I haven't been writing for a few days, it seems. In part, it's because we were away for the weekend. We went camping with friends, and it was good. In part, that is because camping is fun (at least for some of us parts!). Jamie and Ellis both got to make fires, which they enjoy. Mandy and Teller got to play with a dog and get attention from a bunch of different people. And since W. was doing a lot of the driving (she needs to practice for her driver's exam), it meant the adults got a good break.
But the thing that made this weekend really special was that the friends we were camping with all knew about me having DID, and were very happy to meet and interact with my different parts. It was pretty casual--not so much formal introductions as different parts coming in and out, and all of them being welcome to be there. So that was quite nice. It really makes me appreciate my friends even more.
Then, after coming back, I spent several days wiped out, either by allergies or by a cold (it can be difficult to tell the difference). So Tuesday and yesterday were both spent pretty much napping and wiped out in bed. Today is a little better, but only because I've been able to breathe through my nose 90% of the time.
I (Cleo) had today's therapy session almost entirely to myself. I think Rynn was there in the beginning, but that's just a guess. We were talking mostly about the difficulties the adult parts (perhaps me in particular, but I think I'm not the only one of the adult parts who has trouble with this) have in identifying ourselves, and being self-aware.
There are a lot of things that go into it. For one, it's just that we're not really in the habit of thinking, "Hm. Who am I?" So we operate within the general framework, as though we are interchangeable. This would be fine if we were interchangeable, but it doesn't quite work that way. It's become more of a problem lately (as in, over the past three years or so) because the things that used to trigger a switch to the "right" part for a job aren't there so much any more. So without deadlines or other pressures, things are a little more chaotic. But I guess that without deadlines or other pressures, we might never have noticed the DID in the first place, so I can't exactly say I regret that.
Another problem is that we don't like to have to acknowledge we're different parts. At least, I don't. And since the other parts are less inclined to be self-aware, and don't even really have names they can be called as though they were people, I think it's a pretty general issue.
Tied into that is the fact that we (I) feel guilty for not being able to do things that the other parts can do. The Mama can cook, clean, sew, do all the things that make a house into a really pleasant place. She lives in my body and shares my brain, so it seems like I should be able to do these things as easily as she can. The Smart One is, well, smart. She can answer questions and has a lot of factual information; she is good at being academic; she is pretty social (within academic settings, anyhow). So I should be able to do all of that, too. And so on, through the parts.
Add to that the fact that the teenagers don't have the fatigue, or even a lot of the pain of fibromyalgia, and that they have a great deal of stamina. So I should be able to do that, and not spend all of this time sitting around feeling exhausted and aching.
It's frustrating enough for me when other people (outside) don't put as much importance on being efficient and orderly as I do. It's incredibly aggravating for me that there are people inside of me who also don't place as much importance on this as I do. I like to be efficient, organized, responsible. I like to take care of things, to get things done. And I have parts who are not allowing it to happen.
Okay, so my therapist thinks it's okay to not be efficient and responsible. So W. thinks this, too. So do most of my friends. It still drives me crazy. I feel guilty about all of the things I'm not doing. I feel guilty about not being responsible, not having a job, not getting my dissertation written.
And yet, I also am realizing that I, the part, am not the one who is really able to do most of these things. I guess I'm mostly the one who keeps on top of other parts to get the things done. Or something like that. I can kind of accept that this is a long process, and I'm only at the beginning of it. But it's annoying that, given that I know what should be happening, that I can't just decide it's going to happen, when I want it to, as quickly as I would like it to happen.
One example is co-consciousness and all of the parts working together. Using a little bit of insight, I can see that some of the resistance is coming because, deep down, I don't want to really listen to what the other parts have to say. I want them to do things my way, because I feel like I know what's best. Certainly, my way would get more things done, and make me happier. But I guess that isn't what the other parts want.
And if it's hard to accept that other people won't do that, just imagine how difficult it is to cope with the fact that other parts can take over my body and keep things from happening on my terms.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I haven't been writing for a few days, it seems. In part, it's because we were away for the weekend. We went camping with friends, and it was good. In part, that is because camping is fun (at least for some of us parts!). Jamie and Ellis both got to make fires, which they enjoy. Mandy and Teller got to play with a dog and get attention from a bunch of different people. And since W. was doing a lot of the driving (she needs to practice for her driver's exam), it meant the adults got a good break.
Friday, May 25, 2007
I've been realizing lately how often parts switch in and out, without announcing who they are. Most specifically, this would be an issue in therapy. On Tuesday, after therapy, I realized that the person who had been "out" at the beginning was Rynn, who is 17. I don't really remember the session too clearly, so I can't really say what she talked about, or whether it was a problem for her to be the one in front, but it's something to keep track of.
Mandy also went, for the last bit. Don't much remember what she talked about, either, but I know she took the monster puppet, so I assume there was some talking about that.
I've been frustrated lately by the fact that I do have to behave as though there are other people inside the head with me. I mean, sure, it's all well and good if they're showing up in therapy, but to have to compromise with such a group of people over things like what we're going to do over the course of the day, or what we're going to do with our life. That's hard, because most of them just aren't as focused and driven as I am.
I was in therapy yesterday. We talked about that, among other things. S. (the therapist) asked what feelings I have. I had said mostly frustration or calm. I guess the frustration gets tied in with guilt, and the guilt is tied in with fear. I'm afraid of being exposed as not worthy of any of the positive things I've got in my life. I'm afraid of losing out on the good things I want to get. I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of being insulted. Lots of fear.
I can remember feeling very overwhelmed when I was still a teenager. I would walk to and from school, just feeling overwhelmed with all the things I was trying to cope with at the same time. I would be frustrated with myself for not managing my time better, for not getting things done far enough in advance. Now I realize that a big problem there was that the parts who did things like schoolwork really only showed up at the last minute, when the deadline was right on top of me. At the time, it just seemed like I was being bizarrely irresponsible.
The clearest visual I had from that time was of trying to build a really large building, but without a foundation, and without knowing what the plans were. I could only hold it together by maintaining absolute focus, and not letting any part of what I was trying to do slip. It was exhausting.
