Farther Then I Thought I’d Come

20 Jul

I had my friend (the one with a similar background in abuse as me) over the other day. Usually it’s me that needs to talk and Stepping stoneshave someone listen and help. This is something that I feel guiltily about because I don’t want our relationship to be one-sided with me doing all the taking and her doing all the giving. But on this day, she was the one that was in need of help, and for once I got to be there for her.

Without going into a lot of detail, since this is not my story to tell, both her and her child needed a helping hand. And I was able to help her by giving her some of my collected information on the following things:

Talking to a family member who hasn’t been abused and doesn’t always get what is going on with you. Someone who thinks if you just try harder you can do more without realizing that what you are doing now in the very best you can do. I read to her some of my post “Letter to My Family“. I recommended the book Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One’s PTSD”, because let’s face it when you’ve gone through what we’ve been through you most likely have PTSD. It really helps when those around you have a guide to living with the fall out of it. It also helps if they know where you are coming from. I know we all wish and want them to be about to look at us and read our minds and know exactly what to say or do. But they aren’t mind readers, they have no special powers, they won’t know unless we tell them. Sometimes this requires repeating ourselves. Just like when you get poison ivy you have to repeatedly apply calamine lotion for relief, sometimes you have to reapply what you need the other person to hear. That’s why I’m a big fan of the letter. It doesn’t have to be confrontational that way. You can just print it up and leave it for the other person to read and think about.

Suicide was other thing we discussed. I have personal experience with the driving need to end it all. I have a couple of plans on how I do it and everything. I know what it feels like to think that it wouldn’t matter to anything or anyone if you did it. I’ve written a couple of post on it for my “Legacy of Child Abuse” series. I highly recommended the Boggle the Owl site, since reading some of the posts there have gotten me through the bad times. Sometimes something as little as an anonymous person telling you that they care and that it’s going to be ok care help. Sometimes you just need to hear those words even if you are only reading them to yourself.

Then we talk about my all time favor topic (being ironic here) panic attacks and anxiety, and how to deal. I got out my therapy binder, where I keep all the printouts that my therapist gives me. The one that works best for me is “Overcoming Anxiety: 5 Quick Ways to Relieve Anxiety“.

1. Making yourself comfort, and reminding yourself this will pass.
2. Use calming self talk.
3. Acknowledge and accept
4. Distract yourself
5. Use relaxation techniques

Lastly I talked to her about accepting and acknowledge my “others”. Till you do that they can really make you feel insane. I showed her my dress up drawings that each of my others did. And how they had their own Pinterest account where they each had boards and expressed the need to not get angry when they express themselves in ways that we normally would think is weird, insane, shameful, etc. I also showed her my post-it with the rules for living in my body (or house, as my therapist and I call it).

MY HOUSE/BODY RULES:
– No one makes the rules except “A”
– There are no other rules but the ones “I” make
– No one can bring harm to anyone else in the house.
– If you don’t take care of the house or you try to harm it you don’t get to come out.
– If you don’t follow the rules you don’t get to come out.
– You can’t make changes to the house (ex. Haircut, color, etc.) without a majority ruling in favor of the change.
– All decision made by the house have to have a 75% in favor ruling to be done.

When we’d finished talking, and she left; I got to thinking about all I’d said and the wisdom I’d passed on. And it hit me. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do this; I wouldn’t have been able to help this way, because I hadn’t done the work. In the last three years, I have been slowly but surely doing the work and learning what I needed to do this. And while most of the time I feel like I haven’t gone anywhere, that I’m exactly where I was when I started. That’s not true. I’ve posted over 200 post on my blog. Each of them are stepping stones. They maybe baby steps . I have been taking baby steps to getting better. This day helped me to remember how far I’ve come.

Vacation Then Chaos

12 Jul

I’ve just return from a two-week vacation where I went to see my sister’s family. I felt like it was time since I haven’t seen my sister’s youngest for almost a year. Also I’m skipping out on the whole, big family vacation thing this year (my family and my mother’s brother’s family – Lots of people), so I thought this would be a nice compromise. I have to say I was very apprehensive about going on this trip. The kids, my sister’s husband, the whole not being in my house aka safe place had me worried. I was able to take my dog (big help) and this time we (my mom and I) where able to stay with my sister at her house since she has a new one instead of staying with her in-laws. This help because I was able to feel more at home and not like I always had to be “on”.

