There was only really one thing to report about in therapy today; for the first time ever we ended up splayed over the floor, lying on our side/back/front, all sorts. The reason this is monumental enough for me to report is because it means I have lost a great deal of my self consciousness about what I look like when I switch and it means for the first time ever I gave control of the legs and entire body to whoever was in the body. How freeing that is for me. How freeing that is for everyone else.
The pain/pressure of Cat being away for two weeks starting next week is growing within. I mused today in session how strikingly different attachment can be. When I was a teenager my upbringers would go abroad once a year and it was something I REALLY looked forward to. It would never cause me pain to think that they would be gone, I would never miss them, it was just wonderful them being away and us being safe. But with Cat I am dreading her being away even though we will still be in text contact daily. I said that if it was possible I’d quite like to be put in a coma-like sleep for these two weeks so I don’t have to feel this.
Driving to therapy today my thoughts kept going to friendships I’ve lost in the past; offline ones that is. There are quite a few that I remember: Jess, Karen, Lindsay, Katy, Clare… all friends that I once didnt feel I would want to live without, all friends lost in one way or another because of mental illness. From best friends to strangers. It is painful. I proposed that the reason I am feeling the pain of these losses is because of the perceived loss of Cat over these two weeks (and also paranoid fear that she won’t return). However I think I have been viewing this all wrong. Cat going away isnt a loss, it is simply a change.
We are still going to be in contact everyday. We will just have less contact because we won’t see each other twice a week and won’t be talking on the phone every day. That is all. Change, not loss. I think apprehension is the killer here. Isn’t it always. Especially for a change phobic like me. Still, change is an infinitely better way of feeling this than loss. Change not loss may become a mantra for the rest of this month.
Cat bought us a pretty little book though to write in if any thoughts or dreams or memories come up whilst she is away. Writing in there can become a bit of a substitute therapy session. We rely on her to help us ‘hold’ this stuff and in writing it down in her book it is like giving it to her to hold.
Because I still need help to hold all these pieces so that they aren’t too overwhelming.
So here we are, amidst change, not loss.
Isn’t it wonderful to hit a place of acceptance? It doesn’t even really matter what the acceptance is about; the relieving feelings are the same every time. It is like your brain suddenly says: Right, that is it, you don’t have to think about this anymore, it is the way it is and I accept that, and everything is okay.
I can’t actually say the word ‘acceptance’ out loud without coaching from someone else to tell me how to say it. A psychotherapist I had once found that very interesting/relevant: can’t say it, can’t do it. In a way I think he was right, accepting is hard to do, but only because I have such big/difficult things to accept. So the relief of accepting just one of these ‘monsters’ is very boosting.
Yesterday in session Cat said to LJ that she knows it is so unfair that we can’t start again, from scratch, and have her as our mother. My ears pricked up when I heard this because I have no idea why she said that. The conversation wasn’t going down that road at all and none of us had given her any idea that we were thinking that way at all. LJ was unable to really explain this so instead I sent Cat an email today to explain our view of this situation.
Basically, I said to Cat, we have accepted that the mother we had is the mother we have. Of course it remains to be the case that I don’t want my mother in my life; but that doesn’t take away the fact she is my mother and the only mother I am going to get. In fact, I don’t want any other mother, I said, especially you. Introduce a mothering dynamic to what we have and it will all go downhill. I will end up feeling like I have to please you, make you happy, and that takes away energy from my healing. And realistically, if it wasn’t for my mother I wouldn’t have met you in the capacity I have done and we wouldn’t have such a good bond with you. So there is no need to take away anything that has happened in my life, I’m quite happy with the way things have turned out.
But what I do like, I continued, is the idea of you being an auntie figure. If you want to take this back then let me know, otherwise I find it very innocent and comforting and would quite like it to stick.
Receiving an email back, when her policy is to not reply to any emails, simply saying ‘the auntie figure is good for me too’ has definitely solidified this acceptance amongst us all.
I have spent about a decade of my life searching for a new mum. The happiness that has spread through me when I think I have found one, and the disappointment that crawls over me when I realise I haven’t, has been mind-bending. But actually I think all this time I have been searching for something that I don’t actually want and won’t let in my life. That is why these mother figures have never really ‘worked out’ because deep down I know the idea of a mother, according to my mind, is dangerous. ‘Mother’ comes with so much tension and responsibilities from both parties. I’d rather just give that all a miss really, thankyouverymuch.
