Realisation?

Not understanding meant I didn’t feel in control, therefor I felt vulnerable, unsafe.

Therapy today was really helpful, not that it usually isn’t, but it’s helping heal a lot of reopened wounds. Last year I finally took the plunge to tell my family about some trauma pertaining to csa that I experienced in childhood, and identified who the perpetrator was. I don’t have the spoons to explain everything that happened in the past year, but recently I have had to cut ties with my immediate family, mostly due to me not being taken seriously, but also because my abuser was still at family Christmas last year. It’s been just an awkward year with that in the background, and having to reach that point recently, not to mention the stress around the constant limbo as to whether we are moving across country next year.

I hadn’t realised how stressed I have been until today. Which is odd to say because I know I have been stressed, yet I didn’t have the deeper understanding of that and how it reflects in my life until now. I am aware that there have been splits recently, at least in the past three months, and the idea of that scares me. I feel like if there are splits that that’s a ‘bad’ thing, that I am not doing healing ‘correctly’, or that I have ‘failed’ at keeping stabilised. The recurring theme that comes up in therapy is the feeling of failure, or that I am being too sensitive, too melodramatic; A lot of self judgement not only argued between alters, but even the cognitive dissonance felt by one part alone. The overwhelming pressure to be a certain way has been around for as long as I can remember, however, having an online presence has certainly intensified that to the point where it started impacting what I thought was the ‘right’ way to show myself online.

This coupled with the things happening with my family, caused a lot of harm on top of that. Parts of me that are still unwilling to actively participate in therapy, internally thrive off of this kind of pain. There is a sense of joy knowing that nobody believes me, a joy HE would probably get at the fact that I would never say something, that I would do as I was told and stay quiet. These parts mimic these behaviors, these ideals, creating internal disruption which grows with external invalidation. And of course there are parts that are similar yet different to that in their beliefs. When we are validated by those around us, some parts see it as a game, they are happy to have ‘manipulated’ people into believing us; It provides them with a sense of control. By rationalising that they are the ones in charge of the story, it creates a sense of safety that none of it happened, but also reflects a crave for support in a way? I’m unsure about these parts as I struggle to wrap my brain around this mindset, and often go into a guilt spiral that I have made everything up and am being manipulative in making other’s believe I have any trauma at all. Logically I know what happened happened, but I would rather accept the fact that I am being a manipulative person than the fact that my childhood trauma exists.

Today was the first time where I also had a bit more understanding of how stressed I have been, a lot of reflection as to why that might be, and a moment of clarity and the slightest shift in identity that enabled a free space for communication, which hasn’t happened in a LONG time. We have been extremely meshed for the past few months, and not in the ‘barriers coming down/fusion’ way, but in the ‘missing a whole bunch of small segments of time and having no sense of internal nor external self’ kind of way. It has been awful, the amnesia, the dissociation, the depersonalisation, the derealisation, just all of it has been shitty. I understand that we seem to be quite susceptible to fracturing during periods of extreme stress, which is a normal symptom of the disorder anyhow, it just feels like I am never at the healing point where my mind doesn’t resort to that coping mechanism. One thing that I also neglected to think about however, is that even though we would be feeling mushy from the fragmentation, it’s also because our mind is shutting out parts it doesn’t think are helpful right now, as a means of reducing further spiraling. My therapist put it in better words than I just did, but essentially that block off from communication is causing the constant blendiness while also trying to do so to ‘help’ because it helped in the past.

I (Mila) felt a bit stupid to have not realised that before, because I like to think I have a decent understanding of why things are why they are, because it gives me a sense of control, which is something that I didn’t have in traumatic situations. Those parts mentioned earlier that thrive off of the pain/ideas of manipulation are parts of me, fragments. Not in the same way that I work my way through my emotions surrounding the trauma, rather not full alters; They are strings of thought linked to him, emotions linked to him, with memories linked to mine.

