I made a post the other day entitled Paige. Well, Paige did. I’ll try to ease you in here.
I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It is more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is still a misnomer, but can at least give you a basic framework.
I went through severe trauma as a child. Multiple times. And when it happened, what I experienced was so horrifying that I sealed it off, blocking all memory and emotion of it. But doing that splintered me. Those feelings were too heavy, too big, to just dissipate. All that anguish had to go somewhere, and all those emotions took with them a piece of myself.
I have never given my real name on this blog. I don’t intend on ever doing so. I had not figured out pseudonyms for my alters yet, and was wary to break the process down to begin with. It’s the secret so deep I kept it from myself for years, and the thought of sharing it publicly (even anonymously) was and is terrifying. I planned to eventually do so, but with more care and explanation.
Things don’t always go according to plan.
One of my 4 alters, Paige, came out and was in a terrible emotional state (which is not her normal temperament), a few hours before the blog post was made. I will spare you the particulars of the why, but I do want to address the what and how and who.
Once my identity had split once, it seemed to become easier for it to happen again. Or perhaps the later traumas were still, well, traumatic enough to cause an already unbalanced mind to continue to sever pieces of itself off that it didn’t know how to cope with. I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist or a therapist. I’m a “patient with insight”, as one of my therapist’s put it, and that is all I will ever claim to be. But I have lived it, and I can speak authoritatively on that: what it is actually like.
Imagine that your body is a car, and you, your soul and mind and consciousness, are the driver. You see the view out the windshield, you feel the wind coming in from the open windows, you smell the blossoms on the trees as you drive by them. And you also turn the wheel, apply the brakes, honk the horn, and in general, control this vehicle as the real you sits inside, travelling throughout the world.
Most of you who will read this, statistically speaking, are alone in your vehicles. Not only are you the sole passenger’s of your vehicles, but that is a fact that has probably seemed so obvious to you that you’ve never even imagined there could be additional passenger seats in the first place.
I do not travel alone.
If you count me (ananonymousoutsider, that is), there are 5 of us, 4 if you only count my alternates. Anise. Emily. Paige. Nadia.
Nadia was created first. She is very young and very shy and timid. If she ever feels that she wants to express herself and share her story on this blog, I won’t try to prevent it, but it is just that: her story, not mine. She is a part of me, and yet not me, as we were set down different paths so long ago.
Paige came along a bit later. She vacillates between 6 and 8 years old. She and I have the most functional relationship out of all the relationships in my head, a truth that is not shown very clearly by her post, but is true nonetheless.
Emily is… well, there is so much to say about Emily that a zillion posts probably wouldn’t sum it up, but for anyone who has seen the show The Blacklist, she’s Raymond Reddington. She’s manipulative, sly, clever, and ruthless, and flirts unabashedly with any and all moral and ethical boundaries. One of many reasons she isn’t out much. More on that in a bit.
I know shockingly little about Anise, other than that she primarily consists of anger. I silenced her voice so strongly, out of so much fear, that she is practically mute (something I am in no way proud of). She primarily speaks to me through music, running songs in my head that conjure her anger in me. She has not come “out” in over a decade.
Back to the vehicle analogy.
When I first had an alter take over in such a way that I understood(ish) and was conscious of, the vehicle analogy was the only “why” I could find to explain it. Many people with DID (or MPD, if you prefer), black out when an alter takes over. One woman that I knew with this disorder lost up to three weeks of time in a stretch, just, blackness, nothing, as if she had blinked and it was suddenly 3 weeks later.
I, on the other hand, seem to have a different variety. I experience everything, though sometimes it feels almost far away. I see it as if I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat, looking out the same windshield, feeling the same air, smelling the same aromas. But I am no longer holding the steering wheel.
With Emily in particular, it is like the steering wheel is wrenched out of my hands. And she is a scary-ass driver. There is a lot that goes on internally between the two of us in the process, but that’s the simplest way to explain it.
For Doctor Who fans, the episode Midnight, from Season 4 with David Tennant is actually a frighteningly accurate depiction of what this process (with Emily) feels like. For those who are not on the Doctor Who train but are still curious, I’m including a link to a streaming video of the episode here. Be warned, here there be spoilers: The Doctor is traveling across a world that has never been fully explored, and the alien being that attacks the bus like vehicle he and other tourists are riding in, basically “possesses” one of the passengers. She repeats everything that is said by everyone around her, apparently learning and adapting, soon, she is speaking with everyone: repeating, but at exactly the same time. To skip to what comes next, and the most relevant part of the episode, skip to 32 minutes in. Daily Motion – Doctor Who Midnight Full Episode Here.
Paige is almost always different. She is young, and sweet, and gentle. She has a huge fear of abandonment, stemming from a traumatic separation and rejection from our father. She doesn’t force her way in anymore: we have learned to work more cooperatively. It’s like she knocks on the door and I decide to let her out, to take her place in the cell that she lives in and let her have life. This is, in theory, progress, as accepting these parts of myself is a part of becoming whole and healthy again, of being able to “integrate” myself. But for her, and the others, integration looks a whole lot different than it does from my vantage point. It looks like death, and, as exposing and anxiety inducing her posting on here was, I’m glad that she is expressing those feelings instead of holding them in.
I will eventually post more about each of the others as becomes necessary. But for now, I simply wanted to give insight into what it is like for many of us with this strange and not very well understood disorder. I have been locked in my own head before, watching myself beat my head into the floor and rip my hair out, screaming in emotional agony, trying to control my lips and finding them inaccessible to me, hearing the words and thoughts and voice of someone else, who is me but not me, escape my lips instead. For a long time I was so afraid of them that I locked them away further, convincing myself they were a figment of my imagination (It’s all in my head, does that make is any less real?).
But secrets come out, emotions pour out, and nothing stays silenced forever. Nor should it.
Paige, I’m proud of you for sharing. I’m proud of the courage that it took. I forgive you for what you did, for the pain you felt the need to inflict on me, us. I cherish you, and you are always welcome to be a guest writer. 🙂 ~ AnAnonymousOutsider And in case anyone wants to check out what she said, the link to her post is here: Paige’s Post.
If you have any questions or comments for me that you would like to share or discuss privately about this, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org