Tag Archives: mental health

Fan Fiction: MoonDevil

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I’ve a new fanfic up on An Archive Of Our Own (AO3). It’s called, ”Time isn’t linear, and neither is my heartbeat.” The pairing is Moon Knight and Daredevil. The rating is Teen. You can read it here

I have added some personal notes at the end of most chapters, as someone who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder, to give a real-life addition to a piece of fiction.

A crocheted Moon Knight doll I made.

Two mini ”FunkoPop!” figures. Left is The Punisher, Right is Daredevil. My therapist gave me a Marvel Advent calendar a few years ago!

Moon Knight & Dissociative Identity Disorder

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poster for the Marvel series, Moon Knight. shows the main characters of the show in grayscale.

You can watch my review of Moon Knight in regards to Dissociative Identity Disorder on my channel: Team Me, Team Us. https://youtu.be/dHa6SYNWMZA It is my first ever youtube vid!

I talk about what the series gets right about D.I.D and what it gets catastrophically wrong (that list is longer!). I hope you enjoy it.

Black and…

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I was recently interviewed for a project that amplifies the voices and experiences of Black People and People of Colour who live with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The interview is up on YouTube, and will also appear on Spotify too.

It was a real pleasure to talk openly about my frustrations and difficulties, as well as the positives that come from living with DID. I also speak about fatphobia, racism, ableism, and how all of these impact one another. I ultimately see it as a positive piece, as Black people in the UK are rarely heard when it comes to physical and mental health, even though we are disproportionately affected by it.

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Trauma and Time Travel

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Trigger Warnings: Ableism.  Non-detailed brief mentions of childhood abuse and incest.

a felled tree in Muir Woods, San Francisco, showing (mostly) Settler conqueror moments throughout its 1,000 year history.

Trauma and Time Travel

I used to be obsessed with time travel stories in science fiction and fantasy.  From H.G.Wells’ The Time Machine, to multiple episodes of TV shows like Star Trek and Stargate SG1, time travel and time manipulation was something that beguiled me. I kept my thoughts to myself, but I knew I would do anything to make it into a reality; to go back and change the past so I was never abused.

When I was diagnosed as having Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), I realised that flashbacks were a form of time travel, and a very effective one at that.  There was no Steampunk inspired device, no futuristic faster than light machines, and no way for me to control when my mind would yank me back into the traumatic past.  Flashbacks were not only sights, but tastes, temperatures, and a myriad of senses that moved past the five I only thought existed.  My flashbacks were in high fidelity.  In one moment I would reach for a door handle, and the next I would find myself stepping into the back seat of an Austin Cambridge, travelling down the North Circular road.  My journeys to the past were not flashes of memories, but slow exposures that retained absolutely everything that happened at that time. Events repeated itself over and again.  I was forced to experience my fears, yet feel unable to change even a fraction of it.  I was never prepared for when flashbacks would occur, and this was especially the case when it came to flashback-nightmares, when I would time travel whilst asleep.

Where C-PTSD dragged the adult me into the past without notice, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) transported a fragment of me forward in time from the past to the present day.  This fragment had never aged as I grew up. My fragments were stuck in 1972, 1984 or a nebulous slice of time, depending on which Alternate Personality came to the fore, with a different name, a different gender, and a lack of understanding that the host body is alive in the twenty-first century.  This isn’t time manipulation, but a very real type of time travel that is cruel because i have little choice but to embody that part of myself as a child, with a child’s voice, vocabulary and mannerisms.  My youngest Alter, Lizzie may look nothing like me, yet she is part of me, separate and often confused as to why her family are not around and so much has changed many decades later.  

Dissociative identity disorder and the presence of Alters is something shown in science fiction, horror and fantasy, but which is almost always seen as a negative.  The Stargate SG1 episode, Life Boat, is one of the only positive examples of a character with this condition.  But a single episode can do little to counteract blockbuster films like Psycho or Split, which has caused even more stigma.

