Everything feels unreal to me at the moment. The holiday season is so bittersweet, and whilst I’ve had a few triumphs this year, I still feel overwhelmed by it all. I’m really trying this year, but I truly do not feel connected to a single person, pet, deity, or object. I feel like I’ve settled in to nothingness. On the outside, things look fine. I function as I always have, stand in for friends when they need me, and take care of all the practical things that make a life. Inside, though, I feel a sense of blackness and nonexistence that’s so deep it’s almost an ache. Whatever this is, I just hope it passes soon.
of my time with DID. After eight years and a great deal of work– both internal and external– I am one. And I’m okay with that. It’s a choice I/we made a long time ago, and it is what’s best for me.
I know DID itself is not a choice, but the issue of integration is a huge choice to be made by individuals (collectively). This is what works for me. Your mileage may vary.
As I transition from the manic part of this episode to the depression part, cutting has become a problem again. It’s not a way to self-soothe or express intense feelings. It’s a way to *feel.* Full stop. Thursday afternoon, I felt like I’d stepped outside my life and was merely in the audience of a play. One might think this is a good reaction to what had been the chaos of mania, but it’s too much of a change. To go from feeling everything to feeling completely numb in a few hours’ time produces an odd sort of panic, at least in my experience.
I tried everything I could think of, but the numbness just got worse. I went outside and concentrated on the feel of the wind and the sun. When that didn’t help, I turned to the more physical activities. I worked with clay, forcing myself to notice the temperature, texture, and even the scent of it. I coloured intricate geometric-patterned pictures. I even tried holding ice just to feel the sting of that. Nothing.
When I finally did give in and cut my arm, it took a minute before I even trusted the cascade of blood as proof of my existence. The razor was sharp and cut immediately, but I didn’t feel it. I just cut deeper and deeper until my arm looked angry and the blood flowed steadily. This has become daily, and both of my arms now look angry. No one will ever see these cuts, and no one is meant to. They are simply reminders to me. I feel my shirt scratch them or feel them burn slightly, and I know that I am capable of feeling something, at least. As those sensations lessen, though, more are needed. More cuts, more blood, more proof that I am alive.
My holiday depression has reared its ugly head, and it is bringing a renewed problem with cutting. This is something I’ve had more of a problem with this year than in a while. Right now, it’s particularly bad. The cuts are deeper than typical, as I’ve had trouble actually *feeling* the blade, even when I could hear it cut through. It’s a focus– something to stop my mind spinning. Cuts are deepened, scars are re-opened, and proof of my life is there on my arms.
My feelings vacillate between absolute numbness and complete overwhelm. It’s chaotic. SI breaks the numbness through the pain and blood. In the day, the pain of bending my arm and the feeling of the cuts rubbing on my sleeves gives me a focus other than what’s going on around me. When things get far too overwhelming, I can just concentrate on the pain, the one constant in my life right now.
The last time I was hurt by the Really Bad People, one thing that distracted me was the thought that my best friend is coming with me next summer to see my FOC. He hasn’t been there in three years, so I had to make it through. That was a relatively constant chorus in my mind. I had to make it through that afternoon so my best friend and I could go to the FOC’s house, visit with them, and see things in the city that neither of us has seen before. This was part of the plan, so I had to make it through. I sang along with Del Amtri in my head, thinking perhaps I could see Justin Currie in concert again if I lived. I thought of all the things I wanted to do and bargained with myself- ‘Just get through this, and you’ll be able to do those things.’
Over the years, I’ve used strategies like that. I’ve sang to myself, composed little poems in my head, and done just about anything to take away from what was going on at the time. I’m really tired of doing that and really unsure, in the position I’m in at the moment, how to get out of it. I’m not playing the victim. I am *not* doing that. I’m just struggling with finances and things like that, only my struggle involves this lovely little group to contend with, as well. As long as they need me and I’m in a position to be under their thumbs, they remain the ever-present spectral in my life, as they have for my whole life. Nothing there has changed.
Hopefully, I’ll someday be able to say I’m free of these people, but I don’t see it happening in this lifetime…
My father said he never dreamed. I don’t know if he simply didn’t remember his dreams, or if he never truly reached the sleep state needed to have dreams. Interesting concept, regardless. I haven’t heard that from anyone else.
As for me, my dreams are typically very vivid. They can range from blissful to average to absolutely horrifying. Last night’s dream (or something) was incredibly disorienting. I remember waking up early in the morning, getting out of bed to pick up something that had fallen into the floor at some point in the night, and then going back to bed. Then there was nothing.
It wasn’t so much a deep sleep as a total lack of existence. When I woke up, or whatever it was that I did, I was incredibly disoriented. I didn’t know where I was, what time it was, or anything remotely concrete. My first lucid thought was that I’d slept through my shift. Considering I work afternoons, that would be highly unlikely. For a minute there, I truly had only a vague idea of my self and absolutely no idea at all of my surroundings. Everything was unfamiliar. Yes, I know that all comes with the multiplicity bit, but this is the first time I’ve ever been aware of being, well, unaware. That was not a comfortable feeling.
Things have settled back to average now, and I’m thankful for that. Being disoriented to my own life was a bit on the strange side.
I was raped.
There, I said it. Or rather wrote it.
It didn’t happen to Awen or Rainn or anyone else in my mind who took part of it. It happened to me. *I* was raped. Me. Not an alter or any other fragment of my mind. It happened to me. And I am furious.
