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!!

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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.

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.

Deadlines and Switches

Thursday night I had a deadline in a class at school. I wasn’t here. Not that I wasn’t PHYSICALLY here. but I wasn’t the primary personality. In fact, I have very little communication with that personality. It’s not that she is a “bad” person, but I had switched.wp-1483743967307.jpg

I experienced a trigger. Many triggers in fact. I had received a negative report about what my car needed to be functional while looking ahead at a cross-country trip. Then,  I had met with my mom after a long day of stressors, which included having my doctor refuse to see me for my asthma when I was 15 minutes late (after a 2.5 hour drive). It wasn’t a good day. It felt good to relax and sit down with my mom. Sometime during the conversation, I switched. I didn’t switch back to my primary personality until this morning.

Who was I? That’s always a good question. There’s usually a trail of digital breadcrumbs I can follow, as well as any journal entries that may or may not have been made. Now comes the “recap” phase. Now comes the debriefing stage.

This particular alter I have some, but not complete, co-consciousness with. That essentially means that I was aware that I had a deadline in school, so she was aware of the deadline. Instead of “giving up” consciousness to me, she did the assignment. What’s the problem in that? Well, SHE made some posts on the discussion board of my class that were not of MY “voice.” I also didn’t have complete memory of what was written under MY  name.

wp-1483744081348.jpgYears or even month ago, I would have panicked: I would have just quit the class and given up. I was in enough of an anxiety attack, I both emailed, then called, my disability advisor and asked her to look at the posts for me to make sure had inadvertently written something that was offensive or hurtful. I still haven’t had the “guts” to look at what she wrote. That’s next.

Then comes “clean up time.” I’m glad she knew how to drive.

Waiting for the End

I sit here, welcomed in a friend’s home, waiting to hear from a court to find out if I may appear telephonically at my divorce hearing.

The last six months have been eye-opening. Crazymaking it is called, when a person se0118151643i-mixts out to abuse another by causing them to believe they are “crazy.” This can be complicated when one partner has a mental illness. According to very reputable and supportive friends and professionals around me, I have been made a victim by a fraud who wanted everyone to disbelieve me, due to my “craziness.”

I long to be free of every bit of that relationship. The end was punctuated by me being confronted with the fact my husband had taken upon himself to begin another relationship with a single woman, calling her his wife to members of the community that didn’t attend our church after declaring himself “single” when I went on a preplanned trip to visit grandchildren.img_20160804_163237565

I am thankful that Heavenly Father showed me the person who was beside me before I had invested any longer in the relationship. The fraud he perpetrated was punctuated when it became apparent he attended therapy with me for the sole purpose of learning my triggers for his own use. That felt like the ultimate betrayal.

I sit here, waiting for the divorce hearing. Then, perhaps I can get on with the rest of my life. I look forward to that day. I want my last name back.

Then, I need to find a partner therapist. Soon. Very soon.

Confronting Drama with ALL of MEs

Breaking up is NEVER easy.  When one spouse has been diagnosed with a mental illness, it becomes extremely easy to use that illness as an excuse to treat that spouse with disrespect and humiliation. Unfortunately, that is what my soon-to-be ex-husband has now stooped to.

When I reacted to him not understanding that I meant “no” when I said it, with him on top of me… even though it took FOUR iterations of that word… the NO word… for him to get off of me, my husband left me. As a multiple rape survivor, that incident and the actions he took (or rather failed to take) set me off emotionally when I awoke the next morning. The “attack” I alluded to in the post I made while we were attempting a reconciliation, was an alter of mine standing up for me (verbally) and getting off the eggshells we had been walking on for the majority of this ill-fated marriage.

IMG_20140214_164003_503In January 2013, when Keith proposed to me, it was after he had his hands on my head in church to perform a Priesthood blessing. I didn’t know at the time that he had NEVER been ordained, and he did NOT have the authority to do so; he lied to me and the elders in The Church.

Upon learning about his deception about the Priesthood, I attempted forgiveness. It was difficult. Since Keith had lied about being ordained to both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, it also meant that he was not eligible, nor would he be for many years, to go to the Temple. That broke my heart. But I persevered.

We have been married for almost three years. Every month I lived with my husband, he went through both of our medicine supplies by the 10th of the month. The rest of the month he spent digging out the hidden stashes I had and complaining and begging his mother to send him money. Which she did on several occasions.

