Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was once called “multiple personality disorder.” It’s a serious, rare condition in which a person’s identity is fragmented into distinct personalities. This post about life with DID was submitted by a Health Stories Project community member. Click here to learn more about sharing your story.
The idea of being grateful for dissociative identity disorder might make some people cringe. After all, doesn’t someone with such a severe mental health condition face a lifetime of drugs, therapy, and chaos? Don’t people who are chronically mentally ill live lives of destitution and isolation?
The answers to both of those questions, is a resounding no.
I realize that many who have been diagnosed with a severe mental health issue are struggling, but what I have found is that battling dissociative identity disorder has brought me to a place of self-acceptance and understanding that few who do not face my day-to-day challenges rarely find.
That is the first thing I am grateful for. Because of dissociative identity disorder, I know who I am, and I love me. I have spent many hours in therapy, which has lead me to accept all of my flaws and shortcomings. How many folks can say that?
I’m also grateful that I have an open and honest relationship with myself and others. What you see is what you get. I won’t behave one way with you, and then when I get home take off the mask. I speak to others with respect, and I give them the dignity they deserve because I have dealt with my own inequities and failures.
Lastly, I am grateful for my mental health condition because it has given me a renewed love for life. When I first entered therapy, I kept away from facing life, choosing to hide from it by ignoring the beauty around me. I was so caught up in my past that I couldn’t live in the present.
Therapy has helped me push through the darkness that comes with working on the memories of childhood abuse. Sadly, this abuse prevented me from developing a single, cohesive personality. I’ve had to learn to accept that dissociative identity disorder is not something that can be cured, and that I will always have alternate personalities and lost time.
But I have found a solution that works for me. I’ve learned to cooperate with all the different parts of myself and to love all of me. In essence, I have become a mother to all my different incarnations. We are becoming a well-tuned orchestra, and we have begun to play the same beautiful music.
I have emerged from the chaos of who I was with the strength to notice the lovely things all around me that I used to take for granted. I now look up and notice the stars at night, I can adore the laughter of my little nephew, and the smell of the air after a rain.
When was the last time you took time to appreciate the little things? Life is uncertain. That is a basic fact of life. None of us knows if we will be alive tomorrow. Being grateful for what we have instead of concentrating on what others have or what we have not, creates a new mindset.
Living with a severe mental health challenge such a dissociative identity disorder, has made me truly grateful.
While I am alive, with the time I have left, I want to spend life aware of all the ups and downs, the evil and the good, the laughter and the heartache. My reasoning? Life is full of opposing events and emotions, so why not be grateful for them?