I have been having fleeting feelings of suicide in the last few days and tonight I finally find out where they are coming from: LJ. She sat with Cat this evening actually shaking with emotional pain. She told Cat she simply wants to run in front of a car. And other than that she had only one word to say: “lonely”. The pain in the heart when she was in the body was unbelievable, I have never felt anything like it. Cat and LJ held hands for a little bit which seemed to salve the pain for a little while. This was definitely a session where LJ was not interested in words, at all. She just needed to be held and contained. She finally broke down into tears when Cat put her arm around her shoulders. Perhaps she felt safe enough to just let go of the pain whilst Cat was containing her. I think she feels a bit better now.
Unfortunately, the shock of LJ’s confession seemed to stir up the entire system. I was then on a 40 minute carousel ride inside; trying desperately hard to return to the room but only managing a few seconds/minutes before I was swept off my feet again by another alter. The problem was Cat has never witnessed the carousel before and had absolutely no idea what was going on and I wasn’t able to tell her for in the moment I had no idea either. She wanted me to stay longer and to drink some tea to ground myself but I was lucid enough to know that we had overran considerably and I needed to leave. I tried my best to assure her I would be okay, between switches, and slowly the carousel calmed down as I sat in the car alone. I am still not 100% present now but nothing a good sleep won’t fix.
I think it was bound to be a triggering session because a.) I had a nightmare last night that involved men coming to the clinic to attack me (and my parents/sister were there too) and b.) I could smell alcohol in the room which Cat told me is probably right, though she can’t smell anything, but it isn’t her, and she had to reassure us with that point quite a bit. Alcohol probably still remains to be our biggest trigger and even just remnants of alcohol in the air is enough to send us in a bit of a chaotic mess.
I have apologised profusely to Cat because overrunning that much is a big no-no really in therapy. Though what Cat and I are doing together has never been just therapy anyway. But still, there is a lot of guilt considering how abhorrent I feel about myself at the moment and how much I don’t want to inflict myselves on other people.
I really wanted to spend some time tonight catching up with blogs and commenting but I think the only place I need to be right now is in bed. I feel extremely tired now and am in desperate need of the reset button that comes with sleep.
*****But what I do want to do is a shout-out to Red. I just want to remind you that I care very very much about you and I am not going to get tired of stuff and turn my back. I know our contact lately has been a bit stilted because of both of us going through rough times but you are still very much close to my thoughts every day and with every thought comes some warm energy and healing vibes just for you.*****
After a three day veg in bed I managed to drag myself up and out to take Raggy for a walk this afternoon – what a struggle. It was good to be out, I suppose, but my bed was calling me the whole time. Things still feel ridiculously heavy and I didn’t realise how much I was actually holding back until I had my daily check in call with Cat and ended up blubbering down the phone for the whole 25 minutes.
It was a tricky phone call because I was asking her really really important questions whilst not being able to trust her answers, at all. She was saying one thing, and I was hearing another in her voice, and regardless of how much she tried to reassure me that what I thought I was hearing in her voice was complete bolderdash I just kept believing she was lying that little bit more. In the end I just had to give up and hold what she was saying close to me so that I can keep trying to trust it if and when I feel able to.
The thing is I was ready to quit therapy. In fact I was ready to quit life. Things haven’t felt this awful in a good few months and I was just pushing every self destruct button I have. I am great at kicking myself when I am down. I am great at pushing away the exact people I need when I need them.
I think I am feeling a lot of grief right now too. With it being the run up to my birthday I am considering being 26 and where I’m at in life. I am wondering what my upbringers will do on MY special day. Will they silently wish me well? I doubt it. I’m sure I have been cursed (as in verbally, and actually cursed) many a time already. My mother told me you never cross a witch because they can ALWAYS curse you, whoever and wherever you are. All they have to do is THINK the curse and with the power of their minds they can make you fall with an extremely painful illness or take away everything you know and love. My mother took pride in making me see that she is some all-knowing, all-powerful being, and my life depends on me respecting her and keeping her at a safe distance. Like a couple dancing a tango, the distance has to be perfect. With me turning my back on the family the distance is no longer perfect. I am at risk. Not something I should dwell on too much I don’t think with how unsettled and unstable I am already.