Not realising how that dissociation was being represented internally, made me sad that I wasn’t as attuned to my own emotions or environment, I didn’t feel in control, therefor I felt vulnerable, unsafe. I was tearing up in therapy today because of the sense of grief I had from cutting ties with my family, not regret for doing so, but grief. I felt regret for telling them in the first place, that if I didn’t say anything, I wouldn’t have put myself through the emotional rollercoaster of the past year, that I would still have them in my life even while I harboured this huge secret. I felt angry at myself that I should have told them sooner, I should have told someone sooner; that by not telling anyone sooner I was actively putting myself in harms way when I could have stopped it from happening. To be honest I still don’t know where I sit on that, I know logically I was just a kid, and it wasn’t my fault, but at the moment I can’t help but blame myself.

I don’t want to feel this way, to feel sadness, it scares me. Feeling too much sadness overwhelms me, I have meltdowns and I feel like I am being melodramatic, too sensitive. I fear being judged by others for having a meltdown due to the sensory overload that comes with being autistic, that people will think lesser of me because of my behaviour. When people see me as lesser than, then I don’t have any control, that means danger.

The blendiness has certainly returned as I’m writing out these sentences. Internal reflection today has been helpful but also exhausting. It was nice having the moment of clarity and communication from Felix, Charles, and Nathaniel, having Dakota and Kai at the session slightly adjacent to the blendiness. A lot is happening right now and I just want things to slow down.

Unstructured Thoughts

Zero desire to make content or advocacy things lately, because the niche environment I was in feels so toxic to me nowadays. Breaking out of that into a more general mental health area leaves me feeling very lost and most definitely out of my depth. Searching for reasons as to why I even wish to ‘advocate’ at all, searching for answers as to what even defines an ‘advocate’. By all means I would love to read more, find studies, share findings, but truth of the matter is that I find reading extremely difficult due to dissociation. Even with things I am super interested in, “special interests”, it is difficult to maintain focus.

Follow with a paragraph about something happy. Talking too much about the negatives makes it seem depressing, too depressed over “first world problems”, obviously fake. Too happy, enjoying life , also fake. Fluctuations? No, you cannot have both; also fake. You have a mental health issue and society only believes that when you’re in a constant state of sadness, yet at the same time expect you to “get the fuck over it” and “contribute to society”. If you can’t ‘contribute’, then why are you here? You try to leave, then you are “attention seeking”. You end up leaving, you were “too young to go”.

You seek solace in a community of likeminded people, until you discover that you arent all the same. It was a naive assumption let’s admit. We are but a microsegment of society, a group with an intangible umbrella to hold.

I used to want to share my story, but then it felt like my story was worthless in comparison to the grand tales other people shared. People were wasting their time consuming my content, I felt bad that I was subjecting them to boredom. But I realised I had somewhat became a symbol, of people who looked like me, I was the visible of the invisible. My lighter skin tone makes me palatable. Exotic but not too exotic. Opinions influenced by a white upbringing made me even more desirable for white folk to consume my words and receive their certificates on being ‘woke’.


Those with less recognition and visibility, thanked me for my service. I was humbled, yet saddened to be the only voice being heard and respected. My words were not all that different to messages they had shared, and yet my plagiarism was heard because I was more palatable, exotic but not too exotic, I had friends in whiter places, so this meant I had to be respected.

Oh woe is me that I recieve attention. How terrible it must be. But do you not see the pressure there, the idea that I exist to maintain the peace between the two colours of my lineage. Share the stories of my people, but delicately so as to not spook others away for their wrongdoings. Being traumatised makes you immune to the thing many preach the most. How do you define accountability? Is it only applicable when it is relevant to your circumstance? Accountability is selective you see, it does not exist for racism. But do remember that “microagressions do not count”, for the white man is more knowledgeable than I.

Do not misinterpet what I am saying, because other poc wanting me to advocate is not the issue; for the issue is the white man seems to find my content instead of theirs because of algorithms and my connections. I implore you to go out of your way to see their stories, poc experiences are not a one size fits all. This constant feeling of tokenisation envelopes me on a micro and major scale to a point where I have no more spoons left to keep the peace.

For a peacekeeper, my frustrations are not so peaceful. I live in a constant state of second guessing messages of power versus messages fueled by a borderline response. Then again, I am entitled to my frustrations, yet where is the line? Is there a line, or is it whisked away in the sand?
High tides, low tides, will I ever have a concrete answer as to my desires? Moments like this it seems that I want to just concentrate on me. Selfish, selfless, either way I can no longer ride each wave clinging to this niche crate of expectations.

