Hello, my name is Sara.
Only sometimes it’s not. Seven months ago, I was diagnosed with DID. I have a bunch of other people living in my head, and most of them I don’t know yet. I’m just starting to figure all of this out.
There are a lot of times I don’t feel particularly connected to the name I was given. I’m Sara Kathryn–Sara is my mother’s mother, and Kathryn is my father’s mother. My last name is my father’s, and I hate to use it because he was my primary abuser. None of my name actually belongs to me. I’ve thought a lot about changing my name, but I have no idea what I would change it to. The DID diagnosis made that disconnection from my name make even more sense. No wonder it rarely seems to fit–it wasn’t given to most of the people sharing my brain and body.
It’s hard to figure out how I can explain that to people–or if I should explain it to them at all. Mostly, I don’t.
I saw a new therapist today. I’ve spent weeks looking for a therapist who was taking new clients and would take my insurance–this is apparently a tall order where I live. Today I had a first appointment with someone I may end up working long-term with. She came out of her office into the waiting room, turned to me, and said, “Are you Sara?”
I nodded. Yes, I’m Sara. That’s what my driver’s license says. So do my insurance cards, my library card, my debit card, and the check I need to deposit. Yes, I’m Sara. That’s true.
But that’s not all of the truth. I-Sara (pronouns get very confusing with DID!) was not the one in command. I’d been “pushed back” in my body. I could see what was happening, I could hear the words coming out of my mouth, I could feel the way my knee kept bouncing up and down. But I was not the one saying the words or bouncing my knee. I don’t know who it was, but someone other than me-Sara was in the driver’s seat. To use a cliche, I was just along for the ride.
Whoever was driving didn’t tell the therapist that. Ze did tell the therapist about the DID diagnosis, but ze didn’t go into detail or divulge that it wasn’t Sara doing the talking. I’m okay with that decision. I don’t think it’s good to hold back relevant details with a therapist I’ve established trust with, but in situations with new people, it makes sense to hold back some things until trust has been established. It makes sense for us to protect ourselves. After all, that’s the point of DID.