Tag Archives: trauma

Updates

As some of you know, yesterday was an extremely hard day for me. What probably most of you don’t know is that I was having the strongest suicidal thoughts that I’ve had in years. So that scared me a bit. I’m glad to be out of that storm. There are also other personal issues that have arisen that have caused me grief, but sometimes you just have to know when to let go of something and not let it bring you down. So that’s what I’m choosing to do.

I’m feeling in a bit of a vulnerable place, and I’m not exactly sure why that is. I feel like my “outer shell” if you will is quite thin, so that if someone really wanted to hurt me right now, they could. I suppose I just need to be gentle with myself and ask others around me that they be gentle with me as well…

 

Travel

I will be traveling for almost an entire month with the family I work for, starting on Oct 1. When I say traveling, I mean we will be staying in one place, but that place is very far from home. A six hour plane ride to be exact. And it’s in a very remote place that is quite expensive to fly into, otherwise my partner would consider flying out to visit. This will be the longest I will be without my dear partner since we met. It also means that I will be going several weeks without seeing my therapist. Also, because my hours are completely unknown at this moment – I’m going to be working very long hours most likely – it’s not possible to schedule phone sessions while I’m away. I’m sure I will have time to blog though – especially when Little Guy is sleeping. I will probably have nothing else to do to keep me occupied!

 

Therapy

Therapy is going well. When I say well, I mean excruciatingly painful, but I feel like we are finally starting to get somewhere. I know I haven’t been writing about my therapy much lately. I suppose it’s because it’s been so intense that I just needed to set it aside and focus my mind on other things so as not to overwhelm myself.

I don’t remember much of my last therapy session, except that I revealed something that I had done that I felt extremely guilty about and told her that I deserved to die. I had been triggered earlier that day by an event that I was angry at myself for and felt bad about. This event led to feelings of extreme self loathing and self hatred. At some point, I switched, and a very angry part took over. I assumed that it was R, but when my therapist asked if they were R, they didn’t answer back. So perhaps it was and perhaps it wasn’t. And perhaps if it wasn’t, then I’ve been thinking that this angry part who spouts off about hating the world and everyone and everything has been R when it really hasn’t. DID is so confusing sometimes…

 

Thoughts about my DID

I’ve also had some revelations about myself, my dissociation, and my DID lately that I’ve been wanting to share on here, but haven’t seemed to have the chance – I am a bit distractable aren’t I! (Is that a word? It seems like it should be…)

I’ve realized that my DID is different than many others with DID in the sense that my parts aren’t that separate from myself (they don’t have their own names, physical traits, etc) and yet they are separate enough so that I am still considered to be DID. Does that make any sense? R has the name R, simply because I forced her to pick a name (other than “my” name), and the name stuck. Same with Coraline, although I don’t call her by that name anymore. She is just “the difficult younger part” or something to that effect. But for the most part, these different parts of me don’t have that strongly developed senses of self. Most of them know that they are not me (and get quite upset when our therapist calls them “brandic”), but they also don’t know who they are.

 

My therapist is under the impression that the trauma is wanting to reveal itself. That that is the reason behind all the unexplained uncomfortable body sensation, the panic, the anger pushing up, etc that I’ve been experiencing very strongly in the last month or so. I don’t know what I think about this, other than that I hope she is right. I want to know what was so awful that caused me to have such severe PTSD and dissociation. Because truly, besides some emotional difficulties with my FOO, and a few uncomfortable sexual experiences, I can’t quite think of anything that would be traumatic enough to cause me to have the severe symptoms that I have. But most especially the PTSD. Because I can deny the DID at times, but I can’t deny that the PTSD is there. And for there to be PTSD, there needs to be trauma. So… what is the trauma*?

Hope all of you are well. I extend warm thoughts to all those out there reading, near and far. I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Next up: My next Truth from 30 Days of Truth!

 

* That’s the million dollar question

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30 days of truth – day 01 – something I hate about myself

Days of truth, here we go.

