Hey all, it’s Sharon & Jes. This is our first real co-conscious time since Jes fused last month. So, in celebration, we’re having a disagreement. <laugh> No, Jes took a shower; that’s not the disagreement.
Jes: Dissociative Identity Disorder is a medical condition that can be extremely debilitating. You don’t see a Pride flag for COPD or Pulmonary Hypertension. A ribbon and an awareness day is appropriate, not a pride day. I’m not proud I have COPD. I’m not going to paint my cannula different colors and attach a “COPD Pride!” sticker to my oxygen concentrator. Why would I want to celebrate being sick? DID is the same.
Sharon: You’re not going to be portrayed in some Hollywood movie as a murderer because you have COPD. You’re not going to read about people losing custody of their kids because of COPD. You’re not going to be warned by your therapist, “Don’t tell anyone at work; I’ve seen people get fired for saying they had COPD”. Those all apply to DID. The stigma around the disorder is huge. It reminds me of the stigma around another “identity disorder” 30 years ago – Gender Identity Disorder, being transgender. <waves LGBT Pride flag>
<6+ hours pass in T-E-C land. Sensitive subject? We dissociated. Oops. This is Sharon; the rest of this post is from me.>
When we were first coming to terms with being transgender in the 90s in small-town Arizona, there weren’t the resources that there are today. But, what was honestly a lifesaver was a transition diary posted online by a woman named Melanie Anne Phillips. I’ve never met or talked to her, but I remember her site almost 30 years later. That’s the power of someone being open about a hard topic. Her honesty helped us face something that was tearing our system apart and that was literally causing some of us to be suicidal. Suddenly, we weren’t alone – we could see a path forward.
If T-E-C being open about our life as a system could help even one person like Melanie helped us, it would all be worth it. THAT is why I think “System Pride” is important. I don’t want a parade. I want to be an example for some system barely hanging on, that it is possible to live with this disorder. It’s not all doom and gloom. It can be fun too. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be on disability for the rest of your life and that there is no hope.
Being transgender reminds me of being a system in other ways too. We were obsessed with “passing”, of not coming off as transgender. Heck, we developed a new alter/host precisely to do that. We were ashamed of our trans-identity and made every effort to hide it. Sound familiar? We’re usually very quiet around other people simply because we don’t want to “slip up” and reveal we’re a system. How much interaction have we missed with people over the years because of that? Sure, we’re under the radar about being a system, but at what cost? Most people don’t even know I exist.
So hi, world, I exist. 🙂
Yes, there is a lot of crap out there about DID. While I don’t want to call out anyone in particular for being fake – only a professional can make that call – there are some on social media that just don’t ring true for me. But tearing them down wouldn’t be productive. Do I wish they’d stop? Yes. But I’m going to give every system the benefit of the doubt, not just for themselves, but for every real system that could be watching. As a trans person, I know the hurt caused when someone would tell me that I “would never be a real woman”. I don’t need to be handing out “you aren’t a real system” demerits. Systems have been horribly abused during our lives – we don’t need to do it to each other.
Pride doesn’t tear down. It builds up. I think we as a DID community need to work on that. So, yes, I think we need a Pride Day to support each other. An awareness day is about a medical condition. A pride day is about community. I’m proud to be a part of both the LGBT and DID communities. I’m a bisexual, transgender member of a dissociative system. And yeah, I also have COPD. 😉 Funny though, no one has ever told me “You’re faking, you can breathe just fine”.