Last week was to say the least quite chaotic, we were really busy and we seemed to lose time more than usual and we felt very numb. I felt as if I was a little out of control at points because I felt overwhelmed by everything and it certainly wasn’t an easy week. I realised that since my holiday I had neglected my work on internally communicating with the other parts of me, internal dialogue though still one sided is something my psychologist has encouraged us to do.
I felt quite sad that just because I had a busy week; my CPA had been at the start of it, I had forgotten the one thing that if I am honest has been most helpful recently. I tried to correct this by trying to restart my internal dialogue and within a short time I saw results and then I began to comprehend just how much of an impact not communicating with my other parts was having on me as a whole.
Internal dialogue still feels alien in fact it is odd to me, yet it works, don’t ask me how, I just know it does. My alters the other parts of me don’t speak back, but they do let me sense and feel the feelings they hold which I am told is their way of communicating at the moment. So it feels very one sided to me at present and yet somehow it enables us to be a little less chaotic, and believe me our experience of life with Dissociative Identity Disorder is that it can be very chaotic.
Not wanting to hibernate was a positive and actually feeling was good, yes it’s still an odd concept for us and I find it difficult to understand but it is helpful. I guess I am slowly learning that we are allowed to feel and it’s acceptable and safe to do so, it’s not easy but I know it’s helpful.
I went to therapy and explained how I had allowed my internal dialogue to lapse a bit, now instead of telling me off my psychologist was understanding, it was more about encouraging me to keep trying and less about making me feel guilty, which I really appreciated.
This week I have tried even more to internally communicate and I thought I would share some of this with you, in the hope it can help others who like us live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I start each day talking in my head to the other parts of me, we go through our plans for the day and let all the different parts of me know what is happening. I give time to allow them to respond if they want to, of course I don’t hear them but I do get feelings sometimes, which I have learnt are important to acknowledge. I don’t put demands on the other parts of me, just a simple relaxed explanation of our day and the things we need to try and do.
I usually give time over to the little parts of me, so cartoons are quite important, I used to lose time well most of the time at this point previously which isn’t necessarily helpful but felt necessary. The little parts of me need to be acknowledged and understood and by giving them time we felt as if we were trying to avoid so much switching in the day. I do feel a responsibility to them, to nurture them and to enable them to feel safe and secure.
Recently it was suggested that I actually try and watch the cartoons and not dissociate but stay present, it sounded so complex it felt impossible. I tried but in the beginning we just dissociated as normal and lost time, chunks of time that I used to wonder what had we done in, was I ok etc. But we persevered and the other day we actually managed to stay present for part of this time, I do have to watch and internally communicate at the same time which believe me isn’t easy, however it was kind of fun to watch a cartoon it’s not something I am used too. I lost the end of the cartoon, I guess I just couldn’t sustain the effort of watching, internally communicating and trying to stay and not dissociate all at the same time. This felt like a huge step forward though and I knew internal dialogue was the key to this success however small it was in reality.
Whenever I Carol am present I internally communicate with the other parts of me, be that just saying what we are doing, or recognising and acknowledging a feeling. Sometimes I might just self talk about how we are or that even if something feels scary reassure by saying it’s ok and I am going to keep us safe. As I write this blog for instance I am acknowledging a feeling and letting the other parts of me know that after this blog is written we can watch a cartoon. Multi-tasking is a phrase that springs to my mind, because I guess that is what I am doing.
When I sense or am overtaken by a feeling, if I can I acknowledge during the feeling that I sense it, but if it overwhelms me then as soon as I can I acknowledge the feeling and respond accordingly. When I lose time once I return and realise once again I acknowledge I have been away but that I am here now and no one is in trouble for the fact they took control.
This may all sound surreal and I guess to some people it will just seem unusual, perhaps even odd but it works, well for me at least. Yes I do still lose time and plenty of it, I still feel overwhelmed at times and I experience alien feelings which feel frightening and at times confuse me. But there is very slightly less chaos in this world of ours, and for that I am grateful, I am learning to think of myself in a different way and that alone is helpful.
At one point I just felt out of control, confused, lost and isolated and a body inhabited by a host of very different individuals who I could not see as parts of me, I felt a freak sometimes and I would see us all as separate and the pain of memories and flashbacks were not mine but theirs the alters. Now I see that we are one body, which due to circumstances beyond our control was left fragmented, however all the alters are parts of me. Yes they are different ages, different genders with feelings, thoughts and ways of perceiving the world which at times seem very much separate from myself. But I am learning the alters are parts of me, who happen to carry feelings which in truth are mine, but they carry them for me, they are different because of their experiences yet they are still parts of me.
I am learning that in order to progress we need to learn to work together a bit like a team or a family, and that is I guess what we are trying to encourage by the internal dialogue. We accept we are in the very early stages of utilising internal dialogue which I can only hope will get better the more we practice, perhaps one day it will become a two way process, well that’s one hope I have. In the meantime we will keep on practising as much as we can even though it feels strange, because in truth it is the only hope we have currently of moving forward. It is a glimmer of hope I never dared to imagine was possible, and for that I am truly grateful.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014