Ta Da!!! I’m Back!!! (part one)

Update

Well, well, well.  Here I am over 6 years later and posting again.  Boy has it been an adventurous 6 years.  So much has happened for me both internally and externally.  I was in a marriage that apparently was falling apart.  I was not yet seeing my current psychiatrist/therapist.  I wasn’t working.  I had friends that are no longer in my life.  I lived in a different home.  I had 3 pets. I had never been hospitalized.  Wow,  those are just to name a few changes.

Let me tell you what has inspired me to come back and then I’ll fill you in on the details of what happened while I was gone.  Over at Discussing Dissociation there is a new forum that has opened up.  I’ve joined this forum as I think Kathy Broady is an amazing therapist and I think anything connected to her can only be good for us.  There was a section there where we could link to our artwork and linking to this site was the easiest thing I could think of to do so… Here I am!

I’m in a very different place now than I was 6 years ago.  I re-read all of our old posts and it became clear how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.  We being my system of insiders and myself.  Gosh, where do I start.  I last wrote in 2012.  I had seen my family in the late winter, early spring.  I even joked about my dad saying he wasnt’ intending to die anytime soon.  Little did we know we’d lose him a couple of months later on July 1st, 2012.  It was devastating.  I had been close with my father.  He taught me a lot.  And even though I lived 1200 km’s away I went to his bedside to be with him in his last days.  I watched him take his last breath.  All in all it was pretty quick.  A matter of a week really from the time he went in the hospital til the time he passed away.  But he had been ill for many years.  More ill than we ever knew because he downplayed the entire illness.  We laid my father to rest on July 6th, there was a family wedding on July 7th and there was a family birth on July 9th of that year.  This caused more upheaval than I ever would have imagined.

At the same time as this was going on I had begun to see my psychiatrist.  I was in the getting to know her stages.  Here I had struck gold.  A shrink with DID experience and special training in dealing with trauma.  Not only is she a psychiatrist but she is a talk doc.  She was the head of a trauma program for women in a major city amongst other accolades and is currently the head of psychiatry for the medical school in my region.  I have so much respect for my t as I will now refer to her.  She has guided me over these past 6 years towards healing and peace and I have learned so many skills through groups she has run as well as individual therapy.  I currently see her approximately every month.  This changes as my needs change and as her schedule allows.  This leaves me plenty of time to learn how to deal with things on my own and to use the skills I’ve been taught.  My t is an amazing woman who has faced time in war zones and hospitals alike.  Actual real war zones!  Like with bombs and guns and armoured vehicles.  I am astounded by her strength of character.

Time marches on.  Following the death of my dad I went through natural grieving processes, with one exception.  The memories.  They started to trickle in very subtly and slowly.  So subtle in fact that I questioned my own sanity.  How could this be?  How could my dad, whom I loved fiercely, be an abuser?  I had thought it was my uncle who was my main abuser and sold me to other men. I thought it was my uncle who belonged to “the group” and dragged me into the mud.  It would turn out that I was mistaken.  My fathers’ face began to occupy faces that once remained blank in my mind.  The picture began to get clearer.  So I ran.  I ran from the truth.  I closed my eyes and turned away and ignored all that was happening to me inside.  I was scared, confused, lost and disheartened.

I was also pursuing compensation for my injuries sustained as a young person both physically and mentally from a government program geared towards such things.  It was like poking a beehive with a stick and then standing there being stung not knowing where to run or what to do next.  This would be my undoing.

I sort of became stuck in a place of misery and depression.  I was in a black hole and no one could talk me out of it.  This lasted for 2 years.  The trials and tribulations culminated in a very difficult hospital experience for me.  I was dissociating quite a lot and switching out to a younger female part that would use self-harm as her go-to coping mechanism.  My partner became very concerned, supposedly, and off to the hospital we went.  They kept me in the emergency department as a voluntary admission.  There was no room in the mental health ward.  I was hallucinating and the whole bit.  I even had one nurse chasing a ghost around the E.R. because I could swear I had seen my uncle walk by and he was to be nowhere near me.  I would spend the next 5 days under a watchful eye from the nurses station in the E.R.  It was hell and very triggering.  The sounds of a trauma center constantly in my ears.  I would come to be very unresponsive as I felt my mind shut down.

When I was finally moved to the actual ward my wife decided that this was the time to tell me that she was leaving me.  Dropped it like a bomb in the lunch room on the mental health ward.  Devastated once again.  There was no way for me to fight, no way for me to battle back, no energy for me to use from the ward.  My partner of 10 years was giving up on me.  My t was furious.  Though she suspected it was going to happen at some point she was furious with the way in which it happened.  I cried more than I’ve ever cried before.  The misery I was feeling was so deep, so visceral that I couldn’t breathe.

