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Me With Many Sides

August 4th, 2010

Guest post by Doreen Ashlee

I am 58, female and I am DID. Self knowledge and self help is all I have ever had.

When a person is financially on disability, there is no means to afford a doctor who could shed some light on this life that has been mine.

Tried a few therapists, that said they specialized in DID, but they were crazier then me. I came from a dysfunctional family. Raised by my grandparents, because my birth mother was not mentally well. “Did I want to be like her?” This was the grandparents mantra. My birth father was not allowed to see me once my grandparents adopted me. My birth mother’s 2nd husband came into my life almost after I was born. The well respected school teacher with the wandering hands. The man who took my life and left me split.

The real world and the fantasy world were the 2 places in which I lived. Just barely touching reality. A child alone, knowing at age four that I was in hell and God must hate me. I feel I have had many lives in this one life time.

Psychic abilities that started at age six and out of body experiences. Shared consciousness with everything from other worldly beings (bald head and large eyes) to Peter, the one I had a romantic relationship with for nine years. Was he an angel or an alter? Still have not figured that out. But he helped me remember the goods things about my childhood otherwise forgotten.

I lived in my fantasy world till my grandmother died in 1971. The year of the earthquake here in CA. And the year I lost both mother(suicide) and grandmother (cancer). The next year the loss of my birth father, another suicide.

Grandfather drank himself to death, but spent many years doing that. (blackouts and anger). My aunt and uncle were another added to the list of suicides in the family, along with their grandson. I am older in age, then many of my relatives ever lived.

In 2004 I went on a search to find out what was wrong with me. I met another DID person and realized we had so much in common. I kept my secret of what happened to me for so many years. I was molested from birth till I was 10 years old. That was a dark secret and one that made me hate myself for so many years. When my grandmother died, my ‘held in my mind’ fantasy world broke loose and the alters emerged. I tried to tell my psych. doctor in 04 but he does not believe in DID.

I have had to learn to stabilize myself. Peter was the best therapist I’ve ever had, but he was not physically real. That entity left in 2000.

Well this is a part of my story.
And I would like to be part of this.

Choosing me instead of you

July 11th, 2010

I tried hard to fix what was broken, I did.  I looked for clues, I did my work, I talked, I wrote, I cried.

My heart broke when the truth revealed itself to me.  I tried to hide from it, bury it deeply inside of my body, I didn’t want anyone to see it.

That was successful for a long time.  I tried to blame you, the reasons were all turned around and put back into my court and I couldn’t deny this was a truth I could not hide.

Looking for things that were wrong for so long until I found them, then I looked for ways to put them up high so no one could find them.

We’re in too deep, it has to remain as it is until one of us dies.  It will hurt too much, I can’t take much more hurt.  It will bury me eight feet under next to my Dad.  What have I done wrong?

I dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s, I checked and rechecked, went to the Doctor and went to God.

To stay in the condition would mean choosing you instead of me.  I thought that choice was the answer for me and I forgot who I was, what strengths I had, the hurdles I’d climbed before, and that I can overcome adversity no matter what’s on the table.

I sat, I cried, I wrote, I lied to myself.

I thought of him and how he did the same, exchanging his life for another.  It made him happy to do so, or it was what he wanted us all to believe.

A message from somewhere deep, rose up to greet, whispering in my ear, “don’t do that”.  “Right or wrong, it’s been so long, don’t walk the same road you saw me on”.

I love you, my heart would burst to prove to you if it could.  It’s time for me to sever that tie and find myself and I don’t even know why.

The beyond this will be beautiful, the beyond will be better than any of us could have hoped for.  I hate to be the one to change the tracks, it was the last choice, and when everything turned to black, I knew then it was only choice to bring my life back.

Do you know me?

April 19th, 2010

I belong to everyone, yet to no one.

You want my time, they want my time, I love you.

All of you.

Sometimes I want to be left alone, maybe for an hour, a day, a week or a month.

I’ll come back to you, I always do.

I just need time to collect myself, my thoughts, my emotions.

To shake them off, disperse the intensity, to just be me.

There’s a lot that I share freely, and then there’s a lot that I do not share freely.

You think you know me, and you do.

But not all of me.

I always keep some for myself.  I have to, or I’ll fall down

in a heap of empty and nothing.

And you won’t have anything to greet you when you are invited back.

Never forget that I love you, and I love them,

but sometimes I need





Care in Tough Times…

October 15th, 2009

To be frank, my life has been rather awful the past six weeks.  My grandmother, to whom I am very close, was diagnosed with E. Coli poisoning, had kidney failure and nearly died.  My father was diagnosed with cancer, and is starting treatment.  Combine this with the fact that I am a teacher whose students need a lot of extra help this year, and the regular ups and downs of a long-term relationship, the past six weeks have left me sad, anxious and worried about what’s to come.

For someone like me who already struggles with chronic depression and anxiety, circumstances like these can easily trigger an episode of sadness or severe anxiety.  Self-care, and care from friends and family during this time are absolutely imperative.  The truth is that difficult times can be navigated with a little bit of extra help, without falling into a well of sadness.

