Hi and welcome to A Multitude of Musings. My name is Astrid and I’ve had a ton of blogs ever since joining WordPress in 2007. Though I usually write pretty openly there too, I don’t share my inner experiences there. I intend to do that here.
You see, I am a childhood trauma survivor. As a result, I live with post-traumatic stress and dissociative symptoms. I am mid-continuum multiple, which means that, though about 30 personalities (also known as alters or insiders) share this body, we can present as one to the outside world. We don’t have a formal diagnosis of a dissociative disorder or (complex) PTSD anymore (we used to), but diagnoses don’t define us. Our experiences do.
One of these experiences is long-term institutionalization. From November 2007 until May 2017, we resided in a psychiatric hospital. We collected a bunch of diagnoses there, including for some time dissociative identity disorder (DID) and PTSD. These were later changed to borderline personality disorder, which was then downgraded to BPD traits. At the end, we were even told we have dependent personality disorder. Apparently long-time institutionalization causes a personality disorder these days. I was more or less kicked out of the institution almost with no after care. I now live with my husband in a tiny village in the Netherlands. As of June 4, 2019, I qualify for care under the Long-Term Care Act and am in the process of finding myself a living facility.
The reason we were initially hospitalized was the fact that we couldn’t cope with independent living as a person with multiple disabilities. We’re blind, autistic and have mild motor impairments due to a brain injury we sustained shortly after birth. That autism diagnosis has been confirmed at least four times, because people constantly doubted it and wanted more evidence. Now we hope to finally be taken seriously and treated like the complex person we are. In other words, we hope to be treated like we’re a human rather than a set of labels.