I was actually surprised with how little my “others” felt the need to make an appearance while I was gone. Instead of them constantly in my head chattering, they seem to take a vacation too. It was almost peaceful. I did have a visit from Becca and a couple from someone else that I think is coming into the light. I use to say it was Sonja but now I’m almost sure that it isn’t, its someone hiding behind her, trying to make me think its her. Ring Bracelet combo

Becca’s visit was rather tame. I went into a jewelry store that sold very cheap stuff, and when I came out I had a bag and no clue what was in it.  It was kind of funny – I walked out with the bag and my sister ask me what I bought and all I could say was I had no idea. I’m now the owner of a pair of feather, chain and heart earrings that hit below my collar-bone, and two (one gold, one silver) bracelets that web up and connect to a chain and a ring on my middle finger. (see pic) I have no idea where we are going to wear them, they are so 80′s. But as my friend pointed out yesterday, that was when we were actually Becca’s age, so that maybe were her style choices are coming from.

The other’s visits were more of a switch snapping and a need to throw my sister’s kids against the wall. (I DIDN’T!!!) They wouldn’t get off me, stop touching, clinging to me even after I asked them nicely a couple of times to stop. Physical contact is a big thing for me and if I don’t initiate it I can’t handle it, especially when I can’t make it stop. I ended up having to shut myself in my room there to decompress.

This was a quiet two weeks for me, usually I have them popping in and out a couple of times a day, or at least I have a constant background track of their chatter going in my head. I think it was the lack of stress I felt. Of course when I got home everything went to pieces all at once. I got super stressed out and Damian (The Shadow) made an appearance, and I ended up having to have two therapy sessions in three days.

Damian was out for almost three days straight before we could get him to go back in. It was not a very fun three days and we came very close to going back to the mental hospital. Actually we came very close to WANTING to go back. While he was out Damian took the time to name himself and update his page. Be warn it’s dark.

Genevieve was the one that was finally able to pull Damian in. I find it strange that it was her, but she is the light to Damian’s dark. She also has updated her page, since she was out.

I feel weirded out by all this. I especially am having a hard time with them updating their page into first person viewpoint, even though acceptance of them is something we are working on in therapy. It’s scary what they are letting out on to those pages and yet so far when they are out they want to do it, they want to be heard.

 

Blog for Mental Health – 2014

6 Jul

 

art by Piper Macenzie

art by Piper Macenzie

Yes I know the year is half over and I should have done this sooner but I forgot, something I do a lot.  As you know if you’ve read my blog, my wish is to not only help myself but to help others that are dealing with mental health issues, especially those that are effected with the aftereffects of child abuse.  It pleases me to be a part of Blog For Mental Health 2014.

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health – 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

A short biography of my mental health and what it means to me:

I’ve been diagnosed with DDNOS (Dissociative Disorder not Otherwise Specified), MMD (Major Depressive Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Agoraphobia with Anxiety Disorder.  Not only are my disorders an assortment of abbreviations that most people have no idea what they stand for, when you do actually spell it out for them the still have no idea what they are. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard “PTSD is what soldiers get, right? How can you have it? You’ve never been a soldier.” And there is little to no information on DDNOS. My goal with my blog is to change this – to change people’s preconceived ideas and to enlighten them; by doing that I hope to help not only myself but others, because right now without this blog, I feel helpless.

I have spent the last year working on a series of posts called ” The Legacy Of Child Abuse”. So many people don’t realize how much damage child abuse causes. This year I will be continuing that series, but I am also working on accepting/acknowledging  my alters. This means that I am allowing them to rewrite their pages from their view point so that I can better understand them and who and what they are. It is a long and painful process.

