A Colonoscopy, Ketamine and Polyfragmentation

When we were diagnosed in late 2015 with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), we initially came up with about 20 names that there was some sort of record in the brain or externally of the body having used. In three years of off-and-on treatment, the number of alters that have made their presence known some way or another has increased slowly to roughly 40ish. Then, late this March we were ordered to have a diagnostic colonoscopy. Everything has now changed.

We have described, previously, our ‘system’ (multiple personalities in one brain who function together cooperatively) as “The Enterprise.” Well….when we woke up from the colonoscopy procedure in late March, ALL of the alters were wearing Admiral Insignias and they were all trying to fit on the bridge… HUNDREDS OF THEM. Seriously.

Everyone wanted to be in front at once

We had no idea how many alters were hanging out on The Enterprise until it had to be grounded because the entire crew was trying to get into the captain’s chair!

Grounded, what did that mean? There were days upon days that the body went without being able to function. We stayed in bed for some of it…zoning out in front of mindless video drivel in the powerchair for hours when we were awake and up.

We had one clue, there was a shadow memory of someone telling us that we had been given a dose of ketamine during the diagnostic colonoscopy. Ketamine?! We remembered the medications that usually were given to me during general anesthesia: Propofol, Versed, and at times Fentanyl, but we had never been given ketamine during a gastrointestinal diagnostic procedure so the ghost memory didn’t make sense.

The episodes of polyfragmentation fronting continued, but soon we found that we could singularly front for longer episodes once a few days had elapsed from the colonoscopy on Wednesday. Around Friday, we started to crave some answers and we started calling the hospital and emailing the doctor who had performed the procedure. The primary task was to discern what had happened to the brain?!?

Downtown Seattle from Harborview is always a nice view

The gastroenterologist replied to our email that he didn’t think that ketamine would be given during the procedure, but he would have to check with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist who performed the anesthesia for our colonoscopy and get back to us. The nurse who called from the hospital to check on us after the procedure also had no answers. No one could tell us what had scrambled our brain and grounded the Enterprise before the weekend descended. We were alone with a scrambled brain over the weekend.

Once Monday arrived, so did answers. Early in the morning we received a reply from my GI doctor confirming that we were given ketamine during the procedure (much to his obvious confusion as to why), then within an hour, our phone rang with the nurse anesthetist on the other end of the line. She also confirmed that we had received ketamine. In contrast, she had an excuse for giving it: To avoid giving us opioids when the body didn’t want to stay under.

We finally had confirmation and even had the rationalization, but the frustration was only beginning. Episodes of polyfragmentation were intermixed with episodes of dissociative fugue, which for us, in contrast to feeling like the entire enterprise crew has descended upon the captain’s seat, a fugue feels more like no one wants to take the seat or even enter the bridge! No one wants to “front.” The body is blahhh…with no one to take control.

Fugue states can be inconvenient for systems or individuals who have any life and regular schedule. We are collectively working on our Master of Arts degree, or we were, when this occurred. When the brain was essentially off-line for weeks following the procedure, our higher education career began to be in question.

We had recently transferred into the Master of Communications program in our college after an issue with our eyes during the winter caused us leave the English-Nonfiction Writing MA program. But the more agressive alters and those who weren’t entirely onboard with that idea became argumentative inside and out. Once again, the fact we were time-sharing a body with many different personalities became an intense struggle.

We worked intensively with Dr. S, journaling when we could and struggling in a class that wasn’t coming easy while we really wanted to finish our first book that we started in our last undergrad year. We impulsively applied to an exclusive MFA program at a college back east. We did not get in.

Apps like Bitmoji & Snapchat make expressing alters easier

Then we prayed: Should we try again? Was there a Master of Fine Arts program out there for us or should we stay in Communications? The answer was clear and we wrote about it here, publishing it on Odyssey.

Once we made a decision to made a change, we wanted to find the last few weeks in the communications class easier, but they weren’t any easier at all. We finally finished two days ago with a “B.” For a class we didn’t even want to finish after being in an extremely dissociated state for several weeks of it, we will be happy with that.