Seems like I'm not one of the better typists in here, and my head is very achey, so I'll end this for now. I'm getting really tired of using the delete key.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
So, there I was, listening to music as I was washing dishes, and this song came up on my MP3 player. Even though I listen to a lot of songs by this group, and have had this one on my computer for years, I never noticed it until last night.
The song is "Changing," by The Four Bitchin' Babes. I believe you can listen to it (or a long sample of it) by clicking this link.
The lyrics are behind the cut (because I'm posting a lot today, and I figure that will make it easier for people to see all the new ones!).
I guess it’s time for me to introduce myself
I would like to be polite and offer to shake your hand
But I’m not quite sure who I am any more
I’m always changing, changing,
I’m in the car and there in the square rear view
Is a lady, I say “Hey! Who the hell are you?”
Cause I don’t recognize that old soul behind my eyes
She’s always changing, changing (changing)
changing, changing (changing)
Once I was a daughter, then I was a mother
and I’ve been a sister, never was a brother though.
People I used to be don’t even say hello to me
I’d like to introduce my selves to each other,
but they keep….
One of these days, I wish I would just stay put
And be this too, too solid flesh from head to foot.
But like a pink, purple, blue sunrise, or a cloud that cries,
I’m always changing, changing (changing)
changing, changing (changing)
So my friend, oh, it’s been fun to meet,
if you wanna go ahead and press my button, press delete
because though I’m really, really, really here,
it won’t be long, I fear,
till I’m changing, changing (changing)
changing, changing (changing)
So am I projecting my own issues or does it seem like this song is really about DID?
Usually, my dreams are random bits and pieces, the clutter of my subconscious. But every so often, I have a dream that is really coherent, and that seems likely to stick with me for life. They don't require a lot of analysis to understand them, because the meaning of them is really pretty clear.
This is one of those dreams. I had it when I was eight or nine years old.
We had been studying the book of Revelation in Sunday school. I remember sitting in the class, in the basement of the church. The teacher was describing all of the horrible things that would happen, and explaining how Godly Christians would suffer along with everyone else. She talked for a while about the Mark of the Beast, and how people wouldn't be able to buy anything or get anything without having it, but that having it meant going along with Satan, and thus, being sent to hell.
I asked whether God would really send people to hell simply because of getting the Mark of the Beast. My example was someone who was willing to sacrifice their own chance at salvation so they could take care of their children. The teacher sternly informed me that it didn't matter what your reasons, if you got the mark, you were damned, end of story. This simply didn't make sense to me, in the context of my believe that God is loving. The teacher said I was being disrespectful and too argumentative, and should accept that she knew what would happen.
So, a week or two later, while all of this was still stewing in my head, I had this dream:
The tribulation was happening. Horrible things were going on all over the world. Christians were suffering even more, because they couldn't pay for anything and didn't have anywhere safe to live, and no way of getting food. People were running around in terror.
Then I noticed there was a space ship. I started telling people, "You don't have to follow either the Antichrist or old Christian rules. God sent this space ship, and if you get on it, you can go to a new world. You just have to make the choice.
Everyone from my church denounced me as a tool of the Antichrist. The people who were following the Antichrist thought I was being silly and said what they were doing was too important. Only a very few people went with me on the spaceship.
Obviously, there is more to the dream than the immediate context. It's emblematic of the way that I do usually try to see a third option when I'm presented with an either/or kind of choice. It's always seemed to me that there is more to the world than binary divisions. Of course, this isn't how I interpreted it at the time, at least not in these words. But I couldn't help but believe that the loving God I believed in would provide an option that didn't require quite so much suffering and despair as my Sunday School teachers predicted. In the context of that church, I did worry that there was something wrong with me, that perhaps my soul was tainted in some way so that I would rather go into space than suffer on Earth. But I wasn't willing to give up my belief in the third option, the one where people were accepted based on whether or not they chose to be saved, instead of whether they followed some rules that had been written down.
I could swear I've posted about how fairy tales and fantasy novels saved my life, but I can't find the post, so I won't put a link to it. Anyhow, I think they did help immensely in allowing me to continue to see myself as Christian, without having to force myself to believe the things that the church we attended insisted were required beliefs. I am so grateful that I was able to maintain the faith that I think I really was blessed to receive, rather than having it tarnished by the warped beliefs of my childhood religious training.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I've been thinking about this subject a lot, and I guess it counts as a memory.
It begins when I was fourteen. There was an incident that I don't feel like writing about right now, but it really triggered me badly (although I didn't know what a trigger was, I did know that it made me upset in ways that weren't wholly related to what had happened). I headed out of the apartment about half an hour earlier than I had planned to, and I remember thinking quite clearly, and in a mental voice that I hadn't heard before, "You're really going to need to get therapy as soon as you turn 18 and leave home." I think that's the birth of the part currently known as the Analyst.
Given how few options I had, I just went ahead and went on with my life. But the Analyst began to be there in the background, keeping track of things, figuring out why the adults in my life behaved as they did, figuring out strategies to make my own life different.
A few months later, we'd moved, and I pretty much hated the new school. The classes weren't challenging, and I didn't have a group of close friends to make things more lively. At this point, I discovered that I could make places inside my head to alleviate boredom. I had a place where, as I thought of it, "the part of me who would rather be asleep can curl up and go to sleep." As the next year or so passed, I also made places inside where my essential person-hood, in all its forms, could be safer. Looking back, knowing I have DID, it makes a lot more sense that there were quite a few different "safe places," because different parts wanted different things in a hiding space. And it helped various parts to be able to consciously remove themselves from situations that might not be triggering, but where they would not be the best part to be present.
Around the same time, I was also getting frustrated with the fact that I seemed to be forgetting things all the time, and losing track of conversations I was having. So, being the Star Trek fan that I was, I decided to make a "computer" in my brain to keep track of things I needed to know. This is where I kept information about my schedule, when assignments and such were due, all of the various bits and pieces of information that make up daily life. I also used it to get a 30-second replay, so that when I had spaced out in a conversation, I could repeat the last 30 seconds or so of what had been said. I used this "computer" to store information I learned, random facts I wanted to be able to retrieve easily, pretty much anything that was information, with very little (or no) emotional content.
