Someone Else’s Been Dreaming

I haven’t written about multiplicity in a bit, largely because of the discomfort factor.  As this is, in part, a blog about that, though, I wanted to share the latest multiple hilarity.

This morning, I woke up with tears running down my face and really swollen eyes.  Obviously, someone had been sobbing.  I had no idea who or why, and one of the Little Peoples yelled ‘someone else’s been dreaming!’  He was a bit whiny.  No one wanted to be awake that early, but sleeping whilst sobbing is a bit difficult.  Here’s how the story unfolds:

My best friend and I typically spend Saturday nights together.  Last night, however, he had early holiday plans, so we were on our own.  Our plans have changed swiftly a few times this month, as I’ve said in previous posts.  The breakup of the routine in general, regardless of the people or person involved, shakes things.  I wasn’t surprised, then, when things were out of sorts.  I just wanted to know *why* they were out of sorts.

Lily, red faced and still hiccuping from sobs, announced to me that my best friend told her he was moving to Brooklyn for work.  She played back a scene for me- My best friend phoned with news, and we got together.  He said he’d taken a job in Brooklyn and asked if we were coming with him.  When we said we couldn’t, he said he’d keep in touch. Then, he phoned again to say he wasn’t moving to Brooklyn.  Instead, he’d taken a job in a town called Cretin in Texas.

The cavalier attitude should have struck me first thing.  My best friend and I are as close as two people can get.  I trust him as completely as I possibly can, and we truly love each other.  If he were actually moving far away, he’d handle telling us with much more finesse.  Still, it confused me.  I wasn’t sure whether Lily was showing me a dream or showing me a bit of time I’d missed.  I very, very rarely lose time.  With something as traumatic as learning my best friend was moving far away, though, I might well have blocked out the conversation.

So, not wanting to interrupt my best friend’s plans, I paced a bit all day wondering whether I’d seen a dream or reality.  Once mid-afternoon came, I sent my best friend a text.  We chatted a bit, and then I very tentatively told him Lily’s dream.  He laughed via text.  Being the amazing person that he is, he reassured us that he is, indeed, staying with his current job and location.  Lily’s dream was only a dream.

I feel like I should say ‘end scene.’

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After the Storms

We awoke to an odd sight this morning– sun.  It’s been a while.  In fact, the last time it was actually sunny was a week ago.  We had days of rain in London, too, but not usually with this kind of storms.  I’d never been in a flood til now.

I’m staying with a friend for now until our house become inhabitable again.  We went to check out things this morning.  There’s rather alot of flood damage, and the waters are still rising due to run-off.  It’s odd that, even though it has stopped raining, the waters are still rising.  The neighbour has a tree on his roof now, which is not likely the decor he was planning.  The strongest winds were south of us, but combine 60 mph winds with saturated and flooded ground, and some of the trees refuse to remain standing.  In another odd twist of events, many of the trees in our area that were already damaged from the ice storm of 2009 decided they’d had enough of this and tumbled over.

Lily lost her Pooh bears, which has been very hard for her.  The wind is still howling, which is frightening Little Peoples and Middle Littles alike.  I just keep reminding them that, even though the ground is still saturated and the wind is still blowing, there is nothing at all on the radar around us.  Nothing.  It’s clear.  Mairead, ever the optimist, keeps reminding *me* that severe storms are forecast for Sunday.

The internal cast really have been interesting with all of this going on.  Little Peoples were inconsolable through most of it.  When the worst of the storms started last week, they cried and cried.  My best friend and I were out during one of the downpours, and Lily squeezed my fists shut so tightly that she actually broke the skin with one of my thumbnails.  Kathy did her best to keep the little ones calm, but nothing worked.

The Middle Littles, a group of young teens and preteens, were terrified by the cult prophecy stuff.  Everyone is still upset by that, actually.  Now that we’re not in immediate danger, I have time to worry about prophecies and future storms.  As my best friend would say, I *have* to worry about something.  I’m good at it.

Oddly, I’m greatly concerned for Mairead.  She’s usually unflappable, but I have a feeling this upset her more than she’s letting on.  I heard her crying this morning, which almost never happens.  The flood waters coming in to the house really scared all of us, but I think it scared her most.  No idea why.  She might tell me at some time, but she might just keep it to herself.  I just hope she’s well.

Once the waters recede, we’ll start repairing what we can.  New furniture, new flooring, et c.  Maybe Mother Nature is some sort of twisted interior designer these days.  Until then, I’m staying with a friend and her 21 cats.  Interesting, but it’s a safe place and I am grateful.

