Long Absence…Looking Ahead

I want to apologize to my followers for my long absence. Many trials and challenges have come forth in recent months, followed by many blessings. Some of them I did write about, and you can read at MaggieSlighte.com. Others, I kept close to my vest…which is never a good thing for people like me.

I have returned to northwest Washington state: The place I consider to be my home. I say it that way because as I frighteningly realized in the past week while filling out applications for services, I have been fundamentally homeless for over seven years. Since I left my first husband, I have been without a place to call my own.

That isn’t to say that I haven’t rented rooms here and there and paid my share of rents…but I have had no real “home.” IMG_20170213_181227210

As I embark on my last 5 weeks of my Bachelor’s program, I am also looking for a place to settle down. This will hopefully mean me finding a therapist who will be working with me. After I scared off the last one, that is a goal that brings with it much anxiety. Due to my strong religious beliefs (read more about them at SlightelyMormon), and several of my alters’ dislike of men, I have to find a female LDS therapist…near me. Or find housing near a female LDS therapist who has training in Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) . Either way, just the idea of finding “her” seems daunting. So, I pray and I trust God. I know that He will lead me where I need to go.
I hope your lives are full of love and lighte!

 

Coping with Trials and Changes in a Car

I reallocated my housing funds to travel. The goal? To attend my daughter’s graduation from University in New Hampshire on Mother’s Day (I will be walking also for my Bachelor’s). Doing so, made it so that I had enough cash for gas, but not for fancy things like motel rooms. So, I stay in my car. Back when I had a van not many people said much, but in a Volvo sedan it is harder to hide. The 1983 chassis also gets it’s share of attention from the public without it being my home. 20170328_180537_hdr.jpg

The dogs, Athena and Ruger Bear, are my companions and security. They make certain that no one startles me (us) or tries anything funny. In fact, one of my self-defense tactics is to go towards my car (with  the dogs inside) if someone is following me or won’t go away and leave me alone. I used that not too long ago and it worked wonderfully: The person that was talking to me and not getting the hint that I wanted him to leave (he acted like he was on some type of stimulant), promptly got the hint when I allowed Athena (half pit bull and a bark from her daddy’s side) to “bark him away.”

Not too long ago, I was given the fantastic blessing of staying with a local woman in her apartment for a few days. I’m sure she felt a little slighted when I chose to leave a day earlier than planned after a couple of unexpected trials hit my plate. There is no way she could have understood that I was attempting to protect her from me. Not in a physical or even any type of abusive situation, but I wanted to protect her from having to worry about me and my mental illness.

I know I don’t handle change well. I know that it is a HUGE trigger for me. It tends to trigger other “alters” to come out. I don’t have full co-consciousness of them at this point, so I don’t know what they might say or do that isn’t up to my standards. Especially not the standards I prefer to maintain when I am staying as a guest somewhere new. So, when the $900+ check I was expecting didn’t show and I got the notice that it never would, I wrapped up my visit and went back into my car: An environment I could control.

wp-1491262020664.jpgI hope my new friend didn’t feel too bad. She blessed me with several nights of sleep inside, friends for my dogs to play with, home cooked meals and a few showers to start with. She was looking forward to beginning a new job, and I needed to focus on my school work and writing. I wish and pray for all the best for her and her family. But I needed to focus on me. I had to have my car fixed (new exhaust pipe and new muffler) and counted on those funds to help with that. WIthout them coming, I reached out to the church in the area. They said they had no resources to help me. Instead, a friend ended up wiring me cash from her savings to help with the repairs. God blessed me with the help I needed.

What about the 30+ people in my head? Well, we went through a significant depressive period. So much so, that I wrote about it on my main public page and blog, MaggieSlighte.com, naming it after the suicidal ideations that I was struggling with: Fighting the Permanent Solution.  Was I classically “suicidal?” Well, parts of me were. Other parts strove to keep me understanding I am a daughter of God. Still other parts demanded I “sit still,” and not act in any way, using methods taught to me in Recovery International.  I also was kept in check by my companion and service dog, Athena. Even the puppy, Ruger Bear helped out.

20170330_173931_hdr.jpgComforted by being alone (with the dogs) in a familiar environment that I could control, we managed pretty good this time. I am learning, step by step what it takes to stay in control. I used methods learned at Recovery International meetings to help me “stay still” and not act impulsively. I noticed a few missing hours, but no catastrophes or missing days. That is a start of healing. Then came General Conference, and I felt my Lord and Savior’s peace fill my soul. Just the boost I needed!

Even with my limited means, I am learning what I need to do to stay in control and manage my massive anxiety and the rest of my symptoms associated with the dissociation. One day at a time.

