Category Archives: Mental Illness

Get Aways are Always Good!

This weekend I was able to get away with a really good friend of mine who shares my love for basketball.  Every March, we go watch NCAA Women’s Basketball.  This year, we went out of town, got a hotel room, left our hubby’s at home, and watched basketball for 2 straight days!  No worries, cooking, laundry, cleaning, or stress- just a little March Madness baby!

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It feels like, for that short amount of time, the difficult things of my life are put on hold. My friend is very aware of my DID, she actually was one of the first people who really saw my parts begin to present themselves, and has been a huge support for me.  Outside of my husband, boys, and therapist, I have trusted her with much of my journey with DID.  She recently become a therapist, and has an advantage that most “everyday” people don’t have.  We had a great time together, like similar things, and even enjoyed worshipping between games.  She has an incredible voice and plays guitar.

One thing that you can’t get away from, when you actually get away, is yourself. Because…6a0112792c2d9d28a401157122656e970c

That means for me, the dreams, memories, and body memories that I have been struggling with before I left, go with me, no matter where I go.  I’m glad my friend doesn’t get freaked out when I have nightmares or talk in my sleep.  She is pretty cool with all that at this point in our friendship.  Unfortunately, I have been experiencing some rather uncomfortable pain.  At times it feels unbearable, but mostly uncomfortable. I tried not to let it ruin my weekend, or consume my thoughts, but that wasn’t always possible.

For today,  I’m thankful for a time of relaxation and hanging out with my friend.  I’m thankful for a sweet husband who is good with me getting away and supporting my trip. Even though I had a some rough patches along the way, it was fun and much needed!

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Therapy changed days, and change happens

My usual Friday, long session, was moved to Thursday, except I didn’t know how long it was going to last.  She, my T, asked if I could come Thursday at 11am, but I didn’t ask her about the length of time.  I guess it didn’t matter because we kept going until I shared along with 3 other parts.  Whew!  Those are very exhausting sessions, when I switch multiple times.  It didn’t help that I walked into her office already crying…and continued for the next hour I was present and sharing the following…

I was able to share my feelings (yuck), my irrational thinking (which I was aware of), and my fears of being vulnerable and honest with her.  It was painful, and she kept trying to reassure me that wasn’t accurate or true (which I knew) after each piece, which made it harder to stay focused.  I was able to get through each one and then I thanked her for all the time and generosity she gives, above and beyond what I deserve.  She allows me to contact her more than what I know to be normal for most clients.  I also thanked her for caring about me and my parts.

She complimented me on the work I am doing, saying it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do, and that I am the first client, with DID, she has had that worked this hard.  She said that my perseverance through the difficult things has been like none she has seen before.  All of those kind words were extremely hard to hear, believe and hold as my own.  I am someone who can immediately hear a compliment then throw it out or completely disregard it because I don’t believe it to be truth. So, making myself look straight at her, and say, “Thank you”, and believe her words was a big step for me.images

The session ended well, my teenage part, that has been the focus as of late, came and shared how the two of us are learning to work together.  She is realizing her coping/numbing mechanisms are not healthy or a solution. I am thankful for how far she has come, the work she is doing, and her sincere love and concern for me.  I’m learning that she has been closest to the surface, more than any other part.

She was followed by my 8 yr old, Wendy, who had colored a page, with a frog, for my T.  Frogs are her favorite, and she loves talking about them.  A few minutes after she came, my 5 yr old, Sis, showed up to present her coloring page from the movie, “Inside Out”.  She and my T talked about the movie and good memories they both experienced.  It is always so precious and sweet to listen to the “littles” visit with my T.  She is wonderful with my parts, but uniquely gifted when it comes to my “littles”.  The ability to get on their level, speak to them, and engage in conversation that makes them feel completely at ease…is extraordinary.

