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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entries in dissociation (4)

Friday
Feb152013

Time Slipping Away

As I was going through my gmail inbox, deleting old emails, I found a dozen or more unopened ones from last November. November? What was I doing then that I would have let them slide? They weren't spam; they were things I normally would open and read right away.

My mind drew a blank. Aside from the fact of Thanksgiving I couldn't for the life of me recall November. Fortunately, I recently set up a Journal Index on my blog which enabled me to read the posts from that month. Oh, okay. Now I remember. November is when I spent an unexpected evening with the brother from whom I've been estranged for 10 years. November is when I first heard rumors of my mother's plans to visit at Christmastime.

I read in one post how I kept dreaming of my dad, and of my CF flare up and the odd thrumming of my body in the middle of the night.

No wonder I had to prod my memory with these blog posts! That was a month best left alone, if you ask me.

This is exactly one of the reasons I blog: I need to jumpstart my memory from time to time. What puzzles me is, did I simply overlook these emails? Was I dissociating more than usual? That's certainly a possibility, though I don't remember doing so. But isn't that the whole point--I mean, do I always know when an alter has taken up the reins?

November seems a year ago but of course it wasn't all that long ago. I wonder what other things I don't keep on top of, all the while thinking I'm functioning so well.

The best thing I can say about last November is that I'm glad to have it behind me. Nothing horrific happened then, but you know how sometimes it's the dribs and drabs of the unexpected, and the constant pain, and the bad dreams that become nearly unbearable.

I'm thankful that time is always moving us away from what feel like defeating challenges, while moving us towards new opportunities to become more of who we were meant to be.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Nov172009

How I Spent My Monday

7:30 am:  Stumbled into kitchen to start a pot of coffee. Tripped over Midge who was meowing much too loudly for so early in the morning. Shushed her repeatedly all the way into the living room.

7:35 am:  Turned on computer, stared at it idiotically. Checked e-mail and blog, did some stumbling. Answered cell phone call from Tim, who's been calling a little earlier than I'd like. With no caffeine yet in my system, I couldn't trust myself to be patient with him.

7:45 am:  Ended phone call, padded into the kitchen for first cup of coffee. Startled myself by glancing at my vanity which now resides in the kitchen. I'd forgotten I did a little arranging this weekend. Stepped back to get a better look, decided I still love the idea of having an un-kitcheny item against what used to be a blank wall.

7:46 am:  Told myself to have a smoke, then get dressed. Had smoke, perched on tiny little porch table inherited from former neighbors. Sat wrapped up in bright fleece blanket, realized I'd forgotten to brush my hair, hoped it wouldn't be one of those mornings when the owner of the pub was out walking his dog. Tried to remember what I wanted to do with the rest of the day, drew a blank.

7:55 am:  Back inside, totally forgot about getting dressed. Plopped back down at computer, replied to emails, drank coffee. Wandered into bedroom, noticed the scrapbooking paper I'd received in the mail the other day, considered beginning the collage I'm making for a Christmas gift.

7:55-noon: Worked on collage. Talked to one of my sons (Maddy and Anna's dad) who told me how sick they all were, and that they were going to emergency if they didn't get better soon. Nibbled on the last of my pastrami and Swiss cheese (I'd tossed a loaf of moldy bread the day before), and thought about getting dressed.

12-2:00:  Worked on collage. Decided to take a break to get housework done. Forgot to do so. Burst out laughing, on the john, remembering how during the weekend when Sissyface and I took Maddy out to lunch, I'd written "Wash me, whore" in the dirt on her back bumper. Wondered again why that word always makes me crack up.

2:00-4:00 Worked on collage. I think. Lost all track of time and reality. Realized with a start I should get dressed, decided if I hadn't by now what did it matter? Also realized that my niece often borrows Sissyface's car so perhaps I should tell my sister what I wrote on her bumper before she loaned it out again.

4:00-6:00 Nibbled on Fritos and sour cream. Wished for cake. Answered 3 phone calls in a row from Maddy's mama; each time there was no one there. Took a call from my son who told me they were going to emergency, everyone throwing up and having the runs.

6:00 pm  Heard a woman outside weeping. Looked out living room window, nothing. Looked out kitchen window, nothing. Weeping increased. Decided I needed to throw my trash out anyhow, so while outside I walked down to the sidewalk and looked in both directions. Nothing. Not a soul in sight, but the weeping was real, I swear it. Felt something like fear snake its way up my spine.

6:05 pm:  Back inside I worked again on the collage. Ironed some material for an iron on transfer I'd printed out, and felt a strong impulse to plunge the iron into the sink full of water I should have drained a long time ago. Resisted the urge. Looked with a start at my kitchen clock. How had it gotten so late? Looked down at my pjs and robe in great shame. Who lives like this?

6:10 pm:  Plopped down on couch, still mystified by the mysterious weeping woman. Tried to ground myself by watching a little TV but it didn't help. Thought of working on the scarf I'm knitting my grandson, but knitting seemed like something I'd only ever dreamed I could do. Called Sissyface, woke her from a nap. Tried to explain how ungrounded I felt, told her all about the eerie weeping and how I felt as if I was on a mild acid trip.

