Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Criminal

FINALLY!!!  I'm out dammit and I'm looking for some trouble. First thing I did was break the fucking rules and smoked in the house.  Then I self-medicated, and it wasn't even Happy Hour yet! Ha!  K had to go to the store and I wanted to steal something.  Just for the thrill of it, ya know?  That adrenaline high.  Tried and tried to convince the others to shoplift... anything....but they resisted.  Pissed me off too. I don't get out much anymore.  They won't let me cause I do bad things. I can't be trusted.  I wanted some gd cigarettes but OH NO they said. Fucking do-gooders.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hospitalized at 16

I had never even met with a counselor before, much less a psychiatrist.  So naturally it never even occurred to me that my parents would do something like hospitalize me.  Yes, my behavior was out of control, but I was 16 and my hormones were going wild and I was terribly depressed and confused and of course, unmedicated.  I was acting out and engaging in reckless behavior, skipping school, smoking cigarettes, cutting my arms, and I was shaving parts of my head. I had been dressing all in black and staying in my room alone, listening to depressing music. I never wanted to go out or do anything. I barely ate or slept. I sat in the dark and wrote poems about death.  These days, I'd just be called goth or emo, but back then it wasn't an acceptable lifestyle. Naturally my parents assumed I was on drugs.  The truth was I'd never even smoked pot before! But they decided to send me out of town to a fancy hospital where young people were treated for behavioral problems and substance abuse.

They had to lie to me to get me there.  They said we were taking a weekend trip, which didn't seem unusual since my family traveled a lot, but I was pissed that they were making me go with them.  I climbed in the backseat of the car and sulked for the hour's drive to the hospital.  Of course, I didn't realize we were going to a hospital until we were there.  Before I knew what was happening, some people dressed in white grabbed my arms and started pulling me towards the door, all the while telling me to relax and not fight them.  RELAX?  When strangers are assaulting me? When I'm being forcefully taken inside what looks to me like a prison, it's difficult to relax and stay calm.  I started screaming curse words at the nurses, my parents (who disappeared as soon as they'd taken my suitcase out of the trunk; they didn't even say goodbye) and anyone within earshot.  I was furious with my parents, for lying to me, for deceiving me, for leaving me in such a place.  At first I didn't know where I was or what was happening so I thought maybe they'd shipped me off to a half-way house. I was both angry and scared.  I remember a desk and some papers I had to sign....they wanted me to read a bunch of crap and then sign if I agreed to it but I didn't bother to read it-I didn't give a shit what those papers said.  I just wanted to be alone.  Just leave me the fuck alone, I thought, or maybe I screamed, I can't remember now.

I do remember this part quite well--the strip search.  The nearly-unbearable humiliation of the strip search.  Full body cavity search, performed by a very large football-playerish woman, and just to be clear I had to stand there completely naked and let her touch me. Everywhere.  Even inside of me. God-I swear I just felt a chill run up my back.  I haven't thought about these events in many, many years.  Apparently, they still get to me though.  She was checking for drugs I suppose, or razor blades or anything else I might use to hurt myself with. The funny thing, if you can call it that, was that I'd recently been sick with mono, and so I had these bruises on my inner arms where the doctors had drawn blood.  Well, to the people at the hospital, these were "tracks" and this made me look like a heroin addict. They started asking about all the drugs I used.  I tried to tell them that I'd never used any drugs at all, but they told me that "Denial is the first sign of addiction" and so I had to get drug tested at random times throughout the course of my stay.  I don't think I ever actually convinced them I was drug-free, despite my clean urine tests. Interestingly enough, not only was I the only person there who did NOT have a drug or alcohol problem, but I learned more about drugs and how to use them and how to hide them than I ever could have learned on my own.

I was placed on Suicide Watch, which meant another nurse came into my room and unpacked my suitcase and removed any and every little thing that I might possibly find a way to self-harm with.  She took my belts, my shoelaces, my ink pens, my jewelry, my razor (of course), my toothpaste, my mouthwash, and any other liquid I had in my suitcase.  I didn't see the point in all of that, but I was powerless to stop it.  The whole while she was searching my things, I was being watched.  I found out the next day that being watched was going to be my norm for months.  I wasn't allowed to take a shower without a nurse in the bathroom with me, watching. I was not allowed to shave my legs.  I was given toothpaste to brush my teeth with, but was not allowed to have it in my bathroom. (Did you know that you can die from eating toothpaste?) I was watched every moment of every day.  I had to have a witness go with me whenever I went to pee. Talk about embarrassing!  I was lower than low already, and the humiliation of all of this just compounded my feelings of hopelessness and despair.

