New Directions

It occurs to me that, since I have started blogging again, this blog will likely take on a new direction.  I’m not the same person I was when I first started the blog, and I haven’t got the same concerns.  Back then, life was all about finishing graduate school and coping with the recently-divulged secret of my multiplicity.  Now, grad school is a distant accomplishment, and I am fully integrated.  Life has definitely changed.  Looking back at old posts, even the tone of my writing has changed.  Frightening and exciting all at once.

So what am I doing now?  Glad you asked.  Now, my life focuses primarily on bipolar disorder– something that can’t be resolved via therapy– and veganism/animal rights.  As well, I am proudly Wiccan and involve many Pagan practices in my daily life.  These are the pieces of me that remain post-integration.  I still deal with trauma flashbacks and will likely write about that subject from time to time.  It’s no longer a daily focus, though.  Now, my life is about using my beliefs to walk as gently as possible on the Earth.  I feel whole in my mind and spirit, so my focus is sharper on the causes I support.

That’s the funny thing about change– it’s ok!  We all change as life progresses, but we never lose our value.  Thanks for following along with this new leg in my journey, dear readers.  I hope you continue to share parts of your journey, as well.

The Single Life

My post-integration life has been interesting.  There is quite a learning curve in going from we to I.  It has been easier in some ways, but it’s also been lonely a time or two.  If I hear voices now, they’re the psychotic type that comment on me and my life negatively.  I sometimes miss the *nice* voices.

Responsibility is a whole new issue.  I always tried to take responsibility for what my others did and said, but now it’s all on me for definite.  There is no one else to blame for the good or the bad.  It makes things easier in terms of making decisions and remembering actions.  Still, it’s humbling to know everything falls on my shoulders now.

Then there’s the issue of loneliness.  For a while, I had to surround myself with others via text or email or communication of some form.  I couldn’t stand the silence.  Now, although I’m still not the best with it, I can handle silence for a time.  Sometimes I even enjoy it.  I never thought I’d get re-accustomed to it.

So would I do the integration thing again?  Yes.  In a second’s time.  That’s a question I’m asked in email frequently.  Again, this is *not* the route for some.  And that’s just fine.  Being functional is the goal, regardless of parts.  For me, though, this was the route.  And I do not regret it.

The End

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.

Meet the Cast- Part One

We’ve been working on this post for quite some time, but with shifting selves and an unpleasant present, we got a bit distracted. Since many of my posts are related to DID, I/we wanted to introduce the folks who provide all this material. For the sake of coherency, they’re not going to write their own descriptions, but I’m describing them as they see themselves.

Not long after I learned of the others, a great lot of them integrated. That was something about the SRA part of my experience and I’m not delving further into it. There have been no negative effects, so I’m OK with not completely understanding that. I’m just describing what one of my insiders termed the lead roles, sans the supporting cast and understudies.

That comment was brought to you courtesy of L, otherwise known as the Leader. Alters are finicky about giving names, especially to those outside the system. When I first met L he simply told me he was a leader and did not need a name. My best friend started calling him Big L, which stuck. Now we just call him L. He functions more as a gatekeeper than anything else. He knows most of what goes on inside, and he does his best to keep things orderly.

Personality wise, he is quite the joker. His wit is always dead-on, and he’s the first to make a sarcastic or off-colour comment. As that describes *me* rather well, I’m surprised we can coexist. 🙂 He’s also a bit of an antagonist who nudges the others from time to time.

L is easygoing for the most part, and he and my best friend enjoy throwing groaner jokes at each other. We have no idea how old L is, leading my best friend to refer to him as O Timeless One on occasion as well.
They first met when L got tired of listening to Moira’s Irish accent and sent her back inside. He and my best friend got chatting about school; L *hates* what I’m studying and wants to go back into health care. I’m not sure entirely of how the conversation went, but my best friend mentioned that even if we moved back, we wouldn’t necessarily have to work at the same hospital in London where we first worked, as there would be other hospitals. L responded with feigned disbelief and shock saying something along the lines of ‘there are other hospitals in London?’ He’s a sweetheart, really.

He does have an internal sweetheart, which even I think is hilarious. Kathy, or Mother Kathy, as the children call her is L’s significant other. Kathy’s main function is to take care of the children. She is the epitome of a good mother, and she has a sense of peace about her that seems to extend even to external people when she’s around. She’s in her 40’s and frequently appears to the children as a nun. I depend on Kathy to bring down the level of tension when things seem to be building beyond what I can deal with, and she’s always found a way.

Paula is quite the mystery. She was definitely born by the bells of the Bow (meaning she’s Cockney, for the non-Brits who read this). My best friend first realised he was talking to her when she started dropping most of the syllables in words. They proceeded to plan our tour as a band called ‘Struggling Foreigner’ complete with lesbian rock and phone roadies. Too bad neither of them remembers much about the conversation. 🙂

I really enjoy chatting with Paula. She’s the life of any party and one of the most outspoken people ever to have existed. She tells me her job is to put things back in order when the structure of the system is changed in a not-so-great way. SRA, as much as I would like to say otherwise, is still a part of my life. Those lovely folks still have a bit of a hold on me. Recently Paula went what we dubbed ‘alter hunting.’ She searched the light garden and brought out some of the alters who had been hiding. I frequently joke that my best friend should tell me about my system, since most of the alters seem to introduce themselves to him first. Poor love has gotten some really strange emails and letters.

