A Year In Fast Forward – Moving

I know it’s been almost a year since I’ve posted anything on my blog, and all I can say is it’s been one hellish year. Losing my dog, L.V., was like having my breath knocked out of me repeatedly. In my last blog I said of my new dog “He’ll never be L.V., but he can be Moo and that is enough.” In some ways I was right and in other ways I was sooo wrong.

Little did I know when I adopted Moo, I was getting a dog that has PTSD worse than me. Unfortunately, I didn’t really realize Moo had ISSUE
S due to the other major life change that was thrown at me at about the same time.

My parents, who I live with, decided to sell our house (the house I grow up in) and move into the condo my mother inherited for my grandparents. I had so MOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAANY problems with this; I don’t even know where to start.

First, I’d have to leave my home, the one place where I actually felt safe. The room that was like my cave, the place I vowed no one could get me out of without dynamite. When I was going through a bad time, home was the ONLY place I could be. A place I could lock myself in and be safe.

Second and maybe more importantly, I’d have to move into the condo where my grandparents, the people who abused me spent the last years of their lives. I will acknowledge that I was never abuse in the condo, so I don’t have any memories of that there, but when they moved from the house where I was abused; most of their things came with them. So even though they are both dead, going into the condo was like going into a mine-field full of triggers. At first I couldn’t even think about it. The furniture in the room that would be my “new” room was the furniture in the room where my grandfather had abused me. It had to be removed before I’d even think about going in there. This caused a huge problem because this furniture is considered a family heirloom, but no one in the family wanted/needed a full set of bedroom furniture. It is over hundred years old and all my parents’ friends who saw it were pushing me to keep it because it was such a “nice set”, better then the stuff I had. I was almost to the point where I told these ignorant, well-meaning friends that there was no way I was every going to sleep on the bedroom set I have memories of being tied to while I was raped repeatedly by my grandfather; that I’d rather sleep outside in the dirt, first! I did let something of the above slip when my mother got pushy about it, after which the furniture finally disappeared, and I haven’t heard of it since.

Third, the condo association also doesn’t allow pets, I’d just lost L.V. which almost put me in the hospital, now I was being told that I would have to give up MOO, too.  It was like my parents were trying to kill me. Fortunately, with the help of my therapist and a law called the Fair Housing Act, I was able to keep, Moo. But I’ll post more about that later.

 Fourth and I can only say this now with the hindsight of actually living there for a while; the condo association is a 55 and older community. I can live there with my parents because they are over 55 but everyone there is older than dirt. The pool closes at dark for goodness sake. Everything and everyone is asleep by 8 or 9 pm. Being that I’m a night person this is hard on me. Also living around so many old people is triggering to me because some of them look like my grandparents.  I’ll be driving and bam!, there is someone who looks just like them. Maybe it’s the hair, maybe it’s the way they walk, maybe it’s the clothes they are wearing, I can’t be sure what it is, but it is something. And there I am in flash-back, panic, hyperventilating, city; and my parent’s wonder why I don’t want to leave the condo. I don’t even want to open my blinds, but that could be because we are next to the clubhouse and the pool and all the condos sit almost on top of each other. Opening the blinds means that people can see in. I don’t like people watching me. It freaks me out.

This didn’t even take into account the actual stress that is normal when you move.

My parents moved into the condo, in June or July of last year, after visiting my sister, and her suggesting that they try it first. Needless to say they liked it and never moved back into our house.  Moo and I spent over 3 maybe 4 months in our house alone. I think that this is why his PTSD issues didn’t come up. It was just him and I and he loved me, and there was really no one else around for him to interact with and thus be scared of.

During this time I had to at least consider moving, even though it was that last thing I wanted to do. My parents were gone, the house was on the market and I was about to be homeless, if I couldn’t get my mind around living in the condo. This is when Rose took over and decided what logically “we” could and couldn’t live with. What it would take for all of me to even consider moving. She knew that “we” had to at least be a little flexible; after all “we” were living with the parents for next to nothing. She also understood why they felt like it was time to move from our big house into a condo. She understood things like money, the need to make things easier on themselves because of their age and not being about to do things that they were once able to do i.e. maintaining a big yard, cleaning a big house, keeping up with repairs, etc. She knew that emotions were all well and good but that they were going to put us in a even worse situation then moving, so she made us come up with the list of WHAT “WE” HAD TO HAVE TO MOVE – for it to go on the list all or at least the majority of me had to agree that it was a MUST HAVE.

The biggest thing, which was that only thing all of us could agree on, was: we had to keep Moo. There would be no moving without him.

