…. this is a continuation of a blog I wrote last year about a mental disorder called Rage under the Uganda Blog Community (@Ugbloc) theme #HearMyHeart.

She sat there and looked at me for what felt to be too long but was only 5 minutes. I think she was studying me. Checking out my reactions to her small comfy office. It was a cool small room, it felt like a box sealed into the building that housed it. It was a room cursed to listen in to many conversations and never tell. It was cursed to silence and with that, I conflicted to trust it.

‘Can we trust her?’ came the voice in my head I had grown used to and considered my own friend. “We will have to give her a chance” I murmured.

“What did you say?” she asked.

I looked up straight in to her eyes and asked “Why did you choose to do this job?”

I thought she would be confused with my question, but I guess she had heard it asked many times by the others that she answered it so fast, made me think she had read my mind and readied the answer.

“I like guiding people through darkness. I have fought my own battles, not always with ease but with hope and determination. And above all I had a good person who never in her life, gave up on me. So I am kinda giving back what I was given.” She said softly and confidently.  I admired her confidence, wished I had a little bit of it and wondered how a little bit of it would lighten my burden.

She stood up, walked to the table and started preparing coffee. The aroma of Star Coffee always got me confused and dry. My forehead dried up instantly, my skin felt like it was growing scales. I had always known that coffee was never my cup of tea but today I wanted to impress this lady who in all ways was kind, confident and friendly. A cup was handed to me. A thank you exchanged, then she realized I had grown pale.

“What is wrong? You have lost color in your skin. Are you feeling alright?” she asked with a worried look. “Is it something I said?” she continued.  I placed the cup on the side stool near the couch I had occupied for now 20 minutes and said ‘we don’t take coffee, it dries up my skin and makes me thirsty.’

“We?” she wondered, looking around to see if I had anything on me. I think she thought I had a small doll or an imaginary friend. “You and who? And never mind about the coffee, I can make you some tea.”

A cup of Mukwano Tea replaced the Star Coffee mug, I took it and tasted the sugar, it was the right amount. At this moment I am trying to ignore her question about the ‘we’. Standing up, I went to the window with my cup to look at the sky. It was middle morning, it had rained in the early morning and the ground was still soft, the air still holding onto the cold chill that made the atmosphere cool and calm.

“What are you looking at?” she called out.

‘Nothing specific. I am just staling out in space.’ I responded without looking at her. I had a page turn. ‘She has a book, do you think she is taking notes about us?’ inquired the voice in my head. She had been enjoying the empty blue sky with me but also alter to our surroundings.

‘Let’s find out’, I murmured..

‘Are you taking notes about us? What have you written so far? What is the assessment so far? Are we worthy your time? What do you do with the notes?’ I asked with a soft and calm voice but filled with an anger that I didn’t see coming. I had tried to control it. I had managed to go weeks without shouting, fighting or even hurting myself. The holiday was going great than I had ever imagined. This was going to be my first episode and it was going to be a nasty one, I could feel it.

Emotions were erupting in me, the rage was roaring, the angry boiling, the pain sharp. The voice in my head had grown tired of suppressing these emotions, this was the reason why she was there, to keep me in check with this evil that tore through my soul and made me a monster.  But she was getting over whelmed and tired. She was dying. It was too much for her to deal with, I guess this is why she had suggested we enter here.

“I have only written your name” the friendly lady replied. “It’s a lovely name, is it your really name or a nickname?” She continued.

I never responded to that question but rather answered her other question about the ‘we’.

“I and the voice in my head have been talking for 2 years now, after I killed the first one. She couldn’t handle my situation, she was weak and lazy. She was more like me, saying the same things so I killed her, I stopped talking and listening to her. One day I woke up and she was no longer there, Gone. I felt alone. I spent the whole day in bed, I was lonely. I couldn’t talk to anyone, they never understand and tend to ask a lot of questions, offer few answers or none. We are actually better off alone than with them, none could/can offer comfort, none could/can offer a peace of mind, a reassurance. I stayed in bed for three days and I couldn’t take it anymore, the isolation and dissociation. I took it off with the wall, boxed my way to bleeding, cried out loud, shouted till I felt my throat dry. Backed out, and woke up to a voice saying it ‘alrite.’ That is how she came to be.”

