The Lovely Little Child On The Road

Then he flew away in flames
Did the False False Fly
From the lovely little child on the road
‘Twas the devil in disguise
Was the False False Fly’
Said the lovely little child on the road
~ Jane Siberry, False False Fly

It’s been suggested on probably dozens of occasions, by dozens of people who care about me, that i cut myself a break – that i’m too hard, too critical, too immovable on the subject of my own culpability. There are areas where they’re wrong, there are places from which those comments come that speak more of their care for me than any truth to what they’re saying, but still… I know that moderation is something that i must always work on, and that it’s in balance i’ve found the most peace and possibility for more and better.

In my therapy session today, Ms T touched on it, as well. She pointed out and reinforced how far i’ve come, how much progress i’ve made. It is a hard thing to hold inside me for any length of time. As i sit in front of this screen and bring these things to mind, i can see it, i know it, i feel it. However, once i step away from the keyboard and back into my world and its day-to-days, it slips from my mind and drips between my fingers. My palms are stained in blood red judgment and my mind is filled with the voices of those that would condemn me – both those i made and those made by others. And i’m haunted by the voices of those long gone; my mother mostly, dead 30yrs now, but also those who are only dead to my life: siblings, stepfamily, peers, church associates… All those save her have faded until i can barely hear them any more, and even then only occasionally. Her voice can still do battle with some of my most potent parts, or join with others that she and her gang of super-bastards created in me. Ms T thinks it’s the last gasp of the invaders, and my own creations are stepping forward in confidence and safety – or at least making a solid, though tentative attempt.

This process has caused some parts of me to revolt a bit, sliding back into old behaviours as i sit with the terror they imbue. I’m as patient as i can be with these parts/children of mine that live in my brain and clutter it up with their own personalities and accompanying issues. Today i think it’s a good thing i split myself up into more manageable pieces, because i have a barge load of issues. My mother threw me into a roiling, angry ocean with no life preserver. If i’d not been able to parse it out, i’d have sunk like a stone. I’d have either died literally, or the part of me that remembers who i am and carries the blueprint for putting me back together would have been forever lost.

I survived, but more than that, while i might struggle with what most find to be a less-than-average level of function (myself included), i am sort of incredible in very recognisable ways.
I’m not a super-bastard, like my mother and her cronies intended.
I’m not even a shitty person. Sure, i can, have, and will do shitty things sometimes, but i’m a good, decent, kind person. I still love humanity, too. They couldn’t take any of that from me. My nurture, particularly for the first 8yrs of my life, was diametrically opposed to my nature. I won’t speak to the scientific debate of such, one, because i’m not sufficiently educated, and 2, because this blog isn’t for that. While i work every day at being a critical thinker, being a multiple lands me in some contentious psychological territory. The way my brain works is strange and not yet well mapped out. So i’ve made a conscious and willful decision to lay those concerns down and just work with what i’ve got. All i know is what my brain does and how life looks for me; how i handle life and process it all.

**********

Some time ago, i posted a piece called I Am Amazing, which i’d completely forgotten until i started trying to write this. So… I’ve already done the work. I know the truth of it – i’m just not connected to it.
Yet.

This is life as me and this is why i blog.
I’m at least average intelligence. Ah, i think so, anyway (the older i get and the more i learn, the less i’m sure of that, though). I’ve been working on the problem of my fuckedupness for my entire adult life, and over the years i’ve accumulated a not-insignificant quantity of information in the field of psychology and mental illness. It’s very lay person in nature, lacking in history and the hard science bits to be sure, but i have a fairly good grasp of the soft science of it – at least until you enter the field of neuroscience (which is fascinating, and i have learned some from Ms T). But despite everything i know about myself, how i work, and how to figure out and deal with my shit – i can and do still get it twisted.

The best solution i’ve found is getting it all out, either talking, blogging, or often, both. I just reread that piece (I Am Amazing) and it’s exactly what i’ve been trying to do for the last few days. I’d sit down at the keyboard, bash away a bit, backspace it all, curse like a sailor, slap the Notebook closed, and go do something else. But the words were already there, and posted. I can see how far i’ve come when i give it a writer’s distance. In other words, i’m dissociated from it – i lack connection to the information. I can think it, but i don’t feel it. I am only now, in my 50s and after a dozen years of (excellent) therapy, moving away from my overriding belief about myself: If anyone knew the real me, they’d see how terrible i am, and leave me, angry and disgusted with what they saw.

I’ve wanted to believe that’s not true for many years now. I’ve leaned hard on the opinions of those i trust so i don’t break under the weight and pressure of looking at my past and my inner workings. Over the last year or so i’ve actually come to believe that it’s possible that i’m not awful, that i might be decent, kind – even lovable and perhaps worthwhile (there is a soupçon of sarcasm in that, but not nearly enough). But still i am lacking connection. There’s a space between what my mind can perceive and what i can tolerate feeling inside my body:
– acceptance and approval from others;
– acceptance and approval from myself;
– belief that i am enough;
– belief that i am worthy of the good in life;
– love from others;
– love of myself.

I was treated like a thing, like property growing up, yet even though i got away, i’ve continued to live my life like i’m spoilt. Forever ruined. Full of poison; ugly and rotten inside. I’ve never gotten away from it.
I think all this work is getting me to this crux. Do i let myself free fall into this? Do i trust that my parachute is functional and will bear me down to solid ground, where i’ll walk away and live as a new being in a new land? Because man, lemme tell you, i will be different and the world will be different, too. To live my life free of these toxic beliefs about myself would change no less than everything.

I have to talk about this, not just write. This is the thing, the problem, the monkey on my back, the cross i bear. Can i mend this broken connection, can i live out what i’m learning, can i feel what i feel while knowing what i know? Can i feel all the pain and betrayal and isolation of the past while knowing it wasn’t my fault and i’m still a good/nice/decent/kind person, that i’m not bad/gross/foul/despoiled? Can i believe that it broke me but didn’t destroy me? Do i have the inner and outer supports in place that i might risk that step out of the airplane?

Fuck if i know.
I’m pretty sure i’m gonna go for it. Soon. There is only so much babystepping i can do before i’m at the edge and it all comes down to a moment. I’ve been a doomsday prepper for my own life. Time for trust. Me, my partner, my therapist, my friends. Time to test the hypothesis. Am i going to live out I Am Amazing? Can i? Am i? There is a preponderance of evidence to suggest that these good things are true and these bad things are not. If i’m to be the critical thinker i’m striving so hard to be, mustn’t i now let go of old superstitions that were brainwashed and beaten into me, and wrong, harmful concepts that i embraced in order to survive my abusers? I already know intellectually that the abuse is over and i’m safe, and everything i’ve learned since i got away from them has taught me that they were liars, users, perverted opportunists, who took my need for love and care, and forged it into a weapon to use against me. The thing of it is that, even once i was free of them, the weapon passed to my hand and i continued the woundings, bloodletting because that’s what i was taught. No one’s asking or expecting me to martyr myself anymore. Those who would are either dead or out of my life. There is no cause, no god to die for. It’s well past time to lay the weapon down.

