You ever seen one of those worn out old suitcases at the airport? You know the one with all the stickers, some ragged & tagged, still on it, showing its travels around the world & to parts unknown? Sometimes “I” feel like that bag with all these labels showing: DDNOS, PTSD, MPD/BPD, ASCA, CAS, ex-USMC ;-), etc., ad alphabet soup. (Shall we play Boggle with those terms? Might be fun. 😉 ).
Officially, if a shrink or therapist were to question me right now, today, they would doubtlessly smack me on the head with their magic wand and dub thee: “DDNOS”. If, on the other hand, that same shrink or therapist were to meet one of us in our “moods”, they would definitely lean towards the “BPD”, or even “MPD” version of DID’ness. Sometimes I feel “they” – NIMH, NAMI & others – did a disservice lumping all the sub-diagnoses ( diagnosi?) under one giant label “D.I.D.”, or “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, but in a way it makes sense. In every description it is about distancing yourself from . . . something. And often that “something” was something “you” (or a part of you) had to deal with. Whether it was “love” as a child or the lack of said same; being hung upside down & beaten, whatever – you had no choice but to “go on and deal with it”. In some cases it lead to compartmentalization of mood states, mind states, mental states, emotional states, and throw them all in a blender and call the range of symptoms (and every combination thereof) “Dissociative Identity Disorder”. But it’s not always a DISORDER! Sometimes it’s a Diagnosis. Other times a Disease. (You can go here to find my view on those subtle variations in D.I.D. and those living with it. Many of us are quite productive citizens and you ‘normals’ would never know . . .)
To make matters even more complicated, within each ‘sub-category’ is a list of “states”, or “disorder” symptoms, or “disease” symptoms, depending on how it is affecting the patient(s) – whether it is harming them or not, whether they are “all” happy in “their” (the patient’s) head.
- Dissociative amnesia
- Localized amnesia
- Selective amnesia
- Generalized amnesia
- Continuous amnesia
- Systemized amnesia
- Dissociative amnesia with fugue
On the “Discussing Dissociation” ( A WordPress Blog), the author, Kathy Brody, a DID Systems Specialist (which is a nice way of putting it – that’s what us hosts or controlling ‘beings’ / alters are supposed to do! LOL!) talks about “20 Types of Dissociative Splits“. By the way, I highly recommend ANYONE WITH D.I.D. TO READ THAT. While having “labels” for the types of alters/beings/souls/whatever-you-want-to-call-them helps, it is pretty much vital for mapping a system and defining your various alters’ lineage – who “controls” who, who can work with who; who influence & who dominates, who controls what talent.
For an example, if I could could rip the cover off & expose all the gears, you’d see Matthew, our “teen host”, who ran from the time “13” created him – an intentional effort, we can all remember the day! – and then hid inside. “13” is still very much a pressure in our system. So is the little one, #8, an original host who shielded himself in another alter he created, “Mikie”. Nested like dolls, they are, or creatures with costumes. For a long time we thought “Mikie” was the host from 5 to 10ish. It took us a long time to figure out “Mikie” wasn’t REALLY the host back at that time.
Our clue was that Mikie was TOO perfect. Shy, but outgoing, sort of, in a cute way – always loving a bit TOO much – he’d drop his drawers for anyone almost any day without shame or remorse. The “original” child had learned to deal with that THAT way, creating this alter to hide his own pain. And it was because little Mikie was too gracious a child to have ever been REAL we got suspicious. We KNOW we were a handful at that age, adventurous, physical, and got into some trouble. It was that which put “us” into snooping, and in which we found this other hidden child, the REAL child. He was ‘host’ of that time. And because of that, still holds some power. A whole raft of ‘beings’ pulls the strings like master puppeteers. He, too, still exists, and comes out. And then there’s “R” (he does have a full name, btw) who is a “ghost” of my sibling. For “me” and/or us “ghosts” are those personalities built on someone OUTSIDE ‘the system’ – a parent, friend, perhaps, or brother. Even for me, the current host, it is somewhat amazing how quickly they can take over and change my words, or worse, attitude.
But what does it mean when a “host” and a system has pretty much gotten co-conscious? Can ‘we’ be classed as “MPD” anymore, seeing as ‘we’ are pretty much aware of each other? We’re a pretty mature system, by the way – lots of studying & taking apart & examining every part in depth, & then “feeling our way around in them” checking for other parts inside of them, and their connections and/or fears of, and with, other parts in the system.
It gets kinda complicated in a hurry. Put us in the right environment and we’d change in a hurry. We can control some of the switches; choose to put Matthew “up” or many of the others. Some – never. Some are too violent, technically insane, psychotic, and very dangerous. Those stay in their own environments, too. (No more cages, pets, nor for my Beast. The only way to defeat them was in the end, LOVE them as my own pets.)
But what can I say? All these acronyms . . . and it’s just ME inside . . . me & my ‘others’. We don’t like big ol’ labels stuck on our head, and it doesn’t work, anyway. DID systems are too unstable, flexible, to “define” beyond a moment, a day, or even a year. They change, and alters can change within them. “New” ones can be found or made. I know ‘we’ have made many of them over the years to help us get along. Some are quite professional. Others’ good ol’ boys, or horrors you wouldn’t like to meet out in the woods. Together ‘we’ all make up the hole, but is there any patching? Is this “it”? We’re kinda okay with things, and have learned to ‘split’ alters & confine alters (and old skill), and we weave and wave around all the definitions. All of them apply sometimes. I can’t say there’s ever been a time when it’s been “none”. But that’s the “okay” thing about a DID system: once you get to where you can kinda understand it, it can be okay. Not even okay, but fun sometimes. Well, maybe never ‘fun’ because there’s always someone not enjoying it, but together we can make it “one”. Or appear to be to you all, those monominded folks out there.
If there even is such a thing.