A Day in the Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder
Wednesday, April 18 2018 Becca Hargis
Life with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is most likely different than you've imagined. Perhaps you've heard the horror stories or seen the movies portraying us as killers, psychopaths, crazies, or dangers to society. Perhaps if you have been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, you might have compared your experiences with DID to that of others, wondering if your symptoms are "right" or if you're "normal." People are curious about the disorder because of the common misconceptions about DID. What is real and what is concocted? What is a day in the life of someone with dissociative identity disorder truly like?
When people ask what our life with dissociative identity disorder is like, we can't help but affectionately smile. Living with DID does not allow for "normal" days. What happens in the life of our DID system one day may not happen the same the next day. However, there are some consistencies we've combined to give you a glimpse inside a day in the life of someone with dissociative identity disorder.
One Day in My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder
The morning sunrise intrudes her way through my windowpane and blasts my eyes open with her bright rays. My husband Daniel has already fled for work, and I wake to the sound of my dog Maybelline whining to go potty.
I feel relaxed and rested. "Okay," I think in my head. "I'm in a good mood. I can do this. I can do this thing called 'life' today."
Before my feet hit the floor, my mood betrays me, and the anxiety starts surging through my body with no warning, no reason, and no explanation. My fists pummel my head trying to beat, beat, beat the anxiety out of my body. I pull my hair. I pull it hard but nothing consoles me, so I offer anxiety something that will dull her meanness and stop the bedroom wall from absorbing my head blows (Anxiety’s Racing Thoughts and Self-Harm Relapse Prevention). I swallow the medicine and wait for it to do its magic. It's a long wait. Finally, I give up. Anxiety wins.
To pass the time before our therapy session, we play on social media, looking for positive quotes and injecting them into Twitter, hoping it will inspire someone to feel better, maybe even me.
I know I will be useless today because I have therapy this afternoon. The littles are excited to see our therapist, Randy, but some of us adult headmates would rather eat glass, spit it up, and eat it again rather than go.
Nevertheless, we all pile in the car, some calling shot-gun while others climb over seats and sulk in the back.
I can tell another headmate drove the car before me. The driver's seat isn't in my settings. The seat is pushed back for longer legs and lowered for someone taller than me. My head and side mirrors are adjusted outward. Sometimes I hate their interference in my life, even if it is just a seat setting. Without knowing his/her name, I grumble and groan at whoever drove the car before me.
While I've been seeing my therapist for years, today is one of those days I forget the route I take to his office, so I GPS my way to the correct course while berating myself for being so stupid and forgetful.
I leave therapy feeling distraught, scattered, and ungrounded. The previous hour feels foggy and foreign and I realize I should be grateful for having no clear memories of the session.
Because I am ungrounded, the drive home is precarious. In addition, a war commences in my head. The adults want to go shop for clothes while the teenagers want to go shop for makeup and the littles just want to get a kid's meal and play on the landscape. The internal struggle is real. The noise, chaos, and indecision dictate we just go home, and now no one is happy.
I hear the other headmates voice concern that too much was said in therapy. Our safety was compromised. Now there will be consequences, self-destructive consequences, to pay for a loose tongue.
We're agitated. There is a pressure behind my eyes telling me I am not alone, my headmates are with me and watching everything I do and see. There is no peace except for the oval pill that relaxes me and takes me to a sleepy land. When I wake, I am alone internally and thankful for the silence, but it does not last long.
I sense the littles need to be nurtured after such a difficult day but my efforts fall short. The coloring sheets, crayons, markers, and children's books lend no help in comforting them.
I am depressed. I feel crippled and paralyzed so I try to go back to bed but the sound of the doorbell interferes with my intentions.
A delivery worker hands me a package. I barely notice him waving goodbye to me because I realize the package in my hands isn't addressed to me. It belongs to a headmate who purchased something without my knowledge.
I already feel tomorrow's dread sneaking up on me. I will not have my therapist. I will not have my husband. I will just have me -- just me and my headmates, and the only thing that's consistent: chaos and struggle.