Well my vacation has finally come to an end, it was a good opportunity to understand my alters better and to be myself, whoever that me might be. Yet it was challenging at times too especially when I became overwhelmed emotionally and descended into floods of tears. One of the things I have realised these past 12 days is that my threshold for dealing with somethings is less than I would like.
So when the theme parks were busy I panicked and felt desperate to escape, sometimes we did have to leave early or head to another activity just to avert mass meltdown. The same happened when my outward flight was delayed and I felt like I couldn’t face a second day of the airport, on this occasion melt down did happen, floods of tears and anxiety levels off the scale. It was at these times that I would disappear, lose time and dissociate, my means of escape I guess from things I cannot deal with.
It’s hard to comprehend that I still naturally dissociate when things become too much for me, my inbuilt mechanism is to hide. My window of tolerance isn’t great and so my brain instantly kicks into overdrive and the fight or flight response kicks in. In my case their isn’t much fight, no I take flight and dissociate unable to deal with things that I guess for most people are manageable.
I’m also aware that whilst there have been many moments of co-awareness during my time away; times when I may not be in control of this body of mine or my speech or reactions I am at least aware of what the other parts of me are doing, there have been periods of lost time. My daughter tells me that I have switched quite considerably at points and sometimes it has been hard for her to keep track of which part of me is out.
I know that I have found it hard at times just to know who I am, to understand which alter, which part of me is in control. I know that it’s not me but even then I can’t say which part of me is most strong, most in control and I find this frustrating as it’s something I feel I ought to know. Perhaps I’m being a little hard on myself setting expectations that are just not possible to meet at this moment in time, but it still feels frustrating.
Over the past 12 days I have been very aware of certain alters who have been more prominent and the time away has given me a chance to get to understand these parts better. There are a couple of little parts who clearly have enjoyed the characters we met and rides we went on, but I’m also aware of their fears too. They clearly feel uncomfortable having fun, they stress over getting things wrong and they worry there will be a price to pay for them enjoying themselves. I’ve spent so much time trying to reassure them and can only hope they see that today there aren’t consequences like in the past. I now know my teen alter is terrified of the dark and I do mean terrified, yet I have found reassuring her at these moments has helped. I’m even more aware now that she has an artistic nature, it’s been a joy to be co-aware whilst she has looked at the designs and textures all around her.
Now though we return back to normality, back to everyday life and I am nervous of how that will go, will it feel overwhelming like the last time I went away. I’m worried I won’t be able to be myself, to give all the different parts of me time in the way I have been able whilst we have been away. I’m concerned I will block my alters once again which I know isn’t a good thing to do. I guess only time will tell and my main job now is to keep moving forwards and to keep trying to work with my alters.
Today as I land back in the UK I am grateful I have a therapy appointment this evening, as this will give me an opportunity to talk through some of my concerns and fears. In fact I’ve never been more glad of a therapy appointment there is so much I want to discuss, things I need help rationalising. Hopefully jet lag won’t prevent me from being there or from being an active participant in the session, here’s hoping.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2015