Monthly Archives: August 2012

It’s been a while!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to apologize for not updating this blog for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately my internet has been down so it has been very hard for me to write! I will be posting very soon! Thank you again for your support and I do hope that my words are helping many!

~Dandi

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Tell me a story

Starting in the fifth grade I began to write stories. I found comfort in my characters and their lives. When I was writing, or reading over what I had written I felt as if I was escaping my real life and as time went by and these characters became real people to me I started to feel that someone besides my mother loved me. They were my closest friends who knew everything about me, even the dark parts. They knew my secrets and still did not judge me. 

I started off writing fan-fiction of my favourite movies, television shows, even books. It was beautiful, peaceful, and took me places I never wanted to leave. Over the years the fan-fiction became frustrating because of the limitations. I could never publish them because they were based off of someone else’s hard work (and my secret hope was to someday publish my stories) so I started branching off into writing my own works. 

This is one of several positive and effective coping mechanisms that has served me since the fifth grade and I believe will always be a very important part of my soul. Without my characters and their worlds I would have fully allowed the darkness to take me, I would have taken my life believing that I had no purpose and no one would miss me. They seemed to call out to me, urging me to stay around for them, that if I died, they would too. The thought of losing them  was unbearable.

To this day I write novels and short stories, even lyrics and I illustrate the characters within their worlds. They are very much a part of my heart and soul and hopefully someday I can share their stories with the world. They have saved my life on many occasions, the least I owe them is to let them tell their stories! 

If you are struggling with mental illness, relationship issues, abuse, anything that causes you pain, please! I urge you to write! Write about everything and anything, it was key in my survival, hopefully it will be for you too. It doesn’t even have to be a novel or even a short story. Start by free-writing! Just write down everything that pops into your head. It can take practice, but once you give it a try it’s amazing. 

The kiss of death

My mother dated a couple other guys after she began to heal from her failed marriage to my father and none of them worked out until she met her husband, we will call him D. At first I wasn’t happy about him, in fact, I hated him. Not because he was mean, not because he was mean to my mother, but because I felt he was trying to replace my biological father…as if that would have been a bad thing. 

D was kind enough, he was pretty mellow and even liked cartoons like my siblings and I did. I finally got to the point where I didn’t necessarily hate him, I just was uncomfortable with his presence. His daughter who we will call H was another story. I could barely stand to think of her, she was mean, nasty, and was constantly getting into huge trouble and then trying to make me her scapegoat. She stole, she snuck boys into the house, she smoked cigarettes, she smoked Mary Jane. She was the definition of what I didn’t want to be and the way she treated my mother pissed me off intensely. 

What I didn’t know at the time was that H was the least of my worries when it came to her family that was suddenly becoming my new family. D’s brother’s son who we will call A came into my life. I think that it was a family gathering because A and his dad had come into town from a different state in which they lived. I thought he was really nice at first and we got along pretty well. I couldn’t have been more fooled. Soon, when he visited he started going out of his way to be alone with me. He started kissing me and telling me to kiss him back. It made me uncomfortable and caused the voices inside to go insane. I couldn’t hear anything around me they were so loud inside. 

A continued to force kisses on me every time he visited and even tried to get me to lay in the bed downstairs with him to do something I feared was sex…something I didn’t want to experience. I kept telling him no, and that I didn’t think what we were doing was a good idea. After I voiced my feelings he started becoming increasingly cruel. He would continue to force himself on me but then ignore me and even make fun of me to H and their cousins. They told me I was an ugly man trapped in an ugly girl’s body and I was retarded. Their words hurt, and for some reason him not spending time with me hurt and made me angry. 

I hated what he would do to me…so why would I almost long for it when it was gone? Did I believe that I deserved to be used like a toy? Perhaps so…until recently.

Finally I had enough of the abuse, and after a few years of this I was basically forced by one of my two best friends, N, to tell my mother about the abuse. When I told her, she was instantly livid. She notified D of what A had been doing to me and D brought it up to A’s dad. To my horror, he called me a liar and soon my already crappy relationship with D’s family became torture. Everyone looked down on me and didn’t believe a word of my story, until A ended up doing something similar to his cousin J. Hilarious how no one cared when it was me, but as soon it was one of their own, every one dropped everything to protect her. All that taught me was that I was sub-human, not worthy of happiness, protection, or validation. 

