Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A Rose, By Any Other Name
Posted by Ivory at 6:07 PM
When I was in college, I took Abnormal Psych - the entire semester in just one week, 8-5 every day. I was immersed in it and subjected to the Prof's dizzying perception of each "disorder" we studied. When he got to DID, he tore us apart. He stated the DSM IV was taking DID off of the books and sticking it on the "high" end of the PTSD spectrum. I freaked.
I had rented a temp apt and had no creature comforts - home was an hour away and I had too much homework to make the trip every day. I must have talked to my T at least 3 times that week. He knew I'd have a hard time with it but it was a required class. When I blurted out that the Prof insisted everyone diagnosed with DID should be (and would be) institutionalized immediately, even Mr.S was upset. He was upset for me and for what that meant for the Psych community. It wasn't till months (many) later that I began to understand what he had tried to tell me.
1) I felt like I had just been wiped off the face of the earth, the Prof had erased my identity.
2) I became even more afraid of being stuffed into a straight jacket without a soul to care.
3) I stopped trusting Mr. S. I'd already had dreams in which he coerced me into hospitals with barred windows and no doors.
4) I wanted to ditch school and run away - I attempted it twice.
5) Over all, I was terrified to leave my house. I was afraid someone would "notice" me, turn me in and I'd be arrested and thrown away.
All these conflicting thoughts and emotions tore at me for months and months. My therapy started over, more than once as I struggled with understanding and trust issues. I learned to trust Mr.S all over again, which wasn't easy. It was like pealing my own skin off and digging worms from my wounded flesh. I suffered a great deal.
One day in therapy, T told me something like, "He cannot take anything from you. You are REAL (one of my alter's issues is being real). He can't take that away from you just because he takes your diagnosis and moves it from one place to another."
I wasn't getting it, so he continued, "Okay, you will have Dissociative Identity Disorder even if "they" remove it completely from the DSM IV. Chances are, you might always dissociate regardless of what it's called. The DSM IV doesn't and cannot dictate disorders you can have. Just because someone says it doesn't exist, doesn't mean YOU don't exist."
I got it that time. And he's right. That proves just how much I struggle to exist. Oh, I don't want to be DID, but somehow, without the title of DID validating what is going on with me, I was afraid I'd be discarded and left without help and guidance. I know they can call it anything they want to - they need their labels - but I am who I am and like T often tells me, "It is so purely what it is."
Believe it or not, there are days when I'm proud of who I am and today - is one of them.