I thought I’d share a little of what it’s like vacationing with alters, after all holidays are different and I guess more challenging as well. You see I am trying to entertain not just me the adult but my alters; the other parts of me too and that includes child and teenage parts, who all have differing likes and dislikes. My family tell me that going on holiday with me is a bit like taking a coach load of people on a trip, we are forever changing what we’d like to do and well you can’t please all of me at the same time.
For me it can be both interesting and challenging as I switch from one alter to another, and well my head is full of chaos and noise at times. There have been moments when I have felt overwhelmed by the competing demands and others were it’s felt just right. I think I am slowly learning to not be so hard on myself and to accept that at times I will get things wrong, but what’s important is I tried and that’s a start.
This past week I have found myself hugging characters with a glee and excitement that is surreal, as little parts of me take control. We have been on a flying elephant ride ‘Dumbo’ and gone in search of ‘Finding Nemo’ as well as watched Mickey and Minnie and Co dance around. Yet I have also found myself at the Space Center lunching with an astronaut and paddling in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. My teen has enjoyed the two art shops we ventured too, she certainly hurt my purse but I know she was happy and that’s what’s important.
My packing for this trip was done by adult me, as I have taken a bit of a back seat this week much of that packing hasn’t been worn, my younger parts have totally different dress sense to me. My eating habits have also been erratic as different parts of me seem to like different foods, some parts are fearful of food so that’s made life awkward. In one restaurant we went to the younger guests were being encouraged to dance around on hobby horses in a parade, there was a strong desire from young parts of me to join in though it would have looked a bit odd to say the least. Thankfully my daughter managed to distract those parts with gooey pudding and my dignity remained intact.
Different alters like different activities, and sometimes what one likes another is fearful of and this can lead to feelings of fear gripping me mid way through an activity. I have spent so much time internally communicating that I feel as if I have neglected my daughter, who at times I am just too busy to talk to. Of course I’m not silent there is communication going on it’s just internally and others can’t see or ear that internal dialogue.
Taking a trip away is complicated, but it’s also good too and so far despite the odd meltdown moment we are surviving. I guess you could say we are doing better than surviving, I am letting go off control and giving over control of this body I share with my alters to the alters at times. I have been surprised by the amount of co-awareness that I have had during this vacation, it’s a positive sign things are slowly improving. I have established some key triggers so am now able to plan ahead and work around these more which is helpful. I’m also conscious of the needs of certain alters and by offering reassurance found that this has helped, it has certainly given my teen alter more opportunities to learn things are safer today; than in the past where she still thinks and feels she lives.
I’m learning to have fun as well, paddling on the beach was my chance to experience an activity that until last Summer I wouldn’t dare undertake. I’m realising too that it’s ok to smile and laugh at silly things, that I don’t have to be serious all the time and I’m more aware of my own feelings. Most of all though I’m realising that the past doesn’t have to dictate the future, I can retrain my brain to think differently and to react to triggers differently. I’m also aware I have feelings for my alters yes I actually care about them, I guess that’s a sign of me nurturing myself and valuing myself. I guess overall I’m aware that despite my past, despite my Dissociative Identity Disorder life is safe today, I don’t need to let the fears ingrained in me as a child control today.
I’m off now to create some more memories, good ones that will last a lifetime and make me smile and laugh.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2015