Since my most recent PTSD flare up things had been ok. Settling back to normal. Well my normal. Then we let our littles have some time in a T session. They usually let memories out in small fragments. Note the usually.
It was a new Pandora’s box. Something we had not seen before. Something to add to our list of horrifying truths. I’m ok with this process. We have a system for this. Coping mechanisms and containment measures. It’s just when it sits. Of all the things therapists never warn you about, the sitting is a huge one.
First you are shown the memory, in its full connected glory. It’s not “you” in the memory, but it feels real. You feel all of the raw emotions that happened in the memory, as they were at the time. Then you talk about the memory, maybe draw something. It’s not until you get home that it starts to sit.
What is it that is sitting? The realisation that it is “you” in that memory. That those feelings are yours. That horror happened to you. All the times I have been through this process, this memory was never on my list. It was ok because this memory didn’t happen. I can cross almost everything else you can think of off my list, I was ok because this one wasn’t on the list.
Sitting is screaming inside your head. It’s finding your limit and surpassing it. It’s accepting that the one thing that could break you is a part of your reality. It’s falling apart and then trying to put yourself back together.
This is not the completion of my inventory. It is just another file in my warehouse. I guess I thought I was done being surprised. Yet here I am. Wondering if I can pick myself up and carry on. The sucker punch that I didn’t see coming is weighing me down. I’m wondering if it will drown me.
I have no intention of drowning. I plan to swim. I just need to ask the question. Look it in the face. Let it go. It’s so hard when it sits not to drown.
Today I am very reflective. I have decided to share something that makes me smile. In previous years I have had some bad dealings with people. It has had an effect on how cautious I am towards them and others like them. I keep myself to myself.
Having made the choice to disclose to someone about ‘us’ I was of course apprehensive. I was treated with respect by this person. In fact she seemed much happier after I told her. There was complete acceptance and we simply moved on. I assume that now I made sense to her.
What I didn’t notice was the tiny ripple that had started inside. Only now am I seeing the rather large effects of this tiny ripple. My littles who are generally amazing until they are not, feel accepted. They are ok with themselves just as they are. They had absolutely no contact with the person we disclosed to. Yet that small action has caused a huge reaction inside.
Other adult parts are also more settled in themselves. They feel accepted. I have been reminded several times by my T’s to be very careful who I disclose to and I have been. This experience has lead to a slight evolvement internally.
I know it was just part of her job, I’m not over attaching or anything. That small action has lead to a big change for us. For that we are very grateful.
just between you and us, hahaha, things have started to move lately. George and Charlie have started to look at poly sites on the web. I have noticed the absence of particular parts as I come out of my ‘study bubble’. We feel different somehow. As if we have all changed, evolved somehow.
I guess this is the path of people with dissociative identity disorder. Continued evolution of your parts. Just when I think we have a handle on who we are as an internal community, we change. I wake up and feel different. Internal conversations are different. Reactions to things and ways of coping are different. This on its own is shell shocking. Kind of like that post integration period where you’re not sure if you’re ok with result of an integration cycle. It feels like I am leaving who I was, who we were, behind. I don’t feel scared. I still have everyone with me. I just feel sad.
I know that it’s because I don’t need to be that way anymore. I know that everything is a choice made by my parts. That I’m the one being gently eased into the situation, wrapped in bubble wrap so I don’t hurt myself. I just feel weird. I’m leaving behind a way of being that I have held onto for so long. Who am I becoming?
I have been so busy being stressed about exams and stuff lately that I have lost some body mass, this is usually a sign that George and Charlie are ready to be active. They have been very restrained. Everything is a group consideration now. How will this affect the littles? How will this work with those who may want to be monogamous? How will this work with our base attachment style?
It all leads back to my basic question, who are we now?
I find myself in a cycle of grief again. I feel a great loss. The more I watch other people, learn how they balance everything, I find all of these experiences that I don’t have.
Other people have childhoods, family and friends. Experiences of gatherings with these people. Bonds and memories. I have none of these. I look back in my memory and there are time lines of abuse. There are staged gatherings to portray normality. These interactions are few and far between.
