The theme for the upcoming Carnival Against Child Abuse, which welcomes submissions about multiplicity generally, will be Spring. That theme immediately made me think about the spring of 2010. In late March last year, I started coming out about my dissociative symptoms. At first, I shared with my psychologist that I was having depersonalization episodes. I didn’t want to share my traumatic experiences yet, although she asked about that. Even though she took me really seriously, that – the fact that she asked about traumattic experiences – is one of the reasons I sometimes question the reality of my experiences. Did she not suggest I was traumatized before I realized it myself? I have evidence from my journal that I had bad memories before then, but still.
I pretended not to know what dissociation was, because I was in denial that this was what I was experiencing. The nurses initially didn’t connect my dissociative episodes to what history they knew about me, but thought I was overwhelmed. This is, indeed, a plausible explanation for some of my episodes, that come about with stress without there being memories.
About a month later, I wrote my primary nurse a letter explaining the trauma I endured. She already knew, since I’d confided in her previously, but I wanted her to check whether it was appropriate to share with my psychologist. The primary nurse said that it was, and I E-mailed my psychologist. The day after, I had a discussion with her. She reacted rather matter-of-fact, without laying blame on either me or the people who hurt me. I liked this, because it made me feel that what I experienced, was somehow “normal” – I don’t know how to word that, since I do not want to suggest that trauma is normal.
Yet another month went by, and on May 26, 2010, I came out as multiple. That is, I explained that there were things that happened that I didn’t feel happened to me. The psychologist asked whether I felt like I had multiple personalities, and I said I did to some extent. I also shared with her the experience in 2005, where the psychologist who’d heard about my alters, immediately threw the DSM at me. This, I did not want, and my psychologist again reassured me that, even though what I had was called dissociation, it was pretty common and okay. It would take another half year before she realized the full extent of my dissociation and diagnosed me with DID.
In retrospect, I’m very glad that I shared my dissociative episodes and the reality of my parts with my psychologist and primary nurse. Now, my alters can come out to the nurses and my psychologist when they feel the need to talk. This has helped greatly in our cooperation and my awareness of the different parts. For some reason, I also seem to experience fewer depersonalization episodes than I did last year. I do not know why this is, but am happy about it.