I’ve been meaning to write this page for quite some time. I usually write about my present life and how I deal with my mental illnesses but I never or rarely talk about why my brain developed DID. This page will probably change few times because I’m struggling to write down “everything”. Anyway, here we go…
1983: I was born. The first 3 years old my life were I believe pretty normal. I was born within what could be called a higher middle class family (my dad succeed with his businesses)
4 years old: My mum pregnant had a terrible car accident, my brother was born in August and died in October. My parents didn’t know how to deal with grief. My dad turned to alcohol and my mum completely relied on me.
5 years old: My mum got pregnant again and I had a baby brother. My mum couldn’t function so I had to do everything a mum would do; bath, sleep, feeding, etc. My dad was never at home and when he was, he was drunk and beat up my mum. I had to wait on the top of the stairs until he put his music on in order to help my mum. My first 2 alters, Emily and The Mum, were created around that time and for the next 25 years, I lost myself. My alters took over for most of the time from that point on.
7/8 years old: I was looking after the household, my mum was very close to my brother because she was scared he was going to die but left all the chores to me. I was feeling more and more abandoned and was very angry all the time against my brother. I was reproducing what my dad was doing to my mum to my brother.
From 5 to 16 years old: I was always a good student at school, I wanted to please my parents as much as possible and didn’t want to be a burden for them. My school reports were signed by me, my parents didn’t have time for me and never came to any of my representation (gym, theatre, choir, book reading, etc).
13 years old: My dad was always drunk and more violent. My 3rd alter was created. She (my alter) changed the locks and threw my dad out of the house. I contacted a lawyer, pretended I was my mum and divorced my dad. We moved in another house and my mum had to go back to work. The household was still my responsibilities and looked after my brother.
14 years old: Money were tight, my dad didn’t pay the alimony. I was going every week at his home to ask for the money, I had to call the bailiffs few times. When we couldn’t eat, I made sure my brother had something to eat at least. I was stealing from my school canteen in order to eat an apple or two. My fourth and fifth alters were created, Ana and Anabelle.
15 years old: I was anorexic (are you really surprised there?!). I met my first boyfriend. He was a year younger than me. he understood me, he helped me, it was my way to regain a normal life. My mum had a new boyfriend, she couldn’t trust him and made a habit to wake me up in the middle of the night in order to follow him in the car.
16 years old: My “boyfriend” raped me. What else to say… I don’t want to give details there. Ana and Anabelle started to self harm The Body, I try to commit suicide (a cry for help), my anorexia was out of control. I was still alone. Years later, my mum admitted she knew about the rape and didn’t do anything, “she couldn’t”. Funny, hey?! I started to see our first therapist, we never told her about the rape.
17 to 21 years old: My life of court procedures, rape and looking after my family carried on. I started working along my studies to bring more money at home (5am to 8am at a bakery, 8am to 6pm at school and 7pm to 11pm at a restaurant. During holidays, I was working at a factory). I had curfew and if I was late, my mum would guilt me and told me she would kill herself. My life was controlled by her and I live my life for her. I still have to deal with my dad (who got remarried) and the lawyers/bailiffs.
22 years old: I finished my two degrees (with hons!) and I left my country to be an au-pair in the UK. I didn’t speak a word of English (or very basic words). I told my mum one week before my flight. I was feeling extremely guilty and hated myself. Self harming became daily.
22 to 26 years old: I didn’t know who I was so I lost myself many times with daily switches. I couldn’t “front” and The Mum, Ana and Anabelle were the main ones out there. I started going out and started to drink, heavily. As my alcohol consumption increase, my self harming and suicide attempts also increased.
25 years old: My mum, my brother and my step dad came to visit me for my birthday. I (We) drunk, left them in a middle of a bar and tried to commit suicide. My mum found me the next day in my bed covered in blood and begged me to go back in France.
26 years old: My company agreed to transfer me to Paris, my depression was at the worst. In the subway, I “glued” myself against the walls because Anabelle wanted to jump in front of the metro. Every couple of weeks, I would go back to my parents and revert back to our old life; me dealing with their problems/lives and forgetting myself.
26 years old: I saw a therapist in Paris. For the first time in my life, I admitted to someone that I was hearing voices. She made me sign a paper allowing my parents and her to put me in a “special home”. When I told my mum, she told me not to “be ridiculous”, that I wasn’t “mad and crazy”.
27 years old: I transferred back in the UK after pretending to my mum I was feeling better. My depression and suicidal thoughts was daily. I started seeing a new therapist. I didn’t tell her about the voices, we did some tests and one day she asked me “do you hear voices?”. I said “of course not, I’m not crazy!”. She explained DID to me, I cried my eyes out. For the first time in my life, someone cared about us, someone didn’t tell me I was crazy but that it was “normal” because of my trauma.
28 years old: I met J. Told him on the first night I met him about my DID and my life story (I was drunk and didn’t know then what drinking alcohol was doing to me). He never left my side since then and for the first time started to trust a man (still issue with that but you can’t blame me).
32 years old: (2016) I now know how to control my DID and switches, we did a lot of work with my alter and understood my trauma and past. Some years were very bad, I attacked J. twice, had terrible bout of depression. But I always managed to work and rarely took a day off, I built my businesses and found myself along the way. Discovered I was a very creative person, Ana and Anabelle paint and write, Emily is a very witty and funny little girl and absolutely adore J., The Mum is fantastic with a sewing machine.
This story, my story, our story is what made me/us. I’m not ashamed of it, I’m not looking for pity. I have always been quite vocal about mental illnesses, at a time when talking about depression wasn’t acceptable. I strongly believe that a lot of people came in my life for a reason, that they needed to hear my story to be able for them to reach for help. I strongly believe that more people need to know about DID, that it will help, that “hearing voices” doesn’t mean you are crazy.
My DID and other mental illnesses don’t define me but they are part of me. I decided not to integrate because I don’t want to lose a part of me (literally and figuratively). Even if my story isn’t “funny” or easy, I always try to see the positive side of things, I love my alters, they saved my life. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness, and would like people to understand that it is okay to feel like shit, that it will pass.
We live in a world when it is easier to concentrate on the darkness when sometimes we need to feel the light.