Self-care tips:

  • Take good physical care of yourself.  Any crisis is easier with enough sleep.  Exercise, get outside, eat well, and don’t overdose on caffeine or alcohol.  Avoid drug use.  Keep meds regular—avoid adding new medication or getting off of medication during stressful time.
  • Talk about it.  Keep talk therapy appointments, and ask a few friends or family members who you know you can trust to support you.  Remember, no matter what’s going on, you’re not alone—ask for help.
  • Know thyself.  If you feel yourself getting anxious, sad or depressed, take action before it gets to a point of danger.  Call your therapist, psychiatrist, closest friend or all three.
  • Get into a routine.  Get up for work, meet up with friends, include time alone.  Staying on a regular schedule, complete with things to look forward to, will help the craziness of life seem much more manageable.
  • Take the long view.  This too shall pass, and no matter how terrible the circumstances, it’s not worth harming yourself.

Tips for caring for a friend or family member:

  • ASK.  Don’t avoid talking about what’s going on.  Ask good questions, and above all, LISTEN to the answers.
  • Show up.  Try not to cancel plans unless it’s an emergency, and don’t be afraid to just be there.  Hang out, invite them out and try to be available as much as possible.
  • Be aware.  If you notice your friend or family member showing telltale signs of concern, such as isolating, giving away valuable possessions, a new calm after weeks of crying or anxiousness, than be aware that they may be preparing to harm themselves.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help in supporting them.

No matter how tough the circumstances, things will be okay.  Take care of yourself, and remember to take care of those you know who may be struggling the best you can.

This Time You’ll Listen To the Movement In Your Body

September 7th, 2009

It starts on a Saturday morning.  I slump out of bed and remember that I forgot to take my pills the night before.  So, I shake one Lamictal into my hand, and open the package that holds my birth control pills.  The last one I had taken was Wednesday.  Thursday and Friday are still there.  I stand still.  Completely still.

What was I doing Thursday, I think quickly?  What was I doing, what was I doing?  Then I remember: Joey got dizzy at work.  Joey hadn’t been eating because he was sick.  Joey hit a car on his way home.  I put him to bed and went out to get him Ensure, Mucinex and a milkshake.  Ate dinner in bed with him and fell asleep—intending to get up later.  But I never did.  And it never occurred to me that I hadn’t taken the pills.  Two nights gone, no pills.


You know, it wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t such a big deal.  So what?  Just take a pill.  It’ll be ok.

Except it’s not.  Except this drug, in particular, is carefully titrated.  Except it will take me four weeks to get back to my dose.  The first two weeks, I cut my pills into quarters, swallow ¼ of what I should be taking.  The next two weeks, I cut them into halves on a cutting board in the kitchen.  Swallow them there, exposed by the subtle blinking of the fluorescent lights.


It’s fine, I tell everyone.  I’m fine.  I’m fine.  I’m fine.  I repeat the words over and over again.  I’m fine.  My best friend, my psychiatrist, my mother.  I’m fine.

And I am, honestly.  That is the simple answer, the short answer, a true answer.

The longer answer is: I’m fine, and I’m working mighty fucking hard to be that way.

The challenges of my every-day life are magnified by the absence of my chemical crutch.  There are late-night papers to be written, for the first time since I was last crazy [and God, that doesn’t feel like a coincidence].  My car breaks down for what I declare is the last goddamn time.  Buying a new one takes time, and I sometimes feel trapped in my house.  I am flailing, sometimes, before wrapping myself up in a blanket or a book or a bath.  He doesn’t know it, but I am mentally flailing, until I turn on my left side and push myself back into him.  Wrap yourself here, I want to tell him, and it’ll stop.  Just trust me, I know it will.

But sometimes, the pleasures are magnified too.  I fall hard for a new friend, the rare girl in my life.  Sitting next to each other in the lab, we giggle in fits and talk shit in lowered, hushed voices.  When we aren’t together, we send text messages and our inside jokes accumulate like snow on something rolled down a hill.  Food is suddenly spicier, and my eyes water and my unmyelinated nerves scream and I choke down glasses of water and margarita until I have the slightest buzz.  Then saunter off, wobbly, smiling, laughing.  Sex is faster, and I ask for more dangerous things.  I am light-headed, or held down and fighting, falling halfway off the bed and upside-down.  I try to follow the lines of control—who is in power now?  Me?  Him?  Both or neither?  The answer is always best when it’s unclear.


This, of course, comes to the heart of the matter.  At times, when I am most vulnerable and open, when I talk about the past, I have to analyze what happened then.  What went wrong and how can I stop it?  Can I ever say with 100% certainty that it will never happen again?

In the midst of this aching vulnerability, I see the truth: that I could have stopped it.  That is, and will always be, my burden.  Bipolar disorder may have lowered my threshold, but I still crossed it.  There were a million outs, and I could have taken any one of them.  Sometimes, I did—ignored a phone call or pulled myself, turning, out of one of their grasps.  But not without turning back, tossing my head over my shoulder, smiling that old smile.  The memories are so seductive because they make me feel like I was good at something, once.  These days, sometimes, I feel like I can’t win.  But back then, dammit—I was good at something.  But I was very bad at maintaining control.