Those are the Major Adult Players (L really did coin a great phrase there!). To keep this post a mere novella, I’ll stop here and describe the teens and kids in a separate post very soon to follow.

The Belated Week So Far

Bloody hell, it’s Thursday. I’m a day off this week, which could have been interesting considering the week’s deadlines.

What can I say? It’s been a depressing week, as those of you who follow the blog have read. Today feels a bit better, if only because I’m dazed enough not to know otherwise yet. 🙂 I’m only joking– I tend not to stay down for a ridiculously long time.

As it turns out, the small bit of integration that happened over the weekend was a *good* thing. That worried me. It was the first time someone with a major role had integrated. But, she knew what she was doing. I feel more connected now. Maybe that’s what the crazy time thing was about. Maybe she was preparing me to step back into things fully and I needed to go through a sense of catching up or something. In any event, it’s good to feel like I’m inside time again.

Last night during a break from school stuff, I started thinking about my best friend. More specifically, *Lily* started thinking about him. She absolutely adores him, particularly Ugh!, the pretend internal caveman. We created a DID system for him so he wouldn’t feel left out. Lily and Timmy, her partner in crime, definitely believe in my best friend’s ‘alters,’ though. 😉 Anyway, I was thinking about the things he and I have been through together and came up with a crazy list:

1. All the Harry Potter movies that have been released so far. (We like them shamelessly!)

2. Seven New Year’s Eves.

3. Both of our undergraduate graduations, one semester apart. Those were the days…

4. My string of temp jobs and his change of career plans. (Not that one of us is more stable than the other.)

5. More stuff with our families than any one chat show could possibly handle.

It went on sort of like that for a bit, but those were the ones that stuck out most. It’s been such a pleasure to watch him develop the sense of confidence, personality, and– in his words– general smart-assedness– over the years. I know he’ll do great things. And I know that while he’s reading this, he’ll be thinking ‘Awww…blush blush blush’ to himself. (Or maybe Ugh! is. I lose track.)

Thanks, best friend. And I don’t mean that sarcastically this time. 🙂

Saying Goodbye

Something…odd…has been going on in my system lately. Including me, there have been five adults basically running things since I found out about the others. At first one seemed much more in control than the others, and then, once I got a bit more accustomed to the whole idea of being multiple, they drifted back into their own jobs.

Early this morning, one of this main group integrated, and I miss her in a strange way. Rainn, a sixteen year old Irish girl, was the first person I actually met. Hers wasn’t the first voice I heard, but she introduced me to the others and helped explain the organisation of the system. Lately, though, she had been acting strange. Instead of working *for* the system, she was almost antagonistic. She kept throwing large amounts of anger at me and the others, and none of us had a clue as to what was going on with her.

For some time the main protector, L, had intended to call us into an internal meeting to discuss things. I had requested that we wait for a bit to give my external life a chance to calm down, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We met this morning, and Rainn explained her side. She’d been slowly withdrawing from the system in preparation to integrate, and the idea of it was making her nervous and scared at the same time. Everyone agreed that she would be welcome to stay a part of things, but she insisted that it was her time to integrate.

And integrate she did. It was an odd process. Soon after I found out about the others several ‘minor players’ as L called them, offered up their memories and went away. This was the first time I’d been involved in a conscious process of integration. It was a bit simpler than I thought.

Rainn’s main function was to assist with our transatlantic move. She was also involved in working as a sort of buffer/translator for an internal set of twins who went through some of the Really Bad Stuff. The transatlantic move has long been completed and, because of the dramatic change in circumstances since then, Rainn’s task of making everything appear ‘normal’ (for lack of better terms) is no longer necessary. The protective mechanism that she kept in place is not needed. As for the twins, they very recently explained part of their story to my best friend, interacting with the external world for the first time. They’re developing a voice of their own, which is an amazing event in itself.

As I get stronger and better able to cope with the reality that the abuse really did happen to me, I need less and less internal assistance. Still, unless they are working for the wrong side, alters will not be forced to integrate. Rainn was so close to me that we almost functioned as one. I’m amazed by this, but when she saw that I no longer needed a double, she decided to pass along the rest of her knowledge to me and let go. Alters don’t die– in my system they simply join with my mind to the point that there is no separation, no separate name or mannerism– just one mind becoming whole. In my opinion, integration means reclaiming parts of your mind, sort of like putting the pieces of a puzzle back in place. A very significant piece of my puzzle is back in place, and I’ll always be grateful to her for helping me reach this point.

More on the whole process of integration later.