What happens when part of me refuses to grow up?  How do I manage to exist when an Alter will not move forward in time for long periods, and then pop up thinking they are still in the same era they were created?  Since I was diagnosed with DID, that my Alters each hold a section of my trauma that I as the host body could never manage unaided.  One of the major causes of DID is long-term repeated trauma starting at a very young age.  My brain was still developing when the abuse started, and it was unable to grow in a typical way.  Parts of me split off and became independent, defusing bombs in my mind that had a high chance of killing me outright.  With such dangerous work done by young parts of my personalities, it is no wonder they were never able to grow up with me as time passed.  Instead they settled in their own pockets of time until I as the host learned to speak about the past – not only of the abuse, but of the way I knew skills I had never learned, displayed traits that made no sense to me, and how my voice would change many times over the course of a single conversation.

I had my wish it seemed; time travel and time manipulation were real, and I was part of it. I was my own mechanism for this transport. But having C-PTSD and DID are more than ways to trace the road back to the past. They are both ways to cope with trauma, and a way to cope with the threat of trauma happening again.

On occasion, I feel adrift in time and space.  My host personality once surfaced when I was on a train travelling to where I used to live thirty years ago.  I had no memory of how I had come to be there, but I as the host knew I had to get off the train and make my way back to my present home.  Sometimes I feel as if I have lived several lifetimes, when in fact part of me was stuck in the 1970’s for over forty years. The BBC series Life on Mars comes to mind when I feel like that.

Trauma at a young age can often affect how a child’s brain develops. One of the brain’s functions is to process the passing of time.  This process got rather messed up for me.  As an adult I realise that my desire to change the past – to stop my parents from ever meeting, is a sad fiction.  I would need to be born in order to create a way to go into the past.  Plus my obsession with time travel made it so I could sidestep facing painful truths and realities that I as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse have to live with every day and with every tick of the clock hands.

Some of my favourite science fiction episodes that involve time travel and time manipulation:

Stargate SG1:  Window of Opportunity 

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Far Beyond the Stars

Self Harm as Survival

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TRIGGER WARNING: Self Harm, Suicide, Mentions of sexual abuse.

Below is a small zine I made whilst on a secure ward in a mental health hospital.  I wanted to create something about self-harm in an honest way. Self harm often has the stereotype of only being something done by white, young, cis het women/girls.  Well I’m old, Black, bisexual and nonbinary.  I self harm, and it’s very difficult to talk to anyone about it who understands about how living with multiple marginalisations, as well as being a survivor of long term sexual abuse, affects me.  My experiences are different, and not the typical discourse you will see.  So here we go: I hope you get something out of it.

681F5905-2CEC-45C0-925B-088C4D8E5149CA296886-3AF8-435F-9007-F12DC5D4709ED7921B18-2115-4D22-9DA5-7CD368235EB2FFEF8D53-3AF4-4FFE-A761-CAA8E10F115814934AF2-0620-4BEC-AF3C-BD5BC8308FD9F7EED228-AD8F-4709-972E-6071E77D623876990B75-80E5-4398-807E-38C575862333DD5E676C-7016-4251-941B-7067E381E9AA3754526A-5682-42B4-BE41-D997C48505AC0780ECAB-EC7D-4271-984F-D1E44D632BE53F189243-8B20-4F73-AAF4-170650637542

People like me at 12-step groups

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People like me aren’t supposed to ask for help when we have problems.  Black people are supposed to be resilient and strong.  According to the Bisexuality Report (Open University, 2012) Bisexual people are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than straight, gay and lesbian people.  Biphobia and racism inside and outside of LGBT+ communities can also lead to worse mental health outcomes than others in the groups above (Bi’s of Colour report 2015).  

When I’m told by well meaning people to “Pray on it,” or “Get support from the family and church,” this advice is not so useful for me.  I’m an ex-runaway who fled their family of origin almost 30 years ago.  Most churches in the U.K are not welcoming towards LGBT+ people, and if by chance they are one of the few queer led congregations, they definitely are aimed at lesbians and gays only.  Detox and Mental health services in the NHS have little experience or willingness to learn about the intersections of ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion: one size fits all is what I’ve been offered in the past, but their little boxes of recovery can’t hold all that I am.  So I looked to group support in 12-step groups.

I’ve attended three 12-step groups in my life: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA), and Overeaters Anonymous (OA).

