Category Archives: MPD
new word i just created (two seconds ago on a MPD support site)
when describing the issues, feelings, and surrounding energies of having Dissociative Identity Disorder (also Multiple Personality Disorder) . pronounced like “giddiness”, the stranger “DIDieness” would be used like this: “I didn’t know anything about my DIDieness until I was in my late twenties. Well, officially anyway”.
i haven’t gotten much done today. today i was supposed to work on editing a chapter or two of my book, and pretty much the only thing i’ve accomplished so far today is taking a shower. oh, and playing on facebook.
i’m part of a DID group on facebook, and it’s supportive, interesting, and also … weird.
today i was reading posts from people struggling with their condition, and some of them had altars (other personalities) writing, and talking in this weird child talk. spelling all wonky, words and phrases making no sense, and i’m thinking “Jesus, you people are crazy”. but as i read along in the thread, i had to sort of wake myself up. because this is me. they are talking about the things i go through and struggle with, and despite the fact that it does – in fact – sound completely crazy, it happens to also be reality. it sounds so bizarre that people have little four year olds in their bodies, which always reminds me of the commercial for weight loss when i was a kid: “inside every fat person there’s a skinny person dying to get out”. creepy.
but it’s real. i have a little one in there that will only growl at people, and someone who can’t stand up well and would rather just continually collapse to the floor, and certainly several that shouldn’t be operating machinery at work, let alone drive a car. and Christ, then there’s trying to go to sleep at night…
“good night John Boy” “good night Tiger” “good night Scritchy”
“good night Nellie” “good night Rocky” “Jesus, would you people go to bed already?”
I’m feeling proud of myself this weekend. Ok, I haven’t graduated with honors, or climbed Mt. McKinley, or single handedly remodeled my kitchen. Though, God, that would be awesome. My kitchen is so small it’s more like a cupboard than a room.
Life can become a lot. There are always obligations to deal with; someone’s having a baby, and you have to go to the shower, and you’re not sure if it will come out very cute, and if not what do you say? You don’t want to lie and say the child is adorable – BIG FAT LIE! – but it’s considered fairly rude to openly proclaim to a new mother that her baby looks like Rodney Dangerfield’s runt cousin, even if it’s pretty blatantly obvious. Someone I knew once had a baby, and seriously, this was one unattractive situation. “Aren’t you so sweet?” is usually pretty safe. But you might have other obligations, like parties to attend, or commitments to activities, or just standard, unexciting things like chores. Get the oil changed. Mow the lawn. Dismember a body, if you happen to be Dexter Morgan. That type of thing.
I can’t always do these things. Not the dismembering, because generally speaking I don’t kill people as a hobby or profession. But there are things I can’t always do, for a variety of reasons, though the reasons pretty much all fall under the category of MPD. Like my sister and I might be planning on going to a movie, but I have a problem with some aspect of my health. Or I’m supposed to do laundry, but I have anxiety over going to the Laundromat because of past situations and issues. Or I need to drive over to a friend’s house, but I’m ‘little’. A typical person makes a list for the day, week, or when they get inspired to actually do something. It might look like this:
- make dinner
- no, go get groceries, then make dinner
- email granny about her hip
- clean up that mess that came from an animal
- put away toys, weapons and victims
- watch that movie you rented before it’s due
That list doesn’t seem so hard. But for me, or someone like me (crazy) this can be an issue.
My mind doesn’t always want to go in one direction. My sister’s brain is awesomely linear, so if she loses the car keys she can re-trace her steps and find them. When I lose them she tries this trick with me, but it rarely works. For one thing, my mind thinks so many thoughts in a teeny amount of time, it’s really hard to re-trace. Just while I was in the shower today I thought of five blogs I wanted to write about, a new idea for a graphic novel, a word I was curious about, and had a curiosity about fetishes and disorders. That’s when I wasn’t wondering about why I’ve been so tired this weekend, how I was going to go for a walk if it ends up being hot again today, or why the sponge in the bathtub never seems to stink as much as the one by the sink. My brain thinks a trillion little thoughts, all the time, and I really wish someone would invent a bodycamera so I could just push a button on my neck when I wanted to capture the idea that is fleeting through my brain at that particular moment. Re-tracing all this to find the car keys is nigh unto impossible. And besides, you don’t really plan on putting your keys in the fridge because you forgot how thirsty you are and you can’t get the jug of water open with just the one hand. Or tucking them into a utensil drawer because you forgot to put away the pizza knife, which can be very distracting to some of us who like sharp, shiny objects that cause skin irritation and blood.
