Tag Archives: addictions

Parts, Addictions and Withdrawal

I’ve been out of touch for awhile… mainly because I don’t know how to explain the things that have been happening. My journey with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) has had it ups and downs, good and bad days and learning more about myself than I thought was possible. I wouldn’t change a thing because I am putting the pieces of my life back together.

For several months, my therapist and I have been working with Kat, my teenager who has struggled with various addictions. I work for therapist’s who are trained in addictions; I see the struggle people have on a daily basis. This was not going to be easy or quick, but it was possible!

Kat and I are so much alike and yet so different. My therapist has a hard time knowing who she is talking with, as are switching is almost flawless. Yet at the same time, we have completely different personalities (duh)!

She is out-going, fun, adventurous, speaks her mind-freely, confident, hilarious, creative, kind-hearted, always wants everyone to be happy without showing negative emotions. She helps me see the lighter side of life, try new things, gets me out of the dual thinking- right/wrong, good/bad, up/down, and not take myself so seriously. I am grateful for the things she has taught me along the way.

I understand her eating disorder, the struggle to not binge and purge and her need to numb with medication. What I haven’t been able to understand is the cutting, smoking and drinking. It’s amazing how I can hate to smoke or the smell of smoke and yet, I smoke. And what I didn’t realize is that she has a serious drinking problem. I enjoy an occasional drink, but she needs it everyday. This was shocking and yet heart-breaking for me to learn. I understand her using all these behaviors to numb the pain of the abuse she endured. She took all of that for me, so I could survive.

Until recently, she didn’t want anyone to know how much she drank. When she opened up in therapy, my therapist was encouraging, supportive and adamant that she begin the process to stop. We had used EMDR, a few times, with success. One particular session, my therapist used it to target my migraines. We found much needed relief and thought maybe we could target the drinking as well.

Kat hates to talk about painful experiences (but who does). She will avoid, by aggressively escaping any painful situation. The emotions are too much for her. EMDR is a helpful way for her to connect with memories, but not for a long period of time. Like being on a train, seeing the landscape and then moving on to the next scene. She would get an image, connect it with a memory and connect that with wanting to drink.

My therapist felt like EMDR would help her connect the triggers and memories that made her drink. She was right and we began a modified version to help Kat. They would target whatever came up for her each day. We never knew where these sessions would lead, but each of us were willing to go. It was exhausting for her and me both. After each session we would need to go home and sleep; sometimes we never made it out of the parking lot. ūüôā

What I wasn’t prepared for was the withdrawal symptoms. They came mostly in the night; sweating, shaking, chills, weird anxious thoughts, cramps, sometimes vomiting and throughout the day were these flu-like symptoms. It lasted about 5 days and she was did incredibly well. My therapist suggested we do an “in-house” treatment. We wouldn’t go away to treatment, mainly because it would be complicated with being DID. She wanted to see Kat everyday and wanted her to be the one to say what she needed daily. Whew, that was hard all by itself!

We had unfortunate “life events” happen at the end of that first week, but we have continued to battle through. I have been incredibly proud of her, her perseverance, courage and strength. She has faced difficult memories and emotions, but with the help of my therapist and me staying present with her, she is winning! On a side note, my therapist had made the time each day to see her, allowed contact outside of the office, and was willing to go to those ‘hard places’ to help her find freedom. That is priceless and I will never be able to thank her enough!

DID is complicated, a way of survival, a painful and grueling work, sad, confusing, unpredictable, a unique gift from God and yet so delicate to walk through. Learning about each precious part of you that makes up the whole of ¬†who you are….amazing! I am without words, to express my heart-felt gratitude and support of my family, friends and therapist. Truly a BLESSING!

 

 

 

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

“Extreme¬†and¬†undesirable¬†circumstances¬†or¬†situations¬†can¬†only¬†be¬†resolved¬†by¬†resorting¬†to¬†equally¬†extreme¬†actions;¬†actions that might seem extreme under normal circumstances are appropriate during adversity.”¬†

giphy

As I shared in my last post, I was completely undone by a blindsided experience. It was the proverbial ‘last straw’ in a series of events that have been going for the past 4 weeks. During therapy Friday, my 3 hour session was jam packed with my teenage part doing some incredibly hard work. Kat had walked out of therapy on Tuesday with every intention to end her life, which in turn means mine as well. When parts engage in active suicidal ideation, they need to understand that they aren’t the only ones affected by the action. We all will be victim to whatever is done.

Kat is my part that has several addictive behaviors and they have been extremely evident during these past 4 wks. It has been wearisome and heartbreaking for me to deal with the ways she harms herself. We had made some excellent progress and it was breaking my heart to see her suffer. Tuesday she was the lowest she’s ever been; she stood up to walk out of therapy, as she reached for the doorknob, she turned back, faced my therapist and said, “You have to let me go.” My T took her by the hands and said, “Absolutely not! Never, not going to happen; no!”¬†They hugged and Kat walked out! My T was very worried but had another client waiting.

