Merry Christmas


I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Christmas today. I know how holidays can be quite triggering. For many years, I just tried to get through it. Then, I worked on making new holiday traditions to make Christmas our own and not all about the childhood crap. This has helped tremendously as we do stuff for our system and help make positive memories for this holiday season. Don’t forget to use grounding techniques today as needed.

We like to light scented candles like vanilla or cinnamon. We drink hot chocolate and eat healthy foods as well as splurge a bit on cherry cream pie and stuffs (but try not to spurge too much. lol). We love buying presents for our hubby and close friends. Something cool for our hubby is that he gets gifts from lots of our insiders – so more than one present for sure! We let groups of our system buy gifts so that it doesn’t get too awfully crazy with the spending. Also, hubby likes to give us gifts for the inside kids as well as other groups of our system. That’s always cool  🙂  We enjoy watching movies and playing video games, too. We get all of our grocery shopping done early so that we don’t have to go out on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That definitely helps with the stress and triggers of the day.

Have a happy holiday today.

Emotions & DID


The whole emotion thing has been a difficult one for me/us. When I did talk with my Aunt M about my childhood and what things she observed, she told me some interesting stuff that further validated the dissociative child that I was. She said that I would cry at the little things like stuff that didn’t matter. Yet, when something big happened that would have anyone upset and in tears, I would zone out and not show any emotion. It made sense because it was not safe to show any emotion around things that REALLY mattered. I didn’t dare show any signs to anyone that there was anything wrong with my life or family. I was told many times that no one is to know what happens behind closed doors or else very bad things would happen. I believed them because. after all, bad things were already happening and I could not imagine what worse things were in store should anyone find out. I know now that those were desperate lies told by my perpetrators to keep me in silence. It also reinforced my dissociative behavior.

Having DID, everything is compartmentalized. The most frustrating thing for me as well as the best thing is the fact that the emotions are so compartmentalized. Some alters are created for that very reason – to hold specific emotion that was deemed unsafe. I have one insider whose name is RAGE. When it is written on paper, it is in red, all capital letters: RAGE. Almost none of us can handle anger and most definitely none of us can handle the whole rage emotion. It was not okay to be angry as a child. For one, when the perps were angry, very bad things happened. For another, the adults in our life did not find anger an acceptable emotion for us to have. Add to that, the feeling that we did not feel worthy of being treated well by the family and therefore did not feel justified in the least to feel angry about anything that was being done to me. I still struggle with this today. This is also why I have trouble feeling most things when dealing with the childhood and what was done to me. I don’t feel comfortable feeling sad or angry as I never felt worthy enough to expect any kind of treatment other than being treated as a rag doll – one to be used and thrown away until the next time. I know on some level that I was worthy of love and acceptance just as much as anyone else would be, but it is difficult to believe wholly due to my upbringing. It was the adults in my life that were wrong, not me, for I was only a child. I can say the words, but believing them with my whole being is a long way off.

Towards the beginning of my DID recovery journey, I learned that the different parts of the system have different thresholds for emotion, pain, etc. This made a lot of sense to me as I related it to my system. I have many parts, myself included, that do not express anger. If something happens to cause us to feel anger, those parts switch inside and someone else takes over who is able to handle that emotion. Kristy is one of those parts who can handle anger. She has red hair and green eyes and is an age slider from 17 to 19 years old. I guess in the mind of the child who created her, redheads are allowed to have tempers and feel anger. Typical, due to the stereotype of redheads, huh? Still, even Kristy has her limit on the whole anger thing. When the anger gets to be too much, Kristy switches inside and her twin K comes out. She can express much stronger anger than Kristy feels ok with. Then, even K has her limits and if it does cross into rage, then RAGE comes out.

You may notice in my blog entries about tough topics that there is an emotional distancing in my writing. This is because we naturally distance from unsafe emotions. It’s our natural defense mechanism, I suppose. The whole emotion thing connected to a trauma will also have to come in layers for us. It is yet another piece of our healing puzzle.






