planning, judgment, emotional control, behaviour, inhibition and its temporal lobe affects language, along with emotional response and behaviour.

We have been friends for over fifty years – from when he used to walk me home from school carrying my books. We did our homework on the phone. I helped him with English, he helped me with French. We shared so much over those growing up years. Our lives went off in different directions but we always kept the connection – until very recently.

He can no longer take care of himself. He is only sixty three.

I owe him a great deal for the windows onto new worlds he opened for me. I’d like to think I opened some for him, too. This…

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In the Turbulent Night

Arms
and
legs

twisted
in
the
turbulent
night

penetrate
& bruise

till the
center
implodes

and
silence.

(c)Rob Goldstein 2018