A Cacophony of Alters – a day trip with my alters

 

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On Saturday I ventured to London to attempt being a tourist for the day as a multiple, I intended to try and share the day between me and my alters. Despite a rather early start which on medication is really not so easy, we managed to board the train along with my eldest son.

Throughout the entire train journey I found myself attempting internal dialogue, trying to explain to the alters; the different parts of me, what we were hoping to do and how this was a day for all of us. It wasn’t so easy given my failures of the previous week, but I really wanted them to feel it was ok for them to be present and enjoy the day.

Now some parts are clearly more content with being around and taking control so they seemed excited, well I felt their excitement. Yet other parts who normally seem to give me sad and desperate feelings felt afraid, I can only surmise that they were worried about the day. So I had this mixture of emotions whizzing through my veins and causing me to have doubts about whether this idea of sharing was such a good idea.

My son took charge of getting us safely to the first tourist attraction we had planned to go to, and we managed quite well to get there. But I was constantly communicating in my one sided way, trying to reassure everyone we were safe in this busy and chaotic place.

I can recall arriving at the Natural History Museum, but then I seemed to lose time for a while at least. We had gone in and started looking at the various exhibits on display and my younger parts were quite animated and excited according to my son.

I kind of became aware that I was rather loudly talking to my son about the fact that years ago Elephants roamed around Central London! But this wasn’t me talking the voice belonged to a child part, and whilst I could hear I had absolutely no control over the voice, or the content of the conversation. This is a relatively new concept and if I am honest rather confusing and somewhat frightening.

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Imagine if you can having someone else controlling your words and your actions, I’m sure most people would find this a rather unusual set of circumstances. I guess I felt like a kind of passenger on the journey with no ability to do anything but observe. Try as I might the little parts of me are in control and I am unable to retake control from them no matter how much effort I exert.

I have only begun experiencing this kind of side by side situation over the past few weeks and then only with my little alters. My psychologist tells me this is real progress and I do believe him, yet this progress is not so comfortable to experience. However the littles were clearly enjoying this part of the museum and very animatedly telling my son what they thought. It was quite sweet to see that my son was just getting on with this rather unusual situation and talking back to them in an age appropriate manner.

There followed periods of me being side by side and then of not being there at all, my littles were clearly in charge and enjoying themselves. By the time I came back we had stopped for lunch and my little parts had chosen my refreshments for me. I was a bit confused and perplexed, I didn’t quite know how we had found ourselves in this place or what we were doing. My son basically filled me in on the full events of the morning and explained we were having a break.

I didn’t know quite how to explain to him that I had observed parts of our time, particularly given I had been unable to regain control. I thought he might think I was somewhat mad, he’s a very scientific person and I had visions of him giving me some kind of scientific explanation which would most probably baffle me even further.

After lunch I felt tired and yet knew I wanted my other parts to share this time too, so I again did more internal dialogue. I gave one of my teenage parts permission to come out if she wanted too and I suddenly began to feel her presence much more prominently. I continued to communicate with her as I walked towards the next zone of the museum. I can’t recall much of the next 2 hours except brief periods of being there and in control, my son states I was a quiet reserved me. Whichever part it was who took control they apparently enjoyed the fossils and jewels we saw, alongside the earthquake simulator.

My only recollection is that I felt confused and somewhat disorientated, especially as my son would make a point of saying ‘oh hi, your back’ each time. I kept thinking, why were have I been, what’s happened as I tried to rationalise the situation and understand time had moved on and we had been absent. This situation carried on for a while and before I knew it we were in a totally different museum yet had no recollection of even leaving the first one.

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I went from looking at a dinosaur to standing in front of a spacesuit, it was no wonder I felt confused. Each time my son would patiently answer my multitude of questions as I tried to find out what we had done, in order to fill in the gaps. I would talk internally thanking whoever had taken care of us and letting them know I was now back in control and that we were all ok.

I was confused and at points somewhat irritated and yet the alters were doing exactly what I had hoped, they were sharing my day out. So I would reassure them it was ok that they had been around and that I hoped they had enjoyed things. I know my conversations are very one sided as yet though I can only hope it helps the alters. I feel it helps for as I am explaining this situation is ok even when it doesn’t feel like it to me, it seems just saying those words actually helps me. I guess I need reassurance too never mind the other parts of me.