Next came getting rid of ALL and I mean ALL my grandparents things. Then the whole condo had to be given what can only be called a complete makeover – new paint, new flooring, new furniture or at least our furniture, not anything belonging to the grandparents.

“We” wanted complete say on our bedroom and bathroom. The color the walls were painted, the furniture that went in there, the fixtures and other things in the bathroom. It had to be so different that – one not a trace of the way it looked when my grandparents where alive was remaining and two they would hate what “we” had done with it, because it wasn’t beige, brown or orange.

“We” now live in a room that is painted purple on 3 sides and teal on the fourth. The teal side is hand painted (my hands) to look like a rose, butterfly garden with purple, orange, lime green, yellow and pink. It’s what we wake up looking at. It’s great to open one’s eyes to that after having a flash back nightmare; it’s even calming and peaceful. It’s also a great visualization tool, putting yourself in that garden.

There were a lot of mental black and blue marks before I got to the place where we were okay with the move, but for the most part I think “we” are all there now.

More on the last year to come…

The Little Golden Books

Most of my childhood is a mystery to me, I know that it is there somewhere. But it is like coming to a locked door and knowing what you seek is just beyond it. The issue is that you don’t have the key and no matter how hard you knock there is no one there to open it for you. One of the things I do remember from childhood are the cardboard covers, shiny gold spines and colorful pictures of The Little Golden Books. I still own (Kit loves to have them read to her, or to just look at the pictures) a whole collection of them. They are a prized possession – The Saggy, Baggy Elephant, The Gingerbread Man, The Little Red Hen and so on. My favorite was always The Poky Little Puppy.The Poky Little Puppy

So you can imagine my surprise when I was checking out the new self-help books at the Library to come across the book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book”. I, of course, immediately grabbed a copy. While it doesn’t help with the Big Issues, it does remind you of some things that we have probably forgotten about since childhood like: frolicking, singing, daydreaming and believing in the impossible just because it makes us happy. So if you get a moment grab a copy and remember a time when all you wanted was to know how the Poky Little Puppy was going to get back home once the hole was filled in or if the Gingerbread Man would get away or get eaten.

Ghost of Yesteryears

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

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?

Act, Feel, Think

I brought up in therapy today how I was having trouble making decisions, even the easiest things like what to wear or what to eat, where too much for me. Yesterday I went outfit picked outall day in my pajamas and didn’t eat a thing because I couldn’t get my head around making those decisions. I knew I had to leave the house to get my medication, but my brain wouldn’t work as I stood in front of the closet. I just stood there and stood there. Then I walk away because I couldn’t handle it. Finally about six in the evening, I just put on something that was in the dirty clothes pile to be washed because I’d worn it already so it had to be alright (I don’t know, it doesn’t even make sense to me). I go to the store for my meds and I have to wait so I walk up and down the isles looking for food because I hadn’t ate all day. The logically part of me knew I had to eat but I left the store with only my meds because after 1/2 hour of walking around I still couldn’t figure out what to eat. All I want is for someone to come in, lay out my clothes for the day and put food in front of me. I realize that Kit is very much out right now, she wants a mother to take care of her, to fed her, to dress her, etc. The problem is the I’m all Kit has, so I have to deal with myselves.

My therapist told me that she wanted me to work on the following this week to help with this:

  1. Act – without thinking. Example: go to the store and just put things in my cart to eat – don’t think about do I want to eat this, should I eat this, will I like this.
  2. Feel – Ride the wave of emotions that this brings up without trying to act on them. Just feel them.
  3. Think – Once I have acted and felt the emotions then I get to think about it. But only as “I was able to make a decision about…… Yeah.

So I tried this when I got out of therapy, because once again I went all day without eating and there was no food in the house so I had to buy some.  I tried really hard just to act but I found myself dissociating instead. I have no idea what I bought, I know I put away stuff but I can’t tell you what, part of me is afraid to even look. How do I feel? I feel confused. I’m thinking that the idea of therapy was to get me more in the present, not dissociating into no-man’s land. I can’t quite get the Yeah to come out on the thinking part of this because while one of me made decisions I have no idea what they were.

I keep try so hard to work the things my therapist gives me to do, but I feel like I am failing at them. I did act when I got home, I went to bed, and slept. It was the only thing I could do without thinking.

I’m so frustrated because I use to be this person who ran a merchandising department for a fortune 500 company. I use to make really important decisions about products and sales and now I can’t even make decisions about what to eat or what to wear. It’s like its beyond my grasp, beyond my capability.