I’ve really been struggling the last few days (or last few weeks when I really think about it), so I figured I’d do this as something to focus my mind on so that it isn’t consumed by all the turmoil going on inside. If you are unfamiliar with what 30 Days of Truth is, my dear friend WeeGee has written about it. I recommend you popping over there to learn more.

***

Something you hate about yourself: my dissociation*

Probably one of the things I hate most about myself is my dissociation. I know that it is a coping technique – one that probably saved my life- I know that it got me through the worst periods and events of my life, I know it’s the reason I’m able to function now… Regardless, I hate it.

I hate it because I cannot remember most of my life, only bits and pieces. I hate it because I cannot consistently feel connected to people, places, events, and things. I hate it because I feel mostly disconnected from myself. I hate it because I don’t know what I’m feeling most of the time, and when I do know what I’m feeling, I often don’t know why. I hate it because it makes me feel out of control. I hate it because it makes me feel so alone.

And probably the biggest reason I hate it is because the person who is “brandic” doesn’t feel like a whole, unified person, but rather a sum of disjointed, fragmented parts. I don’t even know who “I” am.

Like I said earlier, there is a reason for it, and it helped me get to where I am today. But I can still hate it, can’t I.

Sorry I don’t have anymore more in me at the moment. I apologize if this is a sub-par first 30 Days of Truth entry. Oh well, it is what it is.

* if you are unfamiliar with what dissociation is, I suggest checking out Wikipedia’s page on it

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Miss sickie and other updates

Hello everyone. I know I’ve been a bit out of it lately, with writing and sharing and all that. These past couple weeks have been hard to say the least, but I’m hanging in there.

I’m miss sickie at the moment. Sore throat… congestion… I think all the emotional upheaval has finally worn me down physically. I wish I could take time off work but I can’t. So fingers crossed that Little Guy doesn’t get it.

I have gone ten full days without smoking. Each and every day is so hard. But I’ve been doing it and I continue to keep doing it. I just truly can’t wait for the day where I don’t have overwhelming cravings for them.

I had my therapy appointment with Bean yesterday. All that I said about therapy being a waste of time and going nowhere and not helping? Yeah, I take that all back.

Yesterday we talked how “up” my defenses are. Especially when we get even the slightest bit close to talking about anything serious, trauma related, etc. That my system either shuts me down or brings forward another part to prevent “us” from having to face anything uncomfortable, whether they be feelings, memories, etc. It makes therapy hard to say the least.

One day at a time and one step at a time. I hope to get to the point where my defenses aren’t so high as we can actually start doing the “work” that is needed to heal. Bean tells me that I have lived in this torment for so long, that I deserve to be free from it. That I shouldn’t have to live in it any more.

My apologies for not reading/commenting on others blogs lately. I’ve just been feeling too overwhelmed to do much of anything.

I also have thoughts about my DID, my parts, and my dissociation that I want to share, but it will have to wait for another post. I’m already feeling exhausted just having written what I have. Miss sickie gets tired out easily!

Sending smiles and hugs to all of out there in cyberland. xx

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A fall-apart night

Yesterday was, what should I say… intense? I was tired, I was moody, the heat wasn’t helping. Also what didn’t help was going clothes shopping. Some people might enjoy clothes shopping. I enjoy the end result, but the whole process to me is just awful. Having to browse through the racks, all the people also browsing through the racks, trying to avoid eye contact, waiting for the dressing room, the dressing room itself, having to assess whether an item of clothing looks good on oneself… I was already in a triggered state when we left to go shopping, and the shopping only made it worse. By the time I got home, I was tired and hot and extremely moody.

The party was fine, although when we left I could tell something was wrong with myself/inner world, I just couldn’t figure out what. Anger was pushing up from inside but I couldn’t tell what was prompting it or where it was coming from. Screaming voices inside… Once home, I then got triggered when my partner turned off the fan and I asked her to please turn it back on. She said, “well, why don’t you take your long-sleeve shirt off first. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so warm then.” This triggered off inside the equivalent to world war III. Intense switching, then everything being stuck inside and body is paralyzed, then fuming anger, and then finally falling asleep in the living room on the couch. My parter came out and woke me up, at which point (and this is where things feel foggy and uncertain), I cried and sobbed for what felt like a long time. It was a bizarre experience though, because “I” didn’t feel sad, yet I was watching myself crying and sobbing. I also heard myself say, “My body was never mine,” and “I don’t even know what it’s like to have my own body.” Quite honestly, I’m not exactly sure why I was saying that or what I was referring to, although I imagine something related to the abuse. I know that I was in an extremely dissociated state. Not really sure if it was “me” talking or another part of me.

