Pilgrim's Journey > February 2006 Archives
February 1, 2006
Therapy is too confusing and too hard right now. It just occurred to me that I'm not even sure if I WENT to therapy last night. I am pretty sure that jo went. But then again, I dont remember at all for sure. The only real evidence that I have is that my gas tank went from 3/4 a tank full to 1/4 tank of gas. I am so confused. The days are too long and all blend together into one long, gigantic, neverending day.
I'm not handling things very well right now. At work, I've been bogged down in paperwork. Oops ... and I just now remembered that report cards are due soon so I need to get those done too. Yikes! I am not motivated to do ANYTHING because I feel like I can't do anything right. I've been so depressed that I feel like jo. Its bad enough that we have one inside person being depressed & suicidal and laying on the couch all the time. Now its contagious. All i want to do is sleep and curlup on the couch too. I'm just so overwhelmed. Missy has to do more and more of the work at my job, which just makes her attitude of "I have to handle EVERYTHING!" worse.
There have been a couple of us losing time. Not just me. For me, the weirdest time was the other day when I was watching this movie called Simon Birch. I haven't seen it in a long time. There is a bus accident near the end where the bus goes under the water. Being underwater/not being able to breathe is a HUGE trigger for me. I was watching the movie, saw the bus begin to go into the water, I BLINKED, and the movie was at the end where the guy is all grown up. I thought, wow, I dont remember it ending like that, but it HAS been a long time since I saw it ... weird. I swear all I did was BLINK -- what's that take, half a second?
Then on Sunday I saw the whole movie again. Bus started to go into the water. And what do you know? This time I didn't lose time -- and hey, there is actually a whole SCENE in there, in fact there is something like 20 minutes of the movie left, and I ended up watching it, and the movie ends like I thought it did from the first time I saw it.
I PROMISE, all I did was blink the 1st time. I dont know what happened or who came out or where I went, but there went 20 minutes, just out of nowhere. *shrug*
I feel like I have millions of things buit up inside me that are aching to get out. The urge to cut is so strong. Today on the freeway I burst out crying all of a sudden just because I was so overwhelmed. I stopped it right away because I was getting yelled at inside but I wish I could just everything out. I wish I had someone to talk to. I wish I could talk to my therapist. I didn't get to talk to her yesterday, and now I have to wait until NEXT Tuesday to see her again. Which is really frustrating, because by next Tuesday, another 15 things will have come up, and I won't ever get to talk to her about what is going on right NOW, and someone else inside will end up taking over and taking up my time anyway.
I HATE being this way.
I HATE MYSELF.
I HATE MY BRAIN.
February 4, 2006
Being recognized by someone I dont know
I had such an odd experience the other day. It hasn't happened in quite a few years, and I guess that's why it threw me off. One of those things-that-happen-to-multiples-but-lets-pretend-won't-happen-to-me-anymore things. A lady came up to me the other day and called me by my name. I don't recall ever seeing her before but SHE knew me. I was trying to place a name with her face. She started talking about students of mine and about kids in my class. She VERY DEFINITELY knew me. I was searching frantically in my head to figure out how and why this person knew me. I nodded and said socially appropriate things at the right time I hope, still having no idea who I was talking to. Then she had to go and said, "Well I'll see you in a couple weeks, Pilgrim." I turned around and walked on, feeling completely lost. I swear I had no idea what had just happened.
It wasn't until hours later when Carolineine was busy teaching that I had a clue. The lady knows CarolineINE. It turns out that the lady works as a substitute and Carolineine talks to her often. Carolineine not only knows her face, but even knows the lady's NAME.
this is not my life. really.