Layers of Memories


New information is still surfacing since the big trigger a few weeks ago.  In therapy last Tuesday, we talked about our apprehension about the next Group session and being in the same room with one of the group therapists (that we have transference issues with). We told our T that we are unable to stand being in the same room with the aunt that this therapist is reminding us of. T asked us how it made us feel being in the same room with the aunt…. I thought about it…imagined being in the same room with that woman. Jagged vibrations, uncomfortable shaking just beneath the skin…..the feeling that you get when you hear fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. That feeling. Then, as we explored it a little more, an image came to mind of a girl in our system that I didn’t know was there, but then again I did know she was there.

Memories are weird like that for those of us with DID. It can be quite inconvenient at times. It’s not just if an amnesiac alter is out that I don’t remember something. I could have a memory one minute of something I experienced and then someone inside snatches it away from me if the need arises.  I recognized that I had this particular insider many years ago when I was looking at photos from my childhood (potentially a horrifically triggering experience – I lost 4+ hours looking at those photos. I “came-to” and found the photos spread all around me on the living room floor with no memory of the hours prior or actually looking at most of them). Anyway, I saw a photo of “me” and there was something about the picture that frightened me. I didn’t fully know what it was as it was mostly a feeling with no specifics attached. However, there was this look in the girl’s eyes. The look is difficult to describe….not exactly “haunted”, but you could tell by the look in her eyes that she has been through something horrific. This is the girl that we realized in our last therapy session is actually a part of our system. So, I kind of knew it way back when, but it didn’t sink in as I’m sure I was not ready to deal with that information.

So, now I know that this girl is connected to that aunt (and probably uncle) and also is connected to the bed/table memory. Information about the past coming to us in layers. It is fascinating how DID and recovery works. So, this next week and a half, we are focusing on having internal dialogue to try to learn whatever we can about this girl….whatever the system feels I am ready for, that is. Going to just listen and notice as our therapist often encourages us to do.






My DID Recovery Puzzle Part 2


Well, went to the Group therapy session again last night. It was the first time since we went and were triggered by the bed/table that was in the room (see part 1). I was quite dismayed that the table was still there when I entered the room last night. My T had talked to one of the T’s running the group (that she knows quite well) and was under the impression that they were going to take it down before Group the next time.

I am too ill at the moment from everything to write about all that happened, but I did try to explain to the group as a whole how the trigger affected us. I had tears in my eyes for the first little while and then someone came out who hid their face and sobbed. They were out very briefly and went back inside. I regained my composure but was VERY uncomfortable. I could not look in the direction of the table/bed and sat in a rigid manner due to fear. The T whose office it was and who was the one who left the table up, tried to explain the table and energy work to me to help us feel better about the table and see the difference between it and the internal stuff going on. It did not work. I get the whole energy work thing and it isn’t remotely what has us triggered. It’s the sight of that table/bed and what it triggers in our mind. It is an unprocessed memory that until just two weeks ago I had thought was just a terrible, terrible dream. Now, I know that it wasn’t just a dream.

I felt invalidated and felt that my feelings were not important to this therapist. She mentioned about how difficult it is to take the table down before each Group session (we meet bi-weekly) and how much easier it is to leave it up. This made me feel like an inconvenience and unworthy of feeling safe in a therapeutic situation. Hell, just writing this makes us feel like shit because we feel bad talking about people like this. But, we are speaking our truth. I just don’t know how I can continue to work in that group with such a huge trigger that will leave me ungrounded. I met with my T today and developed a plan to try to resolve this with the Group Ts.

I noticed last night that we started having feelings of transference towards the T who left the table/bed up. We feel suspicious of her and fearful of her. We see her as one of our perps from long ago. The T asked if she could sit next to me last night and as much as I wanted to say NO, I could not. She sat next to us and I felt very uncomfortable and also unsafe when it came to her. I felt quite TRAPPED. The realization that we were having this transference reinforced to me that this memory has something to do with this particular perp and her husband. At the very least, I am getting some information.

