There are days when it feels like my alters are far more evident, days when I don’t block them and instead listen away to the cacophony of voices filling my head. This past few days it’s really been noisy inside and I feel closer than ever to a few of my alters; the other parts of me. I thought I’d share some of what’s happening at the moment.
Following a few days of low mood and a lack of motivation out popped one of my littles, M was nervous about therapy which was scheduled for Monday. She was around first thing in the morning as we watched cartoons side by side, she was certainly in control but I didn’t lose time instead it was as if I sensed her feelings and watched my body from afar. My analogy of being side by side is that of driving a car, sometimes I am the driver of this body, other times the passenger in the back seat aware of what’s happening but oh so not in control. Being side by side means I’m in the back seat aware of events but not in control.
M is quite nervous and gentle in nature and she was bothered she had upset my therapist from the week before. So despite lots of reassurance and my therapist emailing to say he wasn’t annoyed or cross M was clearly nervous about our scheduled for that evening. When my therapist had to unexpectedly cancel our session it really worried her, she was distressed and all her worries from the week before came rushing back. Yet I knew logically it was just one of those things and well we’d be fine till next week, we have skills we can use now to help us. But M didn’t understand that and so my morning was spent reassuring her and giving her time and attention, I knew communicating with her was helping as we now have two way dialogue and so she was talking back to me. Giving M time really helped settle her worries and that in turn helped me, I gain a better perspective on situations sometimes as a result of trying to explain something to one of my alters.
Tuesday morning was L’s turn, initially I thought of her as a precocious little alter a bit cheeky and quite confident, but I realise the more I get to know her she’s not like that at all. Yes she appears to be quite confident but deep down she’s nervous and scared, she is fearful at times and worries a lot. She and I enjoyed chatting on Tuesday and as always she asked lots of questions, it’s clear she likes to know what’s going on and I think I can understand why as fear is a big issue for her. Watching cartoons with a little alter like L or M, sensing their excitement and hearing their giggles is an odd feeling to get use to, but it also brings a new joy. For I am learning to have fun, to switch off from the humdrum of day to day life and see the little things in life that really matter. L likes having time and she is getting better at sharing time with me and other alters, she is also one of my alters who likes to cook and so our chat on Tuesday was all about our next adventure in the kitchen and what could we make. We sat and watched a children cookery programme together and that graves us some ideas for our next adventure together.
Of course I don’t just hear one alter everyday, it’s not that easy or straight forward, I can be in dialogue with a number of alters at once, and will hear, feel or sense many of them each day. Yet the constant noise in my head, the rush of emotions and feelings that I encounter seem at times to be just normal now after all this is my life, my life with Dissociative Identity Disorder. I am slowly realising that understanding my condition is helping, it’s helping me to accept who I am. With acceptance of course comes less denial and that’s meant less blocking of the alters, so a little less losing time and a little bit less chaos at the moment.
On Tuesday afternoon I gave up my time, my control of this body and allowed my teen alter to take the reins. For me that means not blocking my alter, getting out the art equipment and just allowing her the chance to be herself. The creative art she accomplished in the space of a couple of hours was wonderful, and I felt so relaxed when I finally came back to the fore. My teen was more settled too and that’s helped with our ongoing work of trying to get to know her better. It was a real achievement today to actually have a dialogue with her, we still use ideomotor signals to converse and yet I am getting better at asking yes/no questions more naturally. Sensing her emotions is less frightening now than it was just a few months ago and the frequency of her overwhelming me has lessened. Some of that’s down to being able to converse with her when I sense her struggling and that calms her down, helping both of us.
I know if you read this blog and haven’t got D.I.D you might think internal dialogue or chit chat is odd, you may well be sceptical of ideomotor signalling, I know I was when we first began using it. But talking internally and starting to get to know the other parts of me is helping, I may not be the best person to explain it, I may not fully understand why it helps but I know it does.
I’m someone who likes to logically rationalise and understand things, but there are times when I realise that all the matters is does something help, does it work. Trying to build a relationship, a rapport with the alters is helping and hopefully it will help me into the future as we progress through trauma work. But all of this takes time, time and effort, I know that it’s not easy and I mess up a lot and it can feel like I’m taking 2 steps forward and then 1 step back every time. It’s hard work and there are days when I wish others could understand what life is really like, the constant juggling of competing demands, the ever changing emotions as my mood speeds from high to low and back again. I can feel low in a morning, overly excited in the afternoon, fly to the land of confusion and mixed emotions at tea time and then be in utter despair by night time. My different parts all have different feelings, different likes, different needs and yet they are all a part of me, so I feel all these different feelings. I’m often asked which alter are you now and my answer often is I don’t know who I am, and that is how it feels some days. But right now my daily aim is not to block the alters out, it’s to accept and understand them, it’s to realise that internal chit chat is actually a good thing, it is ok.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2015