February 10, 2006
the Patience of Job
In the job I have, I need a lot of patience. Oftentimes on the way to work, I pray for patience because I work with young children who take years and years to learn simple concepts that most kids pick up on in a day or two. I'd say that the biggest compliment I get is that I have a lot of patience. Its what I dare say a lot of people admire me for. Having the patience of Job. Things that kids do wrong or mess up on again and again just doesn't irritate me at all. We just keep trying. Again. Again. Again. And even kids with behavior problems, the ones who love to try to push my buttons and drive me crazy. Most of the time, it just doesn't work. They push to get reactions, and it doesn't work. I wait them out. I wait and wait and wait. And wait some more. And eventually they give up and see that whatever they are doing isn't going to work on me, and decide its just easier to behave.
So how come that with myself, I have absolutely NO patience? I am so FRUSTRATED with myself! I want to just MOVE ON already. I'm so sick and tired of everything I do wrong. I hate that I mess things up all the time. I can't talk right. I can't say things right. I have such a hard time expressing myself in therapy. The past two weeks have been really long and difficult ones. I am driving myself crazy. When am I going to get BETTER?
February 11, 2006
Positives about everyone inside
We saw on someone’s website… they were describing all their inside people. In POSITIVE, nice ways. That’s an odd idea.
We have been too wrapped up in talking about each other like our families talk about each other-- negative. And griping.An idea just occurred to us that maybe other families don’t do this.
So here is something we’re going to try to do: write down everyone (maybe… there are people that are not talked about) and talk about them in a POSITIVE way.
Mae-- she is innocent and likes to share. She likes to give things away to people. She donated all kinds of her things to Hurricane Katrina victims and she loves to make boxes of gifts for orphans at Christmastime. Mae is eager to learn about new things and when she learns something new, mostly she does better. She is doing a lot better about talking, doesn’t tear things up very much anymore, doesn’t cut or burn or throw up anymore unless its something really really big that’s bothering her. That’s a lot of progress.
Tuck-- he is a good boy and likes helping out the girls. He is strong and brave and smart. He likes to try new things.
Claire-- she is good at being quiet and patient. She is really good at taking care of animals and waiting her turn and really, really good at watching out to make sure things are safe. She is really really patient. She’s been waiting her turn to talk in therapy for a couple years and hasn’t complained at all. Its her job to wait patiently and she’s good at it.
Twins-- they are smart. They like to help us out and help people. One is sad and one is happy but they’re always together. They like to do handwriting, spelling, and math.
Missy-- she is strong and a good speaker. She isn’t afraid of anything. Missy can deal with lots of people, even bullies. She’s good at making decisions when the rest of us can’t make one. She keeps things organized and she can always find her stuff.
Pilgrim-- she is loyal to people and patient with kids. She watches everything around her to try to figure out what to do. She can see both sides of an issue so it helps her relate to other people .
Jo-- she tries to make sure things are consistent so we have a sense of stability. She knows that it makes us scared when things change. Jo tries to help out by trying to make time stand still and hide and be safe so we don’t get hurt more.
The other kids-- well they can be fun and silly, like Blue who doesn’t come out front anymore, and Jadie, who can’t come out except at home because she shouldn’t be around real people, they just like to color or play dolls or play with play dough, and it is kind of funny when they misunderstand things and take things literally.
Carolineine-- she is good at being around people and comforting others and knows what to say to people. And she can think about big things that some of us don’t understand at all.
February 14, 2006
Good news, We're Normal!
Good news tonight from therapy, our T was looking through Pilgrim's & our collages and stuff and said we're normal, hurray!
Have no idea what she meant by it but if the word "normal" comes out of a therapist's mouth... that COUNTS for something, right? Something about having all different feelings and wants and needs like most people do, only difference is that Pilgrim splits them up or something.
Mmm...something like that (me, Pilgrim) . My mind is fried. I can't think right now. For two hours I was trying really hard though to work together with Carolineine and Mae and Jo to give some coherent answers to what we were talking about. My head felt really huge and crowded. I spaced out a few times and couldn't always keep track of what she was saying. Mae kept saying inside "You're saying too many words! I dont understand!" but I wouldn't let her say anything outloud. She isn't thrilled with me right now.
