By Lilian Mustelier
We live in a world of texting and abbreviations, second nature to some and hard to comprehend for others. DID and MPD are short words for something enormous, in fact most people are unable to tell you what they stands for. PTSD is an abbreviation which has been forced into our vocabulary becourse of the significant amount of people, which have been afflicted.
DID stands for Dissociative Identity Disorder.
MPD stands for Multiple Personality Disorder.
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The football player Herschel Walker released a book last month: “Breaking Free” .
By doing so he attempted to, once again, bring this subject to the forefront.
20/20 showed a report about…. A woman which wrote a book: The Woman Who Can’t Forget. By Jill Price and Bart Davis.
In 1997 I wrote a book: And The Moral Of The Story Is… One Person At A Time. http://www.highstrangeness.tv
Each one of these accounts touch on… in a broad sense… what it is like to be somewhat different.
Let me invite you into my world for a short time and tell you my story.
In 1987 I was diagnosed with MPD. It was determined I had suffered from said disorder since I was 9 years old. Extreme DID/MPD is brought on by severe trauma, torture or experimentations. It serves no purpose at this time for me to explain what this consisted of, only that during this time my own survival mechanism found it necessary to create a path for me to survive certain occurrences.
It created many compartmentalized files in my brain, which are accessible by different parts of me, Lilian. Somehow the brain managed to put in place the unique ability to become a “DIFFERENT” person all together, when it found it necessary to carry out a task. It was documented that even physical changes can occur, for example during an eye examination, in which my sight changed, from short-sighted in the left eye and far sighted in the right eye, to 20/20 vision in both eyes. Suffering from lifelong back problems and mild scoliosis, it was noted that during episodes I walked totally straight. Other times I have been unable to speak English. I am multi-lingual and sessions in other languages have been recorded by my therapist.
Changes in style of dress, food, music and physical activities are also common.
There was a time when I had no recall of anything, unaware of lost time or my whereabouts. It was not unusual to be unable to recall weeks. I jokingly call myself a “HOLEY” person, because I am unable to remember many parts of my life. It is not in my memory bank only to resurface at other times. I am unable to fill out paperwork which dealing with facts, including but not limited to medical history, work history or whereabouts. Many times I have no or very vague recollection of my children. I do not baby-sit my grandchildren due to fear I don’t know who they are and leave them in a stressful situation. I recall an instance taking a granddaughter skating. Not having skated in 20 years I was concerned about falling and hurting myself. Somehow I became 8 years old, the time period when I was an excellent figure skater. When it was time to go home I asked the girl with me to please call her mother, I did not know where we lived. I have made arrangements with my doctors to ask how old I am before leaving their office. Anything less than 16 is reason for concern because at that age I do not know how to drive.
For almost 30 years I have had great therapists which taught me, very patently, how to maneuver. There are no medications one can take, it takes hard work on a daily basis to navigate the maze, which is my life.
In recent times I had a therapist which, in my opinion, was not qualified and set me back in my learning progress by 10 years. Each time, after leaving his office, I would find myself in unfamiliar places. After several hours I did regain control long enough to have friends help me to find my way home. There were also times I would, the next day, find foreign food in the refrigerator. No recollection where I bought them, or how much money I spend. The Lady at my bank would pay a check …This is 2007-2008… dated 1974. She notify me of the overdraft (without charge ) and a friend would have to come to my aid and cover the checks. Please keep in mind while I, LILIAN, have no recollection of many things these OTHER people occupying my body are fully operational and function normally according to their standards. Lilian’s brain just shifts to a different compartment and operates according to the memory file in that part of the brain.
For those of you, which remember an EP/LP record along with the times your record skipped, after slightly tapping the record you might loose a fraction of the song you listened to, but the song would recover. Now picture a CD or DVD. As soon there is any discrepancy, dirt a scratch or malfunction with the disk you will not be able to continue what you listened to. At best you can try a different player, which is usually of no avail. The only choice you have is to reboot and hope the disk will recover. It rarely does. With MPD a person feels a scratch coming on, some times with masterful skills continue play is possible with a few bumps and skips. More often than not the only course of action is to stop, separate from the situation and reboot.
Each one of these disorders require a trigger. A trigger is something which tells the brain to access memories from a certain time period. PTSD, in my opinion, creates vivid memories which play out like a video, transporting the person in the time period said memory was experienced and forces the experiencer to re-live said instance and act accordingly.
