Hello everyone. My name is Crystalie Matulewicz, and I’ve been chosen to be one of the writers for the Dissociative Living blog here at HealthyPlace.
I have recently earned my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and will soon be pursuing my Masters in Mental Health Counseling. My two lifelong dreams have been to become a writer and to become a counselor, and now here I am getting so close to achieving both. My dissociative identity disorder diagnosis isn’t holding me back.
Dealing with Mental Illness
Even with my background in psychology, nothing could have prepared me for a life of dealing with mental illness. With my first official diagnosis of mental illness at age 15, I’ve seen many counselors, been in and out of mental hospitals, and received multiple diagnoses, most of which never seemed to fit the problem. It took me several years to get doctors to acknowledge and treat my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fourteen years later, I finally have a strong PTSD support system in place and an amazing therapist that I fully trust.
Being Diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder
Just as I was getting a firm handle on my PTSD diagnosis, I received a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID). I had a suspicion for quite a while that I had an issue with dissociation. I could not remember huge lapses of time in my life. I would do things and have no recollection of actually doing them. Sometimes I would end up places and have no idea how I got there. It had been happening for so long that it just became my normal.
I kept it to myself because I didn’t want to be labelled. No one ever wants to be diagnosed with a dissociative disorder. Then, I finally realized that hiding who I was, wasn’t doing me (or my parts) any good. My therapist reminds me regularly that my dissociation was how I survived childhood; it was the only way my mind knew how to cope. While I know she is right, accepting a dissociative identity disorder diagnosis is not easy for me; it’s not an easy for anyone.
I’m Not Defined by Dissociative Identity Disorder
I refuse to let my diagnosis define me. I am a survivor. I survived decades of physical and emotional abuse. I am also a survivor of mother-daughter sexual abuse (Victims of Sexual Abuse: Do They Ever Get Over It?). Those traumas have made me who I am. I’m still here. I’m still standing. I haven’t given up. I don’t want others to give up, either.
I’m here to let my readers know that you can still live a good life despite dissociative identity disorder. I am just in the beginning of my DID journey, so I am still processing my experiences and learning as I go along. I’ve read a lot of books, but words on paper never compare to real-life experience. I want to share my journey with you all. I want to share what I know and what I’ve experienced, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad.
But I also want to learn from you. I want to hear your feedback and your experiences as well. I want this to be a growth experience for us all.