Today, we have been exhausted at work and then after work we went to T. I noticed after T that the body would shake, especially the arms. I feel as if I am freezing and shaking. I also feel the older Madonna in my system very close. She dresses in all black, wears dark black eyeliner and makeup. She is quite somber. I am not sure what connections she has to all of this.

We did not sleep well last night as we dreamed all night. Thankfully I did not remember any of the dreams, but they did disrupt my sleep and so I am exhausted today. I hope we will be able to talk to these therapists and work this out before the next Group session.






Being Manipulated Using Money


Money has been a cause of great distress to us all of my life. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.”. Well, I think the money itself is the root of all evil. Money causes great distress, yet I need money to survive.

I’ve often thought that it would be easier to live in a traditional economy where we could trade goods and services to get what we need. Money is a necessity. You need it at the very least to buy food that your body needs. Then, if you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, you need to pay rent as well as pay for the electricity, gas, and water you use. Add to that, you pay for someone to take your trash away. If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a car, then you must buy gas so that you can actually drive somewhere, not to mention pay for car repairs. God forbid you get sick, because then you must pay to see a doctor who can diagnose you and prescribe you medication that will cost more money. If you have chronic health conditions as we do, then you pay out the wazoo for medications each month. Add to that, those of us who have severe trauma histories that require therapy in order to function in day-to-day life. That costs even more money. I think the abusers should pay for the therapy. If only a law could be passed…..

As a child, money has always seemed to have been a focal point. I would go to my grandparents’ place of business and I would make a list of things I could do around the store to “help” (vacuuming and the like) and give the list to my grandmother who would put how much she’d pay me for each thing. It was fun for me and a neat way for me to earn money that I would then use to buy candy. Oh the simple days when money was something to just use for fun.

The mother would tell me stories of how they could not pay the bills. She worried so much and told me all of it. When an older insider would remind me that I did not have to worry about such things because it was something for adults to handle, I would stay calm until….. The mother would keep on and on telling me that if they could not pay the bills then we would not have a place to live. Then, she continues with how we would have to live on the street out of a cardboard box and not have anything to eat. These are the things I remember her saying although I imagine there was much more. She kept on each time until I broke down and cried. That extreme fear has stayed with us to this day. I have inside kids who are terrified that we are not going to be able to pay the bills or buy food and we will end up on the street. Like I said, I hate money. Now that I am an adult and know more of our situation when I was a child, I see that we were not in danger of living on the street. We were middle class citizens in a nice house with 2 cars. Far from being in danger of losing it all. I wish that the mother could have been the grownup and just let me be a kid.

It bothers us tremendously how money was used to control us throughout our childhood. I don’t remember much of our childhood, but what I do remember is enough. We had moved away from the city I lived in – far away from many of my abusers. Each summer, they would try to get me to come and visit with the promise of toys and anything else I would desire. By this time, I’d had enough. I said no. I was 11 or 12 years old at the time. My younger siblings did go to visit the extended family and came home with so many new things and I was told how I should have gone with them and look at what all I missed out on. No. He was there and it would not have been safe. My grandmother knew of what the uncle did to me, though she somehow naively thought that he had stopped when he was told to when I was just a baby. Either that or she just turned a blind eye. I tend to believe the latter. They expected me to come and visit knowing what would be in store for me but it would be okay because they had money and could buy me things.

When I was in college, my grandmother said if I wrote her letters, she would send me money. I am ashamed that being a poor college kid, I did just that. I wrote her letters and she would write a short note back with cash each time. This got me through my first year of college. My second year, I started cleaning houses so that I could earn my own money. I should have written to my grandmother because I wanted to and not because she was bribing me. For that matter, she should have been able to send me money without requiring a letter from me to do it. It was all messed up.

