This last weekend I have spent sometime trying to appease one of my little alters, last week in the midst of continual shut downs by this alter I made a deal. The deal was simple if she let me do the task I needed to then she could have a treat, now as I am not co-conscious this deal was basically made through me utilising internal dialogue, saying in my head that this was the deal and hoping beyond hope she would hear me and respond.
Thankfully she allowed me to complete the task but she didn’t initially give me any sign of the reward she wanted, and so rather perplexed I bought something I thought was age appropriate for her. But I still felt a sense of unease as if I hadn’t met the conditions of the deal, it has been a few days and I knew that without two-way internal dialogue I was relying upon my feelings.
So yesterday I decided a visit to the toy shop might help I wasn’t going to buy unless I really felt a huge change in how I felt, as we browsed around the shop I felt nothing at first. Then suddenly a sense of excitement gripped me as I saw a retro craft toy, something I could remember from my childhood and that I didn’t think was still being sold today. We picked up the said toy and started to make our way to the till, when we suddenly felt anxious and concerned, our eyes flitted from side to side as the anxiety grew. We noticed a more modern craft toy and one I guess would be age appropriate, I was surprised how drawn we were to this toy and yet we found ourselves gazing at these boxes which were brightly coloured and attractively packaged, I felt my anxiety ease and a sense of excitement gripped me once again. I seemed to have lost some time at this point, but thankfully my daughter who was accompanying me was able to fill in the blanks, she said we basically asked if we could have this new toy and was it safe. My daughter said we had to choose and so after much deliberation and difficulty in making a decision I apparently picked the more modern toy; it’s a craft activity with a Disney theme.
By the time I became aware again I was stood at the till, holding this box and waiting patiently to pay, I was a little surprised to see we were buying this but I also knew my alter had through her feelings indicated her desires to me and I was just honouring our agreement.
Today after a rather manic week which was way too top-heavy with serious adult appointments and meetings which is something I try desperately to avoid, I knew I had to repay my little alters. So my PA and I have visited a local ice cream farm, and enjoyed ice-cream topped with both sauce and sweets, for those that have never heard of ice cream farms; it’s basically an ice cream outlet attached to the farm from where the milk comes to create the ice-cream. The ice-cream is also made on site and we have two quite local to our home and this one is a very busy place and extremely popular.
As a multiple I have to spend my life juggling the needs of many alters if I ignore them then I suffer the consequences, more switching, more lost time and more confusion. It means life is more chaotic, and believe me its chaotic all the time, but when its worse it can feel impossible, so juggling the needs of many alters is a critical and important thing for me to do as a multiple.
I have to try to live my life without co-consciousness and there are times when I make mistakes, when I do things that I realise afterwards were not the best solution. For instant an open-ended promise of a treat could have been extremely difficult, my alter may have wanted even expected a reward way above my financial means and I could have been put in a difficult position. Thankfully on this occasion she wasn’t that demanding, but I have learnt a valuable lesson in that I will not offer open-ended rewards or bribes again, it was only after my T explained the predicament I could find myself in that I realised how foolish I had been.
In future I will offer cost limited rewards or treats, I can’t afford to break a promise to those few alters I have actually managed to develop at least some type of dialogue, even if their communication with me is through their feelings. I need to protect, nurture and develop this limited understanding of the alters not break their trust by careless words.
I am also having to learn to ensure time is set aside for things that they enjoy and not fill my diary, it sounds easier to do than it actually is in reality. But with support and help we are trying to not get too overwhelmed, and to be kind to our self. I manged this new system the first week of the year and yet last week failed miserably. This coming week should be better, but I know its something I will have to keep an eye on as it will soon become overwhelming and too busy again.
Like many people with dissociative identity disorder I often fill my time, so I can’t think about my past and I am so desperate to fulfill the high expectations that I place upon myself; that’s a default position from my past. I find it is sometimes easier to deny my D.I.D, the trauma and the alters themselves but I realise that is not a good thing in the long-term and its something I need to work on.
I guess that is the reality for me, I have dissociative identity disorder, I am a multiple and I was abused, now I have to work at repairing the damage done in the past and that means accepting who I am and accepting my alters even though I don’t feel many of them, they do impact upon my life in so many ways and they should, after all they are a part of me. Having a dissociative disorder is challenging and it feels like I am on a continual learning curve, however I know without my ability to dissociate as a youngster I wouldn’t have survived. In all honesty today’s difficulties and challenges are not too high a price to pay for surviving a childhood filled with trauma.
COPYRIGHT: DID Dispatches 2014