I was naive

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

I will never have a story to tell.  

I guess I naively first went into DID therapy hoping and somewhat expecting that I would, in time, find the narrative of my life.  I naively thought that regardless of the fact I have over a decade of amnesia for my childhood, my other parts of me would fill in those gaps for me- fill me up with anecdotes and truths that I will eventually claim as my own.

Cat and I have pretty much come to the conclusion that this is never going to happen. And apparently, she admires me for being able to remain that way.  Humans are a story-hungry species.  We want to know each others stories, we want to know our own, from beginning to end.  Even if that means that to compensate for the ‘natural’ memory loss (especially following trauma) our brain fills in the gaps.

It is not in my personality to make a story out of the memories I have, or other alters have, or I am recovering.  Some people do deal with their abusive experiences that way, but I just can’t, it doesn’t feel legitimate to me, not one bit.  I am too hyper-aware that those ‘brain filling in the gaps’ bits aren’t necessarily complete truth – more estimations, imagination, approximations.

What I am remembering from my childhood, or what other parts are telling me, are fragments of an experience.  I could string it altogether and try to find a beginning middle and end with context and emotion, but I won’t.  I guess this is why bits of shit from the past float in my life and then float out again.  Memories, body memories, flashbacks, gut feelings, triggered recollections, recalls from other parts of me… none of these are set in stone and added to my (abstract) timeline of life (if they were, as Cat said, it would be a horrific timeline indeed).

These things may have happened.  But they may not have done.  They may have been staged. They may have been on the TV or on a poster.  They may have been told to me.  Somehow these things have found their way inside me but neither Cat nor I make it a priority in finding out how; mainly because in reality, we will never know for sure.  Humans just don’t have the ability to completely accurately recall early childhood memories like that.

My therapy expectations have completely changed and I have to admit, it is much less ‘fascinating’ and ‘interesting’. It is not about finding the key and unlocking the past anymore.  It is not about discovering exactly how and when my DID/alters developed.  It is not about recalling abusive events and how I survived them.  It is not about creating a timeline and putting everything in order and eventually writing a book from age zero to twenty-three.

Most the time therapy is not based in the past at all.  It is based in the present.  What difficulties am I having living day to day life, why, and how can I change that? Same for friendships, relationships, responsibilities, attachments, confidence, sense of self, self image, food and drink intake, phobias and so much more.

There is a reason that my mind has a decade of amnesia and only fragmented stuff ever since- perhaps that is all the story I really need to know.  

