DID: Checkup Time!

I have to do this periodically – take a look at myself and dissect my ‘alters’.  That is to say, step back, take a look at what I’ve learned, who’s who, and what they do in the system.

For those of you who do not have DID, it’s simple.  You know how you have sides or parts of yourself.  You know: those ‘two sides’ that argue sometimes – “should I do this or should I do that?”.  That kind of stuff.  For a person with DID, those ‘sides’ of yourself, or ‘parts’, are more well defined.

It can go so far that those parts take on a life of their own.  They may have their own ‘sets’ of feelings, voices, opinions, tastes in things, dislikes and/or likes.  They may even “like” or “dislike” one another sometimes.  This can result in problems – when DID goes from being a diagnosis to a disorder.  And when the ‘system’ (or as I like to refer to them, “family”) goes wild, then it can begin attacking itself.  This is when the “disorder” (merely a few friends fighting) goes to a disease (it is damaging the ‘people’ inside, and there may be attempts to harm and/or kill the human body).  It can also lead to some pretty wild behavior when the system goes wrong – things like ‘self-destructive behavior’ by falling into old patterns of abuse – spending all the money in the checking account on a spending spree, or taking up the old needle again and getting on drugs.  It can involve leaving your spouse (someone inside of you doesn’t like – or may even hate – her or him).  It can result in some fairly unruly behavior (a defensive part comes forward and cusses out him or her).  It can also result in some more abuse – severe and serious enough to get you into trouble.  Like abusing a child sometime, or reenacting what was done to you by doing it to someone else.  That’s when the system gets into real trouble – with the law and everyone.  That’s when you need to lock them up.

But not everyone is the same, and the same holds true for someone with a DID diagnosis.  For some of us, we are unaware of our alters.  Some of us may be missing time.  There might be someone who goes out there and makes strange purchases (for no apparent reason to you!).  And other such things.

And then there are the “co-conscious” alters.  Those are usually the ones who get along – or hate each other.  One or the other; there’s rarely an inbetween.  On the other hand, compromises can be struck, things worked out – it’s difficult sometimes – but on the other hand, imagine being in a family of your own where everyone is not only dysfunctional a bit, but there’s also missing pieces.  And all the children – and yourself – have been abused.  There’s bound to be issues – especially when the deeds of one affects them all.

For instance, my teenager alter, a guy named Matthew.  He ranges in age from 16-21.  At 21 he saw the futility of his motivation (avoiding all emotion except rage) – and tried on ‘another one’, a different alter.  That’s where “I” came in.  Just call me M3 for the moment.  I’m the ‘head’ of this outfit at this time – though that may change.

For you see in DID it generally takes three (and please ignore the poem; that’s the work of another alter – it’s either Jeffery or another one.)  “Three on top” – meaning three ‘alters’ or ‘personalities’ actively functioning and aware of things, controlling the human body and interacting with a) the system, and b) the outside world.  For you surely need someone operating for the outside world – at all times.  If you don’t you reach a state that at best can be described as almost catatonic.  I’ve been there before.  It’s where someone can lift your arm up and it slooowlly drifts back down – and you have to force yourself to even make a voluntary movement.  I’ve laid down with my hand and arm stuck up in the air for … well, awhile.  It’s hard to keep track of time while you’re there.

But for this examination of alters . . . lets get going on this:

Mikie – or little Mikie as I like to call him.  The ‘heart and soul’ of my system, so to speak, but “he” is an alter, too – a creation from a former part of myself.  (The Toddler; but we’ll speak about him in a moment.)  Mikie is an entirely loving, sensitive, artistic, highly creative and (to me, anyway) – beautiful child.  I get the joy of feeling his innocence – and his pain – and being able to look at the world the way a child does – with fresh eyed wonder and dewy innocence.  It’s like I’ve never noticed it before (the world, that is).  Again and again and again.  If I want to.

Mikie is also a serving child.  He will do anything you want him to do.  And we have to be careful with that.  Because he WILL do almost anything to please and pleasure someone.  He often confuses (or feels) having sex is love – but sometimes not.  Like any small child of almost or about 8 years old, it grosses him out sometimes.  So we don’t go there if we can’t.  And we’re teaching the wife how to go about recognizing him.  (Sam – you out there?  I’m thinking about having my wife talk to you . . . I think we’re almost ready to ‘begin’.)

But then there’s times when Mikie’s been hurt – because he is such a sensitive child.  He’s been betrayed, unloved; felt so lonely at times – endured SO much pain – he’s even the one who walked us out of Puerto Rico – bearing the pain and putting one foot foreward after another.  This is because he has the Soldier in him.  The Soldier . . . tough and scary guy folks.  Not like The Marine.  The Marine is different – he’s all about patriotism, doing for God and Country – he’ll put your life above his own.  The Soldier wouldn’t.

