[Trigger warning: self harm, eating disorder, mental health care professionals, not being believed]
A little more than a year ago we (well, mostly RP) were seeing a new therapist in a psychiatric clinic for adults, in a different city. I had just figured out that I was dissociating a lot and had done my whole life. I’d just learned about DID, but decided that I can’t be suffering from it cause it was just too crazy (sorry guys, but it’s true. The possibility was just too mind-blowing. However, I don’t think so anymore). No, RP figured that we probably had depersonalization disorder, that would explain why we couldn’t recognize ourselves emotionally when looking in the mirror, why “we” could not identify with the emotions and thoughts that filled this body. I don’t remember exactly how we got to there, but one day our therapy drew me a little picture and explained some theory about how we all have different internal voices, like for instance a voice from our parents (morals, expectations). I did not recognize those voices in myself at all. So I went home and drew small boxes that represented the internal voices I actually experienced having (they were about 6 as opposed to the 3 the therapist had drawn). I labeled all of those 6 boxes, wrote down the gender and age, attitudes and emotions. The therapist didn’t what to do with my drawing, and I demanded a new therapist soon after. So I got a new therapist, a psychologist this time and I showed her my drawing. Then I demanded an assessment for PTSD (again, at the time I didn’t think that these voices actually were alters). She did the assessment and when she was done she told me that she would diagnose me with DDNOS.
Things went pretty much downhill from there. My bipolar acted up, and I (we) was hospitalized in February and then again in March. Here’s my theory: As previously stated, RP had been the most dominant alter for years, and so when we were diagnosed, they crashed, and there was nobody to step up and step in simply because none us alters had any experience with hosting. All hell broke loose, RP was too overwhelmed by all the bottled up emotions that came washing over the system. The rest of that year was just a hot ass mess, we were up and down, discovering new alters, struggling to get by. We were hospitalized again in late November, and it was hell. But it awakened something inside, a will to co-operate. To get better, to give each other a chance. We agreed to work together instead of standing in each others way.
Slowly but surely RP is learning to let go of control and to stop micromanaging us other alters. Almost all alter in our system front frequently now, which of course means that individual alters’ problems have become a bigger problem for the system as a whole (we self harm more frequently, disordered thoughts on eating/exercising/body image have increased, alters’ emotions and attitudes get in the way when in school and so on). But it also means that we are capable of helping each other out, if one or several alters are struggling, others can host temporarily. Destructive alters have vanished/gone dormant or calmed down. Overall we are a happier and more balanced system than ever before. And we, as a system, feel better than we ever have.
I firmly believe that it’s because of the fact that we are no longer in an abusive environment, but also because we give each other room to exist, and co-exist. Thinking back to the time when RP fronted the most, the numbness and detachment from everything it just seems like worlds away now. We are feeling, caring, wanting to fight. And it strengthens my belief that we are on the right road, no matter what other people say.