 

This is enough for now.  I need to pace myself so I don’t become too overwhelmed.  Thank you for listening and I welcome you back to my blog.  If you’re here for the first time I hope you find it interesting enough to leave a comment.  If not I’ll see you around.  I hope to write more here and help suss out what’s been going on for me.

Happy New Year Everyone!

-Peoplepuzzlepieces

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The Poem

The body  of a child,

Defiled.

Ripped, torn and beaten.

You think it was

So mild.

Tripped, worn and eaten

Up, like dinner

Served to the winner.

Prized, praised, pretty and primped.

Lies, laid, little and limp.

Promised, plied, played and pimped.

That child,

Defiled.

Taste the bile,

 All the while,

Stick to your style

You vile

Piece of shit.

Fear in all its Forms

So yesterday in therapy we talked about the darkness and the light.  We talked about how life has both, needs both, to balance the other out.  The reason we were talking about this is because I have been in a bit of a lull. A period of calm you might say.  With the exception of feeling a little melancholy here and there I’ve had mostly good days.

            I’ve written about this before in a slightly different context.  It is in these times that I find I can’t enjoy myself too much.  I can’t relax too much.  To let my guard down that way would be dangerous and ill advised.  It is hard to accept that things are okay without feeling that the other shoe could drop at any moment.  Of course, this all fits in with the PTSD and so, is somewhat inherently part of my makeup.  But what my therapist would like me to try and realize is that I don’t need to waste the okay times anticipating the bad.  The bad will come eventually whether I am prepared for it or not.  So why not just relax and basque in the glow of happiness without judgement?

            That’s where the DBT skills come into play as well.  Being mindful, present, doing one thing in the moment.  Filling up my time with pleasurable activities and being mindful of what exactly this emotion is.  I guess I truly am learning a few things in DBT.  I still don’t believe it’s the be all and end all that some chalk it up to being but it does have some useful ideas.  I guess really I’m a fan of anything I can do to keep out of the hospital.

            I know that many, if not most DID people have been in and out of the hospital at least a couple of times.  I’ve been close to being admitted a couple of times myself but in those moments of evaluation I was able to pull it together enough to receive outpatient care instead.   Being put in the hospital terrifies me.  I don’t know that I would even stabilize me in a time of need or if it would just scare me to death.  So I hope to avoid that eventuality at all costs.  Perhaps this fear even keeps me from reaching full healing potential.  For if I dig too deep I risk destabilizing and leave myself vulnerable to the need for intervention.  Unacceptable.  Maybe one of you can explain to me what happens in the hospital to take the mystery out of it for me.  Fearing the unknown is a huge issue in my life

            Fear in any form has been a huge issue in my life.  What to do about that?  What to do?

Musings at the Laundromat

               

 I’m sitting and watching the snow reduce itself to a massive watery mess at the curbside.  The sun is slanted sideways through the evening sky shining directly upon my face through the dusty window.  I feel the warmth of that solar power warm my skin.  It helps to keep my bitter coffee from cooling down as its aroma fills my lungs.  I feel a longing inside.

                The song I hear, speaking words of loss and loneliness.  I wonder what the days ahead hold in store for me.  A bag sits in front of me made of the recycled bits of our past.  That plastic pill holder you threw out, the casing of a syringe from the pharmacy, the bottle of booze in the gutter.  Is that what went into the making of this bag?  I think maybe we’re all made of recycled bits of our parents.  Enmeshed, mingled, molded into something new and perhaps not so different.  After going through the crushing and grinding, heating, cleansing we are then spit out in our current shape.  Or maybe we’re quite different in our new shiny form.  We were made for an alternate purpose, mistakenly placed amidst the hell that we suffered.  Yes that’s it.  It must have been some universal glitch.  Surely it wasn’t meant to be this way.  For whatever a believer believes in, a divinity of such cruelty should not be allowed to exist.

