This week I feel like it’s been a week of recognising the many things I have to do to deal with in order to live life as a person with dissociative Identity Disorder and a survivor of child abuse. I attended a meeting on Thursday organised by the survivors trust and NHS England and in order to be there I had to juggle time with the other parts of me. So two days have been spent giving time to my little parts in order to allow me the time I’ve needed.
Having Dissociative Identity Disorder has meant learning to be the master of time, ensuring I work in collaboration with all the alters; the different parts of me. It’s hard to explain that to people who don’t have D.I.D, it’s hard to explain how much all that juggling and organising tires one out. More than that it’s hard to explain why I can’t do a particular task today because it’s cartoon day for the little parts of me, or art for my teen. People just don’t understand if I’m truly honest and I’m not sure how I can help them.
Juggling is just one of the many skills I’m learning, but then again there are so many I need to learn in order to live with being fragmented. There are many developmental skills I wish I had, yet sadly don’t, for instant I find it hard to deal with stress and certain words spiral me back into a nightmare time. I find it hard if people don’t respond to my messages as I suddenly thing they don’t like me, or worse still I’ve done something wrong. I lack confidence in some ways and yet other parts of me have the ability to engage with others it must confuse people. I find it hard to have self belief and my self esteem is still low and yes I’m still inpatient and self critical.
I wonder sometimes will these things ever change, but I think it helps to believe there is at least the potential for change. I hope as I progress through therapy things will fit better together, skills I once lacked will appear and things I find difficult will suddenly get easier. There has to be hope for without it the daily challenge to carry on working at things would be much harder.
I have found this week that I’ve resorted to sleeping downstairs once again, it’s a mixture of fear and irrationality that have caused this. Sadly it’s crept up on me and a situation that once used to be the norm a couple of years ago is again now the only way to sleep. When I first came out of hospital I could only sleep downstairs so that’s what I did for a couple of years. Then eventually I made it upstairs and so it remained until about ten days ago.
Initially I came downstairs as a result of a need to spring clean my room, it was meant to be a couple of nights sadly it’s become a fixture of life. On one of the nights I had a flashback, I coped really well I think despite being catapulted back in time in an instant. I worked at telling myself it was just a memory and not happening today and I reassured the parts inside that we were safe.
Safe however isn’t enough for me somehow, you see the memory links to another one I had a few years ago I know then I blocked it out, after a meltdown crisis and feelings of absolute terror. Today I’m not blocking it out, today I know its my memory, today I’m aware and able to accept I think this happened to me. Yet the fear of that time still has a grip on me, a grip on me that seems to have it’s claws well and truly fixed in me.
But the reason I’m still sleeping on my sofa well the original incident took place in a bedroom, not mine but a bedroom all the same. The thought of being in a bedroom is just one step too far right now, I can deal with this better sleeping in the lounge sleeping on my sofa. I want to deal with it you see I want so much the horror of that time to be finally unable to hold a grip on me, to no longer send me into a spin. I know it’s a part of me that holds this memory but the reality is it’s my memory they hold, this thing happened to me.
Whilst I know it’s not quite the right time to process this trauma, I also know I can’t just block it out either I need to at least acknowledge that time. You see it’s hard to face the feelings of pain and terror not because I’m frightened it is happening in today’s world but mainly because of the emotions that are contained within it. I am just not confident I can always deal that well with this memory and I really don’t want to distress the part of me who holds it or have too many disrupted nights. So I’m currently going to stay sleeping downstairs on the sofa until I’m ready to process this in therapy and I don’t think that time is too far away.
I tweeted earlier this week that life with Dissociative Identity Disorder is challenging and I truly belief that. But I also know I’m far more stronger than I used to be and that’s the result of good stabilisation work in therapy. Being stronger helps but it doesn’t make the challenge disappear that is something I have to face one step at a time, one day at a time.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2014