Well, this went in a direction i wasn’t expecting. Just life as a highly dissociative human seeking homeostasis and happiness, yee haw.
Stay tuned. I’m never boring – so i’ve got that going for me.*

I’ve struggled harder than usual with this post. Discovering i’d done the work a while back was a shock. You’d think i’d be used to losing time, and of course i am, but it’s still a psychic slap in the face. Fading, sliding, and switching is not fun. It’s not cool. It’s not like the tropes you see in tv and movies (don’t even get me started… that’s a post full of hurt and rage, and i’m not about that right now). It’s jarring and frightening and disrupting. It steals memories from me and puts distance between me and those i love. It saved my life a long time ago, but now it is a roadblock to me having the life i want.
I already did the work and i didn’t remember.

**********

I slept on this before deciding whether or not to post it. Much of what i write, especially lately, doesn’t make the cut. I’ve been trying to write when i’m in a dissociative state, to maybe get a better handle on things. Understand more. Gain more control. But it’s not fit to read. It doesn’t add to what this blog is, basically because it’s meandering, rambley, often ranty, and occasionally unsettling. I’ve been bashing away at this post for an entire week, which is unlike me. Once i know what i’m writing about, things generally flow. When i struggle this hard, i’ve taken it as a sign that i’m not ready for the subject matter, or i’m off base with the whole concept. I leave them in my drafts for a while, for consideration, but i’ve always ended up trashing them.

I’m not sure if this post will make any sense to anyone but me. I can see that i’m trying to connect with myself. I’m reaching out for my own hand, searching inside myself for pathways home. In a way, i dispersed myself inside my own brain, where i dwelt in foreign lands until i could return safely. This work is to gather all my bits together and be more cohesive, more functional, more useful, more involved with the world and engaged with its other inhabitants. I don’t think it will ever be what some professionals call “integration,” but i hope to emerge from the fog that i’ve been in my entire life. I hope to embrace the things that i wrote in I Am Amazing; to bring it home to live with me like my system and my physical body.

I’ll close with a quote from the inimitable Bukowski:

Poetry says too much in too short a time; prose says too little and takes too long.

If you made it this far, thank you.
If you got anything out of it, all the better.

Try to be as good as you can to yourself this week, and i will do the same.
Love and Peace,
~H~

*My hubs and kid might disagree. Heh.

IMAGE: Timothy Eberly



A Day in the Life

As i arc ’round the sun, swinging
like Bakshi’s Spider-man
speaking laconic and sly too early
grinning and breaking my bones
drowning in my own sea
My toes can’t reach the bottom,
so i make macaroni and cheese while
Doc Ock nullifies my ache
in muddy greens and go-go music

Rounding the bend i see them, screeching
squealing like happy little Piggies
Awkward pause, that heart-drop moment
and i am the Wolf, interloper
eating smirks and snorts
chewing my own tongue
choking on bricks and mortar
A grim existence, grins like whips
Grandma blows the house down when she gets home

Consumed and consuming, too full
to be refilled, bellying up for
Nothing, acrid air and flesh like dust
seeping in like night
settling in like decomposition
hop, hop across the floor, petit jeté
lying in wait for the sword through the mattress
Drinking welts and eating bruises
Hercules and Rocket Robin Hood feed me breakfast

IMAGE: Enrico Mantegazza

Detox

Warning: Discussion of body reaction to heavy drinking, including detoxification. Includes body function talk, e.g. toileting, vomiting, and menstruation.

NOTE: This is merely a description of what i go through getting off the sauce. Do NOT do this. It isn’t a step-by-step method. Detoxification from alcohol/drugs should be done under a doctor’s or other accredited professional’s care, at a hospital or other detox facility. I’ve gone to the ER for IV fluids and other care on numerous occasions, and wouldn’t hesitate to go again.

In the past, over time, i’ve learned to share about when i fall. It started out as vague references couched in romantic metaphors, and has progressed to full disclosure about what falling can mean in my life. Among other things, it can mean i lose control to a full switch for a significant period of time. It can mean i engage in any number of destructive behaviours. These have involved things like hitchhiking into the city (i live on a farm more than 30mins away), partying and its ubiquitous drug and alcohol use, which can and has resulted in stays in the “psych ward”, and the involvement of law enforcement. As i’ve improved, the higher risk stuff has disappeared, but taking off, and drug and alcohol* use, can still occur.

Lately, therapy + world events = my anxiety being at a near fever pitch, which means i can experience a hard switch that i cannot control. Well, that’s somewhat redundant, because i can’t control a switch at all. Therapy has me so vulnerable, that i can lose the face before the end of a session. Even long after, i remain raw and easily triggered. My Bits N’ Pieces are either terrified and totally flipping out, or i’ve done enough work that they’re beginning to feel safe in my environment and are asserting themselves a bit more. Understand that i’m not saying it’s one or the other – i’m saying it’s both, it just depends on which part we’re dealing with. They’re not a fun time right now. Everyone is stirred up and i’m losing my grip.

I’m fine for a week or 2, and then BAM, the next thing i know i have a raging hangover and must figure out what the damage is. They crawl into a bottle for a number of reasons: it was used in abuse scenarios, it made social interaction easier in my late teens, and it made consensual sexual encounters as a young adult tolerable. During all those times drinking was not a problem. It became a problem when i first became fully manic in my late 30s. It seemed like that’s when the levee broke, and everything and everyone came flooding out. I’d begun drinking heavily when the mania first started, while i worked a job that had me mostly in various bars. It progressed to the point where i lost my job, lost my oldest son to emancipation, was forcibly committed on more than one occasion, in a detox facility twice, in long term rehab once, and spent a few weeks in an actual mental hospital. At that time, i was completely at the mercy of my system and the mania. They conspired to break me, utterly.

Years and lots of stories that i’ve already told later (like this one, but it’d be hard to read everything, and this is relevant), i’m doing far better than probably most people thought i would. But after a few years of being out of therapy and thinking i was fine, i found out there was more work to do, and that it was the hardest work. It’s exacerbated drinking behaviours, as i once again struggle to manage and control the people who live in my brain. These people who’d all been born by the time i was 10, most of whom masquerade as being older than that.

I’ve been finally, and fully honest about that here, but i haven’t said much about the part where i crawl out of the hole i’d fallen into. I haven’t because it’s ugly, and very, very embarrassing. However, one should know all of it that i can tell. You should have the clearest picture of how dark and far down i’ve been, and how hard i still struggle today. In the truth lies hope, and i know well and surely that it is hope that i offer here. It’s all i have to give the world, and after so many years of contributing little, my love of humanity compels me to do what i can, until i can do more, and then do that, too. I assure you that i aim to.

So we are on to the ugly bits now. This may be full of TMI for some, so a second warning here.

The first thing to know is, while my system is out and very active during a bender, i am not. It’s like blackout drinking, except i wasn’t even there to get to the blackout stage in the first place. The second thing to know/understand, is that they can drink a LOT. My husband and son have both related to me how this can look. They’re dealing with 1 particular part who is clearly drunk; stumbling, slurred speech, etc., and then i’ll switch to another part and will immediately present as sober; the prior symptoms being gone, and i’m speaking and moving without difficulty. They can hand off to each other like this for days, but when my body has had enough and begins to become the primary, unavoidable concern, here is the third thing to know: the little buggers always ditch the party, and leave me holding the bag.

