I don’t know how to write this entry, and trying to write it might undo any progress I have made in making Dissociative Identity Disorder more understandable. But it needs to be written if I am to be honest, so I am just going to wing it. Anything (or everything) that doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to comment and ask. I’m an open (albeit somewhat illegible) book.
Tonight I had a scene planned with the sub. I can’t remember at the moment if I have assigned him a pseudonym on this blog, so for this entry, we’ll call him Kevin.
Kevin and I have been playing together in a zillion different ways and roles for the past 5 years. We know each others’ limits and preferences, and can read each other quite well. But tonight, the scene just went flat out wrong for both of us, and all that knowledge of one another didn’t do anything to save it. Without going into too much irrelevant detail, the scene had to be ended abruptly, both parties had hurt feelings for justified reasons, and we spent a solid 4 hours after the actual scene just trying to basically pick up the emotional pieces. The moral of this mini-story would be: Even those of us who are experienced in this lifestyle sometimes have scenes just go flat out wrong. So tread softly.
First, an explanation of Nadia’s name. When I first (knowingly) “met” Nadia, it was one of the most terrifying experiences that I have ever had with an alter taking over. I was about 14 or 15, and I was feeling fine, hanging out at the house with my mom. Suddenly, I am on the floor, sobbing and screaming, banging my head against the floor, even ripping out chunks of my hair. And the most jarring of all, was that I still felt fine inside my head. It was my own voice screaming, my own hands assaulting me, but the feelings being expressed were not my own. I couldn’t stop what was happening, just as I couldn’t stop watching myself do it and had no idea what these emotions were or where they were coming from. I still, as an individual, felt completely fine. Slightly hungry, at the worst. Otherwise, I felt completely normal, other than the feeling of being trapped in my body and terrified by what it seemed to be doing of it’s own volition.
My mother did an amazing job of talking me (well, her) down. Eventually she was soothed enough that I regained my control over myself, and she faded away like a whisper.
I don’t remember how I found the definition that led to my naming her Verde. It’s most common meaning, among multiple languages, is green, but in Spanish it has several other meanings: unwell, unripe, sick. My brain rolled these other tertiary definitions into a meaning all it’s own: Poison. That was what she felt like. She felt like a poison that was deep in my body, infecting everything that it touched, a poison of self hatred and self destruction. So I named her Verde, and for most of my life, she was the alter that I feared the most. I shoved her down as deep as I could.
At this point, I didn’t even know her gender. She felt like an “it”, like gender was a nonexistent part of her identity, which made her somehow seem all the more sinister. I didn’t understand her, and like a coward, I ran from my own ignorance, pushing her as far away from myself mentally as I could. I heard nothing from her (directly and identifiably, anyway), for over a decade. If I did hear from her, I believe that I erased those memories out of sheer terror, just as I blocked the memories that led to the creation of my alters in the first place.
When my memories began to return a few years ago, the alters that I had re-repressed (reasonably sure that’s not really a word, but I’m going with it) came back along with them. Emily was the first to come out, and then Paige followed soon after. I could sense Anise, though she seemed to exist in a state of sullen, patient silence; a quiet, simmering anger that clearly intended to eventually boil (still does, for that matter). But Verde was notably absent. Not a word, not a thought, not even a sense of her presence.
My memories didn’t return in a flood, as they do for some people. Mine came one or two at a time, triggered by one thing or another, but once the first came through, others continued (and are still continuing, even now) to follow, with new memories being revealed to my core identity sporadically.
One particular memory seemed to bring Verde back into play. It was as if a door that I had never known about, that had been locked and guarded, was opened by the memory, and though she wasn’t coming out, I (and the rest of my alters) felt her presence instantly. I was afraid and tried to tread carefully, since my only other “interaction” with her had been such an explosive one, and had been over a decade ago.
This may be hard to imagine, but I mentally opened the door further and looked inside, to see Verde, who I had thought of as the purest Evil inside of me, and tried to prepare for the possibility that she would seize control from me immediately, given how powerful she had felt when I had met her previously.
I only have been able to find one genuine example of what I “saw” when I looked at her (it’s a different type of sense than sight, but that’s as close as I can describe it). It was a series of scenes regarding a specific character in the remake Battlestar Galactica show from the Sci-Fi channel.
I tried to find a decent direct clip from the show, but everything related to Gina, the character in question, seems to be music videos with clips, which is NOT my usual preferred video type. However, there was one that the music actually fits rather well and, though it’s not exactly what I had hoped for, depicts more clips of what Gina looked like during her imprisonment than anything else I could find. For those uninterested in watching the video, I found an image that lacks much of the nuance of the clips, but covers the gist, so I am embedding both of them below.
