This is an extremely difficult task to write about because I have no clear identity, but instead have multiple identities who would probably each want to write about themselves, which would take pages and pages. Instead, I think we’ll just cover some basics here, and you can learn about my inside people or “insiders” as we move through the blog.
I have the body of a middle-aged woman who is married to a woman, yet, I have many insiders who identify as different ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Some of them would not claim any relationship to my wife of 20 years. Some of them identify as young children, many of them male children, and see and experience themselves as children. They literally feel and see their bodies as children. It’s a hard concept to explain, so hopefully you will gain more of an understanding as we go. Many of the insiders who live within this body would identify as bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, or asexual.
We adopted “outside” children whom we have been raising since their birth. They are doing well, and do not know about the severity of my mental health issues. We have specific insiders who are responsible for raising the outside kids, and we have other insiders who play a neutral role with the kids, and some who do not even know the kids or claim any relationship to them.
I grew up in a very abusive and chaotic environment, but on the outside my family looked relatively normal. Though I can remember some parts of my childhood very clearly, there are lots and lots of things I cannot remember at all. Much of what I do remember is partial memories of really bad things happening. I don’t remember a lot of good, especially not in my own household.
I think it safe to say I grew up in a family that did not love me, did not take care of me, and my being did not matter to them at all. I never once heard as a child the words “I love you” come from any members of my family.
I was a “lost girl” until I was around 11 years old. That’s when some things changed in my life, and it was less abusive and chaotic, but still some awful things happened. That letting up of terror allowed me to have more memories of my teenage years.
I managed to hold together an isolated, lonely, fake, and dysfunctional life until I was a Senior in college. It was so strange for me. I was at the top of my game in school, outside activities, socially, and was already experiencing success in life before I graduated. The Spring of my Senior year I suddenly became very depressed and suicidal. I had no outside reason for feeling this way, so I was very confused. My college mental health center literally told me to stop crying and gave me Xanax to deal with my feelings.
It wasn’t long after that I found a private therapist and psychiatrist who were much more helpful, but I was still spiraling downward and becoming more depressed and suicidal as each day went on. I quickly landed in my first psychiatric hospital for about 6 months trying to get better (this was back when insurance companies paid for people to get mental health treatment), but having very little luck with all the medications they put me on. Late in my stay I realized that the voices that I had always had in my head were influencing my behavior and suicidal feelings. I started to realize I had something else going on with me before I had words for what this was.
I tried explaining it to my therapist and psychiatrist, but as much as I loved them both, they were of the school of thought that Dissociative Identity Disorder was extremely rare and much more dramatic than I was experiencing—both of these beliefs are untrue, but ones that many mental health providers mistakenly believe even today. Essentially, I ended up diagnosing myself, even though I didn’t have the words for this diagnosis. It became clearer each day that other insiders were influencing me.
This started the journey of trying to figure out what was happening to me.