I know immediately something’s been going on upon waking. Sometimes waking is the regular kind, sometimes it’s being slammed back into the face by a part that doesn’t want to handle what’s going on for me, physically. I’ll have a raging headache and my guts will feel like they’ve been the ball in a game of rugby. I’ve the physical certainty that “we’re done here”, coupled with the mental experience of my system hiding in my brain. I hear whispers and soft crying – they know we can’t go any further. There’ve also been occasions where i’m thrust back in the primary position because they’ve gotten me into some trouble they’re either afraid to deal with, or think i’m the only one who can, say, an argument, destruction of property**, or damage to the body**.

I know what’s coming, and brace myself – although there’s nothing to be done but survive the process.
Despite the already terrible state of withdrawal beginning, i usually still feel that buzzy-numbness of being drunk. I know i can’t take anything for my symptoms yet, lest i fall asleep/pass out while my breathing and heart rate drop too low. It’s not that acetominophen raises one’s heart rate, it’s that i can become comfortable enough to fall asleep. (See: My Fear of Dying, coming soon!) If i’m not in bed, i go there.

There, my headache will increase, and then will come the worst –and it won’t leave me for days– nausea. I learned from a doctor years ago, that i likely carry a genetic trait for severe nausea. I’m inclined to believe him. Like one of my sons once remarked, “For someone who hates puking as much as you do, you sure do it a lot.”
In this case i won’t be puking though, and the truth is i almost never do, technically speaking. I retch. Almost nothing will ever come out of me, due to a history of childhood abuse and bingeing/purging. In other words, vomiting during abuse resulted in more abuse, and one of the ways the abuse manifested in later years was to eat until i was physically sick to my stomach.

So the retching has begun, which takes my kicked and punched entrails, and wrings them like a wet dishrag, repeatedly. At some point my heart rate will begin to rise, and so i take some acetominophen and diphenhydramine. The latter never works to suppress the nausea, but it can aid in getting me some sleep. I try because that will soon become impossible. I sleep as much as i can before my body begins removing the poison i’ve put into it. When that happens, i’ll be pissing razor blades and shit for around 12hrs. All while retching my guts into a nearly paralysed state. So i sip as much water as i can – once my guts shut down, there will be no food or water for anywhere from 12hrs, to a full day (for water, food can go longer).

Now i’m sweating: i soak my clothes and the sheets and anyone close to me, i.e. my husband and my dog. I’m alternately hot and then cold. There is no comfortable position; i shift from laying positions, to semi-sitting ones. My back aches and my head feels like it’s being crushed, the base of my skull as if it’s being ground to powder. I feel like i’m going through a rough period, literally. Back when i did menstruate, one could start. I feel as if i’m being filled with cement that’s slowly hardening, except when i must use the washroom, which is frequently. Then, my legs have trouble supporting me and getting me there. Urination has ended but the other isn’t done with me yet. I’m becoming severely dehydrated, with scratchy eyeballs, an itchy, sticky throat, and numb hands and feet. I get random stabbing pains that feel electric.

I want to sleep, but now anxiety manifests in the form of fear of death. I’m gripped by it. I know it’s a part of the process, and that i’m still here so far, but i also know that i’ve repeatedly taxed my body way past what is reasonable or healthy. Now there is no laying, only sitting up as straight as i can. I try to distract myself with mindless games and videos online. Every muscle cries out, my organs feel like stones. My brain feels as if it may explode; the band across my forehead so tight my skull may crack. If it’s daytime, i see movement out of the corners of my eyes. If it’s nighttime, i see figures in the blackness of the room, and behind my eyelids. There are whispery, skittish breaths across my flesh.
These are not full-on DTs, but i would guess they’re similar, if not a precursor.

No food, no water, no sleep, only anxiety and pain. Time passes with excruciating slowness and i sit with it, knowing i deserve it all (i know i do and i don’t, this is just my mindset at the time). My thoughts are drawn inexorably towards all my failures and shortcomings. I’m coated in a foul slick of hopelessness. I feel heavy with despair and shame. At some point my legs start working better, and my body scrapes me out and gets rid of everything. I now notice how very badly i need a shower, but i still can’t stand for long enough to get it done. No, not even 5mins with a bar of soap.
I take acetominophen where i dare, but now it hurts my insides, so only 1 at a time. Two caplets burns (stomach acid) like heck, so i stagger them. Diphenhydramine is not an option. I’m afraid if i go to sleep, i won’t wake up.

After 24hrs, things are usually improving a little, and i begin to drink a bit of water.

The final stages:
– everything tastes like crap, even water;
– thickly chapped lips;
– canker sores on my tongue.

The headache lasts for at least a week.
The nausea comes and goes.
I want to eat compulsively.
At least 1 or 2 days of insomnia.
Three days to 1 week to get back to normal energy/functioning levels.

I’ve only been struggling with this since i started back at therapy 2yrs ago. It’s frightening, dangerous behaviour and i know it. I’ve been working hard for my betterment #1, but also because i know that at my age, my body can’t tolerate much of this, or for long. I’ve stopped every self-destructive habit i’ve ever had, and this one will be no different. I’m no longer abusive, nor do i put others in harm’s way. There’s a process by which my brain figures stuff out. For a long time there had to be general consensus to lay something down or stop it. Now it comes down to me – if i say it’s done, it’s bloody done.
The realisation that the impetus is on me has been a sobering one, in this case especially.
<go ahead and snort – i did>

Yes, i realise there are people, places, and programs out there designed to help this specific problem. I have worked them and sought the receipt of their promises as hard as i sought those offered by religion. If i am, as some claim, “terminally unique”, it will not be from lack of trying or a desire to let go. I am a woman with a particular set of skills that make it difficult to function with the rest of the world on its terms, but i am doing my damnedest.

While there has been a disconcerting return to some undesireable actions while i flop around trying to find my legs out of this psychic primordial ooze, it hasn’t all been about a loss of control. I think some of it comes from trusting myself and freeing myself from the shame that’s followed me for my whole life, like Pigpen’s cloud in the Peanuts comic strip. When i learn something in therapy (like when i learned shame is my body asking for human connection), there comes a time when the rubber meets the road. This may be one of those times, i’m not sure. I am sure i’ll do my best, and if i fall down another hole, no matter what is entailed, i’ll crawl out again.

I watch myself from the inside and from the outside. I provide constant inner commentary on my own life. I see the thing that i was and am, and am becoming. And i have much to say about it all. Maybe it’s worth sharing, but perhaps not. Then i think of that stupid, wonderful starfish, and i know that >>i<< am the starfish. And i am the one who tosses the starfish. I am also the beach and the ocean, and the one who asks why any of it matters.
So i write about drinking to excess and retching and piss and shit and blood and tears.
I write it all out to live.
I write it all out because it seems to be helping.
I write it all out because i must.
And i have a lot ot say about that, too.

So, while i am indeed sorry for the TMI, it was starting to feel like i was hiding/avoiding, so i blogged it. Life as me and all that.

