I’m going to open my soul to you starting today. I’m going to begin to tell you my of how I have overcome overwhelming odds to get to the other side of the grief and trauma of severe childhood abuse.
I have written some controversial words of late, trying to start people thinking about where they are in their efforts to gain a life after beginning their long travels down the road less taken. Someone suggested I tell more about myself so that my readers can see that I’m not saying the things I say without understanding the full ramifications of those words. This article, a those that follow, tell of my struggles and heartaches while learning the life lessons that have brought me to where I live today.
The Road Not Taken
The phrase ‘the road less taken’ was inspired by a beautiful poem written by Robert Frost entitled, ‘The Road Not Taken. Although the intention of the poem by Mr. Frost wasn’t intended to evoke the strong feelings it does, many people who read it are deeply moved. The Road Less Taken was meant to be a facetious look at his travels around the English countryside, his words say much to the human condition.
We all face decisions that can alter our lives on a regular basis and this poem speaks to many of facing decisions in life and then wondering if we made the correct one. What is we had turned left instead of right? Should we return to where we began and try again?
I Learned Two Things About Myself
When I first read The Road Not Taken, I was inspired because I realized two things about myself.
One, I have made many life-changing decisions, and many of them have been dead ends.
Two, I am not alone in this respect. Everyone makes mistakes in their life decisions. That is totally human and okay.
While thinking on Robert Frost’s poem, I thought of how entering and remaining in therapy until finding peace is indeed the road less taken. Therapy is the road that many either choose to avoid or abandon at some point because of the hard and grueling work involved. Those of us who have chosen therapy and to look ourselves straight in the eye, are the exceptions.
So, with that introduction, I am going to attempt to relate my story and show that I’m not just some nut job who claims to have knowledge about dissociative identity disorder, and therapy.
I am shouting out that indeed, I know what I’m talking about.
An Important Note
One important note to my readers.
I have made the decision and promise that on this blog I will not publish any gruesome or highly triggering details. I was sold, used, starved, and a lot of other horrendous things and saying that is enough. Comparing my abuse to yours is useless and I will not promote that line of thinking. Looking to see who suffered more is comparing apples to oranges, and doing so is useless and harmful. I do not enjoy playing the one-up-man-ship game, where I you tell me what happened to you and I try to one-up you by telling you something worse. That is childish and very unproductive.
Okay. I will begin the year I was diagnosed and go from there.
From the Beginning
When I was twenty-nine years old, I was working for a huge insurance company, and enjoying my work. I was quickly climbing the corporate ladder and earning more than I ever had before. I knew my childhood was bitter, and I also knew there had been sexual misconduct on the part of a beloved family member. This person had disowned me, but the specifics of what had happened between us were vague.
I didn’t consider this vagueness as anything to concern me or the many other abnormalities in my life. These behaviors were things I had lived with all my life and didn’t know were different from other people’s experiences.
One evening, as I was going to bed, I turned off the light beside my bed. When lay down, I was suddenly no longer in my warm, safe bed, but somewhere else.
I found I had become a little girl, who was being raped. I was screaming and overwhelmed with terror.
***End Trigger Warning***
The flashback ended abruptly, and I quickly turned the light back on. I had no idea what had just occurred. Shaken, I was afraid to turn the light off again, and spent the rest of the night awake and shivering. I somehow knew it had something to do with my childhood, but I couldn’t reconcile what I had just experienced with any firm memories.
These episodes kept happening over and over again. They would strike anywhere and at any time, day, night, at work, at home, it didn’t seem to make any difference.
A Fateful Night
One evening I was invited by a friend to an incest survivor’s group. I had told her of the nightmarish things I had been experiencing, and what little I recalled from my childhood. She suggested I attend her group that night with her.
The following evening, I sat among a group of women survivors not anticipating any insights into what had been happening to me. I hoped to speak to the therapist who led the group after it ended to get her opinion on the strange things that were happening to me.
I Felt Confused
It so happened that night they had a speaker. She got up to tell her story, and I heard maybe two sentences. When I came to myself again I was lying on the floor in the fetal position with the group of women standing protectively around me. I then became aware that the therapist was kneeling beside me speaking in a soothing voice.
I felt confused and afraid. What had just happened? Why were they all looking at me that way?
After the other women had gone home, the therapist sat with me and we talked. She suggested that I see someone for therapy, but she felt she was not qualified to help me. She then wrote down the phone number and address of the therapist who she believed could help me. It was to be the number of my mentor for almost three decades who changed my life forever.
The Beginning of My Travels
I walked into Paula’s office the first time one day in early February 1990. I had never been in therapy and had absolutely no idea what to expect. For the next three months, she sat and observed me, trying to figure out who I was and just what was going on with my mind. In discussions many years later, she related to me how astonished she was by my ability to consciously leave the room. I would go blank, and she knew that she was then alone in her office. She pried out of me as much background as she could and noted the extreme memory gaps from my childhood. There were many other things that intrigued her.
Finally, in the spring of 1999, she told me that she believed I was living with a condition called at that time multiple personality disorder.
Thus, began our long, hard, almost deadly trip down the road less taken.
There Will Be Further Excerpts of My Travels
I will be writing further installments of my story as we go along. I will be starting classes next week (January 8, 2018), and I am taking five classes. That means I’m going to be very busy, and my posts may become less frequent than what I usually do.
For this, I apologize ahead of time.
Gaining a peaceful life when you have lived all your life with dissociative identity disorder takes time. It is not a simple task or something for the meek or weak hearted to attempt.
It Is The Road Less Taken
Getting well has been the most arduous and difficult thing I have ever set out to accomplish. It has almost cost me my life four times and cost me two romantic relationships. No, therapy isn’t for the weak, it is for the very strong who are determined not the let those who harmed them as children win.
It is the road less taken and the road not taken all rolled up into one.
Please read the poem below and see if it doesn’t speak to your heart as well.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.