Pilgrim's Journey > April 2007 Archives
April 5, 2007
Being the caretaker
This is Carolineine. Today I went to see our therapist-- we got to have an extra session this week, because we have a couple of days off for Easter vacation, and I'm so grateful. I meant to go in and talk , for once, about myself and the things going on with me, but as usual, over half the session ended up being about everyone inside and how we can help the girls and the kids....
I finally just stopped myself and said, "I'm going to stop talking about them now." So we switched gears, and I took the last 20 minutes to talk about the stress I'm under and trying to live up to the expectations everyone has of me.
Anyway, it helped a little. Later on I went to a massage. Its one of the best ways to get me to relax.
No one else decided to take over, as tired as I was. I started to fall asleep a few times-- I would start to feel vulnerable though and I don’t care for that, so I would make sure I was awake again. Not feeling so safe today I think, a little exposed from our session this afternoon. Before the massage lady came in, I gave the kids a HUGE lecture, because I just really, really wanted them to behave for 90 minutes. I had to slip into teacher mode and refer to myself in 3rd person: We are NOT going to bother Carolineine tonight.. WE are going to let Carolineine have some peace and quiet. .We HAVE to chill out because all this stress is making ALL OF US SICK -- and its not fun to be sick IS IT? Do you LIKE being stuck laying on the couch? We are NOT going to argue, we are not going to fight, we are not going to interrupt with 20 questions a minute. I don’t want to hear you call my name every 34 seconds. I want to close my eyes and not have someone else open them a minute later. We are not going to be all wiggly (the kids always are). We are not going to suddenly get “itchy” (Pilgrim's clothes always bother her-tags and seams, so she’s always itchy). We are not going to all of a sudden start playing Godzilla Boy or have a discussion about ‘ would Godzilla or Megazilla do a better job at delivering eggs than the Easter Bunny?’ We’re going to let Carolineine BREATHE. DO.YOU.UNDERSTAND.? Etcetera.
So things were ok… only a few problems and although I heard quite a few voices there were also a lot of “Shh!!! Don’t BOTHER her!” ha ha. At least there was an attempt.
Me, I still couldn’t shut my mind off. I was trying to picture myself in calm, peaceful places (Bahamas, by a waterfall, in a field of flowers), and then after a few seconds I’d go back to thinking about work or about the girls or trying to figure out what to do, or thinking about what you and I talked about today. My brain just doesn’t slow down. I thought about some things that happened to the girls when they were younger, and I thought about how sometimes I just really can’t stand myself, how I hate the way I talk.
Anyway- that kind of thinking doesn’t get me very far.
I feel like I have all these rules I have to follow:
1. Everyting in my life MUST revolve around everyone inside.
2. I must appear happy all the time.
3. I must always be helpful.
4. I must always be a good role model.
5. I am not allowed to do anything for myself.
6. Nothing can be about me…. I can’t talk about just myself, I can’t ask people to ask questions about me, I can’t talk about things that I want, can’t have the things I want.
7. My job is to WORK. I feel guilty if I try to do anything non-work… because there is always something else that needs to be getting done. SO much: bills, chores, work,kids,laundry,errands,everything.
Its not that I’m complaining… I’m just wondering, how long am I going to last like this? But I HAVE TO. I mean, don’t I? Who else is going to do it? What if I didn’t?
It seems that everyone is trying to be themselves-- which is good, I want them to. Its really important. I wish they didn’t have to hide the 99% of the time that they do. In a perfect world, all the inside kids and the girls would all get to be themselves all the time, and be accepted for who they are (1st we’d have to get a 300 hour long day.) What if I tried to be myself? Who am I anyway? Is that ALL I’m ever going to do is take care of everyone? Tonight I had a little container of frozen yogurt… not because I really wanted it, but because the kids wanted it, and I was trying to show them that its OK to eat something at night, I’m trying to show them “you won’t get fat if you eat a cup of yogurt at night.” (Even though I’m sitting here thinking to myself, maybe I shouldn’t be eating this, I don’t even really want it in the 1st place, what if I AM fat like the girls think THEY are?)