What was left of my innocence was beginning to take serious hits. 

Mommy, there is a man talking to me in the bathroom

There are only a few memories between the time my father was taken away til about the time I was in the fifth grade. I can make out one here, and one there but that is about the extent of it. By this time, I realize now that my growing population of other personalities was increasing fast. With every scary situation, even simply uncomfortable situations spawned a new alter. I still am not aware of all of them, at least not in detail. Not only did I have several other people inside of me at this point, but they were beginning to fight inside of me, fight and argue…loudly.

Again, I do not recall my age, but it was after my father left. I began hearing…and seeing a man while I took baths. I was terrified by the sound of his voice, firstly because I had no idea where the voice was coming from and secondly because his voice was so harsh. He was tall, skinny, had black hair and eyes so black I couldn’t tell if he had pupils. The way he glared at me scared me so badly I would freeze in the tub and dare not move. Even when I tried to scream in hopes that my mother would hear me and come save me, I literally could not get any sound out.

I soon learned that his name was Frank. He would talk to me, and as I cowered, I couldn’t help but strain myself to make out everything he said. I hung on every last syllable that left his lips. I guess I was hoping that if he was a ghost who needed help, I could help him and then he would leave me alone. Something about Frank made me think of my father.

After a few experiences with Frank, and the increasing screams of other voices inside my head I finally found the strength to come to my mother and tell her what was happening. I went to her one night when she was working in her office downstairs and said to her, “Mommy, there is a man who talks to me in the bathroom.” She looked shocked, scared even when I told her. She responded with, “There can’t be anyone there honey.” I tried to argue with her, but I think even at that age I somehow realized how strange my words must have been to her. Finally she suggested that I start listening to the radio when I took a bath. I followed her suggestion religiously.

The ritual of listening to the radio while in the bath or shower went on until I was in high school but never kept the voices silent, instead it fueled them like lighter fluid to a flame. Every night I would lay awake in bed until it was nearly time to wake up for school listening to each voice, trying to determine how many I heard, what they were saying and wondering why they were there. Soon I even started entertaining the thought that I was insane.

Even in Elementary school as I would lay there in the bed unable to sleep listening to the voices I could feel my heart palpitating hard in my chest to the point it hurt and made me dizzy. I tried telling my mother about this too because it was so frequent that when it didn’t palpitate, and I couldn’t feel my heart beat…I thought I was going to die. Severe, relentless anxiety took control of every aspect of my life.

The hand washing behaviour started, then the flicking of my fingers literally thousands of time a day, counting the hockey sticks in the pro shop while my little brother played hockey, holding my breath until we passed a cemetery, and many other odd obsessions and rituals began. I found myself doing these things every day without fail, in terrible distress because I believed strongly that if I didn’t carry out these actions my father would return and kill my mother. Imagine being a child, being tortured every moment of everyday with these intrusive thoughts and feeling completely responsible for your mother’s safety. It was beyond difficult and caused me to become an insomniac and suffer from terrible migraines, stomach aches, and even constipation.

My friends even looked at me strangely when I would do these rituals…but I couldn’t help it! I believed I was protecting the only person I ever believed loved me. I couldn’t lose her, she was all I had. I even couldn’t stand sleep-overs with friends, or going to school. I would come up with creative reasons for why I couldn’t go to school. I remember one time sneaking into my mother’s bathroom and putting her blush on my face so it would look like I was red. I was very artsy with it too, it wasn’t overdone at all. She believed that I was sick until later that day I was watching television and looked fine.

As time passed, the rituals grew more frequent and spawned into new ones such as having to find and read a word like “life” or “live” as fast as I could following reading one like “death” “die” or “kill”. The voices continued to grow louder and more jumbled, overlapping each other heatedly like on a debate going on on the news channel. I wanted to die many times because I couldn’t bare the stress and anxiety. I even fantasized about how I would end my life, but I held on to that belief that if I died, no one would protect my mother.