The Brick Layer

Since surgery I have been hitting brick walls all over the place. Everything thing is bricked up – emotions, feeling, the outside world, even my alters. Right now I’m living in this environment in brick wallwhich walls just keep going up till I feel like I’ve been enclosed in them, kind of like a bizarre game of Tetris.  At first I didn’t notice them but, then they are started to get suffocating. As I started looking around and watching all these walls go up, I started getting peaks of him, a man laying brick.  There he sits adding cement to one layer of brick after other until nothing gets through. This isn’t really a new personality, because he has no personality. He just has a job – bricking out the outside world or anything else that I don’t or can’t deal with. I know that I am only 2 weeks post-op and I still have 4 weeks to go, but I can feel reality slipping away.

I think what started all of this was the realization that while, yes I did this surgery for health reason, it wasn’t the only reason. I’m not even sure if it was the main reason any more. Ever since my sister and my cousin had babies something snapped in me. Suddenly I could hear my biological clock ticking, I wanted a baby, I wanted to steal one of their babies. Suddenly I had this overwhelming need to nurse a child – any child that was crying. I keep having nightmares that my baby was out there somewhere crying for me, waiting for me, wanting me. I keep flashing back to high school when all the kids and teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grow up and instead of answers like a lawyer, or a doctor, or a writer; out would pop a “mother”. I think part of me had this surgery to put an end to that wish/dream once and for all, before I did something stupid. As messed up as I am and as messed up as my mother and her illness left her and me, logically I would never want to pass on that to my child. I would never want to have a child that I could hurt (even unintentionally) as badly as I have been hurt by neglect and the other fall out that comes with having a dissociative disorder and alters.

Now the brick layer is trying his hardest to keep repairing the wall around this secret even though it is crumpling as fast as he is putting it up. So now he’s trying to brick up/out EVERYTHING!

I don’t even know if I’m making any sense here. Even to me, I sound more crazy than normal.

Above and Beyond Crazy!

The alters are getting stronger I can feel the little hold I had on them slipping through my fingers like flowing water. For weeks now my mother has been bringing up the religious convention that was this weekend, not really trying to get me to go, but making me feel guilty because I wasn’t. To please her, I know I shouldn’t but sometimes it’s just easier to give in, I said I would go on Saturday. Plus it keeps Genevieve and Peter happy if I do some things spiritual/religious. The first half of the day when off without a hitch, but by afternoon I was starting to feel the anxiety raising. I popped more medicine and tried some music to mellow me out during lunch. By the time the afternoon sessions, started I thought that, that had done it, and I’d be fine. I’ve never been so wrong. About 15 minutes in the compulsion to scream started, which made me have to get up and out. ridertakingoffshirtBy the time I got alone and outside I noticed the rain, that’s when Kit and Lola started to burst out like a bad song and dance number in the middle of a drama. There I was sitting on a wooden bench under the overhang trying my hardest to keep Kit from running out to play in the rain while Lola wanted to strip me down. I really felt like I was battling them, trying to hold them in but for the first time in a long time I was losing. I had to get myself back inside and into a bathroom stall before I lost all control and did something embarrassing in front of people. By the time I got myself locked in a bathroom stall, Lola was in complete control and stripping off my top, followed by my shoes and I’m sure my skirt would have been next if the voices of some women checking the supplies hadn’t snapped me back. Needless to say I was mortified; I would never take off my top in public, even in a public bathroom, let alone anything else. I’m just glad I made it to the bathroom stall before they came off. From what I was feeling from Lola I think she would have been much happy with a public striptease. I’ve never felt this out of control of my alters before. I’ve had them try to push me into doing things, I’ve had them beg and plead for things, but I’ve never had them just take over and do something without my permission. It’s scary and crazy feeling and so out of control. It makes me scared to go ANYWHERE for fear of what they may compel me to do next.

I finally got myself back together and back into my clothes. I got the keys and went and sat in the car for the rest of the afternoon. Actually I went and slept in the car for 2 1/2 hours. I was so totally drained by this all. My mother wanted to know what happened and she started with all this stuff about how I was fine all morning and I talked to people and she keep going on and on and wouldn’t let it go. So I told her that my alters came out to play and I couldn’t stop their compulsions. That shut her up so quick you would have thought she’d turned to stone. Now she’s trying to brush it off as if I was coming down with a cold or something. After all she can’t admit her own alters; there is no way she is going to admit to mine. It isn’t the picture of the perfect family she is trying to pass off. I did tell her that the rest of the convention was off and to not bring it up again. She started to make some noise, but then she shut up.

While I’m never truly alone with all of them running around in my head, right now I feel like the most alone person on the planet because I have no one I can talk to about this that understands. It’s like being invaded.