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.
This is the intro and first chapter to the autobiography I am writing:…
I didn’t intend to have this illness, this MEN-ITIS that I’ve had all my life. When I was a girl people called me boy crazy, which made me laugh. When I was a teen people called me fickle, which was probably – well, certainly true. When I was in my twenties people called me a tease, which was mean. But sometimes accurate, because though I didn’t intend to, I did in fact send out mixed messages. I was trying to be good, trying to behave. I was going to be a virgin when I got married. But what can I say? I love men.
Men are fabulous and fascinating, dark and dirty, intoxicating, impossible, and sometimes just plain idiots. And I love them. They have brought me laughter and pain, they have delighted and devastated me, but through all of the ups and downs of loving men, one thing I can say for sure – they have kept me alive.
Oh for sure, some of them have tried to kill me. Or at least threatened to do so. So it hasn’t all been hearts and kittens in my dealings with the opposite sex. But because of my predilection for falling in love, I have been able to withstand a strange, wobbly, sometimes bizarre life, and come out fairly balanced.
Some people survive their difficult experiences with the help of religion. Some with alcohol. People use sports and gambling, sex and drugs, and sometimes overcoming issues to overcome their issues. Everyone needs something. My vice of choice has been love. Not lots of love, as in I’m a porn star. Or too much love, as in sex-addict. Just falling-in-love, which though up until now has not produced my better half, has nonetheless undeniably saved my life.
Chapter 1 ~ My First Kiss
If my life had been a reality show, and people could have decided which early childhood experience would set me on the path of infatuation and adoration of the male being, I imagine most of the votes would go toward:
A. My First Kiss. I suppose some viewers might choose B: May 18, which is my birthday. These would be New-Agers, who know that being born in May makes me a Taurus (sensual) and being born on the 18th of May makes me the horniest of all people (look it up). Still others might choose C: born in the year 1969. After all, the sixties were all about love. Free love, group love, experimental love, all kinds of love (and don’t pretend you didn’t notice the significance of my particular year of birth). But the correct answer, and the one with 90% of the votes I’m sure, would have been A. My first Kiss.
My first kiss was incredible; the stuff movies are made of. Magical, romantic and thoroughly imaginative. I don’t profess to have a great memory. I do, in fact, have a dissociative disorder – meaning that when I got into situations, experiences or environments that overwhelmed me as a kid, or perhaps involved emotions I couldn’t understand or process, well I just removed that information. I’d grab up the situation at hand and tuck it into a corner of my mind. Or sweep it under the bed of my brain, hide it in the bottom of my drawer of thoughts, or sometimes just toss it into the bin of bad ideas. This is incredibly helpful when you are a small person and living in a chaotic household. Not so helpful when you are older and are trying to remember various details in life. Some times of my life I just don’t remember. Things I’ve done, people I knew and may have hurt, or facts I should know just can’t be recalled and seem to be erased from my memory bank.
But not the kiss. The first kiss I remember. I’ll always remember.
I’m five years old and a sort of free spirited child. My older sister Angie has a thing for this boy Dan, and while Dan’s okay it’s his brother Monty that I have my baby blues set on. Lucky for me Angie and Dan are sort of sweethearts, which means every day we get to play together and the chance of me running into his brother is greater because of it. Dan is about my sister’s age – just two years older than I am – but Monty is twice my age. I’m already five years old, and he is the sexy older boy at a whopping ten. Oh, the allure of dangerous men!
We all live in the same large apartment complex, with its identical little homes all promising conformity, their outer brick skins suggesting protection and safety as well. Untended mounds of dirt and pits of unfinished construction work sit in the sun like abandoned toys. There are fabulous areas to roam and play at this apartment. There is a playground with swing sets, bars, wide open spaces and a merry go round. There are tennis courts that seem marvelously mature and forbidden, and a swimming pool always full of scantily clad beings and hyperactive children. I love the smell of the pool, with all the suntan lotions and sun-kissed bodies. The big fashion statement right now is crocheted bikinis with little peek-a-boo cutouts in the butt or on the breast. The girl in the red bikini has a little heart shaped hole on her butt, where her tanned skin pokes out, winking scandalously at all the boys. Some of the girls have butterflies or suns that are carved out of the fabric, and I wonder how the material stays together around it. Shouldn’t it come unraveled right around the empty hole? And what would everyone do when that happened, when her little boobies are suddenly flying in front of everyone, or her one ass cheek is hanging in the wind with a tiny tan heart on a bare white bottom. The radio sings Afternoon Delight while all the boys in sight dream of little freed boobies, and the warm noisy atmosphere tastes like summer.