During this time my siblings and I had some contact with our father, we would visit him sometimes and two weeks during the summer. This added to my constant severe and unrelenting anxiety and pure fear. I would be shaking uncontrollably before he would come to pick us up, begging my mother frantically not to make me go with him. Simply the thought of being in my father’s presence scared me deeply. I was fearful that he would kill me for calling the police on him.

Despite my intense fear of him, deep inside I desperately wanted my father to love me, be proud of me, but I knew that he never did, didn’t at the time, and never would.

Falling into the darkness.

My mom pulled me out of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic school and enrolled me in a public school near our home in Farmington Hills. By this time I believe I was about five years old. The kids at this elementary school seemed a little nicer, a little less judgmental, however, the darkness was calling my name and despite my efforts, I was soon swallowed whole.

For the most part, the teachers were a lot nicer than the ones at Our Lady of Sorrows, but soon they realized that I was deeply emotionally disturbed (from the violence I was regularly witnessing at home, and from my abuse at my previous school). I was soon referred to the school psychologist and began sessions with her frequently during the school day. I don’t remember a lot about our sessions and this makes me believe that my other personalities, my alters, my saviors in a way were the ones who spoke to her, not me

No name was the first to be born to my knowledge. And just recently in therapy, she has opened up enough to tell me her real name is Maggie. She was my playmate, she was stronger than I, and she is still with me in the present, encouraging me to not forget to indulge in childish, innocent fun. She is often the reason why I draw, do crafts, scrapbook and colour. Like all of the others, she has saved my life countless times and for that I am thankful.

Around the age of six a very horrible event occurred that contributed to the strength of the grip the darkness had on my soul. I remember waking up in the morning and walking down the stairs towards the kitchen for breakfast. I think I even remember the smell of food. The moment I reached the bottom of the stairs and my bare feet touched the cold floor I heard my dad screaming at my mom and threatening her. In a way, I was used to this. I was used to hearing his harsh, hateful voice screaming obscenities and even seeing him on top of my mother on the floor, hurting her. Something deep inside told me though, that this time was very different. Instead of walking straight into the kitchen, I walked into the dining room very quietly and when I reached the second entrance to the kitchen I peered inside, painfully aware that if I was seen, there would be deadly repercussions.

I looked into the kitchen and saw my dad standing there with his hand around my mother’s throat and a knife in his other hand. There was a look of pure evil in his eyes as he glared at my mom and it scared me to the point I remember almost wetting my underwear. I pulled back into the dining room and suddenly it felt as if my body was on autopilot. I walked fast, but silent to the stairs, to my room where I grabbed my two favourite stuffed animals (my teddy named Sally, and my Horse named Thunder). From there I strode to my parent’s bedroom and tucked my stuffed animals into their king-sized bed. I told them not to worry, that we would be safe and now I realize that I was talking to myself, not to them.

I picked up the phone beside their bed and dialed 9-1-1. I do not recall ever being taught this number, however just a year ago my mother told me that one night, in fear that my dad would do something, she taught me to call 9-1-1 if I ever felt someone was in danger. When she gave me this information I was chilled to the bone. She had not told me, she had told one of my alters…but thank the Gods that that alter remembered this. Also when my mom informed me of this it had triggered a memory to come back to me. I’m still not quite sure when this happened but one evening I recall hiding from my dad in the living room, being terrified to the point of nausea and dialing 9-1-1 over and over and over again, hanging up the receiver after every attempt to call. I don’t remember exactly why I did this, but I do remember being sick with fear of my dad.

After I called the police I don’t know if I stayed upstairs or if I went back downstairs but I do know that once the police arrived at our residence I saw my dad get put in handcuffs and taken away in the squad car. I felt terrified that my dad would kill me, or worse, my mom for my actions. I also felt a deep depression grip at me with no remorse as my dad gave me a look of pure hatred and disgust. I knew at that moment that he would never love me, and he would never forgive me. Imagine feeling that as a six year old. I owe it to my alters that I survived that day, and that my mind is still intact.

I have no memory of this, but my mom told me last year when we were talking about the past, that after the police took my dad away I asked her, “Mama, did I do the right thing?” and she replied with, “Yes.”

