I have always been a clumsy person, someone who bumps into things and doesn’t really pay any attention to it because I am so used to it. I end up with bruises or scrapes on me and have no idea where they came from, but have a always assumed I just bumped or scraped something and didn’t really pay attention.
A common occurrence for a lot of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is that we often experience many serious health symptoms, with typically no explanation from the doctor other than the common shrug of the shoulders or scratching of the head. Sadly, I never know whether I am about to drop dead, or if it just more of the mystery health that goes with my DID body.
This is not something that can simply be written off by neuroses as many would like to quickly put it in that bucket.
I remember in my 20s, I had routine blood work done that came back abnormal enough that I was sent to a Hematologist “blood” doctor. I had to go there for months as they monkeyed with my blood and did test after test because they just couldn’t figure out why my blood work was coming back abnormal (I think some kind of leukemia was on the list). I’ll be honest, I was too screwed up dissociatively to worry too much about it. And then one day, it just disappeared and my blood work has been normal ever since (a lot of years have gone by).
Another time I had extreme chest pain, and they could see the pain on their fancy machines, but they couldn’t figure out why it was happening. I listened patiently to all the doctor’s theories, and then gave up. I went back a few more times when I had serious episodes, and they could see it again on the machines, but never came to a conclusion. About a year later, the symptoms just disappeared.
I am fairly sure I have had one surgery that I didn’t actually need. A laparoscopy for endometriosis.
I tell you this because it leaves me in a place of never knowing when to take something serious, or when it is just the DID somehow playing tricks on my body.
This past year, I started having falls. Falls where I actually injured myself. The first two were down my hardwood stairs when I was wearing socks and not holding on, so I thought it was reasonable that I had those falls. Then I went on vacation the next week and fell twice at the resort. My first fall I was just walking toward my family and there was a wet spot mixed with a little beach sand, which resulted in a broken arm the first day of the vacation. By day 5, I thought I was ready enough to leave my room in my arm sling and take my 5 year old son to experience a petting of the icky sea animals. Afterward, I mistakenly said let’s look to see what is in this cave (it looked really cool), which resulted in me falling in the cave again on a water/sand combo, and unable to walk or get up with only my 5 year old there as there were no other people around. Eventually, back to the hospital we went.
When I arrived back in the states, I went to my regular orthopedic because I was fairly sure they didn’t diagnose the broken arm correctly back at the island. From then, I started seeing her regularly for new falls.
Again, I felt like all the falls were justified, but the doctors said statistically impossible!
I realized at the dog park what was happening. A dog ran behind me and lightly brushed the back of my legs. I then fell frontwards down a very uncomfortable hill. I realized then that I was not re-balancing myself when something threw me a little off balance.
The doctors were busy ruling out MS, brain tumor, and Parkinson’s. I was a little worried about the MS as I had everything on the internet lists, but once that one was ruled out, I wasn’t so worried about the rest.
The cardiologist has his theory that it was cardiac. The two different neurologists I saw both ruled out their guesses and then gave me the shoulder shrugs and said to come back in 3 months. They both agreed there was definitely something wrong.
Fortunately, my chiropractor told me about this special physical therapist in town who did Balance and Dizziness problems. This PT has given me more information that has made sense than any of the doctors.
I bring this all up because today I felt sad and angry after seeing her. She doesn’t know about my childhood trauma or DID. She was telling me her hypothesis of what she thought was going on to cause what I had correctly figured out.
The PT said she didn’t understand why, but for some reason in early childhood my brain did not integrate all the things it is supposed to do in order for it to work properly. Like, my brain doesn’t communicate to my feet and other body parts to compensate when I am off balance, so I fall.
She shook her head, and said “I just can’t understand why this has happened to you.” Then she went on to tell me she sees this in her 4-5 year old patients. And then I knew, it is because of the extreme abuse I endured. I wanted to tell her, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to casually mention it, and then also to say “by the way, I also have a dissociative disorder.”
I have lots of every day scars from my childhood, but today just finished my week with yet another shitty surprise about my childhood abuse and what it has done to me.
Though the PT is optimistic she can help me, I worry that her prognosis could change if she knew the truth….