The Soldier (we’ve been examining the differences between Marine and Soldier today) – is a Cold War soldier – tough, bitter, hard, and willing to do anything to survive.  The Marine isn’t.  The Marine has a bit of a heart inside of him.  The Soldier – cold, cool, efficient.  Taught to avoid nuclear blasts and chemical weapons.  Taught how to use them, too.  And Mikie was only 8 years old (or perhaps 7) when he ‘created’ him.  Learned to use weapons, too – almost any kind.  Strange kid, Mikie – but you gotta love him.  He would never harm anyone.

The Teen.  Our teenager alter.  Matthew is the one I’m speaking of.  He’s also the Defender of our system.  Like any teen he’s hard ass, angry and can fly into a rage in a heartbeat.  He’s cold, too – he ‘trained’ himself to feel no emotion (okay, he WANTED to feel nothing … but didn’t succeed).  So he built “the Machine” – an artificial construction prone to ‘breakdown’ (meaning emotions ‘got in’).  He’s probably about half of myself in some ways, since he’s the one who gets to ride on the top sometimes.  And like any teen he can be wildly inappropriate, engages in risky (very risk sometimes, caring not about loss of his own life or limb!) – behaviors, was a drug junkie at one time, dealer, too (shot up drugs using an IV needle, it was that bad, and we ended up getting hooked on meth and heroin mixture – a concoction we called ‘brown sugar’ but it was an eightball instead.)

He can be cool, sauve, and he’s the kind to take your pulse while ‘making love’ (he might just be using you, though preferably not) – as he did once before with a girlfriend – physically measuring how stimulated she was through breath and physiological symptoms.  Yeah, he can be that cold.)  He wanted to get a med degree; we all wanted to be a veternarian – but that didn’t pan out.  However, not before we did some work – went to college, worked in animal labs (some of them military) for about three years.  Yeah, he’s smart – a bright kid – and he knows it, which is a problem for us sometimes (however other people often find it useful, for we can solve problems on the quick, often with a cheap and ready solution, one that is right there).

But he can be a son-of-a-bitch as well.  A hard nose snot.  An angry kid.  He can grow pouty as any teenager can – throw his ‘toys’ against the wall, stomp around.  Does that quite a bit sometimes, sad to say – because he hates my wife sometimes.  Ain’t that a bitch (echoes on down the line due to the puns and symbols in that sort of statement.)

And then there’s the ‘others’.

There’s Jeremy, my pre-13 alter.  He’s also a hurt kid; wildly lonely sometimes, he was created in Germany (hence – we think – the name “Jeremy”, because it sounds so much the same) . . .

and then there’s “13” as he identifies himself.  That’s neither and age nor number; he is simply “13”.  Perhaps that is when we came back from Germany, though a hint tells me it was when he lost his best friend – that and the bulk (and shock – and other things) of coming back here into the United States . . . moving into his ‘abuser’s’ house (meaning the kid who molested our little one – not that we blame ANYBODY anymore here – it wasn’t the kid’s fault nor was it ours.  It simply was something that happened.)  No more shame anymore.

That’s another thing: we finally shook the shame.  Shook it off like an old hound dog shaking off some fleas or excess water.  Finally realized it was no fault of our own – even if we did beg for the thing.  Was there some betrayal?  Yes, finally – but that put an end to that thing (the sexual abuse, and NO, he betrayed US, we did not betray him; we never told no one; he told the entire neighborhood.  And yet we did wrong – in their eyes, anyway.  Someone should have known.)

Then there’s some other players – “21” (another ‘name’ and not a number – and probably a ‘transition’ personality at the time as Matthew ‘fell apart’ or ‘fell back’ and “I”, M3, came in).  After all: someone had to handle the system while I was being “born” and learning to handle the controls.  No one can just ‘jump in’ right away; they’ve got to be ‘born’ or created somehow.  Most of them were created through abuse.  Some were created in response to environmental factors, such as where we were and who we were dealing with at the time.

And it still goes on, this ‘partial’ creation of alters – we can ‘create’ a ‘new’ self when we need to – have to.  We created one to survive the PR experience.  We created another ….. darn … for something else.  I don’t remember what or who or when.

And that’s the trouble with these darned alters.  While we have covered the primary three pretty well (and it’s taken 1831 words to get there!  Congratulations dear reader, and read on!) – there’s other ‘parts and pieces’ which have yet to be deciphered.  That’s what these ‘checkups’ are all about.  Checking on ‘who is where’ and how they are, and what they’ve come to be.  Seeing if there’s any ‘new’ ones hanging around.  Making sure all the old ones are okay.

And that’s the end of it.  At least for now.  I’ve got a lot more information; could write a book on this thing (and me!) – but I already have.  One of them is called “The Boy” – that’s about my primary alter and Mikie . . . with a bit of everyone else thrown in.  And there’s another one I’ve been writing.  But these are different; they are fiction novels.  Oddly enough (as we’ve found out now) – they cover the ‘stories’ of my alters inner fights, some of their training and things, and how they either have gotten along (or not), hated each other, tried to kill each other, ad infinitum et cetra.  Not trying to sell you anything here; just saying.  That’s the way it is sometimes.  You get the damnedest surprises by your alters – it’s almost like a Christmas gift – or better yet, and Easter egg.

