Naked Brain Bits

Yesterday was a bit of a downer, huh? I’m sorry about that, but i think, at least for now, it’s important to put up some of the pieces that come from other parts of my system.

Ugh, i hate how that looks on the screen, but there it is. To refer to them in a more specific way than to say i’m a multiple, exposes me and leaves me vulnerable to attack. Up until a couple of years ago, i kept my diagnosis to myself. Everyone knew i’m bipolar, and that felt like enough. It gave people a reason that i act the way i do, but it spared me the sideshow freaky part, and the potential for disbelief. It’s a controversial diagnosis out there in the real world, and it was hard enough for me to accept it, so while i don’t blame folks for having their “Really, Sybill?” moments, i can ill afford the emotional cost to help anyone else get there.

This is where the portrayal of multiples has done so much damage.
Also, Fuck you, Shyamalan. And a hearty Fuck you to Criminal Minds and aaaall the Law&Orders. Fuck you very much.

A quick aside here though: I think it’s worth it to point out that my diagnosis has been received much more easily by your average non-professional than by those working in the vast and boggy field of mental health care. My GP is the greatest doctor that ever GP’ed, i’d not trade her for a bucket of gold. Seriously. But i learned after the second or third time i brought it up, not to talk to her about it. She looked like she’d rather mop a slaughterhouse floor. Hell, her face looked like she WAS mopping one. And my psychiatrist who handled my Bipolar Disorder interrupted me to say, not a bit brusquely, that he didn’t know a thing about that, and had no intention or desire to educate himself in that area. My therapist who treats me has encountered that attitude with many psychologists and psychiatrists.
Real doctors don’t read that chapter of the DSM-V.

For regular folks it’s mostly been a mixture of “Okay, if you say so,” with a shrug, to, “Wow, really? That’s weird and kinda cool.”* Those ones usually come back later with questions, which is always fine with me. I may choose not to answer, and i definitely don’t perform, but i welcome questions.
I am very okay with anyone giving a shit.

Not so quick an aside, i guess. Heh.

Back to being naked. The figurative kind.
You don’t need to know this, but i’m telling you anyway: I’m always clothed, unless i’m showering or sexing. The simple and pure joy of nudity is another thing that sexual abuse stole from me, and it’s one of the things i’d like to take back.

This kind of vulnerability, this level of exposure, is scary for me. I’ve set the stage for it, by sharing all the things that i have already, and i fully consent, and i’m cleverly using soft candlelight, but i’m still baring some bits that i usually keep to myself. There are very few people that i discuss being multiple with in real life. My husband and my children. 2 lovely girlfriends in the town where i live. The interwebs are a bit different. Obviously, i have my blog here, and i share that, and i have a very dear group of friends that i met on a fan site over 15yrs ago, with whom i’m much more forthcoming about being multiple, but that’s been it. And i don’t go back and make an announcement that i was switched when i wrote that or someone else did that thing there. I’ll say, I’ve been in a mood today, or hint at it and say, I’m not quite myself today, or if it’s getting out of hand, i’ll just state that i’m taking a break from social media, ttyl.

This is a whole. nutha. level.
I’m saying that someone in my system bashed that out on my phone in the van yesterday. In my husband’s work van while he was in someone’s house, cleaning up from a renovation that his company did. He’d picked me up somewhere in the city because i’d switched and gotten lost, or gotten lost and switched (i’m not clear on that yet, and may never be).
Therapy is getting more difficult every time i go. My husband drops me off and quite often i have a friend that picks me up and takes me home. She’s wonderful, and i’m super-fortunate to have her in my life. Yesterday though, she had an appointment, so i’d planned to bus it to where she was at. It’s no small point of pride for me that I’ve become rather adept at using public transit. Getting lost has always been a huuuuge trigger, and for years i couldn’t handle the stress of buses or trains on my own. I’d immediately get all floaty in my brain, which is a sign that i’m sliding and i’m ripe for a switch. It’s like an aura before a migraine. I worked to conquer that trigger last year, and i’d been traipsing around the city with no problems for months, so it didn’t even occur to me that it might be a problem for me now.
Lemme tell ya, it was a bloody problem.
(I’m going to move on now, but as i’m proofreading and editing I can see that this reads unfinished. This is all i have, though. Therapy was hard, i left the office, and suddenly i’m in the van with my husband. We’re parked on our little country road, and i’m drinking an alcoholic beverage and crying. Sometimes, i’ll get a bit more information about the blank space as time passes, but i often won’t.)

