My Personal Experience Living With Multiple Personality Disorder

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Many people find it hard to believe when they meet me that I have a challenging mental disability because of my positive and outgoing nature. But I do and I learned to stop feeling ashamed about it and empowered myself enough to find ways to live with this disability. I have no control over when the episodes happen and it is extremely annoying to experience these episodes. I just do my best to make sure there is safety when an alter personality is out. I have 14 different alter personalities that I know about and any time any of my altars are out, I am completely unaware of what is happening. It’s like being asleep and waking up to find yourself in a different place than what you last remember.

My altars range in ages from 5 being the youngest to 25 being the oldest. None are violent in any way. A few of the younger ones tend to be afraid of people they don’t know and if they come out while I am alone or away from people they know, then they tend to run and hide until they see someone or something familiar to them. A couple of them are unable to speak (or refuse to speak and we don’t know why) and use their own methods to communicate what they are trying to say. I also have an altar that used to self-harm all the time until my fiance Scott showed her enough patience and love and taught her other ways to deal with her need to self-harm. They all have their own names and their own memories. They are their own individuals completely separate from me. The physical abilities of my altars often baffle my friends and loved ones because when they are out, they run, climb, walk and just do many things I myself am not physically capable of doing. The altar’s physical abilities reflect their ages. I just pay for it once I’m back. The things they are able to do puts my body in a world of hurt that they don’t feel but I do. I have often come back feeling so much pain that leaves me unable to move for quite some time. These are the times when tears of frustration and pain begin to flow.

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I was diagnosed with MPD in my 20’s when I was hospitalized for self-harming behaviors. I would tell them that had no idea what happened to me or why. I felt completely devastated by the diagnosis. I was a single mother raising three sons alone. I was blessed at that time to have friends who loved and cared about me and my sons and they stepped in to help. Once they learned about my diagnosis their only reaction was “Well, now everything makes sense!”

I became very proactive in learning as much as I could about this disorder and how to live with it. It is almost impossible to find a psychotherapist who is experienced with treating MPD. Without that experience, a therapist can cause more harm than good. It has taken me many years to stop being ashamed of having MPD but I have finally reached that point. I don’t know if I would ever be able to live alone because of my altars, but I take each day as it comes. Having Wally my little rescue dog the past 2 years has made a huge difference in my episodes. Sometimes I wonder who really rescued who.

I am open about my disability in order to bring awareness and hopefully put a stop to the negative stigmas of having a mental disability. Movies and shows about MPD are not accurate and only cause people to believe the negative stigmas. By putting a face on this disorder I hope to change how people view others who suffer from this. With knowledge comes understanding and with understanding hopefully acceptance.

If you ever have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to ask. I do understand people’s curiosity and even skepticism. I can’t stop what happens to me, but I hope to be understood and accepted just as I am.

 

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Multiple Personality Disorder

 

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General Information About
Living with Multiplicity

Multiplicity is a state in which many people share one physical body. Being multiple means that one exists as part of a group of people, with all the benefits and drawbacks and challenges that any other group of people would have.

Although this has been known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID) I do not like using these labels. Both of these not only rely on the word disorder but DID also implies that there is only one person who has a delusion that there are others.Interestingly enough, DID is a diagnosis used only in the United States.

Some people may also believe that a Multiplicity is a form of Schizophrenia. Not so because Schizophrenia is a biochemical condition (actually several similar conditions)which causes thought disorders. It can be treated by medication, and in some cases by psychotherapy and changes in diet. Although the name comes from the Greek words for “split personality” it is not the same as being multiple.

I have been asked many times if medications work on multiples? No, medication cannot be used to cure multiplicity. Many doctors give anti-psychotic medication to people who report being multiple or have experiences (e.g., hearing subjective voices)that might indicate they are multiple. Medication is supposed to suppress the experiences so that the patient can work on what the clinician considers real-life issues. The drugs prescribed to treat mental conditions not only do not work, but make things worse for a multiple group either by making the body or one person (also known as an altar) sick, or many times hinders communication. Different altars in a multiple group may react very differently to the same medication. It’s common for even simple painkillers or antibiotics to work fine for one person in the system, but not for another. This can make diagnosis and treatment difficult, because the person who is ill must be found, and made to occupy the body enough for the medication to work on them.

Not all multiples experience this sort of division of physical symptoms, though. Many times, the body itself has an illness or condition such as an allergy, and whoever is out occupying the body has to deal with it. At times, certain altars may come up front when the body has a certain illness because they are better able at handling that illness. In this case, medication usually works fine no matter who takes it.

