Yesterday, Carol Ann from Therapy Bits was so kind to publish a guest post I have written a couple of weeks ago about my suspicion, that I might live with Dissociative Identity Disorder. At present, I can’t get a proper diagnosis so I can only guess and reach out to those parts of me that do not feel my own.
However, I have pondered the possibility of living with DID for a long time and for a couple of years I wrote a poem series about it called “Lost Souls”. Today I repost something I have written for another blog of mine which I have abandoned since. I feel though, that it is time now to re-post those poems.
If you do not belong to the community of survivors and thrivers of sexual and other sorts of abuse in your childhood, this expression might be quite strange for you. What might “Lost Souls” mean?
Children who are faced with sexual abuse and rape need tools to survive the unbearable reality of living in an environment that does not support and even harm them. As they are often isolated from any outside help but have enormous creativity and fantasy still at their disposal their psyches do what is called “dissociate”.
Wikipedia describes psychological Dissociation as “… an altered state of consciousness characterised by partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s normal conscious or psychological functioning. Dissociation is most commonly experienced as a subjective perception of one’s consciousness being detached from one’s emotions, body and/or immediate surroundings. Van der Kolk et al. describe dissociation as a “compartmentalization of experience.” Under normal conditions, consciousness, memory, emotions, sensory awareness, affect, etc., are integrated; with dissociation, in contrast, these traits are discretely compartmentalised to greater or lesser degrees.” ( Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation_(psychology) on the 28th February 2012).”
In simpler words (which really does not explain the complex mechanisms in full but makes things easier to understand) the child’s soul creates different personalities to be able to deal with the different situations it finds himself/herself in. There might be one personality/soul who is a strong adult fighter and bears the horrors of the abuse. There might be the bright child who deals with school and friends. There might be a teenager who deals with everyday life at home.
Abused children might as well “just” experience being outside their bodies when the abuse happens and are not aware of the horrors but are “back” afterwards. It might only happen once. It might happen regularly. It might develop into Dissociative Identity Disorder. As different as every person is as different develops “dissociation”.
Quite often there is one “leader-personality” who keeps all the others together and co-ordinates life as a whole if different personalities developed. Sometimes all personalities work together well ~ sometimes there are problems especially if the different personalities have totally opposite experiences, likes and talents.
In psychology, DID is described as a disorder. However, children and adults who live with this condition often see it rather as a great help and a beautiful system. This system enabled them to survive and lead a life which is as normal as possible under the given circumstances. My explanations are much too simple for the extremely complex process DID is. But I hope it explains a little of what people are talking about when they speak of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I have experienced childhood sexual abuse but I am not diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. I know though that I have been outside my body when the abuse happened, and I have experiences of amnesia which suggests that “me” and “I” are not the “normal” single entity we think of as ourselves.
When I decided to heal from abuse and to have healthy relationships as well as a life worth living I needed some means of expression of my experiences. I have always been writing poetry and one day my muses gave me the expression “Lost Souls”. As I am not aware of different personalities but have lost many memories and parts of my life this expresses the best how I feel and how I try to deal with the healing.
I have been writing several poems dealing mainly with emotions involved in the abuse as well as the healing which are all about my lost souls. Quite soon I felt the urge to publish those in a blog/book to help other survivors as well as educate others who are interested to learn what it means to be a survivor.
Now I have enough material to publish a small blog/book, and it is my wish that many may find help and information with it.
Here is one example of the poems I have written:
Losing my souls
again and again
one for the pain,
one for the joy,
one for the duty,
one for the treachery,
one stays behind
lost and cracked.
I can’t believe that I still haven’t worked on that book. Maybe it’s time now to create, edit and publish it. I also can’t believe that I still haven’t found a solution to this situation. It still buggers me and I feel like being trapped in a loop with no escape. Nothing I do seems to make a difference. No connecting to these “other” parts nor changes in my outside life seems to bring me a feeling of “It’s solved. I can move on!” What on earth am I supposed to do?