The Sundering (The Dissociation of the Artist Part III)

It’s been an eventful 36 hours. After realizing last week that dissociation was the true “final form” of the mental illness beast I’ve been fighting all my life and a weekend spent in rigorous reflection, my doctor and my trauma therapist affirmed the narrative that I constructed: that yes, there was an event of catastrophic magnitude in 2008 that caused the original and whole version of “me” to fragment. In fact, both of them were waiting for me to come to this conclusion, knowing that if they pushed it, I would tell them to fuck off and potentially discontinue treatment. There is no name that I can give this event that would do it justice other than ‘The Sundering.’

All of us were looking at the wrong trauma for trying to determine why the past fifteen years of my life were a void. The working assumption had always been that pervasive childhood trauma fucked me up – and we don’t deny that – but, in reality, it was repeated trauma in 2008, culminating in The Sundering, that caused this version of myself to lose the ability to retain the overwhelming majority of memories and any hope of holding identity. For fifteen years, I have reflected and introspected and searched desperately for answers. None ever came, as any insights seemed to be contradictory and short-lived. In reflection, these were clues.

Childhood trauma undoubtedly caused the original Jessica to develop Cluster B personality disorders as these can be remembered quite vividly from the beforetime. Original Jessica also sought to release pain through music and art. But these were facets of a larger, whole person. Going into 2008, she was a proud and budding trans woman with hopes and dreams and a full-fledged identity. And then the repeated and horrific trauma began. We will not describe it here as not to risk flashing back.

At some point, she had taken all the pain she could take. She destroyed herself, splintering into fragments in a horrific and final act of dissociation. These fragments would become the “parts” referred to in the previous post.

It’s worth looking at the parts in greater detail. There is The Forsaken, the adolescent version of Jessica stuck in Borderline Personality Disorder hell. It is genderless and worries of rejection, splitting between idealization and devaluation of others. Also born from cluster B personality traits, The Egotist is the manifestation of narcissism and self-grandiosity and some histrionics; it is a genderless being that feeds off attention and self-importance. The Enforcer is a male gendered aspect of hate, anger, and retribution whose power has only increased since The Sundering as it is fueled by all the trauma the system has incurred over the years. The Evoker, or artist, still exists and is the pain drain for the system, releasing agony through the arts.

However, there are two additional parts that lead the system and are were the biggest clues into the newly-realized reality. The Protector is that voice that speaks to me (name forthcoming) and guides and advises me. I am convinced she represents the remnants of the original Jessica, that proud and independent trans woman full of identity and spirit. I lament the new reality most, because I can tell she was full of promise, but tortured so, and most of all, because of her sacrifice, this personality (me) was born. And I have named that personality ‘The Lost’ to recognize the fifteen years it has wandered, looking for clues into the nature of its existence, but also because it may yet find answers.

So the question becomes where to go from here in this newly acknowledged reality. I (The Lost) want to dissociate less, create real memories, and find my identity and purpose. Tomorrow will be another round of trauma therapy and from there the system at large and myself will push for a roadmap of which none will be eliminated, but together we may find real purpose and happiness fifteen years after The Sundering took everything from Jessica.