By the next year, when I was fifteen, I had also discovered a lot of little "tricks" I could do by concentrating. I paid attention, and realized that I could think several distinct things at the same time. It's hard to describe what I mean; basically, I'd noticed that there's thinking that is articulated into words, and then just thinking that is the bit before that. I noticed I could do thinking-in-words about multiple things at the same time (such as memorizing my locker combination, running through a list of French verbs, and holding a conversation). And, in the nerdy way I had, I put this trick to good use by also realizing that I could write two different things at the same time (one with each hand).
I've been interrupted too many times while trying to write this, and totally lost my train of thought, so I'll leave it at this for now.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
I don't feel much like writing about memories today. Yesterday was frantically reading to block out flashbacks, or having flashbacks and anxiety so badly I felt like puking most of the day.
Today was bad too. One good thing is my friend K. had a big event at work she's been very worried wasn't going to be good, and it ended up rocking (which we all knew would happen, but K. didn't, because she always worries about these things beforehand).
Mostly, I tried to be out of the house, because being at home just left me wanting to hurt myself really badly. Trying not to do that. Trying not to just walk away and stay away, too. Having some issues with W., but really don't want to go into those right now, because every time I start writing about it, I start ranting, and that's not useful here.
Friday, May 18, 2007
What I remember is libraries. Bookshelves. Stories. I can still see the libraries and the bookstores I went to when I was growing up. I can remember the bookshelves in the houses where I lived. I can't remember much else of anywhere growing up, but I can remember all of the places with books.
The only librarian I remember very clearly is the school librarian from my grade school. I spent a lot of time with her. I would go to the library instead of the gym at recess when it was raining. I went to the library almost every day after school when I was in the fourth and fifth grades. The library was a safe place for me.
I used to love summer, because it meant I could read as long as I wanted to. I remember the first time I stayed up past midnight reading a book. It was "Little House on the Prairie."
I used to read walking to and from school. I read every chance I could get. I could escape into a book. If I was reading, everything around me would get quiet, it was like I wasn't there any more.
Then I got older, and sometimes the stories in a book weren't enough. So I made my own stories. I made stories so I could fall asleep. Those were the first stories I made, when I was still little. Then I made stories that I wrote down, but mostly, they were just a way to keep notes for the stories I told in my head. Writing them down helped to keep the stories more real.
I still read. When I read a book, I can remember the other times I read the book. I can remember holding the books; I love the feel of books. I love the smell of books. Nothing feels so safe as to have a whole stack of books I haven't read yet, plus another stack of books I have read over and over. A book is the safest place I can think to be. Sure, sometimes bad things happen in books. But the ones that I like to read, the ones where I can really escape, nothing STAYS bad. It's always all right in the end. Even when things are hard in the middle, mostly the people I care about in the books make it through all right.
Other people might remember other things, but all I remember is reading.
I don't really have a name, but the little kids call me the story girl, because that's what I do. I don't even really have an age; sometimes I'm pretty little, like about nine, and other times, I'm a teenager. I guess it depends on who needs to get away the most. The others read, too, but I'm the one who lets them really escape between the covers of a book.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
This is Michelle. I am writing about some good things that happened, because my mommy was not a bad person she just sometimes didn't do a super good job, but lots of times, she did good things.
Like one good thing I remember is this. She used to bake very beautiful cakes for the school carnival. They were yummy and they looked very pretty, too. She did not get a store bought cake to send, she made it herself. And when they had the cake walk, where you walk around and when the music stops you land on a number, and if they pick that number, you get to choose a cake, her cake was always the very first one someone would pick. One year, one of us kids won the cake walk, and we took the cake she made, because we knew it was the yummiest one there. My mommy was a good baker.
And when I was in second grade, she made cupcakes for my pretend birthday at school. They were pretty and pink and they had roses inside of them, real rose petals. They were delicious. She brought those to school, and the kids liked them a lot.
And another time, after the rose show at school, she picked me up at school with the car. It was just her and me, and no little kids at all. I was seven. We went on some errands, and she gave me a special present. The special present was a book that she liked when she was little, and she thought I would like it too. It was the Secret Garden. I like that book a lot, and also the Little Princess. I do not like Little Lord Fauntleroy so well, but I like the other two books a lot because they are about girls.
My mommy also used to make me clothes. She sewed very nice clothes. I had a really good sailor dress, and it was made out of sail cloth, even. I went to the fabric store and picked out the cloth myself. And it had a tie with it. It was a very nice dress. Also, there were a lot of other dresses she made for me. I liked all of the different things she could make. She made me a dress like Little House on the Prairie, too, because she knew I liked those books a whole lot.
Another good thing my mommy did was we always had lots of paper and glue and crayons to use. We could use just as much paper or glue as we wanted, and it was okay if we made things and colored and drew. Also, we would go to the library and get lots of books, and it was okay if we read lots of books.
I know that sometimes she was not nice and she sometimes did things that hurt, but I think maybe that is because she had too many kids and nobody could help her, and she would forget a lot of the time that we were just little kids, and not grown ups, and we could not do all of the things she wanted. And sometimes, we would forget and do something that made her mad. But when she was not mad, she was very nice and she tried to take good care of us. I am writing about this because I do not want people to think she was not nice or good, because she was, but not all the time, just when she could be. She did lots of good things that I did not write about here, too.
I saw a lady she was driving a garbage truck. She had a pony tail in her hair and she was smiling. She likes to drive the garbage truck. Maybe one day I will drive the garbage truck. This is Mandy. I know I probably will not drive a garbage truck but I can imagine I am that lady who is driving a garbage truck. That is what I saw today.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I don't know why this memory has stuck in my head for so long. I don't think I ever blanked it out completely, although there is very little emotional content in the memory.
