Now

First, a reiteration of the most important bit from yesterday’s content warning:

If you are currently in a place where you’re easily upset or triggered by content, this may be a piece you’d like to skip, either until you’re better able to process, or even altogether.
If you are a multiple, this piece contains the prelude to a discussion of integration. Take care of yourself and your system. Think about it before proceeding. Talk to your p-doc or whomever is your mental health professional go-to.

**********

Yesterday, any way you made it was just fine
So you turned your days into night-time
Didn’t you know, you can’t make it without ever even trying? 
And something’s on your mind, isn’t it?
~ Karen Dalton, Something’s On Your Mind

After years of chaos and then the drudgery of therapy (it just is, for me), i felt freer and more happy than i had ever felt. I knew my system and how it worked, and they knew me and trusted me to be in charge and care for them. I organised things in my mind in a way that made sense to any part developed enough to be able to get there. I enjoyed a couple of years where, while there were still many difficulties, i was able to manage without the 3 big ones i’d worked hardest to avoid: police involvement, hospitalisation, and serious marital discord.

I turned my attention to my physical health then, as i live with some chronic conditions, and have struggled with weight and food since i was a child. I was morbidly obese in the early aughts, and had a gastric bypass which was very successful. Unfortunately, it also heralded my first severe mania. Medications, heavy drinking, along with lousy food choices and eating hygiene meant that around 1/4 of it came back on – when one starts out as big as i was, that is not insignificant. I spent the last 10yrs taking off and promptly putting back on, about 1/3 of that amount.

Over the years i did learn a lot about eating and food, and my relationship with them. I found a way for me to lose the weight i need to, and keep it off. I don’t talk numbers or details, because that can trigger obsession in me, but what i will share is that i stopped dieting, and made one small change to how, why, and what i ate at a time. So when i shifted my focus to my physical health, it was more about adding exercise in. Again, the details aren’t necessary, just know that my approach was the same as it had been to food; one small, manageable change at a time. I’m not looking for magic, or instant results. Slow, steady steps forward are what works best for me.

What happened was the same in my physical health as i had experienced with my mental health. It took time and patience and commitment, but small changes gradually built upon each other until the results were obvious and easy to demonstrate. I passed that 1/3 loss that i couldn’t seem to conquer before, and i was heading towards my goal, closer than i’d been in many years.
I added in more socialising.
And then i added in parttime work.
And then i began volunteering.

That was when my dreams got ugly.
That was when some voices stopped talking.
That is when i crashed.

I didn’t notice the missing voices, but some parts did, and there was panic. It flooded my body, feeling like it was filling in every space, like frost spreading on glass. Except from the neck up, which was suffused with hot blood, gushing in my ears, swelling my skin. I knew i was in trouble, but i couldn’t make out what was wrong. It was too loud, it was too many, and it was too much. I stopped sleeping. If i dropped off it was due to pure exhaustion, and then i’d only get a couple of hours before nightmares would set in, and i’d be forced to wake myself up.*

It took tragically little time for me to unravel. I stopped exercising, volunteering, working, socialising. I left the house as infrequently as possible, and i drank regularly, to quiet my brain and get some sleep (NOT RECOMMENDED, BTW). I started losing my control over the face. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and terrified – terrified of things going back to how they used to be.

Like finding myself walking towards the highway, trying to return “home”.

It started happening when i first became severely manic, and i would switch, hard and often. I kept wanting to go home, and hearing it in my brain. It felt like an imperative. Go home. Some younger bits crying for home, others saying more authoritatively.
GO HOME. GO HOME NOW.

During those difficult years of getting to know how i work and who else lives in my brain, i tried to go home countless times. I would leave my Little Crooked House and hitchhike into the city. Trying to get home. Revisiting old places and looking for people from my past. I would eventually find myself back in the face, usually in an untenable situation. I would get to a phone and call my husband. Sometimes it would be hours before he found me, as i’d be sliding all over the place. He also spent dozens upon dozens upon dozens of hours following me, trying to get me in the car, trying to keep me from hitting the highway in the first place. More than once i tried to jump out in traffic in the city. More than once i tried to walk in front of semis on the highway, parts of me holding my life hostage to try to get to some place i didn’t know. I did know what that word “home” meant to me as i looked back unblinking at my childhood. Pain. Fear. Alone. Anger and ugliness everywhere.
I tell you this because i started finding myself walking towards the city again.

I had learned to manage the walking by going for walks. Heh. Compromise and negotiation was and is key to managing my brain and the splitty pieces that live inside it with me. I love walking and i always have. So if someone inside wanted to go for a walk, i took them. When i set out to improve my fitness level, walking was the first thing i started doing regularly. My doggies were ecstatic and i truly enjoyed it. But walking turned dark when those voices did. I felt it in my feet, in my calves and my knees – this itch inside, a need to stretch, to go. To go home.

I’d find myself on the road, without the dogs, walking. I could feel it in my legs and hear it in my head that i was not going towards town, i was heading towards the city. I’d feel kind of floaty, like my head was a balloon, which means i’m sliding around, but not hard switching.

I was scared and i felt so defeated that, after all this work parts of me still wanted, and could still try to take me to this unknown and potentially harmful place.
I did the only thing i knew to do – i called my therapist and started seeing her again regularly.

