Archive for August 30th, 2011

Microscopic ViewOn my blog entry entitled What is Polyfragmented Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?, a reader posted the following comment:

I was diagnosed with DID but have a really hard time believing it and not thinking of myself as a huge liar and fake. I don’t ‘lose time’ like I hear that some people do. Also. I do have memories of bad things that happened when I was a kid, just not a lot, you know, only a few memories from when I was a kid. But it is not like it is all just a big nothing. I think I have fragments, but maybe not polyfragemnted cause I dont think there are that many of them. But then, who knows really…Anyway. how much time do you have to lose, and/or how much memory do you have to lose to have DID? I am trying to get out of the Dx really, I don’t want to believe that it is true. And sometimes when I look at it and the DSM I think, well myabe I don’t have it. But then I think some of the stuff I remember now, is only after I remembered it after working with the therapist who fired me for a long time. But then that brings up another problem, and that is of false memories. Ugh. What if I am just making this stuff up? ugh. I hate being DID. I sometimes wonder about fragments though because I feel fragmented but don’t have ‘names’ for a lot of parts, and it seems like everyones got names for parts, but I guess they could just be fragments without names. I dunno. Anywya, sorry to ramble on. ~Pax

Pax’s comment shows the conflict that many people with DID experience. In fact, the whole point of DID is to enable a child to live in conflict – to be “innocent” at school and a compliant abuse victim while being abused without ever acting on the emotions that result from living this way.

I had a difficult time believing that I had DID as well. I had no memory whatsoever of the sexual abuse. I had always remembered comparatively minor abuses and assumed I was as “f#$%ed up in the head” as I was due to them. The problem was that, if the only abuses I suffered were what I had always remembered, then it wasn’t enough to explain the severity of my aftereffects.

You might find it helpful to read through the Incest Survivors’ Aftereffects Checklist. While I was completely unaware of having DID, I would have related to a majority of the symptoms appearing on this checklist. I thought they were unrelated issues, not a profile of someone who had been severely abused.

I had always prided myself on having very clear memories from childhood, but the truth was that I only had a few crisp memories. When I actually explored my memory bank, it was mostly wiped away, including the memories of every single Christmas from birth through age 22.

At first, I thought I only had one alter part. (I actually became aware of the alter part before I became aware of the abuse. From what I have heard, that’s different from how many child abuse survivors heal.) Then there were more and more and more. Most of mine did not have names, nor did they need to. Most were fragments, holding one emotion or one memory or even only one part of a memory. I didn’t need to name them – I needed to love and accept them back into being “me.”

Re: false memory syndrome – I am not saying that it NEVER happens, but I suspect that wave of media blitz in the 1990’s was to discredit people like you and me. Some of my abusers were powerful people in the community – powerful people have the resources to sway the community. Who is the community going to believe? The VP of a Fortune 100 company or a f@#$ed up little girl who didn’t remember the abuse until she became an adult?

I periodically have readers try to discredit me, either on my blog or through email. The one question none of them have an answer to is this: “If I made this all up, am psychotic, or someone else put all of this stuff in my head, why I am getting better? Why is therapy and talking about what happened resulting in me growing into a healthier version of myself?” If I am a liar, psychotic, or someone duped by a shrink, then my emotional state should be deteriorating, not getting better. Therapy should not be working if any of those explanations are true.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “Does this fit?” For me, my life was like a jigsaw puzzle that made no sense. I had suicidal urges, OCD, an eating disorder, insomnia, nightmares & night terrors, low self-esteem, panic attacks, etc. I thought they were all separate issues. The missing piece was the child abuse. Once I had that piece of the puzzle, the rest fell into place.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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