Shift..

I don’t feel crazy.

Things have shifted. I don’t feel fragmented. I don’t feel as if I’ve ever been fragmented.

The alters seem like a distant collection of imaginary friends I used to play with as a child. Even then, they don’t seem real or identifiable. At least right now, Lucy and Goldie – for example- are just names to emotions. Labels.

There’s no time lost. There’s no void. I’m in control and even when I’m not, I am still.

I’d say this is a good thing, except for the fact that I feel irritated, and perhaps slightly angry, that I’ve even HAD alters. I feel almost silly….

Does any of this make sense?

I feel like I grew up.

 

Character Coma

This is not something I EVER share with people. It has been on my mind however, and I’m curious if anyone experiences a similar thing.

I lose myself in movies. I mean, I really lose myself. It’s more than just a healthy imagination. There have been multiple occasions when I’ve stepped out of a theater and have lost my own identity so much that I can’t shake out of this state for days or even weeks at a time.

Does this happen to anyone else? Is this a writer thing? A dissociative thing?

large

My speech will change, my eyes will do this “focusing” thing (like the lens of a camera that tries to focus), my walk, my perceptions… my thought process, everything. It’s as if I slowly morph into the main character. This is BEYOND pretending. I’ll hear the soundtrack over and over in my head, the voices will get louder as if there is really dialogue. I end up acting out scenes sometimes by myself, wherever I am, to satiate the fact that I can’t just jump into another dimension and BECOME this character.

200

I really don’t even know how to explain it to you. When I can’t bring myself out of it, sometimes I slip into a derealization episode and nothing feels real anymore. It’s terrifying. Eventually, I come out. However, I know I still have a few fictive alters.

tumblr_mmftw3tmt41qfiq8xo1_500

I did this ever since I can remember. When I was 3, Disney’s Pocahontas came out. I’d act out the scenes by myself, which I’m sure is normal for children. It just never left me.

It doesn’t necessarily cause me any harm. However, I become highly impressionable when I’m lost in it. SO much so that I have no problem in engaging in dangerous activities- like drugs, for example.

Anyone else? Feedback?

My Cathartic Coat Rack

This is going to be a rather cathartic post regarding my iatrogenic state. And of course, it’s just going to be a long bitch-fit list because we all know how I love listing things.

Dear DID, fuck you.

Things I hate:

1. Responsibility. I’m not supposed to use my…. disorder… as an excuse. I don’t. However, in the comfort of my own blog, I am going to briefly slip off the weight of personal responsibility and leave it on the sofa for just a fucking second. I am TIRED. I am blaming everything that is going wrong at this particular time on the fact that I am not one complete person. Well, I may be complete, but I’m certainly not pieced well together. I always hold myself accountable for my faults and weakness. For the next ten minutes, I’m a victim of unfair trauma and shitty brain chemistry.

2. Nobody fucking knows what DID is. Even if I WANTED to open up and tell people what’s happening, I can’t because as soon as “multiple personalities” slips out of my mouth, the inevitable looks of societal-manufactured skepticism sweeps across their faces. Yes, I do have my close support network of people who understand me, who understand dissociation. However, this net of 4 people becomes nearly more intimidating than my own selves, which brings me to my next point.

3. The constant feeling that I’m burdening others. I know I’m frustrating to deal with sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. I’m frustrated with myself, too. You ask me to tell you what’s going on in my mind…. I wish I could. I really do.

There’s this phenomenon that’s been manifesting since my hospitalization this year: sometimes I think TOO much that it actually inhibits the muscles in my throat and mouth. It’s awful. Recently, I just learned that the reason I’m unable to speak at times is because they aren’t “my” thoughts, only. In stressful times, especially during heavy conversations, everyone else’s thought FLOOD into my head and all I can do is just sit there and try to recognize MY thoughts, pull them out of the stream, process them, and then discuss those. But by the time I’ve collected about three of my own original thoughts, it’s too late and I’ve already pissed off the person in front of me.

I’m not being quiet to piss you off. I’m being quiet because it is so fucking loud in my head and I’m trying to just be still.