One day I was caught staring out of a window, and because they took this as a sign I might be planning to jump out of it, I was punished and sent to isolation.  This was a tiny room with no windows and only a mattress.  If I had to use the bathroom, I had to call for the nurse, who escorted me to the bathroom, watched me do my business, then took me back to my little cave.  I'm not sure how many days they kept me in isolation; I have no sense of time anyway, plus without windows I couldn't tell if it was day or night.  After I was allowed to go back to my room, I found I now had a roommate.  She was mean.  I did not like her, so I chose not to speak to her. She'd threaten me at times or curse at me, but I just stayed silent. I really didn't talk to anyone much the whole time I was hospitalized. I had no interest in making friends. I had nothing in common with these people-they were all junkies or sex addicts or criminals in my mind. I was different.  I was just depressed.

Every morning we were awakened at the crack of dawn and sent to a large sitting room, where we had "morning meditation".  The counselors gave us pep talks and read "inspirational" materials to us. We were given our schedule for the day and released to go dress for breakfast.  I wasn't actually allowed to go down to the cafeteria with the rest of the group, as I was on suicide watch.  I ate alone at a table in the corner of the sitting room, supervised by an orderly, and given only a plastic spoon to eat with.  I guess they thought I might hurt myself with a plastic fork.  Anyway, this whole eating in silence thing lasted for about a month and a half.  After that, I had earned the privilege to go to the lunchroom with the rest of the group, but I was still only allowed plastic utensils.  The nurses circled our table, making sure we were actually eating, and we were not allowed to leave unless we'd consumed what they considered to be an acceptable amount of food. This was hard to do, as the food was terrible and I'm so finicky anyway.  But I loved mealtimes, as it was one of the only times I got to leave the ward and see evidence of the outside world.  There were windows in the cafeteria, so I would gaze at the trees and watch the birds and dream of running away.

After breakfast, we went to "school". I sat in a classroom with kids of all ages and was given assignments, which to me were quite simple and so I used most of my classroom time to draw or write depressing poetry.  Class time was the only time I was allowed to use a pencil, and I would sketch and write letters to my friends back home (not sure if those letters ever actually got mailed).  After school was over, we had gym.  Now when I'd been at my high-school, I'd gotten out of taking gym by being the teacher's aide in the art department.  I hated exercising. But since it was so friggin' boring in this place, I began to work out in the weight room (supervised of course) and by the time I got to leave the hospital I had lost weight and toned up a good bit.

After gym, we were allowed to shower (again, I was watched) and then got to rest for half an hour, and then we went to group therapy.  This was when all the patients sat in a circle and we went around the room and talked about what was wrong with us.  Everyone had all these exciting tales of drug use and promiscuous sex and shoplifting, but I was innocent.  I had no stories to tell. I was a drug-free virgin.  I remember my shock upon meeting this one little girl who was 11 years old and who slept with men in their 30's; she guessed that she'd had sex with over 25 men.  I just couldn't believe it.  I always listened to everyone's stories with great interest, because my stories were so boring.  I mean, I looked like a delinquent, but I didn't actually do anything wrong. It seems there may have been a suicide attempt at one point in my teens, but I don't really remember that; I just have a scar on my left wrist to show where I'd cut myself. This was the reason I was kept on suicide watch throughout my stay.

What I longed to do was go outside though.  We were never allowed outside of the hospital.  I didn't feel the sun on my face for over 3 months.  And I don't even like the sun, but I was really just wanting to get away from the cold, clinical, all-white rooms which were all I saw every day.  The highlight of the day was when we got smoke break.  I guess this ages me, but back then there were no laws preventing teens from smoking.  So every day at the same time, all the smokers (which was pretty much everyone on that floor) got to congregate in the recreation room and smoke cigarettes.  The lighter was mounted to the wall, one of those things which got hot but didn't actually have a flame, and it had bars over it so that none of us could burn ourselves.  There was just enough space between these bars to fit a cigarette into, and that was how we lit our cigarettes. Naturally we were closely watched during smoke break. We were all allowed one pack of cigarettes per week; if you ran out, too bad. 

