According to her I shared my body with dozens of other people.
I waited for the punchline but it never came.
Even so, I think I still must have laughed in her face. Anyone would, if a so-called professional came out with nonsense like telling me there are other
people who take control of my body sometimes.
If this is what your research is for, I'd pick another career!
Obviously I accused Valerie of being crazy, but I didn't exactly storm out of the room. People had always spun me the most fantastical lies. Every so often,
like with the acid and the fire, the stories seemed to be based in truth. But this one was too ridiculous for words. Valerie was testing me somehow -- I
just needed to work out how.
The next time I saw her she was pushing the same line about strangers sharing my body. I was disappointed when Dr. Hale started going down the crackpot road
as well. According to him I had something called Dissociative Identity Disorder.
"I've been diagnosed with dissociation before," I said. "And that was wrong as well."
Dissociation is different from DID, he explained. Lots of people -- people you'd consider "normal" -- suffer from dissociation to varying degrees. People who
block out pain or bad memories by forgetting or compartmentalising their problems are dissociative.
"What you have is far more extreme," he said. "Your dissociation is so great you actually have different personalities living inside one body. Your body."
It was too ridiculous for words. Yet I couldn't just walk away. I owed it to Dr. Hale to listen, even if I couldn't see the point.
"You're telling me there's someone watching me when I go to the bathroom?"
My old experiences of Warlingham left deep scars.
"It doesn't work like that."
"No, it's not like that," Dr Hale said. "You are not here all the time. Other people take control of your body. They have their own separate lives, just as
Ridiculous as it all sounded, I couldn't help asking questions.
"So where do I go then?"
He shrugged. "It's as if you go to sleep."
"Why don't I fall over then?"
"Because someone else is awake and keeping the body going."
We went round in circles like that for ages every time I saw him. Sometimes I played the game. On other occasions I wished he'd call it a day.
Seriously, man, change the record!
I don't know what he expected me to say. "Oh yes, I get it, I'm just a figment of my body's imagination. I don't really exist!" But I didn't mind. I'd been
accused of anorexia, bulimia, depression, attempted suicide, schizophrenia and so many other things I couldn't remember, and I'd managed to prove all those
wrong. So what difference did it make if he accused me of having multiple personalities as well? It was just another name.
If they keep this up, I'm going to pull out of the sessions. Deal or no deal.
But I didn't. I don't know if I was intrigued or amused or too offended to quit, but something made me keep returning to the Portman.