The Enterprise, A Suicide, and A Multiple Romance

Screenshot_2018-02-13-00-40-32.pngI have been working with my new therapist, Dr. S., for almost four months now. The idea of a log progressed to a different app which was very versatile as well as easy to use, but my inner people decided it was too invasive and have stopped using it. All except for Boo, who likes to talk inside of it. However, we have found MyLogPro to be VERY effective for logging body symptoms as well as self-employment tasks.

Enough of the old, on to the new.

The Enterprise

I have been a “Trekkie” since I was just a little girl. My father built a diorama with a model of the Enterprise from the original series in the 1970s. The box that was mounted on the wall and controlled by a few switches, was complete with stars and phasers and a light-up enterprise. I loved it.

When my therapist asked me to choose a word to describe my “inner family” or the group of personalities that make up my whole, as it were, I said, “it’s like the Enterprise, complete with Tribbles.”

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StarTrek.com

 

That is how I think of my brain. I even have a “brig” for those parts that are not behaving towards the good of us all. My Enterprise’s “Prime Directive” is a bit different than Star Trek.

The primary reason a “multiple” brain creates different personalities is to protect the psyche of the person, of the “multiple.” Therefore our “Prime Directive” is “DO NOT HARM THE BODY “(which includes the brain). When an alter (otherwise known as a member of the crew) violates this order, they are shielded from “The Bridge”  or having control of the body. If they continue to harm, they are confined to “the Brig” inside my brain and shielded from all contact with anyone inside or out.

Dr. S seemed amused at the metaphor that described the inside workings of my head.  I was thankful to be able to have the tools to describe how my brain works!

A Suicide

This morning when I woke up and checked in with my business group, I was met with the information that one of our very small number had passed away at his own hand. My history of suicidal ideations combined with my family history caused a bit of a post-traumatic reaction to occur… so I went into “self-care mode” disconnecting from the interwebs, medicating, and listening to General Conference talks after reading my Scriptures; all in an attempt to quiet my mind and center. PicsArt_02-12-01.13.48.jpg

I was left with a feeling of emptiness and was impressed to share a quote from one of the talks I had been listening to. The act of creating the meme with the quote forced me to read and absorb it for myself.

A Multiple Romance?!

PicsArt_02-08-03.08.37.pngMy divorce has been final for a year today. Since the demise of my second marriage, I have resisted all romantic contact completely. For 18 months, my heart was alone. Truth be told, it was alone for much of the 2.5 years previous as well.

The personality “Maggie” did fall for the second ex-husband for a short time. But only Maggie. The rest of a core of what is being estimated as over 50 “crew members” (including “Tribbles”) did NOT. In fact, many of the other personalities actually disliked that husband in an extreme fashion. However, “Maggie” became co-dependent and fell into victim mode which included giving him public excuses for his behavior and not standing up for herself.

The more that she created an environment that was dangerous for us all, the angrier other “crew members” became. Finally, when the worst happened, our tongues let forth a litany of abuses we had witnessed by him. He walked away yelling and cussing. That was the end of my marriage in June 2016.

While talking with Dr. S. today the primary personality “Marti” who is finally healing enough from my first divorce to begin coming forward again, not only admitted that she never liked the second ex-husband, but today came forth with the fact that she is in love with our boyfriend!

Yes, we have a boyfriend. Although I had stated several times that after getting involved with two abusive men over the internet, I would not be looking for or dating anyone online, I actually met someone online… but one difference is this man actually comes with excellent references. He has an opposite personality from the other men I have dated in the recent past; I’m in love with the person he is and what he stands for.

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A digital mash-up since we have not met in person yet

 

I… what a funny word for me. I …Me… pronouns of the singletons… We, US… more fitting pronounces for a crew in an Enterprise ship that is my brain and my mind.  No matter the words, we are in love… or it feels that way to many of us. Others are unsure and scared. But who wouldn’t be after our history?