My T always hates when she doesn’t get to talk to ‘me’ during a session, especially in times like these. However, what we weren’t aware of, is that God had a plan for Kat. She walked to my car with every intention to take a bottle of pills followed by a bottle of vodka, but something within her shifted. She walked back into office, sat down in the waiting area, (since my T was in a session) and waited. While she sat there, she picked up a book, a devotional called,¬†Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence.¬†¬†

She turned to that days devotional and read this:¬†“Nothing can separate you from God‚Äôs love. When you are facing tough times, I will help you and strengthen you with My Love. ¬†Even though you live in a world where trouble is inescapable, you can be of good cheer because I have overcome the world!‚ÄĚ

hand reaching down to save

In that moment, God reached down and met Kat in her hopelessness. He saved her, all of us, from harm. God says in Hebrews 13:5,¬†‚ÄúI will never leave you.¬†I will never desert you.‚Ä̬†Grateful, thankful, blessed, are all I can say about what took place in that moment! God loves each and every part of me, period! He created a way for me to survive horrible abuse.¬†Dissociation is a gift from God that allows people to cope when they would otherwise turn to suicide or mentally locked up because of the trauma. It is a lifesaving technique for survival.

When Kat returned to therapy on Friday, she apologized to my T and they were able to address the issues that surrounded her behaviors. I can’t put into words just how amazing my T was that day, actually she is amazing most days! It was a major step forward in Kat’s healing and us as a whole. And then I was blindside, once again, 2 hours later…

I went home, completely shut down, cried until I couldn’t breathe, told my husband I couldn’t do this again, wanted to die and asked him to call and admit me somewhere. I sent an email to my therapist, who unfortunately was involved in this blindside, and told her I wouldn’t be back. I was emotionally broken and exhausted. I thanked her for her incredible work with us all. Of course she was confused and wanted to get to the bottom of whatever the issue was. I didn’t respond and went to bed emotional, numb and extremely worn down. In the morning, she sent another email saying she didn’t agree with me- shocker! ¬†I had said it was my job to protect us all from enduring another blindside and from continuing on with therapy…she didn’t agree!

She said, “I don’t know why we can’t handle this like everything else: by me showing up, talking to parts affected, finding out what was done to me, so that we can dismantle it.” She had a few revelations and suggested we meet to discuss them in person- if I felt it was a good idea. It was Saturday; she was willing to meet me because allowing¬†anything to get in the way of my progress wasn’t going to happen. I have no words for her kindness, care, generosity, grace and a willingness to fight for my freedom!

We started at 12:30PM and ended at 5:00PM…desperate times call for desperate measures! Together, we dug in, worked incredibly hard and didn’t quit until we unraveled every piece to this puzzle. All I can say is, thank you Jesus! I feel completely different today, like whatever was squeezing the life out of me, is gone! I’m hoping this chapter of my life is over and we can move forward in the healing process. Grateful, Thankful, Blessed!

Whew, long sessions wear me out!

Friday therapy is my long one, and today I was literally “gone” for 2hrs and 45min. ¬†My teenager, who has been gone, did all the talking. ¬†There was 15min. left when I “came back” to present. ¬†It is wearisome work. I was exhausted, had one of those emotional¬†headaches, and wanted to sleep. I heard about half of what was said, I think. ¬†The information I did get, I’m pretty sure was not over 2 hrs. worth, hmmm….”Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do!”

57091963

Anyway, all humor aside, it was good and very productive. ¬†She is my part that engages in multiple addictive/harmful behaviors. ¬†She has made me aware of her alcohol and cigs stash, showed me what she uses to cut, and we talked about the bulimia. ¬†I can’t imagine trying to stop all that at once, so it will require patience and grace, lots of grace. ¬†I believe in her 100%, she is a fighter, and we are going to do it together.

My therapist (D) spent a significant amount of time with her on the topic support. Learning to¬†depend on others, letting her people know when she is struggling, communicating with me, journaling, and that she could always text D, if needed. ¬†It isn’t different than any other ‘outside person’, we all need accountability and support. ¬†We need love not judgment, care not criticism, encouragement not put-downs.

My husband has been a strong support for me and has been there for “his girls”, as he calls them. ¬†He can hug and rock them when they need, where I can’t wrap my arms around myself, like I want to be held. ¬†I am truly blessed by his unconditional love for all of us!

Looking forward to progress, even if it is slow, or stalled at times. ¬†One day at a time; and we can always hit “Restart” at any moment.