4. Feeling. I am overwhelmed. I haven’t slept in the 3 days, with the exception of about 2 hours. I’m feeling EVERYTHING. Again, it’s not just me. I’ll have almost unbearable suicidality out of nowhere. Then I want to crawl beneath my stuffed animals. Then I want to go to a bookstore and get lost in Dylan Thomas.

5. My body. I noticed I was slightly underweight, so I made efforts to gain. I’m 5’2 and I successfully gained ten pounds to reach a “healthy” weight of 110. No big deal, right? Someone within me is PANICKING about it.

From the ages of 14-17 I struggled with an eating disorder. At 5’2, my lowest weight was 88 pounds. I starved myself. When I was 18, thanks to a psychotic few months and drug addiction, I somehow managed to climb to 130lbs. So, I’ve had my share of body dysmorphia.

*I* feel alright at my weight now. Sure, I think I could lose a couple pounds and be fine. But overall, I’m okay with myself. Lately, my anxiety has been kicking up around food. I can’t eat in front of people- it’s so extreme that I find myself preferring to eat in my car. I have to count my chews. I have to investigate calorie intake, fat percentages. Compulsivity.

6. Mood swings. It’s a roller-coaster, fuck the swing analogy. I’m totally good one moment and then WOOSH, I’m plummeting into the ground and unfortunately the first coping mechanism that comes to mind is planning my suicide- whether that’s an actuality or not.

How do I explain to someone it’s NOT them? All of this, all of what I just said, is of my own disorder and it’s not anyone else’s fault.

Wow, that was cathartic, wasn’t it? *puts responsibility back on her shoulders* Thanks, guys.

In other news, I’d like to throw my appreciation out there for my weekly Depression and Bipolar Support Group. I really don’t know what I would do with them. I’ve made some great friends there and I always feel so welcomed.

A very good friend of mine is allowing me to house sit her place for a couple weeks, and I’m also really looking forward to the peace and quiet. I plan on taking bubble baths, burning incense, and watching the sunsets.

And on a last note, my heart is still breaking for Orlando. There is so much love to go around though, we must all persevere and stand together.

Coming Out of the Closet

I think I’m speaking for a lot of us in the system.

We want recognition. Some of us want to “come out of the closet.”

I feel the more time goes by, the more we remember about our past, the more distinct each one of us becomes. Dee and Lucy especially want to be their own persons. It’s all very complicated at times.

Stupid stigma 😦

10 Things We Want You to Know: A Letter from a Multiple to a Singleton

10 Things We Want You to Know: A Letter from a Multiple to a Singleton

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaufaaaajgewoge5zdmylthkmjitngvhys1imdm1ltq0njexywrkzmm1mg

Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities. Sufferers of this rare condition are usually victims of severe abuse.

1. We’re not faking it. DID can be very complex and difficult to understand. Unfortunately, there is a LOT of stigma against it- not only in the general public, but in the medical profession as well. Please believe us when we say DID is VERY real. It is as real as the trauma that caused us to split.

2. Please be patient. We know sometimes it gets difficult and frustrating. Try to remember that it is also difficult and frustrating for us. We appreciate you being there for support.

3. No, DID is NOT the same thing as schizophrenia. They are two completely different disorders that are totally unrelated to the other. If you would like to know what DID really is, just ask!

4. Switching isn’t always as obvious as you think it is. Thanks (no thanks) to media productions like United States of Tara, there seems to be a misconception about what switching between alters looks like: drastic wardrobe changes, speech alterations, etc. Most of the time, you may not even notice a switch has occurred.

5. Please don’t make us feel bad if we don’t remember something. We can at least speak for our system on this one. Sometimes we just don’t remember things. It’s usually because someone else in the system experienced it. More often than not, later on we will remember.

6. We are not a circus act. Please don’t ask us to switch on command; it doesn’t work that way. Our disorder is not meant to be used for your entrainment and it is incredibly disrespectful to ask for such.