Life is the good thing.  We’re all alive.

Old Men in Big Boats

There’s been rather alot of flooding in this area.  In fact, our back porch has become a swimming pool, successfully ruining several books and photographs stored there, as well as a set of furniture and a small television.  Annoying, yes, but it could have been *much* worse.  The whole situation will be worse if the strained levees along the Ohio River break.  The river is expected to crest on 3 May.  My eyes will be on the levee til that passes and the water starts to drop.

Lily, along with a few of the other internal little ones, is absolutely terrified by all of this.  She’s scared of storms, anyway, so the days of storms we’ve had got her a bit put off.  Then, she heard people talking of the ‘end times.’  That prompted her to text my best friend yesterday and complain about the disappearing roads.  So far, our road remains open.  Lily is just bothered by all of the talk of catastrophic flooding, none of which has happened.  As long as that bloody levee holds, we’ll be fine.

We’re expecting another 9-13 inches of water by mid-week, then a brief period of clearing, then a bit more storms.  Always fun and exactly what we needed.  The state is under emergency, so we’re at least building resources.  Floodwalls are closed, and sandbags are in place.  That further upset Little Peoples, even though it means we’re getting prepared.  Little Peoples remember the ice storm of 2009.

In fact, we all remember that storm.  A bit of a drive down highways makes it obvious, as there are still broken trees everywhere.  As well, we know the newly-constructed monuments and buildings taking the place of stuff that was broken.  My therapist said she actually thought she might try EMDR to help her with memories of the ice storm, especially now that we’re facing flooding.  Too many of us have been taken back to that odd time period.

Thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches are out now.  I will be so glad when this is over.

These pictures were taken after the first round of flooding.  This round has dumped enough to raise the river another 8 feet than it was at the time I took these.

Flooded upper-level park

Bench at upper-level park

Top Markers on Upper-level Walkways

No Parking Sign, mid-level lot

Flashbacks & Realisations

My best friend and I were watching Torchwood on Friday night, as we’ve taken to doing relatively frequently, and I got thrown in to a flashback.  The show is primarily science fiction.  This episode, however, involved nothing more than incredibly sick human beings.  I felt myself tensing a bit, but nothing really pressing alarmed me.  Then, things did start getting bad.  I immediately asked my best friend to stop the show, which he did.  However, I hadn’t realised the issue soon enough and spent the next half hour or so trying unsuccessfully to fend off the flashback.

When the memory came, Lily pushed me aside.  I came back to awareness and was absolutely appalled– she had told my best friend detail by detail of an extremely brutal part of my SRA training that happened when I was very young.  He took it well, the dear man, and we made uncomfortable jokes about it for the rest of the evening.  Still, he isn’t supposed to hear those details.  No one outside of therapists who work with SRA survivors should hear those details.  I bring up generalities with my best friend and with my brother-of-choice, as they both have some curiosity about cult-related strategies.  The details, though, are not to be told.  It isn’t a privacy thing; it’s a concern for their well-being.  I know the worst of the worst of what people can do to each other.  Even abuse survivors who were not part of a cult wouldn’t be able to comprehend some of the depravity.

Talk about grief is always difficult, regardless of the circumstances.  The more I’ve talked about mine with my therapist, though, the worse I’ve felt about it all.  It’s become a subject of near taboo.  I’ve worried deeply about this in terms of my abilities to help others cope with losses.  Having lost my family, I do understand.  Growing up, I was surrounded by death.  I saw torture victims begging for death, children killed in horrendous ways, people burnt alive, and people kept in cages that slowly pierced through their skin.  I saw and had to participate in sacrifices.  I saw people who, even though they were physically alive, were inhuman puppets in the game.  Death was everywhere.  Suffering was constant.

Now that I’m starting to talk about both SRA issues and ‘normal’ grief in therapy, the two are combining again.  I feel like, once again, I’m surrounded by death.  I take showers daily, as hot as I can stand them, trying to wash away the stench of death, but it’s always there.  It’s in my skin, and it permeates everything I do.  It’s the shadow that lurks now in the front of my mind.  I feel overtaken.

