We wanted to take a minute, to let you in; the consumer, to understand for just a glimpse, the struggles and tribulations, trauma survivors, being us, endure. If you have read any of our other pieces, you will know that our journey, has been filled with regrets, failures, anguish, and also resounding moments of joy, happiness, accomplishment and satisfaction. We, have experienced these things all together, yet separately.
Our path with Becky, our therapist and absolute savior, is now at a point where the real healing begins. The fundamental emptiness that comes from NOT knowing, not only what you are, philosophically, but who you are, literally. For this very reason, we have always looked to different theologies and teachings for answers. Looking not only for the answer, but answers that made sense in the world we live in; when we say we, we mean “WE”.
We stumbled into Existentialism. We were enamored with the broad, abstract, yet literal principals. Romanced by the ease of assimilation of the ideals. We were speaking the same language, as if for a thousand years. Our souls awakening with wonder, and something we haven’t had for sometime, curiosity. For being curious, pondering the unknown, and then surging boldly into it, is a core belief of existentialism, as we interpret.
I was so inspired by the concepts and freedoms, which had always been available to me. We are now suddenly, drowned by enlightenment. Abstracts about our own existence, how we came to be multiple, the causes for such a travesty on a child. We are now able to see past the actions of those that brought to bear on us the horrors for which only now we see the truth of, almost half a century later.
I hope you can gain some knowledge from the experience I am still gaining. Pushing into the unknown, the nothingness that makes us man. The absolute emptiness, that gives us all meaning.
Existentialism and Dissociative Identity Disorder
As many o you know, we are multiple. Thats right, my cohorts and I, the alters, are all living these completely independent lives, in the same body. Try to imagine a version of Shameless, in your body, life, we’ll in your everything. This would be like living with DID. In a very crude and almost insensitive, and abstract format, yes.
The entire idea, of being multiple, is still one that causes fiery debates, and hurt feelings all around. If in a room of intellects, and you want to start a fight, talk about DID, sit back and watch the show. You can sell tickets. The controversy does nothing for the victims. Sorry, let me amend that, it re-traumatizes them all over again. Reinforcing the imprint of evil and terrible things once survived.
Existentialism, in our interpretation goes far in proving not on the true existence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but to facticity, in a lack of depth in intellect, to understand the humanity of existence. I know the sentence is grammatically incorrect, but in essence is correct; Heidegger, was known for his disdain of western language structures and was commonly communicating authentically, rather than in bad faith. Simply put, we cannot understand the human spirit, by analyzing the physical properties of it. You cannot create a human brain, just because you understand how to build one. The magic, the humanity, exists on a temporal level inaccessible to common intellect and concrete thinkers.
In Sartre’s work, survival, at the most base level, is the default choice for the human condition.. Literally, anything that we are doing, other than committing suicide, is keeping us from death. Traveling further down the rabbit hole, we understand that living in there here and now, as professed by many existentialists, is all we can do, authentically. We do not fall into being. We are free to make our own choices. The freedom to express ones beliefs through choices os paramount. When we define ourselves, only by our choices na personal actions as an individual, we free ourselves from social guilt, prejudices, and fears. We also open ourselves to individualized scrutiny and accountability. Thus we hide, sacrificing our freedom out of fear, and uncertainty.
DID, being multiple, to us is the ultimate evidence of the proof of the human spirit. Existentialism, forces the trauma victim, to survive. The human condition, fighting forward, through shit and hell. The now fragmented human(s), taking with them all the know ledge they have, as limited as that can be, trudging gallantly into the breach. Forever defining their own world as they need to to survive. The ultimate survival, the survival of the moment.
Lets Discuss this a bit…..
Authenticity. We have used this word a lot now. Let us not get this confused with the common misrepresentation of the word. Authenticity here is living an authentic life.
- To be authentic, is to be true to yourself.
- Live up to your potentiality.
- Be responsible for your actions, as they define who you are.
