[Trigger warning: being misunderstood, trauma, mental health care professionals not understanding, breakdowns, emotional pain]
A couple of days ago I had to block someone I’d known for a long time due to his inability to accept that I actually do have alters. “It can’t be true, cause if it was, I would have noticed!”, “I don’t want to get to know them because they are just made up” and so on. And I got me thinking… Why is it that nobody noticed? I mean, I know that DID/DDNOS is a coping mechanism, it’s not supposed to attract attention, quite the opposite actually. It’s supposed to help us blend in and function as normally as possible. Alters hide and pretend to be the same person, so it’s really no surprise that people don’t notice, but why did no one notice my/our multiplicity specifically?
Let’s start from the top, shall we?
For the longest time, RP (rational part) was the most active alter, they fronted about 90 % of the time simply because we were in an abusive environment until the body was about 15-16. In fact, there was misery all around: things were pretty crazy at home, vandalism and assault occurred regularly at school. We didn’t have many friends, and barely meet up with the ones we had. Therapy was a mess, we were deeply misunderstood and past abuse was reinforced, and I dare say we experienced new trauma at the hands of mental health care professionals. There was just no room for anything other than rationality and numbness. We did not have any safe places for Nemo to express his pain, or for the angry man to explode, or any other emotion for that matter, so we had to push all of that far away to survive. Therefore, RP was basically the only alter that interacted with other people for many years.
There were times when Wynn would come out, for instance when me and my sister were being silly and nobody would find Wynn’s enthusiasm strange. She hid in the safety of the situation. There were also a time when Nemo would come out almost every night, when we were alone in bed, just about to go to sleep. He’d come to the front and cry and sob uncontrollably, and I could feel his crippling agony, there was no end to the pain he felt. Sometimes I’d try to talk to him and comfort him, but there was just nothing I could say that could calm him down. I did find it strange that my internal voice could stay so calm and collected while I felt such intense pain and suffering, but I just wrote it off as a normal internal dialogue. I simply I didn’t realize that it was another alter I was speaking to. Nobody ever noticed Nemo’s breakdowns. Though I remember one time when my mum walked in during one of those breakdowns, I think she wanted to ask me something, and I went from sobbing and crying hysterically to numb and collected in less than a second. My throat relaxed, my voice wasn’t strained at all as it usually is when Nemo cries, it was as if nothing had happened. The only thing that gave me away was the redness around my eyes. It baffled me, even at the time, that I could go from one extreme to the other in a blink of an eye.
Meanwhile at the psychiatric clinic things were very tough. RP went to most sessions, which led to no one even suspecting all the chaos inside. We were there for five years before anyone even suspected any disorder apart from depression. The first diagnosis we received was Aspergers, and the team who did the assessment told me that they had no doubt whatsoever that that was what “we” suffered from. Funny that it was so clear to them when it all the other countless mental health care professionals seemed pretty clueless as to what to do with us. But I guess that is was dissociation does, it masks and conceals, making it so hard to pinpoint what’s really going on.
Anyway, given the fact that RP was the most active alter for such a long time, it really is no wonder that nobody noticed our multiplicity. I’m sure our behavior at the time seemed consistent because of that, no one even caught a glimpse of the chaos inside.