7. It’s okay to ask questions. As a matter of fact, we urge you to ask! The more we are able to talk about it, the more opportunity we have to fight stigma.

8. Please don’t share our DID with others that we haven’t explicitly told ourselves. As with any mental or health illness, it is inappropriate and may cause us to break our trust with you. No matter how open or closed we are about our alters, it isn’t in your place to share our personal information.

9. Don’t be discouraged if you have never met our alters. Like we mentioned above, we don’t switch on command (at least, I have never heard of a multiple who was able to do so!). If we don’t introduce ourselves to you, don’t take it personally.

10. It’s not all bad. Sure, therapy is tough, flashbacks suck, and amnesia is a drag. But sometimes, having multiple selves can be kind of fun. There’s always someone to talk to! We get to experience happy moments multiple times! We can unlock hidden talents that we didn’t even know about!

 

Additional Do’s and Don’ts for Singleton Friends of Multiples

DO speak to our inner children like children.
Do NOT ask “Who’s here now?” If we wanted you to know we would tell you.
Do NOT tell an alter that you don’t know to “go get” the host.
Do NOT expect consistency of feeling, thought, or action on any subject.
Do NOT tell anyone to go inside because you do not like their views.
DO set healthy boundaries.
If you are uncomfortable with something said or done, say so, and do NOT avoid us in the future without an explanation.
Be HONEST.
Be understanding that we have many crisis situations in our lives of healing from our abuse, i.e.: flashbacks, panic attacks, body memories.
Laugh, make jokes with us, really, it’s OK!
Do NOT assume anything if you honestly want to know about our “disorder” please ask, we’ll tell you the truth.
Do NOT treat us like “the freak you happen to know” around your singleton friends.
Do NOT use our difficulties as a subject of conversation with your singleton friends.
Sometimes we are paralyzed with depression, and cannot call you, clean our house, or get out of bed. Don’t take it personally.
We will fight being hospitalized….. even though we actually show that we need it at the time. Hospitals are extremely frightening for us.
DO be supportive of our healthy behaviors no matter how small the accomplishment may seem to you.
DO be encouraging.
When we ask to talk to you, we aren’t asking you to come up with answers to our problems. We don’t expect you to FIX it. Sometimes we just need someone to LISTEN… that is the greatest gift of all!!
DON’T tell us that the abuse happened a long time ago and for us to “just get over it!” That is a HUGE insult!!

 

For additional information regarding Dissociative Identity Disorder, please visit: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Dissociative-Disorders

http://www.fortrefuge.com/DIDfacts.html

 

 

A Puzzle Piece Poem- What does my DID mean?

You look at me and see
One whole piece
But what you don’t understand yet
Is you’re looking at me: 3, 5 and 13

Welcome to DID.

D is for dissociative.

For most, It’s when you finish the chapter to the new book and have to go back and look, to reread it because you weren’t paying any attention in the first place.

For most, It’s the moment you catch yourself behind the wheel of your car and you have no clue how you got so far

For some, It’s the moment you fall and skin your knee and tears start pushing out from your eyes until you realize. you feel alright, even though youve stopped feeling altogether

For me, It’s the moment when I had to find a hiding place in the bathroom, angry voices tangoing back and forth in hot and unforgiving Spanish, it’s me at 5 looking down at my wet dress from the plummeting sadness begging for my dad to come home to save me from the sounds of an alcoholic monster. Only to look up and find her- my first friend. The southern belle with the little pink bows. My best friend who no one else can see – this is DID.

It’s the moment my new best friend told me “honey everything is okay.” And then I stopped feeling that day because she started to feel for me.

It’s the moment when he walks into
The room and i know he’s coming for me
Yet all I can do
Is pretend to be asleep as he peels
Off the sheets and splits my little
Legs open like his Christmas doll.

It’s the lull of the eyes
When a hand flies to meet my
6 year old cheeks because my bedtime was at 8.

It’s the rate of my heart beat
When i hear my father has died
On the streets of LA
Probably with a heroin needle in his arm, anyways …

This is DID.