Excessive Cleaning, Repressed Memories, Habits and Therapist Headaches

1 Jun

Last week it came up in therapy that all of a sudden I was obsessed with cleaning. That all I wanted to do was clean, scrub, polish till everything was bright and shiny and, well clean. Normally I hate cleaning. In fact, I detest it. I’d rather go to the dentist and have my teeth drilled than vacuum, dust, mop, scrub, any of that. I barely can stand doing my laundry or washing my hair. Yet I spent an hour scrubbing the shower and I had to clean the whole house from top to bottom.

Trigger Warning: Repressed abuse memories

So what was causing this obsession – a memory. As my therapist and I trace the feelings back, Kit came out. Suddenly I was choking, shaking, biting my nails (a habit I kicked years ago), and wanting to scrub my skin raw. She was back in the shower having bad things done to her, and all she wanted was to be… Clean. See the connection.

So I’m totally freaking out, I can’t stop biting my nails and I’m feeling very unsettled. And my therapist chooses this time to bring up that maybe I need to see someone who is even more specialized in DID. Just what I need. I already have abandonment issues, issues with trust and a hard time dealing with all that is going on with me. Now my therapist is suggesting I start all over with someone new, not only that but a male therapist. Yeah, right! I really don’t trust men with this, like I want to change therapist and then go to a man on top of that.

To give her credit, my therapist did notice how much her suggestion, messed me up even more than I already was, and backtracked, but by that time the damage was done. Now I’m scared about trusting her, does she want to treat me? Or is she not sure how? Or does she want to get rid of me? Am I too much for her to handle? Now what do I do?

Revisiting My Alters – Part 2

26 May

As I said last week I have been revisiting my alters and their pages. We are working on allowing them to write their pages for their point of view. I started last week with reposting Lola’s and Edith’s pages (there was an error and the old pages were not replaced but that is fixed now). This week Sonja and Rose have finished their pages and I have posted them as well. I’m having a little problem with the others they don’t want to come out right now so it may be a while.

Also I’ve learned from Kit that she can’t write and she wants help – I think Sonja is going to write what she has to say, if she can get past Edith being pissed that Kit won’t let her do it. The problem here is that Edith(mother figure) feels she should be that one to do it, but Kit doesn’t like her much and Sonja (protector, especially were Kit’s concerned) is battling it out with Edith because of this. So this may be a problem especially if Edith gets it into her head not to let them out at the same time or at all. Nothing like dealing with pissed off/battling alters to make life even more complicated.

Art Project

21 May

Here are the pictures that my girls did of themselves. Also they have each decided on a color so that if they post you will know that it is them by that color of the text. Purple will remain the main text color for the blog.

This all feel a little bit crazy, but my therapist says to go with it, that I need to accept that they are all a part of me/who I am. I going to try to get the boys to do their own self portraits but right now they don’t want to.  I have to say that it has quieted some of the noise in my head so I’m going with it.

KitKIT BeccaBECCA

EdithEDITH SonjaSONJA

RoseROSE BethBETH

GennieGENEVIEVE LolaLOLA

Revisiting My Alters

21 May

I have been doing a lot of work with my alters (the screaming voices in my head) as a way to one get to know them better and two find out what they want. This is all part of what my therapist has me working on – acceptance. To help this along they’ve rewritten their pages from their point of view. Only Lola and Edith have finished theirs so far. It is a long and stressful process which is leaving me exhausted, with really bad headaches. Because of this I can only allow my alters out for short burst of time to work on their stuff.

As they finish their pages I will be updating/reporting them to the site. This last week they have mostly been pushing the artistic side in the form of self portraits. I came across a sketch pad with figures that you add clothes, shoes, etc to, making them each individualized. Then you color then. The girls have been having a great time with this. The boys on the other hand, don’t care and are happy with the pictures we have that are a representation of them.

I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that going forward my alters (or at least some of them) may start posting their own thoughts or whatever here. I’ll try to get them to use different color text and sign their posts so we’ll know.

Writing Through the Pain

25 Apr

A passage from the Chronicles of Narnia has Aslan telling the magician’s nephew that to complete the quest for the silver apple he must GO THROUGH the ice- mountain, that he can’t go around it, over it or under it. imageThe same is true with pain, I can’t skirt it. I have to go through it, confronting the snarling beasts and demons. To do this I have to write, express, feel.