And I get distracted. So logical regression of activities is difficult for that reason, because I’m sidetracked so often I can’t remember what I was originally doing.
What WAS I originally doing?
Oh yeah! Being proud of myself. Well yeah, for these weird reasons (and the fact that my body is inhabited by other people from time to time) it’s not always practical to expect myself to do things exactly when I think I will do them. I WANT to be a good housekeeper….but I get inspired by something, or distracted by something, or turn into someone who just wants to color all night. So I’ve been hard on myself, and mad that I can’t make a schedule and keep to it and get some shit done, in my house and in my writing career, and in my life in general. But this weekend I did make some progress. I made a chart. I plotted out some tasks I needed to do. I gave myself a rough guideline and goal, without demanding exact adherence from myself. And though I haven’t gotten to everything that I’d hoped I could get to, I did actually do some of what I’d wanted. So good job, kid. A small step, but a step nonetheless.
having MPD can be interesting, and today was no exception. but today i actually had fun trying to balance out all the alters. i was getting ready for work, because i haven’t won the Lotto yet, and something made me little. something i read beforehand, or something i remembered, or something i talked to Bodhi about made me nervous and twitchy, and then it happened. i was in the kitchen making myself a sandwich, and all of a sudden i didn’t know what to do. i got lost.
luckily my sister was right there to help me out. thank the gods for her! she noticed i was little and said it was all right and offered to help me. so i had her cut something for my food (shiny, sharp objects are frequently bad for me to handle) and she helped me get it all set. it was suddenly like a little cooking project for kids – “children, be sure you ask an adult to help you make the turkey sandwich”. but the cool thing was that i was able to CHANGE.
i’d been walking around all morning with leg problems. sometimes my legs go dead, and they don’t have much feeling to them. they become like phantoms hanging on my body, dragging me through a field of wet mud. and all morning i’d had this trouble walking. and then i got all little and squirrely, and when i remembered i was going to have to drive to work, i got worried. we were discussing whether or not she should drive me, because sometimes when i’m little i forget things. and sometimes when i’m little – and driving – forgetting things can be dangerous.
i forget i have to stay in my own lane.
i forget where i’m going.
i forget to watch for other cars or people.
i forget to keep to a certain speed.
i forget the way to somewhere i’ve been a million times, like the doctor’s office,
or my house.
anyway, suddenly i got nervous, because i’m going to have to go to work, and i can’t be this little person at work! so i decided to watch something on tv that one of my big people would like, and hope that they would come out and take over. and that’s just what happened! i put on my favorite show, Top Chef, and right away an older alter popped out and started commenting on things in the show. and then Bodhi and i had an interesting discussion about one of the contestants and the curiosities of life, and i had only just been a little!
so today, i’m feeling pretty good about the system. today it worked out. i went to work, and handled everything fine, and did better performing my new job tasks this week than in months. so i’m very glad to have a sort of success story week, because it’s been a strange, trying, difficult road learning how to manage this stuff. and today made me feel like i could do it. and even writing this out, i can see that i’m still kind of little, that i’m talking different and writing different than other times. but i guess that’s ok, ‘cause that’s just the who’s i am.
I was very Stormy the other day.
Stormy is one of my alters that I haven’t quite figured out. Well, most of them I haven’t figured out yet.
Stormy seems to be a mix of things; part tomboy, part ska beach girl, part free spirit. She has a littler body than most of us. When Stormy has taken over, I can tell, because my body feels like it’s shorter than normal. I suddenly have a junior high sized body, and a different walk. She’s a little more slouchy than most, and walks like Meg Ryan in Prelude to a Kiss. Or maybe that’s how Meg walks all the time, I don’t know for sure. The tomboy aspect comes out in how she does her hair, what shoes she wears, what clothes she puts on. She is spunky, quirky, and has a definite viewpoint that I haven’t figured out. I’m not sure yet what propels her, but she has a mind of her own and plays by her own set of rules. She is uninhibited, sporty and free, which is not really how I have spent most of my life up ’till now. At least, not in the way she does it.
Stormy will dance in the middle of the street if she hears a song on someone’s radio she likes. She won’t worry about what the drivers or people around her will think, she’ll just turn to her sister or friend and say “ooo, I LOVE this song!” smile a huge smile and start swinging her hips. Stormy will walk confidently into any room and not even consider what other people are thinking about her, go about her business, and leave. She can tell when a boy thinks she’s cute, and she might smile at them or wink, but she is so involved in the moment that she just LIVES it and doesn’t worry about any of that other stuff.
