Having memory problems is really hard. I sometimes get scared I have made up my entire existence. I don’t mean just the DID, I don’t mean half remembered traumas, I mean everything that has ever happened in my life, I mean every single experience I’ve ever had.
When I feel this way I need photographic or documented proof to trust anything I think is actually true, and even then I can still question if it’s real or somehow it’s just been falsified so I could convince myself it’s true later when I’ve in fact made the whole thing up.
Things can randomly trigger me into a spiral of doubting my interpretation of reality even though intellectually I know it seems silly, but the disconnect I feel with emotion and memory makes it impossible to really believe almost anything.
My ever patient psychiatrist just spent a chunk of time trying to confirm with me that I was in fact diagnosed with cancer. She was literally in the first operating theatre when the pathologist came in with the biopsy result so I should believe her.
Yes, I do have a massive surgery scar the length of my abdomen and an ileostomy but after I saw a magazine cover with some headline along the lines of “my fiancé faked having cancer” I’ve started questioning if I somehow made up the whole thing. If I’m somehow subconsciously manipulating people into feeling sorry for me when there’s nothing even wrong with me.
I feel like a total fraud and a liar.
What if the doctors were all just humouring me for some reason so gave me fake surgery and an ileostomy to shut me up and stop me whinging? Some big placebo surgery experiment? You know they actually do that with some people? To try and shut them up? It is unethical as fuck but it happens. What if this is the same thing?
What if I’m accidentally lying about the whole thing and my memories from having chemo aren’t even real memories, what if the hospital photos are photoshopped? The fear that I will be mocked and disbelieved runs so deep in me that it’s easier to accept that I accidentally lied and invented it / imagined it or a whole bunch of doctors might have also lied just to humour me or stop me annoying them than that it might be true.
You know, once I walked around the supermarket with our daughter and spent the whole time unsure if she was actually real or if she was just a hallucination? I convinced myself that I wanted a daughter so much I’d made one up but incase she was real I also didn’t want to ignore her. So I was trying to talk so super quietly to her so nobody could hear me speaking or see my mouth moving in case she didn’t actually exist and I was talking to nothing and everyone would think I was crazy.
I just cannot believe myself. I cannot trust myself. I don’t know what’s real, I can’t know what’s real. M says it’s understandable to feel this way given time and space are such a blurry concept to me but I hate having no linear timeline, I hate emotional flashbacks with no proper narrative, I hate feeling like a fraud and a phony no matter how much “proof” there is of something.
When I was little I saw people trying to trick me. Trying to tell me I was somewhere I wasn’t. I thought I was so clever when I proved that they had lied, when I knew I was right. Then I realised I couldn’t tell them I knew. I had to pretend. Because why were they tricking me? They might be really angry if they knew I found out and so I never told them. I was scared they’d hurt me or kill me or send me away, so I just looked out for all the lies. Tried to notice all the tricks. Tried to remember that it wasn’t safe to believe what people told you or showed you.
But maybe I remembered that too hard. Because now I can’t believe me either and I hate myself so much for being so confused.
I get into moods where I just want to run away and disappear forever to a faraway place where I can’t hurt anyone else with my lies. That’s why I didn’t want a tattoo but Kate got one anyway and now people could recognise us if we ran away. I sometimes want to just commit suicide and then apologise to the whole world in a note and beg their forgiveness for lying about… I don’t even know what. Everything? Or is it actually real? Or are they the ones who are doing all the lying and the tricking like when I was little? I don’t know!
Even though I don’t think I have lied or forged documents and scans and stuff, I can’t really prove anything to myself enough to believe my life is real. The alters in my head tell me it’s real and to stop worrying and it’s fine and it’s all real, it’s just hard. But then if I feel better I suddenly realise I’m taking comfort from something nobody else can see telling me things nobody else can hear and, well…
Also, what if they’re the ones doing the lying and the tricking and they’re telling me all this stuff to make me scared and make me go away again? Would they do that? Can they do that? Are they even real?
I think I have a job. I think I am married and I have children. I think I’m sitting in a house with a ticking clock on the wall and a big black dog snoring on the floor. But maybe I’m not.
Maybe actually sitting in a padded room somewhere staring at a wall and imagining everything. Maybe I should be. Maybe it’s like the Matrix or the Truman Show or something like that and I’m so scared. So utterly terrified that people will yell at me, that they’ll be upset with me, blame me and shame me on magazine covers and the whole world will hate me for making up stories that I really thought were true.
I never wanted to hurt anyone but I don’t know how to fix this so if nobody says anything I just play along. Just pretend it’s real and they’re right about stuff and hope nobody yells at me and tells me I’m bad and mean and a liar.