DID and MPD act different in as much as it forces the experiencer to shut down and leave, therefore totally switching the brain to a facilitating alter. With intense praxis after 30 years I sometimes recognize when I am “Scrambled” If I catch it in time I am able to maintain enough of my composure to stop a switch. Other times my skills let me down and I have to do the best I can AFTER the fact. Example: A friend owns a small aircraft. She offered to take me on a flight in order for me to film aerial shots for my TV Show. I was excited. However, she called while I was writing this article, an almost impossible task. She called to tell me to come on we were going to fly. I said NO. It was only the next day I was able to tell her that one of my OTHER PEOPLE,
loved skydiving and I easily could have jumped out of the plane, without a parachute
As far as we can tell the “Persons” which occupy my body are as follows:
1. Male, in charge of logical decisions.
2. Small child, afraid.
3.Young woman, terrified of riding as a passenger in cars.
3. Woman, creative and excellent painter.
4. Male, prone to failure.
5. Woman, brilliant in business an PR.
6. Woman, mother and defender.
7. Woman, social butterfly as well as dancer very popular with opposite sex.
8. Woman, writer/researcher very focused producer/director/host.
And there is the ME, LILIAN. Nondenominational, wise, extremely psychic, happy and the facilitator of everything which is ME. I am unemployable since I am unable to function at all. When under stress I am not able to control which part of my brain is going to be access, who takes charge of what needs to be addressed next. There was I time I would argue about events, things said and attempt to explain why I would never have done or said what I was accused of and search my memory for days to remember what people around me made reference to. I would have to actually recover physically, much as one has to after surgery. With time I learned that, at running the risk of being called a liar, I now just answer with, this is not in my memory banks at this time, ask me again later, I might remember.
So, what do we need from the people around us?????
Most of us attempt to notify the people which we have close relationships with. Family, select friends, and people we work with, on a need to know basis. Health care providers should be notified, except there is no training other than how to deal with distraught people. In present times that can be a life threatening event for people like myself. Emergency personnel, ER personnel and Police are not trained to allow a person like myself to gain control, at which time everything becomes intensified. For example: I lived under occupation when I was small. A day after Sep.11 I saw soldiers driving by. A police car followed and for a moment I panicked. I realized I would not have been able to tell anyone my name. I was on my way to therapy and it was decided for me to wear a medic alert bracelet identifying me by name and to state I had MPD.
When spoken to I visualize everything a person tells me, sometimes it takes a couple of seconds longer to answer, than it would the average person. This is often mistaken for not answering or disinterest. The response of a person I am conversating with can sometimes act as a trigger. Triggers are different for each person. In my case it can be an odor, an event, holidays, a sound or the person I am dealing with themselves, their tone of voice when speaking or questioning me.
Picture yourself watching a TV program. You follow the story line. All of a sudden someone behind you changes the channel. You have little or no objection since you understand there are more people present that yourself. You get involved in the new storyline only to have the channel changed again and again and again at which time you are dizzy. Your blood pressure and adrenalin rises, your choice is to become confrontational or leave. My eye movement will change when someone switches the channel and I will always decide to walk away to reboot. Unfortunately even the people we attempted to educate are not able or willing to afford us this luxury. In rare instances people will deliberately create an instance to switch me in order to accomplish an agenda which is NOT in my interest. A law was passed in the 90’s to charge people with a crime if they were aware of a persons diagnosis and created a situation in which sexual favors are involved. The charge is Rape.
The suggestion of calling 911 for help does not serve a purpose in as much as a person such as myself is not able to explain to an untrained person what the problem is, it only intensifies the situation. It will add panic to the equation. If I was able to explain my dilemma, I could reboot and fix it myself.
What is needed is TOLLERANCE, it is almost more important than UNDERSTANDING. Even people aware of the situation forget or do not want to deal with an episode. They take things personal and are unable to RECOGNISE something is not right. AT THAT CRITICAL MOMENT. Stand down… Do not offer an aspirin and any medical solution. There is no pill, we need a clear mind and the luxury of composing ourselves. When the episode is over DO NOT ask questions trying to reconstruct what happened, this will only delay the recovery from that incident. Often there is NO memory about what happened. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONAL. DO NOT BABY THE PERSON. DO NOT EXCATURATE THE EVENT. Or outright lie.
I live by myself. Each room is decorated in a different theme. I can tell my frame of mind by which room I spend my time in. I create myself a focus point. I do well when traveling becourse it is not necessary for me to explain myself since I am only at a place for a very short time. I do things at my own pace. I ask to be reminded of appointments. I do one thing at the same time each week, so I know at least once a week I will return “HOME”. Unfortunately there are many people, which are not able to maneuver in this fashion. They live with others, they may not be as skilled as I have become after 30 years, they may not even know there is something which prevents them from functioning properly. My hope is that more education will be available for ALL of us, especially since so many people have at least PTSD.
Close your eyes, you hear hoofs. You assume, no, you know you hear a horse.
Open your eyes.
IT IS A ZEBRA!