Tag Archives: Feelings

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!

 

 

 

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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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Selfish or Not?

FullSizeRenderI have been experiencing some difficult and very painful feelings, emotions, memories, triggers…the past few weeks. ¬†I find myself, or parts of me, wanting to “go away” or “be done”or “end it all”. ¬†Dissociating seems to be stronger than ever. ¬†And as much as I hate feeling this way, it seems to take up so much of my head space. ¬†I have always felt a strong, personal, and “moral conviction” to not think or even act out those thoughts. ¬†Sometimes, I think it’s the only thing that keeps me in a safe place. But somedays I struggle with thoughts of suicide.

I read this article a few years back, after my very close friend’s, son, committed suicide. ¬†She said that it was comforting to read. The pain and anguish that a person must feel, seems overwhelming to me, and yet, I can completely understand.

‚ÄúThe so-called ‚Äėpsychotically depressed‚Äô person who tries to kill herself doesn‚Äôt do so out of quote ‚Äėhopelessness‚Äô or any abstract conviction that life‚Äôs assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire‚Äôs flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It‚Äôs not desiring the fall; it‚Äôs terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‚ÄėDon‚Äôt!‚Äô and ‚ÄėHang on!‚Äô, can understand the jump. Not really. You‚Äôd have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†David Foster Wallace

I was also reading a WordPress blogger’s post, who attached this article about suicide. ¬†I don’t believe in coincidences or fate. ¬†I am sure that this blog came to me for a reason. ¬†Maybe God simply wanted my attention, or He needed me to read these articles. ¬†Either way, I did what “they” say to do, and that was reach out to people who care about me! ¬†I’m grateful I did, and that their are people in my life that love and support me along this journey with a mental illness: ¬†Dissociative Identity Disorder.

How sad that we would say and/or believe this about someone, who we may or may not know.  Is suicide Selfish or a Call for Help?

“There’s no questioning that suicide is catastrophic. It’s absolutely incomprehensible to me and most others that a person would feel so terrible, so trapped, so desolate that she would want to end her own life.¬†

Yet, it seems every time the topic of suicide comes up, someone attacks suicide victims by calling them “selfish.” I’ve heard it in real life; I’ve read it in articles; I’ve seen it on Facebook. But this attitude is disgusting and abhorrent, and completely misunderstands what it means to be suicidal.

According to a poll conducted in May 2013 by Gallup,¬†only 16 percent¬†of the country finds suicide to be “morally acceptable.” But the moral acceptability is not an issue. Suicide is the tragic, distressing result of severe mental illness. By definition, it takes lives. We don’t question the moral acceptability of other often fatal diseases such as cancer; we accept that they’re awful and terrible and search for ways to cure and prevent them. We certainly don’t attack cancer victims for getting sick. Suicide should be looked at in the same way — we shouldn’t be arguing the justifiability of the victim’s actions or the ethics of ending one’s own life — we should be looking for ways to stop it.

But every time a suicide occurs, some little self-assured voice is going to attack the victim. The same victim who felt inadequate enough to end his or her own life. The same victim who found solace in death. The same victim who assumed the world would be better off without them. This smug character will go out of his way to insult a suicide victim, calling them “selfish,” and “attention-seeking,” asserting that “everyone faces obstacles, they should have sucked it up like the rest of us.” I’ve seen it happen countless times.¬†

What kind of arrogant, insensitive mindset causes a person to believe that he knows what is going on in a suicide victim’s head, to assume because that he sometimes feels sad, he knows what it’s like to actually want to kill himself? It’s a baffling attitude. A person just died because that seemed like a better option than living. I really can’t, and no non-suicidal person can, imagine feeling that completely hopeless and worthless and out of options.¬†

I’ve felt sad before, yes. I’ve felt bad about myself before, yes. But I haven’t actively wanted to die, so why should I pretend to know what that’s like? I’ve had the flu before, too, yet I don’t know what cancer is like.

I’m tired of the victim blaming that makes light of one of the most tragic and upsetting scenarios imaginable. This attitude is shameful and does absolutely nothing to prevent suicides in the future; it merely diminishes mental illness and disrespects the deceased.”

—Madeline Ruoff

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Please reach out to someone, you are NOT alone!  You are a survivor, and there is healing from the woundedness you are experiencing!