There’s been some writing on blogs I follow about diagnosis, written from different angles. One post simply on the importance and helpfulness of diagnosis, and then some more specifically on the ins and outs of a DID diagnosis.
I have been feeling as if I don’t belong anywhere. And so I read mental health blogs of others who might be struggling in similar ways. And I still don’t feel I belong. Part of it is the issue of diagnosis. I have not chosen a path including diagnosis myself. Partly from having found mainstream medicine somewhat unhelpful, and from my paranoia of the harm a major diagnosis could rain down on my head.
So I’m not labelled. However. I still want to know ‘what is wrong’. I want to find what others in my situation have done about the kinds of issues I face. So I hesitantly diagnosed myself with DDNOS (Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). It’s actually called something different now with the publication of the new DSM version – who cares. Ron says I’m on a spectrum of dissociation – a lot further down it than most are, but it’s something everyone does do. That’s fine, but I can’t google that. I can’t find books on that. So I’m sticking to DDNOS privately. It’s like a hanger to hang my coat on, if nothing else.
I’ve found some books that are somewhat helpful. Though I also find books about psychoanalysis, which do not mention parts, helpful. Because a chunk of what’s wrong is not related specifically to parts – it’s to do with attachment, fears, paranoia, etc etc, so many ills the human being is heir to. Having parts is a feature of my personality, but it’s not the only thing.
DDNOS seems virtually absent from the blogging world. So I follow bloggers with the more severe DID. I can relate to a lot of those symptoms – a lot is similar for me. However. Some things aren’t.
DID seems to be a kind of boutique diagnosis to me. It stirs up such strong feelings. I’m not sure why that is. You will get people on the internet passionately advocating that there can be no such thing. It seems to stir up passions that other mental health diagnoses don’t. I can’t imagine someone denouncing bipolar disorder, for instance. Or even the more stigmatized schizophrenia.
From the DID side, there seem to be sufferers who are trying to keep the diagnosis only for their own ‘brand’ of it, also. Very very strange. DID is not a label I would want. I don’t want DDNOS either. Why on earth would I make it up? Why would anyone? I don’t know for sure about DID, but my version of DDNOS is not a side-show of any kind. You would never know I had it, even if you witnessed a switch. You’d make up an explanation for yourself – you’d never think it was a part emerging.
It is hurtful to read jokes about or denials of DID. I feel implicated. A psychotherapist blogger I respect has written disbelievingly about the disorder, that he’s never seen a case in thirty years of practice. I still read him, because I’m interested in his views on other aspects of psychology, but that stung. I don’t know why he’s never seen a case. Does it follow that it doesn’t exist?
In the end, the label doesn’t matter that much to me. Healing is the real issue. That involves remembering, tolerating pain,digging for the truth, allowing other people in, not being too afraid of change. The same kinds of things other conditions require for healing. It isn’t glamorous or special. It’s a worthwhile thing to be doing, it’s hard and it’s painful. Just the same as working through pain that occurs in other ways, with other conditions.