This last spring, I was fed-up with not having plants growing when he had promised me that we would. So, I soaked some seeds and planted them. Mr. Floyd’s Farm AssiIMG_20160614_151449581.jpgst followed a month later with a few seeds of his own. I asked him to do the favor of tending my plants while I was gone, and he accepted. Apparently his yields aren’t as good as mine usually are, the entire yield for the plants in his care was 5 measly buds. I have never witnessed any plants my husband has grown that haven’t been covered in bugs or mold or both, so frankly I wasn’t surprised. I was very disappointed.

Disappointed and sad is how I feel about this entire relationship. The fact that he has stooped as low as he has, and I as low as I have, tells me that we are not paired well together. I only hope and pray that we are able to finalize this divorce and go our separate ways without hurting too many people in our wake.

May your life be full of Love and Lighte: That is what I seek.

 

My Littles are Screaming

The little people inside my head are screaming. Uncontrollably. They don’t like change. I am not sure how many there are, but there seem to be at least 4 under the age of 6.IMG_20130226_131124_cr

Personalities that are still little. That don’t understand why the body is so huge and clumsy. They tend to walk the body into corners of door openings. They don’t allow for the whole body as it is now.

The littles don’t like change. Not one bit. They weren’t sure about having a husband here, but now that he isn’t here usually, they don’t like the change.

We are getting ready for a trip. There are a lot of uncertainties included within such an adventure. Many of my personalities not only enjoy, but CRAVE such travels. Not the littles.

IMG_20130226_133236_crMy littles have to make sure their needs are met on a trip. Are there going to be enough stops to pee? We don’t want to get a belly ache about peeing, because that will mean bad triggers.

We are taking our service companion, Athena. She will help keep me/us centered. She is good at that.

But the littles are still screaming. How do I comfort pieces of my brain?

Debriefing after a Break

Last week I lost it. Just completely and totally lost it.

Yes, there were triggers. BAD and horrible triggers. And I was unmedicated. Then, my therapist quit me.IMG_20150929_064655321

So, more and more triggers. Then, an absolute horrific result: my husband left. Adding to all the triggers. Or did it?

When it became apparent that his absence was not a trigger, but a relief, there were many realizations.

One of the most profound was the fact that in order to get to a better place psychologically, I must be alone to do it.

3664539207876A few of my “alters” are “protective.” They only come out when some weird primal part of me decides I need protecting. That happened this time. Two of them came out and attacked both my husband and my male therapist. My husband and I are working on a formal legal separation while we both work on personal matters now, and my therapist quit. Doing a lot of praying for a female specialist in DID who’s practice is nearby. I hope I can start again with a female.

Reacting to males is normal for me. Or it used to be. It is difficult to have relationships of any form with a gender that has been deemed as “attackers” from my psychi. I was victimized by males for most of the first 45 years of my life. As I go forward, I am hoping that I can learn how to develop relationships that won’t be the subject of attack by parts of me that remain scared, but to do this I can’t be helped by a male.Contemplative

In the “debriefing” process of the break many things became apparent. One of the most important parts of the debriefing process was to align myself back with the will of Heavenly Father. To this end, I received a Priesthood Blessing, then I went to my normal Friday shift working in the Temple. My supervisor and I spoke, and he suggested I take in a session instead of working right away. It was just what I needed. I prayed to Heavenly Father, and listened intently for His answer. It was more than I could have hoped for. I was reminded of His gift to us, The Holy Spirit. The comforter. My peace.

IMG_20130406_161137_cr-001Life is much different today than two weeks ago. It’s much different than one week ago when I was in the middle of a break, crying out to a therapist who couldn’t help. But life feel right. It feels peaceful and full of Heavenly Father’s love. I am at peace with it all.

Triggers – Can I Control Them?

Do I have ANY control of this “system” as my therapist calls my MEs? Can I control who comes out?

I have been pondering on this idea for a few weeks.

How to control which one of ME is in control.

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Random Pigeon walked up, Luckily NOT a trigger

How do I do that?

Can I “trigger” myself?  

Can I, myself, trigger a different personality to come out at will? I don’t know.