That’s not been me. A lot of my adult life – or a lot of the life I can remember – has been spent observing people, trying to gauge their reactions to me so that I can change my behavior if I sense danger or disapproval. If I’m too hyper, I can calm down. If I’m too loud, I can alter my voice. I need to be in tune with the situations around me in order to shift myself – either my personality or my characteristics – to stay safe; to blend in. Stormy isn’t like that. She just is what she is.
I reconnected with a friend of mine from my past, and he told me he was madly in love with me when we were young. I thought he had a thing for my sister, but no, it was me he was crazy about. He described a time we were in the back of someone’s truck, driving along on a summer night, and I was singing a song by the Eagles, or Styx. He said I was the most beautiful thing ever. I thought to myself, “Stormy”.
Stormy isn’t afraid of life.
She IS life.
She runs and loves and feels openly.
She embraces trees and people and ideas openly.
She is the essence of vitality, and what people dream of finding at the bottom of the fountain of youth.
And I have her in me…
I just have to figure out how to let her out…
having multiple personality disorder goes something like this:
let’s say you are a female, and you have twelve kids to feed at dinner time.
- one of the kids has stomach issues and can’t have anything too spicy
- one is allergic to everything
- one hates spaghetti because it made her throw up once
- one only ever wants to eat cereal
- one is afraid of eating anything that has gone past the expiration date printed on its container, and this means that she questions everything that comes out of the refrigerator trying to determine if you have checked the date or not, so she does not die of food poisoning
- one is on a hunger strike
- one doesn’t like the way you make the macaroni
- one is already in the kitchen working on dinner, because she thought you’d need a head start because you had a long day at work, so she’s already got things going, although she did manage to break a dish while she was at it
- one is planning on running away and having pizza for dinner anyway
- 10. one is skipping straight to the ice cream course
- 11. one can’t remember where the kitchen is and is afraid that everyone will eat without her and she will starve to death because she was forgotten
- 12. one thinks this whole thing is a big drama and is just going to bed
i don’t know, there have been some pretty hard ones…narrowing it down to which one is the worst may be overly ambitious of me. still, this one ranks right up there. it’s at least the hardest day i’ve had in a very, very long while.
my condition – the DID – makes life…shall i say, interesting.
my sister – the angel i live with – puts up with a lot, and i don’t envy her. i guess my memory is rather spotty. maybe if i just sat around trying to remember what my favorite childhood tv show was (TWILIGHT ZONE) or favorite book (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) or other childhood favorites, well maybe a spotty memory wouldn’t be so bad.
i like to be witty. i like to have a funny comeback, or a sassy antidote. i like to write blogs that are interesting, or curious, or whacky, that will make someone laugh or wonder how i got to be such a silly person.
but today is not like that.
today is a punched-in-the-gut day.
today there isn’t much bravado left in me, so i guess i have to be brutally honest for a change.
today was horrible.
i’ve had a lot of jobs. i’ve been a janitor, a teacher’s aid, a cashier. i’ve worked at bookstores, health clubs, pizza parlours and day camps. i’ve worked for theological seminaries, colleges, insurance companies and health food stores. and i’ve never really looked at that. i know several people where i work right now that have only worked one job, their whole life, in the same building for 20, 30 years. i don’t mind that i’ve traveled and changed and lived. but today it stared me straight in the face, and the question was…why do i have to keep moving?
i had a job review recently, and it didn’t make me happy. usually my job reviews are good; often they are great. i meet expectations or i greatly exceed them. i’ve always been something of a workhorse, and people have regularly noticed that i’m a hard worker. but this time i got a mixed review. feedback from my supervisor was that i was inconsistent, and she felt i should be remembering my job better than i am. and only being in this position for a little while didn’t seem to matter. she is frustrated with me.
the thing is; i don’t remember.
i don’t know what things i’m not doing right. and she didn’t tell me, though i kept asking. but that’s the thing…several people might have had conversations with me, and it’s true, i may not remember them. this is what my sister deals with all the time. she tells me something in passing, and i say “what are you talking about?” then she’ll say, you know … we talked about it yesterday. and no, i have no idea what she’s talking about. she’s gotten so used to it that now she’ll just look at me and say “well i talked to one of you the other day”. this has made me feel embarrassed a lot of the time, and i’ve sometimes gotten mad and been like “stop saying that. it’s all me” but some of the me’s don’t have any idea what we’re talking about.