It was a warm, sunny day in late spring. I was in the fifth grade. We were playing kickball at recess, and I reached up to catch the ball. I just missed it, and it bent the pinky on my left hand all the way back. It hurt, but most of the time, the pain wears off. But by the end of school, my finger was still hurting, and it had swollen up. I showed it to my mother when I got home, and she took me to the doctor, who said it was sprained and put it in a splint, and said to just be careful and try not to bump the finger or use it too much.
I had an orchestra recital at school in the evening. I played the violin. The piece we were playing was the first time we had to use all four fingers to get the right notes. I practiced enough that I could play, and just didn't use the bow for the notes that required using my pinky.
So, we got home. I guess my mother was stressed out and worried about time, and she'd had to go to the doctor with me instead of working on sewing for a customer that afternoon. Dinner was about ready, and she sent me out to find the younger kids, who were playing, and bring them home. It took me a while to find them, and then I made a mistake. I played with them and their friends for a few minutes before we came home. It was about twenty minutes or half an hour later when we got back.
My mother was furious, and called me into her sewing room. She had a tomato stake, one of the long, thin stakes she used in the garden. She told me to pull down my pants and lean over her sewing table. I reminded her about my sprained pinky, and she said it was my responsibility to make sure I kept it out of the way. She gave me a long, hard spanking. Mostly what I remember is trying not to move my pinky, and not to bump anything on the sewing table.
After that, and dinner, I walked to school by myself. I felt sad, not because of the spanking, but because no one was going to see the recital with me. I knew all of the other kids would have someone there, listening just for them. I cried while I walked to school, but I made sure I was done before I got close. I made myself act like I didn't mind having no one from my family come to watch the recital, and when people asked about it, I just said that my mother didn't have anyone to watch the little kids, and didn't want to bring them all to school in the evening. But my older sister was there, and could have taken care of the kids, or even could have gone to see the recital.
I guess the reason this all stayed in my head was so I could remember that I was old enough to know better. Old enough to not be so foolish as to get hurt and make someone take time to take me to the doctor. Old enough to know to come directly home, even if my mother didn't say that when she sent me out. Old enough to be able to concentrate on protecting a hurt finger and not moving anything on a table while getting spanked. And old enough not to expect someone to come see me play an instrument with a bunch of other ten year olds, all of whom played with the skill of average ten-year-olds, and not musical prodigies.
Not sure who is writing this.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Writing the memories on the blog has helped. I've been getting fewer flashbacks, and the parts who hold memories are able to just let them out during the time I'm writing, rather than filling the edges between my thoughts with everything they're holding on to.
At the same time, though, writing things down is bringing up a lot of fears. Yesterday's post, in particular, triggered a whole lot of terror. In therapy today, I mentioned that. But I also realized the terror was about the act of writing, and not that it was bringing up too many memories.
Why should writing things down be so terrifying? I know it's something I cope with, and I've been working for a while at getting myself to the point where I can write things down. I do believe at this stage that I'll never be able to write my dissertation unless I can write down my own history first; or, at least, I won't be able to write concretely about anything specific, without having the writing be so indirect as to evade my points completely, unless I allow myself to write down the things that keep me from being clear. (I'm sure that I'm now so confusing as to be completely incomprehensible. Oh well.)
So, the fear. I know why I am afraid of writing. My... family would look through anything someone had written down. They would read it, use it as a way of getting to know a person's weak spots. I think, but I don't know for certain, but given how triggered I get with it, that there were also threats about things being written that might be... incriminating. So I learned early on how to write down what I felt in a way that other people couldn't really understand. And I learned to obscure my points, so that I could deny anything someone might say about what I'd been writing about.
The terror remains. I get the same fears about speaking, and have been working through those as well. It used to be, when I got too close to something, my voice went away entirely. The words simply would not come out, my mind would go away, there was nothing there. I was terrified.
What is the fear? Rationally, I know that the absolute worst that would happen if someone in my family found out I am writing this is that they would get angry, they might not speak to me. Emotionally? I am terrified. I sense people beating me, hurting me desperately badly. There is a maelstrom of violence swirling in my mind, parts of me are certain they will be killed and end up spending eternity in hell.
Sometimes, parts wonder if it's because I/we/they are telling lies. But then, the fears get more intense when I begin to talk about things I know for certain are true. And, rationally, who fears violent retribution for being found out to be a liar? Who can manufacture nightmares and flashbacks and all of the symptoms of being an abuse survivor without going through it? If I don't even watch movies that have violent content because they are too upsetting, then where do I get these constant images of violence, if not from my own experience? I don't even watch the news because it's too violent, I skim over newspaper articles, I do what I can to shield myself from the violence in the world.
I would say it came from working at the shelter, but I had these fears before I started doing that. The terror came before I went into therapy. So, rationally, I know that the place all of the fear is most likely to have come from is my own experience. It's just very hard to accept that it's true.
I tend to look at my life symbolically. It's easier to cope with, if I think about my life as a piece of literature to be analyzed. So here's a memory:
When I was eight or so, a friend of the family gave me a Baby Alive doll. I remember feeling weird, uncomfortable about it, because the doll was black. I was embarrassed to have a doll that wasn't white, to have tangible evidence of my difference. At the same time, I really liked that doll. It was brand new, and it was a good doll, not the cheap, easily breakable kinds of dolls we could usually afford.
One day, when I was at school, my brothers went into my room, found the powdered food that went with the doll, and poured it into her mouth. Then they put in water. They were just playing, but it ruined the doll (and used up all of the food, which I had been carefully hoarding so that I could extend the fun of feeding the doll). She was filled with hard lumps of food, filling up her mouth, clogging up her insides.
This was upsetting on basic principle, having my things ruined by younger kids. But there was more to it. It was also upsetting in its symbolism. That doll, more than any other I had ever had, represented me. And when I was about two, I experienced something very like what the doll went through. Even though the memory of what happened to me was only an occasional nightmare at that point, I am sure it contributed to how upset I was over the doll.
