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

 

Trump, Roseanne, and Triggered Abuse Survivors

Tom Arnold was on The Anderson Cooper Show discussing his ex-wife, Roseanne Barr.

Distressed and bewildered by her behavior, he blamed Donald Trump, saying,” Trump is triggering people with mental illnesses” and I agreed.

“I generally believe he thinks black people are dangerous and Mexicans are rapists,” Arnold said. “He believes that. As he perpetuates that fear to America, watch out Mueller is lying; he is after me. And so, Americans are sitting home like Roseanne and her fans, are like, oh my God, what is happening out there? And they get anxiety.” Tom Arnold

 

 

In 1991, Roseanne Barr came out as an incest survivor with DID.

A cover of People Magazine, 1991 with Roseanne Barr on the cover with the caption, I am an Incest Survivor B
Roseanne Barr on the cover of People Magazine 1991

I knew she was telling the truth when I read this:

“It’s like living in a maze. It’s like that old woman who keeps adding on to her house … But the parts don’t get along and some of them have some real strange ideas about how to defend ”  ABC News

When Roseanne Barr refers to her alternates as having ‘strange ways to defend’, she is referring to protector alternates and gatekeeper alternates.

Protector Alternates focus on perceived threats, and often find dependence, emotional needs and close relationships (attachment) threatening.

Gatekeeper Alternates control which alters take control of the body, and when.

Trauma and Dissociation

Pathological Narcissists are lethal to people with DID; I’m talking about dishonest and psychologically abusive men and women who want to control our bodies and minds, who invade our lives with chaos and lies and expect us to love them for it.

Animated Gif/Meme reading, "I think I'm adorable
found on GIPHY

Abusers use our trust to inflict damage on us and never apologize for it.

Abusers don’t want friends or lovers; they want hostages.

Found on GIPHY
Tell me you love me

People with DID share certain primary symptoms but each of us forms a
unique system of alternates.

I have two protectors but one of them is also a gatekeeper.

When I’m not on the Internet, I am someone named Matthew.

Matthew is a devout Catholic who has faith in human nature.

Matthew thinks pathological narcissism is an illness.

Matthew forgives the afflicted.

An animated gif of an ascending Jesus
Found on GIPHY

Another part of me has the opposite view.

That part is Bob.

Bob is the gatekeeper-protector.

Bob ‘took Matthew away’ from a ‘friend’ who has a long history
of lying to us.

‘Matthew’ knows she lies but he ignores it because he likes the
‘good’ in her.

‘Bob’ thinks she’s gaslighting, which he considers psychological abuse.

As Bob said in therapy this week, “I’m sick of this shit. Trump’s used up all
my patience for lying bitches and psychopaths.”

Matthew is morally conflicted.

This is Bob’s attitude toward Matthew:

animated gif found on giphy
found of GIPHY

This week Bob decided an apology for lying is a prerequisite for any
friend or president who wants to interact with Matthew.

He won’t let Matthew out to see his friend or answer her calls.

We didn’t know Bob had the power to keep the current host inside.

This is a new thing.

Is it a sign of health or a triggered response to the Psychopath in Chief ?

Animated Gif comparing Donald Trump and Charles Manson
Found on GIPHY

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

I do not own the images in this post.

Please note: This post is not a defense of Roseann Barr’s behavior or comments.
Mental illness is not an excuse for bad behavior unless a patient is genuinely
out of control and in need of emergency services.

 

 

The Problem with Pictures

I have a problem with pictures.

We don’t recognize the guy in the picture.

He’s not Rob Goldstein or Mateo

or Bobby.

or Sara

or Felicity

or Peter

or Bob.

He might be Matthew.

When I’m asked for a picture of myself all of my alternate neuro-networks light up in confusion.

Whose picture?

Collage Portrait in torn paper

“ You peer into the mirror and have trouble recognizing yourself.

You can’t remember whether you actually did something. . . or only thought you did.

You feel as though you’re just going through the motions of life.”

The Stranger in the Mirror.

When someone shows me a picture of what they say is me I look at it and smile and thank them.

I never say what I see.

Portion of a 3-D Collage on Clarion Alley

That’s how we lose friends.

Rob Goldstein 2015-2018 All Rights Reserved