Is having Dissociative Identity Disorder something like being a superhero with a secret identity?
My daughter thinks so. Yes, that is her in the picture, and it was at her suggestion that I am writing this post. Does this mean she thinks that I am a superhero? Um, no I wouldn’t take it that far, she is a teenager after all . . .
Let’s put this to the test. Superman vs DID & Me.
SUPERMAN: alter ego in Clark Kent. He pretends to be something he is not (bumbling, and shy) to keep people from his secret.
DID AND Me: I have parts of myself that “front” to hide my inner world of turmoil. It’s a pretty powerful arrangement when you think about it.
Imagine for a moment, a woman who has been raped, and then the next day she gets up and goes to work as if nothing happened. She doesn’t tell a soul. Not because she was unaffected, but because she is. There are a number of reasons that a woman might chose not to tell anyone. I don’t recommend this; I think it is tragic, but it happens.
Now imagine a child in the same situation. Even more tragic. Overcoming that and becoming a functioning adult is nothing short of heroic, if I do say so myself.
SUPERMAN: faster than a speeding bullet
DID and Me: Hmmm, does my humor which I use as a coping mechanism count? Hey now! I’m more funny in real life than in writing. Still no? OK, then surely the way I can switch from laughing to crying in one breath during therapy surely does. Which reminds me–
SUPERMAN: has one weakness kryptonite
DID and Me: My kryptonite is Triggers. No question on this one! A trigger can dissolve me in nano-seconds from a normal adult, to irrational, emotional and over-reacting (or so I assume it appears to others.)
SUPERMAN: able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
DID and Me: Hey, if being able to dissociate the better part of my childhood, hide pain and trauma from myself so I can function doesn’t count, I don’t know what does.
DID and Me: Hyper-vigilance. I have recently come to understand that hyper-vigilance is so much more than being “jumpy” and easily startled. Those things are physical, but the hyper-vigilance extends to emotions, thoughts and–sigh–relationships.
SUPERMAN: amazing strength, they call him “Man of Steel” for a reason!
DID and Me: Sometimes I wonder if other people see me as fragile. If they do, well that is fair. Sometimes I am fragile. BUT I am also quite strong. I believe all survivors are. To all my fellow survivors–kudos, I think you are amazing.
So what do you think? Was my daughter right? While you are pondering it…I want to share an amazing youtube short film on DID. Seriously check it out, it’s artistic, not scholarly, and I love it.