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.

 

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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

 

 

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.

Fugitive

I feel helpless. I am overwhelmed. I am exhausted and I don’t want to deal with anything right now.

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Last night I visited my former college- apparently. I woke up and thought I had dreamed the entire night. No… I- or someone- actually went. I climbed the building that I almost jumped off of 6 years ago and I went to the place where I was raped. The campus felt like home in a strange way… familiar. I hadn’t stepped on the grounds since 2010. I think to myself that I should be over it. Why the fuck aren’t I over it? Haven’t I ruminated about the incidents enough to where it should be kicked out of my system?

I’m frustrated. I don’t know how to talk to anyone, which sounds silly. I can feel myself closing up. I don’t know how to talk about what’s going on in my head.

Ramble, ramble, ramble.

I’m angry. I’m upset with my family, with men, I’m upset that my childhood is a collage of trauma. I feel like I’m losing my grip on everything. A very big part of me wants so badly to take another leave and go back to the hospital, or intensive therapy to get through this. The waves of suicidality are intense. When the pain comes around, it is nearly unbearable. I’m losing time, losing memory. Don’t get me wrong, I have good days and moments. But when the bad ones come, fuck.

I know it’s entirely my fault, but I’m slacking on work again. My life, it’s just a whirlwind of unorganized particles drowning me.

It gets so fucking loud. Voices, constantly.

I am surrounded with functioning people and it only makes me feel lonelier, more inadequate, and isolated. I don’t care anymore to hear about trivial things or problems at work. I want someone to notice and validate that I feel really fucking sick. Oh, you had a shitty night because someone didn’t snapchat you? I’m sorry…. that’s really rough. FUCK.

I want to curl up tightly beneath the sheets and just be HELD. I want to be enveloped without worrying about eating, or being awake. I need to break down and reset.

I really, really want to get on a leave again. I don’t think I can. But I feel the ground shaking again. My stability is being threatened. I have been feeling really young and it’s not Senka, it’s not Dee.

So there, there I said it. I unloaded a bit of what’s going on through my head.

I am exhausted. I HATE not remembering things. I HATE knowing that I’m dissociating with little to no recollection of what I’m up to. I hate it. It’s either I deal with my shit now, or I continue to push it under the rug and self-medicate with opiates and alcohol and starvation. Both are hell.

Flashbacks on the Shed Floor

The last thing I remember was pulling down Senka’s arts and crafts down from the high shelf because she wanted her coloring books.

Next, I remember laying down on some kind of a wood floor, a man kissing me, making shushing noises, telling me to please be quiet. I felt hands go over my mouth, up my shirt, and down my pants. I heard children in the background and I could hear myself screaming, but it didn’t feel like I was screaming. He smelled like old cologne. I remember a police officer asking me what DID stood for. I asked the officers for a rape kit, but they wouldn’t provide one. I remember them asking me to identify him. I thought I was raped. It’s blurry…. I remember being in her car… it blurred again. I woke up and he was laying next to me staring at the ceiling.

I dissociated for hours.

My ex-girlfriend, roommate and he have been filling in the details and missing pieces. Senka was coloring, then I – or someone – left to use the restroom. I locked myself in the room. He was trying to get me to come out. I climbed out of the bedroom window and bolted down the street, I’m assuming. My ex found me in a shed at the Home Depot by my apartment. I was panicky. The man that was in the shed with me was giving me $60. He claims that I told him I needed money, so he was just giving me money to help me. He said he didn’t touch me or harm me. Even if I was having a flashback, I remember so vividly his hands and lips on me. I wish I knew what was real.

The police were called. They got statements from everyone. In the end, they concluded that he in fact hadn’t harmed me and I was just having a flashback.

I haven’t dissociated that intensely in a long time.

Bad Bitches

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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- a Personal Interview

I’ve been wanting to write an update, but every time I sit at my keyboard, I lose focus and have no idea where to start.

