Posted On June 12, 2021
What do you feel?
This post is about me baring my soul to my readers who have dissociative identity disorder (DID). The piece is full of heartfelt emotions that can be a bit raw but are real nonetheless.
Everyone experiences loss. People and jobs come and go, people die, and we are left behind to reconcile these losses in our lives as best we can. The premise of this article is simple; I’m going to examine loss and how it affects those of us who have somehow survived the in-survivable.
The childhood of someone living with dissociative identity disorder was fraught with danger, fear, and survival. We spent enormous amounts of time either hiding from those who would harm us or pretending we weren’t there when they caught us.
Because of the trauma, we never got the chance to know safety and be loved as we should have been by those whose task it was to give us both. The result was people whose lives have been torn apart by grief and loss.
In childhood, we were not allowed to be the innocent children we were; instead, we were forced to be little adults who cried themselves to sleep at night because of the loneliness we felt in our souls.
After the age of nine, I never went out to play. When neighborhood children came to the door for me, I’d just tell them I didn’t want to play, and after a while, they stopped coming. I had retreated into my bedroom with my music and books, my only companions and friends.
Because of the trauma I was experiencing as a little girl and had since birth, I was determined not to let anyone into my world and hid myself away.
The result of this move was that I lost out on the fun and pleasure of childhood because I was withdrawn into myself to hide away from the extra stress and noise of being with people who I could leave behind.
What about you? Did you lose a chunk of your childhood too?
Loss of Relationships
Because we learned early that people could not be trusted, many of us concealed ourselves from anyone who took a romantic interest in us. Oh, we may have dated once or twice but decided quickly that we couldn’t trust the young boys/girls and men/women we encountered.
For some of us, the opposite was true; we craved and actively sought out relationships but ended up only succeeding in finding ones that mirrored our childhood nightmares.
As adults, many of us realize that we have lost out on so much. Proms, dates, love, closeness, and intimacy were robbed from us by the actions of those who were supposed to show us how to experience such things.
In my case, my isolation was so complete when I was a child and teenager that I never had the chance to meet a nice boy/girl to go out with. I listened with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as other girls chattered on about prom or dance, knowing I would be alone that night.
I craved intimacy was too terrified to take a chance on anyone. Even as an adult, I have met people I wished to reach out to but couldn’t. Still, today my computer is the only way I can reach out to meet people as I prefer to hide here in my apartment and be alone but ache for someone to love me.
What about you? Have you experienced loss from either failed relationships or having no intimacy at all?
Loss of a Career
Many who live with the effects of dissociative identity disorder have had their lives altered drastically in many ways, including that of career choices. Most people who have DID are highly intelligent and think outside the box, and yet we either hold menial jobs or are on disability because we cannot tolerate the stress of work.
People like us who have DID are reliable and enjoy a challenge, yet our talents go unheeded because we could not complete our work in college and earn a high degree to get noticed.
Me? I somehow have managed to earn an Associate Degree in Psychology, but I will never use it or advance beyond it. Life has gotten in the way, and now I am getting older, and my chance has pretty much passed me by.
I have become acutely aware that there are many more years behind me than ahead, leaving me pondering what the hell am I going to do for the rest of my years.
What about you? Did you try and fail at going to school because of DID’s effects on your ability to think?
No Bitterness Just Grief
If you are like me, grief is your best friend who sticks to you closer than a brother. Grief comes and goes with you no matter where you travel or what you experience, sitting quietly in the background, waiting for you to notice it again.
On days when I feel the loneliest and the most grieved, like today, I try to find some sunshine but right now, life seems gloomy.
Too much loss. Too much grief. Too much sorrow.
I’m not bitter about what I have lost, but I am grieved. I feel an acute sense of loss that goes deeper than my skin and permeates clear to my bones.
The good news is that I know this period of acute loss will pass, and I’ll be able to ignore the losses again. Life will go on, and so will I because I’m a survivor; that’s what I do.
What about you? Are you bitter, or are you determined to survive because that’s what you do?
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” ~ Walter Anderson
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross