At the start of this year I wrote a blog entitled ‘one brick at a time’ and talked about how the reality for those with D.I.D means we have a brick wall that blocks us from the memories of our past and from knowing the other parts of us. At the time I stated that my intention was to work at removing one brick at a time from that wall. I really had no idea what that would like look like or indeed the impact it would have on my life.
Back in January my wall was best described as this one almighty brick wall between me and my other parts of me the alters, with a tiny solitary brick starting to come lose. I was experiencing the feelings of some of my alters but nothing else, hence I felt the overwhelming sorrow of my teen and the excitement of my younger parts.
But what a difference 8 months of therapy and responding to my feelings has made, utilising various techniques from self talk to ideomotor signalling internal communication has progressed.
I now recognise more feelings which is great and I’m far more open to question and wonder which alter is about and what has caused them to feel in the way they do. I tend to record what’s happening at these times to try and see if a pattern is formulated that can help me understand.
I don’t feel able or ready to hear the memories that they hold just yet, so instead I acknowledge I am aware of them and that I will deal with them at a later date when I am better able to do so. I do however want to realise if certain things cause certain reactions, for example over time I realised that a part of me gets angry when they feel threatened. It’s their defence mechanism I guess and now I know that, I’m more able to deal with those times when they react. Feeling threatened can be something as simple as a raised voice, so being able to say that to those close to me has helped us all.
A few months ago my teen alter who I felt the strongest began to communicate with me using ideomotor signalling, it has been interesting and yet at times hard too. Remembering to ask yes and no questions hasn’t been an easy learning curve experience and I’ve also come to recognise that her signals don’t always involve the hand. In recent weeks that’s included getting used to the changes in the muscles in my arm as she flexes these as if squeezing my arm. Initially I felt perplexed by these and it wasn’t so easy to accept, now it’s just a part of everyday life.
A few weeks ago I found out my teens name, this was done as part of an exercise set by my psychologist to put a blank piece of paper out and ask those alters who wanted to work with me to make a mark. I need the other parts of me to work with me and to let me get to know them in order that we together can make it easier for all of us. The aim is to establish better links and help me to understand my Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some of the names that appeared were familiar others not so and there were some marks as well. I asked my teen if her name was on the paper, and over time it transpired it was and as a result I now know her name
I now noticed days when she is not around and they are rare, as she is so much a part of my everyday. The feelings of grief and sadness she carries that once overwhelmed me are less often now as it seems she is learning that I am receptive to her and here to help. That has made my life easier and it has meant huge changes in that I have started to differentiate more between the feelings that she carries and other feelings. She has helped me this summer to venture out and enjoy experiencing fun, something I never thought I would do. The days at the beach have been days that my teen alter and I have shared and I am indebted to that part of me for her help and support.
That blank piece of paper I laid out for the parts of me was I thought a disaster at the time, but I believe it was a turning point as I openly asked for the alters help. Following that exercise an alter appeared in therapy briefly and I was left with the task of trying to communicate with her. The methodology for this wasn’t handed to me by my psychologist he basically said I needed to work it out as I’d know what we needed. He was right because I just kept trying to talk openly as I have for the past 8 months and I carved a way through.
Self talk that once felt weird and odd now is normal and I am pleased to say it’s yielded change, I’m certain that it has been an amazing fortnight. As I tried to communicate with the part who had appeared in therapy, she responded and now when she is around we can share two way dialogue. I’m also able to do this with another alter and it is so interesting for me to see how different each part of me is. I realise that both of these younger alters each like certain cartoons and that one is more confident than the other. Whilst my teen alter has an interest in art which I’m trying hard to ensure she gets time to do and I’ve also ensured she as access to the equipment she needs.
But the biggest change of all I think has been that at certain times when I would have previously lost time, I can now stand in the background as if in the back seat of a car and watch. Watch as one of the other parts of me does certain things, be that painting, watching TV or interacting with other family members. This is a first and it feels unbelievable, it certainly feels odd and unusual and yet I’m well aware this is progress.
I know that I have a long way to go on this journey and yes I still have times when it all feels too much, moments of lost time and chaos, switching and confusion still impact each day. Yet those brief moments of communication and awareness with these three alters offer some light relief and allow me to the gather my strength and keep going.I have to keep reminding myself that these alters who all seem so individual and unique are parts of me, we inhabit the one body and we are all known as one person. But the fragmentation that is D.I.D means there are many different parts to this one person that is me. As for that brick wall I spoke of in January well it seems more like a wall with a small glass screen now inserted, a screen that I can stand behind and view through to see what parts of me are doing when they drive this body we share.
One day I hope that wall will be smashed fully away, but I’ll take what I have for now and continue working at progress one step at a time and one brick at a time I will break down that wall.
Written with the help and support of my alters, the other parts of me.
copyright DID Dispatches 2014