7:00 pm:  My son called to tell me they were testing the kids for Swine Flu. He didn't really know anything at that point, and won't get the test results for several days.

7:05 pm:  Began cleaning up mess from collage. Wondered if it was worth the bother to make myself a little meal. Decided it wasn't. Got back on the computer and found an email from someone on Freecycle responding to my wanted ad for a living room area rug (for Maddy's fam.) Sat wondering once more where the day had gone to, feeling as if the entire day was lost to me. And who was doing that weeping? I know I heard it, it wasn't my imagination.

I don't know how the rest of the evening unwound, except that my son stopped by around 11 pm (with his shirt up over his face to spare me his germs) to borrow the money needed for their prescriptions. Wandered into my room, saw that Midge had a little gift waiting for me so resigned myself to cleaning the litter box before climbing into bed. Finally got under the covers, checked my DVR to see what shows were waiting to be watched, wondered if I'd get sick too. Would I die from the Swine Flu, of all thing? I have a compromised immune system-- but I can't afford to worry about what might happen.

Lay in bed numbly staring at the TV and regretting the whole, weird day.

 

Wednesday
Jun242009

My Beauties

They came to me suddenly, as if called forth from the lingering aftermath of a deep dream. One of those delicious dreams that come to me infrequently in which, once again, I'm a mother to fat delightful babies and toddlers. In these dreams, the little ones are never cranky, the toddlers never obstinate or irritable.

My hands, in these dreams, gracefully fold cloth diapers into neat triangles with a deftness I'm sure they lacked in reality, so overwhelmed was I with so many to care for, and me in a state of perpetual frozenness.

These others--this new family of mine--sought me out, they who came to me so late in life. Or did I do the seeking? Confusion baffles me when I try to sort it out; I find it difficult to conjure up the sequence of events which led me (warily, I admit) from settling into a comfortable old age with well-thumbed books, and cups of tea, to a course both foreign and unwanted. I found myself unaccountably embarking, at this late date, on a journey whose reason for existence and whose destination puzzled me.

My new tribe (for how else to think of them?) came in a rush at a time when (at the urging of well-meaning friends), I decided to finally begin coming to terms with my painful childhood. Oh, they came to me as children I didn't remember giving birth to whose features were, nonetheless, vaguely familiar. They smiled shyly, the sweet ones, anyway. Others cringed, or smirked: the teens, mostly, with smudged kohl-rimmed eyes and the steely self-assurance of youth (which I'm sure I never possessed at any time during my own volatile teen years.)

They came, then: shy, aloof, clingy, rebellious--or, like Mrs. Homebody, the eldest of the bunch, all bumbling nervousness with a heartbreakingly eagerness to please.

I won't pretend to have greeted their arrival with open arms. Nothing like that. I eyed them, when I managed to catch a glimpse, with a sinking heart. I've raised my family, came my instant, rebellious thought. This is supposed to be my time now. How incongruous that I, a nana at the age of 50, should once again be caretaker to so many! Yet here they were, a ragamuffin gang my heart should have gone out to instantly. Surely I could spare for them, in all their oddities, at least a smidgen of the maternal instinct which as a mother had been my one saving grace.

Perhaps it's misleading to say they came to me during my 50th year. According to my therapist at the time (who was keen to recognize these others), they have been with me, as surely as my own bone and marrow and beating heart, since childhood. More accurately, they showed themselves to me during my 50th year.

"They are parts of you," she explained, her intense gaze boring into me, though her voice was kind, even gentle. "They are the others you created to endure the outrageous abuses of your childhood."

"Like Sybil," I said, saying it in a low moan.

"You couldn't have retained your sanity without them, " she said. My therapist was a short, squat woman with frizzy, greying hair and a frowsy way of dressing. Her name was Rose.

"But I would have known about them sooner," came my lame attempt at denial. "If they exist, how could I have lived so long without knowing about them?"

Rose leaned forward in her overstuffed chair in a confidential manner, as if we were nothing more than two middle-aged friends sharing confidences about menopause and hormones.

"The whole point of Dissociative Identity Disorder," she explained, "is secrecy. Your alters fear exposure. They fear that if they are seen they will be abused again."

I let that sink in, or tried to, as my eyes swept her small office, searching for something on which to fix my gaze.

"I don't change clothes a zillion times a day,"  I said in protest. "I don't change my voice!"

To this Rose said nothing. She settled back comfortably into the depths of her chair; I watched absently as she crossed the puffy ankles my sister and I would describe as 'cankles.'

"What are you thinking?" she asked after a few moments.

"I'm thinking this is an injustice. I've raised my family! I've been nurturing everyone under the sun since I was a little girl. I shouldn't have to deal with this. And," I added, "I'm thinking that most likely you're wrong about me being a multiple."