The rest of our day seemed to be a blend of switching, losing time and some brief periods of side by side. It seemed like we had hardly been in the city before it was time to catch our train back home, I guess for me it had been brief. In truth I hadn’t been there all day in fact I was there for periods of the day rather than the whole time, no wonder it went quick.

On the train home I was trying to internally communicate and yet I felt exhausted, mentally and physically drained. But I am glad I spent this day out with various parts of me, it felt a positive step forward to enjoy this time with the other parts of me. I’m sure it’s helped us all even if it was at times chaotic and confusing for me at least.

As we travelled back home I asked my son what the day had been like for him, after all he had dealt with more than just me his mum. His words struck a chord, he said he had ventured on a day out with his mum, to be greeted by a cacophony of alters. This isn’t unusual to him this is his life each and every day he lives with me.

I can’t imagine how tough that is for him it must be mentally draining at the least, and yet he is able to adapt and deal with this. I know having Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t easy, but I guess being the loved one/supporter of someone with D.I.D isn’t easy either.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014

 

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7 thoughts on “A Cacophony of Alters – a day trip with my alters

  1. Yeah, it’s pretty weird when you first start experiencing another part’s experience but aren’t in control. The doctor who diagnosed me with DID called that co-presence–not co-consciousness, which he defined as sharing control with another part. Sometimes I’d rather have no memory than be present but not in control, but that’s probably because for me/us, co-presence usually happens when someone’s feelings are out of control. It feels like getting shoved back in my body so I’m still aware, but I’m not the one driving the bus.
    But it sounds like for you, it wasn’t a harmful experience, just new and uncomfortable. It will probably get less uncomfortable as you experience it more–that’s how it’s worked for me with a lot of DID stuff.

  2. hi hon
    yes, the ‘side-by-side’ you experienced is very familiar to me & in fact, is the norm for us – I used to describe it as like driving a car & someone comes & sits in front of you & they start driving. I am always present, know what’s going on but have no control over my actions &/or anything that happens. since this has always been a huge part of my multiplicity I am totally used to it & it happens quite often – for me it is just another way of living, know what I mean? (we only found out there was a word for it ‘co-consciousness’ recently).
    also, quite often it is like there are 2 of us ‘up’ & we both engage in whatever we are doing – talking, watching TV, etc. the only time I need to take control is when we are actually driving as the little ones love to drive (wheeee!) as you can imagine (smile).
    thank you again for all your writing – really makes us feel not so isolated, you know?
    big hugs
    lisaj&thegirls

  3. We loved reading about your trip. We agree with your psychologist about the cacophony being a sign of progress. And your son sounds like a great guy. 🙂

  4. Your son being there with you and capable of handling all the switching shows the type of man he’s going to be. I think it’s great that you gave your family members the freedom to explore and enjoy the day.
    For the most part, I’m co-conscious with family members meaning that we both share the “front”. We’re both aware of what’s going on and we both function together. Co-presence is being aware that a family member is present but not having any control – or not being fully “up front”. it’s like watching and not being able to stop what’s happening.
    It can be draining switching throughout the day. The good thing is that your son handled things well and was able to help you and your family members get through the day.

  5. This made me smile. I see your frustrations as well, but it seems to me that you planned a thing and you gave (at least several) people enough safety to come and be themselves (as did your son also), and you carried that throughout the day and well, it seems.
    ‘Congratulations’ sounds trite, but it was a big plan and it worked 🙂

  6. I’m glad you gave your family members time to be out and about in London for a day trip. It sounds like it went pretty well, considering this is fairly new for you. I can tell when one of my child alters wants to be out (they tell me), but my adult alters just barge out without any warning. I do have a fairly cooperative family though. My adult alters will take care of the child alters if no one else is around to do so; this is a big plus. They will drive them to appointments and get them set-up with a movie if they want to watch one and make sure they have something to eat and/or drink. This is particularly handy with my 2 year old alters.
    Thanks for the story. Your writing is great. Always makes me feel like I am there with you.

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