If you are reading this, you already know I came out of the closet as a lesbian when I was 21, a very long time ago. What you don’t know is that I was first told I was DID or had multiple personalities back when I was 28, and I am just coming out about it now. I’ve probably known longer than that because I have always had an alter ego named Mikey with me. I have spent my entire life learning to cover for these personalities, taking the blame for rage, being thought of as stupid for forgetting important things or not being able to do word problems in math, being thought of as a daydreamer because I lose connection to reality and stare into space, being diagnosed as bipolar and borderline personality disorder, and lying to cover things my alters did. I do suffer from depression. It would be weird to grow up in the environment I did and not be depressed.
I am a ham. I am a ham because I like attention. I am starved for attention. I grew up starved for attention. The attention I did get was negative. I have sought out negative attention because it is what I know. It is not right that I have done so. It has been suggested that I am only saying I am DID to get attention. It has been said this is me crying wolf. It has been suggested that my suicidal depressions have been me crying wolf.
None of that is true. I have covered up my DID for a long time, at least since I was a child. I have kept, and do keep, my feelings of watching myself from a distance to myself. I got carried away when I finally put a name on this thing, when I finally listened to a therapist who caught me in a dissociative state, and allowed myself to admit what I knew was true. I posted things on Facebook and MySpace that I shouldn’t have. I allowed some of my alters to post things. My alter Mikey, although only 8 is smart like me and has been coconscious with me through all of my education, so he knows almost everything I know. He can’t write an analytical paper or literary criticism, but he has a large vocabulary, as I did at his age, and he sounds good on paper. You wouldn’t think as much of him if you heard him speak, he has a speech problem and talks like a 4 year old. He also has a twin sister who stutters.
My cries for help when I am suicidal are because the last time I actually attempted it, I didn’t call anyone, not even when the attempt failed and I spent an entire day trying to sleep the drugs off and feeling like all I had done was kill a shitload of brain cells. I ask for help now. I’ve been taught in therapy to reach out, ask for help, say something, don’t let it stew in my head, making the plans, writing all of the good-bye letters, let it out. So I let it out. I go to friends, I go to hospitals, I call hotlines, I reach out! I am not crying wolf. Yes, my feelings of suicide come and go, but they are present way more than most people know. I don’t always feel that the feelings are getting the better of me. This coming month is the 5 year anniversary of my brother’s suicide. I am feeling a lot of different feelings about that, suicidal, worried, confused, angry, and lost. I am trying to hang on to a few really good things, like “Buddy’s Day” when I get to bring friends with me to the park in Long Beach and help homeless people, my best friends, Peggy and Susan, are both celebrating good things; Peggy’s 5 year anniversary of being married to a great guy is coming up and Susan is 5 years cancer free in April. These are the things that keep my mind off wanting to kill myself to silence the alters who all want to share every last awful memory with me now that I am acknowledging their presence.
I am DID. I have “people” in my head. They all came into being to help me survive things no child should have to survive. I lived through things that I have never shared outside of therapy. Even my partner of 8 ½ years doesn’t know all of it, because telling her everything might make her hate me or my family. It might make her hate my family. I wanted her to dislike them the way I did, but it didn’t seem fair for her to dislike them for the things that happened so long ago. I had to cover up a lot of behaviors to make sure she didn’t know the real truth about me. She knew I was a shoplifter, but she didn’t know it was Mikey who liked to steal things. She knew I had rage, which I let her think was the bipolar disorder, and not that it was MJ who was raging. I did a lot of taking the blame for things that I couldn’t even remember doing.
I have lied for years about how much time I lose and how much I don’t know. I lost time a lot as a child; as a matter of fact I don’t remember a whole lot of my childhood. I have some of the memories, and they aren’t all good, but if what I recall is bad, how bad must have been the things that my alters have held back from me? If I am ever talking to you, and unfortunately I do talk to or at people and not with them, and I don’t suddenly seem to know what we were talking about, that is because I dissociated. It happens.
I’m not going to say I am not a liar; I have lied about a lot of things, mostly to cover up my condition. I have also lied about experiences, or should I say they have lied, they have their own lives that I didn’t live, that they only lived in my head. It is the fact that I did not let my imagination die that has allowed my mind to create these people who have whole lives of their own. Lucky me!
I am more than myself; I am “we.” “We” are a team, just forming to become a unified Maureen who can solve her own problems and take care of herself. Something I have done few times in my life. I have never been fully self-supporting monetarily. I have never lived without family or a roommate or partner. Our goal for me is to get to a place where I can take care of me. It might take all of my inner people to care for me, but at least it will all come from inside me.
I’d like to introduce a few of my alters to you: Mikey, age 8, always present; MJ (Mathias James), don’t call him that, age not determined at this point, my anger, my protector, full of rage, especially road rage; Annette, age 25, self-confident, does job interviews, is out when I am feeling good and grown up; Sian Barbara, age not yet determined, comforter, self soother; Gregory, 17, laid back, he drives when I am unable or too anxious; Reeny, age 8, Mikey’s twin, stutters, is very shy; Patti, knows all of the math stuff I don’t know; and Jolene, age 55, southern feisty women.
I still don’t know about all of them, it comes out a little at a time in therapy. I know they are in my head, but they have been “in hiding” for so very long that they are slow to come forward. There are actually more alters who are waiting in the wings to come forward and tell their story.
I will talk about having alters and bad memories. I will talk about having PTSD, but I don’t usually talk much about the things that actually happened to me because I feel guilty for not being better at protecting myself. I feel guilty for not telling my parents when it was happening. I listened to the threats and thought they were real. I am still afraid to tell all of it to anyone. I am glad I have other “people” to hold some of the memories. What I remember is bad enough.
I have always answered to Maureen, and we will continue to answer to that. My name is Maureen. I am a 49 year old woman. I have some other “people” in my head and they are different ages. I am not them, although they are part of me. I am still the same person all of my friends have known, but now I am coming out about all of the pieces that make up this person named Maureen. I have been losing friends and it isn’t fun. You think people care about you, but then you say something unpopular about yourself and it drives people away. I’m sorry my friends have trouble accepting this thing about me, but if they chose to let me go because they are finding out now something that has always been, well that is their loss.
I talk too much. I cross boundaries. I fuck up a lot. But I also am very giving, loving, understanding, and warm. I have been a terrible listener, but I am working on that.
I am hoping maybe some people understand me better now, but if they don’t, oh well.