Life as I know it

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I don’t mean for this to come across as grumpy as it does.  I am not in crisis.  I am no more depressed than I usually am.  Nothing has changed bar acknowledgement of the way things are spurred by Cats honesty.  This is my life, and for now that is fine.  I have lived every day up until now, today and the rest of my days aren’t any different.  

~~~

Around every corner is a trigger, and then some.  Life throws these triggers at me which sometimes forces my healing and recovery of memories and thoughts about these memories at a rate that isn’t comfortable.  Today I was somewhat pushed down that road because of highly triggering imagery in a computer game I saw a few minutes of.  An hour long conversation on the phone with Cat and things seem to have been “sorted” in my mind, for now, but there are still so many questions left unanswered, so many things left unsaid because I don’t know how to say them.

Cat said something ever so “real” today on the phone that left me feeling quite alone, but thankful for her honesty.  She said that sometimes she forgets the extent of what I must be carrying around, with my history.  As she goes about her day to day life she doesn’t appreciate how difficult it must be to live with what I do 24/7.  She catches glimpses of what it must be like, when I am directly with her in session, and said that sometimes it makes her blood run cold.  But I am doing so well at the moment in functioning despite everything going on underneath the surface that I guess to “outsiders” it would be easy to lose sight of the 24/7 difficulties that haunt me, thanks to such soul-damaging abuse.

It is nice in a way, because it means I feel I legitimately have grounds to praise myself on, for once.  I do live with this shit 24/7, I do keep things under control, yet I am still sane. Sometimes, that feels like a really big achievement to me.  Still sometimes, I hate my self for it.  Sometimes, I hate that I am still here, I hate that my life is ahead of me and it is closer and closer within my reach as a “normal” member of society.  I hate that the war I have been through in surviving such an intensely dangerous childhood has left me so tired I feel like I’m done… that was my lifetime… do I really have to go through more?

I am finding so much good in my life at the moment, I am so lucky, I know.  Cat and I are building such wonderful memories of a perfectly safe attachment.  But in all seriousness, does it make up for all that of before? Of course it doesn’t.  She knows it doesn’t.  I know it doesn’t.  Neither of us are fooling ourselves here.  It is like being given crusts of bread after being starved for a month.  You are grateful for it, like you have never been grateful about anything before, but it would be impossible for that to take away the emptiness, the insatiable need for more.  And the rage that comes from that left over hunger is so guilt-inducing it just cannot be expressed, so it festers under the surface causing yet more neurosis.

Because it doesn’t matter what I tell Cat, what she understands, or at least tries to.  There are still those times where my body and mind are absolutely screaming (silently, of course) for someone, or something, to take it all away.  And much like when I am sitting across from her feeling like I am being burned alive because I so desperately need a hug but can’t ask for it, and don’t believe she would want to give it to me anyway, I am left hollow knowing that there is nothing in the world that will help- no pill, no type of therapy, no respite stay.

And that makes me angry.  My life continues to be a game of dodgeball- dodging the great big inflated triggers that feel as if they are aimed straight for me at times.  I can laugh about it, and I do.  Like when Cat and I were in the car talking about a recent supernatural-type trigger and a massive lorry comes around the corner with “demons revenge” written down the side of it, with a great big image to go with it.  Or when upon trying desperately hard to think of something untriggering for ‘wind down’ before bed and everything Cat and I say happens to have some sort of trigger in it- even something that should be innocent, like goats!  My history – it’s everywhere – inside and out.  I cannot get the fuck away.  And no, nobody can appreciate that – not even the closest person to me, Cat, can come anywhere close to feeling the strain of it.  

The ‘mundaneness’ of day to day life for the majority of society ends up irritating the shit out of me- so much so over the years I have really developed a pet hate for the phrase “what do you want to do now?” Why would I want to do anything that life offers now (when your “base state” is being housebound)? Why would I want to sit and watch a made up film about made up dreadful situations society thinks is “entertaining” when I can watch the film that is in my own head day in day out? Why would I want to play or watch a computer game with knife wielding maniacs and characters running from monsters and supernatural creatures, when that was my actual reality for 18 years? Why would I want to sit and do crafts when all that does is serve as a reminder that I never got to do this before, and now look, I am rubbish at it.  Quite frankly I don’t want to do anything but recover and heal and be able to live as securely, contently and safely as I should have been able to all along.  And I know that isn’t going to happen overnight, so ultimately, no I don’t want to do anything.

…and I so wish for just one day my focus could solely be on something other than internal turmoil, pain, grief, stress, and terror…

…I’m sorry…

Wonderful chaos

Tags

, , , ,

