Meltdown moments are difficult they creep up on me from nowhere, they just simply overtake me and without warning I dishevel into a sobbing wreck. They are difficult even when they happen in my own home safely surrounded by familiar things and those who both understand and care. However when they happen in a busy crowded public place it’s even harder to deal with, harder to explain to others and to contend with.
I regularly seem to have meltdown moments, but they mainly happen when I’m safe at home, then I can simply just let my tears flow and allow the tension and emotional stresses an outlet. At times I take myself off to my room, lay on the bed and sob quietly into my pillow and I may hug Ted she’s used to getting wet from my tears.
At least two parts of me seem to cry, one is the emotional part of me who seems to carry a lot of my feelings and who can simply overwhelm me with feelings of anguish, low mood, desperation and pain. I am learning to communicate with her and I find that doing so is helping me at times to take control over the immense emotional turmoil she carries. The other part me my family describe as vulnerable me, this part seems to get overwhelmed with small things, is very sensitive and yes she’s my vulnerable me. These are the parts of me that I believe are susceptible to melt down moments, and currently between them we have a few every week.
Meltdown moments vary in duration and intensity, I find it hard to utilise the techniques I have to help with self talk, internal dialogue, grounding etc at such times, how do you think when all you can do is cry.
In the past few days I encountered a meltdown moment at the most inconvenient time one could imagine, surrounded by so many people and with no place to hide. This week I have been at a worship conference along with over a thousand other people, it was busy all of the time and there really wasn’t a quiet solitary place to hibernate too.
I was sitting on one of the sofas in the exhibitors hall, there were seminars going I and so quite a few people were attending these including my daughter, but I had felt unsettled and had decided to sit out and take some time for me. I thought I was doing ok, I had chatted to a couple of people and gazed at my phone. Then it started to build and I sensed it happening but couldn’t stop the feelings that were overtaking me, I felt overwhelmed and was ruminating over things. I hadn’t any control over this plus being in a busy environment meant I didn’t have any space to communicate with the other parts of me. I wasn’t able to take myself away either as I’m currently on crutches I walk at snails pace and I’m a bit unsteady on my feet.
I tried hard to hold in the tears which I could sense building up, I realised my gaze was now downwards and I was avoiding eye contact with everyone around me. Random strangers sat on some seats near me and I didn’t feel able to ask for assistance from them. I was focused on time and I guess clock watching as I knew my daughter would be back in a while, all the time I tried to counter any negative thoughts and the obscure thoughts I was having as a result of ruminating. I was feeling as if I was a bad person, that people for whatever reason didn’t want to be my friends, I was to blame for everything. My vulnerable me was struggling.
I managed I’m unsure how to hold in the tears until my daughter arrived, she sensed something wasn’t right and I was able to share my thinking pattens with her and she tried to counter my irrational thoughts. We set off at my snails pace walk to try and find somewhere to hibernate close by, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold in the tears long enough to get back to our hotel. I hobbled along with my face downwards to try and avoid people seeing how upset I was, the tears were by now starting to fall.
We found a bathroom and I hid inside as I cried and tried to compose myself all at the same time, it’s hard to cry in silence though. After a short while I felt I was able to leave the sanctuary I had found, my tears wiped away but by now it was lunchtime and even more people filled every space. I hadn’t really stemmed the flow just tried because as soon as we left the bathroom I could feel the tears building up again but now there wasn’t a place to hide. People sat at every table, queues were building and people congregated in almost every place it seemed.
I knew I was losing this battle and as the tears fell once more we found a table I could sit at, but I was surrounded by so many people they were on every side of us. I kept looking downwards as my daughter tried to offer comfort and reassurance, I tried to wipe away tears hoping that no one saw me crying.
My daughter phoned my son who was volunteering to ask for his car keys as his car was the nearest safety point we could think of, even though he was busy he managed to come over and helped too. Together the children gave me support and also hid me from others view whilst I shed some more tears and then regained my composure. The feelings of being overwhelmed still flooded me but I had at least gained control over the tears, talking things over with the children had enabled me to stop blaming myself.
We sat for a short while, I managed to have a drink, calm down a little and even had a brief walk back through the centre to see my son, who had gone back to his volunteer role. I felt exhausted though, physically and mentally drained my vulnerable me had had a tough time and that meant of course that all of me had a tough time.
In the end my daughter and I decided that it was best for me to leave early, I had and was in truth still struggling with a meltdown moment. They are never easy wherever they happen but in a public venue filled with hundreds it is so much tougher.
I realise that this part of me is just as entitled to express their feelings and tears as any other part of me, I only wish I could help them to cope better with the vulnerability that they seem to hold after all if I wasn’t fragmented we wouldn’t have such meltdown moments.
I’m slowly recognising the different parts of me, their characteristics and mannerisms it’s a learning curve I wish I didn’t have to go through yet I know I need to learn about me. I need to learn to understand who I am, what makes me me and all the different parts of me are important.
Meltdown moments are not easy, they are however a part of my life currently I wish I didn’t have them but then I still have days when I wish I didn’t have Dissociative Identity Disorder. No amount of wishing however can change the fact we do it is a legacy of the past, a past that means I have alters who are different parts of me.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014