Tag Archives: DID

Finding a Purpose

I have found myself asking the same question, although many different ways, over and over again. “What is my purpose?” “What will I be when I grow up?” “Will I ever be able to have a career again?” “How long is all this going to take?” “What am I going to do with my life?” “I’m 48, now what?” “What is God’s will for my life?” “Will I ever be healed or well enough to have a career?” Even though I know all the “right” answers to this question, I am finding difficulty in believing there’s actually something better waiting for me.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my job as an office manager for two, incredibly gifted, respected and caring therapists. They have given me an opportunity to be involved in the workplace, while I’m intensely seeking my own therapy and healing. I am blessed to be there, no question!

I had two incredible career experiences prior to resigning and working on “Me, myself, and the gang! This journey, the past 5 1/2 years, has taken many turns, seen many road blocks, small crashes, lost some much needed baggage, allowed me to breathe again, challenged me to do things I would never do, depend on others, trust, believe, love, witnessed miracles, freedom and have faith that God will continue to bring healing.

Sounds like I’m whining, huh?  Probably a great deal of truth in that statement. I have always achieved what I set out to accomplish. I was always afraid to try anything that could possibly be a failure; that didn’t leave much to choose from. My inside parts have taught me countless things I NEVER knew about myself; it continues to blow my mind. Here are a few examples of things I would never try, never liked or not considered before:

  • We love to cook
  • We can sew, don’t use patterns, make things up as we go
  • We make jewelry by taking old pieces, busting them up and recreating them into beautiful things
  • We paint shoes or rings or jewelry
  • We can read music and play some on the piano
  • We design websites and logos
  • We draw and illustrate each sketch
  • We love and ride horses
  • We love to shop and by shop, I mean clothes and shoes

There is probably more, but you get the point. Shocking to myself, my family and those close to me to see it all unfold. Well, they may not be as shocked as I am! My therapist is always saying, “You can do anything! Is there anything you can’t do? ” She jokes about how she wishes she could do even some of those things.

Then why sit and wonder what my purpose is moving forward? It starts with the truth; it’s not about me. Yep, that’s right ________, it’s NOT about you! Life is about God. He created me, on purpose, to bring Him glory. It goes against most of what we hear on a daily basis, in our society, if we were to watch the news.:) But believing and living otherwise would be a never-ending, empty, uphill battle.

Making life choices, based solely, on what makes me “happy” will be a waste of my time. Seeking God first, allowing Him to lead and show me my purpose; that’s what He intended for this adventurous life. I think my struggle comes from a place of fear. Fear of not being able to do the things I once did; fear that I can’t handle a full time career. I can’t let those fears drive me or my decisions. What would bring God glory? That’s my purpose…

Matthew 10:39 says, “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”

Matthew 7:7 says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

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. 🙂

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!

 

 

 

Damn Migraines

It’s been a week ago today that I have had reoccurring migraines! My therapist has been on vacation since last Wednesday, I’m too freaking prideful to call and ask her to talk (not like she can cure it), and I’m walking around like a fucking zombie because of all the meds! My husband and boys have to take care of me, since I can barely get out of bed. It seriously hurts to eat crackers so I can take my meds that knock me out. And I’m pretty sure I look like the lady in that pic….damn migraines!!

I know it’s connected to trauma, memories and flashbacks I had after my last therapy session. The timing sucks that my T is gone until next week. Can I even make another 5 days with this pain??

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Good and Bad News

I have been absent for awhile; not real sure why. I’ve experienced some highs and lows for the past week and a half. Generally, I’m the type of person who wants to hear the bad news first, but today I’m changing things up. Sharing the good news first, it may help change my perspective…or not! giphy

 

The good news is… I’ve decided to return to my previous job, working for those “damn therapist” friends. There has been incredible amounts of healing that had to take place before this was even a consideration. All those who were involved in this (no one knows what to call it) “thing” have taken separate paths to deal with this individually.

At first, it seemed like this entire mess was all my fault. In fact, I took the blame for losing my job, friends, therapist and any trust that I once had. It’s amazing how my mind worked during that extremely, horrible event. In the past, I would have said,  F_ _ _ _ You all, and walked away! Now, after many years of working in therapy, allowing God to change me and learning to care about me; I was broken! Broken in the sense that I really do care, about people, what I do, and even myself. God showed me many areas of my life where I needed to change; He used this time to heal and restore.

I know that 2 of these ladies have gone through similar experiences during this “thing” and we’ve all come out better people because of it. I will never under-estimate the power of restoration in each of our lives. There is always hope for resolution, but because I constantly think negatively, I truly didn’t think it would ever come about. Blessed, Thankful, Grateful…these are the words that come to mind when I see what God has done!