I don’t want to be an advocate for your disorder anymore. I want to be an advocate only for myself, for MY mental and physical well being; I just happen to be someone who shares your diagnosis. My brain is drained from all of these rambles yet I know there is so much more in my head for sharing, I suppose that is for another time.

The Elephant in the Room

A guide to ‘race claiming’ within the dissociative community.

Race is much more than being spiritual, owning a dreamcatcher, the colour of your skin, and enjoying certain kinds of foods.

Some important things to note before we proceed is that while I certainly am not the only person of colour with DID, the points made here are are also influenced by discussions I have had with other poc with OSDDID. While most examples used later in this article mention Black culture, the subject matter is also applicable to other poc. As the writer, I do not believe it appropriate to give examples from a cultural background of which I am not. For those unaware of my presence within the online OSDDID community, I, myself, am mixed race; my mother is a white Australian, and my father is Jamaican.

Important terms referenced throughout this piece are as follows.

  • OSDDID: A catch all acronym often used online for those with Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID);

  • POC: Person of Colour;

  • Race claiming: Refers to when an alter within a system claims a race or ethnicity that does not match the body’s culture/heritage.

 

“Hi, my name is Courtney, I’m a poc alter in a DID system”

 

For a long time within the online and most likely offline OSDDID community, race claiming, particularly amongst white folks, has been seen as the norm for describing different alters/parts within systems. However, within recent years the language surrounding these alter descriptions has been challenged.

The query proposed by people of colour with or without OSDDID is “How do you define the race of an alter if you do not have the lived experience of said race or culture?”.

OSDDID are disorders formed in childhood due to trauma, therefor rendering it practically impossible for the child to choose the alter formed. Over time the lexicon chosen to describe these alters has the ability to be challenged and changed. From a young age children are given a generalised view of the world they inhabit, including a multitude of stereotypes and biases, each learned from interacting with others and consuming media. Western society has been built to benefit affluent white cisgender heterosexual males, and biases towards minorities are all around us, regardless of whether or not you, as a reader, are aware of them.

When a child splits an alter with a darker skin tone than the body that speaks AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), the alter would be loosely to largely based off of a person or character that is Black; a person that the mind required representation of at the time. As the person ages, this alter will take on many of the biases and observed behaviours of Black people in the world around them. Their identity is formed on the observations of another culture through a white lens. Although their existence may even be linked back to them (a white person with OSDDID) growing up in a Black neighbourhood, an upbringing where they were constantly immersed in the culture, the history and lived experience as a poc will never be there.

Race is much more than being spiritual, owning a dreamcatcher, the colour of your skin, and enjoying certain kinds of foods.

While again, the appearance of an alter inner world cannot be controlled, learning why certain words or actions may be harmful to the poc community is an important step in dismantling racism. Just because you have a mental health disorder does not mean you cannot learn how your actions may be harming a marginalised community, and in turn how to change that. The idea within the OSDDID community that racism is only limited to alters using racist slurs is incorrect as it fails to recognise the intricacies of racist behaviour. It creates categories of ‘good’ white people and ‘bad’ white people by drawing a movable line in the sand as to when racism is okay. Much like in general society, microaggressions against black people i.e, “You’re so well educated for a black person”, are deemed acceptable when compared to violent acts such as police brutality. The former is deemed ‘accidental racism’ which is written off as a non-issue. The reality is that after years of normalising behaviours, by redefining what is and isn’t racial trauma, society continues to perpetuate that poc are inferior to white people. The acceptance of this social hierarchy later fuels more radical acts such as the aforementioned police brutality. While yes, one puts Black folks in immediate danger, in separating the acts into ‘palatable’ and ‘non-palatable’ forms of racism it absolves white people of any responsibility under the guise that, “Well I’m not a white supremacist”, even though they are actively benefiting from a society built on the back of white supremacy; the social hierarchy that continues to this day.

Racism in the OSDDID community is not just limited to alters using racist slurs, it is also allowing poc’s cultural identities be minimised to a white perspective of our ethnicities. The topic of racial trauma is too often discounted within online discourse, with the voices of poc with OSDDID pushed to the side because, “I can’t change my alter being poc, it is because of my trauma disorder”. Childhood trauma somehow reigns supreme to racial trauma; even in these situations where they often intersect, the trauma of marginalised cultures is seen as lesser to that of a white person’s childhood trauma.