The "nightmare" I had was of floating up near the ceiling. I could see the edge of the stair railing, and a table. At the table were my mother, my stepfather, my two older sisters, and a child in a high chair. I couldn't really see the child in the high chair, just hear it crying and gagging. What I could see was my stepfather's back, as he leaned over the child, forcing more and more food into her mouth.
I was a teenager when I discovered that this nightmare was actually a memory. My mother was planning meals, and I said something about how much I despised meatloaf, but I didn't know why. One of my sisters was there, and brought up the time my stepfather forced so much food into me that I threw up, a solid lump of meatloaf sitting there on my high chair tray, looking almost exactly how it had before it was put into my mouth.
What is particularly telling about this is that it wasn't the force-feeding that seemed memorable. That was common, with my stepfather. It was the way that particular incident ended. The things my family acknowledges and talks about are the incidents where something out of the ordinary happened. And the more I look at why particular memories stand out, the more I am able to accept that what happened day-to-day was, in fact, traumatic.
I feel the need to add somewhat of a disclaimer. I have parts who are upset by the fact that what I am writing down is just the bad things that happened. And they are right--good things happened, too. I don't write these things to say that my family were all horrible people who never loved me and who are evil. I suppose a benefit of DID is that I am able to simultaneously hold on to the knowledge that members of my family did their best, and did love me as well as they could, and also to know that horrible things happened pretty much every day. I am grateful to that ability to exist in separate parts, because I do love my family, and I don't know how well I could sustain a relationship with them if I were not so able to forget all of the things that happened when I am with them in the present.
Monday, May 14, 2007
there is one who hides. she hides in places, like a closet. we remember what she saw, when she used to hide places. maybe she is not real, but we do remember what she saw. she saw a big shadow, it was a man. he went to a little girl in a bed. she was the size halfway down the bed. her head was at the top and her feet were at the middle. that is how big she was. it was at night. the one who hides was inside the closet. she saw the clothes over her head. she saw the shoes on the floor and some toys and some fuzz on the carpet. she looked. the man was still there. he was a nightmare bad dream kind of shadow man. the one who hides stayed inside of the closet.
nobody would see her in the closet. she was super secret safe and hiding in there. she kept looking, waiting for the bad dream to be over. she did not like to hide in the closet but she did not want the bad dream man to see her. she had to be invisible.
sometimes she would hide in other places like behind a chair. she saw things she did not like to see. loud noises happened over her head where she could not see. she would hide anyplace, but sometimes there was nowhere to hide. sometimes she just had to pretend to hide and try to be invisible.
that is one thing we remember.
this is another thing we remember.
it was christmas time. there was a big tree, way over my head, up to the ceiling. there were presents. one of the presents was for me. i could see my name on it. i knew how to spell my name even though i did not go to school yet i still knew how to spell. that was a super important present. it was round and soft and tall. i knew what it was. it was a sleeping bag. i wanted a sleeping bag. loud noises. there were people on the stairs. they were fighting. i looked around the door but then i went back and stopped looking. mommy fell down the stairs but the baby did not get hurt. mommy was holding the baby. it was bad. this night was the night before christmas.
because of that fight and how mommy fell down the stairs, we did not stay there that night. we went to grandma and grandpa's house. they did not live too far away. we went there and we took our presents. maybe santa claus would not find me? i got to open one present that night. i opened the important present. the sleeping bag. it is good i got a sleeping bag because i slept on the floor. i slept on the floor under a lamp. there were four lights on the lamp, in a stack. the lights were on a pole, and they were one, two, three, four, up the pole. i was next to grandpa's chair. my sleeping bag had jungle animals on it like zebras and tigers and elephants. inside it was green. it was new. it was an important present.
we did not stay away though. he came and said he was sorry and he would not do that again. we went back home sometime soon. then we were going to move very far away from everyone. my big sisters did not go with us. they went to a different house to live. i was the big one after that but i did not feel very big. i still felt little. but i was the biggest and i had to help.
i remember one other thing. this is a happy thing. when we moved to the new place there was snow. there was not snow at our old place, it did not get cold at that place except one time when i was very little we went up a mountain and there was snow and i played in the snow. i did not have mittens that time so i put socks on my hands instead and i played with the snow. i liked that. in the new place there was snow everywhere. it was very high. when we were going there, one time it snowed very much and we stayed at a motel and we watched tv all day or maybe more days. the snow got so high it was over the windows and it was dark in there.
then the snow was over and we could keep going to our new house. it was all by itself. and there was a hill of snow. i could take boxes from diapers and slide down the hill inside of them. it was like a sled but it did not cost money. that was a good way to play. then we moved to a different house. it was an apartment. there was a boy there and i played with him. we made a raft and we went onto a pond only it wasn't a pond it was a big puddle. we played there.
after that i was five. on the day i was five we moved again. we got on an airplane. it was a big airplane. it had stairs inside, an upstairs and a downstairs. we could not go upstairs, just downstairs. who was on that airplane with me was my mommy, and my baby sister and my baby brother. i do not remember where the man was. he went away for a while. i do not remember why. then we had to go to live somewhere else because we did not have money to pay for an apartment. but we did not have to throw everything away. we kept some things like my bunny and my sister's bunny that someone at church gave to us. one was pink and brown and one was purple and brown.
that is all i want to write. they say i am supposed to write my name but i do not want to. i do not want to have a name. they say i can say i am anonymous. that means that i am not writing my name.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
These are some things that happened when I was five. I think about these things, cause they made some of the rules inside of me.
Here is one thing. I had a book. It was called The Best Nest. It was a good book and I liked to read it and look at the pictures. Then my sister got it. She colored all over the inside of it with her crayon. I was mad. I yelled at her. But then someone grown up saw me yell at her for coloring in my book, and they got mad at me. They said she was too little to know better. They said it was just a book, even though it was the single only book that was mine. So I got punished because I got mad. They said I was not supposed to get mad about a book. They said I was not allowed to feel mad. They did not say it was not ok to yell at my sister, even though I guess I knew that anyways, but I was super mad. They said I was not supposed to be one bit mad because it was only a book. But it was an important book for me. I did not like that at all. But I learned an important rule. The rule is, I am not allowed to ever get mad outside the body where someone can see it, because I am supposed to know better. I guess only a grown up or a very little kid is allowed to get mad, but not me. That is how it was in our house. I could not get mad because I wasn't big and my things didn't matter.