My night went well, I actually slept for about 5 straight hours, and that is amazing. The two days of migraines were gone, and my community felt more at ease than it has for the last two weeks.  God is good and still in control.  His plans and purposes for my life are and will always be for good, always!  He loves me along with each and everyone of my parts.  The same God that gave me a way out of abuse, through dissociation, is the Creator of the universe and every living thing.  god-says-you-are-2

Body Memories Suck!

Today was my 3hr session, and it always amazes me how emotionally exhausting it can be. Tonight the emotional hangover sets in and I begin the process of dissecting what took place.  My teenager arrived first thing, which means she drives us there and starts the session. We discovered she had a relapse this morning, which makes me sad for her.  After doing so well for the past 2 weeks, it was a struggle to cope with the things she had shared during Tuesday’s session.

I certainly was not upset with her, she did what she felt was necessary.  I wasn’t sure what was going to take place in today’s session, but once again, I was blindsided. I had noticed a bruise on the upper part of my leg this morning, in the shower. Surprisingly, I seemed puzzled by how it happened.  My teenager talked about how difficult it was to see me so upset and feel responsible after Tuesday. My T spent quality time talking with her about forgiveness, grace, and that letting go of the things, we try so hard to hide, only hurts us in the end. She responded very well.

….enter the blindside….                    ****TRIGGER WARNING****

She said that I noticed a bruise and she wanted to tell me what had happened to cause it to appear.  She began to shake, almost to the point that seemed uncontrollable.  I could feel it as well, and hear what she was saying.  I was thankful for her allowing me to listen from the beginning, but I knew it was going to be difficult.  My T moved beside her, covered her with a blanket, and reassured her that she was safe. She began sharing about the night I got engaged (college boyfriend, who raped me and later on I returned to the relationship unaware, because of my DID, that he was abusive) to a guy who I didn’t really love.  It was the worst proposal ever!  He was at my family home, waiting for me to return from a conference.  He handed the ring to me while I was opening the cabinet to get a glass, and said, “I thought you may want this so we could make it official.”  Really?? Not even on one knee?  No expression of your love and dedication?  Nope, none, zilch, nada!

My equally abusive parents were in the next room, sitting in their usual chairs, watching TV, when I walked in to say, “I’m engaged.”  They didn’t move, hug me, take a picture, congratulate us, nothing!  They said, “Ya, we heard.”  What??? I’m I in some sort of freaking nightmare?  Wow, could it get any worse?  Oh ya!

At some point I dissociated and headed to bed.  Apparently, I was unaware that he had to stay at our home, since he lived 4 hours away.  My teenage part began to share that he forced her/me to have sex and caused the bruising on my legs.  As she shared more, she continued to shake the entire time, wondering why she couldn’t “go away” and why he was so rough and mean.  The automatic body responses followed and she began to cry and asking for my T to explain what happened.

I wanted to wrap my arms around her, hold her tight, and tell her everything was going to be okay. My T was so good at calming her down, making her feel safe and cared for in that very moment. When I returned to the present, I broke down and sobbed. I asked if I was ever going to be normal again, if this was ever going to end, and why did my parts and myself, have to go through all this suffering.  My T must have been crying as well, which is so comforting and validating (in a caring way).

Honestly, I don’t know how any T could hear these kinds of events in clients’  lives  and not have some type of reaction.  They are strong and courageous people, who have a unique and special gift to work with trauma victims. May God bless them and the work they do!

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After about 20 minutes of tears, hugs, and prayer, I was able to gather my thoughts  and talk through what I had just heard.  I took a break and went to the bathroom, and noticed that my other leg had a bruise in about the same location as my other leg.  I knew that it had happened during my teenager reliving a traumatic event and going through the emotions associated with them to hopefully heal and move forward. My T had explained to her before I was present, that it is a process called abreaction. This process gives clients a way to release their unconscious pain and escape from the memories and feelings that have kept them from moving forward.

