I received some questions from a commenter who wished to remain anonymous. However, when the comment showed up, it had the person's user id. Because of that, I deleted the comment all together to protect the identity of this person so there is no reference for these questions.
Q: How do you know who and what you are?
A: Finding out who I really was turned out to be a process. I had to really work on my active listening skills to hear what the different parts of me were saying. That meant I asked myself a lot of questions. I accepted the answers whether they were the way I felt or not. I reminded myself over and over that these were my feelings. I was entitled to them whether they made sense to me or not. That was the starting point in my discovery of the "real" me.
I think I covered some of this information in a series of posts that starts wtih Just What Really Is "Our" Self?
Q: How do you really know if Your DID?
A:I think each of us must figure this out on our own. For me, I was reading When Rabbit Howls by the Troops for Trudi Chase. Some of the conversations in her head described in that book really reminded me of what goes on inside my head sometimes. So I talked to my therapist about it.
My therapist immediately discounted my suppositions so from there I really kept those thoughts to myself. But the door had been opened and I continued to try and figure out what was really going on with me. The only thing that fit was that I had Multiple Personality Disorder, now know as Dissociative Identity Disorder of DID.
By the time the therapists figured it out. I had already long accepted that I had multiple personalities. As much as it was scary, it also made sense to me. Even though I hadn't lost time in many years, I could remember times in my life where I had. I also could finally understand how something horrible could happen to me and I didn't shed a tear. Somewhere deep inside, I could hear sobs if I allowed myself too.
It was a gradual awakening. The more that I accepted, the more that I could see. One day I could completely hate my husband. The next he was my very best friend. There was no conflict between those two sets of feelings. There were so many things that didn't make sense. The only thing that seemed to fit was that there really were different parts inside. Each with its own set of memories and feelings.
Q: Sometimes I feel so different then I normally do and I do things different then I would normally do but does that mean I'm DID?
A: Only you can answer those questions. As much as it feels scary, you will know when the answers fit. But you have to listen to yourself and not discount the answers because they are too scary or don't make sense. The sense will come later.
Q: I have specific names I am attached to but don't actually answer to most of them except some, one I have taken as a nickname.
A: I did not answer to different names for most of my life. The post What's in a Name? speaks to this issue with me. What I was called was determined by my mother. But once I was out from under her thumb, the first thing I did was change my name.
I'm told that issues with names as you describe and changing names as I have done are classic symptoms of MPD.
Each system is different. Created by a different person with different needs and different circumstances driving the force for such extreme dissociation. I think there are no cut and dry answers.
Q: How do you know if shadowy memories coming out are real?
A: I addressed a question similar to this in Punishing the Parts Within?
I know the memories are real because they make "me" make sense. There were things about me that just seemed odd to me. Somehow they were proof that I was weird or not human. But when the memories began to surface, I found real reasons for being the way that I am. Concrete explanations of what has shaped and molded me.
Throughout my life I had tried to live the way others told me I should. I believed that that would make me happy. It never did.
Now here I am, I have accepted these horrendous memories and all these inner parts of me and now I'm happy. I don't believe that could happen if these were more lies or my imagination.
Also, along the way, there was a relief that came with telling these stories. As awful as they were, somehow, somewhere inside me something was better. It wasn't always obvious but it was undeniable. There was less weight, less heaviness to my soul. I don't know how else to describe it.
Q: How did you get it so together?
A: I could probably write multiple books on this question. I've done a number of posts about my therapy process and there are sprinklings all through everything on this blog, I think that tell elements of this answer
I think the biggest thing that helped me was how I viewed my therapy process with the help of a therapist personality. I'm not sure if I created this personality just for this job, or if it was an alter who figured things out from the first stage of my real therapy process.
But once that personality had it figured out that things were not our fault, whose fault they were and how our process worked, she became the driving force behind our healing. She was the one voice that all of the others could hear.
The series My "Real" Therapy is a synopsis of that time. It tells the things I learned that were different from my past that I was able to use as tools to free me.
I think one of the important things I did was about acceptance. I was so ready to be free of the darkness consuming me that I pretty much ignored my denial. It tried to rear it's ugly head and slow me down, but I mowed right over the top of it. I embraced each new memory as another piece of the puzzle to make me free.
Another thing I did that was helpful was I didn't wallow in guilt. Once I had reached that place where I accepted the sexual abuse by my brother as not being my fault, I could see it easily applied across the board. With each new memory, healthy parts of me just grabbed up the guilt and put if off where it belonged - outside us and onto the perpetrators. So I didn't spend wasted hours, days or weeks beating myself up for things that weren't my fault. Instead my inner children were nurtured and encouraged to heal.
multiple personality disorder MPD dissociative Identity disorder did