Summertime has always been a time of both freedom and struggle. Our summer parts come out and are free from work stuff cuz we have summers off work. Tho, what we have known and been working hard this summer more than ever before is that the summer parts have no structure or guidelines to follow. If it were up to them, they would never sleep, eat, take the maintenance meds, leave the house, or dare I say rarely shower.
This summer has been one of hard work to teach our summer crew the need to and also the how to take care of our most basic needs. We have been learning to eat small meals every 3 to 4 hours for several months now, but once the summer crew came out it was like learning it all over again. They are getting the hang of it and are amazed (as I was a few months ago) at how it was okay to eat more than once a day and that it would NOT make us fat but rather would help us lose weight and feel better physically and emotionally.
One of the toughest hurdles for us this summer was helping the summer crew know it was okay and safe to sleep at night. Every summer has usually been spent staying up all night and into the day only to sleep a little while in the daytime hours and then be up again. I have always told my friends and coworkers that once summertime comes, my days and nights flip. Well, they did this summer, too, but we were getting sick for whatever reason and so in T we worked to modify the summer crew’s sleep habits. So, we have successfully been sleeping at night for about 2 weeks now and everything is feeling better.
As for the meds, well, we are taking them probably every other day which is tons better than before when we would go all summer without taking more than just a few day’s worth. It’s partly cuz some of the insiders especially summer parts don’t want to accept that we need meds and partly cuz we worry so much about finances that we find ourselves hoarding our pills. It’s quite a dichotomy (is that the word I’m looking for?) as we need to take them but since we fear running out and not having money to buy more, we hoard and stop taking them which is what would happen if we couldn’t buy more, anyway. Hubby has recently taken over the financial planning tho and we are beginning to feel more secure. He has a much better head for numbers than we do and we are learning lots while watching him plan out the month. One of the first things he planned was a way to set aside money each week for meds so that we don’t have to worry about running out and not being able to get more.
We’ve been trying to keep on top of housework which is very difficult in the summer as Mary – the one in our group that loves to clean house – is not out in the summer much if at all. One of our BFF’s suggested to us to write on the calendar when we plan to do what – like if we are going to vacuum every Friday, write it on the calendar as a reminder to keep us consistent. It seems to help some, tho, if we don’t look at the calendar then it can be a problem. heh. Also working on hygiene. It’s not an issue of not wanting to be clean. It’s the issue that trauma in the childhood happened in the bath and shower making it an unsafe place which is prone to flashbacks and/or triggers. So, avoidance is the result. But, we are working on those issues, as well, and seeing improvement. An online friend sent us a worksheet that has tips to dealing with/overcoming bathroom triggers. It was very helpful and we are so thankful to her for sending it to us. If anyone is interested, just drop me a line and I’ll send it to you, as well.
I often feel like my summer has been wasted when I go to return to work. Partly cuz I am switching into work/fall folks and don’t remember much of the summer and partly cuz I know that the summer crew has been quite disorganized. This year, I have seen improvement and for that I can be thankful. I was feeling like a failure the other day thinking about therapy and how we haven’t done much memory work or anything this summer. But, then we realized how much work we have been doing this summer just building a foundation for the summer crew to work from. Without their basic needs met, there isn’t much way we can do anything else.