Now there were very strict rules at this hospital, and one of the rules was that we were not allowed to share things with the other patients.  One day, a boy had no cigarettes, and I felt bad for him, as he'd been brought in a few days before, all bloody from having punched through a window while high on cocaine. So I gave him a cigarette.  Just one.  And that's all it took.  He and I were both punished for a week, in isolation, in 2 separate locations of course.  After my second stint in isolation, I followed the rules. Now every other day I was visited by a psychiatrist, who determined that I was Bipolar (except at that time it was called Manic-Depressive) and I was placed on Lithium and some anti-depressants. I hated that doctor, and I'll be specific as to why.  She actually had the nerve to tell me one day that I would NOT be depressed if I only dressed in colorful clothes!  She said I felt bad because of how I looked. I was livid, and argued with her about this matter until the day I was released.  I never gave in to her wishes.  I continued to wear my all-black wardrobe.  She did NOT like that at all.

One day, she told me that I was going to be allowed a parental visit.  I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I loved and missed them, but on the other hand I was still very angry with them for sticking me in such a hell-hole.  I recall the day quite vividly, as it was the first time I was allowed to go outside the building in 3 months. I loved the feel of the sun on my skin and the cool breeze...I got to go out to lunch with my folks, and of course they had a million questions, to which I gave the answers I thought they'd want to hear.  I lied and said I wasn't so depressed anymore.  I told them I wanted to come home.  But it'd be another month before that would happen. When I got back to the hospital, I was strip-searched again.  Also, the gift of chocolates my mother had given me was confiscated, because apparently there is a drug in chocolate and I wasn't allowed any stimulants of any kind. No coffee, no soda. Another thing they did was take away the stamps my father gave me with which to mail them letters. The nurse told me that in the past patients had used postage stamps to smuggle in LSD, so they were forbidden.

Although I was only there for about 4 months, it felt like years. Afterwards, when I told my parents how I'd been treated-the strip searches, the supervised bathroom visits, the isolation room-they felt terribly guilty about having made me go through such an ordeal. In an attempt to make up for it, they bought me a new car.  I don't think they ever understood just how horrible the whole experience had been for me, though, because after my discharge I was still made to visit that same psychiatrist for about a year or so.  She was a bitch. I resented the fact that she drove a different luxury sports car every time I saw her; I decided she only went into psychiatry for the money.  One day, my parents were told to come with me for a family session. At some point the doctor told my parents that they had, in fact, played a role in my becoming so depressed and out of control.  My parents were furious at this accusation, and my father cursed at the doctor and pulled me out of there and I never saw her again. I was taken off the medication (my father decided she'd just been drugging me to bill the insurance company) and I wouldn't have another doctor for a few years.  In that time period, I got much, much worse, but I hid this from my parents, for fear I'd be sent back to a hospital.

This was not the only time I've ever been hospitalized, this was just the first time.  To this day, I am absolutely terrified of psychiatric hospitals because of the horrible experiences I had while I was in this place.  I tried talking to my current psychiatrist about my nightmares of this hospital stay just the other day, and she told me that things like that simply do not happen in psych hospitals these days.  She thinks my memories are delusions or false memories or something.  But I know better.  I had nightmares for years after this little hospital stint.  I've been sent back to hospitals several times since then, but I've never had to stay as long as I did this first visit.  And to this day, I get a chill up my spine when I drive past such a hospital.  They scare the living shit out of me. Because of this fact, I have been lying to my psychiatrists for years about my true thoughts and actions; I'm scared that if I tell the truth, I'll be locked up again. I don't think I could handle that. In therapy this week, my shrink talked about how she believed in hospitalization for patients with severe symptoms. This haunts me. I don't know if I'll ever be able to open up to her again, I'm too afraid.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Psychiatrist is Making Me Crazy!!!