I didn’t think of these two issues as clashing so badly.  The SRA-related memories are being sparked by grief stuff, though, so we’ll have to decide which must be looked at first.  At this point, SRA is blocking everything else.  My therapist keeps telling me she wants to know the memories.  I keep refusing to tell her, for both our sakes.  The flashback I had on Friday night is of one of the most horrific experiences I went through.  At my therapy appointment this week, I might well bring it up.  I can monitor the therapist’s reactions, and, if absolutely necessary, alter her memory just slightly to keep her from being traumatised.  That can be done very simply and quickly without any physical contact.  It’s completely in the mind.  I would *never* use that on anyone close to me.  For a young therapist who is probably unaware that this sort of horror exists, though, it might be necessary.  I’ll monitor her reactions just as closely as my own.

It will be trial by fire for the therapist.  One of my insiders, making a joke to ease the tension, asked if we were going to talk about that memory, too.

Messiness

I got a text message from my best friend tonight.  This is not unusual, of course.  What *is* unusual, though, is my missing a text from him.  This did not go over well with Lily.  Or with me, really.  I guess it’s an abandonment/major losses thing– whenever I miss the small things that happen in mine and my best friend’s friendship, I panic.  It’s the small things that make a difference.  He and I have shared some absolutely amazing adventures.  We’ve travelled a bit, tried unusual foods (see: Bertie Bott’s vomit beans 🙂 ) and done some local touring that turned out really well.  We’ve also spent cold, rainy nights watching bad DVD’s, lazy afternoons just hanging about, and warm summer evenings walking beside the Riverfront.  Those little moments make all the difference.  So when I miss a tiny little text message that was just a small joke from a movie we watched last night, I panic.

Lily, who was supposed to be in bed, popped up to absolutely yell at me about not having the phone near so that her M Body Person could talk to her.  That woke Timmy who began to cry because Lily was crying.  And that attracted the attention of Mairead, who has taken over as internal caretaker of the children since the former internal caretaker became what Mairead refers to as a CAB– Crazy Ass B*tch.  Ah, love among the alters.  Just as things started to get absolutely maddening, my phone buzzed.  My best friend texted, completely unexpectedly since it’s a bit late, and all was calm.  Immediately.  With one text message, my best friend was able to calm the entire internal core group.

And I am terrified.

I’ve never trusted someone so deeply in my life, nor have I ever let anyone get this close.  Now we’re at the ultimate in trust– I recognise that my best friend could absolutely crush me in just a few words.  I’ve lost so many people, either to death or otherwise, and losing my best friend would be my complete downfall.  I couldn’t withstand that.  For someone as wonderful as him, though, it’s worth the risk.

—————————-

Our lives are made in these small hours

These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate

Time falls away but these small hours

These small hours still remain

— Rob Thomas, ‘Little Wonders’

Little Messages

The child alters among my internal folk are divided into three main groups– Little Littles, Littles, and Middle Littles.  The smallest of all are, appropriately, Little Littles.  They are very new discoveries, and the oldest is two at best.  They’re structured a bit strangely, and they don’t communicate often.  Littles and Middle Littles, however, *do* communicate often, both inside and to my best friend on the outside.

Today Littles and Middle Littles were working on something.  Mairead was helping.  For all of her attitude and general teenage rebellion, she is *excellent* with the kids.  Kathy and I are both thankful for that.

Mairead announced to me that Littles and Middle Littles had something to say to my best friend.  Willow, one of the Middle Littles, acted as spokesperson for their little group and sent my best friend this text message:

We, Lily Timmy Lucy and Willow, want to say the you are the best outside person we know.  You love us and don’t hurt us and you tell us about outside stuff.  That is why we want to tell you that you are our best friend too!  We love you!  🙂

I am so proud of them for saying all of that.  It’s a leap of faith on their part to trust someone that much, and it’s further tribute to how wonderful my best friend is that they were able to trust him.  Things just work out so perfectly sometimes.

Just Another Tuesday Afternoon

I ‘went away’ for a bit to chat with Kathy, an internal helper, and apparently the kids went a bit mad.  Mairead, in all her greatness, was watching them, but they managed to get away with my mobile phone and text my best friend.  They were *very* proud of having outsmarted the ‘big peoples’ and were quick to let my best friend know.  🙂  Bless him, he does know how to work with the little ones.  When I came back from our internal tea time, Mairead growled out ‘Would you just *look* at your phone’ and I got the spectator’s version of a hilarious little conversation.

Now here sits the lot of us– Kathy and me trying not to laugh hysterically lest we insult someone, two very happy children who were only mildly scolded, and a disgruntled Scottish teen who is sulking because *kids* got the better of her.  🙂

Yes, folks, it’s just another Tuesday afternoon.

Complicated

There are two very distinct times in my recent past that I recall being truly happen, one in December 2002 and the other in the latter months of 2005.

