I write about what Dissociative Identity Disorder is like for me. But DID doesn’t affect just those with the disorder. DID impacts the lives of friends, family, co-workers, etc. We don’t often hear from those people. Today I’m honored to share with you a guest post written by my partner, Tracy.
I met this woman by accident.. I wasn’t looking for new friends, definitely not looking for romance, yet that’s how it happens right? It didn’t take long to realize I was rather enamored with her. She’s brilliant. Beautiful. Compassionate. It didn’t take long to realize that I had strong feelings for her and it didn’t take long after that for her to disclose, very painfully, that she was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. I didn’t know much about DID at the time. I had read the usual “literature,” seen a movie depiction or two. I resolved to learn all I could as we entered into a relationship.
You can read every book ever published on Dissociative Identity Disorder, and not quite know how it works. I’ve learned that every DID system operates differently and a lot of unexpected should be expected. Even today, a few years later, I sometimes forget to remember this.
My experience of DID has felt something like taking off with your partner to a family reunion. (Possibly a very long family reunion.) You show up – best foot forward – eager to meet everyone and make a good impression. It’s easy to do, for the most part. You just show your best self, schmooze a little; as long as your partner is there … by your side at first … checking in as you get somewhat comfortable. But eventually they’re going to run off with their favorite cousin. You might be standing around on your own for a long time. It’s easy enough to make small talk with the various family members that introduce themselves, easy to make chat with the eccentric aunties, acknowledge the various kids in the yard, start to get to know fun-loving siblings. Eventually though, if your partner doesn’t come back, the anchor to your existence in that setting can feel a little loose.
I always expect that anchor to loosen. My partner always comes back, always grounds me when she does. But sometimes it’s a long wait, and sometimes it’s a short visit. The waits have brought some of my own dark issues to light.
Learning about Dissociative Identity Disorder, and learning about my partner, has brought out the best and the worst in me. I am a big fan of emotional intelligence study. In fact, I teach it to others. There are times when I just can’t muster, and times I fall apart. In good times, I simply miss my partner. Other times my own pathologies get in the way of responding with, ‘oh that’s just eccentric Uncle Bob’ intelligently and responsibly. In that way I’m grateful for how DID impacts my life. I have a constant reminder of the things I need to work on within myself. It’s not a small list for any of us.
My partner and I both give up, in moments, here and there. That’s the price we pay for living with Dissociative Identity Disorder. While those are the most painful moments, we seem to be learning better, as we pick up our heavy anchors together, how to move forward.