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What Is a Disorder Anyway?

January 29, 2009

Well, I wrote to Secret Shadows about the definition of “disorder” and decided it was time to write something here about it.

I have run across several people who disagree with the idea that DID…Dissociative Identity Disorder…should be called a “disorder” at all. I have to say that I agree with them.

Webster’s defines a disorder thusly:

1 : to disturb the order of
2 : to disturb the regular or normal functions of
Now,  I can appreciate the argument that it is not ideal for people to have to live as multiples and, therefore, it can be looked at like it is a disturbance of the order of things. However, it is also not ideal for people to go through the horrific things that cause DID, either.
The way I see it, our brains and minds were wonderfully designed by our Creator to enable us to survive things that we should never have had to survive in the first place! Yahweh designed us to have this coping mechanism because He knew what kinds of evil people would perpetrate against each other. It is far better to have DID than to lose one’s sanity!
Therefore, those who responded to the horror by developing DID are actually functioning normally! Dissociation to that degree is a normal response to a horribly abnormal situation. I guess you could say it is a gift rather than a disorder.
Once we are no longer in that horrific situation, we no longer “need” the high dissociation to function…and that is where it becomes problematic. The coping mechanism is still in place, but it is no longer needed. In fact, like many other coping mechanisms that people still have that are no longer needed, it can actually become a major hindrance. Work needs to be done. Healing needs to take place.
Dissociation is on a continuum. At one end we have the kinds of things we all do when we shut out the world around us to focus on something like a book or movie or job. At the other end…we have people like Tara. However, the huge majority of us are somewhere in between.
I like what Secret Shadows wrote about DID: “Many of you nonDID people can totally identify with the concept of wearing more than one hat. You have your “work hat”, your “spouse hat”, your “parent hat”, your “best buddy old pal” hat, etc……..See, the difference between DID and nonDID hats is that nonDID people can fluidly change their hats, whereas those of us with DID get stuck in ours. Sometimes we cannot get them off. Then sometimes the hats come out of nowhere and plop on our heads.” She goes on to talk about one part of therapy being about how to learn to manage those hats.
The closer you are to the “Tara” (United States of Tara) end of the spectrum, the greater the likelihood that you have a huge amount of very horrific stuff that you have been through. It can take years to work through and unravel all of that, but it can be done. It is being done very successfully by many people.
What does the end result look like? That depends on who you ask and on what end goal was chosen by the system. Not everyone looks at healing in the same way…but that is fodder for another post.
The point I am trying to make is that this is a normal response. It is a normal and regular function of many people’s brains. It is not a “dis”order, so much as it is regular and normal function of the brains and minds of many.
Why is it that not everyone who goes through these horrors early on develops DID? Well…it appears that either not everyone’s brain and mind comes thus equipped…or perhaps their brains and minds were simply able to handle it better without needing to use the dissociation? I do not know. I am not sure it is even possible to know. That may be something that only Yahweh…the designer of our incredible and marvelous bodies and minds…knows.
I hate living in a fallen broken world. I hate having to deal with all that brings and all that entails. I hate seeing brokenness of any kind. Yet, I also have hope. I know this is just a temporary shadow of better things to come…much better things! I look forward to when Yeshua/Jesus will come back for me. Marana, ta!
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