It’s one thing to know in your heart that important people in your life are probably gone; it’s another to find their obituaries online. Saoirse had been talking in Discord about our DID journey and must have googled the therapist who saved our life and gave us our first DID diagnosis. Turns out that the therapist died last year. I guess that brought up emotions, and well, me, because Saoirse went poof, and now I’m here. As long as I was already teary-eyed, I did something I’d been putting off for a couple of decades and googled for another man who was important to us. He also passed, but long ago.
I’d like to remember these two men in this post.
I first met Dr. Craydon McDonald when we were an inpatient in a mental hospital after a self-harm incident. The main hospital psychiatrist, whose name I don’t remember, had slapped a DDNOS diagnosis on us during our stay but admitted he was out of his depth and brought in Dr. McDonald. Over the next couple of years, we saw Dr. McDonald once or twice weekly. He took a suicidal mess and helped us get on the road to recovery, helped us get on disability (which we needed at the time but went off of a few years later), and helped us accept our gender dysphoria. I regret the decision to stop seeing him, even though it was a two-hour drive each way.
I came across the next great man in my life not long after, Rabbi Richard Schachet. For a while, I wanted to become a rabbi because of him. He encouraged me to consider it, even though I was openly transgender in the 90s. Rabbi Schachet had marched with Martin Luther King and had worked with sex workers, the homeless, and the LGBT community… he was THAT kind of rabbi. The man treated everyone with respect and saw the holy spark in everyone. He taught me to wrestle with God and the difficult questions – he didn’t try to give easy answers. I fell out of contact with him when I moved to another city with my then-girlfriend, and I’m saddened to learn he passed at the age of 70 due to a car accident. Although I now walk a Pagan path, Rabbi Schachet’s version of Judaism still holds a special place in my heart. He truly believed in healing the world through action, and I think he did it in his own way.
If I had become host instead of Janet and then Saoirse, I think it’s likely we would have ended up with a psychology degree and a degree in ministry because of these two men. But that hasn’t been how life has worked out. In a DID system, compromising on your goals and dreams is sometimes part of the package.