For the DID system, all of these things are the backbone of our existence. Being authentic for an alter, or a host, is not even a question. A person with DID, lives in the situation. Time becomes abstract, artificial. An alter has to live up to their potentiality every time they are realized into being. Alters do not have the depth of a complete psyche. Fragmentation, requires existentialism at the purest level. The alters do not choose, to be alters, nor do they choose their reactions to situations. Alters are pure, unadulterated, truth. Truth as we all know is perception turned inward.
Living as many, is a most frightening and usually, anonymous experience. Given, that in almost all cases dissociative disorders, the host has scantily a clue, of the crowd under the surface. Fracturing of ones essence, their very humanity, can only be caused by the most horrible of things, in the most frightening of manners. Much like the fission in a nuclear explosion, a seemingly severe, never-ending reaction to outside stimuli. As the body experiences trauma, humanity makes a choice; to survive, or die(suicide). The manner in which survival is attained is subject to the material the mind has at hand: Creativity, intellect, empathy, and other raw building blocks of personality. in this flash of a moment, in this somewhat inconceivably small timeframe, unmeasurable to mere mortals, the spirit makes a decision. In our case, welcome to DID. The process of living authentic to an alter, not an option. Living in bad faith is a result of allowing oneself to “fall in to existence”. Alters, are formed out fo pure, honest, fear and shame. They are result of the most honest and authentic choices any human, or organism fo r that matter, can make. Once we came to realize that our DID was a choice, although not a conscious one, a fantastic, resourceful and completely authentic choice.
Time, DID, and Essence
We wanted to speak of these things together. Together for us, may and most likely is, different for us, than singular beings. This is also a core theme in DID, time, and essence. In modern times, most everything we do is measured with time. This is an inherent issue for fractured souls. In our times, so much has been focused on intellect, concrete thinking, consumerism and capitalism, we have lost our essence, we try to measure our lives, to cheat the ultimacy of it, we lose our essence, our sense of being human, or essence, in pursuit of artificial desires and perceived system security.
Existentialism, at the core, understands that time is an abstract concept, not as concrete as the intellects, would like us to believe. What is time after all, but an artificial measurement given by people looking into existence, not “being”, living, and taking responsibility for it. Intellectual minds focus on facticity. This allows for rationale thinking, and emotionless conclusions. substituting rationale for emotion is the hallmark of controlling systems. As intellects immerse themselves in facticity, the existentialists will forever rebel with humanism, and emotion. The human essence is forever cursed with awareness. Man cannot live in oblivion as we are aware of our own mortality. Trauma victims, are in this category, whether their own consciousness transcends awareness. Their essence has a desire to live more than their consciousness. in the cases of child trauma, undoubtedly the most destructive, the mind breaks apart, taking along only the knowledge and experiences agglomerated in this moment in time. Akin to a snapshot of the here and now, fragmentation stores, collates, and places this in storage for later reference. It is this living in the moment, this disregard for the fears of the future or the past.
Time, as defined by the intellectuals, is a measurable unit by which we are good to do things. We measure our mortality in time, we measure our self worth in time. We have even allowed the mass beuqacratic systems to even “Charge for time”, more commonly known as interest. To a plural person, time is irrelevant, as we do not experience time in the ways, the system would wish it. A plural person experiences time in situations, moments, time without measure. Fo rate plural person, mortality is something we debate constantly. The plural person is forced to inquire of himself, as his time is limitless, and yet to a much greater degree than most, more precious. The plural person realizes that their existence is in the moment, just as authenticity would suggest.
Living in the moment is not enough. Once we are aware, we are “we”, bad faith begins to manifest. We begin to live as the masses expect us too. Teh masses begin to validate teh traumas of the past, instead of living in this raw authenticity, unfiltered and unscripted, we begin to feel a need to change our worldly manifestations to conincide with teh system expectations. We feel as if we are aware, so we can begin to change ourselves to attain what we have always loved for, acceptance, belonging, security. Ironically, the desire fo these things is the most dramatic example of living in bad faith, or to be not authentic.