I’m okay. Things are better. I’m more stable. I have a new psychiatrist. I have a new scrip for Buspirone. My mom is talking to me. I haven’t been feeling the need to swallow a bunch of pills to kill myself. Work is going well. My social life is going well. The system is okay- though we are working through something at the moment.

Everything is okay.

I didn’t want to just leave a paragraph update, so I decided to post an interview regarding DID  that I recently did (which the article itself will hopefully be published within the next couple months!).

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Age:
24

Location:
California, USA

What’s your current profession?
I currently work in HR. When I’m not bustling around the office floors, I’m writing. I recently published my first book ever! It’s called, Solipsist, and it is a collection of confessional poetry that I’ve been writing during my journey in therapy. (Self promoting! It’s available on Amazon and on Kindle!)

When were you diagnosed with DID? What was your journey up to your diagnosis like?
I was diagnosed in the early summer of 2015. Before that, I had been diagnosed with both Bipolar I when I was 16 and Schizoaffective Disorder when I was 22. I struggled a lot with the latter. I had checked myself in to outpatient services once I was hearing malicious voices. It was really intense, frightening, and confusing. I didn’t know what was wrong with me and the misdiagnoses of SAD really set me back a little bit. It was difficult.

When did your different alters start to develop?
This is a tricky question. I suppose they really began developing around 4-5 years of age. My first alter, I suppose you could call her, was Allie. She’s been my best friend ever since. I’ve been told by friends that even in high school sometimes I would act oddly, or would even introduce myself by a different name.

How many alters do you have in your system? Can you tell me about about each different alter and their character traits?
So far, I’ve come to know 6 main alters. However, I know there are at least 3 more and a possible co-host.

Victoria is 24 and loves to write. She’s the host, typically.

Allie is a southern belle. She manages the system and works time out for everyone. If someone has an issue within the system, she is the go-to.

Goldie, or Marigold, is my protector. She’s from New Jersey, she’s tough, and she absolutely has no problem telling someone how we really feel.

Senka is 5. She’s sweet, loves dinosaurs, and likes to color.

Dee is 16, although I think she may age-slide. She’s a typical teenager and enjoys a good party.

Rogue has no identified age. She was angry abusive, and hypersexual. Now through therapy she seems to just bob around in the background.

Those are the 6. The others are:

Citizen, who is quiet and observant.

Lucy Lovelace, who is a more recently realized alter and I don’t have much information on her as of yet. I know that she was “born” in a mental institution.She has been taking on co-host responsibilities and traits.

Celia. She’s what I call the “emotional accountant” of the system.

How does Marigold protect all of you?
Goldie possesses the quality that I wish I always had: She doesn’t take abuse from anyone or anything. If something hurts the system, she’s usually the first to come out. To anyone who has met her, she’s been described as a little “rough around the edges” due to her brutal honesty. However, she is loving. She offers advice to me when I need it, even if I don’t want it.

How often can you switch between alters? Are you aware of what’s happening during a switch or when you’re a different alter?
To be honest, I don’t know how often it happens. 99% of the time, I don’t think I’m aware. I don’t feel that I even switch. Sometimes, I just feel fuzzy and my eyesight starts to shift. My girlfriend is usually the one to let me know, “so-and-so just came out.” Besides her telling me, I don’t know. However, there are times when they are louder, and there are times that I feel that I may be co-fronting, but I still don’t have any way to confirm that that means I’m switching.

Can you tell me a bit more about your day-to-day life is like?
I wake up, sometimes I’ll have a morning “meeting” with everyone depending on how we’re feeling. I’ll drive to work and Goldie typically drives with me. Every now and then Senka will be in the backseat. I work a full-job. I’d be lying to you if I said it’s not stressful because there have been moments where I’ve switched at work. Senka came out once that I know of- imagine working at your desk and then all of a sudden there’s a 5-year-old and no one knows what to do with you!

When I get home, I like to write. I blog. It’s therapy for me. I’ll spend time with my cat, Rita. I’ll play guitar sometimes. Then, bedtime!

