*The following link is to an HBO documentary about MPD. Some may find it triggering*

This documentary may be familiar to people, but I only found it recently:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/multiple-personalities/

 

I relate very closely with the last woman’s story, including what happens when she switches. My husband and I were even discussing some similar things that have happened with us earlier this week. I liked this documentary and I really liked to see that many of the people credited at the end are people I know through books or through my therapist.

How do you feel about this film?

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From what I have read over the past years a high pain tolerance may be an aftereffect of child abuse. I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and I compare most pain to labor, which was the most pain I ever experienced, but dammit I was going to deliver that baby naturally! I did, and now I have a threshold with which every other pain in the Universe is compared to. (N.B. The other two kids were c-section, but I think I would have asked for the meds.)

So when I experience pain, say pain that feels like a lightning bolt ripping through the lower left side of my abdomen, I think…”Well I can still make dinner and I’m not incapacitated, and I got through labor, so this should go away and be fine.” and I get on with life. La-la-la… When the pain moves across my back and I need to lay down for a bit I think…”Oh, maybe my period is coming.” La-la-la… If the pain is still there when I wake up and roll over in the morning I think… “Either there really is a sharp, hot metal pipe in me that I seem to have missed or perhaps it should be checked out.”.

Physical pain is nothing. I’m proud that I can put my head through a television and still shop for groceries. I can still drive with a pitchfork in my ears, too. That is also why I miss warning signs.

I almost missed this warning sign, but hubby helped me decide to go to my gynecologist. It was a good idea, maybe he really does care about me, and it’s fucked-up in there. Not an emergency, but I’m on hormones to do this-and-that and there will be surgery soon. (and I was gently chastised about comparing my pain to others or labor) After all, if I don’t have at least one surgery a year I simply don’t know what to do with myself!

I did the same thing with my gall bladder, arthritis, and pleurisy.

I’m curious to know if other survivors, DIDer’s, C-PTSDer’s, etc. also have a high pain tolerance, or are afraid to show pain in front of others. Now I feel stupid for not listening to my body.

We made us a house

December 12, 2010

The people inside (who are NOT paying rent)  made a house all by themselves. I found it the other night while trying to make some sense of the chaos that’s been going on  inside lately. There are several large, brightly-lit rooms but very little furniture. The walls are almost pastel yellow with white moulding. In one corner there is a half-finished staircase leading upstairs, which hasn’t been built yet. There are two doors that I know of. One is in the living room and the other is a large, steel, locked and bolted door which leads to the Forbidden Basement (a young part’s name for it).

People are moving about rather freely within the house, though some seem to prefer staying in separate areas, and not all are aware of each other.

Some of the hellish images and chaotic noise has been coming from the area of the Forbidden Basement. The insanity that I felt was a combination of whatever is in the basement mixed with younger parts pushing against the door to close it. Once I realized that I made sure that door was closed and locked. I don’t know what triggered those images and noises yet, and I don’t want to dwell on it, either.

I have no conscious memory of helping to create this home and I was confused and impressed when I discovered it. It also makes me feel shitty, because I have been neglectful in this area. Sometimes things happen so fast that I can only cope and forget to check in on everyone inside.

I didn’t think I would create a house, because this house is similar to the one I grew up in, structurally. I was planning on a cozy cave, like some of the ones I’ve seen pictures of in Australia. Everything inside is different, though. I didn’t think I had any deep, dark, evil stuff either. Some are holding secrets and had experiences that made them feel that way, but I’m not prepared to deal with that now.

Between my husband, my therapist, the few things that have arrived in the mail that I bought unaware, the drawings, and the journal entries it appears that I am losing time, switching, and just zoning out. You know that feeling you get when you become so dizzy and tingly, and then it feels like you are being wiped off of your own face? I’m fighting that every day lately. Not the entire day, since I seem to be losing that particular fight every so often. However, I did buy some really nice Hanes shirts and sweats for everyone but me, and got free shipping! Even when I dissociate I’m a good shopper.

Last Friday, during therapy, she told me to call whenever I need to during the holiday if I need to talk. I hate that. What did she see during our session to tell me that? I have another appointment this Wednesday and then I’m on my own for a little bit before I see her again.

This was supposed to be a ho-hum holiday. I think that if I’m doing much of the work in the body I should have more say in what goes on, but noooooo……..

 

The new Thanksgiving plan (for anyone who reads my blog) was terrific, and everyone is invited here for next year. Bring your own sleeping bags, though. 😉

The past week or so has been an exercise in coping. Most of it was in preparation for my abusers visit to my home yesterday. It was their standard visit – some Sunday, from 1-3pm. It has been five months since I have spoken to them, and nine months (I think) since they visited my home, although occasionally emails were exchanged. I expected this visit to be a major triggering event, so we established boundaries, physical and what-not. Over the weekend my husband and I composed an email that would end all verbal and physical contact with them, but still allow some contact with the kids (they have no contact with them anyway) because we knew that my parents would invoke their Grandparents Rights just to be assholes.