I get mixed signals back when I put it to the system. Apparently, that is one of the “benefits” or “side-effects” of my medication of choice.  According to “the system,” cannabis enables me to compel the more “rational” and less angry and “affected” personalities to come forward.
Just a bunch of me I am trying to figure out whatI have wondered about the possibility of experimenting with this theory by perhap abstaining from my medication just previous to therapist visits, so that he may be able to communicate with some of the “angrier” and “more affected” personalities.1263847552085

On second thought, perhaps that should wait until I don’t have impending plans that could be catastrophically effected by the wrong personality having control over my body.
(Those times when all forms of electronic communication should be hidden, if you know what I mean.)  

There are times when I can’t access medicine that I need. Just that fact, is enough for anxiety to build. When I can’t control whether or not I have medication; I am even more anxious about controlling what goes on inside of my brain.

Then, what goes on inside my brain, effects how the personality in charge (depending on what age that person is, and how rationally or irrationally that person views the world; through what tint of abuse-colored glasses) reacts to each and every situation I am in. Those situations can be a replay of a memory in my brain, spurned on by a simple otherwise innocuous word on the radio… and then all of a sudden I am reacting as if my life was the hell that it was as a child.

0325151845cThese are some of the reasons I do my best to control the outside. I absolutely DETEST being in the same area as random-input devices: radios and televisions that play broadcasted material. Topics can come up a radio show that just by the drop of ONE word… my day is ruined: a trigger has happened.

What are “triggers?” They are those situations, internal or external that cause a reaction. Usually a swift one.

Internal triggers can be feelings: Physical pain, fatigue, hunger or even the urge to urinate.

External triggers can come from movies, radio, social media or live social situations. The more a person interacts with the world; the more potential triggers they are exposed to.

This is probably one of the reasons being alone is comforting to me.

Most of my MEs get along with each other. Sure, we have arguments & some of them do and say things I don’t agree with…. But they are safer to be around than the rest of the world. 

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A tiny bouquet from hubby

There are times, especially since I have started trauma-recovery therapy, that my husband would rather walk out than trigger me once more. These are times when it seems that every word or action of his seem to trigger a memory or a feeling…. These are the rough times.

But can I trigger myself, on purpose, to bring out a personality to handle working on school work? Why hasn’t my system decided that there is one that can do it? Why do others still keep coming out and messing up my work?

Frustrating questions. And I am only six months into therapy. This is all new to me. I have much to learn. As I learn, I will share; that’s just who I am!

Solitude – Being Alone With All of MEs

Alone is not very…

Being a “multiple,” that is, a person with more than one personality, is less boring than being a “mono” (normal person, or at least a person who only developed one personality) according to my therapist. Sometimes I wonder if he admires those of us with many voices in our heads.Waiting on a friend in the Portland train station

Laughing. Seriously, it’s not like their talking TO me… but they ARE me, and also are talking WITH me. That is the best I can explain it.

Integration. That’s the goal with therapy and multiples. Becoming “one.” I wonder if I will end up feeling lonely. I wonder if I’ll have more or less difficulty dealing with the world.

Crowds are difficult for me. I prefer to be alone. At least with one person. And it has taken me a while to get used to not being completely alone.  Being married to a great friend is helpful.

Alone. I didn’t realize until 2010 that I was afraid to be alone. But I craved it. I needed it.

I wrote a poem about solitude during a very difficult time in my life. Only a few days after the poem below was written, the boyfriend I had moved in with, pushed me down for the first time.

Solitude…

Like a drug begging to be forced

into a vein….

and yet no where in sight…

I seek,

yet I shall not find

The one Lighte…

The lighte that shines

Brightest when alone.

IMG_20140216_155117_920When I reread the poem above, I am also struck by the fact that my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints happened just a couple months later, while I lived alone. In an attic I saw the lighte. Fascinating.

While I’m alone, I’m not lonely. It took me a few years after my divorce from my first husband to learn this. I had lived with my mother, as a mother to my first two children, until I could afford a place of my own. Then I lived with my children, before my first husband moved in with us. I hadn’t had the opportunity to live by myself until I was actually homeless after leaving my husband, in 2010. I was 46. 

1759946034237I hit the road. From a fantastic little BMW Alpine 525 to a van I could write in, and travel each day, I had finally found my “alone space.” As my current husband and I plan out our new house, I am adamant about building me a space I can be alone within the first structures that are built. I believe that all of my “MEs” need that space and time to process the world.

Me Riding on the bus to my appointment at the UWMCThe world outside is LOUD, my world INSIDE is also loud. The more quiet I can get the outside world, the better I can understand the world inside. As I get closer to integration, I think I’m going to need a lot more time alone. 

Thanks for joining me on this journey.