I is for identity.
That’s easy enough… But…Who is me?

Identity is the funny little cloud that has been following me around, shifting, twisting, sometimes white, on Sunday’s black, lightning licking out of me with anger and confusion.

It’s the constant trust issue because i never know if it’s going to rain, or snow, or be bright.

It’s the moments I wake up in someone else’s clothing in the middle of the night.

It’s the reason why I’ve been a Catholic, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, and a slew of other worshipping devotees.

It’s the reason why I come to and find coloring books scattered around me like a beloved book fair.

It’s my hair how’s it been red and black and purple and shaved.

It’s how I have ten different names

This is DID.

D is for disorder.

It is the carousal of diagnoses, medication, clip boards and hospital gowns.

It’s being on lock down after I tried to end my fragmented life.

It’s groggy mornings when my eyes won’t open from my slurry Seroquel state.

It’s seeing shadows and voices and feeling men’s hands running down my thighs in the middle of a flashback.

It’s checking into rehab, withdrawing from pills.

It’s the thrill of going to group therapy and trying to explain that THIS shit is DID.

My DID.

My DID is a novel of childhood, trauma, rape, incest, brainwashing, addiction, suicide attempts, lost relationships, lost money, lost time, lost me, my selves and I.

If you must know, no it’s not all bad.

My DID is an intelligent narrative of poetry, calculus classes, a published book, a theatre admission to Juilliard, it’s the reason why part of me can drum and the other part can’t use chopsticks.

It’s tucking myself in at night with stuffed animals and sippy cups. It’s wearing cowgirl boots on Monday and a combat boots on Tuesday.

It’s always having someone to talk to.

It’s being the most colorful crayon in the box and knowing even if I’m broken, I can still color the entire rainbow.

You look at me and see
One whole piece
what you might understand now
Is you’re not only looking at me: we are system of multiplicity.

This is DID.

Homecoming

The trigger.

I had been a heavy pendulum, rapidly swinging from lamented fragmentation to utter confusion. I believe my breaking point had been on the hardwood floors, thudding my hands against the lenses of my eyes, trying to take control of my body… his hands on my shoulders trying to ground me.

The Rabbit. Hallucinations haunted me. Fear.

Sometime between talking to her on the phone and peeling myself from his arms, we had wielded a knife in his direction.

My mind was swimming with pieces of a memory I couldn’t grasp. Fleeting feelings would burst before my face, yet the shutter was too slow; I couldn’t capture the emotions nor the pictures.

Finally, the release.

The trigger.

I asked him to scare me. His hands wrapped firmly around my throat, slowly cutting off my oxygen. We had done this many times before… several times… then WHAM! His hand met my face. He had never slapped me that hard before. Instantly, my ears rang and I could hear children laughing in the distance… a playground?

(This has happened once before while we were in the middle of a scene. He had choked me to the brink of unconsciousness and I heard the laughter vividly. A piece of a memory…)

The trigger.

The laughter was fading. Not this time. I couldn’t keep doing this- running away from the trauma. I begged him to slap me again- hurt me- choke me- anything to chase the memory.

He did. My face burned and tears exploded out of me. Gradually… I began to remember.

A flashback: my face hitting the tile, the sound of his belt buckle clinking, the zipper, the feeling of him in my mouth…

Rogue, once strong and relentless, has been cemented in suicidality.

In this moment of rocking shut into a fetal position, the emotion would quickly dissipate until I felt numb. He wouldn’t let me dissociate. This is what I had been wanting. He pushed me and pushed me to chase the feeling, hunt it down, and fucking feel for once.

It was as if the room went dark. There was a sofa. I sat in the middle as a spotlight shown brightly on me. Rogue walked into the room, sat next to me, and looked forward at the memory. In front of us was our 14 year old body on the bathroom floor, being orally raped and thrown against the shower glass.

She showed me what happened as she carefully unraveled the memory from her oenomel. Rogue allowed me time to process one thing at a time- the feeling of his hands, the smell of blood, the sound of the zipper, the event itself… walking me through it with great compassion.