I hate body memories, reactions, and overwhelming emotions…and this week has been record breaking in all those areas.  Ugh!  This is the time where I would want someone to walk in, give me a plane ticket for two, to a beach, on an island, where my hubby and me would be catered to for a whole week. Ahhhhh sounds perfect!  But for now, I’m going to bed, asking God for at least 4 solid hours of sleep, and trusting that tomorrow will be a new and better day!

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Hello, from the inside…

Today seems to be another day of nausea and wondering.  Wondering how it is that most of the week I’ve felt sick to my stomach, and if it has do with drinking?? The not knowing things about what happens to me, wears me out!  And am I drinking?  Is this a constant hangover that is never ending? Hmmmmm, just wondering…52d24db82368e8a5b865c83a202bde28

I also wonder and hate having to go through photo albums and journals to find out about my past, my life, what took place, things that happened, which I don’t/can’t remember!  This seems so unfair and at times exhausting.  When I don’t sleep well, I lay in bed and wonder…. what is really happening, is this stuff for real, can I even trust myself and the things I hear? Are these memories real?

 

 

 

 

He uses every hurt, nothing is wasted!

I have not been on to blog for a few days, not sure why, but maybe I simply get tired of the same cycle.  Although there has been significant progress in many areas, I’m grateful for the answers to prayers, and the help I’m receiving, it is easy to find myself feeling alone and broken.

How can I fix this?  I can’t share information until I fix it first. If I could only figure out why this is happening, or why I am feeling this way.  What can I do to make it stop?  I should be able to do something.  I need to get it together, then I can move forward.  What if I never feel right again?

All those statements/questions burn through my mind on a daily basis, and yet the answer will always remain the same.  It’s NOT about me doing anything, because I can’t fix it. It’s about what God is doing IN and THROUGH me.  Only He knows the answers to my questions, the truth behind the statements, and His answers will come in His time. They will be for my good, and His purpose.

But….I hate the pain and suffering!  God doesn’t promise we won’t feel pain and suffering, ugh!  We live in a world full of sin, and sinful people, driven by sinful nature.  We hurt each other.  We need God!  We need His promises, truths, strength, and Jesus.  We are guaranteed eternal life with Him someday, if we believe in Him, ask for forgiveness and live for Him.  God loved us so much He gave His son, who endured horrible physical, emotional and unthinkable abuse.  Guess what?  He didn’t do anything to deserve it!  Like those of us who have suffered similar abuse; we didn’t do anything to deserve it either.  Yet we all need someone to save us…and that someone is Jesus.

He knows exactly how we feel, what we went through, endured, suffered, cried out for, and He wept for us.  He didn’t give us more than we could handle, without His grace and mercy.  So today, if you are struggling, hurting, crying…whatever it is, call out His name and ask Him to save you!  Believe Him, Trust Him, Have Faith in Him, Tell Him what happened, Confess and be Washed White as Snow, and live your life with Him.

You won’t wake up feeling “all better”, “normal” or “someone else”.  You will wake up a new person, the old has gone the new has come.  A fresh start, new beginning, someone to always be there in the difficult times when we have: “to tell our stories”, sleepless nights”, “flashbacks/memories”, “body pains”, “to seek therapy”, “to break addictions”, “loneliness”, “unhealthy attachments”, etc.                                                                                  Jesus will never leave you or abandon you, EVER!  It’s a promise!

I fall down, fail, scream at Him, stop trusting, question Him.  I forget He is my rock, my shield, my comforter, my savior, but He knows it before I ever do any of that, that is what is so great about God’s love, even when we (whatever)…..He loves us!

God uses all the good, bad and ugly in our lives to make us beautiful, if we believe in Him.  He makes beauty out of our ashes. Let Him make you beautiful today!