Maybe another day you’ll want to feel another way, you can’t stop crying
You haven’t got a thing to say, you feel you want to run away
There’s no use trying, anyway
I’ve seen the writing on the wall
Who cannot maintain will always fall
Well, you know, you can’t make it without ever even trying

So next, let me tell you a little of my history with my therapist.

*See “lucid dreaming”.

Then

I haven’t written in quite a long time. I always say i’m going to write through the tough times, but so far i’ve not been able to manage it. My brain gets so full when my people are stressed, it’s like chasing echoes, or trying to grab onto the mad wisps of dream smoke, upon awakening.
How am i supposed to fully realise my desire to help others by sharing how my brain works unless i can do this? The sigh that came from me just now felt like it rose up from the tips of my toes.

I’ll keep trying.

To that end, there may be some hope. I’m writing now, and i’m still not at all well. In fact i’m worse at this moment than i was when i stopped writing. Therein lies the reason for this warning:

I do not know you.
I do not have any magical formula or secret key to fix your life.
All i have is the desire and the will to find my own, and share it with you, because it is all and everything that i have to give.
Me. How my brain works. My journey towards a higher level of functionality in my world. Self-knowledge. Trial and error. Stubborn and steadfast, and always interminably slow.

Here is the second part of the warning, and it is most important:

I am not well right now, not mentally, or emotionally, or physically. I may not be making good decisions right now. I may look back and cringe/cry/curse. I’m not myself half the time, which in multiple speak, means that other, split parts of me are regularly in control of my body, and i have varying levels of awareness, from watching myself like i’m on tv, yet being unable to influence what’s happening, to no clue that i’ve been gone at all, until i find myself back in the face (my slang for back in control) again.

If you are currently in a place where you’re easily upset or triggered by content, this may be a piece you’d like to skip, either until you’re better able to process, or even altogether.
If you are a multiple, this piece contains the prelude to a discussion of integration. Take care of yourself and your system. Think about it before proceeding. Talk to your p-doc or whomever is your mental health professional go-to.

What follows now is the piece i was working on when i shut down. I’m working on more for tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow, but we’ll see, won’t we?

**********

I know i always say this piece was hard to write. But this piece is hard to write.

It involves sharing some deeper, more intimate details of how my brain works, and that has filled me with anxiety and no small amount of shame. I’m anxious because i don’t know if i’m going to be able to communicate it well enough that anyone can understand, and i might just come off as kooky, or wholly unbelievable. Then there’s the shame part. I always struggle with shame when i’m sharing about my multiplicity. This is due in part to it being a controversial diagnosis, partly due to my own struggle in accepting it, and a lot because doing so is an undressing of the rawest kind. This is deeply personal and private. Getting to this point, where i have enough of a consensus to do so, was a difficult task.*

From the jump i’m fairly certain this won’t make much sense, but i’m forging ahead, because i’m committed to sharing who i am and how my brain works: for me, for my beloved Bits N’ Pieces, and for anyone who might find help or comfort in these pages filled with angsty blurts and hopeful gushing.

I struggled with my diagnosis for many years, running from any mental health professional who’d suggest it. I finally considered it because i’d been trained from birth to believe what any religious elder told me, and i’d sought counselling from a social worker who attended my church. She brought in a psychologist who was also a church member to backup her diagnosis. So i finally, seriously considered that i might be a multiple, because i was raised to be a good girl, to respect authority, and to respect religious authority above all.

I could see that i easily met all the criteria for MPD/DID, but it just seemed so ridiculous. There were a number of high profile cases that had been soundly debunked. There was also something about other multiples – i didn’t like them. None of them. In fact, it was an instantaneous and visceral dislike, except for one who became my very best friend (but that’s a story for another time). I also understood that my mother had gone out of her way to both encourage my multiplicity, and to indoctrinate and threaten me against acknowledging any of my more obvious symptoms to anyone, especially myself.

I found what i was looking for in my dreams. Answers, affirmation, and even confirmation, after a fashion.
My dreaming life has always been a significant part of my life. I suffered night terrors from the time i was a toddler, to the point where my mother took me to a specialist for treatment. I remember dreams from as far back as around 4yrs old, i think. My dreams are heavy with themes and motifs, and most fall into a few categories. As a child, the most common ones were of being hunted by something i sometimes couldn’t, sometimes wouldn’t see, of houses filled with death, and of being covered in bugs. There were other themes added as i became a teenager, more still as a young adult, and again since i accepted that i am more than one.

I’d pored over my dreams my whole life, trying to understand what they could tell me about myself. I knew they were different from my peers from an early age. There was a moment of stunning clarity when i realised that some of them were not dreams at all, but memories. The therapist my mother had sent me to when i was so little, taught me lucid dreaming, and part of that was to pinch myself, HARD, as a way to ground myself, to know i was okay, the idea being that a pinch in a dream is painless…

But in my dissociated state i’d begun pinching myself while being abused, and it did hurt. And when i acknowledged that there were pinch dreams that hurt, i was struck with how those dreams were so much more literal than the other ones. There was no need to interpret, there were no metaphors, no symbolism; it was all ugly and starkly, painfully clear, and yet blurry, fuzzy, with softened edges, unlike the dreams where my skin felt like i was covered in bees, and everything was in technicolor, with sensurround! TM

I was able to identify a feeling that came along with all these “dreams”, a putrid, stinking hopelessness, and panic so intense that it was like a vacuum that seemed to suck me inside of myself. It pulled me towards a black door in the middle of my body, the centre of the universe of my brain; the door beckoned me, it promised safety and relief.  It was a splotch covered in stars and i wasn’t afraid of it. I knew i could go there and everything would be okay.
I now think that’s the place i went while my people took care of me.