This day has been more than we could handle.  Was so anxious about therapy that I didn't sleep for 2 days, nor did I eat.  Once there, the myriad of questions I'd had for her completely vanished from my mind and I couldn't remember what it was I wanted to talk to her about. I pulled out my notebook, in which we've been noting things like questions for the shrink and ideas for blog topics.  I read her several of our questions, but she was no help at all. Yesterday, I was ready to accept my DID.  Today, I flat-out asked for a diagnosis.  She says she doesn't believe in putting labels on her patients.  So all I could get her to verify is that I have  a lot of dissociative episodes and I also have at least one mood disorder. (Again, she would not be specific) 

So I don't know which disorder I have, only that I have a great deal of trouble with dissociation and amnesia and losing time and dozens of other symptoms which you'd think she could use to give me a motherfucking specific diagnosis.  FUCK ALL THIS SHIT!!!  Just fucking say what you want to say for God's sake.  I am upset with my psychiatrist because she refused to give me a specific diagnosis.  I want a label.  I need to know who and what I am.  This shit can't be normal. I've been pretending my whole life and we're absolutely exhausted by it at this point.  I don't think I can fake it anymore.  I don't think I can paste on a smile and be whomever you need me to be without blowing my cover, so to speak.  I need to be ME, who happens to be an US.  And I'm OK with that.

Obviously there must have been something terrible in my childhood to mess me up in the head this badly.  We can't even discuss this shit with our doctor.  To my horror, we talked about psychiatric hospitals, and she pretty much said that if it comes down to it and we get worse, she won't hesitate to hospitalize me.  NOT what I wanted to hear. I've had some horrific experiences in mental hospitals over the years.  Most important question I asked her was this: "Do I have to remember the childhood abuse in order to get better?"  I was relieved to hear that no, it isn't always necessary or desirable.  I don't think I could handle the truth anyways.

Fuck this shit.  Just fucking take a pain pill and go to bed.  Your head feels like it's been hit with a hammer.  You've been in a manic state and haven't slept but 3 out of 48 hours. I've eaten one meal this whole week. I think I might be dying.  And FUCK ME I haven't told you the rest of it.  How Hubby says I'm spending too much time on the computer and he says I don't do anything else anymore.  Nothing. No eating, no sleeping, no sex.  He says I'm obsessed.  He's right.  I'm obsessed with learning about my mental illness so that I can take better care of myself and live a better quality of life.

FUCK ALL THIS SHIT just fucking give it up.  You're beyond help.  You can't even talk to your own husband about your true feelings because it freaks him out.  None of your Real Life friends know you're sick, except for some depression.  I'm living a LIE.  Our life is a sham.  I'm not K, I'm an imposter.  I don't know who or what we are anymore. Just want to sleep away the pain.

(The Next Day:)

Which I did.  Took a handful of pills and slept for 12 hours straight.  God I needed that.  Still, woke up feeling frustrated and angry, at everything it seemed.  To make things even worse, Mom had a talk with me about how I'm being a terrible wife and am going to lose my man if I don't stop spending every minute on the computer.  Apparently, I'm ignoring him, the housework, cooking, laundry, etc.  I don't mean to. It just seems less important to me than this project I'm on, this project of self-discovery.  I just need some support from people who understand some of what I'm experiencing.  I'm going through a major mental health crisis right now.  I mean, I just found out that the diagnosis I've had since 1998 is incorrect. I'm NOT Schizophrenic.  It's going to take me some time to realize that I'm not that person anymore.  As soon as the diagnosis was stuck to me, I became that.  This is why my current shrink says she won't label a patient; she says they become the label.

So how am I supposed to fill out forms which ask about my mental health?  Just put down "non-specific madness"?  Or "Sometimes psychotic weirdo who's kept heavily sedated"?   Every so often, paperwork comes in the mail to reassess my mental health for The System.  I just hope that Dr. H refusing to give me a clear-cut diagnosis doesn't cause me to lose my benefits, i.e. my health insurance.  FUCKFUCKFUCK   What a miserable day.  Too much worry about being hospitalized, too much worry about losing my husband, too much worry that Twitter has taken over my life.