Lots of times if there are little kids in the house they ruin your things. They ruin your doll by playing with her food and pouring the food mix inside of her and then putting in water. They do this when you are at school, because they sneak into your room, and then the doll never works again and all the food is gone even though you were very careful and saved it up. But if you are eight years old, you are not allowed to cry or feel angry, because it is just a doll, even if it was your very own special doll that was bought new for you by someone.
Or they will dump out all of your perfume when they sneak into your room, even though you had been saving it and saving it, and then it will all be gone and your room will be stinky, and you can't get mad even though you had it very high up and put away, and someone little went in and climbed up on a chair to find it. Or when you are bigger, someone will get into your room when you are at school, and pour glue all over your puzzle, and ruin that. Or they will ruin lots of your things. But if a kid is littler than you, it is ok for them to do it, and you are not allowed to cry or feel angry.
I think now maybe that isn't fair, and maybe I should have gotten to feel angry, but they should have said it was not ok to yell at a little kid, because that is right, I should not have yelled. And they should have said it was ok to cry. They should not have said my things were not important, because they were important to me.
Here is another thing that made a rule. That rule is, you can't really be happy when something good happens. Like, my grandma and grandpa came for a visit. They decided to give me a treat, just me, because they did not want to take all of the kids with them. They went to a different town, to visit my uncle, and I got to go with them. My big sister was very mad at me. She wanted a special treat, and instead I got to have it. So she pinched me and hurt me and pulled my hair hard, and did other mean things. She said I was horrible and didn't deserve to get a treat. I still don't know why I got a special treat like that. It was the single only time I remember something like that happening, me getting something nice and nobody else at all. And it was nice. We even went to a restaurant and got to have hamburgers and french fries. It was Bob's Big Boy, and there was a statue in front with a boy holding a hamburger. I liked it super much, until my sister was even more mean when I got home. So I learned that you better not show how you like something, or even get something nice, because somebody is going to be mean and pinch you and hit you if you get something and they want it.
Here is another rule. I learned that you can not always tell the truth, if a grown up says something different is true. Like if you find a quarter in the back seat of the car, between the back and the cushion, and then someone tells you that you did not find it, you stole it. You should say sorry for stealing it. One time that happened to me. I found a quarter. I got in trouble for having a quarter. I got a very hard long spanking for telling a lie, because I said I did not steal it, I just found it. If I had just said I stole it, then the spanking would not be as long. I learned that lesson very well. I learned that I better just say what the grown up thinks is true, or else they will keep hitting harder and harder until I say they are right and I did a bad thing. Even if I did not do that bad thing, I should just say that I did, or else I will get in too much trouble. If you say you did a bad thing but you didn't then you still get punished, but you do not get punished so much and it is not half so bad as if you don't just say what the grown ups want you to say.
This is Teller writing, because the other parts are too scared to say these things themselves, but they want to write about those things, so I am writing their things they remember for them.
Friday, May 11, 2007
This is Amanda. I'm 11. We get to write about things, and I think I can write about why I exist.
I wanted to run away when I was 11. I wanted to do this because nobody loved me. Here are the reasons I knew nobody loved me.
Number one is that my mother had me write on school forms that I was black instead of white, and to use my father's last name instead of my stepfather's. She said it was just because both those things were true, and switching schools was a good time to fix the information. I guess that wasn't too bad, except for one thing. She doesn't like black people and she doesn't like my father, so it was a way to kind of show me she was kicking me out of the family or something, and that I didn't really belong.
Number two is that the kids at school didn't like me. My best friend stopped liking me, and I don't know exactly why, but she wasn't really my friend any more. And the kids in my afternoon class, which was the long one, all afternoon, they really didn't like me. Especially not the black girls. They threw pennies at my back all the time, because they said I was poor. They made fun of my clothes all the time, and my clothes looked really dorky but I couldn't get a job and we couldn't get different clothes for me, so I didn't have a choice about what I wore. They really didn't like my hair, and made fun of that all the time because it wasn't straightened. And they didn't like the fact that I was smart, and answered questions in class, and wasn't in the same reading and math classes they were in. They thought it meant that I was a show off, but it's just the reading and math classes were the ones I was supposed to be in. They teased me and tripped me in the halls and wouldn't talk to me and said I smelled and I was nasty. They were mean in gym, too.
Number three is that my mother never said she loved me unless I said it first. That's how I knew she didn't really love me, she only said it because she was supposed to, and she only let me live with her because she had to. She didn't like to spend time with me.
Also, I knew she didn't really care about whether I was okay, because when I went to camp for a week with school, she didn't come to pick me up when we got back to school on Friday. I waited for hours. We got back around 3, and I waited at school until 4:30, after the teachers said I couldn't keep waiting there. So I walked all the way home, because I couldn't figure out what else to do, and my suitcase and sleeping bag were really heavy. Then my mother got mad at me for not thinking of something else to do, like getting a ride or calling her, except I had no money and no way to call her. She yelled at me for being stupid. She didn't say she was sorry she forgot to come get me, just that I was stupid to walk home. But how else could I have gotten home? They were always forgetting to get me after I had been away. The worst time was one summer, when they forgot to get me from the airport after I had been at my father's for the summer. They wouldn't let me leave the airport, and no one got the phone, and I was there in an office for a couple of hours until they finally got to the airport to get me. Then they made fun of me for crying about it.
Number four is that my father stopped wanting me to visit him any more and he didn't even tell me, just when my mother called about whether he was going to have me come down for the summer, he said he didn't want me any more, and didn't want to have me come visit.
So nobody really loved me.