And then quite suddenly, almost like a genie being sucked back into a bottle, all the sadness and grief (?) got sucked back inside my body, I felt like I was back to myself (rather than watching myself), and I could quite literally feel the physical weight and pressure of the sadness and grief pushing up inside my body. I no longer felt the sadness as sadness (even though I’m inclined to say I never “felt” the sadness at all), I felt it only as an intense anxiety. The sadness and grief that had been pouring out of me with tears and sobs virtually disappeared in the matter of a few seconds, and I was back to being my typical numb and shut down self.

By this time, it must have been well past 2am, although I don’t remember looking at a clock through any of this, and finally we came back to bed and I fell asleep in my partners arms. Upon waking this morning, screaming, angry voices in my head. A typical start to a typical day I suppose.

I just wonder, if I could feel all those feelings of grief and sadness, without feeling the need to shove it all back inside like what happened last night (even though it felt like an unconscious process much more than a conscious process), I’m wondering if I would then heal? That the key to my healing is feeling the pain and sadness and grief from the betrayals of my childhood, both physical and emotional? Do I actually have to “remember the trauma” in order to heal? Or perhaps simply feeling the feelings and releasing them will release their hold on me? I really don’t know. What I do know is that I feel no better as a result of my hours of crying last night. In fact, it didn’t even feel like “me” who was crying, and perhaps it wasn’t. Where does that leave me then…?

I guess I am left with myself. The numb, emotionally shut down self. The functional yet dead-inside self. The fake, the phony, the fraud, the lie. The mask, the pacifier, the pleaser, the chameleon. The empty, hollow shell with nothing inside. That is me. Whoopee.

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This is what ‘triggered’ looks like

Partner comes home. I am still awake, not being able to sleep while she was out. In fact, rarely can I sleep when she is not here. (I can rarely sleep with her here, but that’s another story.) I had walked the dog, fed the animals, cleaned the cat’s wound (don’t ask)… When she sees me sitting in the living room, surprise and disappointment register on her face.

She says, “What are you doing up? You shouldn’t still be awake.

I don’t answer. She doesn’t expect one and walks into the back of the apartment. I follow her.

You didn’t put the fan in the window to cool the bedroom off.” Her annoyance and irritation are palpable. I didn’t realize she had wanted me to do that.

Sorry,” I reply. “You need to tell me these things. I didn’t know. And anyways, it’s nice and cool in here now.”

Ok good,” she says, but her tone betrays her words. As I’m attending to the animals, she calls out in frustration.

Someone threw up on the rug. Ugh. Over here. And… over here!

I remain silent. I hadn’t seen it. I hadn’t even been in the bedroom since I had come home. But somehow I felt like it was my fault. I should have gotten the bedroom ready for her. Wait. No. That’s not my job. My job isn’t to caretake her.

She comes into the kitchen.

You seem mad…” I say. I was about to say, “at me” but she answers before I can finish.

It’s just… I was expecting to come home and just roll into bed. But I can’t. There are all these… obstacles.”

Am I an obstacle?

But you seem frustrated with me,” I manage to say, despite the pain that arises within me.

No… It’s not you. I’m just tired. I just really need to get to sleep at a decent time.” I wonder how she expects to do that when she’s out late at a concert on a weeknight, but I remain silent.

She sees my face change – this is where the trigger has just occurred – and her tone changes to an apologetic one.

I’m sorry babe. I’m just tired. It’s not you, I’m just annoyed at the situation. I thought I’d be able to come home and get right in bed. I’m sorry. It’s not you, I promise.

I say “okay” and leave the room. But the damage has already been done.

