Thursday, 21 October 2010

Doubting my diagnosis

I’ve been feeling quite confused lately. As I said, I am still getting my head around DID. It doesn’t help that there is a part of me that doesn’t believe I have DID at all. There is another part (who has been very busy lately) who really isn’t sure and tends to spend every waking minute trying to figure out the puzzle. What are my symptoms? How do they fit in with my diagnosis? Could they be caused by something else? What is it like for other people with DID? Am I the same as them? What caused this to happen? Some of the answers to these questions don’t help me to a conclusion in either way and I tend to swing from thinking: “Yes, it all fits perfectly!” to “It’s all a big mistake”. It is so frustrating.
The reasons I give myself to prove why I don’t have it, such as ‘I am aware of my changes in personality and if it was DID, I wouldn’t be aware would I? Therefore I must just have mood swings’ can be explained away: ‘Maybe I’m not always aware of them, if I do have DID, then I wouldn’t know if I wasn’t aware would I? And also, some people with DID are aware of what’s going on anyway.’
The disorder is variable.
The more I research other people, the more confused I get.
I bought ‘The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook’, by Deborah Bray Haddock to shed some light on the situation and the book Sybil (a true story of a girl with multiple personality disorder, as it was called then) by Flora Rheta Schreiber, to see how we compare and it hasn’t helped me either way. On the one hand, so much of the books fit with me, but then some aspects are so much more extreme than my experiences. I have never woken up in a completely different part of the country, not being able to remember how I got there. I don’t find clothes in my wardrobe that I don’t remember buying.
For me it’s more subtle things that I don’t remember: I will put something in a certain place and then blame my husband for doing it. Or I will not be able to remember what I did all day yesterday, but then if my husband reminds me, it will come back to me; it may be vague and not a comprehensive memory, but it will be there. Other times, people say: do you remember the time we did this or that? And I will get a picture of some event in my mind but I’m not sure if I do remember or if I’m just imagining that event happening.
For instance, we were watching X Factor at the weekend and I was commenting on one of the performances. I said I thought the song had been sung OK but that I didn’t know the song so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. My husband said in an incredulous tone: that’s Jealous Girl by John Lennon! I commented that I had heard them say that but I just didn’t know the song, to which he replied: “We danced to that song together in the kitchen!”
I tried to remember dancing in the kitchen with my husband to a song like this one. I had an image in my mind of doing this, but I couldn’t be sure if I was just imagining it or if it had actually happened. I didn’t say anything but I felt bad and wondered, was this another part that had danced to that song and holds the memory of it? Do I just have an appalling memory? Would most people forget doing something like that?
I feel sad because either way, I’d love to be able to remember dancing with my husband in the kitchen. That sounds romantic and like one of those moments you should look back on and smile.
So with all these questions I get to thinking: should I just accept that I have DID because that’s what my psychologist told me?
If I went to the doctors and they said: “From what you’re telling me, it sounds like you have diabetes: take these injections.” You wouldn’t just start doing it. The doctor would do tests to see if your blood results showed diabetes. So is it right to accept a psychological diagnosis without testing for other physical problems?
So I go to my doctor and say I want to be checked to see if I do have anything physically wrong with my memory. She looks at me like I’m a bit bonkers and asks what I think could be wrong with it if it’s not psychological. I tell her I don’t know, maybe I got a bump on the head and then I explain my diabetes analogy. She totally doesn’t get it and says that diabetes is a lot more common than a physical memory problem (what’s that got to do with anything?) and that the chances of me having a biological problem with my memory at my age (twenties) is very slim.
I highlight that Dissociative Identity Disorder is hardly common either so isn’t it reasonable to want to know for sure if I have it?
In the end she said she would ring my Clinical Psychologist to chat to them and refer me to somewhere for memory testing to put my own mind at rest but that she is sure the psychologist knows what they’re talking about.
The lack of understanding was apparent from a doctor who has always been very supportive and understanding in the past. I felt like a ‘crazy person’, but at least something good might come from it. Although if I go to a memory clinic and they say there is nothing physically wrong with my brain that would affect my memory, will that help me to feel more comfortable with my diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder? Or will I still continue to analyse and research in a quest for the epiphany?
Is it just the nature of the condition that I will doubt its’ existence at times? My psychologist believes that the fact that sometimes it seems obvious to me that it’s true and other times it’s obvious I don’t have it is just further evidence that I do have it (conflicting opinions from my various parts).
I would like answers to my questions but I don’t know if I ever will get any. Then I tell myself: “Well, if it is DID, the treatment I am getting in therapy will help and if it isn’t, it won’t” but then my cynical side responds: “If the treatment does help, you will probably just then tell yourself that you never had it in the first place and have just gotten through the phase of thinking you do.”
After going round and round in circles like this for days or weeks, it will eventually overwhelm me enough to cause me to switch to my function part and I will suddenly have no thoughts or feelings about the matter whatsoever.
BTW, I'd love to know if there's anyone reading these posts, it will be difficult to stay motivated to write about this if I don't feel anyone is reading it! Likewise, if you have any questions or if I am not explaining things well or you want me to write about something specific, please tell me.


Meronym said...

I'm just coming to read your blog. Although, some of the phrases I read seem very familiar - I suspect one of my alters has read some of your blog. Or maybe your other blog, since you said you had started another one.

I also struggle sometimes with not believing that I'm multiple. Maybe I am just extremely moody and erratic in my behavior. And then someone else comes out, and there's no doubt that it's not me, that I couldn't act or think that way if I tried.

Candycan said...

Welcome to my blog MultiMe and thanks for commenting!