We felt very alone in our DID. A couple weeks ago it occurred to us to search for groups on Facebook that deal with dissociative disorders. I found them fairly easily and joined a group.
At first being active in a Facebook group with dissociative disorders was destabilizing and overwhelming. Everything about having DID seemed to be more real, too real to be more accurate. I identified with these group members. Even though their terminology was different, it didn’t take much reading for context to understand what they were talking about. In many ways it was like looking at myself in a mirror and seeing myself for the first time. I had a neurofeedback session that afternoon, Shana (my therapist) agreed with me that maybe participating in social media was a bad idea at the moment.
The only problem was, we would not stay off of the Facebook group. We became obsessed. Soon we began interacting with group members. Maybe we can help others with DID and support them. Some of us were waiting for the inevitable rejection, which so far hasn’t happened. We have found a kinship with strangers in the Facebook groups. We, Lark in the Dark, don’t feel so alone.
Soon we found ourselves in three different groups on DID. We were learning a lot about DID. We learned that DID represents itself differently in individuals. We also learned that our ability to be subtle with DID and hide amongst ‘normal’ people was not rare. I am not unique in being in my fifties and coping with chaos brought on by my recent episodes of DID.
What is rare is that I integrated in the 90’s without the help of a therapist. Integration took a lot of self-work and healing. Conversations I’ve read about integration confuse me. A common thread amongst Facebook group members is that integration is seen as death of alters or aspects. My experience with integration in the 90’s wasn’t a death of any kind. It was a rebirth of a me that was no longer triggered by the stress and trauma of verbal and emotional abuse. I could interact with abusers, mine and people I had never met before but were like the abuser and not be triggered. I could stay whole and not split or fracture. I was more than a survivor, someone once broken or in need of help or protection. After integration I was a self-aware adult capable of making decisions to act or choosing inaction with character, integrity, and dignity.
We are developing terminology. The word system describes all of us aspects that make up an individual. How systems work varies by individual. We (all of us parts) are not connected to any community. We are broken panes of stained glass. Each pane an individual who survived something awful the best they could. Our system has settled on calling ourselves Lark in the Dark. Larks are birds that sing when they fly, rising up from the ground. Larks are symbols of hope, messengers of good things coming. We cling to hope and seek a better tomorrow. We seek to share our hope, our grace with others who are lost in the dark.
What I call an aspect or part, folks on social media generally call alters. Most alters have names, mine do not. It is nice to learn that I am not unique in the fact that my aspects don’t have names. I have to come to understand through observing conversation that it is not rare for some aspects not to speak at all. This could be because they are pre-verbal, are afraid to speak, live by the rule of be seen but not heard, or any reason unique to them.
These conversations that I read or participate in on Facebook lead me to ask questions or gives possible answers for things about DID that I have observed and hadn’t put a voice to. Some members of the community are spouses or family members of people with DID. It is the first taste of community that I haven’t had in a while. It is a relief to not feel so alone or alienated.