The exact date escapes me, but that day in 2002 has stuck with me in great detail.  I was 21 then, living with my parents, and three years in to my college career.  It was snowing, and I had an Elton John cd playing.  I remember looking out of the window in the back of my room, watching the snow fall, and feeling truly happy.  It was one of those extremely rare times when my parents were getting along well with each other *and* with me.  That in itself is enough to make the day stand out.  I remember that we were all about to go out for pizza, and my mother was laughing.  More than anything, I remember feeling peaceful that day.

I finished my University studies a year from then and took a staff position with the office where I’d worked as a student.  2004 brought the deaths of my parents, a failed attempt at moving a distance away, and the start of my bouncing about from house to house for a bit as I adjusted to the major changes.  Writing all of this out, I can easily see why I look back at the end of ’02 with fondness.  It was the last time things were simple.  My life in America was solidifying, and although it was far from what I’d thought it would be, my life was headed toward a more definite path.  After 2002, everything got complicated.  Because of my SRA background, I’d never had a great deal of certainty or stability in my life, but I was starting to feel a bit more settled.  Things do change so quickly.

2005 was *not* a good year for finding room-mates.  I’ll skip over that search and go straight to the end of the year, when things went right in the best possible of ways.  Not quite knowing where to go to get away from the crummy living environment I’d stuck myself in, I phoned my best friend and asked his mum if I could stay the week with them.  I left three months later.  Long week.  🙂

Anyway, living with my best friend and his family was *amazing.*  We fell in to a comfortable routine, the three of us, and soon enough it felt like I’d always lived there.  I’ve tried many times, but I can never find words to express what living there was like.  It was safe and felt like family.  I guess that’s the best I can do with describing it.  I slept on the sofa and used three of the drawers built in the wall to hold my stuff.  We made that room into a room for me that transitioned perfectly back to a lounge during the day.  The logistics are mind boggling, but we made it work.  🙂  Lily, who we didn’t know at the time, loved being there.  She told my best friend and I that she remembered things from then and giggled loudly when pointing out that she knew us but we didn’t know her.  She’s very shy, our Lily.  Not the least bit outspoken.

I remember those times, especially living with my best friend, and take those feelings of comfort along with me.  My past may be dark and my present uncertain, but I have many times with my FOC here and afar that serve as guides for what life should be like.  I’ll know when I feel as I did then that I’ve found my place in the world.

We’re All in This Together

I have been *angry* lately.  Not that frustrated sort of anger that goes away quickly.  The kind that makes you feel like you’ve got something volcanic deep inside that might erupt at any moment.  I’m irritated and quick-tempered, and none of this is like me at all.  It’s only been a few years since I’ve even been able to recognise the emotion of anger in the first place.  For the past couple of weeks, though, it seems like absolutely everything has been getting right up my nose.  My official diagnosis is Bipolar I Disorder, and while I doubted that for quite some time, I’m seeing more and more why the psychiatrist chose that lovely little illness for me.

Comordbidity and DID is an interesting question.  I have abandonment issues, which is something I only recently learnt.  That is a sign of several personality disorders, as are anger issues.  Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t quite fit– I’m priviledged enough to keep these moods for weeks as opposed to days.  Even though I can have an incredibly flat affect, schizophrenia doesn’t fit.  We *know* why I hear those voices.

What *is* difficult is distinguishing my feelings from those of individuals inside, finding who and how many are feeling the mood we’re dealing with, or just seeing that I’m generally grouchy at the moment, all on my own.  Lily frequently bruises my arms because she is so much smaller than me and sometimes doesn’t realise where my arm stops.  She goes full-force toward something on a shelf and only stops when she bangs my wrist– her arm had quite alot left to go before she could reach things.  I feel that way in an emotional sense.  Sometimes I can’t tell where my emotions stop and the dissociated emotions start.  Yes, as I’ve agreed with before, the alters are all me.  In the end, I understand that they are not separate people.  For now, however, they do hold their own emotions and experience their own moods.  It’s just difficult, sometimes, to figure out where a given emotion is coming from and take care of it before things spin out of control.

Music helps.  When I get so angry and tense that I feel as if I’m going to rip apart, certain songs can bring me back to centre.  Try ‘Red Rubber Ball’ by the somewhat obscure American 1960’s pop group The Cyrkle (that’s not a spelling error).  The imagery typically calms me down:

I think it’s gonna be all right.

Yeah, the worst is over now.

The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball.

Working in a Different Age

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.  🙂