I’m an innocent victim of a blinded alley
And I’m tired of all these soldiers here
No one speaks English, and every thing’s broken
And my Stacy’s are soaking wet
~Tom Waits, Tom Traubert’s Blues

Have as good a weekend as you’re able, and so will i.
Love and Peace,
~H~
P.S. The 2 dreams i was going to write about won’t be happening… I waited too long and now they’re gone but for wee snippets. Ah well, lesson learned.

*I know alcohol is a drug, but find the distinction an important one.
** With the exception of a few weeks ago, these haven’t happened in many years.

IMAGE: Melodie Wasser

Old and New Dogs

Today i feel like updating. Most of it’s positive, with a brief vignette of unhappiness that might yet turn out well. Off we go.

I worried for many years (especially when i read old journals) that i would never change. I saw the same problems cropping up and kept finding myself back at what i thought was square one. I know now that wasn’t true, it was only that i was blind to my progress. There were scales on my eyes that i needed help removing. I needed a saviour to bring revelation and healing, if you will. I’m being facetious, but religion put me through a LOT, so have mercy. Heh. My saving grace was finding the right therapist. She taught me things i needed to know, and shone a light on me. Today, i am my own saviour, and I AM my revelation. I’m being reborn. The scales have fallen from my eyes and I SEE.

I see that i have changed – i’ve changed plenty.

And so, a list!
Some are big, some small. Some are silly observances and some saved my dang life.

– I no longer flirt;
– I don’t fawn at people who i know don’t like me, or people who are gruff or rude;
– I’m far less of an approval/acceptance seeker;
– I let other people help me cook;
– I don’t hoard food;
– I don’t binge/purge;
– I’m no longer addicted to pain pills;
– Non-smoker for 20+yrs;
– Maintained a 200+lb weight loss for over 15yrs*;
– Happy apostate;
– I’m decorating my house;
– I can be around children (most of the time);
– I’m no longer physically or verbally abusive;
– I’m not constantly choking back rage;
– I’m happily estranged from my family;
– I’ve let someone in to truly know me;
– I’m creating my OWN style, fashion/makeup/hair wise;
– I haven’t been committed in 10yrs**;
– I stopped driving (i’ll tell that story one day);
– I’m learning to manage my life as a multiple***;
– I have goals and aspirations.

I’ve changed tremendously, and i intend to change even more, where required.

**********

Now for my story.

We have 2 dogs. I have a 10yr old Pomeranian that i’ve had since he was a puppy. He looks fancy, but he likes to be outside and get dirty and go for walks with me. He doesn’t need much attention, and he likes his alone time. He is my fur-person, and will come lie in bed with me, Cristina/Meredith style (Grey’s Anatomy) when i’m low, even though my waterbed is too warm for him. He’s not a lap dog, preferring to sit at my feet when my husband is home, or beside me when he isn’t. He doesn’t mind other people, but he ignores other animals – unless they get in his personal space, at which time he will quickly clue them in that he ain’t havin’ it. He is food-centric, so much so that he nearly died from bloat (a rarity for such a small dog) when he was young. We learned to soften his food because he’d just swallow the kibble whole, and we put a ball in the dish, because he’ll still eat the softened food so fast he chokes on it. Between all the mush he gets on his ruff, and his love of our farm and dusty country roads, he needs to see his groomer OFTEN.

My husband’s dog is his polar opposite. She’s a medium-sized, 7yr old mutt with definite Bully leanings, that he rescued at around 6mos. She’ll take all your attention, all the time if you want to give it, although she’s not needy about it. She loves her kennel, and will go there for comfort, and any time we tell her “kennel,” say, when people come over. We do this because she. loves. everybody. and will jump on you, knock you over, and lick you forever (we let her out when things are calmer). Like my Pom, she loves walks and all the sniffs. While my boy is often too warm, her fur is so sparse you can see her skin markings underneath so we have a coat for her to wear outside from early fall to late spring. Our road and the adjoining canal is a favourite place for dog-walking, and she’s always overjoyed meeting other doggos. When it comes to mealtime, she likes to eat, but other than trying to casually sniff the plate on her Daddy’s tv tray (Dumdeedum, i’m just stretching, and my nose just happens to be 10cm from your food – nothin’ to see here, don’t mind me, tralala…), she’s not a moocher or a garbage-raider. Her favourite things are zooming around the outside of our house at top speed, rolling in scat (especially deer), and rides with Daddy in his work van. For the last, if he opens the door, she will bound into the back seat, and sit and wait patiently until he’s ready to go.

I’m sharing this for one, because i’m a pet person and don’t most of us love to wax poetic on our beloved fur babies? And two, because our dear sweet girl has fallen ill. Over the last 4mos or so, her enthusiastic, ebullient puppy personality has done a complete 180. She began acting like a geriatric dog; she moped about, wanting to spend all day and night in her kennel. She walked like she was in pain, and began refusing food. She didn’t want play with my boy (who actually loves her so much he licks her nose). She didn’t even care for van rides.

We’ve seen the vet half a dozen times, had every test imaginable, and they’ve found nothing. Each time we went she perked up –because of course she LOVES going to vet– /exasperated. They never saw her flat affect as she stopped moping and gladly trotted into the office with them. Meanwhile, she’d deteriorated to the point where she was piddling and drooling, her ears were full of bloody muck, and she was refusing food and water. Finally a vet tech friend of mine suggested Lyme disease. We thought about how many deer we have around here, and her fondness for their droppings. In desperation we went in again, and got the test. Turns out it’s extremely rare where we live, which is why they didn’t suggest it.

We’re waiting for the results. In the meantime, they put her on an aggressive round of antibiotics (she’d been on a mild one for clostridium), and gave her steroids for her rash (she has skin sensitivities like a lot of Pit Bull types).

And then something quite wonderful happened – she began improving. Over the last 4 days or so, she’s been accepting food, drinking well, her ears have cleared up, as has her piddling and drooling. She willingly comes out of her kennel in the morning to go outside with her daddy, and has resumed trotting up to us for scritches and pets.

When we’d take her to the vet, she was so lethargic we had to lift her in, but 2days ago when hubby opened the side door, she jumped in herself. We’ve begun feeding her 2X a day, and when it’s time to eat, she’s right there in the kitchen watching us prepare it. Last night after dins, she was still following us around wherever we went. It took a bit before we realised that she wanted a second helping, which i happily gave her, as she has wasted away these last few months.

I’m so looking forward to taking her for walkies today.
These last few months have been frustrating, scary, and gut-wrenching. She’s too young and lovely for us to lose her yet. We’re not ready. We still don’t know what’s wrong with her, and there still may be sad, awful times coming. The next step is very expensive, and it’s to detect cancer (which doesn’t show up on her screens). We’ve already spent so much money, all the resources we have left would be to keep her as comfortable as possible until the time comes.

There is no money plea coming, and no gofundme or whatever, i would gratefully decline any such offers. We’ll do the best we can for our darling girl, but the thing is, she seems to be improving. I don’t want to hope too hard, because i know how these things can go. If she does fully recover, we may never know what was actually wrong with her, but i’ll take it.

I’ll take it and hug her and pet her and feed her and walk her until she actually gets tired of me.

No real reason for this, except i’m trying to write more, and i was inspired by one of my favourite blog writer’s recent posts. So that’s my storytime, and if you read all this way, thanks!

