Under the Shirt-Trigger Warning- Incest

I remember the first time I ever thought, “I want to kill my self.”

I was twelve. I was alone in the house with my abuser. He was thirty-eight. 

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he slid his hand under my shirt. He commented on how he loved that I didn’t need a training bra yet. I was beginning to feel the disconnect. Each time something like this happened, the dissociation would happen quicker and more intensely. 

He told me to take my shirt off. I was wearing a black, silky spaghetti shirt. (Sometimes I wonder if it was my fault because of what I was wearing that day)

I pulled my shirt off and he grabbed it from me, tossing it to the floor. He stood back for a moment, looked at me, stared at my chest. “You have perfect little tits.” 
He proceeded to grope me, taking fistfuls of my into his hands. “You only need a handful.”

With his mouth running along my chest and neck, he forced my hand down to “feel what I was doing to him.”

And I thought then that it would be easier to kill myself. It would be easier and safer to kill myself. 

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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.

 

On Michael (trigger warning, incest)

Michael. Green eyes, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 38 years old at the time. Intellectual, jaded by the army, twisted, and witty.

Myself. Brown eyes, 5 feet tall, 12 years young at the time. Artistic, impressionable, twisted, and mischievous.

I remember the day well, when it started. We were in my bedroom sitting on the floor, listening to music, exchanging stories from our own experiences. I was intrigued by him, and I listened intently to his articulate anecdotes. I sat between his legs as he wrapped his arms around me, breathing in my just-washed hair. Slightly rocking me back and forth, I felt him harden against my back. I didn’t know what that meant. I had absolutely no idea what it was, but I could feel his energy shift. From that, I realized that I had aroused him. It frightened me.

Over the stretch of the next few days, he began testing the waters by grazing my cheek softly, embracing me just a little longer than usual, longingly kissing the corners of my mouth (but never directly kissing my lips, I noticed), brushing stray hairs from my forehead in more than a parental way. The touching turned to caressing, the caressing turned to that indelible fire in his eyes which had nearly all at once consumed my innocence.

Then came the one night that I believe fed the flames into combustion. He laid there on my bed, I came to say goodnight to him. I asked him, “Can I do something and you won’t get mad?” He already knew. I kissed him on the lips, withdrew, and my eyes locked onto the predator inside his shell. It was then that he saw the monster in me.

There was nothing anyone could have done to turn his switch off. Like an animal, the only scent he could now smell was my juvenilia, the emergence of my own magnificent pubescence. I was in a crucial time in my life. He sank his claws deep into me and I let him.

For months, this game went on. Every now and then, I would find myself in a dangerous situation; razor blades to my skin, threats made, being suffocated. Yet I still loved my predator.

I was sexually abused.

But how  my heart still tore itself into fragments when 4 am reared its face, his fingertips on the front door, car keys in hand, seconds before he walked out the door. On some nights I hated him for leaving. I distinctly remember his cologne permeating my skin as he hugged me goodbye. We stood on the porch and it was springtime.

I became an expert at the game. All it took was one coy glance up, a gesture, or a pouting of the lips to send him into a tourbillion. I would act as if I had no idea what I was doing. Meanwhile I jotted down mental notes. I knew how to make him think he had me trapped in his cage- when in reality, he was my experiment.

He was sick in the head, polluted with pedophilic thoughts and broken morals. There is an absolute certain quality in him that I had found and couldn’t help but dissect. I became obsessed with it. Somewhere along his development, contagion set in. I have seen it since in other humans close to me. I can spot it a mile away.

Along my studies of his pervertible nature, I found myself appreciating the shadows of his disease. Perhaps it wasn’t all disease?

My very unpopular belief is that there is a fine, delicate line between a pedophile who wants nothing more than to fuck a child and a pedophile who is a passionate madman wanting to consume his prey. (Though both morally wrong, I admit.)

I’ve spent years trying to decipher which side my cousin fell on. I’m beginning to come to a conclusion that he is too stupid and dull to fall on the passionate side. Yet, he did have that subtle glow… in any case, he allowed me to practice my detection of said glow. I strive to understand him, my predator.

I often wondered if he ever understood me.

Suicidality Isn’t Normal

Last thought for the day…

While I was browsing articles last night such as “How to Convince Yourself Not to Commit Suicide,” I came across a very interesting point. It kind of blew my mind.

“Wanting to kill yourself is not normal. It may feel normal because you have lived with the ideality for so long. But it is not normal.”

What? You mean everyone else around me isn’t constantly thinking about how’d they off themselves? This isn’t NORMAL?!

Is it just me? This seriously shocked me.

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

 

 

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.

Seroquel Tablets and a Bottle of Feelings

I. Hate. Feeling.

It sucks. Every little second of it. It’s stupid and I don’t want to do it anymore. I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS. Well, maybe I did. Thanks, therapy.

I have uncorked all of my feelings and now I can’t help but cry at the drop of a hat. (Yes, granted I’m all hormonal and PMSie, but still.)

Yesterday memories of my molestation were flooding over me in vividity. I cried intense tears over my ex-boyfriend’s brother’s suicide. I cried about that relationship, about my dad, about this and that and ahhhhh. Everything is happening all at once. It’s overwhelming.

All I can do is recoil into my safe little pocket of the system. I feel awful for pushing others out, but it’s just a survival tactic. It’s what I’m used to doing; it worked so well as a child. I’m working on it, though.

In other news…yesterday I saw my psychiatrist. I was in there for 10 minutes.He asked me about my meds, told me to bump up the Lithium to 900mgs. Seroquel stays at 75mgs. I asked him what I could do when I’m having bad flashbacks, hallucincations, etc… He advised me TO DOUBLE UP ON MY SEROQUEL……

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Has anyone else had this advice? Isn’t that… not safe? He actually told me that I can fluctuate my Seroquel as I see fit, “it’s not a big deal.” When I’m having an episode, he told me to just bump it to 300mgs. I’m sorry, I’m at 75…. if I go to 300 I feel like I’d be in a coma.

He didn’t ask me any questions. Wham bam done, new script filled, oh see you in two months!

75 to 300. Seems legit…

 

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.

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.

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