I’m all in my feelings these days, and not always great at handling them. Cue my precious Bits N’ Pieces, with varying levels of happy-to-help! one level being not happy at all. I should have seen it coming with the trouble i was having using the transit app to plan my trip. It wasn’t going smoothly, and i was getting frustrated and foggy-brained even before my appointment. I’ll try not to make that mistake again. It was all there, down to the concerned look on my husband’s face as he dropped me off. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d seen trouble on the horizon.

Wow. I’m flitting about from flower to flower in this piece, eh? I think people with ADHD might relate to this part of how my brain works. When my system gets riled up there’s more and louder conversations going on, and my attention is pulled to THIS ONE! that used a trigger word, and THAT ONE! that’s yelling, and OH! someone’s crying…

So. That thing from yesterday that wasn’t poetry, but sure as hell wasn’t prose. I didn’t write that. I have no memory of it, although i am the one who put it up on my blog. Because she had something to say and she deserves to be heard.
Naked brain bits.
I haz them.

* People don’t actually say those things. I’m putting words to their expressions for illustrative purposes.

IMAGE: The Brain, by Naked Human Bodies

Tears In Rain

Painful to live in fear, isn’t it?
~ Leon Kowalski, Blade Runner

I must write about today, and i’ll try not to take days to get it up. My concern is that there is so much i want to say about it, that i’ll lose some important parts because i’m a shit typer on a crap keyboard and i’ll never be able to bash it out fast enough.

I saw my therapist today and it was an hour i hope i never forget. It may be one of the most impactful hours i’ve ever spent with her. When we sat down she immediately told me that she was weepy and sleepy, but she was fully capable of being present in our session. She’s done this before when she had personal issues, and i appreciate it. If i could already tell that something’s not quite right with her, the acknowledgement builds trust and esteem (in me, for both myself and her). It also gives me a heads up if i’m too fucked up at that moment to notice.

A client of hers died. They were a multiple, like me. She was telling me how good a person they were, and how well they’d been doing recently, and then her face crumpled and she was wet-eyed and finding it hard to speak. She was upset at how difficult it is for multiples to get proper treatment, how we’re the redheaded stepchildren (my words) of the DSM-V. How we’re often blacksheeped and scapegoated by our families, and mercilessly troped in art and media. DID can be devastating and debilitating, and she knows. She’s seen how we struggle to find help, to understand and to be understood, to find acceptance, to be extended grace and mercy.

She was moved to tears. For multiples. For me.
She was angry over the unwillingness of those in the psychological and medical profession to acknowledge us. She was angry at the doctor who bluntly told her, “we don’t read that chapter”. She spat out how, up until recently, multiples were forced to switch in front of a board in order to receive income support while they sought treatment. I knew that already, knowing a woman who’d had to perform her trauma in front of a bunch of strangers years ago. (When she came back to the face* she was under a table, shuddering and sobbing.) The fact that there’s no standard of education/training in how to deal with multiples, save from those who’ve made a point of trying to help/treat us.

She was pissed about it. She had angry tears.
She was hurting for us.
Someone was hurting for me.

It’s been hours since it happened, hours since i’ve been home, and hours since i started writing this. I’m sorry, but i’m not going to get this up today. I hope tomorrow, but i don’t know. This has hit me on such a deep level i’m having trouble accessing it. There are a lifetime’s worth of protections inside me, all designed to keep this intensity of emotion away from me. And i reflexively dissociate from feelings like this – i numb out. I float.

I don’t know how to feel or process her experiencing sadness and anger for me. That she mourns.
I’m not worth anyone’s time or attention, because i brought all my troubles on myself.
Because i’m a drama queen.
I’m a compulsive liar.
I’m a chaos addict.
I’m an attention hog.
I’m borderline, a narcissist, a psychopath, schizophrenic, schizo-affective.
It’s just bipolar. It’s just PTSD. (Yes, the word “just” has been used – to my face.)

