The Life You Save May Be Your Own

DID, knitting, sci-fi, and strong opinions

Not Real: DID v. Depression November 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 7:27 pm
Tags: , , ,

Recently there’s been some talk in my little corner of the blogosphere about people claiming certain mental illnesses are fake. Bourbon wrote a post responding to another blogger who claims that, because her DID was therapist-induced, all DID is iatrogenic. In response, Pride in Madness wrote about her experience of others’ denial of her experience of both DID and depression.

I’ve dealt with people claiming both my DID and my depression are fake. Both suck, but they suck differently.

With DID, deniers generally make a blanket claim that DID doesn’t exist. Generally people making these accusations claim sympathy for the “victims,” those pitiable people duped into thinking they have multiple personalities by therapists who are inept or unscrupulous or both. We need to be rescued by those who know better, who know all about how false we are.

With depression, the deniers I’ve run into haven’t claimed that depression doesn’t exist. Instead, they claim that I have no right/reason to be depressed and that if I’d just whistle a happy tune and pull myself up by my bootstraps, I wouldn’t be depressed anymore. The implication is that depression is something I am willfully creating and continuing.

These seem like two very different attitudes, but the underlying motivations aren’t. In both cases, there’s hostility directed toward people who are suffering.

My theory is that these people can’t admit to themselves that they are in pain. The pain of being human, just under the surface, is so deep and overwhelming and frightening that they deny it. Because they can’t bear to recognize it in themselves, they can’t beat to recognize it in others, either. So they attack us.

I try to have compassion for these people, but a lot of days my flak jacket just isn’t thick enough to risk it. For now, I’ll just try to avoid them.

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4 Responses to “Not Real: DID v. Depression”

  1. sonamsangmu Says:

    Your insight is spot on in my opinion. People who deny the existence of mental illnesses-DID or otherwise, tend to be cut off from their empathy. If they had some empathy for their own pain and struggles they likely would be quicker to bestow it onto others. Since they don’t though they simply act like jerks and deny sufferers right to put a name to their form of suffering. Compassion is definitely the correct response. Not easy all the time but if you consider they’re likely people who have never had any kindness shown to them in their times of hardship it starts to make sense. They’re still jerks but you don’t feel so much like killing them!

  2. My father is one of the biggest believers that depression is a temporary emotion that can be solved by “sucking it up”. This was drilled into us as children, teenagers, and adults (even when we were in the psych ward).

    As for this DID debate- I’m trying to steer mostly clear because confrontation is something is very triggery for us. But I did skim the initial offensive post’s comments and noticed her main argument is that therapists push DID by somehow causing the patient to personify and “name” individual “normal emotions” and that’s how the diagnosis happens. I know that some systems do have alters that really only have one emotion, but in mine that isn’t true at all. The alters in my system have a variety of emotions. They do have specific triggers, fears, and idiosyncrasies I suppose.

    I do find the whole idea to be narrow-minded and just plain destructive. It is not the job of a blogger to determine whether a whole diagnosis is true or untrue- even if your degree is in psychology. I’m not saying that all DID diagnosis is 100% foolproof- misdiagnosis happens frequently in the mental health world. But to generalize is just plain rude.

  3. manyofus1980 Says:

    My family play the denial game all the time. If I act anything but normal, I’m in a mood, and I should shut up and stop being negative. It sucks. Avoiding is good IMO. Good post.

  4. Great post, well written!


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