Rethinking Dissociative Living 5: A Proper Goodbye
When my brother was little, he went to school one day, climbed on top of his desk, and screamed. He didn't say anything. He just screamed. Nobody asked him why. When he ran away from home a few years later, the pastor of our church came over, witnessed my father's performance as a remorseful parent, and didn't concern himself with what exactly my father had to feel so regretful about. When I was six, my mother took me to a doctor – one of my father's colleagues – who asked her what had happened to make me bleed. I don't remember what she told him. All I know is that it wasn't the truth. She didn't know the truth. Only I and my father did. And no one asked me. Of course, by then I already had dissociative identity disorder (DID). Who knows what I would've said if they'd asked.
Secrecy Nourishes Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative identity disorder is born of secrets – secrets so potent that to reveal them would disrupt not one or two lives but many. We learn young to carry the burden of those secrets, lest we annihilate ourselves and those around us with the truth. We find marginal relief by rejecting the truth as disgraceful lies and embracing lies as the unvarnished truth. We pretend we are someone else, someone who is not being beaten or raped, and who, therefore, has no secrets to tell. We are terribly convincing, most especially to ourselves. And the secrets divide us into rigid, warring pieces. But living in pieces demands continued secrecy about more and more things. We become clandestine beings, hiding both the horrific and the mundane. The walls of DID get higher and thicker.
"Dissociative Living" Helped Me Learn to Risk Telling Secrets
I started writing Dissociative Living because I had things to say about dissociative identity disorder that I was tired of being too afraid to say them. Looking back, I see that I desperately needed a platform that came with built-in support. I found it in this blog. With an award-winning mental health website as my venue and readers who contributed their own thought-provoking perspectives, I felt some tacit validation -- even if the rest of the world regarded DID with revulsion or as a punch line, you didn't. Thanks to you and HealthyPlace, I got the opportunity to say what I needed to and come away feeling genuinely heard – which is how I learned that it's possible to tell the truth without annihilating anyone. So I kept telling my secrets.
Today, my mother knows why I was bleeding when I was little. I'm one of the lucky ones: she offers me her steadfast support. I want every single person living with dissociative identity disorder to experience the enormous healing that comes from telling secrets, being heard and feeling supported. I wouldn't say I'm no longer dissociative, but if I were diagnosed anew today, I suspect the diagnosis would be dissociative disorder not otherwise specified -- an improvement. And that improvement is thanks to choosing, again and again, disclosure over secrecy – something I learned how to do only because you listened.
Gray, H. (2014, November 21). Rethinking Dissociative Living 5: A Proper Goodbye, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2014/11/rethinking-dissociative-living-5-a-proper-goodbye
Author: Holly Gray
Good to see you blogging again, and reflecting on how support grin others helped with acceptance and healing.
Holly, Your blog has been a powerful source of information and support to so many people with DID and who love people with DID. You are also an excellent, thought-provoking writer who comes from a place of authenticity. If you haven't already, you should seriously consider writing a book. I hope this isn't goodbye but if it is, all the very best to you in your next chapter.
Are you leaving, Holly? That is what I'm wondering.
It is good to hear from you. I have missed your blog, but have been more concerned as to what happened to you. It's wonderful to hear how you have healed and continue to heal.
Thanks for laying your life out so we could also glean from your healing :)
Holly, your blog has helped me in my personal recovery.
You articulate the struggle with D.I.D in a way that is relative and helps me understand my own issues This particular post encapsulates D.I.D the best I have ever read. It is simple and sadly profound. I love your blog!
've issed your blog so much
You have really helped me to understand