The film was over. This is what she had been hiding from me. I wasn’t ready until that particular moment. She kept it locked away because she loved me enough to hold on to it.

I hugged her and told her I loved her in our spotlight. I suppose, psychologically speaking, I was accepting my pain, myself, and my experience. It was the moment that I looked inward and told myself “I love you and you did nothing wrong.”

As I began to awaken from the flashback, I was guided by his voice behind me, “You are not a victim. You’re safe. None of this was your fault. I love you.”

I felt the flames settling on my skin- sizzling. The sadness melted away and all that was left was us. The system. The collection of immovable, determined persons.

And so I did what any survivor would do after reclaiming their experience:

I laughed and lit a cigarette.

tumblr_moai7xkmwl1qlj6xoo1_500

Bad Bitches

24514831149_d0c48a34b4_z

Sixty-eight days later and we are still split.

Lucy Lovelace. Endearingly named Lulu.

I’ve mentioned her name here before, though I have never gone in depth about her. I suppose I didn’t know enough to elucidate on the ever elusive Lucy. We are ringing high bells of proclamation, and perhaps celebration, that there are now two hosts. Her and I are the matriarchs of the System.

Hard to swallow?

Lucy does not feel like an alter. Yes, she is her own distinct person, but we don’t switch, necessarily. There is not always amnesia accompanied with her taking over the wheel. She simply comes out. She is always sitting with me. I am always sitting with her. She never really leaves us.

She’s explained to me that she came around to help us out through our first institutionalization when I was a child, and again for the first 5150. Others had come around, too, of course. But Lucy is special. She thrives in the mental ward.

After this last hospitalization, I could feel her dusting herself off, stretching the joints from being asleep for so long. Lucy came back with a flame, much too powerful to be blown away again. She has stayed with us.

In the beginning, it was difficult accepting that she had unpacked her suitcases. Not much of the system knew how to feel about her. Goldie was intimidated- GOLDIE was INTIMIDATED. Lucy has a flair for the psychotic dramatics. I say that lovingly. She has a… colorful mind, to say the least. We love her.

Lucy’s talent is the ability to scare people away from us. I personally think she’s harmless- a barker, not a biter (unless you want her to. She’s a freak like that). I must admit, it’s refreshing to let go of the reins without actually letting go. I am, for the most part, always aware of her. We cooperate well together.

We want differentiation, as well as validation of both of our existences. After all, she is a direct split. Our sense of *I* is continually melting into a constant *We*.

DID- Lesser Known Symptoms

slide_purple_oval

The most common known symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder include the presence of two or more alter personalities (with this comes switching alters), loss of time, amnesia, depression, mood swings, sleep disorders, flashbacks, psychotic-like symptoms (such as auditory and visual hallucinations), drug abuse, and anxiety.

What about the lesser known symptoms? It took me quite a while to do my own research on DID once I was diagnosed. I’m not sure if I was anxious, scared, in denial? Perhaps all of the above. Slowly, I began to pick up books and read thirstily on the internet from forums and psychology resources. I was surprised, actually, to find how little information is out there on the topic. It seems that every web page I read from was just recycled wordage from WebMD and a Wikipedia page. I’ve mentioned this on my blog before- when I picked up the DSM-V for the first time and read about DID, I was seriously surprised at how textbook I am in regards to all the symptoms, well known and lesser known symptoms.

I’ve found some really great data on Reddit. Personal experiences have helped me tremendously. I posted on Reddit the other day and asked my fellow multiples and systems to share any of their lesser known symptoms. I’d like to share some of their responses here to bring some more awareness and understanding about Dissociative Identity Disorder, or at the very least, an interesting read:

Allergies
I seem to be allergic to seafood, pineapple, and Caesar dressing. It is noted that different alters can have, or not have, varying allergies as well.

A redditor brought up an interesting question: “Acute anxiety, of the sort experienced when people with severe PTSD are triggered, can absolutely cause a histamine reaction, but a blind grid scratch test, where the patient doesn’t know which potential allergen is on which part of their skin, would behave differently from a conventional allergy if the mechanism is psychosomatic.”