Personal rather than objective opinion:

Much like how introjects are not their source, the same should be applicable in these situations in that these alters are not X race. ‘Alter of colour’ is also not an appropriate term, as creating new verbiage to categorise these alters implies that they are their own marginalised community needing a safe space, like people of colour; a situation which again trivialises the lived experiences of actual poc.

 

A big question I have to you whom may disagree with what has been written here, why is it so important for your alters to be allowed to identify as poc rather than simply describing features or interests? From that, do you feel oppressed by poc within the OSDDID community for being hurt that you are using our our cultural terms? If so, I would implore you to check your privilege. While these statements may come off as quite direct and confrontational, it shouldn’t be necessary to tip-toe around the subject and create a piece that is more palatable to you as a white person. The focal point and take away from this needs to be that the language should change. An alter might have a dark skin tone or look similar to Beyoncé, but they are not Black. They might enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine and be quite tanned, but they are not Afghan. Acknowledge that while they may be based off of observed aspects or a person from a certain culture, your interactions with society are as a white person, because you are white.

As children we do not know better, but as teens and adults we have the opportunity to change; it is up to you as to whether you wish to listen and take action to be an ally to poc.

 


 

Second Guessing

Can I get a restart? On life, or can I go back a few chapters? Does anyone remember those choose your own adventure books? Well I think quite a couple of the choices I made weren’t the wisest.

I suppose it’s something that comes along with the disorder right? Like a very shitty “buy one get one free”, in which you never bought the initial product but somehow got given it anyway, and the initial product was a pile of literal shit, and so now you have two piles of literal shit that you don’t have a receipt for and are unable to take back. . .

Things at current are tough, but as the saying goes, “you get that in the big jobs”… I’m unemployed.

Anyhow, do you ever have those moments where someone else questions your reality, and then in turn, you begin to question it yourself? That’s me as of late. Trying desperately to just keep pushing through it all, staring every morning at the lightbox on our windowsill that quotes ” remember why you started”, which in itself is quite funny really, because there is very little that I remember.

Memory is a funny thing. Is there ever any actual way of knowing that your memory is real if there is nothing that has encapsulated it, like a photograph, or a movie. Sorry if I caused you to question reality by me asking that. Self doubt comes in waves, mostly about the bad memories, but because of the absence of..

Grr, I’m losing my train of thought. Trying to listen to Spotify and blog, which honestly is something that I like doing. It has just been a big past few weeks I suppose, like 2020 is a whole retrograde of it’s own and it seems like it is planning to go out with a bang.

So let me try talk about my surroundings rather than any existential crisis. We are living in a new place.. honestly I don’t want to blog about that right now either. I’m frustrated, upset, disappointed, a lot of emotions, some somewhat contradicting one another. Too many thoughts to make sense of but I’m okay, trust me, I’m okay. Emotions are healthy, me sitting with them, identifying them, having them, is healthy, it’s good for me , whatever ‘good’ means nowadays.

I am beyond thankful for our therapist, the progress we have made with her in the past year, the understanding of our own mind and disorder… Welcome to the nonsense that is this blog post, my thoughts are everywhere and I’m not going to change this so it makes sense because honestly it doesn’t, things right now don’t make sense, have things ever made sense?

*sigh* Can I get a restart? On life, or can I go back a few chapters? Does anyone remember those choose your own adventure books? Well I think quite a couple of the choices I made weren’t the wisest. I have nothing comprehensible to add to this post I’m sorry. Therapy today was a lot, and has me a little bit lost for words yet full of a mixed bag of emotions.

-?

Our Race, Our Lives, Our Experiences


Our voices, the voices of other dissociative BIPOC, will not be silenced, refuse to be overshadowed by the experience of just one white systems’ popularity. Our voices matter just as much as our livesI would like to take this opportunity to point out however, that we will try as hard as we can to be active online and put new recources on our website over the weekend because this is not a disorder just experienced by white folk. BIPOC deserve to be visible and our stories heard by the neurotypical white population. We dont want DDs comeback to be all that others looking up the disorder see. So many other stories and experiences are unseen due to popularity and algorithms.

