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.
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.
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.
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