It's not you, it's me, or more accurately, it's us.
At thirty-three, swiftly approaching thirty-four, I didn't think I'd be coming out about another thing ever again. There are some parts of my identity which have been kept very carefully from public view for the bulk of my life, and I had honestly grown so used to the idea of not addressing them that the thought of doing so had stopped crossing my mind years ago.
Nevertheless, it seems my soul has other things in mind.
We have DID.
As this is a public post, We will assume that there will be many who are unfamiliar with the acronym, and many still don't know what it means beyond knowing what it stands for. If you are familiar with it, you may skip the next few paragraphs if you wish.
DID stands for 'Dissociative Identity Disorder', formerly known by the misnomer 'Multiple Personality Disorder'. It is a disorder brought on by extreme trauma experienced by people (nearly always children) who are capable of entering highly dissociative states. While all people are capable of dissociating to some degree, several conditions such as ADHD, ASD, BPD, and others, create a heightened disposition towards dissociation, making them more susceptible to developing DID during intensely traumatic experiences.
During those traumatic experiences, the dissociation triggers as a form of emotional survival. In order to endure what is happening, the mind retreats from the experience of the body. Sometimes, when a person experiences this, the mind creatively invents an identity that it believes is capable of responding to that trauma, or storing it as a locked memory. This is how different identities (known as "alters") form within DID, and is also the reason why many who develop the disorder often have severe issues with memory and depersonalization. The symptoms can range in severity, and no two cases are the same, merely similar in function.
In the case of the authors of this post, We were born with ADHD and ASD, and began experiencing extreme trauma around the age of seven. That severe trauma persisted well into our teenage years, with several significant events triggering along the way. If you have read our autobiographical piece, you know some of what occurred, but not all. In truth, We are not even certain if We have uncovered it all yet.
That uncertainty is what led us to be open about this in the first place.
The past year has been an interesting journey. Increased isolation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic put many of us into deep periods of self-reflection. In our case, there were personal issues which had created problems for us, and had forced us to acknowledge that We had much to work on. We were lost on our path in life, having felt disconnected from our passions such as writing and cooking—among many others—and the many disparate voices within us had caused issues for people We cared about.
Becoming medicated for ADHD was a great place to start our recovery, but it wasn't until We began far more intensive therapies that We started sorting ourself out. We went faster than We should have, and often came out the other side of therapy wondering if the intense pain of working through traumatic memories and the destructive behaviors which had arisen from them was truly worth it. In the end, it absolutely was, for through the other side of that process We now feel cohesive, cooperative, have regained our understanding of empathy, and have overcome the depression that plagued us for twenty-five years. We do not know if such things will stay, but We are optimistic, for We now work as a system to address the problems We face in life.
Throughout the course of this post, We have used first person plural pronouns, and We are making a conscious effort to make that our default. When We speak, We tend to speak as a blend of several of our alters at once. While only one speaks with the voice, others are immediately present, and We often shift fluidly. As such, We think of ourself in the singular as a system, but in the plural as those living within it. We understand this can be jarring for many people, and, if in personal interactions, you would prefer that We do not refer to ourself in this manner, We are willing to make that concession for the time being. In a similar yet different vein, our preferred pronouns are they/them (plural), although We accept any other pronouns as well. In our headspace, there are men, there are women, there are non-binary folks, there are some whose description would probably be worthy of a separate post entirely. Do not stress yourself to remember this part of us.
Part of how We arrived at this new cohesiveness of functioning multiplicity, was through the help and guidance of other DID systems, who make it their mission to help others. It is because of their example that We feel compelled to do the same. We wish to bring awareness and understanding, and to help anyone who may be struggling in similar ways, whether with DID or otherwise.
This year of working through things is also the primary reason why We have been unable to produce much in the way of artistic expression. It is difficult to do such a thing when one's emotions are erratic, and most of the time that's the only way to describe what We were feeling.
Thank you for reading, and being part of our experience. We will be in touch, and We have much more to create and share with you all. Thank you for your patience with us.
Survive and thrive,
The Icarus System