It’s incredibly difficult to live with a mental illness, and also be extremely self aware. I am perhaps too aware of self (although my view is admittedly a bit skewed). I spend a lot of time alone, and the silence can sometimes make me go down a rabbit hole of self-reflection. And of course the others always have their own input. Sometimes their feedback can feel like one of my own thoughts and then I get confused because I don’t understand where the thought comes from.
One thing I’ve uncovered about myself creates a bit of a sense of contradiction in my role as the host of the system. On the one hand, I have swum in the river of denial. It’s taken me two years to fully accept that I have DID. Even as I accept it, I still have moments where I think I must be making it all up. If my head is silent, I’ll question if I imagined the other voices. If I don’t switch for a few days (or at least don’t realize I’ve switched) I’ll question whether the others actually exist. I am a master at questioning my own experience.
Sometimes my denial is so strong that I actually block communication from the others. I will so strongly believe that I don’t have DID, that I refuse to pay attention to the others. (This does not make the voices stop, I just actively ignore them). There’s plenty of reasons I fakeclaim our system. Some of our experiences don’t match the experiences discussed in social media posts. We switch multiple times a day, but “experts” have said that it’s typical for the host to front for a large majority of the time and the alters don’t switch out very often. I can have full conversations with the others, but the “experts” say I shouldn’t talk to the other alters. Learning to get along with my system is improving my life. According to the “experts” I shouldn’t have any good experience with my DID.
Honestly, fuck the “experts”.
The opinions of the “experts” don’t change what I experience. And I am learning to accept my own experiences. But I still have my moments.
On the other hand, there have been times since learning about the system where I have begged for somebody else to take over. I wanted to go dormant and let someone else become the host. My external stressors were becoming exceptionally heavy, and internally we were a mess. I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Being the host is hard, and I was struggling.
As Cameron would constantly repeat, how could I beg that someone else take over when I was denying that someone else existed. It was a weird dichotomy to live with. I was so confused, and didn’t know what I believed. And the fact that no one did take over host duties was evidence I used to back up my denial–even as Cameron would question my logic. The truth is there wasn’t a lot of logic; I was acting out of fear.
Interestingly enough, both issues began to resolve themselves as I started trusting the others. I think I was so burned out that I was just happy whenever someone else took over (even though it worried me at the same time). As I realized we could still function when the others were out, and that they weren’t going to sabotage my life, I trusted them to be out more. And I realized it was my control issues that were getting in the way of our healing.
I was so afraid that someone would front and ruin my life. I was afraid that I wouldn’t act like “myself” and that people would think I was weird. I was so afraid of giving up control. But I failed to internalize the fact that I didn’t develop DID with the diagnosis. The DID has been there my entire life. Getting the diagnosis made me aware of it. But the others had been carrying out my life and pretending to be me for years. Just because I was now aware of them didn’t mean they would suddenly forget how to function.
Learning to give up control subsequently increased communication. And with increased communication, it became more difficult to deny the existence of the others. As I was overcoming my denial, and trusting the others, I stopped hating my role as a host. I stopped begging that someone else take over the role. I was able to function within my role.
I know now that I was burned out. 2022 was an extremely tumultuous year for us. I was a single parent with a full time job. I was worried about finances. I was recovering memories. And my constant denial and attempts to block the others left me exhausted.
For a short time in the first few months of this year, I did sort of get pulled from my role as a host. I wasn’t fronting as often and the others were taking turns doing all the host duties. They went to work. They took care of our son. They communicated with our friends and family without worrying them. Eventually I was well enough to begin taking on host duties again. What I needed was rest. And I wasn’t able to get that rest until I allowed myself to trust the other alters.