Back to Me

My mood is stable.  After about a year and a half of ups and downs, my mood has stabilised.  It’s almost impossible for me to believe.  I keep waiting for something to shift, but, for the past week or so, it hasn’t.  I am so grateful.

So what now?  Back to the work of being me.  I wear many hats.  Among them, as anyone who has read this blog will know, is trauma survivor.  My therapist and I haven’t been able to do trauma work in all this time, as we didn’t want to offset any precarious stability I might have found.  I never thought I’d be happy to do trauma work.  It took five years to work through physical trauma, though, and we’ll be starting on sexual trauma next week.  I don’t doubt needing five more years.  But now, I feel confident that we can do the work.

Another hat I wear is family-of-choice.  I have siblings of choice far away, a best friend who’s frequently by my side, and a friend back home who will always have my heart.  I haven’t been able to be present for them nearly as much as I would like.  When your mood is unstable, your mind is unclear.  You can listen and be there to the best of your ability, but you’re never fully present.  Now, I can be with my FOC fully.  I can give them my whole mind and my whole heart without having to worry about whether the situation will spin me out of control.

Self is the last hat I wear.  I am the sum total of what has happened to me in the past and what is in my life at present.  In my belief system, I am already affected by the promise of my future.  I need to reconnect with the essence of who I am again, as that will centre me in the new-found stability.  I’m trying to accept the rough edges of me and understand that my FOC love me for me, no pretence needed.  I’m just a simple girl from the more grisly side of East London who has found herself a world away, surrounded by amazing people on both sides of the ocean.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Pride

It isn’t often that I feel proud of myself, but today, I do.  For the first time in 18 years, I had a ‘Well Woman’ exam this morning.  This includes a breast exam, smear test and palpitation to check the uterus and ovaries.  That’s a great deal of physical contact in very personal areas.  My therapist and I have been working on this for a year or so now, and it’s finally done.

As my therapist and I planned, I identified myself to the nurse as a survivor of sexual trauma before even starting the prep.  She told the doctor, who, upon entering the room, told me how brave I was to be there.  This woman who had just learnt a dark secret from my past called me brave.  She walked me through the whole process, even showing me the instruments that would be used.  I began to relax a bit.

The nurse held my hand through the entire exam.  When I got scared and dizzy, I just looked over at her and knew someone was on my side.  It isn’t that I thought the doctor was against me; it’s just that she became a danger to me in my survivor’s mind the minute she touched me below the waist.  The whole exam probably took five minutes, and I am proud of each one of them.

I’ve put this off for so many years now.  It’s humbling that a doctor and nurse could work together so well to help me through it.

Taking the Time

I fell right out of the world last week and am slowly making my way back.  I’ve been dealing with things that are only remotely related to SRA, and sometimes the ‘regular’ stuff gets worse than the abuse stuff.  I’m not good at stepping back and letting others (external) do the work for a while, but that’s exactly what happened this past week.  Everything except my job got shoved aside, and my dear best friend let me know he had my back all the way through it.

Progress is slow.  I still can’t seem to make it through a day without taking some time off, so to speak.   I feel so empty inside that it’s like I don’t even exist.  My therapist keeps telling me that, even though I feel as though I’m not, I truly *am* living life.  She doesn’t understand this sort of half existence.  To people who haven’t dealt with trauma or extensive loss, one either lives or dies.  So many of us know that isn’t true, though.

Life gets difficult sometimes.  I’m not the least bit suicidal.  Just a bit overwhelmed.  With my best friend at my side, though, I’m digging through.  He is such an amazing person that I won’t waste space in trying to find the words to describe him.  Things are so dark right now, and I’m caught up in the darkest of times.  My best friend just takes me by the hand and tells me we’ll get through it.  That doesn’t seem possible sometimes, but knowing that he believes it to be makes it easier to fathom.

Thanks, best friend.  Words are inadequate.

The Boxer

Excellent song by Simon and Garfunkel that I relate to in an odd way.  It’s not exactly my story, but so much of it resonates with me.

There are days when I just feel tired.  Not in the sense that I didn’t get enough sleep, but in the sense that the weight of my past settles on me and I feel unable to stand with that weight on my shoulders.  It’s hard to explain, but I’m guessing many of the trauma survivors who read this will know exactly what I mean.

‘The Boxer’ talks about someone who leaves home early and survives the streets on his own.  The last few lines are what I relate to so well, and again, I’m sure this will resonate with other trauma survivors as well:

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade,

And he carries the reminders of ev’ry glove that laid him down

Or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame

‘I am leaving, I am leaving.’

But the fighter still remains

Regardless of the trauma, people have an innate sense of survival.  Even if we have to back out sometimes or take routes we don’t exactly want to take, the fighters within us still remain.

Consistency

My mind is on overload, and for once, it isn’t trauma stuff.  Fortunately or unfortunately, life stuff is taking over for now.  I say fortunately for obvious reasons.  The unfortunate part is that I might very well be burying myself in school work to avoid dealing with those nagging little issues of grief and trauma.

I don’t care.  🙂

Really, it is a sort of welcome break.  People with DID (I’ve discovered I don’t like the term ‘multiples’) have a unique ability to put emotional stuff on pause for a bit.  The downside to all of this is my insomnia has returned and is making known its anger at being pushed away.  Bloody sleep.  I’ve found myself staying awake to avoid nightmares, then having them anyway when I finally *do* fall asleep.  It’s like, no matter how exhausted I feel when I fall in to bed, the things I’ve not been paying attention all day pop up for a visit.  Fun.

Otherwise, there isn’t a great lot going on in my life right now.  I’m trying to figure out how to balance looking for work, the part-time stuff I am doing, following up on job prospects, and school.  Not difficult at all, you know.

I’ve always heard consistency is good, though.

The Losing It Week So Far

And by losing it, I don’t mean going mad.  I mean actually losing things.  I’ve never been one to lose things.  Lately, though, things are going missing rather often.  My cell phone, keys, certain bills, et c.  Someone is definitely helping me.

Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with an inner small one of my sister-of-choice who commented on feeling like she was losing her balance rather frequently.  I automatically assumed that this was because she is a small person in an adult body.  The edges don’t fit right.  It was nice to see this look of understanding on her face– always good to feel validated, especially in something as strange as DID can sometimes be.  My inner little one, Lily, is going to give me a concussion some day.  She doesn’t quite realise that I can’t exactly walk through certain areas without dropping my head a bit.  🙂

And speaking of other multiples, I’m wondering if anyone else out there has this odd characteristic– I have trouble talking to other trauma survivors about trauma.  Even as a volunteer for a women’s shelter, I was uncomfortable bringing my own experience into things.  It’s not a question of the ‘who had it worse’ game that some people choose to get into; the trauma survivors who I know and am in contact with are far above that sort of juvenile behaviour.  It’s a perspective issue.  People who are not trauma survivors, in my experience, can provide a certain calming perspective that clicks things into place for me.  Other trauma survivors have been there and can certainly validate my experiences.  We can also help each other along the way with ‘tricks of the trade’ so to speak.  People who are not trauma survivors, though, can help me understand what that’s like.  Even though nobody grows up completely unscathed, the people who have not been through abuse give me a glimpse into what ‘normal’ families are like.  It’s something to measure against, something that helps me see what life should be like.  I don’t know.  This is very hard to explain, but that’s the best I can do.  Anyone else have this issue?

Off to group therapy, then.  (Just joking.)