The years of my adulthood spent knowing something was wrong with me and seeking help, but never getting enough. Never having that click of knowingness, that inner a-HA! It’s like putting together a puzzle without the box it came in. You’re not sure what you’re creating, but you’re determined and things are taking shape… And then you find that one puzzle piece that is close to the centre and joins that ring of wtf-is-this? pieces together and holy crap! it’s your face.
The early years of knowing i had a lot going for me if i could just get some help, some clarity, some tools, so i could get my feet underneath me and set to walking in some direction with some kind of intent. And then getting some of those things, but not being able to turn it into any lasting change of mindset, or molding of attitude, or definition of purpose. And the judgment and condemnation of self that always followed, beating me down, wearing me away; the slow erosion of aspirations and the wasting of ambition.

Perhaps the worst bit was running from the diagnosis. I was taught by my mother to bury and dismiss any obvious characteristics of being multiple. I learned from society’s awful tropes that multiplicity was dangerous, if not outright ridiculous. Then there was the mental health profession’s ham-handed bungling of treatment, or their opportunistic feeding upon us for notoriety and financial gain, or their cold (and, it seems to me, strangely angry) refutation of multiplicity, that set the capstone atop my own personal wall of denialism.

I sat there in her office and looked at her with her blotchy, squinchy face, dabbing at her eyes and blowing her nose, and i could see that she SEES the terrifying otherness that i’ve faced my whole life. She SEES the pain, the fear, the constant struggle, of trying to find help and acknowledgment from someone who should be able to help me, and getting nothing, or the wrong thing, or not nearly fucking enough.
She’s angry for me, and she hurts for me, and she mourns all my little deaths.

I DON’T FUCKING KNOW HOW TO PROCESS THIS.

I’m entering into the part of therapy that i thought would never be part of therapy with her.
Disclosing my story.
Sharing my parts.
I must take what was scattered and gather it to me. Connect the things that have been disconnected since i was a baby. And i know what i must do to be a new level of functional. I know what needs to happen to get closer to a real live Homo sapiens sapiens. I must feel the feelings while knowing what I know.
Once i understood from her that it was the necessary next step on my journey towards healing, health, and functionality, i hellahellahella didn’t want to, but i knew that i would. I also know that i will get through it and be better, not all better, but much. I know that i’ll be closer to all the things i seek, that some of those goals i had in my youth might yet be mine, and more easily too, having slogged my way through this boggy bit of the path that’s before me. Yes, i had no illusions and i knew i was gonna git ‘er done anyway.

But i now have something i never thought i could, something i’d forgotten i’d even wanted at one time.
To be seen in this way, to have my specific and personal struggle seen and acknowledged, and to see someone have the appropriate emotional response to it.

Righteous indignation.
She had it for that client, tragically lost, and she has it, FOR ME.
A part of me that has always been alone and stopped considering it would be otherwise a long time ago – suddenly is not. And doing this, this part that i’ve been dreading so hard that i can’t barely sleep/think/function, this part that has me so stressed i’m a switchy/slidey parade, a Bits N’ Pieces Sideshow (a Histrionica Production), well…

I actually believe i won’t be doing it alone. She will be with me. And i think that i think that she won’t ever hurt me. I mean, she’s told me and all of me that she won’t ever purposely hurt me, and if she ever did, it would be accidental and she would be sorry and do everything she could to make it right, but everyone hurts us and we expect it because why wouldn’t we because everyoneveryone does, but she hasn’t,
and we’re starting to maybe believe that maybe she won’t. She hasn’t so far, and no one has known us so long and not.

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?
~ Roy Batty, Blade Runner

This is all i can do, for now. I hope it made some sense. I may add to this, but i’m floating away a bit, so we’re stuck with this today. 2 days later, heh. It could have been longer or not at all, i suppose. Not bad.

* In my own personal multiple slang, being in the face means currently in control of the system. The person/part that the rest of the world is dealing with in that moment.

Image: … Like Tears In Rain, Vladimir Eisinhorn