I already knew i was dissociative by the time that inside wall came down, although it took years and many therapists of many colours to get me to accept it.
My mother got into some strange things with some strange people when she settled down in the big city to raise me. I will almost certainly never know the exact progression of things, but i do know she liked hanging out with intellectuals. I’m not sure if she met them first through the university, or through her curious foray into the 70s therapy scene. She was into encounter groups, EST, primal screaming, hypnotherapy… a lot of body work and group work, which were all the rage at that time. As i’ve stated before, in my opinion she only used what she learned in an attempt to manipulate others more effectively, hone and perfect the face she showed the world, and feed her insatiable need for more emotional upheaval and drama.
The reason i mention this is because, through her exposure to those current therapies, i somehow became involved. The thrill must have been worth the risk, or something else i couldn’t know or haven’t considered must have been in play, because putting me in situations with professionals where i could possibly disclose what was happening to me both inside and outside the home could have caused her significant problems, to say the least. I will say though, she was a single mother, and while the time declared her loose, almost no one back then would have believed a woman capable of sexual abuse. Certainly not of a child, and absolutely not of her own child.
So i have memories of therapy and counsellors from a fairly early age. Maybe it was particularly savvy of her to expose me to that world early. Maybe she anticipated teachers making calls about an odd little girl who may be suffering abuse at home. Regardless, the school counsellors and social workers who were occasionally called in never got a damned thing out of me. (Called in very occasionally i might add, to which i ask myself to this day, Was i really that good, or were they that bad? I wanted very badly to be rescued, but i had no idea from what – i think that should have been part of their job.) I remember being handed pillows and being told to punch them. I remember one guy with his face right. inside. my personal bubble, telling me around 20 times, “It’s okay to cry, you know. You can cry.” Idiot. I remember lying on the floor with adults all around me, each one with a hand on a part of my body and they’re all saying things, but i can’t understand them. This memory i recall like i’m watching it on television. The others i related i see the ineffective and not a little bit ridiculous counsellors sitting across from me. Proper perspective. That last memory i can see myself in the middle of that circle of big bodies and reaching arms and it is as if it’s happening to someone who just looks like me. They were freaking touching me and so i couldn’t be there. I left but someone stayed to observe from a safe distance.
It wasn’t until the halfway house that anyone suggested i might be dissociative. My in-house counsellor was a nun who’d taken some courses. She was a good, kind woman and i learned a lot from her. After i’d moved out and moved on, i did come back for visits, and at one point came back to them for more counselling. This time i was quickly moved from my nun to a professional social worker who was working towards her degree in psychology. She began talking about dissociation and asking questions about my memories and time and attempting hypnosis. I’d always wanted to be hypnotised and i tried very hard but i was never able to let go. I gave up years ago, but to this day i have never been hypnotised, so i don’t know about that largely circulated idea that dissociatives are the easiest people to hypnotise. Maybe i’m the exception that proves the rule? I had a friend from that home who had seen the same person. She’d been diagnosed MPD and she’d stopped seeing her just as i had, because she felt the woman was playing with her brain.
I kept looking for the right person to help me, but every bloody one after that would suggest i was highly dissociative and ask if i’d heard of MPD. I would never go back after that. I began seeing a registered social worker through the church i was involved in, and after many months of intensive counselling she gently suggested that i was dissociative. She said she knew how i felt about that, but she’d consulted with psychologists who specialised in what clinicians now called DID, and that they agreed with her diagnosis.
Although i eventually left that church, and then her, and then religion altogether, i did know i had some interesting stuff going on inside my skull. The problem was i had a terrible opinion of therapy and therapists. They’d never helped me except for two, and they were both religious and i was now decidedly not. It’s taken years for me to realise that what they did for me is love me unconditionally and validate me, what i thought and what i felt. That we no longer share the same belief in the supernatural changes that not a whit.
Ah. I’m now returning to my original point, which i began in Inside Out, and that is that when i went from a top weight of 465lbs to 155lbs, my walls came tumbling down – and they weren’t just physical ones. The wall inside my brain between me and the others who lived up there came down too.
And just to make things interesting-er, i experienced my first full-blown mania.
It was two and a half years of fully loaded 18 wheeler heading downhill with no brakes.
MORE TOMORROW? PROBABLY.