What a wonderful afternoon of chaos today turned out to be.  You know when you have made yourself so dizzy that even when you’re standing still your brain feels like it is still spinning? With Cat here for 4.5 hours during which there was a ridiculously high level of switching (we’re talking minutes at a time, or even seconds at some points) my brain is still turning now, trying to catch up with itself.  I hate this sensation because it can make me feel so nauseous (during the rapid switching and after) but sometimes there is just no (point in) stopping it.  Though if you asked me who was there today I wouldn’t be able to give a straight answer; there were voices/mannerisms that even I didn’t recognise.

We were supposed to be going out, but in true Bourbon style, things just didn’t feel safe enough to leave the house.  With that level of switchy-ness leaving the house never feels comfortable anyway because I have to try to keep a lid on it all which sometimes is just not possible.  It just felt much safer and comfortable staying at home where we could be whoever we need to be at any given time.

We did some cooking, and some crafty activities, but a lot of the time things were so chaotic inside it felt impossible to concentrate on anything external and there was a lot of sitting/laying on the sofa trying to just breathe and navigate the internal mess.  I honestly don’t know how Cat can keep up with us sometimes.

There was a bit of a breakthrough with our youngest system member today; for the first time he seemed very aware of it being present day and was concerned about his present needs rather than being stuck in past abreactions.  He is also beginning to realise that he can communicate those needs to Cat and Cat will try her hardest to decipher them.  All the time he’s been having recently with Cat in sessions has certainly paid off.

I am so thankful we got to spend the afternoon with Cat today.  It has certainly given us something else to hold onto as the week hurtles up to yet another “special occasion”.

Dear diary,

If she recognises bits of me around society does that mean I am someone?

She says…
Animals she sees that link us together…
Small dogs that look like my own…
Clothes shops that she thinks I’d like…
Shoes that she thinks I’d like…

It’s why she sometimes sends me pictures. Animals mostly. Or lovely scenes that she comes across.

This means I am an actual person doesn’t it? I can appreciate things like other people do? I have likes? She sees me for who I am??

She can ‘see me’ even when I’m not physically there? I ‘see her’ all the time but she sees me too??

Such a relatively small passing comment that has made such big ripples within me and my sense of self…

Even if I can’t see myself, she sees me. I am someone, even if it isn’t someone I want to be right now?

She is okay with seeing me that way? She isn’t embarrassed or horrified or bored?

She says…
She likes ‘seeing me’ around?
It makes her feel warm?

I am not just a poisonous ‘thing’ she has to deal with everyday. I am warmth to her.

She says…
When we are out she fiercely protects me like a dog mummy with her pups.
Ready to growl at any signs of danger.

I am worth protecting? She recognises my need to feel protected like I never have done before? She wants to keep me safe and from harm?

Huge.

I am someone. I’m actually a person. She sees me. When I have no masks on… she sees me.

I feel alive

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Hi all,

I haven’t really had much to say for myself here recently… I still don’t.  Therapy today was really nice and comforting.  LJ and little me were blended throughout the entire session again which seems to be the state I feel most comfortable at the moment- the most “me”- still a state that is reserved only for Cats presence though.

We had an interesting discussion about dissociative disorders being attachment trauma and how we have worked so hard to achieve a good strong attachment to Cat in the last two years that it is acting like a balm for the system – something that is bringing us altogether and melting us into one being.  Apparently it isn’t unusual for young people with DID to start blending/integrating quite early on in therapy as our brains are still young enough to be quickly developing and changing with the support of a ‘forever’ safe attachment.  It’s a case of attachments gluing us together again- its just happening a lot quicker than I anticipated it would.

Tuesday will be interesting – we are going for a day trip out with Cat.  I wonder who will be present for that.  Given the extent of my social phobia when in public when I am feeling little, it might be quite hard to stay present.  I hope not because these day trips with Cat aren’t just about having lightness and fun.  It’s about feeling safe and secure outside the house, and feeling protected by someone.  I hope I can let myself feel that as the ‘me’ that needs it the most.

Outside of therapy my attention has been elsewhere.  I have been powering on with my home studying course I am doing and received two good passes for the two assessments I have done so far: 87% and 100%.  My brain is so active so much of the time I am really enjoying being able to focus it with some learning again.  I have also set up a new blog that is dedicated to my volunteering.  I am not really publicising it yet as I am in the middle of getting permission from the organisation that it is okay for me to write about my experiences online.  I hope I get a positive response though as the blog is strangely, already giving me a warm sense of achievement and confidence.

Things are all feeling ‘okay’ right now and that is odd but very very welcome.  I am feeling held, grounded, heard, understood and … for the first time in a very long time I can acknowledge that I feel alive.

Happy Friday all xx

A temporary experience of integration

Tags

, , , , , ,

