In many ways, I am an open person. I’ve shared my life. I’ve shared my experiences. I’ve shared my diagnosis with the world. But there are still aspects of my DID that I am just not that open about.
I’m a member of quite a few online DID groups. I don’t participate very much on a personal level; I tend to stick with answering questions, diffusing conflicts, and offering support. I think some of that is because I don’t feel like I belong, I don’t feel like my experiences are close to most other people’s.
People talk about their systems like they are a well-oiled machine. Everyone communicates, everyone loves each other, everyone has a purpose. Hell, everyone even has a name. It seems so perfect. It seems like the exact opposite of what I have. No one wants to hear oh yea, I am pretty oblivious to many of my parts, and there’s a lot of anger and sadness and stress and my parts are existing in chaos.
And then there’s the numbers. It’s so common for people to introduce themselves and include a number. My name is Bobby, I have five alters. There is so much focus on how many parts each person has. While I was contributing my writing to the book on living with DID, I was asked to state how many parts I had. I was the only writer that did not include a number, and that genuinely surprised me.
How many parts do I have? Way too fucking many. I don’t count. I don’t keep track. That seems like the most daunting task in the world. Why do people need a number? Why do they need a list?
My parts don’t all have names. I may have a K and a Charlie and an Anna, but I’ve also got a whole lot of KJs and even more than that who are nameless. And some of them aren’t whole; some are pieces and pieces of pieces. I’m not Bobby with five alters. I’m KJ, and I’m a broken mess.
I go through life on autopilot. Who is running the show? I don’t really know, but it’s probably not me. I may wake up in the morning as KJ, but I can guarantee by the time I get to work, I’ve already dissociated at least twice, five more times by lunchtime, and a dozen times more by dinner. I may start a conversation with you, but 9 times out of 10, I’m not the one there when the conversation ends.
It’s my name on the paycheck, but it’s not always me doing the work. But as long as the work gets done, right? I play it off when my boss notices things. “Hey, your voice changed again!” I respond, “Oh, it’s because I’m not from here.” But I know that’s not the reason at all.
I don’t remember things. What I did last week. What I did yesterday. What I did ten minutes earlier. I try to fill in the gaps when I can, but it’s not always easy. People get frustrated. I just tell them I have a bad memory. How can I explain to them that I’m not always me? Hell, I don’t even know who me is to begin with.
I don’t know where I end and another part begins, or where I begin and another part ends. I don’t even know if I am someone, or maybe just a part. I know I exist, in the physical sense. But I don’t know who I am any more than I know who my neighbor is.
I’m so ashamed. I fear that if people really knew just how out of it I am so much of the time, they would know how broken and how out of control I am. They would know how much I have failed at my own life. I am too broken, literally and emotionally. To know that side of me is to know how much of a failure I am. So I try to hide it. I can admit I have DID, but I damn sure can’t tell you how broken I am. Let’s just keep pretending, please.
Who am I? I don’t know.
Who am I? Ask me again in five minutes or so. Maybe then I will know.