Erika, 29, Chicago, US

received_10106246492770348“I live with D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) depression, anxiety, OCD, some severe sleep issues, PTSD and one of my parts (or alters, if you prefer, though we don’t care for that term) has struggled with addiction and an ED… On top of my physical health problems.

Every day is difficult. One of my parts, let’s call her B (she prefers not to use her full name) had worked for MANY years to get us help. I had no idea what was happening to me. All I knew have I had “blackouts.” Some were only minutes-hours while others, well, others lasted months nearly a year. Still with me? Yes, a year. One day it was summer then the next it was a chilly spring morning, the following year. This had happened since I was a child.As you can imagine that is terrifying. One minute you’re in Chicago then the next you’re in California, Cleveland or West Virginia. (Those are only a few of the examples but yes, that happened. Many times)

Some days are better than others. I’ve been seeing a psychologist who finally saw what was happening. Though I didn’t actually meet her until over a year into our therapy. With DID it can be tricky… They basically exist to help me, protect me, etc… That is the exceptionally short explanation.

Anyways, we have been working at figuring my life out. I do know how odd that sounds, but frankly, I’m tired of being ashamed of this. I did not give myself PTSD, OCD, touch issues, problems with speech, DID, or any of the other problems I currently live with. I woke up one day and I guess it just clicked for me… I am also a Type1 Diabetic. I did not do that to myself. It was just my body breaking down, my pancreas just quit working, it broke. My brain splintered into many pieces due to things beyond my control. Constant, repeated various forms of abuse. My brain fractured and adapted. The stigma and shame associated with mental health disorders really disgust me and some of my parts because as I type this I can “feel” their frustration grow.

Art seems to be a big help for me and “The We in Me.” I have always worked in the arts in some capacity. I am a photographer, though I can no longer work, several reasons for that, unfortunately, but that’s life. At least, that’s mine, right now. I am also a painter, as are a few of my parts. Some do fun whimsical watercolours, while others are much darker pieces. One of my parts worked for years as a model, another a writer. Yes, she has been published. No, she did not use my name. She does continue to write. She is using “The We in Me” for her title about us. She has been working on that book for a while now. Our hope is she continues. She has a VERY dark & humorous way to her writing style. Again, we know it sounds strange, but we’re odd/different and we are OK with it. Just living and doing things differently than most.

Something we would tell people living with an MH Disorder…. They say this to me all the time. Like, alllll the time… “Your strength grew when you realized you survived, but you finally began living when you knew you could do more.”
Some of them dislike the term survivor. To them, it sounds like the bare minimum. Do more than being a survivor. It’s an awesome thing to survive what you have BUT never forget to live. Accept you for who you are, all of you and begin to live.
“You are not your diagnosis. It is only part of your life NOT what makes you, you. Depression? You’re not alone. Anxiety? Pardon me while I hide, I’ll send you a tweet… You’re not alone. PTSD? One day or moment at a time. You are not alone. And then that one that made me feel absolutely crazy….? DID?

Well, take comfort dear because now you know with certainty you are not alone. Don’t fear them, speak with them. For those with ED, bipolar, schizophrenia, Anger problems, insomnia etc… Etc…etc… We are strong in our numbers and support of each other. Don’t be ashamed, reach out.

My long-winded point?
Well, you’re good enough. All that makes you, you is an amazing thing. You are not alone. Live.”
The collective WE wrote that last bit. The consciousness that’s another one we are working on. Life is a journey. I’m learning about my past a little at a time while living my present and for the very first time, looking forward toward an actual future. It’s a heady feeling.”

 

 

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PATREONs THIS MONTH- Stuart, https://www.flickr.com/photos/74009/

Harry, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRzs8M26VhrMJlKC5qEI2og

How can you become a patreon? https://www.patreon.com/ThisIsWhatAPersonWithMentalIllnessLooksLike?ty=h

One thought on “Erika, 29, Chicago, US

  1. I was married for 15 years to a woman who was Multiple, had PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. She passed away 4 years ago. My life with her was the most beautiful and amazing experience I have ever had. I am trying to educate the public about Multiplicity. There is an amazing community of people out there. We don’t consider it a disorder in and of itself. This is an interview with NPR. https://soundcloud.com/snapjudgment/multiplicity-snap-judgment-better-half?in=snapjudgment%2Fsets%2Fbetter-half Good luck to you in your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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