My therapist suggested keeping a journal of sorts to help get through the days. A place were my alters can run free with what they are feeling. For a while I was using my blog for this and it helped. Then, like they do, things happened and my entries got farther and farther apart. I’m not promising that everything I keep in my new journal will go to my blog, because even I don’t want to read everything I write, but some of it will be making the transition. I do know that I will be writing more, which will inevitably lead to me posting more on my blog.

It’s time for a reality check. I need to quiet the mob in my head and ground myself, get my bearings and come face to face with my truths and reality.

One of my favorite actress, Leslie Caron is quoted above on happiness and pain. I will know happiness when it comes along because I’ve already know enough pain to let me know what happiness isn’t.

 

Ghost of Yesteryears

17 Apr

TRIGGER WARNING 

I don’t know if this will trigger anyone or not but I putting a warning on it in case. I have been living with this image every imagewhere – when I close my eyes, when I look in the mirror, it feels as if it is burned on to my very eyes, so that everywhere I look I see it. I’ve tried to depict it in the picture, but even it can’t seem to do it justice.  What I see is a blonde angelic looking small child covered in blood. I know it’s Kit from the look of her except that she seems to be dripping blood all over the place - everywhere.

After talking about this in therapy, my therapist had me do some visualization exercises where I replace the bleeding child with how I wanted her to look – protect, strong, covered in armor. I worked really hard at replacing the one image with the other. To help, at least when I look in the mirror I’ve gone back to brilliant red instead of strawberry blonde for my hair color.image

Now instead of a bleeding child, I hear none stop crying, whimpering, screeching. It’s gotten so bad that I’m medicating myself almost to a coma just for a few hours sleep. I actually miss the bleeding child, even though she was disturbing, she was quiet. When I brought it up again in therapy today, my therapist says I needed to set rules and make my alters obey. First of all the word obey is a trigger for most of my alters. It’s a sure way to get them to NOT do what I want them to do. Second I have been trying to set boundaries/rules with them but that doesn’t always work – some days it does some days it doesn’t. I know that this is stress induced, but right now I can’t do much to change that.  I just wish for a better way of coping with this.

Stages of Life

15 Mar

stagesoflifeThe stages of life are Baby, Toddler, Child, Teenage, Young Adult, Middle Age Adult, Retired and Elderly. I’m in my thirties and should realistically be someplace between Young and Middle Age Adult, right?

***** Trigger Warning ****

Here’s my problem – a couple of weeks ago my therapist took me to what she calls her playroom – small table and chairs, a sand tray, games, picture books and a wall lined with action figures, animals (both real and mythical) and other figures. She asked me to look around and pick out some of the figures and put them in the sand tray; showing how I felt. I ended up with this blond girl flat on her back with an alligator, a lion and some half bull-half man beast attacking her while there were stop signs and stop lights all around her.  Once I was done, I couldn’t look at it. My therapist brought this to my attention and then asked me to fix it so that I could look at it and feel safe. The result – the alligator, lion and half bull-half man beast all were on their backs as far from the girl as possible, mostly covered in sand. The stop sign was buried and only the green light on the stop light was showing. The girl was standing up, free with no thing around her.  My therapist then started moving the alligator, lion and half bull-half man beast closer to the girl at which point, I was done. I started hyper-ventilating and switched I’m not sure but I think Sonja came out.

***** End of Trigger Warning ****

The only other part of that session I remember is my therapist asking me what I think it means to be adult? What would make me feel like an adult? Do I have anyone that I think of as being my idea of an adult? Due the trigger part of the above session, I was out of it (Sonja) for the better part of a week so I am just now coming back to these questions and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. I don’t know anyone that I would really classify as Adult.
  2. I’m not even sure I know what that word means – other than responsible
  3. I have been and continue to be the most adult person in my life.
  4. I don’t want to be an adult. I have been one almost my entire life.

I realized that somewhere along the way I went for being a baby to an adult without any of the stages in between. I don’t want to be an adult now I want to be a child and a teenager. I want someone else to be responsible.

I was made into an adult at such a young age that I never got to be young, carefree and not responsible. I know that this is part of the legacy that abuse has left me.  Question is how do I change it when I’m not even sure I want to?

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