Alters are not here to be your “favorite personality” in a system. Listen to the actual stories behind the voices, understand beyond the surface level why each part of a system may vastly vary in characteristics to anothers’.We are more than our disorder, yet the cause of it has literally shaped our entire state of being, a precursor to how we interpreted the rest of the world as it flowed around us.

Dissociative BIPOC are a minority within a minority. This doesnt mean white people have not struggled, just that it is important to see that race vastly alters how each group experiences the disorder. Much like how rich women experience sexism is vastly different to poor women.

Dissociative identity disorder is not a horror trope, it is also not to be glorified nor romanticised as mystical and ‘fun’. How we all function with the disorder is not something to be measured as a yes or no, as even for a ‘functional’ system, time and place can change this.

We are not your inspiration, but let us inspire you to be more compassionate, more open to understanding, more active in clearing space for the marginalised to thrive rather than simply exist.

Freefalling

I’m not sure how much of a mood listening to “freefalling” as an acoustic cover is while writing a blog… but it just feels like it should be considered a “mood”. Not to mention this is straight after what feels like a decade long BPD meltdown over whether or not I am an ongoing problem in our poly household relationship. *sigh*

I am unsure if Moxie is in co-con or whether I myself just genuinely feel like writing something about my feelings. Mum’s older sister messaged me the other day on Instagram after I decided finally to follow her off of our DID account. y’know, the one we actually use. I often wonder what our family, or at least, what certain family members think that I am up to nowadays. Like, I always feel like I have been the black sheep of the family, and perhaps that’s because in the most literal sense, I was. Growing up in a white family kind of had me feeling very confused… also note that I am saying “me” more as an overall “me”, because a variety of system members have different memories of growing up.

P.s I’m totally not in blogging for decent grammar or vocabulary, and am sorry if none of this makes sense to some.

Dad got me a phone as a gift when I was about 8 or 9, it was a Sony Ericson, small brick of a phone… The idea behind it was that I’d be able to receive calls from him in between visits (which to be honest were pretty few and far in-between). Of course as any kid in 2002 would be, I used to love the game ‘snake’, but phones back then had far slower response times than smart phones nowadays. I remember the numerous occasions in which I would bite the sides of the phone if the snake didn’t turn on time, resulting in me having to start all over again/losing my high score. I remember the countless times that I had to reinsert the battery after yeeting the darn thing across my bedroom. One birthday, we were given a spy diary, can’t for the life of me remember the name of it at the moment. The one though where it records your voice and then you can unlock it using your secret password, otherwise could access it by wedging a screwdriver in-between the plastic opening. I had to set up that diary on the night that I got it, which probably was in the middle of my birthday party at home, I think there were smarties either on a cake or in those small snack boxes that year. Because my bedroom didn’t have a ‘proper’ door so to speak, the sound from the living room travelled into my room. Trying to set up voice recognition in the early 00’s was an absolute pisstake for those of you that are unaware (shit, it was pure shit). I had to sit in my cupboard to try set it up, and then when it worked and I went to show my uncle that it was working, the piece of shit still didn’t recognise my voice, instead of opening it responded with “access denied”. I believe eventually he helped me set it up, he is the most tech savvy out of everyone in our family.

The point of that paragraph was that I used to get quite emotional as a kid, which to be fair, I still do as an adult, but I suppose one could say I have better control as an adult… or more appropriate responses perhaps?

An hour of vent typing and existential crisis later, I’m losing track of my thoughts and whose thoughts are mine. My aunt has seen the message I sent her, potentially even responded… I’m anxious to see what she says. I also need to message dad back, and mum. Emotions make life so complicated some times.

Kai

Is this blogging?

You’re talking about an issue with your therapist which may perhaps be surface level of an iceberg or what you think is the main focus, then as you begin to bounce back talking points with your therapist, you finally realise what the main issue was all along and the feelings that come along with it.

Okay first attempt at a blog, which I’m trying to view as a longer yet more personal version of a twitter post. I want to talk a bit about what we, well, what I was discussing with our therapist today and how it was one of those ‘revelation’ moment type of sessions. For those of you whom like us, have had the privilege of being able to access a good therapist, you know exactly what I mean by one of those moments; for those who haven’t however, allow me to explain.

