Stigma Fighters: Erika Reva

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Stigma Fighters: Erika Reva

Part Of Me

“Normal is illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” –Morticia Addams

My life as a liar began when I was very young. I was an awful child. I made everyone in my life angry, constantly. I did very bad and horrible things every day. I was too clumsy, too awkward, and too terrible. Jesus was disappointed in my behavior, so I had to be punished. My parents hated me, my mothers, mother tortured me. I disappointed everyone because I couldn’t be “normal.” What a terrible child I was. If only I could be better. I had to do better. If I just would listen and not be a ‘fat, stupid, slob” I wouldn’t be punished. If I could just be better and not a liar with an ‘overactive imagination’ I won’t be punished anymore. That’s simple. I’ll read about how to be better! I’ll watch everyone so I know how to be ‘good’ and ‘normal’. If I were like the other kids I wouldn’t have to worry.

I stopped feeling. When being a ‘good’ & ‘happy’ child didn’t work, I gave up. A heavy veil of nothingness took over, comforting and protective. I no longer felt a thing. We began working obsessively studying other children. We grew, we learned and we hid.

I stopped being a happy child. I no longer existed. I was gone and would not be able to find myself until my late 20’s. Sure there are small things I remember. Glimpses of my life; a moment, but that doesn’t feel real. It is like a foggy dream. A moment of happiness that doesn’t exist, just as I stopped existing, so did my memories. That moment of happiness I longed for, but could never feel. Laughter and happiness weren’t safe. Speaking wasn’t safe. Sadness, joy, anger, and fear, none of these were safe. So nothingness is where I resided (lived) in an empty hole; a deep empty hole covered by nothingness, my security blanket.

No joy, no real pain, and no fear. It was comforting in a strange way. Studying the nonverbal languages of expression and the body became our obsession. Later in life they, my parts, even began studying it at a college level. They needed to know what we did not understand. It consumed some of them. They began living my life. They began to live their own individual lives. I had no idea what was happening and to this day I am still missing years of my life.

“Blacking Out” became the norm. I had no idea what was happening to me. Depression and anxiety took over my life. I had moments of wanting to know what was happening. I saw many doctors; none of them could tell me anything. It was the constant, shrug and “I dunno.” I quickly began seeing the signs; upon entering a doctor’s office I (we) could always tell if they would be able to help me. None were able. They ran their tests and everything came back “just fine.” Something was very clearly wrong, but despite our efforts nothing was being done. I gave up. In my mid-twenties I quit. I had no desire to know what was wrong. I couldn’t take it. My parts, however, were quite different. One in particular refused my defeat and continued seeking help. I had no idea. She would “take over” (meaning I was gone & she took control, fully) and continue making doctor appointments.

Eventually, even my mother wanted to help. It was shocking since she was one of the causes of this outcome. This threw us (them) into a tailspin, but she helped B (the very determined part who sought help for me/us/we) get an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. We saw nearly every specialist they had available to us; the 5-7 day stay was extended to nearly two weeks. Our neurologist saw it. He saw them. He ‘tested’ what he thought he saw, and very quickly realized he was correct and we needed help. He saw them. He paid attention. He listened to his patient, something no one else had ever done. Not one doctor listened to me or them, but he had. If not for him, we would not have made it this far. If not for some of them, I would have ended our life.

He gave us a long laundry list of follow up appointments once we were home. The ones they went to were an endocrinologist in Chicago and a mental health clinic in Indiana. He referred us to the doctor at the clinic that quite literally saved our lives. He did not explain all the reasons for his referral. He wanted someone else to see us, she did. She ended our guilt from many things, and she continues helping us today. She helped B find her voice. She has helped Anger be so much more than she was… She showed us we could live. She wasn’t afraid, regardless of what they had said or done in her presence. She listened. No one ever had before and that is truly invaluable.

We continue seeing her to this day. For now, it’s twice a week, but it won’t always be. Living with DID is a struggle, but having an actual support system now, something we never thought we would have, we continue to grow. We found our voice. We found it acceptable to reach out and demand support & respect. We’ve learned to ask and hope. Hope was something that was lost to me and most of us for nearly 28yrs. Hope would creep in briefly and then be locked away. Now, we Hope. We speak to my husband about these things. My best friend now knows about our struggle. She knows about “The We in Me.”

We found our version of normal. We no longer live like a fly, but as the spider. Never dilute yourself to please others. Never silence your own voice because someone says you’re “Crazy” or not good enough. Create your own path and go live. We did.

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We are many. I never knew they existed. Today we are working towards ending the stigma. My years of silence nearly killed me more than once. #EndTheStigma & #IAmNotAshamed by @teamnotashamed is a very dear cause to all of us. Speak. Get help. No more shame!

Erika can be found on Twitter

By | 2016-04-28T11:42:56+00:00 April 29th, 2016|Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Stigma Fighters|Tags: , |0 Comments

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