Siiiigh, so a great person introduced themselves to me the morning of the recent conference, tells me they know my partner, and really does it with such aplomb, I’m impressed. We have a brief chat about her work, my blog and so on. I’m looking forward to talking to her more.
That evening a great person sits down next to me, we start talking, I ask about her job, tell her about my partner, and so on. It’s not until she gives me an odd look and says yeah, your partner is great!… that I realise it’s the same person and I’ve just put them through the identical conversation.
Goddamn I hate doing that! Grr dissociation can be a pain!
It was many years before I came across the term facial blindness. I really notice it at conferences! If I want to thank or speak with a keynote speaker, I must be quick enough to get up the front and identity then from close up before they are enfolded by the crowd. This is because I cannot actually identify them by face. I live in fear of shaking the wrong hand and thanking a random audience member for their great presentation…
I have no idea who most of these people are and can’t identify them by sight unless several system members have spent time with them.
How can I be at a mental health conference and experiencing dissociation and still feel like no one would have a clue what that is or be comfortable with me talking about it?
Tony Hill, one of my favourite fictional characters, describes himself as ‘passing for human’. That exactly how my invisible disabilities and diversity makes me feel, like I’m pretending to be normal and getting caught out.
In this case, on my third interaction with the lovely person, I grasped the nettle and mentioned I had facial blindness and that I needed them to cue me about their identify for the first 10 or so times we meet. They took it really well and I felt less the freak. Sometimes we have to be brave to make the invisible, visible, and to speak the taboo.