Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I've been trying to figure out my difficulty with journaling lately. It's not the same difficulty I usually had, a resistance to writing things down, although that's a part of it. But I go somewhere to write so I can have a "system meeting," and find myself doing all kinds of other things (picking up the free newspaper so I can read it all the way through, for instance).

Today, I realized that part of the problem is that I feel somewhat resentful of having to have a "meeting" with my different parts, having to consciously cooperate in running my life.

My current analogy is this: It's like you're living in a house, where you've lived all your life. You think you live alone, and then you start to realize that there are a bunch of other people who hang out there. Some of them, you invited in to help with something temporary. Others, you really have no idea why they are there. But there they are, and they won't go away.

You can go into your room, shut the door, and pretend you're alone, but you can still hear them moving around in the house.

You find their things sitting around. You see evidence that they have been there. You realize that they are moving things around, or making decisions about the house that you didn't really participate in. You realize that the house rules that you've just followed automatically were created by these other people.

And, even though you didn't choose to live with this whole crowd, there they are, and now you have to meet them officially, and cooperate with them, and come to compromise, and all of that work. Some of them you like pretty well. Some of them are rather annoying. And some of them are downright scary, because they will make decisions that will destroy the house, just because that's what they want at that moment.

The analogy I've seen a bit more often is that it's like a bus, where different people keep taking control, or there has to be cooperation about where it goes. And that's another thing: if you think you're in a private vehicle, but it keeps making stops for other people... DID is kind of like that.

Part of the problem is that it's just hard to make this adjustment. I've spent my whole life just kind of, I don't know, acting as though I was on my own. Some of the inside parts are happier that way, because it's easier to sneak around if people don't know you're there.

So, for instance, the teenagers can just slide in when I go to get something to eat and distract me so that I forget to eat, but also forget that I didn't actually eat. Or the little kids can make me walk into a toystore and buy them toys, without me really being fully aware of why I'm doing that.

And lots of the parts feel safer if no one knows they exist. They are terrified of being found out. Some of this is because I've gotten lots of positive feedback from my mother for my ability to not remember a lot of the abuse. And more, it's because I've seen the denial and anger that comes out when my sisters have talked about their memories of abuse when they were little. So my desire to be a good girl requires that I not be able to remember, that I be sufficiently separate from the parts that remember the "bad stuff" that I can behave as though it didn't happen to me.

So tangled in with the resentment of having to communicate with these parts that have been hanging around my "house" is the fear of what it means to communicate with them. How will I be able to forget their stories once they have told them to me? How will I be able to behave as though nothing happened when they keep on reminding me that things did happen?

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Monday, January 08, 2007

DID would be really cool

If it weren't so inconvenient and periodically so distressing, that is.

Friday and Saturday, a couple of my teenaged parts were really strongly in front. They have a very inconvenient way of combining depression and moodiness with a refusal to communicate in any rational way, because they don't believe anything is going to change or get better, and they're tired of making the effort.

And then, Saturday evening, I switched. And the depressed feelings just went away. But more than that, I could tell that I was a different person. The words I used while I was thinking were different. The way I processed pain was different. The things I wanted to do were different. And, to make it even more clear, my ability to see was different.

This is one of the weirdest things I've noticed about DID. My different parts have different visual acuity. Some parts are really near sighted. Some parts are more far sighted. Different parts have different levels of astigmatism. And different parts have more or less trouble with focusing at close range.

Several years ago, I had two eye exams within a couple of weeks. The first one was just going into one of the places that will give you an eye exam and two pairs of glasses for $100 or so; I went there because I needed new glasses. The second one was a follow-up appointment with an opthalmologist, because I'd had a long bout of double vision the previous spring.

During the first appointment, they tested me, and I was moderately near-sighted, with very little astigmatism. The second time they tested me, I was moderately far-sighted, with moderate astigmatism.

At the time, I assumed the discrepancy between the two tests was due to the first place being less skilled. But now that I've been paying attention to the different parts, I've come to realize that how well or poorly I see is pretty closely connected to who is out.

And I've noticed other weird physical things. I have different levels of allergies, and I'm allergic to different things, depending on who is out. Some of my parts don't seem to have fibromyalgia, while most of the rest of us do. Some parts really don't feel pain, while others (particularly the little kids) can't ignore it at all.

I've also been more aware of the differences in how different parts think. I noticed it particularly this last Saturday, when all of a sudden, from feeling trapped and resentful and angry, I found myself thinking about my life in terms of "narrative repetition" and symbolism. I was very distant from the emotional pain, but working through it intellectually. My personal history had become a novel to analyze and comprehend, not something to feel unhappy about.

It's hard to describe the shift, particularly now, when I'm a day and a half removed from it. I used to think of it as just having a different mood, but there's a lot more to it. How I think changes substantially. It's not just a matter of whether or not I'm happy/sad/angry/anxious/contented/bored or whatever emotion it might be. And it's not even solely a matter of state-dependent memory. The best way to explain it is simply to say that it's as though I am a set of different people.

I've noticed this also as I've been journaling more, particularly as I spend a little more time writing by hand. I was writing the other day, and as the topics changed, I observed variations in how the words were being shaped on the paper. And just as I had decided I made it up, I started looking, and found that each "voice" on the page was quite consistent in handwriting... not something I'd been thinking about, until I watched the handwriting change as I was writing last week, and then went back and read things I'd written about before. And then realized that there were things I didn't remember having already written about, and the handwriting was the same each of the times I'd written about that topic.

I feel like none of this is making sense, so I'll end for now. I wish I'd had the analyst part write about this on Saturday, instead of trying to wait and then re-create it after the fact, 'cause it makes more sense when she's the one talking.

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