 You’re talking about an issue with your therapist which may perhaps be surface level of an iceberg or what you think is the main focus, then as you begin to bounce back talking points with your therapist, you finally realise what the main issue was all along and the feelings that come along with it. That is probably a super simplified version of what happens, and I’m hoping it kind of makes sense to begin with, though I’d invite you to keep reading so I can explain further my personal experience from today.

Typically it is myself, Moxie, that goes to therapy, though our therapist always invites everyone to join, which for the most part, quite a few of the others are in passive at least. Today it was mainly myself, B, Jett, Charles, Elijah, and Felix, though I’d also assume Ether was around as she often helps me out during therapy sessions to calm my anxieties and assist me in verbalizing my emotions/thoughts. Anyhow, when our therapist asked what we would like to focus on today, after scraping though my mental notes that I swore to myself this time I would write on a piece of paper as to not forget yet still didn’t do, I remembered that it had something to do with speaking to mum again the other day. We hadn’t spoken to her since perhaps mid-September, which for us is a somewhat long time.

Once we moved to Sydney in 2018, I no longer ‘had’ to see our family, daily messages became weekly messages which in turn became “oh sorry I haven’t messaged in a month, things have been crazy busy”. Then our nan passed away mid-year unexpectedly and I still don’t think we have gotten over that. She was the first person in our family to pass away (at an age where we could comprehend it), she was the person that our positive childhood memories are linked to the most. It was such a crushing phone call to get from mum as we were getting ready for work, but of course we carried about our day at the call centre, and others were none the wiser. We had dissociated past it. Even on the day of her funeral, we shed a few tears before emotionally disconnecting. Many of our child parts are still stuck in the memories of when she was alive, unable to quite distinguish that many years have since past.

When does a blog post become an autobiography?

Nans favourite flower was a lily, and two days ago, we decided to get a tattoo in her memory. After we got it done, I remember the first thing I wanted to do was to send mum a picture to ask what she thought of it.  When I opened my messenger app, I had a small chuckle to myself that the last conversation we had was on the 16th of September. Note: this is mostly my fault. She used to message me more frequently, but I just gradually stopped responding. Every now and then we have conversation over a day or so, and then no messages for another few weeks. Not to mention, I don’t actually think I have spoken to her on the phone for about a year now ? I know I haven’t been back home to visit family since my birthday in July 2018 I believe. I now rely though on mum to fill me in on the latest details in the rest of my immediate family’s life, perhaps I am too anxious to ask them myself, especially when I have probably left them on read for a year or so. I miss them immensely, but am so afraid to rekindle the relationship for a number of reasons

For too long we have been stuck in a purgatory of distancing from family so we don’t have to tell them about the trauma. How hurt they would be about what happened, how hurt they would be for us to accuse someone of that if they refuse to believe it, how that could impact our mental health, how in turn that could further distance our relationships with them. But we are now at a point where we have nothing to lose there. As I was explaining that to our therapist today, I don’t mean that in a literal sense, as the implications are quite large to come out about that, instead, what I mean is that we don’t talk to many of them anyway, so the outcome of losing contact with some of them is really no different to how it is now. It just feels like we are carrying this huge secret and we are scared to tell them. There is much more to the process of being open with them about how our disorder eventuated, but I think gradually as a collective we are coming to the point where we need to tell them in some manner in order to be able to move forward into other aspects of our healing.


We still have such a long way to go, in terms of actually helping the parts most affected by that main abuser, and others that occurred throughout childhood…

Am I scared? Yes, I’m absolutely shit scared for all involved and where this road will lead, but we have been stuck at these crossroads for far too long, which in itself has been damaging to our wellbeing. So where to from here? Our therapist says our choice to do this needs to be done as a slow process, of which I agree, and I’m sure Charles also sees it that way also. From here, I decided to reach out to one of our older cousins, as she also has struggled with her fair share of mental health issues/ breakdowns over the years. I’m finally going to take her up on the dinner offer she gave to me many months ago. This is not to say that I will jump straight into “this happened to me you have to believe me please” right away, more so that I want to take the steps to undistance myself, then to work out the best way to talk about my struggles and why I have shut everyone out since I moved out in 2018.

And that’s where we are at as of now. Our ‘homework’ for the fortnight (our therapist is away next week) is to discuss this together, finding out how each part of the system feels about the idea of reconnecting with family / discussing with family why we have been isolating