This Day Last Year

It’s raining today like it was January 19th of last year when I got out of the hospital for my 5150. I couldn’t help but cry in the shower this morning, feeling overwhelmed at the changes in my life- for the better, but still. How different things are now.

This day last year, I couldn’t feel anything. I had no emotion left inside of me. I could harness no gratitude for life. I remember getting home and showering… nothing felt real to me anymore. I was only in the hospital for a few days. Maybe it was purely trauma from attempting suicide that made my brain kind of shut off.

This day last year, I was completely apathetic and empty. I was laying on my bed staring at the carpet wondering if I had actually died. The only thing I could think of doing was going to a bar and drinking; maybe then I would be able to feel. They had taken away my benzo stash. I dug around my drawers and closet looking for leftover Ativan, Hydrocodone… anything. Nothing.

This day last year, I was released back into the real world and I was scared of leaving the confinements of the hospital because I didn’t feel ready to live. (However, it was better to be out and have free will than it was to be trapped like animal, drugged and shuffled in and out of group meetings.)

This day last year, I desperately called my ex-dealer for heroin.

Everything is different now. I have a great life. My relationship(s) are going so well, they make me incredibly happy. I feel that I’m moving forward- despite my normal career anxiety, financial worry, etc. But overall, I’m safe and happy. I’m in SUCH a different place.

So, why do I feel guilty for it?

I got what I wanted, but I still sometimes feel like I don’t deserve it. I feel selfish for surviving.

Now the World Knows! World Mental Health Day 2016

About a year ago, I was contacted by a media group in the UK asking if they could interview me and possibly publish an article about my experience with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Well, a year later, it’s here.

The Sun, UK has published the interview, as well as the Daily Mail.

What the fuck.

I have mixed emotions…

My main concentration is to raise awareness- with mental illness, DID, suicide prevention, rape… I mean, just things that I’ve personally dealt with. That’s my entire focus. I want people to inform themselves, to know that DID specifically isn’t this silly little game, but it’s YEARS of personal turmoil. It’s trauma, it’s real life pain, confusion and work.

When I started this process of being interviewed, I was in such a different place in therapy, in life, with myself. Now that this has been published, it is actually quite trippy to see my progress.

(I’d also like to point out that there are definitely a few errors on the articles. One of them being that Rogue is a “sex addict.” So not true. )

ANYWAYS, there’s lots I could say on the subject.

And to new readers, yes, I am real. 
Yes, DID is actually a real disorder.
No, I’m not like Sybil. I’m a relatively normal person just like everyone else.

Overall, if you’re curious about Dissociative Identity Disorder, I encourage you to educate yourself.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote regarding DID from a personal standpoint- https://lazarusandlithium.com/10-things-we-want-you-to-know-a-letter-from-a-multiple-to-a-singleton?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

And here’s a link off of NAMI: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Dissociative-Disorders

In Remission

I have been embarking on very unsettling territory recently; stability. Perhaps, dare I say it, even happiness?

Over the past couple of months, my mental health has been on a steady incline. The voices have ceased, compulsions have stopped, self-harm tendencies have vanished, and insomnia has been replaced with a regular sleep cycle. It dawned on me this morning during meditation that depression is no longer my safe place. While I acknowledge that this is a GOOD thing, it is still slightly unsettling. For as long as I can remember, depression has been my go-to. It’s easier to curl up into a ball, self-medicate and flirt with suicide. However, now I find it increasingly more difficult to allow myself to succumb to it. Sure, I still feel depressed from time to time. I give myself room and space to cry. Then, I get back up, walk my dog, watch a funny YouTube video and move on. I find it irresponsible to get drunk now. I’m not interested in putting myself in harmful situations. Happiness and self-integrity has become the new go-to.

Moreover, I’m not fragmented. This is me now, in my entirety.

There was a shift weeks ago. I had taken ecstasy with my girlfriend. (I am not condoning drug use.) I respond well with natural remedies, including psychedelics. During this particular experience, I felt a lot of my superficial worries fall away as the maternal spirit of the universe visited me and assured me to begin trusting myself and also start loving myself. She told me it’s now time to start shedding childhood pain. She assured me she would stay with me through the healing process. Sure enough, since then, life has been getting better. I found my way back to nature and she has kept her word.

I know, it’s a little esoteric and perhaps absurd. But I find a lot of truth behind the divine and feminine energy.

Anyways, my point is I’m getting better and I feel better about myself and the situations surrounding me. I’ve been working hard on myself and my relationships. I’ve especially been focusing on trying to let go of unhealthy thinking patterns. Anything that has been weighing on my heart and soul, I’m trying so hard to let go of. The common lesson here:

Let go.