The big bad wolf that I had built up in my mind all those years was a bound, tortured person who didn’t have the strength to lift her head. She was practically catatonic, and I mentally tiptoed out of the room. I was staggered by the sight of what I had expected to be evil incarnate and instead found to be a beaten and broken piece of my soul, in far more excruciating, prolonged agony than I have ever felt in my core self in my lifetime.
It took me a while to process. My previous encounter with her looked entirely different in the light of this explosion of new information. The most striking piece of new knowledge was that, fundamentally, she was much, much younger than I expected. Her age explained why I hadn’t been able to sense her gender when we had previously met: she had been created when I was too young to have formed a strong sense of gender identity yet. Her behavior during our one encounter also began to make more sense as well, given that she was splintered from me when I was still young enough to throw full blown tantrums. When a small child has exhausted all the other communication methods that they have know but there is more emotion to be expressed, it comes out in a tsunami of kicking and screaming and flailing. The encounter that had previously felt like her assaulting me now looked like a child expressing unimaginable pain the only way that she knew how: to explode outward at the world, while simultaneously imploding in self hatred and hopelessness.
The worst thing, the knowledge I so desperately wanted to deny and yet knew I could never look myself in the mirror again if I didn’t own up to, was the awareness of what had caused her to change from a tsunami of explosive pain bursting out of me, to this catatonic, weak, shackled creature: me. I was the cause. My fear of her, of what she could do to me, of what she could be, had made me shackle her and lock her away like an animal in a cage. She spoke once and because I was so frightened by it, I literally named her “poison”. She had lived through the unspeakable horrors that created her, and when she finally had the strength to let some of that pain out, I named her poison, locked her up, threw away the key, and pushed her down so far in my fear that I had broken her, doing even more damage on top of the trauma that created her in the first place.
I don’t know how to explain the shame that I felt, and still feel, for what my ignorance did to her. I don’t believe there are adequate words to describe such a feeling, in this language or any other.
It became clear almost immediately that much of the pain that my alters and my core self experienced or still do experience has been being essentially funneled into her, without our awareness. It was unanimously agreed that we would all actively work to own our individual pain and not let the excess get dumped onto her anymore. I had done enough damage already; I refuse to do any more.
Once I came to grips with as much of this new data as I could, I tried to help her speak. I tried to coax her out, slowly. It was a process that felt foreign to me, as my other alters either took over at will, or asked politely to come out. I had never tried to actively give away control of my body to an alter.
She didn’t trust me. I didn’t blame her.
It took a while, but eventually I felt her almost floating to the surface of my consciousness as if from a great depth in a dark ocean. There was so much reluctance and hesitation in her ascension that my shame stabbed me all over again.
I somehow managed to essentially sink, falling deeper into myself as she rose toward the surface, and suddenly it was officially Verde steering the ship.
She struggled to form words for quite a while, and was overstimulated by any loud noises or intense colors or scents or flavors at first. From in the depths of myself, looking at the world through her eyes, it was hyper-realized, brash, and beautiful beyond words. She listened to music for the first time, and it was so intensely beautiful to her that she could only handle one song.
When she did find her voice, there was a lot of confusion: she knew things that she didn’t remember learning, and kept using words that a child her age wouldn’t know, and then being surprised (and delighted) that she somehow knew them. One of the first things that she wanted though, once she had found the words, was to choose a new name for herself. After careful deliberation, she chose Nadia, because it means Hope.
The tenacity of the human spirit, even a splintered, broken spirit, will never cease to amaze me.
Nadia’s visits have been infrequent, and she is shy and secretive about her memories and her past. Which is okay, and I try not to push her to share anything she isn’t ready to. Her pain is still there, though, and there are miles and miles of that dark jungle to still be explored and understood.
One of the things that initially made me view Nadia as a “poison” was that her desire to self destruct, to injure herself, was far more powerful than any cutting urges I or any of my alters had ever experienced in the past. I will never again view her as a poison; she is a hurt little girl with no awareness of how to cope. But her urges are still troubling and frightening, especially when it comes to relinquishing control so that she can have the room to breathe that she needs and deserves. And now that we can sense one another internally, those feelings bleed over into me much more than they did before.
The reason I’m writing about this tonight as opposed to any other night is simple: tonight got completely fucked up and at the end of it I felt like a miserable failure as a human being on every possible level. I started having cutting urges, and her pain synchronized with mine, making the urges exponentially more severe than they were before. I could feel her despair so acutely, and even though she didn’t take control, her influence was so strong that it felt as though we were existing in concert with one another, not trading places between a prison cell and a real life. Normally, such overlap is a positive thing for any of my alters, in that cooperation is an important, positive step. But this kind of overlap was not so healthy.
I haven’t cut tonight. I’m not going to. But the urge is so powerful tonight that it terrifies me. If, after everything she has been through, she can still find it in herself to choose a name that means hope, surely I can find some glimmer of hope to cling to and make it through this unscathed.
Her pain makes me want to destroy myself, yet her enduring hope inspires me to never give up.