Isaiah 61:1-3~The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives, and to open the eyes of the blind. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of God’s favor to them has come, and the day of his wrath to their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

 

Friday Therapy

Yesterday was a long session, I was preparing mentally for it all week. I had shared in my previous post about the body memories and how it was affecting us all.  This was what we worked on yesterday.  I knew I needed to be present as Kat shared her trauma,  to hear it, understand it, and love her through it.  She shared hard things, painful memories, and I am so proud of her, she is so brave!

What I’ve learned about myself in all of this, is that each part of me has a story to share, whether it be trauma, abuse, neglect, or anything thing else.  They came for a specific purpose- to help me, and keep me protected.  They need to feel safe, believed and know I’m going to be okay before they share anything.

This process takes a long time, but can take even longer unless you have a therapist who understands, knows what they are doing with DID, and cares about you and your inside parts.  I will say, it is difficult to find someone qualified enough to walk you through the journey, but when you find them….do the work it takes, you are worth being whole and healed!

We made it through the session, crying, wrapped up in a blanket and curled up on the couch…there seems to be comfort in being wrapped in a blanket.  My inner circle of support have started calling it the “Blanket of Vulnerability”.  I am not a fan of vulnerability or sharing my deepest thoughts and emotions, because at a young age- it wasn’t allowed.  I am learning to do it now, it’s painful at times, but oh, so necesssary for healing.

None of this is easy.  No one said it would be. It’s painful and grueling at times. I hate that. I am embracing it. I do my best. I keep fighting.  I stumble and fall.  I get back up.  I hit the restart button.  I know God is with me.  He has gone before me.  He gives me strength. He loves me NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! And I am going to be okay, even good!

My hope is in the Lord….my hope of finding healing and wholeness can only come through Him.  I love these quotes from the movie Shawshank Redemption, I know that seems weird, but they have encouraged me many times.

 

 

Body Memories***

***I want to say upfront that this may be triggering, so please read with caution or not at all! I am trying to come to terms with automatic body responses that are coming up in my recent awareness of another part’s sexual abuse experience.***

When I first learned about my diagnosis, I had no idea the complexity that would be involved in having Dissociative Identity Disorder, or the pieces that would need put back together.  I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster for the past 3 yrs., but also on the fast track to healing and wholeness.

Sure, there are days that really knock me back or even out for a short time.  If you’ve read any of my post’s you would quickly agree that things change suddenly in my world.  However, there is this piece of body memories/automatic body responses or what some call, unwanted sexual arousal, feelings or stimulation with sexual abuse.  All of which make me want to vomit when I hear those words!

I haven’t been able to address this in therapy, because simply put, it is too shameful.  How can I say, out loud, that I can feel those reactions happening when I’m having nightmares, flashbacks, or even worse, when I’m trying to talk about the experience??

It feels BAD, WRONG, SHAMEFUL, DISGUSTING…what is wrong with me that I would even feel that.  I didn’t like it, I’m sure!  The parts that have experienced this have hated it, hated sharing about it, and I don’t want to deal with it either.

I’ve been reading about this topic, trying to find some way to reconcile it in my head.  I need to support the parts affected, care and love them through it, and myself.  But how? Here are some things I’ve been reading:

“Some survivors find that feeling shame about having sexual feelings prevents them from fully processing their memories. As soon as they remember and feel sexual feelings, they distance themselves from the memory and can’t go any further with it. They’re stuck there, unable to release their emotions or fully process the memory.”

“Some survivors are terrified to tell any one including their therapist that when they remember and talk about sexual abuse they feel sexual feelings in their body just as they feel other feelings and body sensations. They are afraid of being viewed as sexually inappropriate, attracted to the therapist or friend, or turned on by sexual abuse i.e. a perpetrator.”

“No matter how you felt during the abuse or feel now, you are not responsible for the abuse.  You are not to blame for what the abuser did, and you and your body are completely separate from the abuser. Even if it doesn’t feel that way, it’s still true. It doesn’t matter what your body did or didn’t do; you and your body were simply coping as best you could given the circumstances”

“Experiencing sexual feelings during abuse or while remembering or talking about sexual abuse is not something anyone should have to feel guilty about.”