I’ve started back to work, slowly, and being very aware of how quickly things escalated to bring about the previous disaster.  I’ve been able to talk about it with them, honestly and without angry or judgment. And that is a beautiful thing!! What we all realized is, each one of us had our own, completely separate, issue that needed healed. We did the hard work in therapy to achieve that, and it’s why I’m back there now. We are stronger and better people because of this “thing” and for the record- No, I wouldn’t want to do it again!

I guess one would say, “That is great news!”…..1giphy

 

 

 

 

Now, for the bad news..      ***Trigger Warning*** (massage/abuse)

It has taken me years, lots of therapy and a complete mind set change, to ever think about getting a massage. As an abuse survivor, from childhood to my teens, this is one area that was always off limits. Yes, I’ve read many articles stating that physical touch, such as  massages, can be very healing when done appropriately. There are many benefits to having one on a regular basis. A few years ago, I found myself at a place that does foot/back massages. You are fully clothed and in a room of other people having the same thing done. It was a quiet, peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. I had no idea places like this existed, but was open to try it out. There was one little problem though…I hated anyone touching my feet! I mean, I would absolutely lose control if someone even joked about touching them! It was like I snapped and there was no going back!

I felt trapped in the place of “what am I going to do when he touches my feet?” In that moment, I began to cry and pray and pray and pray. I asked God to just get me through it, PLEASE! Well, He got me through it AND I was okay. It wasn’t so bad….so fast forward 3 years later. Last year I started getting a full body massage once a month, then the past 3 months every week.  I would go after my Friday (3hr.) therapy session and it was so beneficial. Especially when I was doing the manual labor job; it was killing my body!

Last Friday something happened during the massage. I felt strange; I knew I had switched during the massage (which isn’t uncommon for me) and something wasn’t quite right. By that evening, my teenage part, Kat, had come out and started smoking and drinking. I alerted my therapist, but Kat began texting her saying it was “all good”! That is always Kat’s coping defense- reframing; turning the bad into good, even when it’s not the truth. She hates having to talk about emotionally distressing events; I don’t blame her, but it’s how we heal. And of course, this all happened when she was mostly present to the massage. She also felt completely responsible that something happened, because she was the one that help push me to start getting them. She was afraid I would hate her, if she told.

This is such a hard area for me; I absolutely do NOT hate her and it’s NOT her fault. It’s one thing when your parts begin sharing their trauma from the past, but it’s a whole other deal when they have to be involved in “real-time life”. Shit happens in life; I know that all too well. It’s when it affects all of us that pisses me off. I’m a mom, my boys are 23 and 21 and I would do ANYTHING to protect them. The parts of me are the same…I NEVER want them to experience anymore trauma and I want to protect them at all cost! But like with my boys, I can’t protect them from everything, no matter how hard I try.

Kat did share, in therapy, what took place in the massage room. I’m thankful it wasn’t as bad as I envisioned in my head. It was inappropriate and absolutely wrong!! We will never go back and at this point, I’ll NEVER have another massage. I HATE people who feel the need to take advantage of others in an extremely vulnerable place! And like past trauma, it’s made it way into this experience. There is a link to Kat’s past trauma and this one; I feel completely responsible for putting her in another place where she had to protect me. She feels the same way about me though….Damn it! I hate this for both of us!

Share Your Struggles…You Never Know

It’s Thursday and I have had 3 migraines since Friday! I realize that this is completely wrecking me physically, emotionally and mentally.  I can’t be present to myself, my family, my job, my life….when does it end? I’m sick of myself saying the same thing over and over again. Then the kind words from everyone saying…This is temporary,  it’s only a season, it won’t last, the worst is behind me, God has this, God has me, I am strong, brave, courageous…blah, blah, blah

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Now don’t get me wrong, I know all that is true! I am thankful for all of the support, but damn it, I want out of this pit. The crying is too much, and it comes out nowhere. I’m sure it’s a little depression; I certainly know what that feels like.  Not willing to get back on an antidepressant because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. My dissociation is stronger and more frequent, since I don’t like what it happening.

I attempted canceling therapy for tomorrow, using the migraine as a way out, even though it’s the truth.  However, the migraines are here because I need to talk through stuff and that means going to therapy.  My mental state has been so bad at times that I have wanted to call my parents so they can tell me I’m okay. Geesh! Like they have ever said I was okay…but that is where I am right now.

So right now I’m sitting in the dark, in my bed, alone, crying off and on (more on than off), my kids and husband are gone for the evening, and that is never a good combination. I have this “cocktail” of medication for my migraines, it only knocks me out, not the migraine, and I’m thinking, “Perhaps I should take 1 or 12 of these???”  I would be knocked out for sure- completely out!  But I’m not going to because it’s not who I am, who I want to be, and it’s not the answer.