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It is possible to know or discover that you are multiple without having been diagnosed by a professional.I have spoken to others who have multiplicity and have also read reports that stated that they knew of each other all along, or became aware at some point in their lives that there were others sharing their body with them.These self-recognized multiples are often shy of disclosing, because of popular preconceived notions about multiplicity. Although I myself was diagnosed in my 20′s by a professional. I have always known that something was not quite right. I had a constant loss of time and often finding myself in places and not knowing how I arrived there or what I was doing there. But a professional diagnosis does not guarantee anything, and the lack of it does not mean anything either. Multiplicity is still something that many professionals are still trying to understand and learn about. Many are not ready to handle this diagnosis.

There are many myths associated with Multiplicity. For example, many believe that all multiplicity is merely a denial of memories. Based on Cornelia Wilbur‘s theory that multiplicity originates when a single person, most often a child, suffers traumatic harm and is forced to split his or her mind into many parts to hold those memories, this idea is not always quite accurate. Wilbur believed the myth that just passing a memory around will heal everything and allow the shattered pieces to reform into a single whole person. While there are a very few multiples who report this as being true for them, I have found that it does not always work. People in multiple systems can experience memories, accept that something happened to them, and still feel in clear possession of self-identity, just as a single person can. When you remember something you haven’t thought of for a long time, do you stop being who you are? No, and it’s the same for multiples. Forget what you have seen on television: retrieving a memory does not always overturn a person’s sense of self.

Another Myth is that everybody has different sides to their personality and you are merely mistaking them for people. This is the farthest from the truth as you can get.The people in multiple systems have different aspects to their personalities.They’re as complex as anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that each person in the system is a part of a “main, whole or “real” person. This is not just about behaving differently when you’re with your kids than when you’re at work these persons that are sharing the same body have their own lives and memories. They are all individuals that just happen to be sharing the same body. They become as complete as people who are walking around outside. They have their own preferences and ideas on things. They are people. They’re just like you. There is no serious reason to believe that people inside a system are any different from people outside it.

When I made the decision to educate not only myself but others around me about my condition, I was often told that I was “brave.” Others wanted to know why I decided to make this public. The reasons why is this: Because I and others like myself want to stop living a lie; because we want to stop letting our friends believe in a lie when we have the choice to do otherwise. We want to be your friends and talk to you as our individual selves, not cram everyone into some single identity through which to interact with you. We want to be accepted and understood as we are. That we have several people who occupy our one body and that those who share the same body are their own individual persons. They are not me (us)- They are very different from who I am because they are NOT me. They have their own names, ages, memories, likes and dislikes and beliefs. Also, I as a writer with Multiplicity want to show everyone that we are not some mental case. I consider myself to be both intelligent and just as stable as anyone else. I just happen to be the owner of a body that host several other individual personalities.

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The Dark World Of Mental Illness

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This is something I shared with very few people. It is a look into what your mind goes through when you live with a mental disability. I have always been open about my illness and in doing so it has also given me a lot of strength. I feel it is so important for others who suffer from any form of mental illness to know that they are not alone and there are people who really do get it and understand. I have Dissociative Disorder also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. I also have PTSD, Anxiety and Major Depression. All of which I have had to learn to live with as well as fight to live as much of a normal life as I possibly can. I have never allowed my Mental Illness to stop me from living life to the fullest and going after my dreams. What you read below is something I wrote many years ago when my children were still very young. It will give you an insight into the thoughts and feelings that invaded my mind back then, It is something that I know others have felt and experienced as well.

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“What is wrong with me?” My brain screams out in desperate pain. Emptiness is filling my soul, bringing with it the sharp pain of needles and pins. I am lost in the darkness of my soul. The tightness in my chest and the lump in my throat cannot stop the river of tears that begin to fall from my eyes.

I wander desperately through an endless maze. Its prickly hedges rise upward ten feet and I search for a way out. I am hopelessly lost inside this dangerous maze. “PLEASE HELP ME!” I scream, but to no avail. My screams are lost within my soul.

I feel darkness surrounding me. I sense the presence of a cynical unseen force, grabbing my soul with its huge hands and twisting it mercilessly as it wrings it dry. I move in slow motion, my thoughts floating slowly by in a stream of memories- showing every thought and every movement. I reach for the controls in desperation, but this cynical, unseen force continues to hold me back.

Every morning, getting up out of bed takes tremendous effort. I rise slowly…. heavy weights dragging me down. I enter the bathroom and turn the shower on. Not sure if everything is all right, I go and check on my children. Peacefully, they are sleeping soundly. I long to feel such a peace within myself.