“For some survivors the fact that they felt sexually aroused in an abuse context is embarrassing or shameful to admit but the more survivors – in fact, all of us – talk about this issue, the easier and less shameful it becomes. When we talk openly about something, we take away its power or emotional charge.”

“Survivors reduce the emotional charge, connected to this issue, by talking/writing/drawing about it; not listening to anyone who tells them how they “should” feel; acknowledging and accepting how they felt and feel; recognizing that none of their feelings make them crazy or bad, or like the abuser; and by fostering compassion and understanding for themselves and their body. It’s possible to feel better about this issue – one tiny step at a time.”

Maybe this will help me, you, or someone going through this experience.  Does anyone else feel this way?  Because somedays it makes me feel crazy inside.  Trusting and believing that I’m going to be okay, the parts of me are going to be okay, and we are going to make it through this….well, somedays it’s all I have.

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An “ah, ha” moment

Sunday’s, oh how they sneak up on me and then- BAM! I’m an emotional mess. Well, this Sunday was no different, but it sort of was, at the same time.  I didn’t sleep well, no surprise, but I also had another headache.  When I got up to take my migraine meds, I heard this voice from inside say, “Please, don’t take that medicine!  I promise, it’s not a migraine.”  

That felt so weird, since this part of me rarely communicates with me, but it was loud and clear that morning.  I took some Excedrin, decided to lay back down and let it run it’s course.  A few minutes later, I’m feeling this odd sensation to get up and work on my BSF lesson.  At this point, I realize that Kat (17) is communicating with me, and I want to acknowledge her.  We head out to the kitchen, get some coffee, slice up a grapefruit, I prayed out loud, we begin to read scripture and answer questions.

As I am reading verses I’ve read before and am familiar with, I notice I’m reading out loud and asking myself questions.  It feels like when I was 21, and a new Christian.  I had so many questions about the bible.  Was this stuff really true?  Is it really this easy?  Does God really forgive ALL my sins, for real??

All this was familiar and I knew she was asking me these questions.  This process of healing, finding freedom, and ongoing integration with my Dissociative Identity Disorder, has always been my goal.  What I wasn’t planning on was this journey of making sure the parts of me knew Jesus.  Not to simply learn about Him, but to experience the relationship, love, forgiveness, and salvation He offers.  I know some of you are thinking, “Man, this chick is messed up!”  Maybe so, but I want to make sure, when the time is right, that all the precious parts of me know and believe in Jesus.  I have no better gift to share with them, other than letting each one share their stories, be believed, and help them through their individual trauma and abuse.  Jesus doesn’t just love me-Host.  He loves every part of me.  And He wants us to be healed!!

I know some may have another meaning for these particular verses in 1 Corinthians, but for me, it speaks not only about the church body, but my personal body too.

1-Corinthians-14-12-also1 Corinthians 12:14-26 (NLT)

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

I am grateful to be involved in my healing, taking the steps to trust God, my therapist, and myself.  It isn’t easy, most days, I want to quit.  I hate feeling this way, it hurts too badly, and I want things (people) I can never have.  God knows my suffering, He will not allow more than I can take-without Him!

 

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“United as One”

 

…the day after

It’s the day after therapy, and I woke up in the middle of the night with a killer migraine.  Those are usually attached to a part of me on the inside.  K (part) is the one who has been going through these difficult memories and sharing them in therapy.  I shouldn’t be surprised about her getting a migraine, because she has gone through so much lately.

K is a fighter and I am so proud of the work she has done, and continues to do.  She is spunky, out-spoken, and does not like to talk about painful things…but who really does??  Since we figured out she has the migraines, we know that it is a body memory, and usually they can’t be fixed with meds.