I emailed Tai and asked her to read over the email because she had recently ended contact with her mother and I really needed some input (She was awesome, as usual.). It should be easy to do this, but it’s not, and I want to be careful and cover all my bases. Here is the draft of the email I wrote. I haven’t sent it yet:

*After many months of personal deliberation and years of therapy I have decided that in order to heal myself and make the best out of my life I am ending all verbal and physical contact with the two of you, as well as the rest of my family. The damage you have done to body and psyche has made it extremely difficult to simply find my way through life, much less succeed the way I wish to. Ending any and all relationships with you will help me move through my troubled self and regain what is left. I no longer need you in my life, and I no longer want you in my life in any capacity.

I know this decision will not come as a complete surprise to the two of you, so don’t pretend it does. I have wasted enough of my life simply patching up what the two of you have done, and I must move on. I feel no responsibility towards you or any family member, and I have no regrets making this decision. It is the best, most positive decision I can ever make. This is my personal decision that I have reached alone for my own health and well-being.

I don’t care if or how you choose to explain my decision to anyone. I don’t care how you feel about my decision. I don’t care about you, and I am choosing you out of my life.

I invite you to maintain contact with my children but I fully expect you to respect and abide by my decisions.

In good conscience I am returning the Christmas gifts you gave me so there are no false pretenses.

You may write to my email address, but do not expect any immediate response.

Most Sincerely,

Lisa*

This email wasn’t sent because the creatures that came to my home yesterday were old, bitter, feeble, sick, powerless, ugly, beaten, and no threat. I maintained my boundaries, did not offer them food or drink, did not allow them to go anywhere else but my kitchen, did not laugh or respond to anything they said, maintained eye contact, did not start any conversation at all, offered no information about myself, hubby, or the kids, etc.. Towards the end my father offered me an envelope of cash and I told him that I didn’t want his money, and that really embarrassed him (I haven’t accepted any money from them in years. I even mail it back to them if they try to put it in a card.). I wouldn’t touch them when they left and I held the door and ushered them out. At no time did they ask why I haven’t called, or when I would stop down to their house (I haven’t been there in over a year.). Even on their way out the door there was no, “Be sure to call me!”, or, “I’ll talk to you soon!”.

I was so busy doing those things that my husband said they looked very nervous and scared. He told me, “You were completely in charge and they knew it and it scared the shit out of them! That was great!”. So, now I’m wondering if sending that email is necessary at this point. It felt so good to do what I did and not be triggered, not feel guilty, and not feel like I had to justify anything. The idea of watching them wither away mired in their own shit, knowing I’m safe and in control and have the support of my husband is enough for now I think. I’m saving that email, though, until I really need it.

I would appreciate any thoughts about how I handled this. I honestly don’t feel like I chickened out. Rather, it was empowering to be in control and not be triggered, or spend the rest of the afternoon hiding under the covers. I feel good. I feel stronger. I hope this lasts for a few days, but I know I could crumble if there is an internal backlash. Ending all contact was so important a couple of days ago, but it doesn’t feel as important now. Has anyone had a similar experience? Should I have ended all contact anyway?

Holiday happenings…or not

November 23, 2010

We’re staying home for holidays for the rest of our lives. It’s no longer important to visit with people who trigger us (hubby and I), behave like idiots in front of everyone, upset the kids, and just depress us in general. Most are very upset with our decision. Fuck them. I’m no longer wasting my time, life, etc. because it’s “expected”. I take enough Xanax already. And this was all hubby’s idea, too. The holidays are just another day to us, anyway, but we try to fake through them for the kids.

– We’re smoking our turkey this year and it will take 14 hours to cook! We thought a horror movie marathon would help us stay awake.

– The chocolate pudding and pumpkin pies, as well as the cranberry bread were made in partnership with a 22-month old I’ve been babysitting the past two days. They are messy, probably unsanitary, but yummy, and I send home bread and pies to her mom, too.

– Each kid picked out a side dish, so we have mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, sausage stuffing, chicken fingers, french fries, cheesy quesidillas, and cocktail meatballs. The table should look quite interesting if everything fits.

– Everyone also picked out what to watch over vacation. We have “Mork and Mindy”, “Happy Tree Friends”, “The Tick” (live version), and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” so far.

I don’t make a list of things to be thankful for. I just try to make it through a day. If I didn’t have a little-bitty to watch this week I’d be carving up myself as well as a turkey. Any contact with the abusers will be terminated as of January, but hopefully they will die in some freakish, painful accident before then.