My dreams that were not memories were so clear, with crisp edges and vibrant colours, but the feelings were fluffy, nebulous, bouncing around and occasionally brushing up against me.
The memories were seen through a sleeping fog, bathing me in a soft froth of imagery, but the feelings grabbed and held me captive with hard, bony fingers, and as i squirmed helplessly, they sliced away at me until all was bloody and ragged.

That was when i began the work of accepting what had happened to me as a child. I vomited it all up to my husband and a small, trusted group of blog friends. This was cathartic, and almost certainly necessary for me, but as soon as it was done i locked down the blog and was slammed with a hurricane of parts demanding to be heard, demanding face time, demanding my time, wanting random needs met and feelings assuaged and needing to know if they were safe and who the hell was going to take care of them? It was years of chaos.

I learned how to manage this onslaught by first acknowledging them, one by one, and then getting to know them by listening to them. Hours and hours and days and months and years of listening. I had to purposefully, mindfully, and with clear intentions, pull myself out of the dissociated, fugue-like fogginess i’d settled into through a lifetime of living with constant commentary and background chatter. I gave my head a shake, figuratively and literally, focused on my breathing and feeling myself inside my body: feet on the floor, hands on my thighs, butt in the chair, churning in my belly, mild headache, sweat under my arms, all of it, whatever it was, as long as it was real and tangible and ME. And then i’d listen. They started out, most of them, talking only to themselves (they knew i was listening, and i knew they knew), but eventually they began speaking and/or throwing feelings directly to me.

Well, at first it was AT me, but you know…
Patience is a dad-blasted virtue, i can tell you.

*Anyone who was against this, agreed that it was okay as long as any details occurring when they were in the face, would not be discussed, which has been honoured, with love and respect.

Fear Is The Mind Killer

Content Warning: This piece contains references to integration, which may be triggering for some.

When routine bites hard
And ambitions are low
When resentment rides high
And emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways
Taking different roads

Love, love will tear us apart again
~Love Will Tear Us Apart, Evelyn Evelyn

This next part must come now, or it won’t. I’m committed to talking about my multiplicity – a lot here, maybe sometimes a little outside the protective bubble of the etherosphere where i dwell. (Did you see what i did there? I like it. Also, my use of qualifiers seems to be directly proportional to my difficulty with the subject matter. I’ll try to edit as many out as i can before i post, heh.)
In my prior entry, i wrote about how i hadn’t been paying enough attention to the people that live in my brain, and how once i did, i recognised that something was terribly wrong.

A little background before i get into what’s happened:

There are some multiples for whom success is integration, and others for whom that isn’t even on the table as a possibility. I fall into the latter camp. It felt, on a visceral level, like that would be akin to murdering the people who’d saved my life. I set about carving out a functional and satisfying life for all of us, which was no small task, and in fact took me nearly a decade to achieve. My system works from the agreement amongst us that i am the head, and i am in charge. There’s really no other way for this to work, because i have an intellectual understanding that my people aren’t actually real – they were created by me in order to help me survive my upbringing.

You may well ask, If you know they aren’t real, then how would integration be murder?
I’m not quite sure if i have a reasonable answer, but what i can say is that it’s the way i’ve learned to live with how my brain works. This involves a constant tinkering to find a workable balance between thoughts and feelings, between imagination and reality, and on finding a way to live in and be a part of the world as much as possible, while still honouring and protecting the parts of me that are broken and delicate and deserve to be shielded from any more pain or ugliness. In living my life as if they are real – i’m healing myself.

Multiples are no different from anyone else in that we must all find or create our own path, no one’s journey through life is exactly like anyone else’s. I’ve sought healing and happiness through examining what happened to me and learning as much as i can about how i coped, and what that might say about me as a person (and what it might not). I’ve been intensely self-focused for nearly 20yrs now, and as with most of us who get exceptional at anything, i’d been managing my people well for enough time that i’d become complacent.

When i finally turned my eyes and ears inward, i discovered that some of my people were missing. I asked after them and was mostly met with stony silence. A couple of them yelled things at me, but it was name calling, not information. Those that i know would help me were being hidden from me, and i had to listen to cursing and condemnation before any cooperation was going to happen. I’m not going to describe what happened in any more detail than that, as it’s private and it’s weird, and frankly i’m not sure i can paint a word picture that would make enough sense to either of us for me to bother.