And it hold some souls inside.

’nuff said, see ya later, and Elvis the pelvis has gyrated outta the building!

see ya!

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About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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2 Responses to DID: Checkup Time!

  1. heather says:

    The idea of a check-up makes sense for everyone, but especially for those of us who deal with any form of an illness including mental health diagnoses. I think that is a wise practice. But the blog post today saddens me. Although I respect everyone’s right to express their own thoughts, feelings and experiences, I feel like the list of things that you say could go wrong in the life of someone dealing with DID perpetuates old beliefs and stereotypes. It perpetuates fears and stigma that people have been fighting. Being abused does not mean that people will become abusers any more than being robbed doesn’t make someone become a thief. The post speaks generally for people who live with the experience of DID and I know many people for whom that would never be true. Having had the experience of abuse, they would never hurt anyone else even if it comes at a personal cost. People are fighting so hard to decrease the fear and stigma and I feel like this post perpetuates it. That saddens me greatly.

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  2. jeffssong says:

    You make an excellent point, Heather, and you are completely correct. Many with DID function just fine. Myself? Never been arrested or put in jail – more luck than anything in my younger days. (You know wild teens.) And we’ve been committed to the idea of “Do No Harm” for a long, long time. Always have been a rescuer, too – even from our little days, putting ourselves between others and harm and danger. We’re conditioned to ‘do good for society’ – even if we hate it sometimes. And there’s a lot of built in controls, safeties, and checkpoints. I don’t know who or why they were built into the system. There’s a lot there about doing for “God and Country” and serving fellow beings. (shrug) Don’t ask, don’t tell is about the best I can say on that (Matthew, our teen – and the one most ‘cultured’ by the military, is saying and reinforcing that idea – and blocking off the knowledge to it.) Very firm there. Again: don’t know why, but it all ties into doing good – even if it costs some people.

    Ditto Soldier self and Marine. These ‘people’ or personalities were trained to defend ‘the people’ – and ‘at the cost of others’ would mean weighing the heavy balance of people’s lives when making a decision – such as who to send into battle and who to not; which of ‘my men’ I must sacrifice – if I must make such a decision. (And in writing this I can ‘see’ some of the checks and balances being put into place; it’s a ‘group’ decision.) And if you think about it: we were born and bred into the military from day 1. Disappeared for 30 days at birth in a German hospital (yeah, I was originally a German citizen, born with Deutsch birth certificate and all – though to military (US Army) parents. Lived and breathed military life until I was “21” – (‘person’, not number) – and then went to work for the Army. Total continuous association with the US military? 26 years. And as a child (“13”), I was being trained for nuclear war – the “Big One” – and we were right over there, with the East Germans only miles over the border. We had to learn things. As a Marine (and a Sgt. no less) – we had to make decisions that would affect people’s lives. We didn’t like doing so, but we did. And we cried deep down inside – really hard. (sigh … lets not go there now).

    So the ‘dangers’ I may present are really more towards someone doing harm – trying to prevent harm – even at the cost of my own life – than taking lives or hurting things needlessly. As we’ve gotten older our ‘control’ has gotten better, and our dedication towards preserving life (of any kind) has grown. We have educated and changed those of us who would do harm. A lot of the problem was ‘us’ – things go wrong when there is interior fighting going on, or under tremendous stress. In the first case we self-harm – we would never think of harming others. In the latter situation – well, it all depends on what is going on. I can’t help being who I am – and if it perpetuates the stereotype – then I’m sorry; however, the truth of the matter is like you said. We would never hurt someone voluntarily – but we could. However, only if the situation deserved it and we thought we should. Like in a war or something. Or if we found someone raping a child; something like that. We’d step in in an instant (“a heartbeat” is what our Marine is saying, and the Soldier nods grimly, too). And while the ability to become a cold blooded killer, feeling no emotion while we are ‘doing this deed’ (while deeply regretting it and feeling grief deep inside – but ‘bottling it’ to do what must needs done) – may strike some as scary, it is a necessary evil when it comes to certain tasks and jobs – e.g. the military one, or rescuing someone, or saving someone when it might get yourself killed. I know. I’ve done those before, and it hurts. But always for someone else; not ‘me’, the Soldier mind.

    Anyway, I hope that helps to assuage your fears (and writing it helps some of my alters some, seeing as they have had problems forgiving themselves – or ‘others’ for what they’ve done). We are a mixture of ‘dark and light’ – dedicated to doing what must needs done, while hurting no one – but make no mistake. We can be bad if we want to. It’s just against the ‘right ones’ – those who threaten and/or hurt others, or if it came to war.

    ’nuff said for right now. This is always an unpleasant issue for me (for obvious reasons). And the thing is – people like me are the people YOU want around – when you want a defender.

    Thanks for the comment – sorry about my long reply, but I, too, would like to see the social stigma, myths and illusions about DID gone.

    Sincerely,
    the Soldier self, the Marine, and a few others for good measure
    et all

    Like

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