Man cannot define himself in this way. To man if his individual responsibility of his own decisions, is to refuse ourselves the absurd freedom we have only just realized. Absurd why? Freedom in itself is the manifestation of true existentialism. You do not have to KNOW you are free to have freedom. You cannot escape freedom, however you can dismiss the concept in light of a lack of responsibility for yourself. YOU can choose to be free. This is not something given, earned, fought for or even bought. Freedom is the right of every individual, everywhere, in every time. Time and freedom go hand in hand. Conceptualize the freedom you can experience if time was irrelevant. The enormous feelings of dread and despair, we all feel every day. For centuries, man has turned to faith, theologies, and there less human manifestations to find a way to gain an artificial sense of control over their immortality. From family dynasties, monetization, and consolidation of power, ie amassing this worthless idea of money, to science. Why do you think people study medicine? Medicine is the mechanical study of the human body, without regards to the human essence. We give so much of ourselves to these people because we fear our death. We use time to remind us, to do things before we die. We have lists to remind us of our mortality. We are in a state of living to try and cheat death, knowing we cannot. Man currently exists looking backwards and forwards, never looking in the hear and now. Living plural, forces you to live in the hear and now. The consequences of the alternative are a struggle “we” live with on a moment to moment basis. Time has no meaning when all you seek is to survive the present.
To truly be Authentic, one must embrace the here and now, the core discipline when living with trauma. By understanding that we are truly free in being, therefore by default our being demands that we embrace it as we find it. To attempt to modify, or even deny our essence, our being, to the mass system, is to deny our very existence. If we are truly free, if we are truly authentic, we are required to embrace the here and now, as WE find it. Succumbing to societal normals, and cues from mass systems, is living in bad faith, and removes freedom voluntarily from the individual.
As long as we remain true and. noble to our humanity, and not revert to or digress to living in bad faith as the intellects and concrete thinkers would have, we can tackle the most basic, yet long standing issues of human existence. We can live without fear of adaptation, free to be whomever we are, ,at that time. Destiny s merely a product of our reactions, to others reactions, and so forth. History is not written until the individual passes through. when living with DID, every alter lives in his own reality, a reality we all share. Learning that WE can be anything. Learning that being plural is not a curse, or indicator of horrors best to the body, we can then as free individuals learn we have nothing to fear, as we are in control. The past is written, however the future is ours to write. Seizing the freedom as Sartre suggested, and commanding your world in your time and space is critical to the DID patient. Being plural, living timeless, perceiving the world through the eyes of many; these are all powers many have written about and studied. For those of us living plural, this is merely normalcy.
Man, as an organism , and not delineated by sex or race, is arrogant enough o believe he is the center of all things, except his own mortality This is a core theoretical belief, and necessary as it seems to satisfy the philosophical emptiness, imprinted on the Western world. The inability comprehend the end of his own existence, death, is the very reason that proves humanity. If in fact, man was unintelligent, and unaware, we would live our lives in blissful, serenity. Man even needs to explain his own awareness in intangible theory, as is in the Story of Adam and Eve.
Existentialism, can be useful in anyones life. most philosophical threes have some real world applications. In the tase of DID, and trauma related issues, We think that these are magnified exponentially. We live in a world without limits. Just as Sartre, was at his most free, during the Nazi Occupations, and whilst imprisoned at a German Stalag. Our very being, or essence, will chose to survive. THE core action that causes the fragmentation of the Childs personality, is in of itself an action, that requires courage, creativity, and intellectual complexity.
It is not the fault of the intellectual, scientific society that they do not, or can not understand then complexities of the human spirit. The intellectual looks at life from the concrete, from afar. The trauma survivor, looks at life from the here and now. From the moment we are in, unable from fear, shame, and guilt to look beyond the moment.
Existentialists know, the world Is defined only by our own actions, and the choices that bring those actions to be.our reactions to the presence of other individuals, and our attitudes toward them.Our world and ourselves can never be defined by looking ahead of the hear and now, but living authentically, truthfully and int eh here and now, pushing forward through the present into the future can define not only our past but our present. Learning not only WHO we are, but realizing that we ARE in complete control; choices that others made for our lives as children were NOT our fault, or choices, and that we are ONLY responsible for our own actions. These are key fundamentals in OUR path to recovery. I hope that are in yours.