There was another reason I wanted to run away. My stepfather came back that year. The year before, he was gone somewhere, because my mother divorced him and kicked him out. She did this because she got tired of him hitting her when she was pregnant with my baby brother. But then he came back. And he was doing stuff, and I didn't like it. I don't want to write about that stuff. But that's another reason I wanted to run away.
I made a plan about running away. I wrote down the things I would need, like my bike and a backpack and clothes and a flashlight and some money. But I didn't get money very much, and my mother stopped the plan of paying us for doing chores because the other kids didn't do them, and I would do chores even if I didn't get paid because I didn't like to get yelled at or hit for not doing them. The other kids didn't mind getting yelled at or hit. So she thought the system didn't work, since I would do work whether or not I got money.
But I made the plan. The only problem was, I couldn't figure out how I could go to school and also live by myself. And I didn't have a tent to live in. And I couldn't figure out where I could go. I guess it was more important to keep going to school than to get away, even if I didn't like school. So I decided that if I had lived for eleven years already, and there were only seven years left until college, I could probably stick it out. But that was very hard. So then the other teenagers started coming around then, because they didn't mind so much that nobody loved them. At least, they didn't cry about it. And Jill came after I was there, and she knew how to make friends at school, so she made friends and school wasn't so bad any more. But still nobody loved me, like my birthdays and stuff were always bad. So I just kind of went away inside most of the time, because I guess I couldn't handle being around any more. Too much stuff was too hard for me. And I was too much of a crybaby to have fun at school.
I guess it's a good thing I thought about my plan for running away before I did it. Even though I really wanted to, it was probably very smart that I thought about what would happen if I ran away. The good thing about this is, I don't think the grown up parts were really there yet, when I was making that plan. And they're the ones who kept Jamie from running away, by kind of shutting her up inside, and making her do other things instead. But no one would have been there to stop me, because I was the oldest one inside then. So it's a good thing I stopped to think about the plan, because I didn't have anywhere to go. Not like my sisters, they had friends they could tell about how much they wanted to leave home, so they had somewhere to go. Or to their father's house when they needed somewhere. I didn't have anyone to go to, and I guess I was right that it wasn't a good idea for someone who was too young to get a job to try to live by herself. I couldn't figure out how I would get food, or stuff like that.
I could have been like the kid in My Side of the Mountain, who ran away and lived in the woods, but then I wouldn't have been able to go to school, and that was important to me, because it was the best way to get a good job when I grew up. It was very lonely, because even though I didn't run away, there was nobody who cared about me or would take care of me or keep me safe, and I had nowhere to go. It was hard to wait seven years, all of the time wishing I could think of a different way.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
This is Teller. The grown ups talked in therapy today about spending some time every day writing down some things we remember, and then maybe it will not be making loud noise inside the head. We will do this every single day, or we will try to do this.
We are writing for the blog so then it is not saved on our computer and then if someone comes and reads it we can say it was not us. That is how it is ok to do this cause it is very much scary to write these things down but then maybe it will feel better. If it does NOT feel better after a while, then we will not do it any more.
I get to go first. I am going to tell about something that happened cause of me, and why I had to disappear inside for a super long time until we all grew up into a big person and then I came out again last year that was because I wanted to see maybe was it safe and it is safe enough for me to come out so I did.
This is what happened. I was in second grade. I wrote about something at school or I drew a picture. I do not remember exactly. But then the teacher asked some questions and I did not know that some things were bad to tell to a teacher I just thought I did not like them, and when she asked about what I wrote then I told her other things.
I think this is what I told her about. I think I told her about my big sister and the bathtub. My big sister was not good about bathtubs. She would put the water too hot she would say it was NOT hot and then it would hurt me when I was in the water. I did not like that. And then she would wash me in certain places I do not want to say, and that super much did not feel good and you do not need to wash those places specially not with soap. I learned that cause I don't ever wash those places any more, and no one does in the body, and they do not get dirty. Sometimes when I was littler she would get in the bath with me and do more stuff that made me feel yucky and scared and I do not like when someone gets in the bath with me who is bigger not one single bit do I like that.
I think that is what I told about, cause everyone got mad at my sister, and at me too. That is how I think that is what I told about.
But then I got in big trouble because the teacher maybe told someone. After I told her, a person came to our house. That person was the person who will take children away if they are not being taken care of good. But she did not take us away. She said there was nothing bad, maybe? I wasn't there, I don't know.
But some people who are big and I will not say who but they are very much big, they got mad. And then my sister said she never ever did those things and I was lying and making things up and bad. And then two people got in trouble, her for maybe doing those things and me for talking about it and telling someone. And then my sister got mad at me to and she hit me places where no one can see but I learned that it is super much important not to be a tattletale cause if you do then someone will hurt you very much and they will not do one thing to the person who hurt you because that person is bigger.
Another reason to not be a tattletale is they will say a person who is littler than you are cannot hurt you, because you are bigger than they are, and you are just being a crybaby if you say someone who is littler than you are hurt you, and they will say they will show you what it feels like to be really hurt, and so you will know the difference and when a big person shows you that then you do not want them to show you one more time ever again. And if someone is bigger than you are, then it is okay if they hurt you, because it is because you were bad and you forgot what the rules were and didn't be good, so they can hit you. But if you are my size, then you are not allowed to hurt one single person, because everybody is bigger than you or smaller than you, but you are not big or little, so you are not allowed to hurt someone. And if you do hurt someone like pinch them or something then a grown up who is big will pinch you with her strong nails and it will hurt for a very long time like a week and you will remember that you do not ever want to be pinched like that again so you do not pinch someone but probably there is a better way to show a kid not to pinch than to scare them, like if I were a grown up I would tell that kid about how being pinched hurt, and tell them it made the other kid feel sad and scared and maybe mad, so they should not pinch someone. That is how I would do it, not by pinching them hard.
I was too much a tattletale and sometimes if I was there then I forgot and I told someone about things cause I can not keep secrets good, I tell things cause I forget they are secrets and not something to tell people. So then I had to disappear, and not come out.