But back to Cat and those really really important questions. Through tears I told her that I just need to hear that she cares about me. Through tears I told her that I just wish she would tell me that she loves me, like a mother does to their child. Through tears I told her that I just want her to hold me; I don’t want a hug, they are too impersonal, I just NEED to be held.
She tried to tell me that she does care and that she does “feel love” for me. She kept repeating that over and over again: “I do feel love for you, all of you”. I am trying to work out what that means. Is that a cop out? To feel love for someone, is that the same as loving someone? I genuinely don’t know and any help on this particular issue would be greatly appreciated.
She told me that when I sent her the text I did this morning saying that I cried myself to sleep last night in Raggy’s basket with him licking away my tears, she cried. “Not for you to feel guilty” she said “but you see I do care, otherwise I wouldn’t react to things you say like that”. My head had a response to that. The same response as what was being screamed following everything else she said: LIAR.
Cat reckons some parts of me knows that she cares and is angry at that. “Angry because it is much harder to off yourself when you know people care about you” she said. And angry because if she cares then how dare she up and leave and go on holiday and leave me in the lurch. Rationally I don’t think that, I can’t. But with my attachment issues and my struggles it would be stupid to not expect SOME parts of me to think that exact thing. Perhaps these parts needs to express this anger at some point this week. I hope I can step away enough to allow this to happen.
As for being held, she thinks we are (all) ready. We have known her for nearly a year now (where has that time gone?) and I think we all know and love/trust Cat enough now to know that some physical comfort from her is safe and okay. It doesn’t mean it is going to happen tomorrow or Friday or anytime before she goes away but that option is now available to us. She reckons being physically contained and held is very much needed because we were so so starved of that growing up. We literally had zero experiences of SAFE holding touch. The mother was NEVER affectionate in words or touch. When the father was affectionate in touch it was mostly when he was crossing sexual boundaries. Accepting it from Cat is going to be hard but when the right time comes, I will know.
I have no idea why I am here, writing again, when I should be asleep or at least trying to get that way. But here I am so I’m just going to go with the flow.
I’m wondering tonight why I have been the outcast of society for my entire life.
I’m wondering if I am ever going to feel what it is like to live safely and happily.
I’m wondering if I could just literally take a break from life. A full one. I’m wondering if I could emotionally die for a week or so only to be reborn again.
Wouldn’t it be great if that is the way life works?
I really hate it when people say they are going to do something and then don’t do it. I especially hate it when that person is my therapist. Hey, I know therapists are human but don’t have us hold onto something and then watch us drop and fall whilst you reveal that it was never there in the first place. It’s a long way to fall so it is. The bottom always surprises you with how far away it hides itself.
I’ve taken emergency medication. I know when help is needed. If I stop fighting then I could be asleep now, quite easily. But then I would have to wake up again. And waking up from sleep is more painful than just staying awake to start with.
Another fucking difficult day. And excuse the swearing but I am, to quote Anastacia, sick and tired of being sick and tired. Between my poor housemate being physically very poorly all weekend and me being emotionally poorly all weekend you should see the state of the flat. It is angering both of us that it is in such a tip and neither of us feel as if we can do anything about it. Poor Raggy hasn’t had a walk this weekend either. Everything and everyone has just flumped.
With Cat going on holiday in just over a week I think we were hoping to contain things but that hasn’t really happened this weekend. Things have been coming up within us that have literally left me struggling to stay upright with its heaviness.
**Trigger warning: child abuse**
The first thing to come up was I was introduced to someone who MAY be another alter, but I am holding judgement. This child goes by the name of Gypsy and has been horribly physically abused. She wears rag-like clothes and has a dirty round face. And that is all I know.
The second thing to come up is I had a flash(back?) of a very disturbing incident of child sexual abuse. The actions were very detailed. I could see everything that was going on and relayed it to Cat in as much detail as I could bear. The only thing I couldn’t see was who the man was. My tunnel vision onto the incident didn’t stretch up to his face. I just ‘knew’ he was an old man. Jury is out on what this incident is from but all Cat said was; it is clear you have been traumatised from all angles at such a young age. What she isn’t saying is that the child being abused is me, or at least part of me. What she is saying is that perhaps this is a scene I witnessed, or it was an ‘acting scene’; something I was led to believe happened at the time.
