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

Laying Down My Gavel

I’d like to think i’m a slightly optimistic realist. These days i’ve felt my optimism slipping. I don’t want to become bitter or jaded or misanthropic, although i do slip into that character now and again. I often find solace in dark humour, sometimes even a renewal of my brighter side. I’m not sure exactly how it works, i just know that it does. However, i’m working on being more mindful and present in my day-to-day moments. I’m learning to stick around and pay attention to what i’m thinking, experience my emotions, and feel my physical sensations, all at the same time, in real time. No fleeing, no freezing, no fighting.
So i’m trying to sit with my increasing disappointment with current human behaviour.
It’s not easy, and not fun.

What i’ve been attempting to do is view the goings on around me through love goggles – like it was someone i love behaving that way. It instantaneously made it less hard, that’s for sure. There are people i love who steadfastly hang onto beliefs that are provably untrue. There are people i love who hold philosophical viewpoints far from my own. And there are people i love that are, honestly, kinda shitty people. There’s not much i see out there, that someone i know and care about isn’t at least capable of. Maybe that means my taste in friends sucks. Perhaps, but love is love, man. Some people in my life i just love, like my kids. For me it was instantaneous; as soon as i held them in my arms i loved them utterly, and regardless of who they are or what they do, that will never change. Some i grow to love, like my husband. We were friends first, which built slowly until one day –BAM– lust hit me like a freight train. And then as best friends who were having sex, i came to the realisation that i loved him, more deeply, more intimately than anyone, in a way that i’d never loved anyone before.

And then there are those that i choose to love. These are ones who seem to me to clearly need someone to love them, and if i want to, and feel like i can, i do. This kind of love is more of a verb than the others, which sort of just ARE. That might sound odd or arrogant, but let me explain myself a little. I also choose to love humanity. That might come naturally to some, but not me. If i hadn’t been raised the way i was, and hurt the way i was, it may have been different. But i was taught that we (my mother, stepfather, sibs, “Daddy”) were smarter and better than everyone around us. It was part of my indoctrination/brainwashing, to help hide the abuse i think, but like all of her other methods, it worked. I thought people were just dumb if we didn’t agree on something. My religion taught me the same thing, except not that they were dumb, that they were wretched and in need of saving. So going on behind my complicated and intricate facade, was this superior sort of pity going on.
Not very attractive, but i lacked the self-awareness to see it.
Now that i do my world view has changed, and my treatment of others.

Recently, the stress in my life has caused some backsliding. I find our society today over-politicised and dangerously polarising. I’ve been getting sucked into it, and it seems to have triggered a return of some of those old behaviours. Even if a person’s belief is provably wrong, i haven’t yet seen how it helps to treat those people like they’re stupid or bad. I get frustrated, and can get sarcastic and snarky at times, but there’s a time and a place for that, in my opinion, e.g. with my husband. If i don’t vent, i’ll explode, and sometimes i need a safe place to bleed off the unkind thoughts. I know there are people who don’t need to rant and say stuff like, That’s so dumb/selfish/mean, etc., but i’m not that person. Maybe some day i will be, but not today. Today what i can manage is to keep my shitty commentary to 1 or 2 safe people that it won’t hurt, who know me and know my heart. People who know that part of managing the way my brain works, involves expressing most of what i’m thinking – either by writing, talking, or both.

I was using social media to write some of it; meme-ing and snarking my way around. It took a few weeks, but i’ve realised i’m contributing to the fear and fury that has a stranglehold on so many of us in our current situation. I thought it was okay because i thought i was justified. But even if i am right about some things, it doesn’t feel good inside to be a jerk about it to others. I mean, the initial release of pent-up emotions gives me some relief, but i can’t purge it all because some of these things that are upsetting me are ongoing. My anger and fear and sadness about some issues is festering, becoming poisonous. I’m seeing things in terms of us and them, and sometimes worse, us vs them, and that’s not who i want to be. I’m actively trying to be the opposite of that. I want to be a helper, a healer, a bridge-builder. I want to listen and try to understand.
Sniping at others isn’t helping our current climate.
Taking a look around and seeing that many, if not most of us are varying levels of scared and pissed off and mourning various losses, does help, i think. I hope.

As with any of my blog posts, this isn’t to tell anyone else how they should or shouldn’t think or be. These are my thoughts about who i am and want to become. I want to offer hope that you can figure out who you are, and foster the stuff you want, and change the stuff you don’t. Sometimes it’s been particularly hard due to the way i was raised and the way my brain works because of what happened to me growing up. And there have been times, like the past couple of days, where i’ve seen i was behaving poorly. I’m humbled, but not humiliated. I’m a work in progress, and this was only a small course correction. I feel back on track. I don’t feel so out-of-step with the rest of the world, now. I’m not looking at others with dagger eyes and acid in my guts.
This is better, i think.
For me and everyone around me.
It’s easier for me to be a better human when i like myself more, and i wasn’t liking myself as much when i was acting all cranky and judge-y.
I’m love-goggling again, and i like myself much better this way.

May Love and Peace Be Yours Today, in Whatever Measure Possible,
~H~

Stop

I don’t care if you label me, judge me and stare at me
Well, really i do but i’m working on that

I have men that enable me, gird me, encircle me
Hands under my arms so your whispers fall flat

I have women who speak to me words of encouragement
Their voice draws me to them away from the sirens

The girls in my life they look up at me, woman-sent
My beautiful daughter who heals my environs

I look at them all and i know that i’m okay
So your vicious slander doesn’t actually matter

My armour is simply i’m never alone

But what of the friendless that live all around you
That suffer in silence and never speak out

The hot acid sewage you carelessly spew
Seeps into their pores and it causes them doubt

They can’t hear a thing but your words of dismissal
Or look at the sun and be warmed by its rays

For you’ve built around them a wall of denial
That no one could love them for all of their days

Their invisibility angers and frightens me
Makes me want to shake you until the world breaks

No person should ever be left all alone