Everyday is so different, but this is basically what it looks like.

When and why did you start vlogging and blogging about living with DID?
I started blogging a little over a year ago. I didn’t begin my blog focusing on DID. I had been battling depression for years, as well as drug addiction and rehabilitating from suicide attempts. My blog was created with the sole intention of helping other people by sharing my story. Then of course, as time went on and therapy opened up my trauma, I decided to spread awareness about DID.

The vlog came about 6 months after.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I have two goals:

1) I want to spread awareness, not just about DID, but about mental health and specifically the stigma against suicide. I’m astonished at the lack of information on the topic of DID and I would LOVE to educate people!

2) I want to continue writing and publish my autobiography.

What are the positive aspects to having DID, is it comforting to have the company of your alters?
Even though it’s scary and painful, my alters have shown me so much about myself, my past, and what I am truly capable of as a survivor. There’s not one boring day with all of us. When I’m really depressed and feeling lost, Allie is there by my side, ready to comfort me. When I feel threatened, Goldie protects me. There are a lot of positive aspects.

How did it feel to be finally diagnosed with DID in 2015? Did you feel a sense of relief or elucidation about yourself after your diagnosis?
I had mixed emotions about it. I think I had just been getting used to accepting Schizoaffective as my diagnoses and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t do any research at first. Then, slowly after working with my therapist, I realized that DID was not a fluke in brain chemistry; rather it is an adaptive and coping disorder. This is when the relief set in, because I knew there could be an “end result.” Integration. I began delving into books and forums. I picked up the DSM-V for the first time. I was so incredibly surprised to see how textbook my case was! There was definitely a sense of relief. I finally feel confident in the accuracy of my diagnoses.

I think you made a really moving point about how your alters have helped you survive trauma in your life and you hate to call DID a disorder. Can you tell me a bit more about this and describe how your alters have helped you?
I had coined this term in my blog when I first began writing- Glitter Rainbow Imagination, in lieu of the word disorder. I feel that “disorder” implies something that you want to get rid of, something negative and that is harmful to your psyche. My experience is quite the contrary! I had suffered through a lot of abuse, both verbally and physically. If I hadn’t have split, I promise you I would not be here today. Some of my alters, specifically Rogue, carry a lot of intense trauma.

I suppose if you look at it for a more psychological viewpoint, each of my alters are kind of like a filing drawer, and I’m the cabinet itself. Each drawer contains information and memories that are unique to that drawer. My brain has compartmentalized my childhood up until now. Through therapy, I am learning how to unlock the drawers safely, how to read through the files and accept the information.

 

What happened when Senka came out at work and did your work colleagues realise what was happening?
I don’t think anyone really noticed except for one co-worker. At the time, my girlfriend was working at the same office and Senka asked for her. So, the receptionist called her and my girlfriend took Senka for a drive. I don’t think she’s been out since then; she knows she’s not allowed to be out at work.

What sort of things do you discuss with your alters at your morning meetings?
We do a quick “scan” of how everyone is feeling usually. More recently, we discuss if anyone needs to take over for a while. For example, Goldie likes to drive in the morning and smoke a cigarette. Sometimes Senka wants to color after work. It all depends.

Do you have to buy or do certain things to accommodate all your different alters? e.g do you buy toys for Senka or different clothes for your some alters?
Senka definitely has a lot of stuffed animals. She loves dragons and dinosaurs so we have plenty of those! I wouldn’t say that the alters have different clothes- however, when we go shopping, they will come forward and give their opinions on what we should buy, or not buy. So, you can imagine how indecisive I could be!

What’s the most common misconception about DID?
Well, first of all, I find that the majority of the population doesn’t even know the term DID. They know Multiple Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, the extent of their exposure to MPD/DID is what they’ve seen on screen- i.e Sybil, United States of Tara, etc.

The common misconception is there are wild switches and that’s it. One day you’re Jane, the next you’re Rachel. At least in my own experience, it’s not like this. Sure, I switch sometimes. But there is SO MUCH MORE to it than that. It’s complex, it’s painful, there are so many layers. DID is not a little thing to work through. Honestly, I believe I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life.