All of MEs on the Road

This last month has been one of the biggest challenges for me since my diagnosis. I will admit I did not behave perfectly, but I know I did my level best. Going through a divorce  for a marriage I was wishing never happened was only one small component in my January excitement. The car that ran on prayers got an oil change and was loaded up again as full as it could get with Athena and her 3 month old son, Ruger Bear and all of my possessions. Then I asked a friend to come along.wp-1485991832896.jpg

I have had a few companions in my travels across the country over the last seven years. They are usually the age of my adult children or younger, the perfect age for a road trip. My current companion, Jacob Larsen, is a professional photographer who had most of his life limited to the great northwest until “Miss Maggie” got a hold of him and took him to the Grand Canyon for his 19th birthday about five years ago. I’ve been wanting him to join me for a bigger adventure ever since.

Jacob has known me since LONG before I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. He was one of the few people around me when my best friend first voiced his suspicions that I might be a multiple. He was even with me the first time I ever watched United States of Tara (DID as interpreted by Steven Spielberg). With Cub (Jacob’s nickname) along, I am much less anxious about my changes. It helps to have someone who can joke about it along the way.

wp-1485992316494.jpgThere has been an interesting development: I have discovered that even when I have changed into a younger personality I still get impressions from the Holy Spirit about what I am doing (although, in this circumstance, I am curious if I switched because of the impression). During our travels through California, on highway 99 running southbound, the road was AWFUL. I got what at the time I interpreted as an “icky feeling” and asked Jacob to drive. Not 5 miles down the road, the muffler fell and was hanging on by a wire. I am normally totally freaked out and triggered by car problems. Thankfully Jacob was driving and my anxiety stayed in check. The “little” alter went back in her place in my brain by that time and Cub easily slid under the car and fixed the exhaust and muffler by the side of the road without incidence. It was to be the first of the minor repairs that have had a major effect on this trip.wp-1485992309385.jpg

This is a different type of trip. I am beginning to learn what I need to support my brain. Before I left Arizona, I was given the most incredible Priesthood Blessing by my Branch President. The words that I heard have strengthened my faith and given me hope. I was blessed to visit the Snowflake, Arizona Temple the day before my divorce hearing with a dear friend who knew exactly what I needed. Then I was able to visit the Houston Temple less than a week later. God is keeping an eye on me and I on Him, during this trip.

Happy? Holidaze

It feels like I am in a daze. Much is happening that I can’t and won’t share. Not mine to. But it all has an effect. Two days before Christmas, it feels nothing like a holiday.contemplative my hair looks blonde in the sun

I made a mad dash from Arizona to Grand Junction, Colorado, then to Washington, to deliver my dog’s litter to their new owners. I made a priority to home the pups where they would do the most good, not asking for any re-homing fees and taking upon myself to provide all but $40 of the gas required to get us where they were to be delivered. That trip took a tremendous financial tole.

All in all, I think I incurred about $250 JUST in bank fees for the privilege of outrunning 3 storms coming two different directions on my way from Arizona, then Colorado, to Washington during the end of November. The storms took my alters in places of anxiety and fear that had me shivering and crying on more than a few occasions. The ride in the dark valley from Price, Utah in a blinding storm had me praying out loud constantly when the wipers froze to the windshield after the heater fan died on the poor Volvo.

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Xena, Camo & Mr. Pringles – All in Mr. Floyd’s care

Today I got the paper in the mail confirming that my request to appear by telephone at the divorce hearing was denied. Who knows why, it wasn’t included. My soon-to-be ex-husband is happily celebrating all the holidays with his new girlfriend and her family. I’m not sure if he has completely abandoned my animals out at his mama’s property in the bitter cold and storms, but I can’t afford, emotionally, to think about that now. He had a restraining order to keep me away from the animals I adopted and loved… while he poisoned and neglected them… now to leave them die cold and alone. It will be a long time before I trust again.

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Life is Always Clearer in the Rearview Mirror

 

And then there are the comments from friends and family. All of the “I never liked him” “he said for years he was planning to take advantage of the Mormons; he has talked about how they are an “easy mark” for years” “we saw what he was doing to you, how he was treating you was not okay”…. ad nauseam.

It does help, in some ways, to hear that I am NOT insane, that I was “gaslit” and taken in by a complete and total fraud. But I am ready to be done. I am ready to begin healing. I am NOT ready for a holiday. But the holidays are here, and the divorce hearing won’t be until January 19th of next year. Now, to plan my trip back to Arizona.

I am thankful to be in the company of friends right now. I fear what would happen without them. And the gentle counsel of my Bishop. This is a tough time.