They were gone, and no one wanted to talk about it.
When i think things, as a multiple, it is as if i’m talking to other people (sometimes at, because no one is listening, heh). Usually there’s at least one response, and occasionally it’s many. There can also be other conversations already happening, or what i “say” can spur some side conversation, in other words 2 or more of my people want to talk to each other about what i just said. There’s often murmurs that follow, where i can catch a snippet or 2, but it’s more like a sussuration unless i consciously focus on it. This time, i’m wondering where a few of my people are, i’m thinking that i don’t remember hearing from them recently, and it happens just like BOOM! in a moment:

I know they’re gone.
I’m struck by the terrible, thick, unnatural (as in NEVER happens) silence.
I’m at once overwhelmed by their feelings of fear, and my legs are watery and my head is floaty and i’m hit with a violent wave of nausea.

I don’t know how long i sat there, but i know i must have been acting weird, because suddenly i was aware that my dogs were at me, one was pawing my face, and the other was sitting at my feet, staring directly at me, which isn’t like her. At this point, i get up and go back about my day. This is the beginning of a couple of weeks spent in a highly dissociative state. I sort of forget about what happened, but i’m also aware of it, like a dark figure, always present at the edge of my peripheral vision. I’m easily startled at the best of times, but now i’m jumping out of my skin fairly regularly. And i’m losing time, nearly every day.

I was able to keep to my regular schedule, which is no small point of pride, for me. Yet i was filled with foreboding, and felt menaced by something or someone, although i knew that it was just the way my brain was manifesting what was going on in my system. I tried to cope by becoming more functional, i exercised more and was more careful with my diet, and i tackled more chores around the house. The results of that were all good, except it didn’t help with my inner turmoil much, and i knew that if i didn’t deal with what had happened soon, i’d find myself in some manufactured chaos.

One night i got royally pissed off at something, which got the ball rolling, or rather it got my tongue wagging. I told my husband that i thought some of my Bits N’ Pieces were gone. And then i think i cried for a long time.

You cry out in your sleep
All my failings exposed
There’s a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Just that something so good
Just can’t function no more

Love, love will tear us apart again
END OF PART TWO

Daisy, I’m Half Crazy For Evelyn

I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
~Watching The Wheels, John Lennon

I haven’t been able to write anything for months. I thought it was because spring is always difficult for me and my Bit N’ Pieces. It’s the time of year during my childhood when both sexual and religious abuse would hit a fever pitch. It’s the time of year when quite a few of my people were born, including me.
This year was harder than the 2 previous, and it took some time to gain some clarity. My brain is full to bursting in March and April; it’s like a judgmental mother-in-law coming to visit when you’ve just given birth. You have various rug rats and yard apes making your house a mess, while all you can do is watch as the parasite you just gave birth to is separated from your womb, only to become permanently attached to your breast. Everyone’s all a-flutter, everyone’s feelings are so fucking delicate, everyone’s got a case of the bloody vapours. I’m triggered by anything and everything during this time of year, and it takes so much energy to manage, that i’m vulnerable to switching, anywhere, at any time, for any or no reason. It’s exhausting.

The last couple of years had been better, but i had a strict NO PEOPLING rule that made it much easier to cope. I didn’t go out much, so there weren’t too many stressors to handle. This year i decided to continue with my reintroduction to the world. In other words, i didn’t take a break from socialising during March and April, although i still kept it all nice and low key. The other thing i wanted to do this time ’round was to continue with my writing, even if it got hard, and i assumed that it would.

But i couldn’t. I couldn’t write a single word.
I sat in front of this blasted screen and this accursed keyboard and i couldn’t manage one blinkety-blankety word.
I started making myself sit here for at least a half an hour a day, willing myself to type out something – to type out anything.
After a few days of that, my head began roaring with voices every time i sat down, and i’d end up switching and finding myself involved in another activity, usually housework. When i started finding myself walking down the road towards the highway, i knew i had to stop trying to force it, or i’d end up on one of my hitchhiking adventures, and i hope never to do that again.
So i stopped trying to write, and things calmed down some. By mid-April, i’d gained enough presence of mind to figure out what was going on, but i’m not sure i want to write about it. At all. Ever.

My upbringing was awful and ugly. There are those with similar stories that haven’t made it. People who live half a life; those who put the broken part of them in a box and bury it somewhere it will never see the light again. There are a great many who drown it in booze or suffocate it with drugs, and some who reenact their traumas over and over, whether in an effort to punish or to learn i don’t know. Maybe they don’t, either. And there are those who swim around in the filth and even swill it back, ignoring the hands proffering help and hope.
I have done all of those things.
I’ve also done a lot of personal work to get to where i am today.
On a day-to-day, TCB sort of way, i’m fairly functional. Perhaps average?
When it comes to managing thoughts and feelings, i’m going to baldly assert that i’m an honours student.

I’ll tell you that i thought i couldn’t write because i thought the next thing i had to write about was sex. I’ve handled my sexual brokenness in any number of ways, none particularly helpful as far as i could tell. I knew i needed to deal with my sexuality and my attitudes towards sex similarly to how i’ve dealt with every other personal issue i’ve had success dealing with – strip it all away until i get down to the bare bones of it. Look at it all, acknowledge all the thoughts, feel all the feels, and then rebuild something better, according to what i learn.

You think i’m gonna talk more about sex now, but i’m not.
I couldn’t write about it, no matter how hard i tried. I put my writing away and sat in silence, or rather, what silence is for me, which has to do with external quiet, since internally, i am never quiet.