She is asking me to respect the part of me that has thrown this much up and not try and push for more and try to make sense of it all. She has asked me to give the fragment to her to hold and then try to keep myself as distracted as possible. Easy to say but when it is something replaying in your head over and over and over again, when you are left wondering if you just have a very sick imagination, when there is actual physical pain in your body as you try to carry this around… it is hard to do. I feel like I have had the rug pulled out from underneath my feet and I am struggling, really struggling, to stay contained.
Everything is upsetting me this weekend. Everything. Watching ‘the hangover’ with my housemate yesterday my eyes welled up with tears at the end when they finally found their friend. This film is a comedy for gods sake. I’ve been triggered by Cat because on the phone she said: “I’d better go now” and that threw up all sorts of fear and guilt that I am wanting/needing too much from her and I have been a naughty child in pushing for it. I feel like I’ve had a couple of layers of my skin taken off me and now everything is just hurting me that much more.
–From a very worn down and slightly exasperated Bourbon
To put it bluntly, today has been A Very Shit Day. My brain melted somewhat and texts have been sent to Cat but with no distinct author; telling her to go away and come here at exactly the same time. We were being triggered left right and centre by car doors slamming and people next door showering and other perfectly innocent things. And then I read a post with someone threatening suicide and it just threw up far too much stuff for my already melting brain to handle. I can’t remember where the afternoon went but I think I was sleeping. I think.
Luckily Cat has been very close by in text message form all day. In between falling down the stairs and standing on drawing pins she has been Right There and that has helped immensely. After all, if I tell someone to go away the best thing to do is emotionally come closer to me, that is just the way my brain works. As long as I have THAT sort of attachment to you anyway. Yeah, confusing.
But I was thrown into a bit of a guilty panicked state of I-already-made-my-mother-threaten-suicide-once-and-undoubtedly-I’ve-done-it-again. Still, yes STILL I carry around the responsibility of my mothers life/death and even though I can recognise her blaming her suicidal ideation on me is disgusting behaviour, parts of me still believe it to be true. I DID force her to the edge of the cliff with my words. I did. I MADE HER DISAPPEAR FOR 48 HOURS, no one else. Me. It is beside the point that it was her choice to find and read my personal diary where I wrote about the abuse she had done over the years.
Really I should be reeling in the fact that she dared to give the ultimate threat to keep me silent: speak and I will kill myself. So much so my sister said the same thing: speak and our mother will kill herself. A few months later I “spoke” through the silence of estrangement. It is hard to hold onto the disgusting manipulative truth and not turn it on myself.
If my mother dies I will blame it on me. BECAUSE SHE TOLD ME TO. Through physical illness or suicide. She told me over and over again, it will be my fault.
And THAT is NEVER a burden to give your offspring. WHATEVER the situation.
But at least I can be angry about it. At least a little. Anger is a constructive emotion vs. guilt which is purely destructive.
A good friend wrote: the worst thing about mental illness is that everyone eventually gets sick of your problem and stops caring about it completely.
I couldn’t agree with this more right now. It is happening in my (offline) life as we speak and if it wasn’t for my online friends and my therapist I would be fighting through the complexities of all this alone.
When I first started being open about the DID and showing people (offline) my blog I had quite a few people talk to me about it and act as if they care and want to be there. Now I have gone back to hiding my blog from everyone offline because I feel ashamed that I am still having problems and going through this shit. (Nicky, please don’t think I’m including you in this generalisation- you have remained by my side and I thank you for that).
I write this blog as a way of letting those closest to me know what is going on. But I miss the feedback and the support I used to get from said people. I miss those closest to me being involved and helping me work out this puzzle. I feel like this part of my life now is unwanted and has been tossed away and that is a shame because this part of my life is ALL my life right now.
And I am becoming quite dependent on my therapist because she is the only one who has remained interested. No longer am I randomly texting those closest to me saying ‘you won’t believe what Benny just shouted inside’. It is my therapist I am texting that to now. Because it feels like no one else is interested. No one else cares. And I don’t know if it’s fair me feeling this way – but it’s the way I feel and I will not allow anyone to tell me the way I feel is wrong.