Life is okay here in the house, but not in my head, or in my body and I can’t disengage. I don’t know why. Having little-bitty-Mia-Monster is a big help, though. I’m so glad I kept all of these toys. It’s fun to play with her. I half-wish her mom had asked me to watch her more often. At least she knows I can do it in a pinch.

That’s all. The kids will be home Wednesday through Monday. That should keep me safe.

Mia just finished lunch (I think. If it’s on the couch I think that means she’s done.) and we have two more pie crusts to roll out. Huzzah!

Therapy and Thinking

October 22, 2010

“It pays to be present to see what is now, and not occupied in the memory – which is then, and a bridge to a robber of a different kind.” – Mark Berkery (http://beingmark.com)

Mark is a macro photographer, and this quote accompanies a series of photos of an assassin fly that had captured a meal while he was watching. It reminded me of the intense work my therapist and I did yesterday, and how I have been fighting to stay present. I am working to stay in the now while at the same time being aware that my personal past was robbed. I say now that I won’t be physically be killed, but the innocent little girl who was me was robbed and killed in every other aspect.

My therapist was explaining some reasons why I did certain, strange (to me) behaviors as a child and still as an adult. Her words were nearly the exact same as my husband has said over the years, only the situation with my husband was different. I react the same way I did as a child to certain intimate situations with my husband. Last night I decided to share that with him and he cried with me and held me until I fell asleep. I also told him that yesterday during therapy was the first time in my life that I felt a teeny bit of hope for me in that particular area – sexual intimacy. I am still not entirely hopeful about much else, and I’m not going to get too excited about it, but it’s a little something to look forward to.

Shortly after I was home I wrote a few sentences in my journal. Sometimes it helps me to physically see and say out loud how I feel rather than say it in my head:

I was held down, suppressed and made an object of lust, abuse, sex, control, and disgust. I was made inhuman and I was expected to want it, like it, and expect more. That is wrong. It was not my choice. I was just a child.

Those sentences are fairly straightforward and simplistic, but for me they are powerful. They reflect some of the release work we are doing in therapy. I’m not worried any longer about “getting this crap over with”. I’m beginning to see that there is a rhythm that only I have and I am working very hard to move to that rhythm. As so many of you have said, this is probably the hardest work I will ever do, and I have no idea what any outcome may be.

With that said and out of my system I have an observation to share. If you have an intense therapy session, but you still need to do some shopping, you get much better service if you go to a counter or salesperson while crying and visibly shaken.



Nap time….or is it?

September 15, 2010

It’s chilly here. The temperature starts in the 40’s and slowly drifts way up in to the 60’s, but not until late afternoon. The pellet stove is on and my handspun silk and onion-dyed wool, and alpaca wristwarmers are on (Yes, they are lovely. That’s why they are mine and not for sale.). Even the dogs are in front of the pellet stove.

A short time ago I woke up from a four-hour “nap”. It was originally intended to be a nap but it turned into a System classroom/board meeting/rally/conference, interrupted with actual napping. For several days I have had Earthquake Headaches and could not find any relief for them. If they lasted through the weekend I was going to schedule an appointment because no pain reliever, allergy medicine, or muscle relaxant could relieve them. I assumed it was a result of the kids back at school and my husband back at work after nine days or so of caring for him. However, I now believe the headaches were caused by those on the inside needing to give me information, their points of view, or needing to be recognized within the System.

When I read other people’s blogs and they describe, or know that they have switched, I’m almost jealous. Here I have this DID diagnosis, my therapist sees it, my husband sees it, all of the signs are there, but I often don’t believe it. Well, I go back-and-forth, I guess. I have lost several months of time, so I read over my posts here to see what I was doing or thinking, and usually I can access those memories afterward, but I don’t have a name for whomever it was running the show at that time. Several months ago I did have several alter’s names, but only two have stayed by me, accessible at all times. I know that’s normal for alters to come and go.

Back to my nap. I laid down with the headache and tried to sleep. Then, like a classroom, questions, suggestions, and answers started. The alters asked questions, I asked questions, they showed me the memories and emotions they held, back-and-forth, little nap, back to questions and answers and memories……… I feel it was a backlog. Before summer started and I was home with the kids I was writing questions to my alters in a special journal, writing their information on index cards, and having daily meetings. Then I stopped for three-and-a-half months. Then the Earthquake Headache hit. Coincidence? I think not, sir!

I could have stayed in bed all day. It was warm and a warm, fuzzy thing was purring next to my head. I feel funky but much of the headache is gone. Someone in this group wrote about headaches being a signal to ask what’s going on inside if nothing else worked, but I can’t remember who. I need to bake lemon bars and get my strength back.