I had to get to know the people who live inside my brain if i was going to save them, and manage them in such a way that i could live a happy and successful life. I had to stop ignoring the cacophony, and instead listen carefully and attentively to it, until i could concentrate and focus and recognise individuals. They, in turn, would relinquish some of their control to me, once they felt heard and understood and accepted by me. And i don’t mind reminding you that it took years and it took so much energy, that i shut myself away for a while. Socialising bled us dry emotionally, and caused us all to become agitated and anxious, which wasn’t conducive to anyone wanting to give up any control.

After a lot of negotiation, i was able to create a place inside my brain where nearly everyone was satisfied with how things were working. I began peopling a little, and then a little more. It went so well i eventually added working parttime, volunteering, and was able to focus more on diet and exercise. Oh yeah, and i was dealing with sex and intimacy, the elephant in the room. This crazy train was chuffing along nicely, and i was George Carlin heading for Shining Time Station.

But i couldn’t write, and things didn’t sound right inside my head. It sounded different, and when i paid closer attention i figured out 2 things quickly:

1) That i hadn’t been paying them enough attention, and
2) Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong.

Oh, elephant (elephant)
My thoughts so bad swell of it
To give me such a friend
Oh, elephant (elephant)
I’m with you to the end
Elephant, elephant
I’m with you to the end
(Goodnight, elephant)
~Elephant Elephant, Evelyn Evelyn

END OF PART ONE

OMGLOL

This is from my Facebook this morning.

**********

Okay, i’m gonna tell you a thing that is not life-changing, just about me, and not terribly interesting unless you know me IRL (or have Skyped and/or talked on the phone with me).

My son told me about it, maybe a year or more ago, but because i haven’t socialised much over the last few years, it wasn’t obvious, or problematic. Also, in re-entering the field of peopling for reasons other than i’m forced to (heh), i’ve had other things on my mind, and anxieties to manage.

My son told me that i have this annoying way of speaking. My sentences sort of trail off a bit, and just when you think i’m finished talking, i say something else, and then trail off again. And this can go on, sometimes over and over. Once he pointed it out i knew right away that he was right, and i also knew why.

Fast forward to yesterday, when i’m this super-functional version of myself, with 2, count ’em, TWO!! girlfriends over for a visit, and i’m actually belly-laughing and feeling comfortable and safe, and i become aware that I’M DOING THE THING.

Now, my son is annoyed by it, but i’m his mom, and he’s a teenager, so… Other people might be annoyed by it as well. Or they might not notice at all. Either way, i’m not sure if i can change the behaviour, or even if i want to, honestly.

Here is the thing about why i do the thing:

I have other people who live inside my brain. There is constant, and i do mean CONSTANT, chatter going on in there. Sometimes just 1 of them talking to me, but more often, a number of them talking to me, or a number of them talking to each other. Sometimes, there are people talking to each other AND people talking to me. And sometimes, everyone (at least, everyone who does talk, because some do not, not at all) is talking to everyone.

So when i trail off and then suddenly start up again, it’s because someone in my head has made a comment of some kind, one that they either want me to add to what i’ve said, or one that i want to add. Or someone said something that caused me to think of something else that i want to say about what i’ve just said…

Yes. Yes it IS fucking complicated, thank you for noticing. It’s also exhausting. It’s taken me a long time to learn to manage it all, and i am still learning.
But there it is, there ya go.
I want you to know me, and want to help people know and understand the mentally ill better; to reduce fears and stigmas, to be a chatty bridge between those of you with less severe or no mental issues/struggles, to those of us with deep-seated, serious, clinical, and multiple diagnoses, who suffer life-altering, functionality-inhibiting mental illness.

Happy Thursday.
Hey, i think i just noticed that i write like that, too.
OMGLOL

Sighs and Fuuuus and Triggers, Oh My!

Likely to be somewhat histrionic, and meander-y as fuck.
Oh yeah, and profane.

I am gonna talk about my multiplicity.
It is not fun or cool or romantic or even interesting to me anymore. Mostly it just is what it is, but there are times -like the last 2 1/2mos- when it sucks the sewage out of your drinking water.

Integration was never an option for me. Hell, i can’t usually even remember the word. It’s anathema to me and it’s death to them.
I’m not having any trouble remembering it lately, though. No fucking trouble at all.

Around 4yrs or so ago, my husband had had enough. It had been years of chaos, and in and out of The Bin and regular interaction with the police. Disappearing for hours and even days at a time, with neither of us having much if any idea at all as to what i’d been up to. He was the breadwinner and the only decent parent. And then he had more children than just our sons, to boot.

What happened is private, but when it happened i just knew he was done. He absolutely couldn’t take any more, and neither could our marriage. I was both scared and sorry to see him at the end of his patience, but in a way grateful, as it was the impetus i needed to begin the process of taking control of my brain and the way it works.

With the help of my counsellor, i’d been able to set up safe spaces where my people could hide/live/sleep/whatever. I now have a castle on a large property with some cabins and Hobbity-type dwellings for those who don’t mix well with others. In the castle is a great room with a massive, round table, and that is where we began negotiations.
There were alliances struck and allies made and factions with whom we reached at least, a detente.
Who wants to talk?
Who hates talking but still wants to be heard? Do you want to write, or would you prefer someone here to speak for you?
Who absolutely requires face time, and who wants to never be in the face again if they can at all avoid it?

