Trigger Warning: mention of Dissociative systems like amnesia, psychosis, mention of assisted living and hospitalization
Snapshots of Moments in Our Lives
“It was the first time opening eyes into the world and breathing the clear air. That night the sky was dark with spots of white twinkling in the distance. The pavement below my feet felt cold, I looked down and realized I am not wearing any socks or shoes. I am not alone, there is someone walking beside me, but fear seems to over take me as they demand to know whats wrong. I say my name and to my surprise the person becomes angry and enraged at me. This was my first time out in the world after staying inside for so long…”
“I could hear a voice coming from behind me, but there was no one there. I was drinking a cup of coffee that I didn’t remember getting and reading a book that I never knew I owned. I could hear a telephone ringing in the background and when I answered it, I didn’t know who it was. They seemed to know me, but who is this?”
“The sticky notes were covering the floor as I pieced together what we needed to do that day. There were bills that needed to be paid, we had to go to work, and do our college coursework. It was so much to have to get done in one day, but at least I had notes.”
“Today at work, I was so upset by what a coworker said. But I couldn’t tell them that it triggered me. How do I explain that their words hurt me and make me want to run away and hide. Can someone please come talk to them?”
“I am so tired of being stuck in this body. How can I be myself, talk with my voice, and use my he/him pronouns without being criticized! I can’t dress how I want. I can’t work where I want. Why can’t I just be alone?”
“The boiling water was running over spilling onto the floor. I looked at the clock and it was 45 minutes later than it was before. I went to clean up the water, and then it was like time froze, I couldn’t move and found myself drifting away into the void…what happened? It was 2 hours later and the now cooled water was stagnant on the floor.”
Our Life with Medically Diagnosed D.I.D
Dissociative Identity Disorder previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder is one of our medical diagnoses. It is a trauma disorder that happens because of a severe traumatic event before the age of seven or nine. We remember our first time knowing we were many. We were five years old and working on school work. Our mother looked over the desk confused by the handwriting she saw. Each page was written in a different handwriting style, we still have the pages from our childhood that each of us penned.
Our thoughts and minds are unique with different likes, dislikes, genders, and even accents. We are many parts combined into one and it can make life chaotic.
Waking up in random places, talking with random people and having no idea what is being said. The dreaded question of, “Do you remember that?” or “Where is that?” leaves us in a state of panic often. Dissociative Amnesia is a major part of our daily life. Through the use of note taking, we all communicate with each other. In fact, by the time we finish writing this story at least five of us have contributed to this page. The only way to know what we are writing is to start at the beginning, read, and hope we don’t switch before we get to the end.
Switching between alters is something unique to every D.I.D system. Personally, we have auditory triggers. A song, a sound, a word which can be negative or positive triggers for switching. In the past, due to the combination of our disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Panic Disorder, and physical conditions, we lived in assisted living. Assisted living in our 20s was a negative experience. We were isolated from the external world, but we had each other.
That is really the core of us. D.I.D occurs as a protective mechanism. One personality splits into other parts to cope with the trauma. Throughout our life this has allowed us to preserve health, body and mind through many terrible times. We are alone but never alone, which to us is the beauty in having this disorder.
No matter if events in life are negative or even positive, we share them. We are a system of 30+ alters and we have learned to communicate as internally as best we can. We delegate the days we front. We delegate tasks because each of us has strengths and weaknesses. We even have different friends! We live our life as individualized as we can, and that is where we find our bliss.
Our Message to You
Life is hard with any mental health diagnosis. One of things we’ve learned is to adapt so we can thrive. We were in and out of the psych hospital, endured more traumatic events, lived in assisted living for many years, and never thought we would ever be successful. But now we are working, enrolled in school, and pursuing our goals as writers and advocates for the disability community. We are taking our life experiences and trying our best to make the world better for the next generation.
We got this far by three things: believing that we matter, learning to care about ourselves, and being determined not to let our trauma rule our life. It took us over 20 years to get this far and the road hasn’t been easy. But every step you take to love yourself leads you to a happier place.
Remember that you matter, and believe in your ability to heal and adapt. Know that you are strong and you are worthy good things in life just the way you are.
Image credit: Alexandra_Koch
Tas are autistic neurodivergent members of the disability community with developmental, mental health, and physical disabilities. They are the trifecta or triad of disabilities. They are a person of color and nonbinary. They are proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a neurodiverse DID system! Since they have an unique combination of diversity, they advocate for inclusion. They are passionate about equal access to education and healthcare. Making sure everyone has human rights motivates them to move past challenges in the effort to make the world accessible, inclusive, and fair for the next generation.
Connect on socials: https://linktr.ee/tasthoughts
You may read more MHT posts by Tas here.