Have as good a day as you can. I hope things are looking up for you as they are for me.
Sending Out Peace and Love to All,
~H~

* I did lose over 300lbs, but regained after bipolar mania, meds, and multiplicity. I have around a third left before i’m back where i was. Yay me!

** I’ve gone for help on my own a couple of times.

*** I have a number of other diagnoses, but DID is primary, in my opinion.

IMAGE: Rebekah Howell
(This is my idea of heaven.)

Robinson Robinson?

Robinson Crusoe doesn’t quite fit, nor does Swiss Family Robinson.
But they get close enough.
To get where i’m coming from, i’ll include an exerpt from my recent social media post:

As many of you know who read my blog, i’ve been in the most intensive therapy of my life. The goal is to strip me down of all my harmful/distancing coping mechanisms (i.e. dissociation), and experience my life fully present and in the moment.

The issue is that i’m exhausted, and the vulnerability this brings is beyond terrifying to me. I’ve lived my life at some level of dissociation since i was a baby. I’ve missed out on so much because i wasn’t there. These last 2yrs have been nothing short of brutal, but i can and will do it.

The problem is – the world is breaking me. I’m becoming pessimistic and misanthropic. I didn’t strip myself down to find this soft and tender heart inside, one that i’m beginning to know and love, only to have politics and current events smash it to smithereens. I won’t let that happen.

To that end, i am cutting out EVERYTHING in the outside world. I’m going to be filling myself with only lovely and uplifting things (outside of my therapy).

In all my online interactions, i sometimes leave and then come back for a bit and then do it again. I keep getting sucked into things that, while i care deeply about them, i do not currently have the spoons to handle. I only have enough for me right now.

But my family deserves a better functioning human, and so does my community. I am going to be buckling up and knuckling down, and getting this shit done, and when i come back…

I will be better. More involved, more helpful, more truly interactive. I will be in the face, and i will be better able to be there for friends and family.

**********

I will still be reading blogs, but if it involves commentary on politics and/or current events, i’ll be ducking out. I intend to return to these things because they matter to me, and i care. I just need to nope all of that for a while. I’m still here for poems and musings, and even a bit of personal trauma and pain.
On the days that i can.
On the days i need to not be alone in all this.
I’m here for the past and the future, just not the present outside of my own little island and my day-to-days. One day, my little boat will be built, and i will sail back to the mainland.

My next post will be a bit on the TMI side, just a heads up (re: detoxing).
Or maybe i’ll write down 1 or 2 dreams that deserve a looksee.
Or, i’ve been reading a lot of Bukowski and might be inspired to try to be gum on the bottom of one his boots that were 3 sizes too small.
Heh.

Thanks for reading.
Hang in there everyone, as best you can.
I’m doin’ what i gotta do.
I hope you’re able to as well.
Love and Peace,
~H~

in my hand is the last bluebird.
the shades roar like lions and the walls
rattle, dance above my
head.
the eyes look at me, love breaks my
bones and I
laugh.
Fingernails; Nostrils; Shoelaces, Charles Bukowski


IMAGE: Sergio Jara

September

Sitting with him in the dark
parked on the side of the road
I sit rigid
with my eyes so wide
Trying to swallow the dark
and still wear it like a blanket
He cracks open a can and hands it to me
I drink it in 3 or 4 draughts
It fills my lemon-stomach
and gurgles in the quiet
He passes me the other thing
the stuff that loosens my tongue
One rail and in 5 minutes i’m spilling
the things in my brain that gurgle too
The voices
Icy swords and hot daggers
Lollipop lullabies
Zigzagging like lightning
Roiling the sea and Oh
My Ship full of Fools
They’re all crying out
to me and to each other
punching holes in the night
The words dry my tongue
and crack my lips
Falling out like old driftwood
Splitting open and spilling dust
Motes in my eyes
Silt in my lungs
He cracks open another and hands it to me
I chuff out my breath like a bellows
and he tells me it’s going to be all right
I drink in his pale, silent beauty
and try to see the world from his eyes
To hold his hope in me
with the same fierceness that i’m holding his hand
More of the Devil’s potions and powders
More of my knots are untwisted
He gently asks who i am
and i tell him i don’t know
I don’t know

~ Mine, September 23, 2020

IMAGE: Trevor McKinnon

Uncomfortability


WARNING: Contains a light discussion of the controversial nature of DID and repressed memories.

Yes, it’s not really a word, but i Frankenstein the English language on the regular. It’s my style, man.

uncomfortable:
adj. Experiencing physical discomfort.
adj. Ill at ease; uneasy.
adj. Causing anxiety; disquieting.


Therefore in my world, “uncomfortability” is the ability to function while living and dealing with being uncomfortable. I’ve been doing this since at least first grade. I hadn’t had all that many healthy interactions with other children when i started attending school. No kindergarten for me, and i had 1 friend -a boy 1yr younger than i– who had the same babysitter. We saw each other every weekday and were very close. One of my mother’s friends socialised me with her nephews a couple of times a year, and i loved being with them. Other than that, any interaction with other children was either stilted*, or it was based on abuse.**

My mother prided herself on my precociousness in a group. Adults would compliment her on my etiquette and exemplary behaviour. I was raised by adult television shows and sitting quietly around her intellectual friends from university, so i had a level of sophistication that most children my age did not. I also had a maternal grandmother who was a schoolteacher, and she taught me to read and write fluently by the age of 4. My mother talked to me like i was an adult, and expected me to do a lot of the cooking and most of the cleaning, so yeah, precocious fits, i suppose. I’d describe me as not knowing how to be a child, and completely unequipped to be an adult.

No wonder my exchanges with other children were stilted. As soon as i started talking to them, i knew i was doing something wrong. I could sense in their reactions that i made them uncomfortable, sometimes i even freaked them right out. I learned to stand on the outskirts and watch. Various teachers would comment, both in my report cards, and back in the very early days when she could be arsed to attend p/t interviews, that i was alternately awkward and uninvolved, or too chatty and bossy. I desperately wanted to be liked and fit in somewhere, but i never quite did. I was usually able to find 1 or 2 mid-popularity level, nice kids, who would tolerate me without complaint. That constant sense of discomfort, and my intuitive feeling that i made my peers uncomfortable, contributed to the dissociative fog i went through school in, and my ability to weather feeling uncomfortable all. the. time.

All this backstory for me to say that i’m in the thick of it today. To find that i’d actually repressed a memory has me upset and extremely uncomfortable.

Guess what? A bit more backstory. Heh.

As i’ve stated, i fought the diagnosis of MPD/DID until my late 20s. I was raised to disbelieve it, and any of my dissociative behaviours that came out in front of my mother outside of when i was being actively abused, or putting on the kind of show she expected of me in front of others (which depended on who they were), was met with derision, anger, and violent physicality. I hid it from myself to keep me safe, and it was so ingrained in me that i couldn’t be around anyone who said they had it, or continue seeing any therapist or counsellor who even suggested it. It made my skin crawl; i was so uncomfortable around the topic i had to get away from whatever source it was coming from, and dissociate from the experience immediately.

