Passing the Torch
Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 11:02PM
beautifuldreamer in DID, Healing, Mental health

Sometimes I'm weary of the whole DID thing. If it were simply a lifestyle I decided to try out to see if I liked it I would have said long before this, "Uh, thanks but no thanks." 

Recently I read The Minds of Billy Milligan. I found this true account of multiplicity quite intriguing, and that's another thing I don't much care for, that I can read about DID in reference to someone else and even admire that person for persevering and knowing so much about their system. But when it's me and my system? I get exasperated. Impatient. Angry. I don't see one single thing to admire about my own management of a group of insiders I barely know. They are strangers to me, I'm barely aware of their existence most of the time. Reading the Billy Milligan story gave me a bad case of DID envy. I mean, everyone but me (or so it seems) who lives with this disorder knows their system inside and out. Why don't I know mine? Is it because I put up resistance? Are they deliberately in hiding from me, and if so why? If they are here to help then why play hide-and-seek?

Another thing that gripes me is that I'm turning 63 next month and here I am still plodding along not dealing with something I should be dealing with. I've never figured out why this is so hard for me. I can't get to the bottom of it, it's all a murky mystery. I've a sinking feeling it's never going to get any better than this. As Jack Nicolson's character said, "What if this is as good as it gets?" Well it probably is. I mean if I haven't figured this out by now what are the odds I will at some later date when my health is failing, and my memory too?

This is one of those posts that have no real resolution. I didn't think when I began that by the time I reached the end I'd have arrived at any conclusions. So in that respect I'm not disappointed. I'm slightly relieved that I took the time to write this; I'd forgotten how good it feels to blog about my troubles. Whether or not anyone is reading it feels good to write it.

I spent nearly the entire day working on the revision of my poetry book. I don't mention DID in these poems, but they were written about the time in my childhood when I was mauled and raped by my abuser on a regular basis. I'm at the point of editing and so of necessity I must read every word, something I absolutely don't relish. Hard to write such poetry in the first place and double hard to read it later at different stages in your life and not feel as if it's all whining. I swear at one point I wanted to yell, "Just get over it already!"

All kinds of mixed up thoughts ran through my mind while editing. In addition to "just get over it" I found myself thinking, rather defensively, that if I hadn't been raped for 8 years I wouldn't have had to write such poetry in the first place, and wouldn't now be having to edit it in the second place. And then I thought how writing about such violence is supposed to be healing, and sharing your sufferings in the form of writing can be like passing the torch to someone whose pathway has been ill-lit and scary.

So. Here I am passing the torch. I do this in the poetry I so despised today. Forging ahead with the editing even though everything and everyone inside of me was protesting, is me handing that torch over. Everytime I make no explanations or excuses for my often quirky behavior to someone who doesn't know its source, I'm passing on the torch. Because how easy it would be (and has been for much of my life) to laugh along with someone else about what a goof I am, how I can't do anything right and my memory has more holes than swiss cheese, etc. I must make a choice whenever I am met with another's humor or scorn at my ineptness at this whole business of living. I can hide inside my shell, laugh along with them, make up something that sounds halfway credible...or I can do none of those things. Instead, I can take one for the team. Not just my unique little team of insiders but also in the bigger sense of the whole DID community, however small or expansive that might be. If I take one for my team then I'm not adding to the misinformation that's already out there circulating about us. I'm not encouraging the stigma attached to this mental illness by scoffing at it or making myself the butt of a joke.

Passing the torch and taking one for the team--these are two things I can do even though I don't understand the world inside of me. And for now that will have to be enough.

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