…shhh…they’re gone…

September 9, 2010

…..shhhhh……..they are all out of the house right now……..kids in school, hubby at a dentist appointment…..I am all alone and it’s GREAT!!! Damn, I hope that wasn’t too loud………

One whole fucking week! Twenty-four fucking hours a day! For the next hour I have the computer, kitchen, television, living room, and Sirius/XM radio all to myself. There will not be another time like this until next Monday. Hubby has had a rough time since his wisdom teeth came out and I took good care of him. It was his first operation and his first experience with narcotic painkillers.

I think everyone inside handled it fairly well, except for some sexual self-injury which I felt unable to control. Lots and lots of nightmares and only one panic attack. One phone call and psycho email from my mother which threw me for a loop and I’m never going out in public in this town again because I just say embarrassing things. I was triggered by an invitation to a 25+ year high school reunion, my youngest playing with Barbies, and the show “Masterchef” which I don’t watch but was on when I walked in the room. So… not too bad. It’s not like I’m keeping track or anything.

Today is therapy, which is always sheer delight, and then I am making Scotch eggs which should result in a heart attack later this evening. But it will be worth it. I only make them once or twice a year because it takes that long for our bodies too digest all of it.

Be good to yourself, people!

Respect your alters, part 2

September 1, 2010

So, Seroquel sucks. I’d rather continue to experience psychotic symptoms than deal with that crap (Hello shadow people whom I don’t recognize and voices just behind and to the right of me!).  The Seroquel allergic reaction sent me spinning into Nearly Unbearable Anxiety Land, but it felt like it was getting out of control in comparison to the swallowing of the one pill. This is how I have been feeling:

*potential medical trigger*

This past week I have been trying self-soothing, blah-blah-blah and I keep reminding myself that we must get it together before tomorrow because my husband is having his wisdom teeth removed. The more I remind myself, the worse the anxiety becomes. So, as I’m putting the groceries away this morning I say to myself, “What’s the problem? You went through the same thing 25 years ago!”. And that’s when the memories exploded. I was 19, my mother took me to the oral surgeon on the bus, the actual procedure was never explained to me, and when I walked into a nearly empty room with sharp instruments about, the technician made me sit in the chair and promptly strapped my arms down, shoved a needle in my arm and began counting, “100, 99, 98…”. It was terrifying. That poor 19 year-old has been trying to tell me all this time how it really felt for her that day.

I feel so much better now. I’m pretty calm, ready to take care of hubby and very hungry. It never occurred to me to dig deeper and understand why I’ve been so anxious and thinking I would end up in the hospital for a while with either a stroke, heart attack, or breakdown.

What happened after my wisdom teeth were removed was nearly as traumatic, but I can use those memories to give my family what I didn’t get when I needed it. Awww…..that’s almost poetic…but not quite……

Since at least April I have trying to organize my System by building a safe space internally. There would be a safe space for younger parts to play, eat, watch movies, etc., a conservatory of sorts, arboretum, kitchen, and central meeting area. At first it was working well, but only for a few weeks, so I tried different types of places. I visualized a house with different levels, a home built into the earth, and so on, but it always ended up falling apart and everyone scattered about. Recently I tried again and I felt a seething, disgusting pit, way in the back and nearly in the dark. When I tried to see and feel it there were muck-covered young girls trying to crawl out, but they were stuck. It was horrifying. They were just screaming and crying and I didn’t know what to do, so I tried very hard to send safe, loving feelings their way. I also lost my appetite for the rest of the day.

If a younger one comes through with a memory, or feeling there are always  a couple of older ones who quickly surround them with safety and love. They do that even when I’m not completely aware of what is happening, or before I can consciously realize what they are holding. I asked the older ones to help with such younger girls and they take this responsibility very seriously.

Time has been passing quite oddly this summer. My husband has been asking me to “Please pick a personality and stick with it.” (I think he’s accepted the DID diagnosis). Often I wake up and shortly after the day is over. I guess that may mean I’m dissociating a lot, or switching?

One of my books, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Soucebook, mentions that some Systems are very fluid. Last week I asked my therapist if perhaps my System was fluid, and that is why I am having trouble attempting any sort of organization. She agreed that it may very well be.

**Trigger** Over the past week I have learned two important things about my past. First, I remembered the first time my father had actual intercourse with me and it felt like the pain, anguish, and confusion of that flashback would shatter me. Second, the recurring dream of a particular street (my previous post) is an actual street. Two days after I learned that the street was real I felt and saw the young girls way back there stuck in the disgusting muck.

I believe that over the next several days or weeks I need to soothe those memories and those little girls and try to remain focused and aware. I’m not sure how to accomplish that if I’m losing all of this time, however. In other news, my husband is having minor surgery next week and the kids start school soon. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow, but he primarily deals with my medications. I feel I should tell him at least some of this, though.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough. I need to start my day and try to remain aware and calm. I’m going to keep my goals simple for a bit.