I turn around and go into the kitchen to start the coffee. Hearing the running water, I realize I left the shower on. I return to the bathroom now misty with steam. As if in slow motion, I undress and step into the tub. The hot water hits my head as I close my eyes and enjoy its soothing touch. I stand under the water hoping the hot shower will wash away all the pain I feel inside. Every morning is the same. Mechanically, I dress, get my boys up and dressed and send them off to school.

Once again I am alone to face the pain that I feel inside. I never look forward to each day. As I go out among the living, I feel so lost and alone- unloved and unwanted. Normal conversation is a struggle as I disguise my darkness in a false façade of happiness. Expressions are mixed up and lost within the crevices of my brain- seemingly incomprehensible. As I pass by people, places and things-

I feel separated from the world by an unseen wall that is all around me.

My once normal memory has turned into muddy slush. Trying to remember things is like playing a game of tug and war with an elephant. Concentration seems impossible. Yet, the terrible memories of the past fill my tortured mind into overflowing. “Who am I?” I ask myself. Voices inside eager to reply confirm my fears by saying- “You are nobody important. No one cares about you. Your children deserve to have a better mother!” Then my river of tears begins to flow again.

Darkness and solitude are my constant companions. The world around me is grey and somber. Even bright sunny days quickly turn dim in my eyes. Constant torture and pain are destroying my soul. Happiness has become a distant memory of the past as I even question its existence.

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Desperately, I search for an escape from this existence. I yearn to lay down in peaceful sleep and never wake up… my lost spirit declares:

 

“Soon it will be time…

Time for peace to come

into my Soul.

I must wait patiently

for that time.

It won’t be long….

the pain grows more

each day…..

There must be an end

to it all.

Rapidly beats my heart-

Anticipation is in the air….

Soon, my pain will end.

I cry out for help-

and hear only echoes.

Crying is useless-

and help will come too late.”

No one can understand this burden that I bear alone. They do not see my pain, nor do they hear the desperate cries for help. All they can see is the façade of a strong single mother who has survived so much trauma and tragedy in her life. They only see a lady with a radiant smile for everyone she encounters. They only see a woman that carries herself in self-confidence and pride. But looks can be deceiving. No one has ever taken the time to look into my eyes and see the pain and despair of a defeated, tired soul. It is said that “the eyes are the windows to the soul” but no one has taken time to really look into dark windows of my soul.

My future is unrecognizable and truly seems unattainable. Nights are endless and each day another reminder of my wretched life. My sole desire is to just sleep each day away until salvation in one form or another rescues me from this darkness that has imprisoned my soul for so long. I have an overwhelming need to escape this life…. to fall into the comforting arms of an endless sleep. Death may be my final friend.

There is but one thread of hope… on ray of light that gives me the strength to keep fighting this darkness I have known for so long. It is my only saving grace-my only salvation. Hope comes to my dark world through four little words. It is the life-line that I tightly hold on to. Only three precious angels can speak these words to me… and when they do- the light of hope shines just a little brighter in my world of darkness. These for little words are: “I love you mom!”

It is for my three precious boys that I go on each day and bear the pain of my tortured soul.

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This is the world that I have lived in. It is the world that I have learned to escape from. Today, there is light in my life, and once again, I am learning what joy is. The path to recovery is difficult, and Mental illness will always be a disability that I will have to live with and learn to manage. It is an illness without a cure, but one that can be controlled. For me, staying in the here and now, understanding every stimulus in life that I experience, and learning to manage my understanding of the world around me is something I have to work on every single day of my life. Through it all, I have raised my three boys. My oldest is a decorated Law Enforcement Officer and my other two boys have work two jobs and live on their own. They are also doing very well.  The love my boys had for me and that I had for them I believe was my true saving grace. I may be everything to them…. But to me, they are MY everything… my heroes. There is no stronger force in life than true love. For, unconditional love will always overcome every obstacle in life. Unconditional love is a gift that is given to us, it is our hope for survival. It was my Salvation.

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Life Lessons For Happiness And Peace

I have always strived to live the best life possible that would bring me happiness and peace of mind. I also love to inspire others to do the same thing. It has not always been easy to do. Although finding joy and happiness comes down to very basic and simple acts… we are often challenged emotionally which makes it difficult to focus on those simple things. I realize that simple and basic isn’t always so easy to accomplish. When we recognize our failures and shortcomings, we become determined not to remain in that state of mind which brings us no peace. Our determination will allow us to succeed in creating the best life for ourselves and those around us.

Below are just a few of the simple things I have learned in my own personal life.