Well, this morning, I started my hand-written diary, just as my psych told me to do.  I didn't know what I was going to say, but it took 7 pages front and back anyway.  And I'm 99.9% certain that I'll be writing in it some more tonight.  Man.  I wish I could talk to someone in Real Life about this, someone who also dissociates, someone who also doesn't recognize them self when they look in the mirror half the time.  Someone who won't be freaked out if I switch and start speaking differently or acting differently.  Fuck.  This just fucking blows. I'm not important enough to wear a label I guess. And the kicker is, I've always resented the labels.  I've worn so many over the's ironic that I'm now label-free and feel lost without one.  Who the hell are we and what the fuck is wrong with us?!?  Be specific, doc. We need to know.

Incidentally, while I was in therapy, I asked my shrink what her job was and why I come to see her.  (I'm not sure which K was at the session, but she had a ton of information and questions and wanted answers)  She told me that the reasons I came to therapy are whatever I want them to be.  She said it's her job to help me anyway she can, but that what I got out of it depended upon what I put into it.  Once again, non-specific answers. Fuck this!  I think I"m just going to get trashed tonight and be pissed off and drink til I pass the fuck out. Yeah, that sounds like a plan. And I bet I'll be an angry drunk tonight. Oh fun.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's Wrong With Us?

I've been avoiding writing this blog post because to be honest, I'm still somewhat hesitant to accept the fact that I have this. I was first diagnosed with DID back in 2004, but I've been hiding it ever since (from everyone, including my family and my doctors) and I thought I had it under control. I was in denial all these years, and some of the K's are still in denial at this very moment.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis whose essential feature is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that recurrently take control of a person's behavior. It is also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Memory loss which goes far beyond normal forgetfulness accompanies this condition when an alternate part of the personality becomes dominant.  At least two distinct personalities must be present in order to receive this diagnosis.

              Symptoms of DID:  (I have 14 of the following 20 symptoms)
  • Current memory loss of everyday events
  • Depersonalization
  • Depression
  • Derealization
  • Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states
  • Distortion or loss of subjective time
  • Flashbacks of abuse/trauma
  • Frequent panic/anxiety attacks
  • Identity confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs
  • Paranoia
  • Pseudoseizures or other conversion symptoms
  • Psychotic-like symptoms such as hearing voices
  • Self-alteration (feeling as if one's body belongs to someone else)
  • Somatic symptoms that vary across identities
  • Sudden anger without a justified cause
  • Spontaneous trance states
  • Suicidal and para-suicidal behaviors (such as self-injury)
  • Unexplainable phobias

 Individuals diagnosed with DID frequently report severe physical and sexual abuse as a child.  The psyche splits into separate identities so as to distance the abused person from the trauma which is happening.  Many people, myself included, block those traumatic memories in their mind because they are unable to process and accept what has happened to them. DID is a coping mechanism.

 Co-morbid mental illnesses are the rule rather than the exception in all dissociative disorder cases, with 82% of DID patients being diagnosed with at least one other psychiatric diagnosis in their lifetime. DID co-morbidities include anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (up to 80%), social phobia, panic disorder  and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Other common co-morbid conditions include mood disorders such as major depressive disorder. Also common are substance-related disorders, eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, and somatoform disorders. In addition, a majority of those diagnosed with DID meet the criteria for borderline personality disorder. Studies have shown that DID patients are diagnosed with five to 7.3 co-morbid disorders on average - much higher than other mental illnesses.

I have a number of co-morbid disorders, but at this point I'm uncertain just how many.  This is probably the reason I've had so many different psychiatric diagnoses over the years, and also the reason it took so long for a doctor to conclude I have DID.  While I was first labeled with a dissociative disorder more than a decade ago, I have received very little treatment for it.  This is because the first doctor to diagnose me had barely scratched the surface of our therapy when I suddenly had to move to another city.  My next doctor, whom I currently see, has diagnosed me as definitely having a dissociative disorder, but we are just now starting to explore my condition. This is because I hid it from her for two years, and she had no idea about my symptoms until I came to therapy one day in a switched state.  A very different K had therapy that day.  Dr. H was very understanding, which is a blessing, for many doctors believe that DID is just a myth.

OK, so now you know about my disorder, probably about as much as I know. No, I cannot remember my childhood abuse specifically, but I do have certain memories which seem to support the existence of trauma.  Namely, I have childhood memories which are completely inappropriate for children to have. That's all I'm going to say about that subject.

