The question I am struggling with at the moment is: am I pathologising something that is normal? Because everyone has different sides to themselves, plays slightly different roles in different situations. “I am large, I contain multitudes” etc etc
Then there is the approach to voice hearing that is currently in vogue of seeing voices as aspects of the self, and dialoguing with them. Is “voice hearing” undiagnosed DID, or is there a difference?
Because I find myself feeling rather misunderstood when people say things along these lines, use this model to approach me. And frantic, desperate, as though my reality is being erased? So that I’m scared my CPN is going to come back to me and say “But Jane, everyone experiences this” and I so that I want to shout, when people talk about my voices, that THEY’RE NOT REALLY VOICES. And I guess I’m worried that people reading this blog think that I am just making a big drama out of a quite ordinary situation, and I guess I’m worried that they’re right.
Maybe it’s because I cannot identify a central, consistent “me” who goes about hearing “voices”. Yes *I* hear voices, but I also sense emotions and glimpse flashes of thoughts – while Sage doesn’t, Sage is just Sage. And it makes no more sense to say Sage is an aspect of me than to say I am an aspect of Sage. We are both parts. Am I making any sense here? There is an understanding I am fumbling for.
Yesterday I had an appointment with my occupational therapy aide, and she told me about an article she had read in which a woman somehow connected with one of her voices through a teddy bear, and she suggested that I needed to approach each of my voices in a different way. Which sounds fine. Except she wasn’t talking to me. I could hear, but someone else was in charge. And then she asked me what I talked about with my psychologist, and what did I gain from the appointments and she also asked me about the marble run, and how had it “helped”, was it because it was something practical to do? And I didn’t know how to explain – I don’t know how to explain it to myself, my language seems to fail me. Then she called me ‘Jane’ and I hated it. Or someone hated it, I don’t know. I get so confused. And I got all woozy and I guess dissociated? and she asked me why I was so “tired” and had I been taking PRN, was that why? And then she told me I needed to feed my soul with art and distract myself from the voices and I needed to listen to people because I was getting very bitter and negative. That I think was because I had earlier said “I hate myself” but you see, that wasn’t *me* – I don’t hate myself at all, but I hear a voice that says “I hate myself” and sometimes that voice comes out of my mouth. Anyway afterwards there was chaos inside and I had to do a lot of soothing and reassuring, repeating over and over “it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok”.
But how can it be not me?How does it make sense to say “I” am not “Jane”. If I’m not Jane, then who am I, and who is Jane? Are these just aspects of my self that I am not wanting to own and take responsibility for? Is talking about “parts” just a figure of speech, or can they really be as autonomous as they seem to be? I have been talking about my other selves for a long time without considering myself to have DID, so what is the difference? There is something I’m not quite understanding here.
But what I do know – though I keep having to rediscover it – is that when I approach myself as though I have DID my life starts to run a little more smoothly. I keep getting it wrong, I keep getting in the way and blocking the others, shutting them down, but when I get it right things start to flow, things start to work a little more – and I feel better. And it seems that feeling is all I have to guide me right now.