and now, apparently, this is happening at work.
back in the day – when i worked at all these other places – none of my other personalities came out at work. or if they did, the worker person somehow managed to keep them in the background. i was basically always functioning in one mode back then. but now i have people out all the time that may not fully understand their job situation.
so today i had to tell my boss i have MPD. and it sucked. i cried like a baby, because i’ve tried so very hard for so very long to fit into the “normal” world and look and act just like everyone else. i haven’t wanted to rouse suspicion, lest someone find out my darkest secret. and now it’s out of the bag! and my secret is more public than i’d planned on going. and i’m scared.
i’m afraid of being fired.
i’m afraid of losing my friends.
i’m afraid of people thinking i’m an idiot.
i’m afraid of making people angry at me for being this way.
i’m afraid of not being cared for and loved.
i know i’m totally fucked up. i know that. but i’ve been alone with that knowledge my whole life. and now my sister supports me. but the more i open my fucking heart to people, the more i care, the more i end up needing to explain my whackadaisical behaviors….and i’m worried.
because not everyone will be able to love me.
and i desperately need love.
I’ve talked in the past about my Wild Child (see one and two). This is an aspect, or one of my personalities that I have been dealing with lately. I guess this person has been wanting to come out again, and maybe that’s why my mind has been working on issues that concern her so much lately.
She came out not long ago, for a little while. I was by myself somewhere, so no one was around to witness the brief transformation into this person. I’m calling her Leila. I don’t really know if this personality ever went by another name, but Leila suits her well. When I was by myself and this personality emerged, I felt a sudden playfulness, and a fierce power that I don’t often have. An assuredness. But the others in my ‘system’, the other members of Team Denelle, had a little freak out when she surfaced. It was only for twenty seconds, as she looked around the area and surveyed the situation, and the others came storming out to regain control.
I told my sister Bodhi about it that night. One of my littles was out and talking to Bodhi, and described Leila as having “exotic eyes”. What this little meant was that Leila is seductive.
I don’t know when Leila first came about. It might have been as early as ninth grade, when I started flirting with a maitre de at a restaurant, and he was in his twenties. I looked quite a bit older than my fifteen, and I’m not entirely sure if the memories I have of this man are imaginations, fantasies, psychic visions of his life, events that might have happened but didn’t, or actual bits of reality. Probably my imagination. But I learned the mojo at some point in my life, and Leila has it.
Leila is the personality that went to work several years ago and was immediately told by a good friend “girl, you’re getting laid today”. And then within the hour my on again off again asked me what I was doing for lunch. I guess going home with you for a quickie, is what I should have said…because that’s just what happened. Leila used to walk into a room and command attention, turn all the eyes toward her, and smile knowingly as men gasped in her presence. It’s not that she is the most beautiful woman ever known to man; but she sure knows how to work what she has. She can make the men fall for her, trip on her words, stand in line for a chance to be rejected by her. But like I said, she doesn’t come out often.
Others in the System get nervous; is she going to do something wild that will get everyone hurt? Is she going to seduce the wrong kind of man? What are we supposed to do with all this power? Leila is overwhelmingly powerful and strong, and that doesn’t always mean safety, especially to the others in the team that have been hurt, abused, and exploited. So Leila might be out for a few minutes, or a day, or a month before the others come grab her up and stuff her inside the safety of the church. I’m thinking one of the reasons I have been so spiritual my whole life (but only ONE reason, there are a good many) is because I have needed to hide my power. I’ve needed to control myself, and turn my light down a little. My light shines so brightly, it often draws too much attention to me, which was very dangerous in my past. So I have hid in the church, in the guise of virgin, or acolite, or martyr. I have sacrificed and given and tithed and fasted. I have punished myself for my intense sexuality and my innate love of the male species. I have chastised myself for my lust, desire and passion, and tried to contain a natural and beautiful fire within the pews of a musty old belief system that didn’t fit my reality. And Leila would stay in the church, for however long, twiddling the days away without letting her vibrating presence be known.
Until recently. After her half minute of glory, when her exotic eyes roamed freely again, I did some work trying to understand and accept this personality, and that very weekend she came out again for a whole day. I went to an outdoor event, hosted partly by the group I work for. The day was beautiful; blue skies, clouds sprinkled in the heavens, wind slightly stirring the leaves on the trees. It was perfect and comfortable. Leila showed up at the event, and one of my friends was there to greet me and hug me; I didn’t even know she would be at this event. Interestingly, there was another person I knew there, only Leila had never met this friend, and so didn’t recognize him until someone pointed him out and named him. “Oh,” said Leila, “that’s him.” She hadn’t recognized this familiar face even though she saw him when I came to the event, because Leila is always hidden away, and she’d never come out in front of him.