Now, I would like to someday introduce you to the K's.  However, the truth of the matter is this: I don't know them all. I have a number of "alters" which I can recognize, but I have no idea how many of us there are. I'm still learning about this condition and I know very little at this point.  I know that my "switching" can happen at any time but seems to coincide with stress.  I know that I very often leave my body, and sometimes watch as another "me" interacts with the world; it's very strange to hear a voice coming out of your mouth when you are not talking. I also have a persistent feeling that I am not really living my life, but rather that I'm watching a movie of this life, with me being the lead character.

All of this is difficult to explain.  I have trouble talking to my psychiatrist about my thoughts and feelings.  I feel strange. Disconnected from the world. I've always, my whole life, felt different from everyone around me.  I've been hearing voices and hallucinating since I was 4, but I didn't realize that this was abnormal-I thought everyone experienced these things.  By my teens, I'd realized that the hallucinations were not supposed to happen, so therefore I kept them a secret.  I told no one.  When I was first sent to a psychiatrist at the age of 16, I was careful not to tell her very much about the real me, for fear she'd have me locked up in an insane asylum.  This fear has followed me to this very day.  In fact, just last week while I was in therapy,  I was crying but unable to tell my doctor what was wrong for fear she'd have me hospitalized.  For this reason, I believe my DID therapy is going to be a long and difficult process.  Thank God I have a doctor who does indeed believe in such a disorder.  Now we just have to figure out who K really is, and what happened to her to cause this splitting of her mind.  I think that scares me most of all.  I'm not sure I want to remember my childhood trauma(s).  Supposedly you can't heal unless you come to terms with the cause of your pain.  I'm just afraid that once I remember the cause, it'll just create MORE pain.  I already have problems with feeling guilty; I don't need to be made to feel even more guilty, in addition to feeling dirty and ashamed. Plus, what if I find out my abuser was someone I was close to, and it destroys my relationship with that person?  What if I'd rather not know who hurt me?  What if I can't handle the truth?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Twitter to the Rescue

[I still have the second half of my two-part blog post called "The Evolution of My Self-Mutilation" ready to go. It really should probably be posted here, now, but I still don't have the courage to publish it. I'm just too ashamed, too embarrassed, too humiliated to let people read about the secrets contained in that post. I might just sit on it forever.] So instead... I've been racking my brain trying to think then of what subject would best follow two posts (really just 1 1/2) about self-harm.  I've decided that I don't know, and I'm just going to empty my head and see what this post ends up being about.  My mind is working at a furious pace right now; I can't even put into words how fast the thoughts are coming at me and the voices are all excited and talking at once and I'm overwhelmed when I pause to listen to the inner workings of my brain, to all the conversations. This is exhausting, all this thinking. I never went to bed last night because of it, because of all the noise in my head, all the ideas bouncing around in my skull.  I believe it started yesterday afternoon but it could have been the day before.  I just can't remember.  All I can say for sure is that I've been reading, researching, studying, Googling, Wikipedia'ing obsessively about dissociative disorders, especially Dissociative Identity Disorder.  I've also tried to develop some friendships online, and more importantly, I've been seeking out others who suffer from dissociative disorders such as I do. Keep in mind that my Social Anxiety Disorder makes it unbelievably difficult for me to reach out to people, to talk to people, and especially to initiate communication with strangers. So I must pat myself on the back for making the effort. (only one person I tried to talk to was rude to me)  It seems to be paying off in ways I hadn't even imagined. Not only have I met a few people online with whom I enjoy chatting and who I'm hoping to one day call my friends, but I'm beginning to develop a bit of a support system, which I desperately need.  I've never had a support system before.  I've hidden my mental illness from everyone, my whole life, so I don't have any real-life friends I can talk to about it, I've never confided in a boyfriend, hell my own sister didn't even know I was ill until just a few years ago.  My father never understood how I could have everything a person needs and still be depressed.  Now, it's just my mother, and she's too old and set in her ways to be open-minded enough to even talk to about all of this.  So I hide my symptoms from her.  I avoid her when I'm having an especially hard time. Sometimes I just have to disappear.  Wow, I guess that sentence takes on a whole new meaning when it's used in reference to someone who may be suffering from DID.

