Rethinking Dissociative Living 1: Crazy

October 9, 2014 Holly Gray

These days, when I think about Dissociative Living, I think of it as a series of letters from me to you – "you" being anyone who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder (or DDNOS, but I lump you guys under the DID umbrella for efficiency’s sake). It feels personal to me, like an intimate – though public -- correspondence. These letters I’ve written are about a thing we have in common, a serious thing, oftentimes a painful thing. I feel uneasy about some of those letters. I feel uneasy because I know just how vulnerable and suggestible a person can be when they’re struggling with something serious and painful. These days, when I think about Dissociative Living, I think that some of my letters may have hurt you. To begin with, there’s that last letter: the one about how I’m crazy.

Dissociative Identity Disorder Isn’t Crazy

When I stopped to think about dissociative identity disorder I realized one thing: just because I have DID doesn't mean I'm crazy. People with DID are not crazy.Let’s be clear: I sometimes engage in crazy thinking, even crazy behavior. But that has nothing whatever to do with mental illness in general or dissociative identity disorder (DID) specifically. There’s nothing crazy about adapting to chronic trauma in order to survive. So it wasn’t cool of me to tell you that what makes me crazy is that I have DID. It extra wasn’t cool of me to tell you that:

  • I’d been trying to make dissociative identity disorder into something it’s not
  • I’d failed
  • I’d finally accepted that hearing voices and having parts means I’m crazy

It wasn’t cool because whether I intended to or not, I also told you that you’re crazy if you experience those things. And if your life has been anything like mine, you’ve had more than your fill of other people’s opinions about your sanity (or lack of it).

Other People Benefit from Perceiving Dissociative Identity Disorder as Crazy

When I stopped to think about dissociative identity disorder I realized one thing: just because I have DID doesn't mean I'm crazy. People with DID are not crazy.When I wrote that last post, I’d just left my partner – my partner who’d been calling me crazy for years. I was grieving, vulnerable, and terrified that she’d been right about me all along. And in a way, she was. There was much about my behavior during my marriage that was downright nuts. It had nothing to do with dissociative identity disorder; but because I have DID, DID became Exhibit A, in much the same way that women who are on their periods and also happen to be angry are often treated to dismissive comments that categorize their inconvenient emotions as mere byproducts of their menstrual cycle. When she liked what I said or did, I was treated like a sane human being; when she didn’t, I was crazy. It’s a common problem because as long as we’re crazy, no one ever has to take us seriously.

We Deserve Better Than Crazy

I have dissociative identity disorder. Some days, I get a little crazy. Those two things aren’t related. And today I know that when someone repeatedly insists that I am, my best course of action is to move on. I deserve better than that. And so do you.

You can connect with Holly Gray on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

APA Reference
Gray, H. (2014, October 9). Rethinking Dissociative Living 1: Crazy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Holly Gray

October, 19 2014 at 9:13 am

i am so happy to see you back here! it seems like you are a distant friend who suddenly phoned again. i've missed hearing from you.

Luanne Curtis
October, 18 2014 at 2:14 am

Thank you for this! I have DID and am suffering painful flashbacks after a therapy session yesterday. This helped.

October, 16 2014 at 6:45 am

good to see you writing again. i missed your blog.
thank you for writing. i have DID too, and thankfully for the most part am doing better than other times in my life.
thank you for your insights.

October, 15 2014 at 10:12 pm

I hear ya about the crazy part. I have DID too and some times I feel real strange. I am so glad that you were able to open up about how you feel. I believe that for me having DID isn't easy. I believe that I started with over 50 parts. I have been in therapy for over 10 years and intergrated many parts with many more to go. The suicidal alters have been the worse. I have been real close 2 times at being put into a mental hospital. 2 mental health dr's said I needed that. But through God's love and support He kept me out of there. Thanks again for your writing as DID does need to be talked about so people know it's real.

October, 15 2014 at 6:38 am

Holly, well done, you are amazing, this sounds to be a real achievement. I had not heard of this condition before, probably too wrapped up in my own, but please know you can get to the place you want to be, it's a little 3 steps forward and two back but with your attitude progress gets quicker and longer lasting.
My very best wishes to you, Sue.

not so alone
October, 14 2014 at 9:52 pm

Holly, I just wanted to say thankyou so much for creating this blog and for the amazing insight you've shared. I can't tell you how much comfort and relief it brings me to know that I'm not the only one to experience and feel the things I do the way I do. You have explained and put into words so many things that I have been at a loss to understand in myself. I am so grateful for your bravery in sharing your stories and knowledge. Even though I was diagnosed over 6 months ago it still feels so knew and so hard to believe. The worst is always being afraid that I am faking it. Its just a comfort to know that there is another person in the world to whom I wouldn't have to struggle to explain myself to, and who also takes responsibility for their mental health and is striving towards healing.

October, 10 2014 at 11:31 am

This is my first post: I am recovering from DID, and it has been no joke. My journey took me from hospitals to Gender transformation therapy. In light of changing my official name and sex, i have received a steady improvement in my disease. In the midst of me becoming complete, and moving away from my old self, I have stood face to face with the person who brought me so much pain. This person was reported long ago, but they covered it all up. I just found out Ive been living in hell for 25 years in part because of the actions taken by an individual...thinking that my report would be enough for him to be put away and never be around children again. My thinking was flawed, they shut me up, moved this person to another state and I find out he hurt 100's more. I am in a civil suit now, at the current time thank God of all the treatment I have recieved I was able to engage fully with the 6 hour session, to relive the whole dirty, disgusting events all over again. I was able to do this successfully with the tools I had learned in therapy, grounding techniques, picture imagery, and etc. I wouldn't have been able to do this 2 years ago, I would have switched from one person to the next and evaded the whole situation. Now I come face to face with the enemy of my nightmares, my dissociating kept me alive spiritually so that when this time came I could be forthcoming of all the events, ones that I had blocked out, ones that came to pass through therapy and then the stuff I remembered. DID is no joke! It nearly killed me, but thank God I held myself together as much as I could. Now the justice finally sways my way, and now my story can be told, from its entirety, with anger, hurt, and all emotions surfacing like a new tide from the far seas. So, 13 personalities I once had, held the secrets of child hood abuse, and of the terrible deeds done to me when I was a teenager. Not Crazy! Not Crazy at all! Just misunderstood.

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