What right did these ‘men’ have to treat me like that? What right did they have to enter *my* body and use it for their twisted purposes? I want to find them and demand these answers. I want to tie them down and let them feel how helpless I was, even though I know they wouldn’t feel helpless at all. I want to know that they will answer to some higher power, even though I know that might not happen. Most of all, I want to know that this will never happen to me again, even though I know no one can promise that.
These excuses for people tied me down on a stone table and raped me. *Me.* At the time, I felt fear. I wasn’t sure if they would kill me afterward, and I wasn’t sure whether that would be best for me. They took something from me that day that I won’t get back. Now, though, the fear is gone and I am *angry.* I’m so angry I could scream. Sometimes I think that would actually make me feel better. I want to lash out at the people who hurt me. I want to make them feel as bad as I did. I want them to carry around the shame I still feel. I want them to feel the nausea I’m feeling simply from writing this post. I threw up for days after that and took showers so hot my skin blistered. It didn’t go away.
Now I feel dirty, inside and out. It’s like a stigma I carry that only a few people know about, but that I feel people can tell simply by meeting me. I feel like they took my body as their own, and it’s a fight to reclaim that. I’m not even close to there yet. But I’ve said it. I was raped. It happened to me. Dissociation doesn’t change that.
I’m in my late twenties, but most of the time I still feel stuck in my teenage years. My twenties have definitely been tumultuous. Maybe that’s what I’m feeling. Maybe it’s like my twenties are on pause. I’d really hate to stay a decade behind from here on out, though.
During the last therapy session, my therapist mentioned something about the little girl part of my mind being stuck in a certain flashback and re-experiencing that moment all over again. I had a *tremendously* difficult time keeping Lily from popping up to say hello– I’m still not certain of the therapist’s beliefs on DID and would like to avoid being hospitalised any time soon. In any event, that child part of me is certainly active. Sometimes I think *she* is the one with bipolar disorder. She seems to function only at extremes. My best friend and I dearly love her, though, and I think we’d miss her if she was gone.
The teenage alters tend to be a bit different. I’m only aware of three, and Mairead’s job is simply to be a teenager. She’s only vaguely affected by either the general or the SRA abuse and always tells us that sh*t doesn’t belong to her. The other two teens were formed during my roughly three years of leadership programming (ages 13-15) and hold memories of genuine torture. My next thought was to say I can’t imagine going through something like that. I guess even though I’m aware of most of the memories, I still keep them at a distance. The details of these memories are not my concern here, though. I’m only concerned with effects.
The alters who took the SRA leadership programming are called Awen and Patrick. They’re twins, but they seem like one being at times. Awen speaks only Irish, and Patrick hears only her voice. I hear her whispering from time to time, and it is absolutely chilling. On rare occasions, when the flashbacks from that time period are very vivid, I hear her screaming, chanting ‘Something’s wrong. I’m afraid’ like a mantra. Elizabeth, the leader of the cult-loyal system, drags Awen to a lake every night. I have no idea what goes on there, but I’m sure the memory will be just lovely. Lakes have always bothered me.
I think the combination of my teenage alters shows exactly why I feel stuck in those years– Mairead is the moody happiness of a regular teen; Awen and Patrick are the shadowed existence of a teen going through SRA. Mairead lives only in the present; Awen and Patrick live only in the past. I think I need to learn how to be a ‘normal’ teenager through Mairead’s example while processing the events from those years that are mirrored through Awen and Patrick. Maybe then I can work through that developmental phase, for lack of better terms, and feel like an adult for once.
Until Lily pops out, of course. 🙂
I’ve been attempting to keep my head in its little sand hole for the most part, as the news is extremely triggering for me right now. What really unnerves me is that I keep running straight in to triggers in completely unexpected places. From astrological signs to WMD reports, the news reads like one of my nightmares. It’s hard to stay present at the moment, and I’m beginning to think ducking out of things for a bit is best. I try not to dissociate to the point that I lose co-consciousness when things get this difficult, but even that seems like a good idea at the moment. My personal mantras are going through my head, and I’m clinging to things like that and whatever else I can to stay connected to my life. Sometimes, as I’m sure most other dissociatives will understand, it’s just safer to go inside for a bit and separate yourself from the world until you can gather the strength you need to keep from being a danger to yourself or a target for others.
Blah. Triggers bad. Safety good. I wish the whole issue was as simply as that.
It’s a principle in mathematics– Chaos theory describes a system (not DID) that changes over time and is affected greatly by its initial circumstances. It can be used in many fields, and it mimics, to some extent, natural phenomena. They’re also working on relativistic chaos dealing with, as one might assume, relativity.
I was thinking about Chaos theory today, noting its appropriateness as a descriptor for this year, and realised it could be extended, in a loose sense, to DID. I’m not at all implying that DID is a mathematical function, of course, just that it somewhat fits this pattern.
DID systems are definitely affected quite directly by their genesis. The changes they go through over time are also related to the way they start. SRA systems might fragment further, even in to adulthood, for example. To my knowledge, that doesn’t happen in non-SRA systems. Alters in both types of systems tend to be developed for specific purposes and, in turn, play specific roles.
I’ve thought for quite some time that DID is a perfectly natural occurrence, albeit spurred on by absolute hell. On the other hand, most children have imaginary friends. Children who are traumatised just tend to create more lasting and solid ties with their ‘imaginary’ friends. Perhaps multiplicity is the natural start of the mind, and as we grow up, the facets of our minds solidify in to one whole. Perhaps it isn’t as strange as it seems sometimes. Chaos theory, appropriate for DID in both phrasing and in composition, is just one more link in the web that holds us all together.