It took a good, solid year of summiting to come up with a manifesto and a peace treaty that we’d all willingly sign up with and follow. The hardest part was for them to allow me time and space to prove i could be trusted and relied upon to be the head of this family: to provide, to guide, to protect, to serve, and also to punish or otherwise mete out consequences.
We revisited when required, and my position has not been questioned as my record is fucking exemplary.
But there is a thing going on in my life that has taken a great deal out of me. I’ve referenced it before, but it’s still personal and i’ll not share any details. Let it be sufficient to know that it has grown heavier and more burdensome over the years, and as i became healthier and more functional, it became less tolerable.

Enter my Bits N’ Pieces.

They’re just trying to help, of course. That’s all they’ve ever done. But as i grow and mature, their ways become less acceptable. I’m more capable and so the way they cope sometimes is not merely not okay – it’s causing damage. Not to anyone else yet, but it is hurtful to me. I’m stressed out, i’m dealing with feelings of failure, and fear of falling back into the kind of chaos that ruled most of my last 10+yrs.

I will not go back there. I refuse to live like that again.
I sat there at that round table. The head of it and yet not. THE face amongst a sea of many. Giving everyone a voice, a say, a place, because that is, unquestionably, the right thing to do.
Yet i find myself in a position of leadership over people that are not quite people. Most are not fully formed; some are only an emotion or a particular point in time or event, but every single one worthy of whatever they define as existence/life. However, i’m beginning to see stitches loosening and boundaries softening and this cannot happen. I need to be parent/boss/sovereign. Whatever.

Perhaps a bit histrionic, yes, but it’s only because you don’t live in my brain. You probably don’t share thought-space with other people who saved your life since before you could speak. People who constantly fill your brain with their conversation, whether talking to you, or to themselves, or to each other. Who make your life incredibly difficult but they made your life POSSIBLE. Over and over and so many times over. So many times that i feel like the shittiest person ever to be saying to them now, “You’ve gotta stop the shenanigans, or i’m gonna have to talk to her about my options as far as integration.”

The word that i can now remember because it’s become an option.
This is a shit of a day and i fucking hate me right now.
Some of them do, too.
Blah. Blargh. Pfft. Fuuuuuuuu,

~H~

Tubthumping

Youda thunk ida gone done and learned by now.
And yet… NOPE.
I’m a big Nopey McNoperson in this regard, every. single. year.
I get blindsided by Easter/Birthday season.
I forget how hard it is for me. I forget how the way my brain works is going to kick into high gear and my Bits N’ Pieces are gonna need a lot of care and attention.

Birthdays are much less a big deal now that i’ve hit 50. It’s been that way since i hit 40, really. I’ve never much cared about the number insofar as how OLD i am or how old i look, or how much time i have left. None of that. As i stated in my blog entry right before this one, it’s the lack of accomplishment and the low level of functionality that trips me up. However, that’s only been since i’ve been functional enough to critically assess my levels of anything. Heh.

Birthdays, however, have always been an issue.
We were so poor at times, that there was no money to celebrate.
My mother was often incredibly stressed out on any holiday or for any celebrations, the brunt of which i often bore.
More than once i was sick on my birthday. I was mostly left to fend for myself whenever i was ill. To be fair, if she didn’t work we didn’t eat, and her parenting “style” left me incredibly independent anyway. At 4yrs old, for instance, she would often leave me on weekends. I’d wake on Saturday morning and she wouldn’t be home, so i’d watch cartoons until noon or so, longer if there was a Stooges or Abbott and Costello movie after, and then i’d go outside to play for a couple of hours, making sure to come back inside in time to put the roast in the oven and peel the potatoes for supper, as per the instructions she’d left on a note for me. Yes, FOUR.
So if i was sick, i’d just watch telly and occasionally vomit in a bowl. Or if Mom was watching telly i’d be in my room reading, and occasionally vomit in a bowl.

More than a couple of times i would be sick on my birthday. Stress made me vulnerable i think. There were some family members who could swoop in and make birthdays wonderful, but that wasn’t every time. One year, 2 Auntie type women that i adored were coming to celebrate. I think it was my 6th, and i got the Mumps. Not only was i severely sick and feverish, i endured my mother’s fury because the party had to be cancelled. She beat me more than once before i recovered.
Then there were the birthdays where i was put in my best dress and she’d do my hair like for a picture. A man i didn’t know or already knew i didn’t like would be invited… And that is all i’ll say about that.

I won’t say much about the Easter season things, either. Just that there was conflicting indoctrination going on. During that time i was under constant stress to act one way at Mommy’s church, and another way at Daddy’s. I was almost constantly switching from one part of me to another, depending on what was being required. Everyone had one face at one church and a completely different one at another. Everyone close to me was volatile and mercurial. The rituals, the purported inescapable supernaturalism, the drama, the surrealism, the abuse, both subtle and overt, the sick and hungry practitioners, the fakery, the fucking circus… It twisted my brain into so many knots so tight they frayed, and some split entirely, requiring new knots to keep them together.
Do you see?