This pattern continued into my adulthood. My mother would try to encourage me to go and visit someone and when I would refuse or say I couldn’t because my car would not make it that far she would reply with ‘Well, if you go and see them then they might give you money.” I am so offended by this. Does she think I can be bought? Exactly how bad was the childhood prior to age 11 that I don’t remember and how much was I “bought off”? I shudder to think. Most recently, my sister told me that grandmother had a very nice ring for me but in order for me to get it I had to go and visit her. There is always a catch. I have been planning to make a trip to visit the family for a while, but haven’t had the money to make it there. It’s like dangling the promise of a fancy ring is going to get me hopping. If she truly wanted me to have that ring, she could send it to me. It’s the thought that counts, not bribery. I despise bribery. If I were to do something simply due to the promise of getting something in return it is a worthless gesture on my part and without honor.

For all these reasons and more, I really don’t like money.

My DID Recovery Puzzle


TRIGGER WARNING: hard talk of triggers and recovery – be safe, my friends.

I am starting to see my recovery in a whole new light. Things are making more sense now. For so many years I was so frustrated and upset that therapy was taking so very long. I just wanted my insiders to tell me what they knew so I could deal with it and move on. I figured they would share whatever memories were necessary to share one at a time or something. It is not the way this has worked. I have often heard the analogy of peeling an onion when talking about therapy for someone with DID, yet I didn’t fully realize what it meant. I mean, I saw the analogy as referring to the parts of my DID system and how uncovering and meeting new parts/alters is like peeling the layers of an onion. What I didn’t see was how the memories also will come in layers.

First, I would get a feeling, something would trigger me and I wouldn’t know why. This goes on for quite some time, maybe even years, then the next clue which was maybe a dream near the triggering event would happen. The dream could have symbolism in it – in my case recently, snakes – add to that the knowledge of the recent trigger as well as noticing  specific insiders and their reactions gives me more information. Add to it, the more severe dissociation I have felt from my body within the last week since the trigger is more validation that something is coming to the surface. Today in therapy, I barely felt the couch underneath me. I told my T that it kind of felt like I was just floating above the couch. It was bazaar.

I should give a little update to what has recently happened so folks know where we are. I had a dream years ago that has always stayed with me. I won’t write of the details here because I don’t want to trigger and also because I don’t think I would be able to write that stuff without breaking down. There was a bed/table with a black cover over it in a room – like a bedroom size room. Needless to say, very bad things happened there. Well, when I went to my group therapy meeting one week ago, one of the therapists had left her energy work table up. It looked just like the bed/table in my dream except thankfully the blanket was blue or purple – not black. I was stunned when I saw it. Many of our system stepped back in shock.

Finally a little one, age six years old, steps out in front and points towards the bed/table and says, “What is that?”.

“What?” replied one of the T’s.

“THAT!” the little girl asked again pointing at it.

She said, “I’m sorry but you’ll have to be more specific.”

The little girl could not bring herself to actually say the word bed or table or anything like that so she said, “That thing with the blanket on it.”

The T responded saying that it was her table for doing energy work with clients and she has an early appointment the next day so she left it up for Group.

I felt some other parts come forward when she said that who then noticed the crystals. These parts are very much into things mystical and were immediately drawn. I was frightened as were many of our insiders and so we shoved internally as hard as we could – pushing them deep inside away from the bed/table and crystals. We could not bear it if they were to go over closer to it to look at the crystals.

I went through the Group session with all parts who were triggered safe inside. I’m not sure if they were still frightened, but I have a feeling that they were. I just had to push them deep down for survival’s sake. I could not freak out over a trigger in Group because, well, what would the other group members think of us? “Besides,” another part says to me, “triggers are everywhere and we deal with them all the time. So this one is in Group, same thing, we deal.” But, it’s not just any trigger. It is something that looked exactly like something in my dream years ago where terrible things happened to us. It would almost be the equivalent of seeing one of my perpetrators again.

We made it home and went on with our week dissociated from the trigger, though it eventually did resurface as the image of it came and stayed in the back of my mind. A few nights later, the dreams started coming.

