Tag Archives: coping skills

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.

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For the Newly Diagnosed Multiple


Notes to those newly diagnosed with DID:

Let us start out by saying that we feel being able to dissociate to the degree of DID is a God-given gift to help us survive. If we had not been able to dissociate to the extreme degree, we would not have survived. It may not feel like such a gift right now if you are early in your journey or even sometimes those of us who have been diagnosed for years may occasionally feel like that, too. But, it is truly a gift of survival and your inside family is ever so precious.

I know it is scary at first to realize you have others within you and to know that they have knowledge of things that happened to you that you do not remember. Just know that they are there to help you. They were created by your brilliant childhood mind to protect you and keep you as safe as they could in the midst of horrible circumstances. They are not your enemies. Because they are your system, they will not show you anything about your past until they know you are ready. As a very wise therapist once told me, “trust your system”. It is very difficult in the beginning because you don’t even know who “they” are, but just remember they are not your enemy and that they came to help you and save you. They won’t give you more than you are able to cope with. Their job was to take over and experience the terrible things in order to protect you. It is also their job to save those memories and feelings until you are ready to face them and then only at the pace you can handle. You are not alone in your journey. You have an inside family that has always been there even though you may just now be realizing they are there.

Even if you are recently diagnosed and you are an adult, it does not mean that the others just now arrived. They have been with you ever since you were traumatized and they came to help you. When I was able to after I was diagnosed, I was able to look back and see where certain parts were active in my childhood (what little of it I know of) and especially high school and college.

When just starting out, it definitely helps to journal. It helped me anyway. I would write and write and write until I would be exhausted. Later, I could look at my journal entries and see where the handwriting changes start and stop. It helped me to begin identifying each part of me according to their handwriting and tone of writing. At first, I didn’t know any names so I identified parts by characteristics like “the sad one”, “bunny girl” (becuz she loved our stuffed bunny rabbits), “angry teen”, etc.

Another idea you can do as you feel comfortable is to get some colored pens/markers and a journal and sit down and do what is called “open journaling”. When I do this, I will pick a color that I want to write in and start a meeting on paper with my system. I may write a statement or often a question and give others the opportunity to share their thoughts. The colored pens are there cuz different parts may like to write in different colors. The colors along with the handwriting changes also helped me to identify the different parts even without names.

For more, please see How I experience Dissociative Identity Disorder.

How to Handle Badness


Crises are so difficult and often times lead us to thoughts of self-harm and worse. We immediately believe that we are the cause for what happened and it’s because we are bad. I realize that it’s because growing up whenever anything went wrong our perps would put the blame on us and so we internalized it believing even to this day that we are the cause for bad things. I remember the mom “spanking” us and in the process popped a blood vessel in her hand/arm(?) and she shook it in our direction saying, “LOOK AT WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!!”  I also remember hearing someone inside say, internally not out loud, “I didn’t MAKE you beat me, stupid!”

Recently, I’ve been struggling with not having 3D friends that live in our area. We have one that we see at work and have become friends with….we talk on the phone occasionally and stuff. Then, last year we made a friend in Timberlawn who actually lives on the other side of our city. We have spoken on the phone several times and it’s always a comfort to know that she lives here, still she lives all the way on the other side of the city and for whatever reason in the past year we have found it difficult to get together. We cried and cried in T session yesterday every time the subject of not having friends in the area came up. We did have 2 dear friends that lived here, but they both moved away and we miss having that so very much. We explored reasons why we don’t have 3D friends here and the first and only reason we had to give her was that it was our fault, we are bad, no one likes us. But, we couldn’t figure out why in the past we had many friends that seemed to really enjoy our company and wanted to hang out with us. The only answer we could come up with is that we have become even more bad and unlikable. As we talked with T, we realized that it’s not that we are unlikable but rather it’s situational. We don’t go out ANYwhere where we can meet people.  So we are going to try to find places that we can go like join a class or something where we can meet people. But, the point of writing about this is that we automatically believed that our lack of 3D friends here is due to us being bad or unlikable. We realized yesterday that is what the mom always would say. We had many friends at church and also had formed a bond with the youth leader at the church (a very caring woman). The mom would tell us that if they only knew what we were REALLY like at home, they wouldn’t like me at all. So, hence, the tendency to point the finger at me rather than the situation. So, when bad things happen, we automatically are hard on ourselves and feel it is our fault and we must be punished. Sound familiar?