Leila loved the rest of the day, the weather, the event, the men that couldn’t stop looking at her. One man wanted her to get involved in a group he ran. Another man asked her what her interests were in this or that. Another man seemed to stare at her from across the space, keeping eyes on her often, but seeming to be shy when she noticed his glances. He seemed especially interested in what she was doing and where she was. Leila smiled at all these behaviors, and remembered how good it is to be out among the living, where she can be fully appreciated for all her fabulousness.
I can see why the others have tried to trap her away, though; she is decisive. Or not. She is determined. Or bored. She is playful and sultry, or temperamental and stubborn. She is what she wants to be, whenever she wants to be it. This isn’t something that our society deems acceptable from women. Women are supposed to be nurturing and giving; long suffering and understanding; patient and kind. Women fix the wounds of others, they don’t inflict them. Women follow after the leaders, they don’t become them. Women are supposed to complement men, not out shine them. And Leila doesn’t give a fuck.
Leila is Leila.
She is her own storm. Her own energy. Her own life force.
If she is too much for you, you better get the fuck out of her way.
If you want to know her, you might want to think of offering her a bite to eat, or a nice margarita.
If you want to love her, you’d better come with a lot of tools in your arsenal, because she is fickle and charming and difficult and silly and ornery and generous and more than a galaxy of amazing…
but not everyone can handle all of that so she usually stays locked up inside the church.
But now I’ve found the key to her prison, and I’ve set the captive free…
Two years ago (I think it was two) I was diagnosed with DID. And getting myself to accept this was a piece of work, I have to say. But I think I’ve also mentioned that my first diagnosis of DID was in 1995. I refer to my situation as “my system” (although Team Denelle might be more exciting; reminds me of when we had “Team Jolie” and “Team Aniston”. i was definitely Team Jolie. i like to run with the dark side) anyway, I call this whole business my “system”. Right? Because sometimes my sister will be talking to me, and I’m looking at her with a quizzical expression, and she says to me, “well I talked to one of you about this yesterday”, or “oh, it may not have been you I told this to”. That kind of thing. And I get mad at her. “Stop saying that! It’s ALL me!” Because it is all me. But she’s right, too.
Because she will tell me conversations we had the day before and I have no bloody idea what she’s talking about. I FEEL like I’m myself, but I’m actually not the same person that she talked to, so I don’t have access to those memories. I think I’ve mentioned that it’s like a Chinese Fire Drill. I have all these personalities in the same car, but not everyone is driving at the same time. Some are asleep, or doing I don’t know what, while others might be complaining about what I’m doing, while some of us are “driving” the body or navigating. Is this confusing?
Take work, for example. I might go to work as a certain person – the Driver personality, who likes to work her fingers to the bone and hardly ever take a break. But other people in ‘the System’ might want to come out, so they surface. And now I might be at work but be a ten year old kid, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do at my desk. Or I might be both a ten year old and another personality at the same time, while my Driver personality is trying to get these kids to behave so she can get back to work. It’s complicated.
Anyway, my question to my self, to my System is, where is this original diagnosee? Someone was going to a therapist back in the day, and someone sat in the office and heard that she had Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID, or MPD. She accepted this diagnosis – presumably – because she then told a very dear friend. And then what? Because the System seemed to evaporate that information, and it was completely unknown to me until this friend told me that this had happened fifteen years ago. So where has this side of myself been for fifteen years? Just hiding out in my brain or body? Has this person popped out in my life somewhere, unbeknownst to me? I completely don’t remember the situation that my friend told me about, are there other things I don’t remember from that time? Or that personality? Where has this missing time gone?
I know I’ve spoken about these issues before (Wild Child) but it’s a strange, bizarre, troubling thing, this amnesia I have. It makes me confused and curious about my life. It makes me wonder and question and unsure about my reality. I don’t really know WHO I am. Because I’m more than what I have come to think of as myself. And even that is suspect, because sometimes I think I’m myself, but my therapist or my sister will say I’m behaving differently, and in a different personality than I had thought I was. My people in my System are a mystery to me, and I must continually find ways to explore and uncover.
I always wanted to be an Egyptologist and go on digs to uncover old artifacts, languages, secrets of another life. I guess I’ve gotten my wish; I’m just a Denelleiologist instead.