One element of our new relationship is distance. This paradigm fits for my circumstance. For his as well. We both have business to take care of. One of my pieces of business is to keep working on my brain… Scotty has much work to do on this Enterprise, we don’t want her failing any time soon!!

What is This Disorder: D.I.D.?

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We have been writing on this site for almost a year about the realities of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.), but we never really got into the diagnosis and what we are fighting against every day when we choose to live. Why do we say it that way? Because every moment that we don’t listen to the temptations to escape this world we are choosing to live. We are choosing to exist. But we know it is a choice every single minute.

While researching this disorder, I came across this quote, “DID is arguably one of the most misunderstood and controversial diagnoses in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But it is a real and debilitating disorder that makes it difficult for people to function.” OH HOW we agree with that statement!!! Although previously thought to be a rare disorder, it has been found that 1 to 3 percent of the general population actually meet the criteria for diagnosis of D.I.D., making it just as common as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Also, not all personalities are obvious changes, it isn’t like the movies or TV shows that have been produced about multiples.

The most comprehensive description that I could find that really explained D.I.D. was on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website:

Dissociative disorders are characterized by an involuntary escape from reality characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory. People from all age groups and racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience a dissociative disorder. Its estimated that 2% of people experience dissociative disorders, with women being more likely than men to be diagnosed. Almost half of adults in the United States experience at least one depersonalization/derealization episode in their lives, with only 2% meeting the full criteria for chronic episodes. The symptoms of a dissociative disorder usually first develop as a response to a traumatic event, such as abuse or military combat, to keep those memories under control. Stressful situations can worsen symptoms and cause problems with functioning in everyday activities. However, the symptoms a person experiences will depend on the type of dissociative disorder that a person has.

NAMI also lists the symptoms of dissociative disorders:

Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include:

  • Significant memory loss of specific times, people and events
  • Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness
  • A lack of a sense of self-identity

The symptoms of dissociative disorders depend on the type of disorder that has been diagnosed.

Our particular diagnosis is D.I.D. which includes this explanation on the NAMI site:

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by alternating between multiple identities. A person may feel like one or more voices are trying to take control in their head. Often these identities may have unique names, characteristics, mannerisms and voices. People with DID will experience gaps in memory of every day events, personal information and trauma. Women are more likely to be diagnosed, as they more frequently present with acute dissociative symptoms. Men are more likely to deny symptoms and trauma histories, and commonly exhibit more violent behavior, rather than amnesia or fugue states. This can lead to elevated false negative diagnosis.

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Some of the littles

The way OUR diagnosis was explained to us was that we began to “fragment” or split into “alters” when we first underwent trauma as a baby. My physicians and therapists agree that we were under 6 months old when this happened. Because we have a very intelligent and creative  brain, the way that our psyche coped with trauma was to create other sections that didn’t have to remember the trauma. When a trauma reoccurred, there was an “alter” to take the abuse, the main personality had little or no memory. The more traumas happened, the more alters were created. It is still our brain’s way of dealing with trauma: We split, creating another alter. One more name added to the long list.

In the last 18 months since the diagnosis was confirmed, we have discovered the names to no less than 28 alternate personalities or alters. There is an overwhelming feeling that there are more that exist.

We have started a project, asking our “system” of alters in my brain what photos of ourself or relatives that they identify with, attempting to give myself and my therapists a visual aid. This has proved difficult, but it is cathartic. It helps to look at a photo with the age that alter claims to be and see who those personalities feel they look like.

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Some of “The Littles”

We are about half-way finished with the ones with which we have any co-consciousness (we hear them to any extent).

Here is a representation of “the littles” or small children in our brain:

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The only alter who has chosen a photo representation that was not a photo of us (so far), has been a “protector alter” named George. He wanted to use the photo of my grandfather, George R. Slighte. So, we allowed it. We just want to know what THEY think they look like. It does explain why some of my little ones always get bruises on our arms: They think they are still little kids!

As we progress in therapy and in this process of recovering from the trauma we underwent as a human, not just a child, we will be sharing more when we learn it. We appreciate your support and your interest. Thank you.