As she’s about to climb into bed, I go into the bedroom to say my obligatory “good-nights.” She notices that something’s wrong, and keeps asking me if I’m sure I’m not upset. I tell her that I’m not, and not to worry.

Get some sleep,” I tell her, and leave the room.

What I don’t tell her is how I had been waiting all night for her to come home. How I had planned on going straight to bed as soon as she did. That the real reason I wasn’t asleep yet is because she had been out and it’s hard for me to get myself to sleep without her there.

I didn’t tell her that all I had wanted was for her to act just the slightest bit happy to see me. To show genuine appreciation for the things I had done tonight so that she could enjoy her night out. For my presence, upon her arrival home, to bring her just the smallest amount of joy.

Instead I was unwanted.

What I didn’t tell her is that my heart feels like it’s being ripped out of my chest, even though I know I’m overreacting. That my stomach feels twisted up into knots, even through my brain is telling me that her responses had nothing to do with me. She even told me as much.

What I didn’t tell her was that I feel utterly unwanted. And not just unwanted; a failure. I failed to make her arrival home as easy for her as possible. And above all, the feeling that I am a disappointment. That despite all my efforts, people will still be disappointed. What I do is never enough. I can never be good enough.

***

A lot of self criticism there, huh? Yeah, I know. And I know that these feelings stem from past hurts, not current ones, and actually have little to do with my partner. But knowing these things and feeling them are two different things entirely.

So tonight, as my partner sleeps, I sit triggered and knotted up inside and braced against the world, wishing I could just crawl into a hole somewhere and stay there forever.

This… is what triggered looks like.

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Just good enough

Today I am practicing self forgiveness

Forgiveness for all the people I’ve hurt

Forgiveness for my self destructive acts

Forgiveness for my instability

Forgiveness for my impulsivity

Today is a day where my life, my deeds, my words, my actions are just good enough

My parents tried their best, this I know

But they failed me in many respects

They failed to accept me for the sensitive child that I was

They failed to make me feel supported, and safe, and secure

They failed to listen, even though I was screaming out in every way possible

They failed to protect me from being shattered by another

I have much healing to do

I need to heal my fractured selves

I need to build up a strong emotional foundation that never existed in the first place

I need safety and safe people

I need stability and stable people

I need support and supportive people

I need love and loving people

I have that in my partner, in my therapist, in my friends

But I wonder… Are these things enough? Enough to heal? Only time will tell.

But today, I am not striving to be good. Just good enough.

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Birthday reflections

So today is my birthday. It’s been a great day so far. I got to spend the whole day with Little Guy. I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather spend the day with – well except for my partner of course. Soon I’ll have my therapy session. Then I’ll go home and my partner and I are going to order a roasted chicken from our favorite Mediterranean place. Yummm. Then tomorrow the big adventure – jet packing! I have no idea if people actually say that but I like the way it sounds. 🙂

I also want to acknowledge how far I’ve come in the past year. One year ago exactly, on my birthday, I spent the entire weekend in bed. A very depressed part of me, who was mourning the death of my grandmother (which occurred almost ten years ago) was very present, and it was near impossible to function.

Last year, as some of you who’ve been following my blog may know, I was in an extremely unhealthy therapy situation. My therapist, who I do admit was trying to help, was making me much much worse. I was spiraling downward into chaos and dysfunction. My life felt unmanageable and completely out of control. I’m amazed, looking back, that I was able to function at all and to continue working. She finally ended the relationship, saying that it would be “unprofessional” of her to continue treating me. Even though at the time it felt like my heart was being ripped out – I was extremely attached to her… and I mean all of me – I now see it as a huge blessing. I probably would have ended up in an in-patient facility, and would have had to build my life up all over again. Fortunately it never got to that point.

I feel, more or less, like I’m now on steady ground. The relationship with my therapist has very much aided in this. So has going back on psych meds. I am no longer being flung this way and that, on a daily basis, or being constantly flooded with painful and unbearable emotions and constant, out-of-control switching. I know I have a ways to go in my healing process, but I feel more steady and more grounded than I have in several years.

I have a feeling this upcoming year is going to be a good one.

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