We are still having episodes of polyfragmentation, and we have learned that there are more members of The Enterprise System than we had ever thought to consider before the ketamine exposure. Our primary care physician has added ketamine to our allergy list and we have instructions to speak to the educational Harborview hospital about the exposure so that they can learn more about dissociative identity disorder and how people with it can react to medications with dissociative qualities. We have yet to make that phone call.

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“I heard you said…”

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As a woman whose body is shared by many different personalities, every single one of my social nightmares begins the same way:  With someone approaching me as these words coming out of their mouth, “I heard you said…”

It really doesn’t matter what comes next. The words will all fade out no matter what they are. My heart starts palpitating, I start shaking and panic ensues. What did WHO do NOW?!

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After over a year of intensive therapy and feeling pretty good about where I was in the management of my complex PTSD and DID in spite of another bout of depression raising its ugly head. But apparently, something went terribly wrong.

This isn’t the first time in some twisted way one of my alters has messed with my life. One or more of my “protectors”, it seems, have been determined to “protect” me from some responsibilities that were feeling overwhelming for a short time, so they did their level best to make certain I won’t be afforded the opportunity to BE overwhelmed. Yikes. Decepticons within.

I had an inkling of a feeling. There was nothing, yet something. I just “knew.”

So, I discussed the possible results of such a betrayal with Dr. S. We talked through those things I needed to do for self-care while the world tumbles down around me.

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Now to pour as many of my selves into my studies in Lit Theory as possible… we need an escape. The world as we knew it is no more. Because of the nightmare of “I heard you said…” IT. WASN’T. ME.

And yet.

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A grandma’s nightmare.

I hate D.I.D. But yet, we don’t.

Sigh.

The littles are sobbing. They miss the GrandTwins.

Giving them all to God.

Nightmare.

On to Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche… for Literary theory, that is.

I hope your day is free of nightmares.

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.

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.

My Me’s

Back in 2010, I started a blog called “The Me’s” intending to take everyone with me as I explored the many personalities that I was being told by my then boyfriend, that I was displaying. That boyfriend and one after him are gone. The one after him attempted to use my diagnosis as a weapon against me and that fact (as well as the fact that he was otherwise abusive) added an additional few years on before I would seek help, and a diagnosis.

I waited to seek help until I had been married to a husband for a little over two years. He pretended to be supportive. However he spent the time with me at the therapist’s learning my triggers, then would use them constantly against me.  When his choice of therapist supported him when the husband attempted to rape me, it was time for a divorce and a female therapist. 3453268246234

Now that the diagnosis has been made, I am trying again to start a place for me to keep the insights I am making. For me. And for anyone who chooses to join me.

Dissociative Identity Disorder. Multiple Personality Disorder. Disorder. Am I a Disorder?  I don’t think so. I do believe that my life has been made a challenge by the method my brain chose at a very young age, to deal with trauma.

My therapist, and I, together have identified over 20 different identities. Twenty. More than twenty.  And a few days ago I remembered a new name. Another.

Why am I writing about it? Because that’s how I deal with things. By writing about them. The harder the subject is for me to deal with, the more I write. This is something I know I am not alone in, so I decided to share it with others.

I have named this blog, My MEs. When I was a child, I had the initials “M.E.S.”, and I was constantly told that meant “mess.” As the many personalities that I have are coming forward, I came to the conclusion that they were just mispronouncing it all my life: It should have been pronounced MEEEz!

Laugh. All joking aside, lost time & absent memories are not cool.

wp-1487879827228.jpgNow I embark on my journey to discovering just how many “MEs” exist, and how they came into existence. This will involve uncovering all the abuse and trauma that I have survived. From the level of PTSD I exhibit, from incest and multiple rapes,  I have a tendency to believe this will be a long road.

You are welcome to join me on this journey. For now, this blog is semi-private. How it will be in the future, is anyone’s business.