What would it mean to come clean, to the world at large, about one's DID? I've been thinking about this ever since I posted a rather snide remark about announcing my multiplicity on Facebook.
I've no intention of doing that, but the thought of being my self all the time rather than with a select few who are "in the know" excites me. I think of the courage it takes for one to come out of the closet of homosexuality, transgenderism, or to appear on Dr. Phil, for instance, and spill the beans about shame inducing secrets: adultery, issues with rage, gambling and porn addictions. Eating disorders, drug abuse, voyerism. Is there relief in telling one's truth?
I waffle between wanting everyone to know, to lay down this burden of secrecy, to wanting to retain my privacy. The fact is, some--perhaps many--would not get it. They would not want to know about the many selves I harbor. Whether they know me personally or not they would rather not have to think too seriously about the reality of this particular disorder.
Some would get it, or if not exactly get it they would at least be open-minded enough to want to educate themselves about DID. They wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.
I've watched several documentaries about multiples, and always I come away from these with great admiration for those willing to expose their disorder to public scrutiny. How self-sacrificing, I always think, for one to be willing to have one's fragmented life documented to increase public awareness of DID. When I try to imagine doing this myself, well I come up with a blank. And not a little anxiety. What would it feel like to put something like that out there, knowing that you've spilled the beans to one and all?
I consider how violated I felt when a couple of people in my life blabbed about my DID to others. The difference of course is that I hadn't chosen to share my truth with certain individuals: that right and choice had been stolen from me. But would it feel the same if I made that call? Or would it seem as if I'd betrayed my selves?
The first word that comes to mind when I think about my childhood is secrets. Tip-toeing around trying to act all normal so no one would guess what I went through on a regular basis. And then, well and then after that childhood there was more tip-toeing around, pretending, so that no one would guess the depth of my brokenness.
Seems like survivors of childhood abuse have an awful lot of prentense in their lives. They must daily erase themselves, their truest selves, in order to live with some semblance of normality in a society that hasn't much use for those handicapped by mental disorders.
I've a hunch I'll forever be fighting this inward battle of wanting to tell, of not wanting to tell. Of feeling the need to be known for who I am versus the desire to guard the secret of my DID because it's mine, and no one else's business. Very likely I'll live out my days without coming to any kind of a resolution about revealing this biggest secret of all. At times I'll be ashamed of my timidity, at other times I'll pat myself on the back for allowing myself all the time in the world to come to a decision, or even not ever come to a decision. Which is a decision all by itself, isn't it?
The confusion of how to handle the truth of my DID goes with the territory of living with multiple personalities. As much as I might wish that things were more cut and dried, life is seldom that neatly uncomplicated. Everyone has something they struggle with; DID is my particular daily struggle. I think it's good to contemplate the issue of telling, whether or not I ever decide to actually blurt out my truth. I have to be able to think about it in the privacy of my own mind.
To tell or not to tell, that is the question I'm in no particular hurry to answer. It's a big question, yes, but it will keep.