Maybe someday… once everyone else inside is a little more calmed down… maybe I could actually come talk to you about myself and not the kids. I wish I had someone to talk to. I need so much advice. I need some direction to go to think about all these things. Everyone wants me to fix things, but honestly, I’m just pulling things out of a hat so much of the time… that’s one of the reasons I’m so afraid of everyting crashing down. All I know is what I read about. The bad things that the girls had happen to them didn’t happen to me, but I didn’t exactly learn anything from our parents either. I don’t know if what I’m doing is right. I’m not a therapist, and honestly I’m probably just as naïve as the rest of the girls. I know the kids think that “TEACHERS” are the top of the heap as far as people go, but just because I am one doesn’t mean I know everything…. They put me up on a pedestal where I don’t deserve to be at all. I took this role because SOMEBODY HAD TO or we wouldn’t have survived. . That was all.
April 6, 2007
i just want to scream.
I just want to scream because I am so frustrated.
its like nothing i say to people matters.
i am so lonely and i have no real friends, no one who knows anything about me. Carolineine is the one that everyone likes, that everyone gets along with, that everyone sees.
i can't do anything to help anyone.
my sister is the most beautiful person in the world and she's miserable and i'm helpless to do anything about it and that makes me feel like shit.
i miss my old friends. I talked about them in therapy the other day. my therapist is convinced that the things that happened with them, one in particular, were not completely my fault. since she knew that group of friends, I'm sure she's probably telling the truth, but I still feel like everything IS/WAS my fault. And no matter who's fault it was, either way I am lonely and miss them. Funny how you can miss people that you hate so much now. I hate the people who left Mae and hurt her so much. They probably have no idea how bad they hurt her, and they probably were clueless that they even did. there were the "friends" too who called us demon posessed and insisted that Mae was a demon, and the one who promised to be friends forever and that they'd always be there for us.... nobody is left. Some people have said to me that "it says more about them" than it does about us. I don't know. It feels like everything is all my fault.
April 14, 2007
This is just me, up late and babbling.
Its really late, and I should have gone to bed hours ago, but I took a long nap this afternoon. Also, I'm afraid to go to bed, partly because Mae has been wandering around inside my head all day saying "Mommy?" like she did 15 years ago when I was in college, when I first really started hearing voices and thought I was schizophrenic. I don't know why she's doing it, its sort of this echo-y sound, and it sort of creeps me out.
I did some community service this morning-- volunteered, which was a good thing for me, to get out for a few hours and focus on something besides myself. Came home and took a nap. Went out to dinner. Got a new book to read-- the "last" (so they say) book in the Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins & Tim LeHaye, which I started reading like 12 years ago, and they keep stringing me along with a new book every year. Which of course, I HAVE to read so I know what's going to happen. So I read the whole book tonight, and now its the middle of the night and I'm up by myself, afraid to go to bed, afraid of nightmares, and really lonely.
I'm going to head to bed now. But tomorrow (hopefully) I will write about what has been going on this week:
1. Missy talking to our T in therapy the other day.
2. My husband and I talking about adoption.
3. My work evaluation & the new child I'm getting and how I (hopefully) helped his mom.
I better just suck it up now and go to bed.
April 16, 2007
There but by the Grace of God go I...
It is so strange to be in the place that I am in at the end of this school year.
Several years ago I was in a school that I hated with bosses that I couldn't stand.
Now I am in a school that I love, that I would like to stay at forever, with bosses that are incredible. I plan to stay at this school until I retire, as long as it remains under a good administration.
I also just had an article in a national newsletter written about me... it came out today. Its so strange to see my name at the top, and to have someone write such positive things about me. Part of me would like to have it "accidently" sent to my old bosses... along with my excellent appraisal, just to rub it in. That would be really bad and immature of me, but it would also sort of be fun, don't you think?
My job has been really hard lately and I've been pretty exhausted. I'm counting down the days to summer. But to have this article come out today about me was really nice and good timing.