First night, I was on a large bus with a lot of people on it. We were driving through a war zone. There were bombs going off, machine guns being fired, terrible things happening outside that bus. I just sat there watching, sometimes crying so hard but silent so that no one would hear. Sometimes I sat in the floor so I could be alone. I believe this was me catching a glimpse of what it was like growing up in a DID system. Often the bus analogy is used to describe a person’s system who has DID, everyone rides the bus and take turns in the driver’s seat. I had another dream that same night about a boy who had been a victim of war and was found naked with his privates cut or torn off. I saw him and was horrified and had to turn away. I wonder if he is someone in my system as this is how I have met insiders before. In the dream, I think he was dead.

The next night, I dreamed about snakes – so many snakes everywhere that I went. In the past, I have dreamed that there were snakes on the ground and I would fight them or try to get away from them. I was always standing when I encountered the snakes. This time, not only was I standing when I encountered the snakes, there were times when I was lying down. Once a snake crawled over my body and I screamed internally and stayed as frozen as possible for fear that it might bite. Another part of the dream, I went to sleep on the ground and woke up with snakes underneath my body, I could feel them squirming underneath my back. I connected this part of the dream to a feeling that my body has had for years in the mid-back area – a squirming and feeling like something was coming upon me from behind. It is always accompanied with great terror. A connection between a body memory we’ve had for years but never even fully realized it was a body memory and this new snake dream. A new layer is being peeled back. If you have been in therapy for sexual abuse survival, then I imagine you know what a snake can symbolize in dreams. I have always thought that was what it represented in my dreams.

Last night, I had nightmares again. The only thing I can remember is waking up after seeing an extremely scary face in my dream. The face looked crazy in the eyes and had big teeth. It was right up in my face. I woke with a start and was terrified. I got up to go to the restroom. Now, I have many triggers when it comes to the restroom, one being that I cannot go in the dark and I definitely cannot stand at the sink with the mirror there and wash my hands in the dark. It always gives me the terrorized feeling in my back. Last night, I had the light on, but the sensation and fear were so close. This is all somehow connected. Years ago, I recalled in therapy tonight, I also saw scary faces in my sleep. It was when I was in 3rd grade (around) and had gone to church camp with a friend, it was night-time and I woke crying because I kept seeing the crazy, scary faces and they were laughing at me. The camp counselor talked and prayed with me and I slept with my Bible under my pillow to try to help with the nightmares. Interesting about that camp, I actually remember being very dissociated at the time not knowing the people who I shared the dorm with yet seeming to know them at the same time, getting confused and getting people mixed up, etc. This is one of the few memories I actually have of my childhood. Still, it’s more pieces of the puzzle.

In therapy tonight, I was asked if I got an idea of the age range of who was frightened by the bed/table. I got the idea that it was some older kids and that the little girl was the only one brave enough to come out and ask. Still, she was upset and scared, too. The little girl who asked about the bed/table was six years old, but I also got an internal image tonight of one of my four-year-old little girls. I think she is connected to all this somehow. I am beginning to think that this bed/table dream may have been more than just a dream……

DID recovery is like putting together a puzzle without having the picture to go by. Each piece means something even if I have no idea at the time. It’s so complex and therapy is hard work and exhausting. Still, I am happy to have made the realization that we are making progress in that our memory work comes in layers – one piece, one feeling, one trigger at a time. I guess my system knows it is the only way I can manage the information – in tiny pieces – and that’s okay with me.






Books


My phone camera sometimes has a mind of its own. This pic was taken one night as I was putting the phone by the bed. Thought it was a funny snapshot of the books I keep on my headboard for easy access reading. (The book on top of the Laurell K Hamilton book is a Bible.)

 

Multiple Dream


I had a dream last night/this morning that I thought was symbolic. I was on a large bus full of people and was witnessing all kinds of horrific events going on outside the bus. It was a war-like scene outside the bus. At times, I cried very hard, yet silently so that no one would hear me. At times I was terrified. Sometimes I sat in the floor of the bus so that I could be alone. It was while I was sitting on the floor of the bus that I felt my husband’s hand gently touch mine. He hadn’t been there until then and he held my hand which comforted me. To me, after waking, I realize that it was symbolic of my life. Often times a DID system is described with a bus analogy – everyone in the system is on that bus and we take turns in the “driver’s seat” or fronting. I think the dream symbolized my journey in that bus and the very difficult times I have seen or endured. It was touching that along that journey, my husband reached out and took my hand. We are not alone anymore – not that we ever really were. But, having him by our side is extremely comforting.