She raised an eyebrow, and reached for the lined pencil tablet I'd handed her earlier when she showed me into her office.

"Who's Jenny?" she asked casually, flipping open the tablet and glancing at the childish writing which filled the wide lines.

"Jenny?"

"Yes, you see that every page here is signed by someone who goes by the name of Jenny. Was this journal written during your childhood?"

"Oh no," I said, eager to correct this misconception. "I bought that tablet a month ago."

Our eyes met; in hers I saw gentle amusement, and I'm certain that in mine she saw the beginning of a dawning comprehension.

"Do you see what you're telling me? You wrote this recently, at the age of 50. And signed every page with the name Jenny."

"Oh . . . " I let my voice trail off as a soft sigh escaped my lips. "Jenny . . ." In my mind's eye I caught a glimpse of a black-haired pony tailed little girl of about 7, with merry eyes. "I think, I think I know who you mean. Sometimes, well sometimes I hear someone complaining that I'm brushing her hair too hard, or that she wants to wear it in a ponytail today." I gulped before continuing, "I thought it was just--well, my own silly thoughts. You know, like times when I keep hearing old childhood songs playing over and over in my head."

"As if someone were trying to get your attention?"

I jumped to my feet, began pacing the cluttered room, sidestepping the brown corduroy ottoman covered with cat hair, and a filing cabinet drawer left wide open.

"So basically, what you're telling me is I'm nuts," I said flatly as I passed her chair.

"Not at all. You simply learned to dissociate at an early age, as a coping mechanism."

"Right." I bit off the word, my voice suddenly low and raspy. "Every one who didn't have a golden childhood is a Sybil, right?"

"There are no golden childhoods," Rose said. I came to a stop in front of the love-seat I'd vacated, and plopped down on it with force.

"Oh sure there are," I said in a growly voice. "Aproned mothers who feed their kids from the four food groups, and make sure they brush with Crest every morning and night. Dads who go to work every day and tuck their kids into bed at night and kiss their foreheads instead of pawing them with their big hands."

My own hands flew up to cover my face, ashamed of the tears which out of nowhere began flowing.

"You've switched several times since you've been here," Rose said in her low key way. She closed the journal and set it on her lap.

"I'd very much like to get to know this Jenny," she said, clasping her hands together as if in entreaty. "And the low voice, so quick to deny everything. I suspect this could be on of your system's protectors."

"Protector?" I echoed the word and broke out into laughter. "You're speaking greek, sister. Never heard such nonsense in all my life." Now I was talking out of the side of my mouth, like a gansta.

"Most DID systems have at least one protector," Rose explained, "often male."

I wrinkled my nose. "Now you're way off the mark. I never dress like a man."

"You don't have to," she said reasonably. "He only has to protect you. It doesn't matter how he looks to the external world."

And so it began, this awareness of the others I had sensed sneaking up the back stairs of my soul, making themselves at home in the universal tentative manner of children who have known abandonment, and fear its reappearance.

I couldn't grasp how I'd had time to create these others, as busy as my younger self was with just trying to survive.

While you were being mauled, stupid.

Afterwards, walking stiff-legged back to the tenuous comfort and safety of your own room.

They came to me, then, this new/old family of mine, those I've come to think of as my beauties: utterly human, utterly mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jun162009

Bewilderment

Oh, I'm so weary of feeling dissociated. For at least a week, if not more, I've felt as if I'm just floating through my days. Sometimes gracefully, oftentimes in the klutziest manner possible.

Earlier, lounging on my bed while attaching hair to a new doll, the thought came to me, But are you really tired of living?

I am, yes. It's lonely; for all that I have many personalities living inside of me, it's lonely. Nothing would really dissipate this loneliness. I've tried to quell this empty hollowness by bringing a man into my life. It didn't help, in fact it made things worse for me. If I had the energy to form many new friendships, well that wouldn't help either. My loneliness goes so deep as to be bottomless. My kids and grand kids: they help, but even they are not enough to dispel these kinds of haunting thoughts.

I'm not sad about anything in particular. This is what gets me, that I can't pin this life weariness down to any one thing. Well of course I can't, because it's goes deeper than any situation or problem or life event. The fact is, the abuses of my childhood changed me forever. (No, I have to admit to this as much as I want to look away from this hard truth.)

Just the other day I read an article which stated that chronic abuse during childhood can cause brain damage. Maybe my son and I have more in common than we know. But I'm not making jokes here, this is serious stuff. I wasn't a melancholy child before my abuser entered my life. I happily embraced life, like any small child who has yet to learn how black some hearts can be. I suspect the abuse changed my brain chemistry. I suspect it has everything to do with why I blank out when I try to talk, why I feel at such odds with my environment. Nothing ever feels quite right. I can't explain it. I'm often infused with bewilderment; it's similar to the way Tim looks sometimes.

I've been waiting, I see this now, waiting for over 4 decades for my upside down world to be turned right side up again. That's never going to happen, I can see that now. What I carry around inside of me will be with me until I quit this earth. Why did I suppose otherwise?