You must remember that this is all new territory for us-I'm still in a state of shock about my psychiatrist telling me the other day that my Schizophrenia diagnosis was incorrect.  I wore that label for more than a decade, and I suffered discrimination and ridicule and self-hatred because of it.  It's been a heavy diagnosis to bear, and I am beyond thrilled to find out that it is wrong. I am NOT Schizophrenic!  So then, what am I?  Well, my shrink tells me that I am definitely suffering from a dissociative disorder, she just doesn't have enough information yet to properly name it. I found my diary from 2004 wherein my doctor first attached the possibility of DID to my chart, and I've been reading about all the "episodes" I'd forgotten. My psychiatrist wants to use that diary in our sessions. It seems I've been in denial for the past 8 years.  I've been doing some reading on the different types of dissociative disorders, and more importantly, I actually found a few people on Twitter who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder or who have problems with dissociation.  These ladies have been wonderful and have helped me tremendously in a very short period of time. I learn a great deal from reading their blogs.  I had some basic questions which they were happy to answer for me.  One of them put me in touch with another one who directed me to a Yahoo group specifically for people suffering from this type of disorder.  As I said earlier, my doctor hasn't officially diagnosed me as having DID, but from what I've read, from what I've been told by people who have it, and based upon my symptoms, I'd say DID is a good fit. In fact, I've never found a disorder which seemed to describe me as well as DID does. So, for the moment, I'm going to study all I can about Dissociative Identity Disorder. If it turns out I have something else, well then we'll just study that instead when the time comes.  But I really and truly feel that I'm closer than I've ever been to being properly diagnosed and treated for my mental illness(es).

I've been going from doctor to doctor since 1986, and each one gave me a new diagnosis and a different explanation for my thoughts and behaviors. And then there are the medications-Oh the thousands of pills I must've consumed at this point.  Anti-depressants, tranquilizers, SSRI's, anti-psychotics, sedatives, hypnotics, sleeping pills, uppers, downers.  So many pills.  I wonder sometimes-a lot of the time actually-what I'd be like if I didn't take the medication.  Now to be realistic, I am far too ill to go "all natural" and give up all medications.  I have gone down that road many times, thinking each time that I could do it, I could handle it, I could live without chemical assistance.  Each time, I failed miserably, and always ended up feeling much, much worse than I'd ever felt even before I began taking the pills. The truth is, I have something wrong with my brain.  It does not work as it's supposed to.  I am destined to take some sort of medication for the rest of my life.  But what kind? Which pills?  My sister believes I'm overly-medicated and wishes I'd take only the bare minimum.  Just what I need to function day-to-day.  But how do we figure out which pills those are? I currently take seven prescriptions, a dozen pills a day.  Surely some of those are unnecessary, wouldn't you think?  I mean, if I'm not really Schizophrenic, it seems we should be able to drop some of the pills I'm taking everyday.  But instead of cutting down on our meds, at my last therapy session my shrink actually added a prescription to my regimen. Maybe she's just trying to pull me out of this pit of despair I've been living in since October.  I don't talk much about my depression, because it really is one of the lesser of the mental evils for me at this point in time.  I've been depressed my whole life.  I'm used to it.  I know how to do it.  I'm good at it.  But I must admit, my traditional holiday blues this year have lingered, as they're usually over by mid-February. So yes, I guess I AM more depressed than usual, and struggling to maintain my sanity.  I find it extremely hard to get out of bed, to shower, to get dressed.  Mostly I sit around in my pajama's, reading and talking to myself and wallowing in our misery.  My energy level is at zero.  If my body worked out as hard as my brain does, I'd be built like a supermodel. (except much shorter)  All this excessive thinking, this obsessing, has me physically exhausted.  Yet sleep doesn't come easily, especially when it's supposed to. No, whenever I lie down to catch up on my rest, that's when my brain seems to be at its most active.  Maybe someone inside me is doing this on purpose to get my attention.  We don't know what to think anymore. I'm a hundred emotions all at once-I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm sad, I'm worried, I'm eager, I'm anxious... I just want to get to the meat of the matter.  I want to know what is wrong with me and I want to know how to get better.  If that means pills, OK.  If it means weekly therapy sessions, OK. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get to a point in my life where something makes some sort of sense, because nothing ever has before.