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.
My view of my condition is sort of like driving in a carpool. Have I said this before here? Because I sometimes forget. So let’s say there are a bunch of people in a car – a bunch of me, for example. Someone has to do the driving – get me to work on time, pick up some beer on the way home, remember which house to go into. It used to be that whomever was driving the body was the only one I knew about. If I “shifted” from one personality to the next, there was no one else to really understand or observe this. Or at least, no one I was aware of. I left one personality, spent some time at a “wiping clean” place, and then went from there. I might go into this more later because it probably doesn’t make much sense unless you’ve read books about this kind of thing, but basically, most of the people in “my car” were unaware of each other. Like a bunch of kids in the back seat, fast asleep, while someone else drives along. Over time, more of my personalities have become aware of each other, and now it’s more like a Chinese Fire Drill, or a team effort to get things done.
This all probably sounds pretty weird to you, and hey, it’s weird on this end as well. But I’m getting used to it. Still, there is a lot of adapting I have to do. I need to get to know these different personalities, and their individual quirks. Like the person who tries to throw me down the stairs whenever she is out. I’ve had a number of falls down stairs because of this, and frequently miss a few steps at the end of the staircase when I’m not paying attention, because she seems to be into the whole Alfred Hitchcock murder scene or something. I have to look out for the resident klutz as well, as she can trip over extra long carpet fibers and dangerously protruding dust bunnies. I don’t want to say that this personality isn’t bright, but definitely not terribly aware of her surroundings. I have a grumpy girl, who frowns more often than she blinks; a gasping girl, who sounds like she might die if she has to use her own energy to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water; a giggly girl, a tomboy, and Tiger.
Not that there aren’t more than that, but Tiger is the one that really sealed the deal. For a while I was struggling with this whole idea of MPD. Though, if you’ve read my other blogs you’ll know that I was actually previously diagnosed, about fifteen years prior to the more recent diagnosis. Still, one of the me’s out and about didn’t believe there were more me’s than just me. She thought we were making it up. Or trying to get attention. Or crazy. Just crazy in the way that would make you invent something like MPD and pretend that you had it for some reason.
Then one day, on the way to therapy, something troubled me. A car of stupid youthful boys drove by, with their annoying and thumping music blaring so loud that the windows of the nearby fast food restaurant shook and clattered. I was already feeling a little peevish, and that seemed to be the last sudden straw. I started to growl at the car. I furrowed my eyebrows, lowered my head, and began growling a little guttural snarl at the youthful offenders. I growled as we drove alongside them, frowning my eyeballs toward them. I growled as we passed them, and turned down another street. I growled down the road, and past the street lights, and changed my growl to a Cat Woman meow as we drove past a police car (men in uniform. even as a multiple, I still have a unified appreciation for the opposite sex). I growled the entire car ride to my therapist (my sister was driving) and didn’t stop even in my session. My sister went with me to this session, because – obviously – I couldn’t talk for a while. I was too busy growling.
Eventually something made me laugh, and I started to come out of that personality, Tiger. Tiger is just a little scratch of a thing. My father started calling me Tiger I don’t know when. But he used to prop me up on a table when we were out at a restaurant or coffee shop, and call me Tiger, and ask me what I was. And I would growl, and snarl at him, “Rawwrr, I’n a Tiger”, because I couldn’t have been more than two or three. Anyway, Tiger really existed. Probably one of my first personalities, if not THE first. I don’t know. But because I’d already heard these stories from my dad, I knew about Tiger. And here she was one day, growling out of my face.
On some level, it seemed other of my personalities were aware of this. Aware that the physical body was growling, and that someone else had hold of the body, and was making it growl. But the conscious personalities, that might be thinking, “hey, that cop has a pretty nice ass”, couldn’t seem to communicate to Tiger. Tiger couldn’t hear any of these other thoughts people. I suppose maybe it’s like the devil on one shoulder, and the angel on the other. You might want to do something, but doubt you can do it, and then yell at yourself for being a weenie. Your mind can take on a devil’s advocate within itself. My mind seemed to want to snap myself out of this silly growling. If you do something silly in front of people, you mentally scold yourself, saying “crikies, THAT’S not going to go over well”. But I couldn’t seem to stop myself from being this little animal. This frowning, grumpy, snarling little kid that didn’t seem to think it odd at all that a grown woman was emitting these noises in a professional office building.
And that’s when it happened. I finally admitted it. I am a Multiple Personality. And really, being a little tiger isn’t so bad. I’m kind of cute. And finally, after all these years, I’m figuring out how to manage my life. So I guess, despite all my eye rolling and nay saying, getting in touch with your inner child isn’t such a horrible thing after all.