My tea had gotten cold, so I asked for some ice. She moved out of the room and came back with a glass filled with ice. Placed it near my tea cup and proceeded to ask “can I meet her?”

‘She is me, the part that is strong. The one where I can handle anything. I am not able to be her, she is too strong.’ I told her. ‘She is me asking for the things I want instead of keeping quiet, narrating my past with ease and not feeling ashamed. She is me at this moment in this cursed room to silence. She is me who is comfortable at this particular moment.’

Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some call it the multiple personality disorder, looks like bipolar but feels nothing like it at all. I have experienced both. This is when one dissociates themselves from others and daydreams or even gets lost in a moment leading to lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity. Dissociative identity disorder is thought to stem from a combination of factors that may include trauma experienced by the person with the disorder. The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism — the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate with his conscious self.

Dropping her pen in her book, she looked up and asked, “Who are you without her?”

“I am a broken young gal who has not seen her father for over 6 years now, never got to hug him goodbye or even really understood why he had to leave. I am the gal who lost her identity the day he left, because no one understood what he was teaching me, no one cared to find out how I was coping after he did. I am the young gal who had to grow up so fast because the last 3 needed a mother, and another adult to take care of them, show them the way. I am the gal who has to pretend to be happy for the rest to be, never to show my anger or it will be considered a wrong example to the young ones. The one who was not supposed to fail at anything or the rest will also fail. I am the gal who has to be strong but never really understood what strength means but just be it.”

Picking up the glass and I added the ice from it into my now cold tea. Spitted on it and then broke down and cried. I cried so hard, I don’t remember why, all I remember is that it felt good to cry near someone. To not hide my tears, to feel helpless and yet feel powerful. For the first time I felt real strength and comfort.

Crying is a good thing, you should try it sometimes. Cry when you need to, when it’s the only thing that can ease your heart and pain. Don’t hide your tears, you are not doing it for anyone else but you.

That was my first day of the very many sessions I have seat in since then. And the many relapses to recovery from rage, bipolar and what would have become a multiple personality disorder (Dissociative identity disorder).  The day I was introduced to the understanding of depression and how to deal with it – even though I have been failing  many times.

I was 19 years old, in my first year’s second term (we had terms at MUST) at campus.  I had wondered around Mbarara town, having a conversation with the voice in my head and found a sign that said ‘WE OFFER COUNSELLING SERVICES.’ The voice said lets enter here and check it out, after all counselling and guidance was offered to us in Kyamboga University but we never took it.

Hope this story helps someone going through issues like mine or more, that they don’t really understand; find a center that can help them cope with them and find a balance in themselves and the world.

Patricia Kahill

Patricia Kahill is a multipotentialite Christian entrepreneur, Content Marketing Coach and founder of the Content Marketing agency, Kahill Insights that helps business owners create engaging and interactive content items for digital platforms with a focus on returning a desired outcome. Patricia was the producer of SlamDunk Basketball Talk a show on House of Talent online TV, a former fellow at Harvest Institute for leadership and now an assessor there, and an alumnus of the YELP class of 2017. A member of the BNI Integrity chapter and African Women Entrepreneur Cooperative. She is driven by passion and curiosity, been taking every opportunity that has been given to her with an ambition of stamping her footprint on the world.

2 thoughts on “#HearMyHeart: Dissociative identity disorder”

  1. This is well written Kahill. Just a few typos here and there but I like the images…The room, the scales… Your fiction writing is really improving. Although, is this totally fiction? I think not. Thanks for the lessons in there.

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