We all have to make decisions in life and sometimes the decisions we make are good, but there are times when they are not so good. I’ve learned that both play a big part in our life’s journey.  Sometimes the bad decisions we make are part of a learning curve that will allow us to appreciate it even more when we finally get it right. When we fall we learn to rise up stronger than ever. The most important thing we have to remember is to never give up and keep moving forward.

Live your life without any expectations from others. Quite often, people will let us down without intending to. By placing your expectations on others to achieve a happy life, you are just setting yourself up for disappointments and that will lead to pain. Expectations will hurt. Life is short so learn to love your life no matter what you may be experiencing. Be determined to see the blessings in every situation you experience. Live life for yourself and do your best to follow the following rules that are basic common sense. Sometimes,  we just need to be reminded.

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Refocus Your Life

Learn to listen before you speak. Assumptions often lead to so many misunderstandings.

Take time to think before you write. Our emotional nature will often take over especially with social media and we tend to write exactly what we are feeling. It is always good to take time to just pause, calm your thoughts and think before you write. Once you hit that “send” button you can’t undo it.

You have to Earn before you can Spend. Too often in life we are in search of instant gratification and we will spend more than what we are taking in. This isn’t inclusive to just financial. There are times when our expectations of what we think society owes us surpasses reality. You have to earn your rights to everything you expect out of life. Don’t just expect things to happen without any effort on your part.

Before you take action to hurt someone-learn to feel. Once again, in order to accomplish this you have to learn to stop and think before you react. Know the facts and put yourself in that person’s shoes. Compassion, sympathy and empathy will always lead your heart to peace.

Never give up without even trying. You will never know just what you are capable of accomplishing if you quit before you even try.

Give Love a chance. Learn to love before you hate. Love will always be the light that overcomes the darkness of hate.

Live before you die. Life is filled with so many opportunities to do good, to live happy, and to make our life worthwhile as we welcome each new day. We only have this life to make a difference. Let’s make it the best that it can be. Smile, Love and be just be happy.  Only you can choose the path you want your life to take.

Peace is so much better than being right. Select your battles carefully. There will be times when peace of mind in life means allowing others to find their own way to truth.

Be true to yourself, don’t live to impress. Reach a point in your life where you have no need to impress anybody. That is when your true freedom will begin.

Surround yourself with those who share your vision. Removing the wrong people from your life will allow room for the right people to enhance your life.

Remember that you’re only human. Cry, get angry, feel hurt… allow yourself to have a meltdown, but don’t allow yourself to remain in that state of mind. Remember to refocus on your goals and go after your dreams. Overcoming hardships rebuilds our strengths and determination.

 Know when to remain silent. There are moments when responding to something by being silent is the best answer. Silence can never be misquoted.

Recognize what a mistake really is. Making a mistake is accidental. But cheating, lying and stealing are not mistakes, they are bad choices you decide to make on purpose.

Do for others without expecting the same in return. Don’t expect anyone to do for you the things that you do for them. It will only lead to disappointment and pain. Remember that not everyone has the same heart or intentions that you do. Do for others if it makes you feel good about yourself and because you truly care. Remember that life is an echo and what you send out will always come back to you.

Be careful who you confide in. Remember there are always wolves in sheep clothing. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart. There will be times when a listening ear will turn into a running mouth.

Don’t feel the need to explain yourself to others. Not everyone is going to understand your life’s journey. Everyone has a different level of perception and often their level of perception will not coincide with yours.

Do Not Live your Life to please others. There are times when we experience stress, anxiety, and depression in our attempt to please those around us and those we love in our life. The common saying that “you can’t please everyone” is a fact. So all you can do is what is best for you and continue to show love to those who feel disappointed.

And from a Native American Proverb:
“Listen to the wind… it speaks a message to you. Listen to the silence… It speaks to your heart. Listen to your heart…. It knows your soul.”

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Life isn’t always an easy path to travel on. Our connection and relationships with those around us often make living our best life quite a challenge. Negativity tends to be a constant force that tries to block our path to happiness. It takes a lot of determination too overcomes these challenges. Just remember these words that many of us have heard throughout our lives…

“Loyalty is hard to find; Trust is easy to lose and your actions always speak much louder than your words.”

Realize that quite often you are only one step and one decision away from living the life you choose. Your determination will depend on your level of success or failure. Doing what is best for you and for your life’s journey does not mean you have to tolerate disrespect from others. Know your boundaries and don’t falter from it. Remember one of the things I already mentioned…. true freedom is reaching a point where you don’t care what other people think of you. Maintain your boundaries peacefully and respectfully.

And finally, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to never forget who was there for you when nobody else was.

Life is Beautiful! Live it in peace and happiness.

 

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