April 17, 2007
Mae screwed up tonight. All of us adults screwed up tonight. Everything in the world is our fault, we can't do anything right. THat about sums up our evening in therapy.
Its been a long day.
Everything sucks, no one's going to like us until we can get ourselves together. Carolineine says that people should like you and accept you for who you are... but you know what? In the real world, thats a fucking bunch of bullshit. In the world I live in, no ones going to like us or love us until we are all working together and perfect and doing everything exactly right.
Meanwhile, Carolineine got more accolades at work and people absolutely LOVE her.
I don't think we can post the article...we'd like to. But too many people have probably read it (thousands) , and it would be very hard to hide enough details to keep our privacy. Sorry though. People would probably see it here and someone might think, "gosh that sounds awfully familiar..." and go track down our name and place of work in the article.
Some days its just not worth it to chew through the restraints.
April 19, 2007
Relationships among alters
So we are trying to figure this out. Who are we to each other? What do we call each other?
big problems in therapy on Tuesday, something that is really an ongoing problem.
Basically, we get scared/anxious/too nervous, the adults (most of the time) go away/ disappear, leaving one of the kids (many times its Mae) alone to deal with a situation . But a 5 year old doesn't need to be left alone.
HOWEVER. Mae would rather be left alone. She doesn't WANT any "grown ups" or "big people" staying with her and telling her what to do. She wants to do things on her own, so she'll get big and learn how to do things by herself. But its not always approriate for her to be alone.
So even if we (adults) disappear, and then realize we shouldn't have and try to front again, a lot of the time, Mae makes it impossible. Its hard to explain... with us the person in front is the person who has the most energy at the time I guess... :think their energy makes them "bigger" somehow (internally taking up more space, somehow) and that way they can get in front of everyone and not let anyone else take over. Does that make any sense? That's not quite explaining it right, but its something like that.
Anyway. Mae gets left alone. Not ok. But she doesn't want us there. T says Mae NEEDS a parent there... a real 5 year old would have an adult with them all the time (not when I was growing up, but okay....). However Mae doesn't want a mom. She wants HER mom, not US. She doesn't want US at all, in fact. She says that we are NOT the boss of her.
We need to come up with another word for us that Mae would like that isn't "parents" "sisters" or "teachers".
What do you all call yourselves to each other? What are your relationships?
We looked up words in a thesaurus, like companion, buddy, ally, colleague, helper, guide, advisor, etc. But none of those are quite what we're looking for.
Don't know what else we could use.
April 22, 2007
Old friends vs. new friends
This is Carolineine.
You know that saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old"? Well, we certainly have a problem with that one. Both making new friends AND keeping the old are just about impossible for us.
A lot of times, we get ourselves into huge boughts of loneliness that make us really, really depressed. We miss our old friends. We have a couple of old best friends that we miss especially hard sometimes, and wish they were here, wish we could see them, wish we could do the same old things together. It was like that last night for a little while. We talk about it inside quite a lot. About who misses who and why, why not to, who was friends with certain people in the 1st place. Some people really weren't real friends in the 1st place probably. Not if they were so willing to dismiss us so easily. Not if they were going to call us "demon-posessed". Not if they were going to disappear out of our lives when we needed them the most, and allow us to think they were dead for over a year, which was one of the most terrifying things that ever happened.
Its hard now to have any good memories of the people we were friends with in the past 10 years.
Mostly, we just want to forget everything. We just want to block out every memory we have with an entire group of "friends" we had. It causes too much pain. Some of us inside pretend that those former people just do not exist any more. It is easier than being angry or having any other feelings about those people.