Last year in Timberlawn we really tried to figure it out as we had been struggling lots with it like when hubby and us have even as much as a disagreement or whatever, bells and whistles go off. The main thing we found that helps is Distraction. If upset and having bad thoughts, we will do something, ANYthing that will get our mind off the current situation. Video Games on our XBox has been a favorite. One of those mindless games that you can just zone into and do over and over again, like a puzzler game which is one of our favorite kinds of games. Since getting back into therapy last year, T has also talked about self-soothing. Even though quite the opposite of what our bad thoughts are telling us to do, if you can do something self-soothing it can be very good because really that’s what you (and us) deserve. In reality, those situations were NOT our fault and we are not the root of badness. We deserve to be loved and soothed rather than blamed and punished.

What can you do that is self-soothing? We’ve been looking around for ideas to share. Keep in mind that if the idea is triggering, then that one isn’t for you. What we are finding, and have learned in dealing with triggers, is to think of the 5 senses and what you can do to effect them in a positive way. For example, putting on some lotions – the softness on your skin plus if it has a pleasant scent (we love vanilla and coconut) then it has 2 positives for you.

We will list ideas of self-soothing and distraction:

  • Journaling – get those thoughts out onto paper and later you can tear them up and flush the pieces down the toilet or if in a safe place you can burn them.
  • Email a friend or your therapist
  • Post on a supportive forum online or email your support group
  • Call a friend – hearing a friendly voice
  • Lotion – if it’s scented it’s even better
  • Look at pretty pictures
  • Light a candle and watch the flame (littles may need assistance with this one!)
  • Listen to soothing music – if a strong supportive/protector insider has a favorite kind of music, try playing their music to bring them closer to the front!
  • Pet an animal (have any pets?)
  • Drink a cold soda – may sound weird, but we’ve found that things like carbonated caffeinated beverages on ICE helps in many ways – the bubbly and the cold of the ice plus the caffeine to uplift, all of those can change the senses which is what you try to do when triggered or in a bad place
  • Crunch Ice – can be quite grounding
  • Drink something soothing – like chocolate or strawberry milk or hot chocolate, hot tea
  • Take a bubble bath – found this suggestion online but it may be triggering for some so if it is I’d suggest not doing it
  • Go Swimming
  • Sit or float in a hot tub – we love to float in a hot tub and let the water jets push us around in the water. haha! Doesn’t sound as poetic, but it’s bliss! Looking up at the clouds as we float…..
  • Meditate and/or pray
  • Rocking – either in a chair or not – rocking can be quite self-soothing as we see kids do it all the time.
  • Flowing Water – we have recordings of flowing water on our computer, the only problem is we can’t always get to our computer when distressed – maybe put recordings of flowing water onto your mp3 player or ipod
  • Hug a stuffed animal
  • Sing your favorite songs
  • Put a cold washcloth on your forehead
  • BREATHE
  • Cook cinnamon toast (a favorite for us as a kid) – smell the cinnamon and it tastes so good!
  • Put on your favorite perfume (or the perfume of a strong insider to help bring them closer)

Here are links to other sites that have more great ideas:

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/self-sooth.html

http://www.psyke.org/coping/self_soothing/

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/quick_stress_relief.htm

Mindfulness and Affirmations


We posted about a page online that had video affirmations and how helpful they are. We have still been thinking about them and wanted to share some of it. We also found a really good video that is for healing the inner child. It’s really sweet.

Some of the affirmations in the first video (it’s actually a “mindfulness” video) (http://www.dbtselfh elp.com/html/ mindfulness_ affirmation. html) we watched that stuck out to us that we have problems with but are working on still are:

  • I sense my BODY whether eating, cooking, cleaning, talking, sitting, or standing.
  • I am able to love, trust, and appreciate myself.
  • I see my mistakes and difficulties without judging them
  • I am kind and friendly to myself when things go wrong
  • I am able to smile when I notice how I sometimes make life difficult.