For example, I noticed I had a lot of illogical worries and controlling thoughts in my romantic relationship. And it’s not just with my girlfriend; these are patterns I’ve carried from my very first relationship. They stem from childhood abandonment, I’m sure. I have trouble letting go. How? I’ve worked so hard in my life to keep people from leaving. I’ve become a master of tethering my loved ones because “everyone leaves.” I want so badly to be loved, so badly to be wanted that no matter what love anyone has ever shown me, it’s never been enough. And that’s not fair.

I’ve been letting go of selfishness. It’s difficult. I want to say that I don’t want to be selfish. I genuinely care for others. Again, this is another survival tactic from my youth. I NEEDED to be selfish in order to make it. In my adolescence, it became a part of me. Now, as an adult and as a woman who wants to care for others and do good in the world, I am making a conscious effort to reject my previous ideas that the world revolves around me. I am not better than anyone else, yet at the same time, no one is better than me.

I’m letting go of control, in the healthiest way. I’m trusting my intuition, trusting the universe a little bit more. Everything will be okay.

I love me.

My girlfriend loves me.

My friends love me.

My dog loves me.

And despite the grudges I hold, my family loves me.

Ugh, what do I do with all this positivity?

More on Arlo

LOOK AT THIS FACE! LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS!! HELP!

Arlo the service pup IT has been going on some pretty spectacular adventures.

Since having him, my social anxiety has dramatically improved. I was getting severe panic attacks before leaving the house to go pretty much anywhere- especially new places. But now, I hardly experience them. We even made some new friends at the dog park! There are regulars at the park by my house and they are very friendly and have wonderful dogs. Arlo’s best friend is a Husky Malamute named Spock. Spock’s human also suffers from depression and Spock has helped him get out of the house and make friends, too!

Arlo loves being out and about, running errands with me. He politely tucks himself away at restaurants and is the best companion.

I’ve noticed that I feel more responsible and more apt to handle things that come my way. I don’t feel as paranoid anymore since I rely on Arlo to be attentive to my surroundings. I feel safe and I finally feel like I can relax. He distracts me during anxiety attacks and provides tons of love with I’m feeling low.

My girlfriend has been amazing and SO supportive. Arlo loves her! She’s a great trainer, too. I plan on having him task trained soon, to meet more specific needs.

It’s been great with him so far. I seriously love this dog.

 


  

  

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

To My Abusers

To my abusers:

I forgive you.
However, I’m still hurting.
This may not matter to you,
but I thought I ‘d let you know.

I believe you are human.
I don’t think you’re awful.
I don’t think that you are beyond repair.
Maybe that’s my fault for always seeing
the good in people.

I think- I hope (perhaps foolishly)-
that sometimes you regret your actions.
I am a good person, I’m worthy of love.
I did not deserve your abuse.

When you raped me, I didn’t fight back
because I thought maybe this was the
only way you would feel wanted,
the only way a person would open themselves to you.

When you needed help, even
years after your attacks,
I still listened with an open heart.
I didn’t blame you; I  simply wanted you to feel loved.

I’ve been told by several people that
I am too forgiving, I love too frivolously.
I wanted to take their advice,
but I don’t believe that to be true.

I think that if you were loved,
I mean really, really loved unconditionally
with support and encouragement,
maybe you wouldn’t have done those things.

Maybe these words won’t make a difference
in your life, or your month or day.
But I want you to understand that you
hurt me tremendously- but you did not break me.

I’ve spent years trying to recover from
what you did to my body and mind.
Years in and out of therapy and rehab,
thousands of dollars to fix your mess.

I’ve tried to forget about what you did
by injecting heroin into myself, drinking
to the point of hospitalization, cutting into
my skin, losing 30 pounds in two months.

I even tried to kill myself, three times.

It takes one night for you to get drunk with
your friends, unzip my pants and have a good time.
But it will take years for me to love myself fully again.
It will take years to undo your one “crazy” party night.

I refuse to let you walk away without at least
knowing that your actions will forever be remembered.
There has not been a day that has gone by
where I haven’t looked at my body and have
seen “worthless” stripped across my ribs.

Slowly, every day, I’m learning to love myself again.
I’m learning to accept my scars,
both physically and emotionally.
I’m reclaiming my self-respect, my story.

I hope you find what you are so desperately
missing from your hearts.
I hope to God it doesn’t happen to your sisters,
your daughters, your friends and family.

Dear abusers, I was your victim.
But you did not break me.
I am strong enough to forgive you
and I am strong enough to forgive myself.

#breakthestigma

 

 

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

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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