My summer has been super busy, not busy at all, boring, exciting, a whirlwind. That statement makes sense when you realize it was written with someone who has DID and it’s the feelings of many “alters” inside. The summer crew is still quite a mystery to me. For those just tuning in, my DID system is kind of divided into two systems. We have one that is our for part of Spring and then all of the Summertime. Then, we have the other group which I know a lot more about that is out during the Fall and Winter. Oh and we have a few that go between both systems. We had a little bit more functional summer this year I believe because we had some parts from the Fall system stick around here and there to help keep things running smoothly. In the summertime, our schedule goes out the window. We don’t work summers and so therefore the summer crew has very little grasp on how to keep up with things like housework, meals, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. So, this summer they have had a little help with that. Still, it’s really hard because we don’t know the summer parts very well if at all. There are lots of them and they are like a blur when they run out to be in charge of the body and when they blur back in again. There is a LOT less communication in the summer crew compared to the Fall crew.
I did have an interesting dream a few nights ago. It is one of those that I recognize now as a “DID dream”. I dreamt that I was laying on my bed and at the far end of the room there were stairs leading up to the attic (it’s not really my room, but was in my dream). I remember in the dream being afraid of going up there, but I heard noises and was afraid someone was in the house. I remembered one time that my best friend went up there with me and helped me not to be so afraid of it. (Interesting cuz she was the one who was with us when we were diagnosed back in ’94 and has been so supportive). Then, one by one, a pre-teen girl would slip down the stairs where I could see them. I was afraid at first but then I ran to them and asked them why they were in my attic. They didn’t answer. I told them that I would not tell their parents they were in my house without permission if they explained to me what was wrong. One girl started to cry at the mention of telling her parents. Started out there were 3, then, 4, then 5 girls. After a while, even more girls around the same age started coming down the stairs to let me know they were there.
So I think insiders are starting to reveal themselves to me slowly in their time. I remember one girl who really struck me, she had the prettiest strawberry hair.
Several years ago back early in my diagnosis, I would often have a dream of girls coming into my house while I was asleep or not there or whatever. The dream felt so real that in remembering it I had to really think if it really happened or not. It was a dream, but I see it as my insiders starting to reveal themselves to me. Dreams have always been a big part of how my system communicates with me.
I am placing a TRIGGER WARNING here. While there are no details of a specific memory, there is talk of strong emotion/sensation relating to abuse. Only read if you are feeling safe and able to. Thanks.
If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know we have been having many symbolic dreams lately. It seems a layer of memory(ies) is trying to break through. I dreamt that I was a very small child lying on a bed curled up in the fetal position sleeping. I felt this impending terror. I KNEW something was coming and then whatever it was – this invisible force – pulled me off the bed and downwards. I woke crying out, terrified. I feel like it is connected to a memory and it doesn’t surprise me that the person who took me from the bed was invisible. I am sure it means that the system knows we are not ready for that much information at once. Thing is, I have several memories where I have the knowledge of what happened but nothing else, and in none of those was I taken from the bed. This kinda scares me even though I have always known there was more that I hadn’t retained the knowledge of.
I have the recent and then the recurring dreams where terror is the main element. The terror is, to no surprise, connected to the beds and also to certain rooms in buildings or houses. In the recurring dreams of the house that was “haunted”, I was terrified to go to certain parts of the house, in particularly one entire floor. In part, I believe that the dreams are symbolic of how I relate to the memories. Like how I would try to make myself climb the stairs to the “haunted floor”, terror would build the higher I would climb until I would be so terrified that I would turn and run back downstairs. I also, obviously, recognize the terror as a layer of memory that is very real and was experienced at one time in my life on a daily basis.
Another possibility that I am aware of is that the house in the recurring dream may be a part of our internal world. Maybe a house where memories are stored. This is something that I am not positive of, but it feels quite possible.
Posted in Alters, Dealing with Painful Memories, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dreams, Emotions
Tagged abuse, alters, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, memories, nightmares
Memories can come in layers as I am coming to learn all too well. I used to think that as the alters felt I was ready, they would share the memories in chunks or events as many as was needed for me to fully recover. Now, I’m seeing it’s not nearly that simple. I always knew that we were fragmented to the degree that the emotions were separated into different alters. What I didn’t realize fully was that emotions from each event can be stored in certain alters. As well as body sensations that come forward in the form of body memories that we get all too often and don’t know what they are connected to. In my most recent session with T, we were reminded of the BASK model of dissociation. BASK stands for Behavior, Affect, Sensation, and Knowledge. So, memories can be dissociated into those categories:
- Behavior: the actions that occurred/what happened
- Affect: The emotions associated with the event
- Sensation: the sensations that the body feels/body memories
- Knowledge: the meaning
I have some memories that are of the Behavior/Actions. I can rattle them off to my T one by one as if it were me talking about someone else. I guess, in many ways it is someone else. Then, I have been having sensation/body memories for years. Those suck because you FEEL the things that the body felt during a particular memory, but you have no freaking idea what happened. I have had the Affect part of it, too, as in my emotions have always been like a roller coaster ride. I would cry at the drop of a hat, or get angry – much more angry than whatever the current event called for, and fear – so much fear about everything. All the feelings are coming from parts of my system that were created to hold them. And lately, terror has begun to surface on a more real level for me. I will blog about another recent dream I had tomorrow. Until then, stay tuned. . . .