So I want to share something I read tonight as I lay here in this depressed state….I believe God gives us exactly what we need at exactly the perfect time. I was going through and reading blogs that I follow, catching up and hoping to find some encouragement along the way.  This “blog community” has been a valuable resource for me in my healing journey.  But this particular blog I read possibly changed my perspective, well not possibly, it absolutely, without question, took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and unmistakably changed my thinking.

I don’t believe in coincidences, but believe God is in all things, speaks through others, even when they don’t realize.  God uses our struggles to make us stronger, but also when we speak them, share them, write them on a post; He will use them all!

Tonight when I arrived home from work, early, due to an oncoming migraine, I was taking my jewelry off and I noticed the 2 pictures I have hanging above my dresser.  One is when I was 5yrs old and the other I think 7 or 8.  I just stared at them for a moment and then got in bed and began to cry, thinking all this is so not worth another day!

And then I read Rachel’s blog post. This is what changed things for me.  She shared her struggles, who suicidal thinking, all the while being honest and vulnerable.

I don’t think I would actually pull the trigger. I don’t think, even if I had a gun, I could actually do it. Because I don’t believe in killing, and I am a person. And would be killing a person. And also, that 3 year old keeps flashing in my mind. That 3 year old me, I can’t shoot her in the head. I looked at an old picture, and just can’t imagine killing her. So I don’t think I am actually in danger, I just feel really bad right now. And I don’t even feel reactive about it, that I need to necessarily do anything about it, other than take care of myself and wade through it as best I can until it passes. Clearly something is being worked out.”

Thank you, Rachel! Thank you for being real, honest and seen.  You had no idea when you put those words out there that someone, somewhere, would be encouraged. God used your life experiences to get me through a difficult place.

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It’s My Turn

In an email to my therapist, my teenage, protector part (B) said this, “Well, it’s her turn now.  She (me) wants us to “get it out” now she can.  We aren’t the only ones with those shitty memories.”  Wow, that was a stinger!  Although she is right, I want each of my parts to share, ‘get out’ whatever they need and feel safe;  I hesitate to begin my own processing.

My session on Tuesday was not as long as normal, I had put together an outline of things I wanted to talk about, but could never get there. I felt scattered in my thinking, on the verge of tears, and was struggling to tell my T how I was feeling.  As soon as I would start talking, I could feel the tears surface.

We discussed the session last week, with my parts and the abuse they endured. It is always beneficial to process afterwards, and we had done that last week, and again on Tuesday. I feel surprisingly at peace with what took place, even though it was emotionally and physically exhausting. From there, I shared how the day before I couldn’t go to work, spiraled into wrong thinking that, “maybe I don’t really have DID”, “maybe I can begin communication with my family now”, “maybe this is all my fault”, blah, blah blah!  Geesh, I know all this is normal thinking along the way, but when does it stop??

I also talked about how I feel like I’m holding these 2 bubble lives, one bubble has my husband, boys, friends and therapist, and the other bubble is my hometown, my family of origin, old friends and abusers.  The first bubble is where I live now, with care, support and love I receive from everyone in the bubble.  I can go for a week and say that this is my new life, family, friends, etc. and I don’t ever need to make contact with my home family.  Then the second bubble pops up and I tell myself I can never change, this is my reality, the people in there will never believe me or support me, but that is because I caused all this mess.  I went on to say the first bubble is “to good to be true”, eventually someone is going to pop it and I will be abandoned once again.  So, I need to pop it myself, because it won’t hurt as badly as it did the times before. I need to cut them off before they cut me off!

My T responded with something rather shocking…she said both bubbles are true.  The first one is full of people who love, care and support you.  They do that, not because they have to, but because they want to. And they will not pop the bubble.  The second bubble is also true, it represents my past, the hurt, abuse, abandonment, etc. It has people who intentionally hurt me, but that doesn’t mean I should hold it, or want to be in it.  The people in the first bubble want me to grow, heal and succeed, but not the ones in the second bubble.

She said, “What kind of parent doesn’t want the best for their child, to love them unconditionally, help them when they need help??  You were able to do these things for your boys, and model for them what was never modeled for you.” 

I started to cry and said, “How was/is that even possible?  I shouldn’t know how to do those things.”  She smiled, that comforting and caring smile, and said, “God.  He was able to help you do things that, statistics say you could not.”  Tears, probably of joy, ran down my face as I tried to take that in and sit with the truth.  Only God, who loves, saved, cares about, and wants good for me, could do the impossible. I am eternally grateful.

