When a special interest is a person

I don’t know who wrote this post. I’d love to say it was me, Jane, but I have dissociative identity disorder (DID) and an intense feeling that it wasn’t entirely me. Collectively, that which happens to the body is what I must atone for as an alter in a DID system — but for the sake of spreading DID awareness, the panties were not awarded to me.

This post was originally posted to Medium on July 31, 2016. I’m republishing it here because I seek to have my posts on my blog. I’m not backdating it because DID awareness. This post is published beneath the system account.

Selfie taken while laying down; hand facing palm-up over face

Mid-to-late 2009, I was your worst nightmare. I was unhappy, but in denial about it, and I took it out on a lot of people. I’d also developed a special interest in a particular blogger — and my utmost special interest nightmare is when it is in a person. She was known as a popular blogger, and she’d later become one of my closest blog friends — and, thankfully, no longer a special interest.

But because she was a special interest, I thought she was “on fleek” as teens say these days (do they still say this? did I finally use it right?). Thus, when another blogger caught wind of what an allistic might assume to be infatuation, I felt my whole online life turn upside down.

My teeny-bopper subdomain of a blog publicly dissected by someone seemingly much older than me, and also a potential bully. I mean, I was mean myself, but looking back, I don’t think either of us were in the right.

Others commented on the blog post which hld the open review of my blog. I eventually fell into a roller coaster of emotions caused by reading the comments, then by reading the emails sent to my email address which were inspired by the open review. Everything from my favorite color to my faith in God and acceptance of my gay friends was removed from its context and used against me. I was told to kill myself, asked why I felt like I had any right to live, and called a “waste of valuable resources”.

I hated myself. I felt like, even though I’d only graduated a few months prior, I was still in high school, in Newspaper Productions, constantly being bullied by the only male cheerleader because he thought I was lying when I’d casually dropped how I had friends in high places — even a few of who were celebrities.

(Note to self: It’s easier to pretend you don’t know suddenly-famous people — or even somewhat-famous people — the non-famous people are talking about.)

I thought I’d never see the light of day with a blog again.

And then my dad gave to me a prepaid VISA gift card for Christmas 2009, and I registered 6birds.net early February 2010.

I eventually abandoned the domain which housed my blog as a subdomain.

I installed WordPress onto 6birds, shared my new URL with a trusted select few of people, and blogged as if I was new to the scene, but knew what I was doing at least a little. Instead of using my first name, I used Liz, a nickname.

Between 2011 and 2012, my website would be hacked multiple times as I tried to make sense of my own life, living back in an abusive environment.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was working at a major grocery/department store and experiencing slight harassment from my male manager about not only my mental health, but certain women-related health issues which I could not control. I later quit my job and moved in with my grandmother on my dad’s side.

I didn’t start to grasp how to avoid being hacked until 2013. In 2014, search engine optimization (SEO) became a special interest, which I mastered within three months. I touched up on it again in 2015 before realizing most of it is basic practice when putting together a website and the rest is kind of redundant.

I attempted several niche-specific blogs from 2010 until 2016, when I decided a nicheless blog works better for me as an autistic person.

Somehow, I became more self-aware of my differences between non-autistic people. The more I learned how differently allistic people communicate, the more I learned about how certain things I say may be taken. Whereas I think more literally, allistic people tend to spend more time assuming there is more to what was said.

Occasionally, I was dragged into drama I didn’t want to be a part of — someone stole the custom blog theme I’d paid hard-earned cash for, my former guardians registered my previous domain and posed threats aimed towards me on it — but then I learned there are ways to protect myself from this happening.

I learned how to hone my special interests. I learned how to resolve my own website-related issues. I found a supportive community of like-minded bloggers who share similar values. I launched hopefades.org. I found things which make me unique and used one of my favorite quotes as motivation to use those unique traits to my advantage:

The things that don’t “fit in” that make you yourself — that is your gift to the world. ~Sharon Stone

If you’re autistic and having a person-as-a-special-interest results in public shame and humiliation: my heart breaks for you. I’ve yet to figure out how to avoid people becoming special interests.

It’s not completely impossible to build your rep back up, though. Maybe the way that will work better for you is abandoning your current online platforms for a completely new one you will nurture and aim to do good with for the next six-and-a-half years until you finally admit, “Oh, by the way — that was me.”

Here is where I, Jane, step back in and say…yeah, pretty sure that was a split. In the dissociative identity disorder community, a “split” is referred to a new alter being created. Or coming out from dormancy. I’m not sure precisely what it was for me — I just know that that wasn’t me back then. It’s more than how non-multiplicities (singlets) say they’ve changed so much over the years that they hardly recognize themselves.

I was a totally different person. The people around me noticed, too, even if they didn’t want to admit it. Something about me just…changed, overnight. I didn’t like chocolate anymore, at all. I had a lot of allergies, which apparently are different across alters.

I say “I”, like it was me — but I actually had no idea who I was or what the fuck was happening to me. I’d awake to overdrafts and no recollection as to why it would be happening — no awareness that there were some 20 people living in one body, on one income.

It’s frightening. Singlets, and unaware system alters, default to presuming identity theft. I’ve frozen my credit accounts multiple times due to this — changed my PayPal password and disputed so many charges because of what I now wonder was actually varying alters within my system accessing funds so they could have tiny ways to express themselves.

But it’s not evil. It’s not villainous.

I am autistic because the body itself is autistic. Each alter in the system is autistic in their own way. No one within my DID system is not autistic because that’s not how autism works.

Love this post?

Support me by subscribing to my blog and/or buying me a cuppa:

Leave a comment