The bits and pieces of memory I do have of this event remains with me today, however as I get more into my current life you will see that I am finally learning that it doesn’t have to control me any longer, as long as I have the will and the courage to say so.

Our Lady of Sorrows.

I don’t remember his name, or if I ever even knew his name. I don’t remember what grade he was in, only that he was older. I don’t remember why no one stopped him, I just remember the feeling of the hard floor underneath me as he told me we were going to play a game. The game consisted of him being a doctor and me being his patient, only he was the most sadistic and perverted doctor I have ever met. He told me that we would play and that I was to remain silent about what he did. I remember being terrified. I remember being sick to my stomach. But as a four year old girl, what was I supposed to do? I remember squeezing my eyes shut as tightly as I could and fiercely imagined that I was someone else, living a life far away from where I really was. 

Every time this boy came around and I knew what was going to happen, I would repeat this method of coping. I never realized until I was 24 years old, that this coping mechanism was called dissociation and many times when a child is faced with great abuse and continue to dissociate there is a potential they can “split off”. Splitting off is when a person is able to break off from themselves and create different personalities to protect them from threatening situations. This in turn, becomes the mental illness DID. When that little boy would abuse me at Our Lady of Sorrows  Catholic school, I would dissociate, and this saved my life. 

There are other bits and pieces of the school that I do remember, random bits of information and fragments of images, voices, or scents. One in particular was a pond of fish outside the school that seemed to be comforting. I recall watching them swim and feeling like them…trapped. But seeing them and how they remained so peaceful gave me hope that better things were to come. 

I was younger than the other kids, and painfully shy so that didn’t help me. I was teased mercilessly, however, when a teacher was around or my mother was there, they acted as if I was a friend. I firmly believe that the events I experienced at this school, began my deep-seated problem of letting my fear of failure, and my fear of being disliked hold me back from all of the things I wanted to accomplish…something that I continue to battle to this day. 

In the beginning.

My name is Dandi Moore (I was born as Ashley Scott though). I was born in Southfield, Michigan on November ninth, 1987. My parents lived a city called Farmington Hills, just a little ways outside of Detroit in a nice house with a huge backyard and a dog. Before I was born my mother had suffered a miscarriage of her twin boys and was apprehensive that her pregnancy with me would result in a similar ending, however, because of the skill and caring nature of her doctor and nurses I arrived prematurely but safely. Over a year later my younger brother was born and about five years after my little sister was born. Looking back, I am very thankful that I had my brother and sister (especially my sister) despite the pain they shared with me. Without them, I may not be here today, despite our relationships being very broken.

Before I dive any deeper, let me explain a few things. I have lived with what society deems mental illness for my entire life. My diagnosis include Major Depression (Chronic), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). DID was formerly known as MPD (Multiple Personalities Disorder). Because of these illnesses (specifically DID) my memory has never been sharp and has left me with many “holes” where I do not remember anything or only bits and pieces. As I write my story, you will see that there are many places where I won’t be able to provide much detail due to this illness.

Living in a household with my parents when they were still together was very difficult to say the least. My father was extremely abusive towards my mother both physically and verbally. He was a raging alcoholic, and my mother was too terrified to stand up for herself, or for us. Meanwhile I attended a Catholic school for preschool and my first year of kindergarten. (They later determined that emotionally, I was not ready for first grade and had me repeat kindergarten). The Catholic school only worsened my mental health, outlook on life, and so on. At the age of four I was being sexually abused by an older student on a regular basis. Like clockwork, it would happen over and over again. I don’t have much recollection of the abuse other than a glimpse of his face, a few words, and of what he did to me the first time…but after that all I know is that it happened.

Inspiration for this blog.

Hello everyone!

My main inspiration for this blog is simple. After many years of desperately searching, cursing the cruelty of other people, and believing that it was in fact my worthlessness that led to my abuse and hardship I finally realized in a moment of pure beauty that the true reason for my 24 years of suffering was so that I could save others from a fate I nearly escaped. If you have ever struggled with depression, anger, abuse, self-mutilation, substance-abuse or anything in between, please, give me a chance to share with you my life…and most importantly how I survived and how I now live a life of happiness and freedom.