I heard this the other day, and it constantly comes to my mind.  “Encourage means to fill with courage. You have the power to give courage to others.”  I am constantly being filled with courage from my husband, sons, my ‘3 damn therapist’ friends, and my own therapist! They are my biggest encouragers, and I am blessed to have them in my life!

“Courage is being brave and afraid at the very same time.”

 

 

Why can’t I simply say what I feel?

After my Friday session, all the emotions from the information I heard emerged as a swirling tornado inside me.  What I’m learning about myself in this process of healing and wholeness, is that I can’t accurately express my feelings in session.  This was a revelation for me the past two days, as I process internally.

When specific parts share, relive, and endure the events of their personal (trauma/abuse) to my T, it, quite simply put, breaks my heart.  It seems unbearable and yet I know they are deeply hurt and fighting to overcome the horrible things in their lives.  Then in that brief moment, when I switch back, I am overcome with feelings that are unmanageable.

As I’ve been piecing together what that means exactly, it brings tears to my eyes instantly.  But why?  Why do I feel uncomfortable with these emotions? I’ve worked hard to transition the events of my parts to understanding it actually happened to me-which is a difficult task most of the time.  That is an ongoing work, to believe it, own it and then grieve it….but necessary.

What I’ve realized is that when my parts share, there is a point when, depending on what is said, they need comforting.  They need someone to say they are safe, good, cared for, that I will (along with my husband) be there to love and parent them.  And that is an incredibly, powerful truth for them to know.  They may get a hug or my T reaches out to make contact so they know they are safe in her office. I am grateful for all of that, and it has made all the difference in the world for their healing.

However, when I switch back, I am wanting to run away (flight), get out of the room because the feelings are too much for me. It becomes a huge awareness to me that I need the same comforting, but it feels so foreign, scary, unavailable and a need all at the same time.  I hate it!  I instantly feel like a child again, who in the midst of great discomfort, pain, hurt, and sadness, wants a mom to tell her she’s going to be okay.  Someone to hug me so tight that the pieces all get put back together.

My emotions seems too much for me, but I am slowly learning to sit with them, feel them, and allow them to come.  I get all mixed up with what I “should” do or if I’m doing it “right”.  My fear in saying what I really need in that moment is, “What if I’m not heard or believed?” “What if I’m rejected or abandoned for what I say?”  I know it is wrong thinking, and I am being heard and believed, but somehow that gets all messed up inside.  Maybe it feels embarrassing too, because I’m an adult for crying out loud!  I don’t need comforted at 47 years old.  This happened so long ago….blah, blah, blah!

Now, I need to decide if it is worth saying in my next session or not.  Is this something I should work out on my own?  It feels like my problem, so I should fix it.

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Sliding down slowly

Tonight I have felt this overwhelming emotion that vacillates from anger to hurt (sadness), I hate feeling like this and would like it to end.  Since my Friday session, the feelings have amplified to a level I’m not comfortable sustaining.  My insides feel like they are on fire, rage at the peak of the feelings and then back to this sadness.

The things I’ve put together, things that have piled one on top of another until it hurts to breathe, seem really stupid.  I wonder if it’s because it all feels so familiar, this feeling of betrayal, and being lied to about things.  In the past, I would want a part of me to take this anger and run with it, do what needs to be done.  Only because when I try to feel it, it gets messy and the sadness wells up within me.

When you trust people (which is extremely difficult), you think they won’t ever hurt you, whether it be on purpose, or they’re completely unaware they hurt you.  The latter of the two is what has happened in my case.  Good people, who care about me, have hurt me without knowing.  Although I realize it is inevitable, people hurt people…that is life.  It would be ludicrous to think otherwise!  Now what??

What does a person do with this?  Do I tell them, even if it seems completely absurd, and I know it wasn’t intentional? Why put myself through the painful emotions of saying it out loud?  Yes, they are my feelings, I own them, I feel them (damn it), so maybe I’m justified in feeling them??  They don’t feel good, on the contrary, they feel wrong, bad, and unworthy of having to care about them.

However, here is the problem with shutting down, isolating, numbing, and blah, blah, blah. In my limited, restricted circle of trusted people, this affects 2 of the 5.  One being my therapist, and the other my closest, dearest friend. And if I were a betting individual, which I am not, I would bet the farm they have no idea…and therein lies the problem.

My current “thinking” is not go to bible study tomorrow (isolate), cancel my therapy session (what’s the point), and withdraw from my circle of support (protection).  Makes sense in my mind, and yet it makes zero sense.

How did I end up here?  Where did this all go awry? I want to go to bed and wake up normal, no DID, no PTSD, no Mental Illness, no Depression, nothing!  Where did the person go who used to be strong, adequate, empowered, driven, successful, with things in order?  I want that girl back!  Where are you…..

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!”

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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.

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?