Something that really made sense tonight was something about ... oh hell...I dont know. I was seeing pictures in my head about the Big Bad Wolf and Mae was telling my T about what she saw in the pictures. I'll try to remember what it was.
...Last night I had this REALLY scary dream. I dreamed that I was driving past my high school, and all of a sudden, my foot started pressing on the gas pedal. I started going faster and faster and couldn't stop it. I kept trying to push down on the brake to make it stop, but I kept going faster. I couldn't get my foot off the gas pedal. I started screaming and crashing into trees and cars, and I wanted to pull my foot off the accelerator, but I couldn't do it, it had a will of its own. I kept thinking, "Oh great, now they're REALLY going to put me in a psyche hospital now!".
But hey, the word normal came out of someone's mouth to describe me. First time ever. Someone write that down !!!! :)
February 15, 2006
How to treat someone with multiple personalities
Someone posted a comment today about how to approach someone they think is a multiple and how they can make it safe for their friend to talk to them. So I'm going to post some ideas and suggestions that some friends and us have come up with. These are some ideas we've come up with. Some are just plain silly--- we HAVE to have a sense of humor!- but most are serious. These ideas are all by people who have multiple personalities:
When you meet a multiple Do ask them how they are on touch. and offer them a safe hug even if it is only on a mental non physical level.
DO ask dont just go rushing in with a hug... coz some dont like that
Do Accept that you may ahve to adapt to whole entire different way of thinking.
Do accept this will take time.
Do accept you may have to confront a huge shift in your perception of the world certainly of the person who has told you
Do stick by the person.
Do take care of YOURSELF.
Don't ask, "well who am i talking to NOW?"
its just an embarassing question, like whoever you are talking to right now just isn't good enough. and like they cant tell you apart. learn who each person is. its just nice when you get to know everyone.
Don't ask "How are you doing/feeling today?"
THAT question has complicated answers." Well, Nobody is suicidal, Mae is crying, Carolineine is really excited about going back to school. Missy is having a hissy fit because i wont give her my credit card to go shopping, Tuck is upset because he can't have a pet anaconda in the bedroom, so and so is having flashbacks of rape. So... how are YOU?" A better question might be, "What's new? "How's the weather?" :-P
For doctors and therapists and psyches: DONT think that just because you have a degree, that you know more than I do. I know what goes on in my mind. I know my body. I know how things work inside. I know ME. More than you will ever, ever know. I am the expert on ME (Pilgrim)
Don't forget that everybody matters- there is nobody inside who isn't there for a reason.....if you're my therapist, remember to ask about the system, not just the host (hate that term 'host'....sounds like the whole thing is a party).
Don't make a big deal out of the kids. Don't ask to play with them. Don't ask them to talk unless you're the t, and there's a reason to. Don't talk down to them, but remember that they are stuck in time.
If you need to discuss something serious with us, it's better to write it in an email to give us time to process things. If you ask us in person, "what would you like to do for your birthday?", for instance, ask by saying, "Can you take a few days and get back to me about what you'd like to do for your birthday?"... because then we have time to process among ourselves what we could compromise on doing.
This especially applies if you need to discuss something really serious; like if you need to talk to us about something we've said...or you're upset with us... write it in an email so that we have time to process. Because if you ask us in person or on the phone, we can't respond because so much is going on in our heads all at the same time and we won't be able to give you an answer. Or else we might give you one that wouldn't be the consensus. Or someone might come out reacting instead of responding.Things need time to filter down through all the layers so that we are able to respond in a productive way.
Do not equate "mental illness" with mental retardation
when you meet a multiple dont expect them to be over the top different from you an me. (oh yeah umm I am one...so.. ) exactly. I dont look any different... On the regular occasions when I'm not off my head. When I#ve managed to dress as an independent person not as several members of a collective. We look pretty *set*.