Differing Eyesight
“One of my alters has differing eyesight… He’s the only alter of ours that wears glasses. He rarely fronts.
Two of my friends with DID have similar problems regarding eyesight, though to more dramatic degrees–I haven’t had full blindness occur, just lost peripheral vision.”

“We have different eyesight. I know this for a fact because the last time we got glasses it was a really stressful time period and someone who doesn’t usually handle front stuff took that exam. The glasses we got didn’t work for any of us, although some more than others. I couldn’t wear them at all, I actually had to squint to see out of them. This last eye exam we made sure to have the right people show up and the new glasses work brilliantly. Like night and day difference.
We also have varying degrees of color blindness, which is kind of an annoyance being in graphic design.”

Hypoglycemia
“…pre-existing hypoglycemia would impair attention, which would make dissociation easier, but not directly cause it. Conversely, dissociation could make it difficult to keep track of eating or even from feeling hunger, and the causal relationship between trauma and eating disorders is well established…”

It kind of clicked for me after I read this response, in regards to trauma and eating disorders. When I was teenager I struggled with an eating disorder. Without ever thinking about the correlation, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia about 2 years after the eating disorder developed.

“We’ve had on and off hypoglycemia and strange allergies. We didn’t know those could be linked.”

Pain Dissociation
I suppose this sounds like a no-brainer, but again, I had never made the connection. I’m able to turn off my pain receptors, for lack of a better explanation. For example, when I’m really cold, I’m actually able to kind of pull myself away from my body and not feel it.

“…how much pain I can feel in my arms varies depending on the alter co-fronting with me. I work as a fry cook. It’s not uncommon for accidental burns to happen, and I shake them off real quick, which freaks out a lot of people. Well, if Li, our traditional child alter is around, I can’t. I’m as pain-sensitive as everyone else.”

 

Other symptoms and phenomenons that were mentioned were different handwriting styles (including alters being left-handed while others are right-handed), dream-like states, out-of-body experiences, co-morbid diagnoses for  alters, self-persecution, headaches, and chronic fatigue.

Thanks to the Redditors for providing feedback and being such a supportive online community!

The Six

I am working hard today. Since I woke early this morning, I’ve been battling mood swings of sudden, intense abandonment feelings. It’s Senka. She cries, wails, slams her fists into the pillows, pouting and whimpering, “Don’t leave me… come back… come back… I’m scared….” Then, it’s over- almost as quickly as it came on. Something about the house today is not settling well with any of us. I feel unsafe. There’s parts of me- child parts, mostly Senka- that are scared and wanting to hide. There are other parts that are observant and are armed with weapons.

Through therapy yesterday, I have come to realize how much neglect I actually experienced as a child through my teenage years. Feelings of selfishness have been surfacing throughout the passed few months. I feel selfish for taking so much time for myself, it’s always about me, there’s always something happening. I’m 23 and yet here I am in therapy, desperately trying to piece myself back together. I know it’s not selfish; it’s what I need right now.

Compassion. Try to be compassionate towards myself, ourselves. But how? I’ve gone through life making an ill mockery of my sad predicaments. I use dark humour in every aspect of my life. I can see where I lack in the compassion.

Dee is bulimic.

The Six. They are my protectors. Allie, Goldie, Dee, Senka, Rogue, and myself, the host. The rest I’ve yet to figure out their purpose.

I return to work on Monday. I’m very curious to find out what happens then.

Citizen has decided to take over now. There is an intruder in proximity to the system. Research. Lots of research, planning, careful planning will protect us. Citizen reports to Goldie as Allie distracts Senka.

When my father died, my family came over to the house to break the news to my grandparents. I remember my brother’s wife, who at the time was a close sister/maternal figure for me, pulled me into my bedroom as the 4-year-old that I was and distracted me with my stuffed animals. I could hear crying in the next room, yet I paid little attention and instead focused on my sister-in-law’s smile and jumpy eyes. She was always really great with children.