Posted in Alters, Dealing with Painful Memories, DID Recovery, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Emotions
Tagged abuse, alters, anger, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, memories
Hey, have you heard? Halle Berry stars as a woman who has DID in the 70’s (so I imagine it was called MPD or something else back then). It is based on a true story of a woman’s life. The woman is still alive today and living a functional life with her alters, has a family, and is a teacher. We think it will be really good! Currently it is showing in theaters in LA and New York, but will be out everywhere else in February 2011!! We can’t wait! Finally a movie where the DID person isn’t a murderer or something terrible, huh?
I apologize for not writing lately. We had a couple of really good days in the last week. The rest of it was either struggling with emotions just under the surface, nightmares, or oh yeah dropping something really heavy onto my foot. Went to the ER and it’s not broken, just badly bruised and swollen.
Before writing about the recent nightmares, I should update about the Group. My sister was able to come through town to see me but could only stay for a few hours. And yes it just so happened to occur at the exact time that my Group was. So, I had to miss it which was probably a relief to some of our parts, but many of us were quite disappointed cuz we wanted to work through the transference issues and all so we could move forward. Still, the visit with our sister was very much needed as we had been feeling very depressed. I only see her maybe once a year and the rest of the family I see even less. So, it was a very, very nice visit.
The past few nights have been especially bad with the nightmares. One that just recently came to mind was of being in a haunted house of sorts. I was in my Aunt M’s house and in it, all of her furniture (the beds mostly) were “haunted”. It’s interesting as I type this out and see the symbolism. I would try to sleep but was so afraid of the “ghosts” that were going to come and get me. I would try sleeping in a different bed, but the same unseen source of terror was there. I woke several times during the night terrified, unable to recognize where I was or how old I was. In the dream, Aunt M’s house was large and had a lot of old furniture in it. Everything seemed to loom over my small frame.
I have had dreams many times in the past of haunted houses. One that has been a recurring dream over the years is about this house that was several stories high. The top floor was always riddled with spirits of the unkind variety. I would try to go up there (in these dreams I am an adult……most of the time) because my best friend and I had just moved in and I wanted to make use of all the space. Often times I wouldn’t even make it all the way up the stairs before terror would grip me and I would run back down again often times screaming. Sometimes, I would make it to that top floor. I remember once that it was mostly bedrooms on that floor. I remember vaguely something about a fancy red blanket on one of the beds. It’s one of the shades of red that are triggering to me. The whole room actually now that I think about it had shades of red in it. Another time I had this dream and I made it all the way to the top floor, it was mostly dark and I couldn’t see anything, but I could FEEL all the sheer blinding terror. I ran back down the stairs swearing that I would not ever use the top floor of the house.
It still amazes me as I finally bring myself to write about something that to me seemed to be quite scary but “surely didn’t mean anything” only to realize that it was full of symbolism. The symbolism of the childhood and what those beds really were “haunted” with were the bad things that the bad people did to me/us there.
Posted in Alters, Dealing with Painful Memories, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dreams, Emotions, Therapy
Tagged abuse, alters, amnesiac alters, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, nightmares, triggers
We were watching Lie to Me the other day and the end of this episode really jumped out at me. I wanted to share my thoughts on it.
Lie To Me Season 1 Episode 5 “Unchained”
Lightman: When someone bashes you around who’s twice your size just whenever he feels like it, you learn to read emotions pretty fast. We adapt to survive. Your abuse made you a natural. He made you what you are.
Torres: Well, I’ll be sure to thank him.
This case in this episode was difficult for Torres because they were dealing with a violent criminal to see if he had changed from his violent ways. Torres had a history of violent abuse so this was especially a tough one for her. I liked what Lightman says to her in the end of the episode.
Lightman: When someone bashes you around who’s twice your size just whenever he feels like it, you learn to read emotions pretty fast. We adapt to survive. Your abuse made you a natural. He made you what you are.”
She is referred to as a natural at reading faces and expressions. I have always believed that those of us who have been through traumas as those with DID have, we learn very early on how to anticipate our abusers next move based on facial expressions among other things. We also learn to “predict” what is going on based on the energy in the room or surrounding an individual. Imagine going to a concert or to a dance club. Upon entering you can feel all that upbeat energy and you know people (most people) are having a really good time. Now imagine entering a home of someone who just lost a loved one. Still feel energy, just this time it is one of sadness and grief. Those of us who have gone through traumatic childhoods especially from a very early age are that much more in tune to the energies surrounding someone.
My best friend used to get annoyed because I could tell what was going on with her even without her saying anything about it to me. I could see it in her face and if she was hiding it well enough, I could still FEEL it in the air around her. It kind of makes me smile when on the show Lie to Me people get irritated at being read so well because I remember my friend and how much it annoyed her. I didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a naturally acquired gift on my part. It was important for our survival living in a family where you didn’t know when or where the next blow or advance was going to come. The need to be hyper-vigilant and hypersensitive to our surroundings was imperative.
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.
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.
Posted in Alters, Dealing with Painful Memories, DID Coping, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Emotions, Switching Characteristics
Tagged abuse, alters, anger, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, emotions, memories, switching, switching characteristics
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.
Posted in Alters, Coconsciousness, Dealing with Painful Memories, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Therapy, Transference
Tagged abuse, alters, amnesiac alters, coconsciousness, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, memories, Therapy, transference
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.
Posted in Alters, Dealing with Painful Memories, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Therapy, Transference
Tagged abuse, alters, DID, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, transference