When I finally screw up the courage to tell you that I am a multiple, don't look at me and say, "You can't be because I don't see it." The fact that you haven't seen me switch is because everyone inside is doing their job. You don't see our entire life and everything that is done to make sure we work as "one"...that is done as a team. We are not, nor have we ever been, Sybil...that is a tv movie based on one person's experience, not our experience.
February 16, 2006
Books on Multiple Personalities
Here is a link to books on Multiple Personalities at Amazon.com.
Books on Multiple Personalities
I have read quite a handful of them, and most of them are good. A few are real klunkers, but most are good attempts at understanding DID, especially the ones with the most recent publication dates. If anyone has questions about the books or would like opinions, I've read a lot of them and so have members at my DID support community (A Mind's Journey....http://s3.invisionfree.com/A_Minds_Journey/index.php). We'd be happy to recommend books.
February 17, 2006
Feeling really switchy tonight. All day. The past several hours its been a fight between me and someone else to see who gets to do what they want.
I need someone to talk to so badly and I'm so lonely, but there is no one online, no one to e -mail about what is going on (no friends), my sister is usually too busy to get on the phone or on the computer these days, and my husband is preoccupied with other things. Money and big issues going on and work problems and trying to get over things from the past and bad feelings over ex-friends and flashbacks.
My head... it just feels too big. I am so FAT. My therapist came up with a great theory the other day and I think she's got it exactly right. That as I was growing up, I had so much going on in my head, so many people and thoughts and information that my head just felt too big and there was too much going on, and so many people inside, that it seemed like my BODY just MUST be big, because it HAD to be big enough to hold everything and everyone, and that translated into--- I AM HUGE AND FAT--- and there started the eating disorder that I've had for 18 years. And I tihnk she's exactly right-- I can remember the ages where I was having the most problems with mental chaos and people in my head were the same ages where I started to feel bigger and fatter and having more eating disorder & fat thoughts--- at age 6, 10, 14, and 16. pilgrim
i am so lonely. i wish i could talk to my therapist. she's been giving us all this really hard homework this week. pages and pages of questions to answer. they're hard. its bringing up all this stuff and all these memories. I'm not dealing with so great... been purging AND cutting AND not eating... thats really not good. i want to talk to my therapist so much. tuesday is so far away. i really want to call this hotline... its called RAINN... its 1-800-656-HOPE ... I keep thinking about calling them and talking about the flashbacks and stuff. But I'm so afraid. What if I tell them I'm 17, and then I talk about being a teacher and everything, and they get confused? And then I'd have to tell them about how I am one of the alters of this girl who has multiple personalities.... I am so afraid they would just hang up the phone or laugh at me. jo
February 18, 2006
One of the things that was in my homework for this week for therapy was to learn about the concept of Mindfulness. I did a lot of reading on it today and found it really helpful. I printed out about 50 pages of research off the internet, and read a lot more than that as well. Its a really interesting concept.
Mindfulness means, basically, being completely present. Like being in the present moment of where you are, not judging yourself or your thoughts or what you are experiencing, just observing the experience. Its a Buddhist virtue I think.
I read about how to learn to practice it. I think that the hardest part for me is the "non-judgment" part. I tend to judge myself/my thoughts/my experiences harshly all the time, and always call myself stupid, always think everything I say or do is stupid/worthless/etc. THAT is going to be a challenge to get over.With mindfulness you also learn to slow down your thoughts... that is something I'm getting better at doing. My thoughts still race, but not as bad as they used to. Mindfulness also helps you make connections between things, pay attention to your feelings, and notice more of the good experiences that happen to you. Those are all things I need to work on.
Carolineine is really good at "mindfulness" and being in the present moment. It seems like its natural for her. She meditates and does yoga, her thoughts are always calm and logical and she's always present for people when she's talking to them. But as for the rest of us-- this mindfulness thing is REALLY something we need to work on. I really liked reading about it.
I also liked it because I can tell its something that my therapist practices. I can tell that during my sessions, she is really mindful and present when I'm talking, and that is something that is really important to me. I want to be more of that way too because that would be a really good character trait to have.
