Ms Nasty: A (Very) Brief Intro

Dear Amy

I seem to be healing from taking my tumble yesterday. Although I’m still a little shaken up by the whole experience, I’ve finally managed to start eating toast and popsicles and I’m slowly returning to a place where I’m not scared to walk from one place to another without worrying I’ll collapse again. Who knew that such a hard impact could be made by my falling from a standing position? The real insult to injury (quite literally) is the entire reason I had gotten up from bed and moved so quickly toward the restroom in the first place was eliminated as just one of the several undesirable side effects of passing out on my way there. However, despite being a little unsteady on my feet for most of the day, I was able to take a long hot shower and do some laundry yesterday so the insult is remedied and the injuries are only superficial and will heal in time.

In between loads of laundry yesterday, I found myself without the energy to write despite the usual stampede of thoughts in my mind – made ever more so by having such a scary incident of failing health first thing in the morning. It is one thing to acknowledge my own approaching expiration date and quite another to be so painfully, messily and somewhat brutally reminded of it’s approach. It leaves me with questions like Am I really as ready as I think I am? Am I just fooling myself and will there be a point at which I realize I am and the panic and all the other emotions I haven’t felt too much so far will rush in and undo me; bringing a theme of histrionics to my exit that matches the theme of my leading up to it? I don’t want to dwell on these questions too much, as doing so might create a reaction that might otherwise not come and at some point the truth will reveal itself one way or the other without my helping it along. Until then I would like to get back to my existential crisis about life rather than spend anymore time in consideration of death. I really would like to approach death in the same way I approached my birth – obliviously, napping frequently and enjoying my accommodations.

I’ve read back through my last letter and I’m not sure if I am proud of myself for finally being able to start pulling my controversial thoughts out of my mind or completely chagrined to find them out there. But “out there” they are now, right? I will not delete or edit them (any more) and I’m going to work hard to keep my promise not to edit even the typos that burn my heart and soul (as so many of them do really – particularly the ones that change the whole meaning of a sentence) because it is my goal to remain authentic by capturing a stream of consciousness. Any editing, even with the best of intentions, opens up the risk for different versions of my self to edit the works of others and my experience tells me that spells certain censorship.

I’ve referred several times to the “we’s in me,” or my altered states of consciousness (“alters”), in our chats and within these letters and I have to admit that it is still not something that is easy for me to do. As I mentioned before, after first being handed this diagnosis, I went to the first place most people go when they want to find information on something new and Google is not kind to dissociative identity disorder. Just by the nature of the disorder and how it is formed, I guess there is a lot of grace to be extended in accepting that it will manifest itself differently in different people having developed it under different circumstances. Hollywood is, as to be expected, quite generous in it’s interpretation of the disorder. Being a child of the 1970’s when Sally Field introduced the world to “Sybil” and receiving my diagnosis around the same time that M.Night Shamalan’s movie “Split” was released had quite an impact on my willingness to accept the diagnosis because there was just no way I was in any way at all like the characters in those movies!

And I was right. I am not. Nor am I anything like the lead character in the series “Unites States of Tara,” another sensationalized and completely off target work of fiction that frustrated me when I watched it. I am not frustrated from taking offense at how DID is how is portrayed in these works but from the complete lack of useful and real information for someone who is looking for something to help them find themselves but only finds sensationalized movies and television series. Today there is a little more information available, including a handful of YouTube videos about real people that come a little closer to providing real insight but mostly into the fact that most people with DID are still still learning about themselves like I am.

In my attempts so far to identify the we’s in addition to Little One, I have found a handful of others. Most of them have somewhat fuzzy lines of definition and are more difficult to distinguish and describe but there is one other beside Little One who is very well defined and exceptionally active when given the chance to be and her name is Nasty. My therapist suggested at one time that I might change her name so that she wouldn’t feel insulted by it but I honestly think she likes it and may have given it to herself. Just like Little One, in the past I thought Nasty was just a very distinct blackout kind of mood I would get into sometimes. However, unlike Little One, this mood would last days, weeks, and sometimes months (maybe years but I haven’t broken down some parts of my past far enough to know for sure who was in the driver’s seat for some of it). There is no nap to reset from Nasty and in the past our relationship has been highly contentious, to say the least. Today it has taken on a whole new dynamic and for now Nasty and I have a truce allowing us both a rest from a lifelong battle for control. It is a delicate truce and even writing about Nasty makes me anxious it might create cause her to start stirring.

Like Little One, Nasty has a unique physical appearance and personality. While she is apparently highly aware of me and knows my thoughts and memories, I do not know all of hers and I’ve learned over the past few year as I’ve inventoried my life that it has most likely been Nasty who has so seamlessly taken my place without even my children noticing on those occasions when I’ve “woken” in the middle of my life with no idea how long I’ve been gone and only a dream-like memory (at best) of what has happened while I’ve been gone. And almost every single time this has happened, when I “left” I was usually single but upon returning to my Self, I was always in a relationship.

It is hard to write about Nasty without feeling a lot of resistance and that’s probably because there is a still a power struggle between the two of us even with the truce. This is because both of us believe ourself the real Self. You see, Nasty thinks that I am an alter and she is the real me. A little over a year ago I figured out how to subdue her and got the upperhand and, with a truce now in place, have more or less maintained control since. With the exception of maybe 3 or 4 weeks since October of last year, Nasty hasn’t been in the driver’s seat and as a result my life has been nice and quiet. Just from telling you this little bit about Nasty and the power struggle between the two of us, I feel worn out. I may not be ready to do this after all! When I get the chance to write again, maybe I will get a chance to ate least tell you about how I managed to get the upper hand in things. Then you’ll understand why things are so tense and why even telling you this much has worn me out so much.

I must nap. Will write again soon.

Yours,

Me