The more I analyse other people, the greater the differences I see between them and myself. Most people have childhood friends, I don’t have any memories of childhood friends. Social gatherings and interactions with other people, I have a few staged memories of these. Close friendships, people who they trusted and interacted with over time, I don’t have that. People they sat with at lunch and played with in the play ground. My interactions with others were awkward and uncomfortable, I never really understood why I was required to have friends. I often spent time alone at school, reading books.
What I do remember is being educated by my parents very early in life. Having social constructs explained to me because I didn’t understand what was going on or why I had to participate. As an adult I have figured most of this out. I like my friends and socialise pretty well for me. I don’t do this as well as other people, especially if I’m tired.
It occurred to me that other people experience life differently. This is why I find people to be puzzles. They think, feel and interact differently to me (us). I feel sad about this.
People who do not dissociate do not have an internal village. They do not have that connection with internal parts, that internal conversation, internal support system. They seek these interactions with other people. This is why it has never made sense to me. What they are searching for I already have.
i have always been in search of balance. In search of calm. When I am calm, everyone else is calm. Functioning is so much easier when everyone is calm. Hijacking doesn’t happen. Littles don’t freak out and trigger PTSD episodes. I can study and have intelligible conversations. I can make eye contact with people. Only if I am calm.
So my search for calmness has taken me to some interesting places. I have tried monogamy, polyamory, casual everything. I have tried Christianity, atheism, ignoring religion. I have tried shiatsu, yoga, meditation. I have lived with lots of people, a few people, by myself. I have been to multiple cities in my home country and explored a small section of another country. I have lived in the city, I have tried to live in the country.
What I have discovered about me is that not everyone inside is happy all of the time. They all like different things. All want different things. Finding calm is about compromise.
I am currently trying to find calm to study for my exams. If I can be calm during my exams I think it will go well. Before the exams though I must find calm to revise and prepare. I have come a long way from last year where it was all panic all the time and I just hoped for the best. The change is not just in this.
As I have been informed, ‘singles’ change and evolve over their life time. I have noticed that all of my parts have changed and evolved over the last couple of years. We work together better. Communicate and organise better. We have all matured in some way. Finally I feel more like a village of adults working together than a bunch of teenagers who don’t know what they are doing and just freak out.
So I have come to the security of the anonymous world of my blog to air some thoughts that have been circling in my head. Maybe get some advice. We haven’t been in any kind of relationship for a few years now. Agreements were made, terms settled, we moved into dealing with other, deeper matters that required our attention for stabilisation. Something happened in the last couple of days that has brought this topic to the front of the queue.
We needed an extension for an assignment, and so revealed ourselves to someone at the university, as is required to clarify why we should be given an extension. After doing this we have had email communication about queries to do with the assignment. In the usual manner of post-PTSD episode there was some hyper-vigilance and making sure our confidentiality was kept by said person. This resulted in George noticing something familiar about said person and finding that attractive. Obviously that’s not cool, is it?
I don’t think we would action this, that would be extremely awkward and not at all within the boundaries of the university. The question remains, where did this come from? Will it go back there? What the hell is going on?
We haven’t been attracted to anyone in a very long time. Honestly I don’t know what to do with this. I managed to get George to agree not to be present during the next, and last encounter with this person. Is this just a correction of a power imbalance, due to our diagnosis being known by someone we don’t really know? If we manage to get through this last encounter without incident, will these feelings go away over time or has George just reopened Pandora’s box?
I’ve been thinking lately, why did my integration cycles increase? I don’t know why they happen. I have no control over them. They get in the way. They are a byproduct of my healing journey. When things are processed and we move forward, there is an internal reshuffle. This is integration.
It’s painful, lonely, awkward. Parts are simply not available for a while and then after a couple of months they come back different. Two parts have become on blended part. Keeping one of their names and having the best attributes of both parts. Then we have to get used to this newly blended part who feels different.
When functioning returns to normalish levels we carry on with what we were doing before the integration. Whil the integration is happening we pick up the slack left behind by those who are integrating.
It is not a goal of ours to integrate. This is just something that happens on its own. Our goal is to function better. To work more fluidly as a team. To be able to go outside and travel on the train to the city. To feel safe and calm around other people. To hug our friends.