These days, I’m much better, but I still feel the tugging, the desire to spin out of my own control.  I’ve long theorized that these desires came from a lifetime that required control—oldest child, high school valedictorian, successful woman on the path to being something people dream about, something people would kill for.  My professional life, and everything it has taken to get this far, has required tremendous control.  I’m not surprised I want to lose that sense of power in other places.  I’m not surprised that I want to find myself swept away by whim, by emotion, by anything that I don’t choose.

So I am sitting, filled with want.  I want to kiss someone on the collarbone.  I want to reach out my pinky and wrap it around someone else’s.  I want to be able to pull someone’s hand and go somewhere dark.  At least, that’s what my wild mind tells me.

But I step back, smiling, and walk away.  No, I say.  What you want is to find yourself not knowing where you are.  You want 60 seconds of confusion, you want 15 seconds where you don’t know what is going to happen next.  You want the tiniest flicker that something unexpected will happen.


Which, unexpectedly, happens.  We’re sitting around, watching TV with friends.  One of them offers to roll me a pure tobacco cigarette.  I accept, with his promise that I don’t know what I’m in for.  That it will be incredible.

So, we share it back and forth, a simple kind of intimacy that I’ve come to appreciate and relish.  I pull the smoke down into my lungs—I am inexperienced, and bad at it.  I’ve smoked enough times to know what to do, but not nearly enough times to do it without choking or looking very unprofessional.  I feel nothing.

So, he passes it back to me, and says the rest is mine.  I draw in heavy, hold the smoke in my lungs until I’m coughing, suddenly nauseous and very dizzy, disoriented and confused.  I have no idea what will happen next, but I do know that I need to sit down.  Violently, my ass hits the edge of the porch, and I reel back.  The nausea subsides, but the dizziness, the haziness, the brilliant confusion lingers.  I pull Joey in behind me, and I fall backwards into him.  I fit perfectly there, and I remember that love is a choice, and that we have chosen each other—not just once, but many times.  The night is lovely, suddenly.  Everything that was wrong, everything that has happened drains away.  It will come back.  But for a few minutes, I’m out of control.  And I haven’t ruined anything.

I’m fine, I say to myself.  I’m fine.

Another shift in the journey to me.

August 18th, 2009

About three months ago I made a decision to stop contact with a few of my family members.  Some very key members of my family that have helped to guide me, shape me, and make me want to cease contact with them at some point in my life.

I did not just wake up one day and decide, “gee, this is a good day to stop talking to some people”.  It was more of a culmination of items over a period of years that brought me to the decision.  I’d considered over the years.  Not something that I’ve ever done before, never thought I would ever be able to.

It feels weird to me.

Now that I’ve gone and done it.

Stopped communication with a few of my family members.

At first, I could not believe how good I felt not being tethered to the legacy of unhealthy behavior that I’d convinced myself for all too long, that was “just how we are”.

Since the official “event”, I’ve happily reported to my therapist that I feel really good.  REALLY GOOD.  And, very free.

A very important thing to remember is that this is something I did for myself.  Not to punish anyone else, not because they are bad and evil.  It’s a road that I simply had to travel down in order to achieve some separation I so badly needed.

My history has been one of carrying other people’s anxiety.  No one asked me to do this, it’s just how I’m made.  Having spent many years going in the wrong direction for other people, I am learning how to go in my own direction.

This is something I’ve learned recently, by taking this action.  I can be influenced easily by others if I trust them.  This isn’t unusual –  it’s a common human behavior –  to be influenced by those we love and trust.  The key is to not forget who we are, and what our own story is.

Over the past few years I’ve had some almost insurmountable obstacles in my life, emotional pain that brought me to my knees and made me question everything that I thought I knew.

I could easily write about the huge injustices that have been “done” to me over the years, how unfairly I’ve been treated.  Sure, I could do that.  But what would it prove?  What would it solve?  What good could come of it?  Not any good, that’s how much.  I know this because I did spend too much time lamenting in that batch of unhealthy.

I suppose that was a necessary part of the process, until I realized that it wasn’t improving my quality of life in any way after my initial screams.

What IS important is how I process the events that happen in my own life.  What is important is what I DO with the events.  What is important is that I take responsibility for myself and my part in said events.

I love my family, I miss them.  I miss the good stuff, I miss the fact that they know me better sometimes than I know myself.  I hope they understand this, I hope they understand my need for solitude in order to find my way through this chapter.

I’m learning a lot, I’m gaining insight that previously eluded me, getting closer to the center, closer to knowing more.

About myself.


April 29th, 2009

Over the years I have gotten a great deal from attendace at CoDA meetings. I think one of my favorite aspects of that have been the affirmations.

I’ve put together a page on realmental, site to provide you with random affirmations that may be of use. Click to view another affirmations. I hope you will get as much value from them as I have.


Thank you for reading.