DID & Shift into Winter Crew


Hi,

Feels like we haven’t written in forever. We have several things going on lately that we want to write about, but for now we are just getting back into the swing of things…..

If you’ve read Summertime Progress in Life & Therapy, then you are familiar with the fact that we have two separate crews in our system, one that is out primarily in the summertime and another that is out in the late fall/winter time. Well, technically there is a third much smaller group that is out year round. Anyway, we are now fully into the winter crew. Mary is back, thankfully, and so housework and organization is getting back on track as is the yummy homemade foods that she makes. Cassondra is also back. She keeps track of finances and does things that need to be handled in an adult and/or professional manner. They work very well together as a team cuz their jobs are both kind of similar in terms of organizing things and helping the system stay calm.

I did some noticing this year. I noticed that the first week of November is when the ears started messing up again. We have been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease which is basically a fluid imbalance in the ears that causes some extreme dizziness at times.

The second week in November is when I started feeling the pain in some of my joints again…especially the right elbow which we suspect is due to a body memory because most often times when it presents itself there is a specific inside little girl around.

The third week in November, we noticed Mary was back full on. She was cleaning and organizing and got more done in a few days than we got done all summer! She also cooked a huge meal for Thanksgiving even though it’s just us and our husband, but then we love her homemade pies, cheesy homemade mashed potatoes, homemade rolls….well you get the picture. So anyway, needless to say that we LOVE the leftovers  🙂

Another thing we are noticing as the late fall/winter time and crew comes around is that we are more withdrawn. We are not as around online as we had been all summer. We still know of our friends online but seems there is so much going on internally this time of year that we find it quite difficult to socialize online. We still keep those options open on Facebook and Twitter cuz sometimes we are able to reach out either to ask for help or to help someone else. It is a lifeline that we cherish very much. It’s just tough this time of year.

I talked with our T last Sunday (yep, had a session on a Sunday. Cool, huh?) about how now that everyone is back around for this time of year, there is so much pressure from everyone to get time out to do what they want to do. I have felt like I’m in the middle of a whirlwind spinning back and forth as the next person switches out. Makes the term “roladexing” all the more real as I feel like I have been spinning like I’m in one. Our homework this week is to have a system meeting and try to figure out some way to manage our time more efficiently so that each group that has something they are wanting to do has a promised time to do it. That way it won’t be as chaotic. We have been successful with this before, though it has been many years now. The “scheduling”, as with most things for a multiple, has to be flexible as we are not always sure what will be going on from day to day.

We have had so much going on that every time I have tried to write/journal, I get pushed aside and someone else comes out to do something they want to do. So, I am guessing just having what little internal dialogue about it that we have has been helping some since I am able to write this today. When we were in therapy last Sunday, the internal pressure from so many having so many things they want to say was so strong that at one point we had to get a pen and someones were writing as we were listening and talking with T about another topic. Talk about multitasking!

I do know my winter crew much better than my summer crew so it is like getting my good friends back. I have missed them and there is quite a bit of comfort in the familiarity of loved ones. I am one that is around all year. I still experience memory loss as the shifts happen from crew to crew. Like now, I remember bits and pieces from the Summer crew’s time here, but not big chunks of it. I think I remember more this year than previous years because of all the blogging our summer parts did and I’m able to read those as well as the fact that since being with our new therapist, I have been making more of an effort to notice stuff.

Time to sign off for today. We plan on doing some more writing this weekend. Here’s hoping we can schedule it out! Hope everyone has been having a terrific week!

Balance – Therapy Tales #115 (via Therapy Tales)


I LOVED this one! Could definitely feel this!!

Balance - Therapy Tales #115 Shop stuff now available for this cartoon: Greetings card Postcards Journals Mugs … Read More

via Therapy Tales