I have a “cocktail” of meds to take when it comes on, since migraines are debilitating, but it knocks me out.  I sleep and give it time to dissipate.  The problem is, I don’t like taking meds, these particular ones make me groggy the rest of the day, and I sleep for 8-10 hours.  Now, that may sound awesome, since I only get 3-4 hours a night.  It’s the after effects of feeling drugged, that I don’t care for very much.

Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often these days.  And I am glad I have a plan, with a way to combat the migraine.  K has spent all day wrapped up in her gray, soft, and warm blanket.  We feel so secure and safe inside our own private cave.  Somedays it’s okay to lay around, in your PJs, with a fire and warm cozy blanket.  It’s like being wrapped up in the arms of our heavenly Father, who says, “I will never leave you, or abandon you.”

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Sleepless nights & Emotional Hangovers

Tuesday was my first day back to therapy after a 2 week, Christmas break.  Things on the “inside” seemed to grow increasingly worse, and I wanted to “be done” with all of it!  Not show up for work, bible study, or therapy on Tuesday.  What was the point, too much, too many emotions, too many tears, too much pain, too much everything…

I managed to get up and run with my friend, which always, always helps get me somewhat focused.  Somedays, I just want to keep running and never stop.  Running for me, is a way of escape, getting my mind refocused, and even though I sleep 3-4hrs a night, it helps me physically.

After my run, and shower, I headed out for BSF and praying that God would show me something.  I realize He is always with me, never leaving me “out there hanging”, but on days like yesterday, I needed something.  He is faithful, and gave me comfort in another person’s answer to a question, “God intensely loves me, He is personal and intimate in how He cares for me.”  Wow!  Just what I needed to hear.  God is so Good!

From there I headed off to therapy, which I knew was going to be difficult, for two reasons:

  1. It had been 2 weeks since my last session, and we left things undone with one of my teenage parts.
  2. She did NOT want to share her trauma.

I was switched from the start of the session, until end, two hours later.  I hate when that happens, because I don’t get to say the things I’d like, but mostly, because I was blocked from hearing the conversation.  My teenage part, who is out-going, fun, aggressive, and an enigma at times, hates being trapped in any kind of pain-mentally, emotionally, or physically. She will do anything to numb those feelings.  Which is why, for the past 2 weeks, her behaviors have escalated:  cutting, binging and purging, drinking, prescription drug use, and thoughts of suicide.

She shared some extremely hard memories with my therapist, and at one point tried to leave the room.  She was brave and courageous!  She was able to trust D (therapist), and share her abuse,  or as much as she could handle for a session.  My therapist called later that evening to check on me, and see how I was doing. She had suggested I go home and sleep, instead of going to work.  We usually have a plan in place when there are difficult sessions, and yesterday, the plan actually worked!

I had decided to sit in the lobby for a few minutes, allowing myself to somehow move forward from something I knew nothing of, but felt so sad and heavy inside.  The tears began to roll down my cheeks, on after another, until they seemed to have no end.  This is when I leave, because the idea that someone would see me this way, is not acceptable.  When I felt steady enough, I stood up, walked slowly toward the door, and out to my car. I knew I was going to require help getting home, I called my employer, who is a therapist as well, and she talked me all the way home.  She was a true blessing!

When I arrived, I took a scalding hot shower (which was odd for me), put my PJs on and got into bed at 4:30pm.  I didn’t get out until my husband arrived home at 6:30pm.  Not sure how much I slept, spent lots of time staring at the wall and crying.  But what was so terrible?  I can only speculate, and you know what they say about speculating…..Don’t do it!

So today, I am exhausted from all the emotions, the tears, the headache from crying and 1 hour of sleep.  Selfishly, I want my therapist to tell me what happened, but I know she cannot betray trust.  I’m trying to block it out, but like waves crashing against the rocks, it seems to never end.  My therapist, husband, friends, and myself are all praying and asking God for peace and comfort in the waiting, for me and my teenage part to know she is loved and cared about too.

We go back Friday for our long (3hr) session.  I hope I can make it until then!