Every year since i began seriously dealing with my past and trying my hardestfreakingbest to manage the way my brain works and enjoy a better quality of life i have been 2X4’d in the head by this bloody season. (There was no punctuation in that sentence because i said it all in one breath.)
So yeah, i got coldcocked – again.

This is the part where i do what i have been practising to do when i get into a mental jam like i am. Where i assess the damage, look for the positives, and make any changes or alterations necessary to handling it better next time.
I’m happy to tell you it hasn’t been that bad.
The voices in my head rose from their characteristic background mumble to a constant, reverberating rumble – but there was no roar.
I lost the face more than a few times, and i even found myself walking on the road a couple of times – but none of my people did anything damaging or even particularly inappropriate, and i didn’t hitchhike into the city and lose myself for hours or days to high-risk behaviours.
I drank a bit too much – but not enough to make myself shake, puke, or wish i was dead. And it wasn’t every day, all day.
I’ve been wicked-depressed – but not suicidal. No ideations, no plans.
I haven’t picked any fights with my husband and there has been no drama of any kind with any other person.

I guess i kinda knew it was coming. Not consciously enough to avoid gettin’ bonked on the head, but once i got back on my feet, i wasn’t utterly gobsmacked that it had happened. I’ve been able to look around and get my bearings and say, Yeah, it makes sense for me to be here.
I’ve been able to communicate to my Peanut Gallery that it’s okay, but some things were less okay than others and let’s work on those things… I’ve been able to negotiate some internal deals that i think will really pay off in the future.

There was no drama.
There is no debt.
No rides in police cars and no trips to the hospital.
No crushing booze/drug hangovers.
Communication amongst me and my people has actually improved.
My husband and son are impressed and proud of me.

I didn’t even turn to food.
Yesterday i tried on the jeans i use to track my weight loss progress.
They fit fine and i wore them out to supper.

Don’t get me wrong, this has not been an easy couple of weeks. The way my brain works has been incredibly difficult to manage lately, but this is my life, and this may always be my life to some extent or another. I have found a way that works for me – a way to manifest long-term changes that have lasting positive effects, and contribute to a happier and more functional life.

Tubthumping is defined as expressing opinions in a loud or dramatic way:
I will not stop, no matter what.
Every time i fall and get back up, that statement becomes more true.I get knocked down, but I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down
~Tubthumping, Chumbawumba

Have a happy day if you’re able. If not, try again tomorrow and know that i’m cheering for you and i want that for you.

Love and Peace to All,
~H~

Bother

Woke up the same damn way as i have for over 2 weeks now. Once the hubs and our Kiddo were gone, i was sorely tempted to go back to bed, so tempted in fact, that i brought out my body pillow to cuddle with on the couch, by way of compromise.

If we don’t go back to bed, i’ll let you cuddle with the big pillow, okay?

I’m always “we”, but i only use the pronoun when other parts of me are directly involved in what’s happening, which they were this morning. Some were active in my dreams last night, and sometimes that will result in some more conscious interaction continuing on once i’ve woken up.

Dreams are a very potent aspect of how my brain works, and always have been.
My dreams have been an outlet and a safe place and an alarm bell and a movie based on real life events, and even my very own episodes of This Is Your Life, masquerading as dreams. So, while i remember my dreams with varying levels of recall, from vividly to barely, if i wake to someone close-talking* me, there’s a fairly good chance that i’ve been dreaming rather intensely.

So i wake up and someone is close-talking me, and their commentary is negative and constant. Luckily nobody talks much around here in the mornings, so i don’t have to filter them out in order to hear anyone else. I let her drone on because she’ll fade soon enough if i do, but by the time my guys have gone to work and school for the day, i’m already running low on energy and feeling heavy with depression. I sit in my recliner, put the body pillow on the arm, place my wee fluffbutt on the pillow so he’s giving me intravenous puppy shnuggles, place my laptop in position and begin to write.

My dreams are incredibly thematic and rich with meaning, and have been since i can remember. My earliest were of being chased through a neighbourhood that looked very like the epitome of middle class suburban life in the 70s – by a nameless, faceless terror that was always right behind me. I’d run into a house that looked like my grandparents’ looking for help, but no one was ever there. No matter how hard i tried to stop myself from going down into the basement i’d inevitably end up there, facing away from the stairs, on my knees, and i’d place my face in my hands  in submission to the thing that was about to touch me from behind.

In my early 20s i began to dream about being in a group of popular young people, and we’d hang around town and go shopping and eat out, but i would always get separated from them somehow, and spend the rest of the dream trying to find them – feeling so alone and hopeless. In my late 20s it morphed a bit into me winning my place in the group by impressing them with either my singing, or my secret superhero powers, but i still managed to lose them along the way, and even mutant abilities couldn’t find them again. I would be left with this same feeling that i’ll invariably end up alone, with nothing and no one. The young girl inside me that feels that way all the time is the one that was talking to me when i woke up this morning.
She’s all Eeyore, all the time.
I cannot muster up Tigger for her today. I don’t feel up to Christopher Robin, either.
I try to Pooh for her. Heh.