February 23, 2006
a Survivor's Group
My therapist e-mailed me yesterday that she wants me to join a couple of groups at this Womens Center in our city. I called today during my break and talked to someone there.
It was kind of hard.
She wanted to know (this is hard to even write) when I had been....um....i cannot get the word out tonight.
She wanted to know about the bad things that had happened to me in the past, what ages, by whom (in general) , if I had ever been to the doctor, if I was in therapy, things like that.
They are starting up a group that's going to be meeting a couple hours a week in the spring. My therapist thinks it will be good for me. It probably will be. I'll be scared, but... it'll be something different, and a challenge, which I need.
After I hung up the phone I was having flashbacks and sitting at my desk trying not to cry. I called my therapist real quick just to let her know that I'd called the place. Then I just sat there at my desk and trying not to cry. I can't just break down at work. There were flashbacks going through my mind. I was trying to just calm myself down and remind myself that nothing was happening then, that I was just sitting in front of my computer, nothing bad even happening, that I'd done something good. Its just that having to say things out loud-- that is scary.
I just sort of disappeared inside for a while.
I'll post tomorrow or later on about what we all talked about inside. We came up with some good things that needed to be worked on for quite a long time now-- core beliefs that need to be changed.
February 24, 2006
Changing Core Beliefs
My therapist has been trying for years to help me change my core beliefs about myself-- the "I'm bad, I'm a horrible person, I'm worthless" thoughts that strangle me every day. We have been working really hard on that the past few weeks. Its hard to get everyone inside on the same page, coming up with beliefs that we can all live with. Finally, yesterday afternoon, after some tough love from our T and a LOT of homework, we came up with some new beliefs that we can actually work on and ....wow.... may actually be true:
I am not stupid, I am smart
I am not inherently bad, sometimes I make poor decisions
Just because I am not the thinnest person in the world doesn't mean I'm the fattest
I am not crazy....?Hm..... (there was nothing written after that)
Maybe some people want to be around me some of the time
I can learn how to make friends
If I think and use my resources, I can handle anything that comes my way.
I can do a lot of things that other people can't (like teaching special ed kids)
I'm learning how to be mindful of what is going on NOW so I don't have to live in the past
I get to make my OWN choices now because I'm an adult
When we work together inside we accomplish a lot more
Everyone inside has an important role to play
Everyone inside is entitled to respect when they are appropriate (acting)
Everyone inside has the right to be heard
Everyone inside is important no matter what their age or size
Everyone inside is capable of working with others
Everyone is here for a reason[several of those were REAL hard to get everyone to agree on, but eventually, everyone even Missy agreed]
This morning, I was getting ready for work, and instead of thinking the usual "I am so bad and worthless", I found myself thinking, "I'm not bad, sometimes I just make bad decisions" and it was so strange... I didn't feel so bad about myself. Then later I talked to someone on the phone, but they had to get going. And I didn't take it personally for a change. I just thought to myself, "They just have other things to do" instead of thinking that it had something to do with me (like I am so worthless that they didn't want to talk to me.) So then I went back to what I was already doing.
Maybe this stuff actually works.
February 28, 2006
Progress in therapy
I've been thinking about progress I've made since I've been in therapy, so I started making a list.
Here is what I've come up with so far this morning:
(It's not complete yet-- I'll add more as I think of it):
Gone from exercising 4 hours a day to 45 minutes/day 4x a week
From Eating 200 calories a day to about 900-1000 calories a day
Gone from purging several times a week to about 2x a month (if that?)