In the last week or so there seems to have been some big changes in the system.  I’m starting to begin to pay attention to whether I am feeling ‘little’ or ‘older’.  My task has been to sign off text messages to Cat with a particular symbol when I am feeling little.  Consequently my personal attachment to Cat is growing even more as she begins to come to know and understand the real me.

It would appear though, that now I am accepting of the fact I do have a little side to me who is younger, needier, and emotionally in a lot of pain- LJ, the part that split off from me years ago, is coming back into me sometimes, I guess temporarily blending.

When I was speaking to Cat today in session I was feeling and Cat was observing LJ’s facial expressions.  It feels strange – it wasn’t that she was co-consious with me and alongside me – we were ourselves and each other at the same time.  Every now and then I could almost feel a “push” as if LJ was making room for herself, and “testing” that she could still be separate from me.  But for the most part we were comfortable as one.

It is by no means a permanent integration.  Right now that isn’t what we necessarily want.  LJ still deals with a lot of stuff that I don’t like to: eating and drinking in front of Cat for example.  I am comfortable with the fact that LJ will still want some one-on-one time with Cat without being blended with me, same as at home.  I guess in the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t change much.  But if LJ, the alter who has always been closest to me can show signs of joining up with my self and becoming one, then it gives me hope that one day we will all be able to live like that – together, integrated, as one.

Before today I wasn’t 100% sure that was what I wanted – full integration.  But just feeling LJ’s temporary blending with me, and the way it made me feel “whole-er”, has, I think, made my mind up about the whole ‘integration or not’ matter.  Of course, that is my opinion, everyone elses might be different!

Psychogenic movements & trauma

Tags

, , , , , ,

I have written before about the psychogenic seizures/myoclonus that I/we suffer from at times.

Psychogenic myoclonus refers to sudden, involuntary muscle contractions (twitches) or jerking of a muscle or group of muscles that are caused by a psychological condition. Myoclonic jerks may occur alone or in sequence, in a pattern or without pattern. Increased startle or startle-like movements are frequent. Psychogenic myoclonus may occur spontaneously or be generated by an action or reflex. The twitching cannot be controlled by the person experiencing it.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/psychogenic_movement/psychogenic_movement.htm

Typically these happen when I am fully conscious but in a flashback state or a period of complete overwhelm. They can last any time from a few minutes to an hour or so, depending on how able I am to talk myself round from it.

Last night there was a re-appearance of another psychogenic movement symptom that only seems to happen to me overnight.  I wake up in the middle of the night and BAM my body is freaking out, majorly.

Psychogenic tremor (also called functional tremor) can appear as any form of tremor movement. Characteristics may vary but generally include sudden onset and remission, increased incidence with stress, change in tremor direction and/or body part affected, and greatly decreased or disappearing tremor activity when the person is being distracted.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/psychogenic_movement/psychogenic_movement.htm

The tremors involve my entire body and they are pretty severe, leaving me feeling pretty much boneless.  My arms, legs and trunk are tremoring so violently that I can only just manage to stumble about to set my bedroom up for some grounding techniques.  Typically the tremors, accompanied by waves of terror, will last for 15-30 minutes or so.

When it comes to recovering from trauma, it is proposed that perhaps the tremoring is the bodies way of literally ‘shaking out’ the trauma.  Perhaps the body (in my case when I am asleep) is in a freeze reaction and all the muscles are ever so tightly contracted that the tremoring is your neurological system literally trying to loosen itself out again (and given my shoulders and back feel quite achey today I guess that makes sense).

Reading about it, and coming across information on how trauma and tremoring is so linked, is actually a comfort to me.  I have been going through these periods of tremors at night for years now – although obviously not every night – it still happens enough to be a worry that I have to contend with when I go to sleep.  Realising that there probably is no physical reason for it – I am not ill – will be a great help for when I am in the moment and playing tug of war with the emetophobia for my mind.

It is almost automatic for me however to realise that all of these physical symptoms are “in the mind” and use it as further criticism of my neurosis and weakness.  I am not alone though, and that is very important to keep in mind.  Trauma, especially prolonged abuse that is quite lost behind amnesia, needs to be released and ‘felt’ somehow.  For severe trauma and/or trauma that happened at a very young age, finding full catharsis through talking is just not possible.  If my body needs to literally shake it out of itself then I will train myself to see it as a cleansing process, a sign of progression.  Not a sign that I am so traumatised I am never going to be rid of all these difficulties.

And given that post-episode, an hour after it started, I was able to fall back to sleep and innocently dream about Miranda Hart working in Sainsburys, I would say the cleansing worked! My dreams lately have just been one violent situation after another.  How wonderful it was to wake up having ‘met’ one of my favourite TV stars!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 698 other followers