There is more stuff I was going to tell, but I am done instead.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
if i can't feel better, at least let me be numb. i can't take more of feeling like i am feeling right now. don't know how to be numb any more. don't know how to feel better. i know it's my fault i feel like no one helps me but i can't figure out what to tell them to do or what to do for myself. i just want to stop feeling bad.
Posted by Jigsaw Analogy at 11:34 PM
the adult parts seem to think that if they spend their time helping other people then somehow they, or we, or whoever will manage to get some help for ourselves. they're wrong. all that helping other people does is get them to expect us to help them, and think we can handle helping them. no one can give us the help we need, so maybe the adult parts should focus on making it so we stop WANTING to be helped, cause it's not like we'll get whatever it is that will make things feel less unbearable.
Posted by Jigsaw Analogy at 5:03 PM
Friday, May 04, 2007
Or, after 15 years, you'd think I'd catch on.
So. PMS can explain a significant portion of my emotional stress for the past couple of days. And now, as I was thinking about how my body seems to take the "fever" segment of "hay fever" altogether too seriously, I had to wonder: is it possible that the reason my fibro is so much consistently worse in the spring than in other seasons isn't just that the weather involves more low pressure systems, but that the high pressure systems are accompanied by... pollen. The stuff that makes my head ache, my eyes swell, and my body behave as though it's being inundated with virulent poisons....
Sigh. Just a couple more months. Or perhaps some lobbying of the drug companies to get them to stop replacing the claritin I pay them so well for with the placebos they've been selling instead. (Not willing to stop taking it to see if it makes a difference. I've only sneezed about thirty times today, which means it could be a lot worse. But, boy, could it be better!)
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Pretty much, that's the best that can be said for it. Really need to remember to take the rent downstairs and drop it off... have it right here, and just keep not synching with the neighbors to do it.
Finally recognized the source of about 10% of the angst and aggravation I'm feeling when I checked in with myself about what I wanted for lunch. Specifically, I was visualizing Doritos, a milkshake, twinkies, and fries. Perhaps a greasy hamburger.
The burger fries and shake, that's something that comes up more often than just that 10 days a month. Doritos and twinkies? It's a sure clue-in. So in about a week and a half, I may feel a little less emotionally overwhelmed. Or if the little kids take over for a while, but they're dealing with their own stuff, so perhaps not.
It's one of those weird DID things... recently noticed that my period has been longer, with a strange (for me) interspersal of the usual heavy flow and really light-to-nonexistent period days. Right there in the middle, when it's usually heavy flow gradually tapering off. Then I started paying attention. Somehow, if the littles are strongly present, no flow. When a teen or adult shows up, it's like the plug gets let out. Too bad I can't just have littles out for the duration. Of course, then my period drags on for quite a while, so perhaps it's not worth that.
So, in light of the really clear, distinct physical evidence, you'd think we'd all line up and say, "Okay, this is real." Nope. Still a long process in here.
/TMI (safe for anyone squickable to read from here out)
The other thing I'm paying attention to, being aware of, whatever, is this: the "problem" is not that I have littles. I've coped pretty well with my enjoyment of play, or whatever the parts all enjoy, for pretty much all of my life. There was the regrettable three days in 10th grade when I tried to fit in, but I got past that. :)
No, what the "problem" is, is that these are kids who behave developmentally appropriately, AND who went through abuse. So they have, shall we say, "issues." And they all play out differently, and they use my body to express those issues. So the bursting into tears, the counting steps, the wanting to hit things for no discernible reason.... gah. And you blend that in with the normal raging hormones of PMS, it just becomes rather frustrating.
Gonna be glad to get through the next couple of days. Maybe I'll find a restaurant that will serve me fries dipped in a milkshake.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Things seemed fine, more or less, at therapy today. We had a good discussion about me (generic adult parts, really) making the effort to spend time just doing active listening with the other parts. Made sense. Also talked about helping the teens approach their anger by watching themselves feel anger, as though on a TV.... my therapist and I had a brief chuckle about the concept of encouraging a dissociated part to use further dissociation, but I could see what she was getting at, so it's not necessarily a bad idea.
But even though, as of this morning, it seemed fine that there are parts somewhat close to the surface, although not in a position to communicate, just enough that the body is responding to their experience, who have been terrified for the past while... today, it's getting to me. Wanting to burst into tears, but I don't know why. Having my teeth chatter, but not knowing where the fear is coming from.
Some, I'm starting to realize, is that a lot of parts are scared about spending time with my family this summer. Not sure what to do--lots of arguing inside, between parts who think it will be okay and who want to see the family, and parts who are p*ssed off that I would go and "pretend everything was all right." And also parts who are just scared of getting more memories than we can handle.
So that's hard.
Also coping with just plain old day to day life is hard. But I'm too agitated to be able to focus on any one thing, or to relax and nap. And too tired physically to go to a walk (and way too agitated by there being other people anywhere on the sidewalk with me for that to be a particularly feasible solution).
Just gotta get through one more day. One of them at a time, take tiny steps. I hate this. There's so much I want to do, and instead of getting to do any of it, I'm just knocked out by being crazy.
And to make it all more fun, my allergies have kicked in, so I'm coughing and sneezing. And I've been getting cramps (for the past year or so, I get cramps around when I ovulate, and then off and on through the end of my period. Oh joy.)
Things I would rather be doing: read a book; work on a quilt; make something, anything, out of fabric; make doll clothes; clean the bedroom; clean my room; work on a website; draw pictures for a story book; write the story book; go for a walk; play with Playmobils; scream out loud, very loud, for a long time; go swing dancing; learn astronomy; build a bookshelf; build a house; build a rocket ship and go see another planet; write a novel; paint big splashy pictures; curl up in a closet shaking; go back to pioneer times; find a magic door and go into a fantasy world; go for a long drive; go camping; go to the beach; buy an MP3 player; take photographs; read about coping with DID or abuse stuff; figure out a worksheet for coping and do that; build with blocks; play computer games....
And instead, I'm just stuck. It's like too many things are trying to be done, and no part will allow the others to do anything. Just in case you hadn't caught on, sometimes DID really sucks.