We are in such a different place now. Our friends are other teachers at work. You know what? We have SO much fun with other teachers. Its so nice being around people who are emotionally stable (*ahem*....relatively so... after all, a lot of the time we talk is after we've been facing a classroom of wild children all day.) Every conversation doesn't leave us emotionally drained. We don't have to worry about accidently saying something that will permanently damage their psyche or that will make them go home and cut. They're not borderline or severly depressed or anorexic or bulimic. The people we are friends with now are older-- our age instead of younger like all our friends were before-- and understand about how in life you have responsibilities. They understand that you have to save your money for things like paying your mortgage and paying bills, instead of wasting it on expensive diet pills and new clothes every week. We send flowers and cards and talk about it when something sad happens. We laugh and tease each other. We give each other a hard time (seeing other teachers in the hall way a lot "do you EVER go to your classroom and actually TEACH?" " you do WORK here, right?") but no one stops and CRIES over it. Its much more freeing than the relationships we had before.
It is hard on the kids. There isn't the affection side of it any longer-- teachers don't hug or hold hands, like we did years ago with our old friends. That is very, very hard on Pilgrim, Jo, and the other kids. Its terribly hard because they're deprived of that now and they need it so badly. Its nice to get together with people who can sit down and have a meal and laugh and talk. I'm able to do that, but then if Pilgrim or Jo switches in, they're not able to. It presents a challenge for the right person to stay present at the right now. They consider our teacher friends "Carolineine's Friends" and they want their own.
What we really hope to do is find a friend or who we will eventually (someday, probably a long way off) be able to tell about everyone inside... who will accept everyone. A person who would be friends with everyone inside. That is probably a long time coming and we're going to have to get our minds together and in shape and mentally healthy a good deal more, but that would be really great. We've come a long long way in the past couple of years... it really is too bad that our last best friend didn't hang in there a little while longer. Its her loss now. Some day I hope we will have a friend that even Mae, the kids, and Jo and Pilgrim will consider their friend too, all of us.
What Carolineine didn't write in that last post
This is jo.
Carolineine wrote a lot in that last entry about friends, but what she didn't say was how much responsibility WE have.
Our therapist says otherwise, but i just know that somehow, everything that happened with the old friends had to have been all our fault.
We still beat ourselves up over trying to figure out when and where everything went wrong. There were a lot of blackouts back then. A lot of lost time. Most of the time, we didn't know what each other was doing. If someone said something that upset us, we'd go cut or purge or not eat for the rest of the day. Who wants to be friends with someone so... upsettable?
The new friends, all the teachers at school, have NO CLUE that we are a "we". They have no idea about DID, or about the eating disorder, or cutting. We still do the same things sometimes (cutting, purging, not eating) if we get upset, but its FAR less often. The thing is, we used to be open about it. Sometimes our friends would find out. Now we don't tell anybody. We've gotten much better about hiding it, even from our therapist. No one knows anymore.
We don't trust people anymore. The last best friend we had anymore, we had made the decision to trust, I feel like a fool for that.. After what happened with that, we decided its just better to not trust people anymore. Its just not safe for people to know who we are.
You know that whole "people should just be able to accept you for who you are"? thing.
That is only okay if you are a normal, happy, non-freak person to begin with. If you are a cutting, DID, asperbergers', anorexic person like us, then the whole idea needs to be thrown out the window. If we want to have friends, we have to hide who we really are so people will like us.
April 29, 2007
The Butterfly Story
I found this tonight. It was given to us by our nutritionist several years ago.
Its probably passed around from therapist to therapist as some inspirational recovery story.
The Butterfly Story.....
Butterfly (A True Story)
A family in my neighborhood once brought in two cocoons that were just about to hatch. They watched as the 1st once began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed in 1 end of the cocoon. After lying exhausted for about 10 minutes following its agonizing emergence, the butterfly finally flew out the window on its beautiful wings.
The family decided to help the 2nd butterfly so that it would not have to go through such an excruciating ordeal. So, as it began to emerge, they carefull sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a cesarean section. The 2nd butterfly never did sprout wings and in about 10 minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died.
The family asked a biologist friend to explain what happened. The scientist said that the difficult struggly to emerge from the small hole actually pushes the liquids from depp inside the butterfly's body into the tiny capillaries in in the wings, where they harden to complete the health and beauty of the adult butterfly.
Without the struggle, there are no wings.