 

DID- Lesser Known Symptoms

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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!

Ceramics: How to Piece it Back Together

It was a rather dangerous few days the past week, mentally speaking. I felt MUCH better yesterday, and feel entirely more put back together today.

Everything is quite jumbled in my head regarding what the hell was happening in my brain. At some point, I had taken a razor to my skin again. I remember crying a LOT. I slept beneath blankets, clutching my dinosaur, Chompers (my girlfriend endearingly nicknamed him Charles Buchompskis, and I think it’s fitting), and staring vacantly into the bedroom wall in front of me. I found myself lurched into a research project of how I could possibly end it all. There were moments where I would “wake up” in my car, shaking and crying from hearing voices. Something was dying inside of me and it was imploding.

Depression, a break down, what have you. The point is, it was a fight for my life, in a way. It seems dramatic, yes.

On Saturday, I went to therapy with my girlfriend. She expressed (again) that she wants to know how I’m feeling, or if something is going on. I seem to have forgotten this. It made me feel instantly better being reminded of how supportive she is. And protective. I also made a reminder for myself to make an appointment to get on birth control… I also tend to forget that I was diagnosed with PMDD about 3 years ago, so a quick fix for my intense mood swings can be as simple as a little pill. Sorry, babe. Here’s to better months..

Sunday morning, we went out to breakfast. It was BEAUTIFUL outside.  The entire day was cold, rainy here and there, and the clouds were large and white. I felt as if I had just come out of the rehab center. It’s hard for me to articulate what I’m going through as I’m going through it. All I know, usually, is I don’t know who I am, where the feelings are coming from, but I want to die. It’s awful. I don’t wish it upon anyone.

Anyways, after breakfast, we stopped by her parents’ house to pick up a few things. She led me upstairs to her grandmother’s room. Aligned across the walls where pictures of her as a child: wide-eyed, dimpled and adorable. We sat on the floor as she carefully opened a box full of ceramic pieces she had made. I think she assumes she has no talent, but I was greatly impressed as she pulled each piece, one by one. Her eyes beamed with a hidden pride and enjoyment while she explained the process of making them. Each bowl, cup, pitcher, all seemed to sum her up in some way. As some of my poetry paints me as I am, so did her pottery. I loved each second of it. I began to cry. I love to see her like this: happy and nostalgic of a time in her life that she valued so much.

As I ran my eyes over her childhood, my heart swelled at the thought of her letting me deeper into her past- allowing me to experience her. In moments like these, I fall more in love with her than I thought possible.  My girlfriend is beautiful. I’m already in love with her eyes, her nose, her lips- all the things in which lovers find divine in the other. Then, slowly, she unwraps herself with new, incredible truths and stories and I fall even more in love with that. It happens all the time. I am very fortunate, especially as a writer, to have such a mysterious and wild creature sleeping next to me at night. Even the way she sleeps makes me happy.

So, I reveled in this dopaminetic state for quite a while. A few hours later, I met up with cast members from the play to run some of our lines. My girlfriend helped us stay on book. We ended up at Denny’s, drinking iced teas and hot chocolates, burning the midnight oil at 7 pm, putting in our efforts at memorizing. We did well. Rehearsal tonight.

Finally, the day came to an end. On the drive to her house, I noticed orbs of shadows and people in my peripherals. I drove a little bit faster than usual to make sure I could make it home. It felt as if a flashback was coming on.

I found myself on the edge of her bed. I think she was brushing her teeth. She walked into the room, asked me what was wrong. At first I said nothing. Then, I told her it was loud. She held my head in her hands and told me it was okay. And it was. I fell asleep next to her, despite the weaving of the voices, and I was happy at this. When I had begun to suffer from daily hallucinations and break downs just a year ago, she was always there, walking me through it.

I fell asleep, content with her comfort and the knowledge that everything would be okay by morning. And it was.