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5 Critical Steps to Reduce the Stress of Chronic Mental Illness [Series Introduction]

Are you afraid to talk about your (or a family member's) mental illness? I was for many years. Finally I decided it’s time I be transparent and help #EndTheStigma. Change is possible and together we can make a difference!

The hairs on my arm grew taller as the noise got louder and faster. My frozen body gave permission to my eyes to scan the darkness for what I thought was a rattlesnake.

"Robyn." A sharp voice pulled me from my faceless dream.

I looked up to find the goose-neck light casting a shadow of my boyfriend on the wall. I was relieved when I realized the rattle I heard was from the bottle of medication he held in his hand.

He shook the pills and said in a firm, flat voice, “Good thing you are going with Brian to see his therapist tomorrow.”

The paralysis returned. And the silence in my brain was deafening.

(Excerpt from my work in progress #WIP.)


The Question

How does one respond to their boyfriend talking about himself in third person?

Prior to this event, emotional eruptions were a part of our daily life. Check out this POST to see how I compare mental illness and popcorn. I consistently searched for explanations. The large time gaps in Brian’s memory (amnesia) were more and more common. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to entertain the possibility of dissociative identity disorder (#DID) - formerly known as multiple personality disorder (MPD).

I researched his symptoms.

Scoured the internet for possible resources.

And talked to my therapist about what was happening.


The Answer

I didn’t say anything.

When Brian began to lecture me about himself in third person, I froze - pretended it wasn't happening.


The Problem


At that time, I honestly believed things couldn't get worse. So when one of Brian’s alters reached out, I didn’t know what to do. There was no room for DID. It was not an option.

I pushed the thought out of my brain. I told myself that it was absurd. Convinced myself that DID was something you only saw in the movies.

I let denial course through my veins and wash away any possibility of what my gut told me was true.