Before Dissociative Identity Disorder (when I danced)

I have just seen a video from 2011 of me dancing with my friends in the ‘Stepsukaz’ crew, full of life, full of energy, full of passion, mentally well. It brought me to tears because it was such a memorable and happy time. I didn’t even know that Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) existed, my head was mine and everything that was in it was fully me. No voices, no hallucinations, yes I still had PTSD flashbacks at times and nightmares, my teenage years were tough mentally and emotionally, I had occasional battles with depression, some sleepless nights and anxiety, but no where near the scale that I experience them now. I suffered rarely near this level before, I was fully functioning and immersed in society, career and life. What on earth happened to me?

I went to Africa and fell in love with travel, from this I decided I wanted to be a nurse to travel the world – a nurse missionary was my hope and dream. Becoming a nurse and travelling the world I have surely done and I have loved those opportunities and experiences. I hope I have many more travel experiences to come. But sadly, everything unravelled for me when I went to Southampton in 2012 and went on my nursing journey. My PTSD symptoms became severe, I presume triggered by the stress of nursing. I had ran the London Marathon in April 2012, my brother got married in June to the wonderful Susy, the happiest day, still at this point truly, happy me, and then the nursing course got more intense. August 2012, I started experiencing psycho-somatic pain symptoms, chest pain and panic attacks! I started receiving help from my Church because I was struggling with emotional mood swings and then bam there it was – DID! I managed to continue functioning with it until December 2016 when I had my first psychiatric inpatient admission, 2017 saw many more admissions, 2019 more still. I fell apart!

I am not saying I have regrets, I really don’t. There are so many people and experiences I have had that I am truly grateful for. Friends I have met along the way that I most dearly love and treasure, some that will be friends for life, I have some very special memories indeed. I don’t even regret nursing, I have helped people, saved lives, met more incredible people, had some incredible job roles, learnt a lot and grown as a person in so many ways. I am proud to have been a nurse and to have worked for the NHS. But, I do often wonder, if I would have ever have DID come out like this if I hadn’t made certain decisions that I made, or was it always there waiting to unfold before me? was it inevitable because of the trauma and abuse I experienced as a child? DID was never even a thing to me before I moved to Southampton. I’d never even heard of it! I really hate DID! It is suppose to be there to be an intelligent way to protect my brain from trauma, but I would rather know every detail than have parts that hold it for me, I don’t want parts! It makes me feel so messed up! and I am so angry about it. The injustice of it. Not only does the abuser get away with what he is done because my memories are scrambled, he gets to cause me a life long debilitating mental illness! I am so mad! I am mad at him, mad at the justice system, mad at myself. I know I need to forgive and at times I have, but the anger comes back. I forgive, I am angry, I forgive again, I am angry again. I wish I could just dance with my friends again, just the simplicity of it, I wish I could feel that free again. I wish I could turn off the voices and the intrusive images, the suicidal thoughts, the anguish and torment.

Will I ever find that happiness again? I really don’t know. I have had a few glimpses of it when I have been overseas and I come alive. I loved my time in China, Denmark, Guatemala, other Africa trips, Thailand, an amazing holiday in Iceland. I seem to be at my happiest when I am travelling, serving others, dancing, singing, spending time with family & friends. I have had joy, glimmers of hope and even a period of being free from DID after a worship event, but it has all come back and come back with vengeance! I don’t know what to do now. I have tried meds, nothing works. Do I embark on therapy? or will that make me worse? will I ever be anything like the bubbly, full of joy Tracey I once was before? Or is wanting what was before the wrong way to even look at this? maybe theres an even better version of me in the future? I really don’t know the answers, or why this debilitating condition even exists. I don’t even understand how it really works, all I know is what I experience and it is painful. I grieve for what life was like before, when my Nan & Grandad were around too, that was a good time! Maybe I need to allow myself to grieve, this horrendous illness and all the things it has caused and prevented. The things I have lost! I need to allow the tears, the hurt to flow, the confusion, the fear it has caused my family, friends and I. I guess it is good to acknowledge the losses along the way, to process it, to allow the emotions to be felt. I guess, as long as that is balanced with all the gains and wins too, the blessings and the happy memories, what I have learnt and how I am growing as a person now.

I can’t go back! God even told me ‘Don’t look back’. How do I make this life better now? How do I deal with the here and now? I hope I can find the answers. Maybe I will dance again! I hope I can find the love for life again that makes me want to dance again. I hope I can dance. I simply hope that there is hope!

I am grateful for the friends and family in my life, new and old, people are amazing & I just wish that one day I can be fully well again to enjoy all of that to my core. I love you all so very much. I hope one day I will be truly happy again. Truly free. Maybe I will dance again! Maybe, after all this chaos, I will find me. Simply just me. Wild & free.

2 Replies to “Before Dissociative Identity Disorder (when I danced)”

  1. A very powerful article – it takes courage to be so honest and vulnerable about living with depression and DID.

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