Today I saw a caterpillar smashed on the sidewalk. She met her demise before she met her destiny.
Sometimes, I want to be that caterpillar. Pleading that my life might somehow end. This desire for eternal rest comes because emptiness has found her way back to me again. I try relentlessly to fill her but she remains unsatisfied. I have ignored her, turned my heart and my mind away from her. I have closed my body off to her countless times. What I know to be true but often choose to forget is, she is not my enemy but my preserver. Inviting me to live in union with heart, mind and body. But, it’s complicated.
Complicated because, I live with Dissociative Identity Disorder. “Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the disorder that was previously recognized as multiple personality disorder. It’s characterized by the presence of two or more dissociated self states, known as alters, that have the ability to take executive control and are associated with some degree of inter-identity amnesia. DID is caused by chronic childhood trauma and is highly associated with post traumatic stress disorder.” *
I have at least eight alters that I am aware of. And we have decidedly different preferences, opinions, values, desires and attitudes. We even have different ages and genders. Only my closest friends and my husband know I have DID. I was mortified when my therapist first diagnosed me. Convinced there was something appallingly wrong with me, I told no one for over a year. I kept reminding “myselves” our therapist had said, “The reason you have DID is because you have a strong and creative mind. You are a survivor. If your mind had not fractured, you would be catatonic, institutionalized or dead.” It’s complicated.
I developed this disorder when the predators, the Death-Dealers took sovereignty over my life.
I was just a little girl who could not make sense of the world around me so I created an inner world to escape the chaos.
I was collecting personalities at the same time I was collecting Strawberry Shortcake dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids. I now believe that DID is a beautiful but messy gift. It is my personal belief that the mind shattered in an effort to protect the soul. Our soul is the fingerprint of God that unites us. Our soul is the one thing we posses that could not be destroyed.
I am often in a co-conscious state with one or more alter doing day to day life. I can tell who is around by the clothes chosen for the day, my wardrobe looks like it belongs to at least 3 different women and one dude.The music playlists listened to, everything from The Beastie Boys to Lauren Daigle is on our iTunes. The food consumed, some of us could live on gummy bears and potato chips others like kale salads and take fish oil supplements. With one or more alters, the biggest indicators of who is “fronting” are the voices in my head, the words that come out of my mouth and the actions displayed. Sometimes, I loose time. When this happens, I know another alter has completely taken over and pushed me to the back. It is often unsettling, but I understand this is always done in an effort to protect due to an actual or perceived threat to the system. No one on the outside would ever know I have DID. The “switches” are very subtle. This disorder is covert, created in an effort to protect and to hide. It’s complicated.
I live mostly in a state of ambivalence, with thoughts and emotions like dueling banjos. There are parts of me frozen in time, still too frightened to unthaw. I am covered in a constant feeling of terror like a heavy blanket even when I “know” I am safe. Shame is always swimming in my belly even when I “know”, I am blameless. I numb all my senses so I don’t have to feel the intensity of life then I seek adrenaline surging activities because I need to feel alive. It’s complicated.
There is irony in having a mind filled with 8 distinct self states while the heart feels intense emptiness. When I allow my emptiness to be embraced by Love, my emptiness becomes satiated. Love binds all of my parts together. Love gives hope that we will be made whole. Today, I am inviting my parts to join heart, mind and body to soul. Today, I’m going to avoid the sidewalk and fly on resurrected wings. Because, it’s complicated.
Willow’s passion for story began at a young age. Always enthusiastic to listen to a storyteller or be the teller herself. Willow uses writing as a stream of healing for her complex trauma. She is finally finding her voice after decades of being silenced.