I want this blog to be honest and open about my life with Dissociative Identity Disorder and yet there are times when it is hard to be so upfront, to write about the things we are doing. Mainly I fear being judged which I know is ridiculous and yet it is one of my biggest fears.
If I’m honest those fears are in a way making it difficult to write, because I do wonder what other people will think about me and in turn my alters, the other parts of me. All my childhood and into my adult years I was judged by one of my main abusers, she’d continually put me down and be critical. Scathing comments about my failings were a daily occurrence, it was as if everything was my fault and I was utterly useless at anything.
Now I know that those comments were wrong and untrue and yet the fear of being judged still haunts me today. It is as if I can’t switch off those ingrained fears and believe systems that stem from my past. Oh if only it were easy to do so my life would be much easier, there are many negative responses and believes that I hold from my past. Not to be so self critical, or feel worthless, not to fear the unknown or being judged, to not dread anything fun – would be life changing.
The reality is of course I have to live with my ingrained developed thinking patterns and believe systems until I can change them. That change does not come easy and I know will take time, patience and a lot of inner strength and bravery on my part.
So in that spirit of being brave I want to explain about the realities of my internal communication system with my alters, the other parts of me. If you have read my blog for a while you will recall that 6 months ago I didn’t have internal dialogue of any kind. I’d tried of course but things like keeping a journal didn’t work and nothing else seemed to either.
Yet in the past few months there has been progress and it’s quite amazing, I never thought I’d make it this far and yet I know there is much more to be achieved and I’m keen to keep going, to keep trying. Progress hasn’t come easy it’s taken the patience and skill of my psychologist to steer me on the right path and they have needed to keep encouraging me each session. They have also had to deal with my plethora of questions about techniques and face my scepticism too, I know I am not easy to work with.
But progress has also meant me changing how I live my life, the emphasis is now on internal dialogue and on working with the other parts of me, my alters. The reality is that from initially feeling some of their feelings and then one sided internal dialogue, I now have progressed to some co-presence with some of the younger parts, my littles as I call them. It’s random and uncontrolled and it’s not as often as I would like, but it is progress.
I also have begun to communicate with a specific alter, one that clearly holds strong emotional responses of desperation and sadness. This is the part who can overwhelm me without warning and reduce me to floods of tears, she is desperately sad and carries much hurt and pain. I know her as my teen and understand that she will give me a name when she is ready. My teen and I have developed a way of basic internal dialogue that is not one sided, we use a technique that I believe is called ideomotor signalling.
Now this means I relax, and allow her to take control of one of my hands and she communicates yes or no answers to mine or my psychologists questions using this hand. She indicates her responses to the questions by raising one of the fingers for yes and not raising it when the answers no. It was rather strange at first and if I am honest I totally disbelieved it at the beginning, but over time I have come to realise this technique works for me and for my alter. I couldn’t give up control of me knowingly, so unless the alters take over me without warning; which they can do, I can’t magically let them suddenly appear. For example I couldn’t just say my teen could have my therapy session and I’d disappear, it’s not possible. So being still present and yet giving her a means to communicate was the solution we needed and ideomotor signals resolve my issues of needing to feel in control.
At the beginning it was odd and I struggled with yes and no questions, it was hard to think of them and so I made a lot of mistakes. Now though a few weeks in and I am slowly finding that questions are easier to find and I can work around issues to ensure we use yes or no questions. My teen seems more able to come forward when I attempt to communicate with her. I know she’s a teen because I asked her, and I know she likes strawberries, I also know internally communicating with her reduces the distress she overwhelms me with, now that is progress.
Now I know that some people will think ideomotor signals are strange and I guess I was very sceptical at the beginning. I challenged my psychologist to explain how it worked in the hope of trying to understand more fully this technique. I knew that when my alter had control I couldn’t move my arm, it felt heavier and yes it felt very weird.
But in the end I think the realities of how it impacts me and my teen alter have reassured me that this works, I really don’t care why I just know it does. The information I have managed to source on the internet also reassures me, this technique is backed up by prominent people within the field of dissociation. The international society for the study of trauma and dissociation contained this technique as an example in their 2005 treatment guidelines. Overall all my fact finding tells me that this technique is basically a form of communication that bypasses the conscious mind, allowing my alters a voice and it seems that it works for me.
Progress comes in many forms and my internal communication with my teen alter has allowed me to make huge steps forward this week, that I don’t think would have been possible without this technique. – I will write about those in a future post.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014