But today I am not at the pool, I am at the playground, where all of us kids like to hang around and work on burning off our sugar high from breakfasts of Cocoa Puffs, Count Chocula or Fruity Pebbles. There is also the delightful Cap’n Crunch with Cruchberries, which leaves a strange ripped up feeling on the roof of my mouth, but tastes like heaven. I will discover later in life that I am allergic to strawberries, and wonder if it was the juice from the delicious berries that caused this uncomfortable flayed feeling after a delicious bowl. But for now, I revel in the sweetness and ignore my mouth of ribboned flesh.
We are playing around with something. Monty and I are over at the jungle gym (or monkey-bars, I don’t know where you live so I’m not sure what you called them growing up). He is being a show off on the bars, and I laugh, eyes wide and full of admiration for his reckless abandon and masculine strength. I pretend to be busy with other things, but I can’t help watching him out of the corner of my eye; he’s so cute. My grandmother would probably say his dark hair is too long and shaggy, but in 1974 he is very much current with the styles of the day. Anyway, Gramma always appreciated a good head of hair on a man, so I think she’d find a way to forgive him. Is Monty calling me over to talk to him? Or is it just that I can’t ignore the pull of the male essence? Perhaps it is the light breeze blowing on my skin and the sound of the leaves on the trees rustling, banging up against one another in a little frenzy of leaf ecstasy that makes me stare at him so intently. Something draws me to Monty, and I find myself standing in front of him, while he continues to show off for me, now hanging upside down in a gravity defying, high wire, trapeze artist kind of way. And then suddenly, he is pulling me to him and planting a big fat kiss on my lips while he dangles upside down.
Very romantic. Very sexy. Very Spiderman, super-hero kind of moment, and if you don’t get the reference there’s another fun thing for you to look up besides the astrological significance of my birthday. Now with all of that involved in my very first kiss – the amazing energy, the age difference, the creative positioning and the playfulness behind it all – how can I help it? How can I resist? With a first kiss like that, it is virtually impossible for me to escape a life of incorrigible boy chasing and villainous man admiration. This kiss has changed my life forever, and set my feet on a particular path, and like the prince waking Sleeping Beauty with a soft press of lips, so has this boy whispered the secret of life into the mouth of a small and wounded little girl.
One thing I have to discuss here on the blog is this craziness I’ve been talking about. If you’re new to my blog, ha ha, you know nothing about what I’m talking about, and don’t you wish you’d been reading sooner. If you have read a few of my blogs you know that I have frequently discussed being crazy.
I like to be dramatic, that much is true. But I actually am dealing with some mental issues. I’m not an unstable individual, or rather, I am stable enough to hold a job, and most of the people that know me would call me colorful over crazy. But if I told them the real issue, I think they would go “Oooohhh, I get it now”. It doesn’t seem to be a big surprise when I have told the few people I have told. No one has really had a hard time believing my diagnosis.
I have Multiple Personality Disorder. Well, nowadays they are calling it Dissociative Identity Disorder, but it must not be that common still because my computer is not registering the word dissociative. ha ha.
This is a fascinating and curious ailment I have. This last television season, a show that I love called MPD/DID the “granddaddy of all mental illnesses”.
It’s bizarre, surprising, sometimes scary, and sometimes downright hilarious.
I am forty years old, and have spent my entire life hiding this disease, or whatever it is, from everyone around me. Which, trust me, is completely and thoroughly exhausting. It’s no wonder I can only work part time, because dealing with myself on a daily basis is like running a three ring circus.
But honestly, I live a remarkable life. I see life in a way that others don’t, with a perspective that few can understand. I get to experience so many amazing things that I guess are unique to me and those of my kind. I love myself. Finally. I love who I am, and who I’m becoming. I love where I’m headed, and all the crazy shit I’ve lived through to get to where I am.
I hope that others can love me as well. I hope that this condition I have doesn’t make people afraid to love me, or trust me, or be my friend. I hope that people can see beyond the stigma and label of MPD and look at my heart, and enjoy me as an individual, and not fear me for what the paperwork might say about me.
I’ve survived a great many things, and I continue to surprise and amaze myself. I am in the process of writing several books about my life, and this blog is a way to share some of those ideas, writings, pieces of work with others. Maybe I’m trying to get my thoughts in order. Maybe I need a sounding board. Maybe I need attention. Or practice. Or the chance to be writing on a regular basis without worrying about whether or not I will get published. Whatever the reason, here I am putting it all on the line. I hope my story will be interesting, encouraging, inspiring or at least comical for those that read it. I hope these blogs will bring something to readers as well, some bit of laughter or perspective or irony. Anyway, this is the crazy that I deal with, my own brand as I’ve mentioned, and you’re welcome to share in the journey.
I say all of this, because the next blog is an excerpt from a journal entry of mine. It didn’t make sense without all the information I’ve just shared, and I wanted to put it up here, so I had to come clean. It probably still won’t all make sense, because there is much I am not yet sharing, but will probably disclose eventually. So there’s my background piece, and here is the next bit….