I almost went back to bed. I thought of lying about it, too.
I thought about it. And then i thought about how it would make it easier to lie again.
Of course i can’t do that. Not to myself, and not to anyone who reads this.
So i’m sitting here and tapping away on this blasted keyboard, not about anything in particular, and not with any other purpose in mind save not going back to bed. It’s funny, i don’t do that often anymore, but once i’d made the commitment not to do it for a month, i supermega want to. Like, a LOT. Fortunately, i know myself well enough at this point in my life that i knew it was a distinct possibility, if not practically a sure thing.

Dear Eeyore-Girl,

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
You dreamed your dream, now go to sleep. We’ll still be together when you wake up.
I promise.

Love,
~Pooh-ish~

*Have you seen the Seinfeld episode about the close-talker? Well, my bits n’ pieces can do that, too. It’s when they aren’t fully in the face**, but i can hear and feel them one or more of them as if they’re standing directly behind me.

**In the face means that i’m either not there at all and someone else is working the crowd***, or i am there, but i’m the close-talker.

***Whoever the world outside is currently interacting with, is “working the crowd”.

Tuesday’s Tidbit

I’ve been struggling with mood.
It’s crap. It may not seem like it, but i feel like crap and the world seems crappy.

I want to dive into a bottle or a tub of ice cream.
I want to hide in bed but i can’t – i’m dreaming all night long. It’s a sign that my Peanut Gallery is agitated.
I know it. I know why, too. The why doesn’t fix things, though. The only fix there is, is to keep moving.
Not frenetic. Not a beautiful interpretive dance. Not drill or a colour guard. No knee-scraping mortifications necessary.

Just one foot in front of the other, no cadence, no pacing, no ETA.
I’m not looking up right now. Honestly, i don’t care to see the scenery. I’m in a mood where everything seems overcast and everyone’s tainted.
I know what this is about and it’s not helping. There’s no less of a burden, no light seepage, no magic.
Just the fucking work.

If you have been reading you know i’m doing quite well, very likely better than i have ever done. More clearheaded, functional, and emotionally level than i’ve ever been before.
But i have this personal issue. It’s there all the time. And some days it weighs heavier than others.
I have set my feet upon a path and i know that not everyone will be coming along.
I have choices to make, decisions that won’t wait much longer.

My problems have been so big. They have eaten up the time and the energy of everyone i love who has also loved me. There is no fucking parade. No kudos and congratulations here. Just the catching of breath and the settling of dust.

My problems have been so big and i had to stop pretending they weren’t. I let it all hang out and gave the world a double bird flip. It’s what i had to do to get right, but there is a price to pay that i’m only now beginning to count. My problems have dwarfed those of anyone around me. It’s easy to be Jesus when you’re standing next to Legion. I see now that it may always be that way.

I’ve put one foot in front of the other and been grateful that i’m dogged and tenacious and one stubborn motherfucker. Because it hasn’t helped. I don’t feel better. I don’t feel very que sera, sera.
I know my brain is restless. I itch to wrest control away from anyone that may have it besides me. I ache to stir up some temporary drama to distract me from this feeling. This feeling that i can only do what i can do – and baby, that ain’t much.

I eat properly. I look after my hygiene. I do housework. I continue setting my house to rights. I take care of my dogs. I exercise. I touch base with people who care about me.

I write.

Sometimes, actually a lot of the damn time, all there is is this.
Plodding along. Time ticking interminably by. No fanfare. No epiphany.
No moment.
Just the investment, the commitment, the work.

A Monday Minute

The tone of this piece is very light but slightly dark

Let me explain:
I’m going to be poking fun at myself; cracking jokes at my own expense. This is not self-flagellation. This is who i am, this is one of the major reasons i survived this long. I laugh. I laugh a lot. I laugh every. single. day. I can laugh at anything. Some people find that abhorrent, but for me, it is life affirming and sustaining. If you do not love or understand dark humour, you may want to skip this one.

Being Dissociative Means

-talking about myself in the third person isn’t necessarily pretentious;
-properly introducing myself takes more time than either of us have;
-your secrets are safe with me because i keep them in an impenetrable vault (really);
-if you were choosing whether to work for the Secret Service or be my friend, choose the former, their vetting process is easier all-around;
-i can multitask like Hydra on cocaine (unless i’m currently manic or actually on cocaine, heh);
-sometimes my body takes up a lot more space than i think it does, and it’s a little like an episode of Laverne&Shirley in one body;
-just because you saw me do it doesn’t mean i did it;
-i am the coolest person in a crisis, seriously, you want me there;
-if you don’t like me the first time we meet, give it a couple more tries, ’cause you might yet;
-the reverse also applies;
-no, that’s not bad acting, that’s just my crazy* showing;
-the one thing i never am is boring;
-my husband is a polygamist;
-i’m heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual;
-sometimes my makeup looks like a 5yr old applied it – well, kinda…
-you never want to see my rage mode;
-i’m a natural at cold reading, my teachers once shut my fortune telling booth down at the Penny Arcade because i freaked them all out;
-talking to myself is some next level shit;
-i am the queen of compartmentalisation;
-i’m not a snob, i’ve honestly never met you before;
-i’m not high or drunk, that’s my personality, man…

*Yes, i call myself crazy. I’m careful using that word around others, but i am not only fine with the word being applied to me, i kinda like it. I’m more than happy to refer to you however you’d like me to. As for me, i don’t much care about labels, but i understand that some people do.