Dissociative identity disorder isn’t like you see in the movies. For me, it’s having many souls that are housed in the same body. They all have different world views, are different ages, different nationalities and even different sexes and sexualities.
I have 1001 personalities that have been created to protect the original child.
The best way I can describe living with dissociative identity disorder is by likening it to a passenger flight.
There’s a pilot and co-pilot, traffic control, baggage handlers, flight attendants and of course all the passengers.
Then there’s me, Shazi – I’m the radio operator. There are lots of things going on, problems to solve and a lot of co-operation to make the flight happen.
I was in my late 30s when I began to understand that my disjointed life was far from normal. I realised I had been living lots of ‘little lives’ and not one continuous one. These ‘little lives’ saw me having very different lifestyles, partners, wardrobes and jobs.
I wasn’t functioning at all well and decide that it would be safest to see a psychologist. I was losing time and my behaviour was constantly changing, or I was immobilised and unable to do anything. I spent over a year with a psychologist with not much progress.
I was having what I now know to be panic and anxiety attacks. I was passing out and having flashbacks. I spent hours crying. I had the strangest sensation of being picked up and plonked into someone else’s body.
Two things happened that that made it apparent that dissociative identity disorder should be looked into.
One day I was sitting alone and thought I saw someone. I realised it was my arm. I had moved it with no knowledge of having done so.
Then, while I was at a friend’s home, I was embarrassed to fall asleep. I began to apologise, when my friend told me that I hadn’t been asleep. She went on to tell me that, yes, I did put my head down, but then sat straight back up again, talking to her. She then went on to explain that it wasn’t me. I didn’t look like or even sound like me. My friend told me she had been talking to ‘someone else’. We were both very shaken. My friend said it was like I was possessed by someone else.
I went to my psychologist in a very distressed state, which quickly led to my diagnosis being confirmed by a specialist. This explained a lot.
Dissociative identity disorder usually comes with many other issues. For me it’s post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, panic disorders and seasonal affective disorder.
What It’s Like Living With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Lily Bailey explains on No Filter with Mia Freedman. Post continues after audio.
Every time there is trauma the human mind cannot cope with, those of us with a particular predisposition split and create another persona or alter.