Alcoholics Anonymous is an organisation I had heard about in media growing up, but I had never heard of the other two groups until I was floundering around in libraries for information, long before the internet really existed.  The AA groups I attended were always overwhelmingly straight, white and male.  S.I.A and OA were very much straight, white and female.  I was usually the only black person in the room, and I was often made to feel unwelcome, but I persisted with each group, sometimes over the course of years, until I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I exist at the intersection of many marginalised identities.  People who are in the cultural majority often find it difficult to understand why this affects everything I do, including how I heal and work through issues.  In most 12-step groups, differences are ignored in the most part, and the baseline is simply a “desire to heal”.  But I can’t heal if white straight people talk over me, ignore my hand when it’s raised in meetings, or laugh when I share about how oppression affects me.  

In the last AA meeting I attended, I shared about racism I’d faced in previous meetings I’d attended in various locations in London.  As I left the building, a white man approached me and said, “Maybe we should all wear boot polish next week, then we’ll be the same.”  He walked away quickly after my retort of, “I can’t believe you just said that!”  

At many OA meetings, people had the tendency to hug each other before leaving.  As a survivor of sexual violence, it has taken me decades to be comfortable with hugging people I don’t know well, unless they ask if it’s okay to do that first.  At the end of my last OA meeting, a man launched himself at me with arms wide and a big grin on his face.  I stepped back and said, “No thanks.” 

The man looked at me with eyes wide in shock and said in a very angry tone, “I wanna hug you.  I’m not gonna hurt you!”

At a different OA meeting, someone brought their dog, and left the animal free to wander around the small room.  When I asked them to keep their dog away from me, as I’m scared of most animals, I was met with an aggressive white woman spitting words at me, and stating I was at a ‘dog-friendly’ meeting, and I should ‘get used to it or just go’.

These outbursts left me scared and upset.  We all have different ways we interact with the world, but because of how I look and am perceived, it’s assumed I can handle everything thrown at me without a word of complaint; the ‘Strong Black Woman’ trope is alive and well it appears.  I’m rarely seen as a human with feelings, but just a jumble of stereotypes.  Also, I’m nonbinary.

Disbelief, silence, a lack of respect toward boundaries, sexism, biphobia and general racism before, during and after meetings, were an everyday occurrence in the groups I attended.  London is a multicultural city, but when I went to meetings, I may have well been in the most isolated rural settlement.  There was nobody to speak to about my problems I encountered in meetings, as 12-step groups don’t operate with a system of leadership or even culpability.  I simply found myself alone and unwanted everywhere I went.  I no longer attend any group and it saddens me, because I can see how much they have helped white people; I can see the potential that could exist for me too, if I wasn’t the person I am. But I know I should never feel forced to change or ignore who I am, in order to get the help I desperately need.

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Fat, black, nonbinary.
I have christened myself a monster:
People shrink from me.
Few want to know me
Unless it is as a curiosity.
I am pitied, a target on my slouched back to see.

But in my despair I am somehow free,
When eyes despise me regardless.
My head is bare to the heavens,
An elegant freak without the fuss.

People spitting at me is no less painful.
Stares from strangers hurt just the same.
My existence of shame, forever shameful
Now I have learned to play the ‘normal’s’ game.
My freedom stabs bigots like a blade;
I no longer desperately want to be like them.
I drop my pretence at longing to be human
And embrace my monster like they embrace
Fashion trends.

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Billie Prime

I’ve changed access to this story – now everyone can read it for FREE!

https://writteninshadows.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/billie-prime/

The story comes as a PDF, so I realise it’s not great for some screen readers.  I’ll try to create other versions in MOBI and Kindle-friendly formats.  But for now, I hope you enjoy my tale. 

Synopsis

Billie has always had a love of science-fiction and fantasy.  His
dreams of aliens take a strange turn when shadows around him start
coming to life to try to communicate with him.  The apparitions continue
when children who say they’re from Billie’s past come to visit him,
making him question his sanity.  When one of the children asks him to
change history, Billie is forced to look at his own legacy of violence
and neglect that he has buried in order to live a normal life.  Billie
has to question the possibility of time travel and the multiverse, in
order to help one of the children escape a terrifying life of abuse.
Billie also has to ask himself if any of this real or is this all in
his head?

You can now read this short story (20,000 words) for FREE.  Survivors
of Child Abuse and violence are likely to be poorer, so I wanted this
to be available to them.  Copy and distribute if you like, but this has a
Creative Commons Non Commercial copyright filed.  Please don’t go
charging folks for reading this!

If you have any comments, feedback or general questions about this
story, please feel free to contact me at billieprime@gmail.com

Regards

Jacq A.