My name is Diane. I am the host to a system of beautiful, but hurting insiders who I have, in various ways, known about since I was very little. We were diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder in 1998, when the body was 37. I have a dual diagnosis – these days Major Depressive Disorder is far more incapacitating than the DID.
For a long time, I never told anyone about the “people in my head.” In my early years, I didn’t understand the voices, and was afraid everybody would think there was something was wrong with me. I was already supposed to be perfect, and that would ruin my chances at that. As I grew older, and recognized that other things were not quite right – I lost huge chunks of time, couldn’t remember simple things I was supposed to have done or people I had talked to – I got scared. Finally, when a therapist treating me for depression met one of my insiders, everything came together. I was both relieved and in a panic.
Many, many people at least know about depression. DID is one of those disorders even some mental health professionals don’t believe exist. It’s taken me years to come to accept who I am and how I came to be. Gradually, I am sharing that with others. But the stigma attached to any sort of mental illness – depression, DID, schizophrenia – makes the effort to get better that much more difficult because you feel like you have to do everything in secret. When you can’t just be with who you are, wherever you are, you feel somehow like you’re not living with your whole being.
We decided not to integrate, except as it naturally occurs. We are close to being ready to tell our story – or rather, telling the story of what it’s like to live with DID and depression – and have written a book for others, so they may share in the sadnesses, but also in the hope and joy of being many. We’ve also taken our experiences with severe depression and are writing a book for people who are dealing with similar feelings. It’s been a long, painful journey. The only way we’ve been able to survive is to try to turn our hopelessness around and reach out to others.