FEATURED IMAGE by AINSEL-ART
I’m sitting with my legs crossed, my toes uncomfortable in my high heeled autumn shoes. He has very small handwriting as he marks down what I tell him, tapping on a keyboard doctor-style with two fingers every now and then. I tell him about the CSA, the neglect, everything that has ever gone more or less poorly in our life; I tell him about the personality splits (first one was at around five years old, new ones emerging every five or so years from there) and my symptoms, the time loss, the amnesia, depersonalization. He looks at his computer and puckers his moustached upper lip toward his nose in a thoughtful expression, gasping at some gory details. In the end he tells me: ”What you’ve got is a textbook example of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I’m appalled no other professional has had the eye to diagnose you with it.”
A heavy weight falls off my shoulders, settling on the floor with an imaginary bang. I cannot believe what I’m hearing. I ask several times to reassure myself that this is what he said, blurting out in a fuss all the things my previous docs have said about Borderline Personality Disorder and Demanding Personality Disorder and You-Name-It Personality Disorder, as though somehow their small margin of dissociative aspects would be enough to account for my symptoms. He smiles an old smile, slightly amused by my mixed up state of confusion and exhilaration.
I cannot tell you how good it feels, after so many years, to feel like you have been listened to. To feel like your words have been taken as the truth. To feel like you are being perceived for who you really are. I used to try to contain myself by telling myself that it was ”just a diagnosis” – but in reality it is everything that could in any way take the lead in planning my treatment and recovery. As I sat there in his armchair I began to imagine myself stomping into my doc’s office with a smug smile on my face and a paper in my hand that stated that yes, this little looney does in fact have D.I.D.
Next we moved onto my medication. He pulled up an Excel file and started tapping in my prescriptions. He likes to do this with his patients’ medication lists, he says, makes it easier to follow. He makes that face again, that moustache-up-to-the-nose face, and looks at me: ”Your current medicinal cocktail needs some fine tuning.” Sharing my disgust for my Abilify, he introduces me with a drug called Perazine. He types up, in another Excel table, a plan for smoothly switching it up from Abilify to Perazine. My Venlafaxine, he says I should keep if I feel comfortable with it, as well as my Mirtazapine and Atarax.
I board the train back to my town, still in disbelief. After all these years, I have been officially diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. And though you’d think that receiving any such diagnosis would feel like receiving a prison sentence, I am thoroughly happy. Despite the dent this trip has put in my monetary balance, I am happy.