Cue 3 events:
1) A multiple woman appearing on a daytime talk show that triggered me on such a deep level i couldn’t tear my eyes away from her interview. I went straight out and bought her book, devoured it in a day, and couldn’t stop thinking about it/her;

2) A counsellor (social worker) i was seeing through my church told me it was her belief that i was a multiple. I wouldn’t leave the office in her case because i was well-trained to obey church elders. She brought in a fellow member who was a psychologist, and she gently confirmed my counsellor’s diagnosis;

3) I was in a safe and loving relationship, so much so that all my issues were bubbling to the surface and i was having difficulty stuffing them back down.

In other words, i became vulnerable to the truth. Some of my walls had come down due to being in love, others because i was terrified of being in love, which in turn depleted my energy, leaving me without enough spoons to be a wife and a mother living with chronic pain and mental health issues, AND maintain all my defenses.

I knew they were correct, but my programming goes deep. There were parts of my system designed to hide this knowledge, and denydenydenyandgetTFaway if it ever came up. I was finally willing to explore the possibility, but it was hard to get around the roadblocks put up by my system, and my childhood brainwashing.***

For a couple of years, i told myself that i wasn’t multiple, that my brain just worked similarly.
Then i left religion, lost a bunch of weight, and was diagnosed bipolar. It was in a mania that my Bits N’ Pieces began making themselves known. When i finally found the lovely and talented Ms T over 12yrs ago, i had to deal with hard nope/cringe/skin-crawl crap all over again. In some ways it was harder, because my last counsellor’s recipe for health involved a lot of laying on of hands (which icked me out and traumatised me), and casting out my demons. Yeah, you read that right. She believed in MPD/DID, was a clinical social worker, and thought i was possessed.****
So yeah, more trauma and roadblocks to get over.

I found my way out of it all when i realised that some of my dreams were actually memories. It was like a golden ticket for me. I thought most multiples were faking it because that’s what was drilled into me (it’s not my business now), and some people’s claims have been scientifically debunked. I didn’t believe their stories (again, programming), either. Outlandish, i thought; way over the top. And there was the “Satanic Panic.” Plus, there were many jumping on the “False Memory Syndrome” bandwagon. I could see that some (i stress SOME) of what the nay side were saying was true, i.e. some people were either outright lying or had been manipulated (whether intentionally or unintentionally) by their mental health care professionals.

Realising i remembered everything, i just hadn’t made the connection that it was real – saved me from all that, in my own mind. I could skip it all. Everything was flowing and falling into place and so much of my life and my struggles and issues were finally making sense.
But i didn’t dream about my “Daddy’s” son molesting me. It popped right out of me when i began tapping away on the keyboard, and i can see how some of my dreams could be interpreted as having to do with it (of course the Dream #2 that i analysed), but i didn’t remember it. I didn’t have a dream of the events that was actually a memory.

Now i feel the distance that i’d tried so hard to put between myself and controversy, is closing in on me. I have been toppled from my mountaintop and hoisted by my own petard.
It’s a good thing, in the way that superiority, some arrogance, not a small amount of fear, and a dollop of pedantry were involved in how i overcame my aversion to dealing with my multiplicity. It’s good not to be a shitty person looking down on others. I can see that i dealt with the problem like my mother might have, using incorrect and immoral principles that she’d taught me.
I’m not sorry that i got called out by myself on my own crap. I welcome that kind of lesson in my life.
It’s been a long time since i judged another multiple. Many years. Not my business. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

Starting this blog led to me being a bit more open in my real life dealings, about being a multiple. I mention being mentally ill most, then bipolar, and occasionally now, being diagnosed DID. My family and friends know, and i can joke about it or refer to it on my social media, and it’s what my blog is mostly about. That’s growth. The controversies surrounding the diagnosis and how memories work and if they can be repressed is an active and volatile one. Many professionals work actively to prevent it from being included in the next diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.

This has me, someone who considers herself a skeptic, who embraces rational, critical thinking, in a bit of a pickle.

I’m also feeling extra anxiety and stress because, if i have 1 repressed memory, i may very well have others.

As i’ve been stewing over this since last week, i have come up with a couple of thoughts that help me cope:
– there are skeptics that fall on both sides of these issues, and many more who reserve judgment;
– it doesn’t matter if it really happened or not, there is still more than enough provable, long term traumas that i remembered all along, to warrant my splitting off and disconnecting;
– this is just me and how my brain works, and it doesn’t matter what anyone wants to call it – it’s real and what i live with every day;
– if i keep on working, one day i might get to the place where i function so normally that i barely even think about it any more – i will have achieved homeostasis.

To sum up this rambling post, i’m going to be grateful (in a way – silver linings and all that) for all that led to my uncomfortability. I know how to feel cringey and want to avoid and nope all of it – and do what’s in front of me to be done, regardless. So that’s what i’m gonna do. Like the blog says, this is life as me.

Stay as safe and well as you can.
Love and Peace,
~H~

* My cousins on my mother’s side were all shy and seemed frightened of me – they were raised in a religion that taught them to be afraid of outsiders, and i can only imagine what their parents thought and said of my mother’s 2-babies-out-of-wedlock-and-STILL-not-married lifestyle.

** There were times other children were being abused alongside me.

*** I don’t use this word lightly. My mother amassed a great deal of knowledge about religion and psychology. She put it all into play to make me into what she wanted me to be: an unconscious multiple who was an adoring slave in her own version of the cult of personality. At times she starved me, imprisoned me (in my room or a closet or even under my bed, where i’d cry and beg to come out from under), threatened me with child detention facilities, forced me to stand for long periods of time, holding things and reciting bible verses, paragraphs from self-help books, or her own handwritten paragraphs (usually rants about how awful i was, and how lucky i was to have her). She even occasionally used love-bombing, although it wasn’t a crowd of people, it was only her.
I was, by definition, brainwashed.

**** I feel it’s important to say i bear her no ill will. She was a lovely person who cared deeply for me. We were both hurt by a sick church which we both left. I saw her years later and she still had some beliefs along supernatural lines (which i do not), but she was warm, and kind and still working hard to help others. I’m still very fond of her.

IMAGE: Bambi Corro

Never Have I Ever

Squelched ocean sand between my toes
or picked my own mussels

Gone houseboating down the Shuswap
and sunbathed on the beach

Crowd-surfed at a concert while
others hoot and holler in celebration

Run through mud and rope-climbed walls
with fellow plucky survivors

Bungee-jumped or whipped down a zip line
or jumped out of a perfectly good airplane

Visited the lands of my forefathers
nor broken bread with those who yet live

*****
Felt completely at ease in a group
even if they’re all people i love

Stood in a line up without worrying
because i know someone must be staring at me

Gotten dressed up for some event
and been completely satisfied with my appearance

Had an argument where i wasn’t terrified
or a discussion where i didn’t feel attacked

Not worried that a man might want sex from me
or a woman was going to hurt me

Felt truly safe around other people
or utterly let down my guard

This is not poetry.
This is a bucket list.

IMAGE: Courtney Moore

Dream Analysis #2


WARNING: Discussion of sexual abuse, pornography, and grooming. Also ambivalence regarding such. Triggery stuff for some.