Gained weight (which I am NOT HAPPY ABOUT!! IN FACT I AM QUITE BOTHERED BY IT!) but everyone says that I needed to
Unknown screaming in my head now at least have names and are TALKING
Mae is no longer wandering around dark tunnels yelling “Mom?” and crying
Everyone inside is working together better
I handle visits home with my family LOTS better which is a huge deal
Gone from cutting several times a week to a few times a month
Started talking to my sister and we ended up with a really good relationship (this is the BEST one!!)
don’t cry over food any more
Fewer nightmares, flashbacks, body memories
Learned a lot of coping skills (although I need a lot more practice)
Learned to stick up for myself
Learned how to talk to people (although I still have a lot more to learn)
used my coping skills to get out of a workplace that I HATED by standing up to my a$$hole boss and finding another job in a GREAT place that I love :)
Bravery,my stress test, and friends.
Today I was really brave. I went to visit old friends where I used to work. Usually I stay home and just think about visiting them, and stay busy wishing I could, but stay stuck on the couch. Today I decided to just get up and DO IT. Its been quite a few months since I was there last. I was so nervous, because its hard for me to be around people, but I was so glad I went. It made me feel so good to have people smile when they saw me. My old boss still will not talk to me. Jerk. But that's fine with me, I don't want to talk to him either. I sat down and talked with one of my friends for a long time today, and talked with a bunch of people in the office. It was so good. Those people are just colleagues that I used to work with, whom I only see once or twice a year, but they are the closest things to friends that I have.
I did a couple good things there today when I went for a visit. 1) I didn't stand at the door of my old classroom and reminisce about the old days and my old students, which I used to always do. I also didn't get myself all worked up about all the drama and craziness that went on there, which 5 years ago nearly drove me to kill myself because it was so bad. I think I am finally letting go of that place. I'm able to just go visit my friends there
and relax and have a nice time, instead of feeling like I need 2 hours of therapy afterward.
Today I also had a stress test for my heart. I get all stressed out about them. For a couple of years now there's been something wrong with my heart valve. I always get scared whenever I have to make the long drive out to the cardiologist. A long time ago, I had someone to go with me once or twice, but we're not friends anymore. When I make the same drive now, I still end up crying part of the way, because I get so lonely and scared and want someone to go with me for support. I'm always afraid of more bad news.
Hopefully the doctor will be calling me tomorrow with good news. I'm pretty nervous right now. I wish I had a friend here with me to help me wait for the call. I've been dizzy all day, partly dissociating and partly probably nervousness. I just want good news. I just want my heart to get back to normal again.
Things to do in the middle of the night when you're not tired...
1. Refresh the message boards I post on every 10 seconds, to see if anyone has posted anything new & exciting, or at least dramatic that I could read and reply to (they haven't-- its the middle of the night-- everyone is in bed.)
2. Do a random search on Livejournal and see what comes up (odd how many freakish journals there are out there... not to say that THIS journal isn't freakish....but gosh... a LJ about EYELINER? really? that's necessary in life?)
3.listen to my dog have dreams about running around chasing bunnies, because he huffs a lot and gets himself out of breath
4. search desperately for someone, somewhere to talk to
5. consider writing my therapist yet another e-mail... because I need to talk to someone so much... but decide not to. I'm lonely and having a lot of mixed emotions about something--- so what else is new? What else is there to be said?
6. Look up hotline numbers for Jo to call next time she is suicidal.
7. Consider calling the local Women's Center hotline number... but then don't... because needing someone to talk to doesn't qualify as a "sexual abuse or rape" related incident that I need to talk about.... just lonely. Why isn't there a self-injury hotline? Why isn't there a "you're so lonely you could die if you don't have someone to talk to right now" hotline?
8. take online quizzes. Really. I am bored.
9. Refresh those message boards again. Maybe someone replied to one of my posts.... Nope.
10. Look up my house on Google Earth.
11. Watch Seinfeld...oops, I just realized we are watching Discovery Health channel. Should have known. Thats what channel the kids always put on. They like to watch operations and babies getting born.
12. Stare at my Inbox and wait for e-mails to come in... the mail I get is usually just advertisements from stores. But that COUNTS as mail, right? SOMEONE IS THINKING OF ME!
Repeat steps 1-12 until sleeping pills finally kick in.