I know that DID is complex, overwhelming, all encompassing, repetitive, difficult, time consuming, energy zapping though. Perhaps if I could just brush it to one side I would too.
Thanks to everyone who has left such sweet messages for Kerry on the previous post. She got her story today in the session with Cat: Peter Rabbit. After the rough night we had, a gentle story was what all the system needed I think.
Last night I was trapped in the state I call dissociative sleeping. Old readers will have heard me talk about this before but as all my old posts are privatised I shall summarise it again.
You are neither awake, nor asleep, not conscious but not unconscious either. You are literally stuck in limbo with flashbacks/delusions happening every minute. It happens a lot when Kerry is in the body but rather than just tell her to go back to her dark place in the inner world I got out of bed, lay down next to Raggy, and spoke to her about what was wrong. From what I gather she was freaked out by my housemate who is very bunged up with a cold right now and so was snoring. It reminded Kerry of the father. At least when she told me that I was able to keep reminding her that my housemate is safe and isn’t going to hurt us whilst acknowledging that her fear is justified and I am listening to it.
I think I was sharing Raggy’s basket for about an hour before I felt grounded enough to get us back to bed. A very long time for us to be in such a traumatised state and at one point I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get us out of it at all. It does leave you feeling like you are bordering on psychosis and literally all you can do is sit with it.
**Trigger Warning: talk of witchcraft**
In session today Cat and I touched on my very real fear of Cat brainwashing me, bringing these alters out of me, creating them, like some form of witchcraft. Although she isn’t saying this is true, Cat is very aware of the possibility that my mothers ‘interest’ in witchcraft may have been more sinister than just curses and blood-letting. My fear of Cat putting these alters in me MAY be a projection of the possibility the mother may have purposefully messed with my mind and created some alters.
I very much doubt that my mother had the insight/intelligence or desire to purposefully create alters in me. I remember, ironically, letting my mother borrow ‘sybil’ the book from me when I was a teenager and as far as I was aware that was the first time my mother had ever even heard of multiple personality disorder. But there may have been more subtle ways my mother behaved/manipulated her belief in being a witch that encouraged us to become multiple, perhaps.
And of course also the fact that I am quite certain she has multiplicity running through her too. She had dramatic switches behind closed doors and it isn’t hard to appreciate that I was following her lead and also developing these new modes of being to match hers that developed over time into full alters. For example, at times she would literally switch into a very young being and become very ‘playful’. Unfortunately her idea of playful was a bit off the wall and would involve causing me physical pain, one way or another. I was the type of kid who would mould into whoever the mother wanted me to be at that moment in time. If she wanted me to be playful back then I would create the part to do that. If she needed me to act the victim role then I would create the part to do that. Whatever it took to keep the mother happy with me so the more frightening abuses didn’t take place. Just a theory.
I am finding it unbelievable to think that it has been 8 months since I changed my number and made myself a voluntary orphan. I said to Cat today that I can’t quite believe how easy and beneficial it has been to do that.
Bourbon: “I mean it’s not like they were actively abusing me at the time. We had all silently moved on from that now I am an adult and living away from them.”
Cat: “They may not have been actively abusing you but there would have been looks, or words, or patterns of behaviour that were keeping you in that abused place. The mother may have only had to look at you a certain way and it would have reactivated all of what happened in the past and kept it very much alive in the present.”
When you have spent 18 years of your life being brainwashed and systematically abused by your upbringers I don’t think it ever goes away from the family dynamics. That type of abuse never goes away. It is enveloped in the whole family system and whilst they were happy to bury it under the carpet and carry on pretending, there was just too much that I could see and feel under my feet.
Of course I still feel awful about “ruining their lives” and I am still sometimes hit with the thought of ‘what have I done, I am wrong, they were never abusers’. But as Cat pointed out today I have a whole sub-system of backward facing alters who are very very loyal to the upbringers. It is not surprising that in some moments they completely overpower any rational thoughts I have as the programming of ‘parents are always right, you are always wrong’ kicks in. It is a fight but I hope we can all be on the same side eventually.