I think i know this face. As soon as i saw it, i felt like my entire body was singing with electricity. There is a back story to this and i’ll try to tell what i can.

My mother fell in love (or whatever approximated love for her) with a married man. I remember him coming to the house and they would go to her room while i was watching telly. I knew, based on my already long history of abuse, that they were having sex, but my dissociative nature was just as well established, and so i didn’t mark it or think about it at all. After a time of him visiting us regularly, i found myself calling him “Daddy”, and he would talk to me before he retired (/s) to my mom’s bedroom. He started bringing me presents, too. Most often it was candy or chocolate, but he brought the occasional stuffie, too.

The day eventually came when they brought me back to my mother’s bedroom with them. Details aren’t necessary or helpful, but it’s important to state that things escalated exponentially from there. He drew my mother and i into a world of drugs and sexual abuse. I don’t know how she met him, but my guess is that it happened through her contacts with people she was selling/renting me to. A lot of this is guess work, so i might very well be wrong – this is just me trying to piece together my memories and make some sense from them. I guess that she loved him, because i never in my life witnessed anyone else being able to tell her what to do, or wield any sort of power over her. I have very clear memories of Daddy yelling at her, and her crying and begging his forgiveness. He forbade her from prostituting me to anyone. From what i recall, it would seem he’d already told her that, but she’d continued and he’d found out.
I just went from being used by her contacts to his.

He and my mother attended the same church. It was some weird, non-Christian religion that i won’t name. She told me i wasn’t allowed to talk to him at church, EVER, and there was an unnaturally sophisticated part of me that understood why. He sat with a woman, and 2 boys and 1 girl. I knew that was his wife and children. I’d heard her phone calls at night where she’d sob and shriek and beg at him.

I share this because i (sort of?) recognise the face of the man in my nightmare sending me chat requests. He looks younger than the man i called Daddy, and older than his oldest son. His oldest son started talking to me after services, when everyone went down to the basement for cake and coffee. He was older than me by a significant margin, but i don’t know how much. He was definitely at the tail end of puberty, and i was 5 or 6. I would always sit in a chair by the stairs that led back up to the main floor (to this day i always need to be near/facing the quickest means of exit), eating cake and drinking Tang or Kool-Aid. He started by bringing me a second piece of cake.

It was a savvy move, although i can’t be sure that he’d thought things out that craftily. I was starved on the regular, but i also knew if i ate more than 1 piece of cake that my mother would beat me when we got home. I only ever took 1 piece of cake/sweet bread/muffin/whatever after services. He’d sidle up to me with 2 or 3 on a napkin, exclaim he took too much, and hand me 1 of them without even asking. I thought he was handsome and smart and funny. He made me laugh and said i was a “cutie-pie.” He was my first crush. Well, maybe my second, because i was head-over-heels in love with my mother’s brother. It was utterly guileless and sweet and without any thought of kissing or boyfriend-girlfriend stuff… But yeah, that sort of lovely naive adoration.

My uncle never did anything even remotely untoward. My “Daddy’s” oldest son started in on me within weeks of bringing me cake. The grownups would be chatting animatedly at long, wooden tables, all of them with styrofoam cups of coffee, and snatching treats off of fancy plates, laid down the middle. He said he wanted to “show me something.” It was pornography, of course. We would sit in 1 of the back rooms where they held Sunday school, and he would flip through pornographic magazines and make light commentary while doing so.
“What do you think of this?”
“Wow, hahaha, look at THAT!”
And i, as the multiple that i was, would play along the way i thought he wanted me to. Affecting a precociousness borne of being raped since before i could speak.

I don’t know if he knew of his father’s relationship with my mother. I don’t know if he was consciously grooming me. What i know is that i dissociated from sex and abuse and any mixture of the 2 – so all i knew was that this handsome boy was paying attention to me and saying nice things. He made me feel like a princess. My sexuality had already been awakened too early, so it’s not shocking that he made me blush and made my girl parts swell and tingle.

He began molesting me within weeks, and i liked it. I wanted him to.
This is what sexual abuse did to me. I’d already been groomed for him, by so many others. He barely had to smile at me. One piece of cake and i was his.
I won’t be detailing how far it went or describing the things he did. This blog is not for that.
I don’t know how long it went on for, but i do know my mother’s relationship with his father was getting rocky when he sent us to another city, thus ending his son’s access to me. As far as i can recall, we never went back to that church.

I did see the boy again. I know what the final, most disturbing scene means now.
I know i’m coming off super dramatic (because i am), but i won’t be writing about that part. No one should have to carry those images, that knowledge, unless they must.

I know why i dreamed of men falling out of the sky the next day, and i will share about that. It’s easy.
There were so many. So many.
They fell out of the sky and onto me and i was hollow inside.

The first dream is about the shame that i carry for “falling in love” with an abuser. It connotes my ambiguity as a child, living through trauma. The ugly truth of it that, a part of me preferred, even wanted, the sexual abuse, because (not often, but sometimes) it felt better than being beaten and starved and humiliated.

I think maybe my second dream was a gift from my weird brain – from my system, to me. I always struggle with feelings of inadequacy and guilt. That i haven’t accomplished much of anything, and i’ve made so many mistakes, and i’m so often barely functional…

There were so many.
I don’t know why i’m so damn hard on myself, because times like this –when i’m looking at it all– i’m shocked that i survived it. Even being a multiple and my brain hiding the sex stuff, the things that i’ve fully and consciously remembered all along were horrific.

As soon as i started typing, the truth of the dream started pouring out of me. I want to be completely honest and up front with you all, and i feel i must disclose that i drank a 6-pack before i could even touch the goddamn keyboard.
I will not be going on a bender.
I just leaned on the tried and true because i knew it needed to come out and i kept actively fighting it. I greased the wheels. I’m not proud of it, but i won’t ever lie on this blog – by omission or otherwise.

I’m going to cruise YouTube and shnuggle my doggo and my hubs.

Life is better lived with clarity,
~H~

IMAGE: Toa Heftiba

**********

Sunday, September 20, 2020: I’m adding on a bit more. I rushed to complete this yesterday, and everything was pouring out quickly once i started bashing away on my Notepad.

I think it’s significant that i was taking care of children (a common motif in my dreams). There were 4 boys, ranging in age from around 4 – 10yrs old. The oldest looked a bit like my real life nephew, but i might be reaching there. In the dream they were my SIL’s sons, and i was freaking out because i knew she’d be justifiably upset that they’d been exposed to such violent and sexual imagery. I haven’t quite figured out/decided if everyone being male except for me –in both dreams– is significant. I present very femme, but have some strong traits that were traditionally identified as masculine. Plus, i always test as androgynous (not just online silly ones, i’ve taken psychiatric tests in hospital). I’ve always felt very “girly-girl” inside, and despite being Amazon-sized, i’ve never been mistaken for a boy. I do however, have 2 in my system that are male. One of them is a manifestation of pure rage, and the other disappeared a couple of years ago along with another. Their disappearance precipitated my return to therapy.

**********

ETA on October 6, 2020: DUH! I’m the one that’s angry that >>i<< was exposed to pornography! Of course! Man, my brain writes a layered story, eh?