Another video we watched was at http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=ia5nAojCFGM&feature=player_ embedded Here is the list of affirmations it has. I still encourage ya’ll to watch the video cuz they have pretty music and scenes in the background  🙂

I love and appreciate myself just as I am

My life is blossoming in total perfection

It’s okay for me to have fun and enjoy myself and I do

All things are now working together for good in my life

I am strong and healthy

I rest when I am tired

I am healing old wounds

I love and care for my body

I exercise regularly

I am getting better every day

I say “no” when I want to

I can ask for help when I need it

I handle conflict and tension with confidence

I seek out people who love and nurture me

I learn from my mistakes

I put my worries in perspective

I am worthwhile

I am a friend to my self

I choose what I want and go after it

I am open-minded

I keep a positive attitude

I live in the present moment

I encourage myself

I look for solutions

I am centered and balanced

I can change

I am creative

I forgive myself

I let go of resentment

I value myself

I nurture my spirit

I express my feelings respectfully

I love myself

I am gentle with myself

I choose that which I enjoy

I accept responsibility for my life

I cope with stress well

I take action when something is important to me

I accomplish my goals

Here is the link for the Inner Child Affirmations Video. It is so good and uplifting and our inside kids really liked it! http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=E93dYbhqBwQ

Meditations and Relaxation


Something we trauma survivors have difficulty with is relaxing and de-stressing. Our whole life has been about hypervigilence and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We also desensitize from our bodies and have a difficult time staying in our body and feeling sensations. This is due to the body being the source of pain during the abuse and we learned in order to survive to turn off those sensations.

Another thing we have trouble with is realizing our worth. We feel that since our caretakers did not treat us with respect and worthiness that we are not worthy of anything good, we are bad, and therefore bad things are supposed to happen to us.

We found this webpage today and it is a very good resource for helping deal with the above issues. There are videos to watch as well as audio for download. These videos are for relaxation, affirmation, or mindfulness. It is on a DBT self-help website, but even if we don’t do DBT, these video exercises can be helpful to all survivors. Check them out: http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/instant_mindfulness.html

The website also has meditation and relaxation audio files for download. These would be very good to use like on an ipod or such. We think we will want these especially when we return to work in the Fall.

Supportive Website with lots of resources!!


Check out this site: http://www.didmpdinfo.com/index.html

It has resources for working with your system, managing triggers, self-esteem helps, etc. I would recommend that all of you all check this out! It’s an awesome resource!!

Coping


Things are slowly improving,  I think. LOL! It’s really difficult to say for sure because we have been incredibly switchy and I  have been amnesiac with many of my others who have been out. Last night, my husband and us were chatting and he mentioned like 3 different conversations we had had in the last week and I have absolutely no recollection of any of them. Sometimes I hate being multiple. I like to have some control, yanno? I don’t like not knowing what I do even though I know we are all safe and noone is acting out because I have my husband to observe us and plus some of my inside little kids seem to know everything and will tell on the others if they are “bad”. lol!  Of course, not to mention we have our inner safety committee who are always on alert which is comforting, also.

Hubby said that he has noticed that more of our computer people have been around, and he has also seen more of my gamers, and he has seen those of us who work on the DID stuff online and offline. So, there has been a lot more system activity lately. 

The upcoming summer vacation could be a big reason for all the activity in the system. We have big system shifts with the seasons. Mostly 2 seasons that I have noticed. We have a group who is active in the summertime, another group active in the fall/winter. Then, we have some, like me, who are always around even tho not always coconscious (dang it!). 

We have done tons better since we took the advice of our support folks on grounding technique ideas. We carry with us one of our “special rocks” that we bought a few years ago at a museum. The rocks are small enough to fit in our pocket and seem to soothe insiders just by reaching in and feeling it and sometimes taking it out and looking at it. We’ve been using beachy/coconuty scented lotion which helps a TON!!!! Really helps with our depression cuz the beach is therapeutic for us. We’ve been doing lots more of the stuff on those lists, too, but that’s the main 2 that I can think of right off hand. 

Anyway, thanks to all who have helped and hopefully I can write more soon!!

DID coping skills Updated


I thought that I would write a blog entry about things that help us DID’ers. Please feel free to add anything that might be of help to other folks with DID.

  • I use my cell phone alarm in the mornings when I get ready for work. I set it for about every 15 minutes and then I also set it to go off 5 minutes before I have to leave. This is very helpful when we lose time and it causes us to be late.
  • Lists, lists, lists. Post it notes are awesome!!!
  • I also use my cell phone calendar to keep track of my appointments. I set the scheduled appointment to have an alarm to remind me so I don’t forget important events.
  • I use a dry erase calendar with different color markers to help me remember events, even small things such as medication refill dates. It helps to have it where I can always see it.
  • An email program such as Outlook is good cuz it has a calendar with reminders on it. This can also help one keep track of life. If I remember right, it also has to do lists and such. These have been helpful for me when I have different parts inside who need/want to do things. I jot them onto a to-do list and then that way it is more likely they will get their time.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, although I know there are LOTS more. Will blog more on this later!!