D.I.D. Specialist

So I received some news this past week that I haven’t shared yet.  My therapist tried contacting a colleague of hers to see if she had any experience treating someone with DID.  Her colleague did not but pointed out that there is a new psychiatrist in town that specializes in trauma.  My therapist just happens to have other clients that go to this psychiatrist so she felt comfortable enough contacting her about me, minus the revealing details of course.  IT turns out that the new psychiatrist worked in a large city and was involved in a women’s program that dealt extensively with trauma which inevitably included patients with DID.  Imagine that! A psychiatrist in our little city with such experience.  It’s like winning the lottery in a way.  My therapist was glad to find this out so she set up a referral for me.  The new psychiatrist has agreed to do a consultation to see if she’d be willing to take me on as a full-time client.  She is now in private practice which allows her to be selective about her caseload giving her more control over her schedule.  I understand this.  I just find it quite miraculous that I’ve finally found someone who has seen this disorder before.

My current therapist is a social worker with 20 years under her belt dealing with all manner of things.  She understands trauma and has been really good for me so far.  The new psychiatrist indicated that she would only consider taking me on if I was fairly stable and had a good sense of grounding and being present.  So my current therapist and I are working on making sure I have the grounding down pat.  As we went through a few techniques together I was actually surprised at how much I knew already.  Of course knowing it intellectually and putting it into practice are two totally different things.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this new development.  It will likely take a couple of months to get the actual appointment but that’s better than the years I waited for my current treatment.  I’m so very thankful for my current therapist.  If you are reading this… please know that.

Until next time,

ppp

Manipulation… Good or Bad?

So we’re talking about interpersonal effectiveness in group right now.  Two long words to describe how to get what you need and want.  Or conversely you can describe it as how to say no to what you don’t need or don’t want.  Other words you can use are how to manipulate a situation to your best advantage. 

The facilitator of my group said that manipulate doesn’t have to be a bad word.  I had a hard time swallowing that at first.  But then I looked at it another way.  I guess in a manner of speaking we are manipulating the world around us all the time.  Scheduling what we’ll do when, who we’ll see, who we won’t.  We work towards gaining the things we want, plan what to get rid of or ignore.  All of these things are a kind of manipulation.  I think when it becomes a bad word is if you are subversive about it, or hurtful and deceitful

We all maneuver through our lives.  Some of us are very skillful.  We’ve learned highly adaptive ways of dealing with the world while others of us have not been so fortunate.  The fact that the brain can be changed, molded and in some cases stunted leaves us all vulnerable.  An abused person develops completely different from a non-abused person.  A loved person has certain advantages over an unloved person.  That is not to say that we can’t overcome obstacles planted in our way.  In fact it means quite the opposite.  We can train or manipulate our brain chemistry by learning and practicing a new way of being. We can work hard at finding different ways to handle the trials of our lives.  We can adjust our course, choose a new journey, and seek a smoother path.  The best thing to do is find support, find information, and find all of the things you need to accomplish whatever goals you set for yourselves.  Manipulate the world around you in an honest, gentle way and be kind to yourself.

So manipulate away.  It’s not such a bad word after all.

Do You Know What Kind of Therapy You’re In?

So let’s talk therapy.  There are so many different kinds of therapy.  Different theories, different modes, different styles.  How many different kind of therapy do you think you’ve been exposed to?  I’m trying to remember.  There’s been individual counselling as well as a few couple sessions.  I’ve done several different types of group therapy.  I’ve done online chatting both individually and as a group.  I’ve also done forums and of course this blog I would also consider therapy, albeit self-directed.

I’ve been taught CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy).  I’ve had one counsellor that described her style as coming from a feminist perspective, another as a family systems theorist.  There’s client centered healing, oh  and my latest read was based on a Janetian theory which pays much attention to hierarchies of action systems.  There are many things you do in therapy like processing memories and learning practical skills.  There are countless theories and approaches.

I look at this and I think, “I should be the healthiest person around!”  There are a thousand types of therapy I’ve not been exposed to as well.  Do you know what theories your therapist is partial to?  Do you think yo have the right to know?  when I was younger it didn’t even occur to me to ask.  When I was moving to escape the bad guys I did ask that therapist what her main perspective came from so that I could tell any future therapist what I had worked with in the past.  Then I read this article by Kathy Broady and she talks about her approach at great length with her clients.

I have a great deal of respect for Kathy.  I discovered Discussing Dissociation when I was without a therapist after i moved.  i found all of the articles so informative and so in tune with what my experiences were.  Kathy is very knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to DID.  I know there has been some controversy out there about her but from my own personal experience, she’s been great.  A life saver even.

Anyway, I just wanted to p[ut these few questions out to see where you all stand.  Do you know what theories your therapist ascribes to?  Do you have a particular approach you feel you respond to better than others?  For any therapist out there, do you feel you are flexible as to what theory you use according to what client or do you stay rigidly within one or two?  Let me know what you’re thinking.