**********

I think the hacking part is quite significant and deserves some commentary. I hacked my own mind, in a way. The personality part of my brain broke into parts of my deeper functions at infancy (i think – no proof, just speculation on my part) and accessed inner abilities. From there i could split off into pieces in order to survive what was happening to me. I’ve read scads and reams of information on memory and so i know all of this is nebulous at best, but i’m unescapably drawn to doing it, and it seems to help, so i’m going to keep doing it until my results stop, or stop being helpful.

I think i’d already accomplished splitting off before i could speak. I think this because i have a crystal clear memory of laying on the couch and looking up at my maternal grandfather sitting beside me. He was laughing and talking to someone sitting directly across from him, but i either didn’t see who it was, or my memory just doesn’t include that information. I felt happy and i could feel my legs kicking and my face smiling. Years later i related the memory to my mother, who went immediately to a bookshelf and pulled out the photo album she had of my first 3 or 4yrs. She said, “You’re just internalising this picture as a memory. You were 9mos old.”

Sure enough, it was exactly what i’d described. However now, looking back on all the events that i have, and reading and studying so much scientifically based information on the nature of memories, i have some basis for doubt. The memory doesn’t come with words, only emotion. I can hear my grandpa talking, but i don’t understand what he’s saying (he only spoke English). Further, as someone who has long and much experience in learning how to separate dreams from actual memories that were hiding in my brain, and were merely disguised as dreams, i can now easily tell the difference. The memories where i was drugged are fuzzy and feel fluffy in my brain. The memories where i was not under the influence are sharper and feel crispy-crackly. Significant data exists to show that an alters’ memory can be nearly eidetic. Legitimate dreams may feel either way, but they’re the easiest to discern because there will always be something bizarre (TVs and computer monitors keep popping up where they weren’t before), or something impossible (it’s raining men), or something that doesn’t jibe with my real life remembered history (my SIL doesn’t have 4 sons), for which i have tangible evidence.

This is the tough part; the reason i felt compelled to add a bit more onto this analysis. My brain was also hacked by other people. This is a sketchy and controversial area to wade into, but i’m already neck deep in stuff many (including professionals in the field), don’t believe in, or reserve judgment based on what they see as insufficient evidence for them to accept it as true. Multiplicity, memories, lucid dreaming, a bunch of paedophiles and disgusting sexual opportunists that know each other and help each other and maybe even hang out. So yeah… I’m gonna go there.

It is my firm belief that many of my abusers knew i was a multiple. I also believe they knew how to MAKE them. This is based on memories i have of abusers calling me names that weren’t my name and realising years later that they were the names of some of the parts in my system. I remember some of the things that abusers would say to each other in front of me that i didn’t understand at the time. Things like, “It’s all good when she faints and then opens her eyes.” And my mother on the phone, telling someone what name to call me, or reassuring them that i won’t rat them out because i never remember.
They hacked into my brain and accessed certain parts, and made other parts that were closer to their personal grocery lists of what they wanted in a victim.

Yes, i’m aware i’m flying around in cuckoobird territory.
And yes, i might be wrong.
But i don’t think so.

I think i’m done with this dream now. Maybe. Hopefully.

Y’all take care of yourselves as best you can, y’hear?
~H~

Stuck

I’ve spent the last week filled with dread and unable to write. Every time i click [+Write], i’m stuck. Initially i wasn’t sure what the problem was, but that’s not entirely true. Being as dissociative as i am, the knowledge was there, i was just afraid and instinctively pushing it away from my consciousness. By midweek i cried uncle and admitted to myself what’s going on…
Dream #2 is going on.

There is something there that i genuinely can’t access right now. Not without analysing it. And i have this feeling that i don’t want to know what it is. I call it a dream, but it was a nightmare. It’s the worst nightmare i’ve had in years, probably since i was going through disclosing my abuse history. The night after i had it, i had the first semi-lucid dream i’d had in weeks. I was in acres of lush green meadow grass, soft and warm and full of that incredible smell. The sun was high and gorgeous and golden, and i gazed up at it in awe.

Then something large and dark caught my eye. I could see it was falling towards me, and falling fast. It thunked heavily on the ground next to me and it was a man. And then suddenly, it was raining men, literally, and even as i write this, my dark sense of humour is not kicking in. It was horrific. They were coming down all around me, hitting the grass and making sounds like when you knock on a large melon, or drop a heavy stone on freshly laid sod. The meadow was filling with them and i knew 1 would eventually land on me.

Like i did when i’d first learned lucid dreaming as a child, i knelt down, put my head on my knees and cupped my hands around my face to keep the light/the sight of it all, out of even my peripheral vision. Then i squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as i could and i said, NO, i don’t want to be here. I’m going to WAKE UP RIGHT NOW!! And i willed myself awake. There is a literal pulling sensation inside me, like waking up from anaesthetic; i feel drugged and heavy-limbed.

When i was fully awake i felt the dread i’d felt the night before, and i knew they were connected. I felt sick to my stomach again. I felt that gnawing pit down inside me yawn wider.

I sit in front of this blank white screen and i sense doom approaching. The other shoe is about to drop. I can’t explain it, but i just KNOW. I never repressed my memories per se, my brain hid them from me, disguised as dreams/nightmares/night terrors. It has been my belief that i know everything i can know about my past at this point. It took a long time to separate dreams from memories, and then memories from drug-induced hallucinations and imaginings (i was often drugged during the abuse: alcohol, depressants, and even stimulants and hallucinogenics).

I keep myself busy and try to keep my spirits up during the day, but by the time my husband comes home from work i’m exhausted from the effort. I spend the evenings feeling myself slide around inside my brain, and have fully switched out a couple of nights. I decided that it’s got to come out, lest i find myself crawling back into a bottle.

I’m setting myself up for the best outcome. I won’t be tackling the dream/s until my husband has the day off. I’ve bribed my system with promises of things they like to do after it’s done. (They’re children after all, and i found bribery a very effective tool with my sons, on occasion.) I’m talking to my system more, and at peak mindfulness. I’m establishing trust, but also asserting my place as the mama/head monkey in charge of this circus. They live in my brain, and they are all me, so it’s no secret that i’m very afraid (not all are developed enough to know anything about anything – they are a feeling, or a moment in time), but i also have a solid reputation as one who can and will do the thing anyway. I remind myself (selves) that i lived through it, and if i can survive that, i can survive looking at it and thinking about it and dealing with all of the fallout. ALL of it. I’m hella capable, and so far in this life i have never given up – i don’t intend to start now.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but i do know that if i try to run from this or quash it, it’s just gonna keep getting bigger and sucking more of my precious energies into that ever-widening maw in my gut. Eventually it will either drive me into more dangerous switched behaviours, or i will go on an epic bender and/or wind up hospitalised. I know how i work, so i’ve got that goin’ for me. Heh.

That was almost a joke.

I will stare this in the face and learn what it has to teach/tell me.
I’ll feel the pain, i’ll grip the rage tightly in my savage breast and roar my way through, and i’ll embrace the wrenching sobs that i know are coming after.
This is the process; to feel what i feel while knowing what i know.
(I’m my own life coach, woohoo!)

Ah, there’s my sense of humour.
It never leaves me for long.

Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Alex Iby