I hope you are all having a more exciting Saturday evening than I am right now and that at whatever time you are reading this, that you are doing OK.
This week's therapy session followed a similar vein as last weeks in that T spent some time going round in circles with me as I tried to explain why I sometimes think it could be a physical problem I have, instead of DID. Although it's important for me to be able to talk about it, I did feel frustrated with myself for spending most of the session going over things again when I really had other things I needed to be talking about. We agreed that we needed to move on and not go round in circles although T said that it is important to 'at least go round the circle once', which I thought was a very good point!
It's funny because when I go through these periods of being so detached from parts/alters and feeling like it's 'just me', I miss the chatter in my head and the familiarity of other parts' thoughts/feelings/opinions encroaching on my own. I miss the company too, even though sometimes the people in my head aren't being very nice to me. Most of all I feel guilty because I think I have just been mistaken or lying. However, when it all starts up again I miss the quiet! It's hard having all of those feelings and voices going on in my head and sometimes I envy 'normal' people who just have the one mind to deal with. Life is certainly simpler when you are singular. I guess the times when things are quiet are as close as I've felt to normal. There have been times though when I've felt I have gotten a balance: I am conscious of others and aware of things but not overwhelmed by it. This is a good place to be, in my opinion. In fact, in a way I would be sorry to lose this co-consciousness if I was cured from DID. I guess I may be naive in saying that as I don't really know what my experience would be like as a complete person. I'd like to be out of the place I'm in now. I feel unable to move myself though. T has the key to getting me back in touch with the others. She could make it happen with just a few words. It's a risk though and as she said herself, it is useful to me to not believe it.
We also talked about the situation with my friend Pou. I found it hard to really concentrate on the discussion at this part of the session because she brought it up when we had only five minutes to spare and so I was worrying about the time. We did go quite a bit over time and I felt really guilty about this and wondered if T would be annoyed with me and if we were starting to get back into the old routine of going over time. I don't want her to be annoyed with me again and have to have another 'discussion' about it. I'm not in the right frame of mind to reflect on what we talked about with regards to Pou, but she did give some useful insights and gave me some things to consider. I don't have the desire or energy to consider them just now but they are on the 'to do' list.
My mum was giving off a bit yesterday to me and Katie (my sister) that we as a family keep too many secrets from each other and should share when we are struggling with things like mental health issues. My sister and I both expressed that in many families people might not tell others if they had mental health issues and my sister pointed out that she didn't feel certain people would react in the way she would want if she did talk about something like that. I said that I wouldn't tell anyone anything unless I didn't mind everyone in my family knowing. I say this because my mum is constantly telling me my other sisters' business and I know she would do the same if I told her anything. We all talk about each other but not to each other.
I also pointed out to my mum that our upbringing in the cult taught us that having any kind of physical illness or mental health problem was sin and a sign that we were not 'right with God' to which my mum gave me a nice lecture about how we weren't in that environment anymore and needed to 'unlearn' those things. Oh, right, thanks for pointing that out mum, I never realised that it was so easy to unlearn something that was hammered into you at a young age on a weekly basis. I must put that on the top of my 'to do' list.
The thing is though, I don't think my mum has really changed her beliefs about it. I know she doesn't see it as sin anymore, but I get the sense that it really irritates her when any of her daughters are physically below par. She's always going on about how our family have such strong genes and don't get ill and always live a long life. This is normally in response to someone sharing that they are having health problems.
As a teenager I suffered with really severe IBS. I have IBS now, but it's not one of my biggest issues. When I was a teenager however it was very bad and I would need to arrive half an hour early for school in order to sit on the loo, sometimes still being late for class because of it. I would often have to leave class early with excruciating cramps and run to the toilet. When it was at it's worst point my mum gave me a stern lecture about how it wasn't acceptable to have this problem and that I needed to really pray to God for a healing. I was never taken to the doctors because that was frowned upon. My dad had similar problems was diagnosed with a severe bowel disorder when I was in my teens, after being ill for some time and eventually being rushed into hospital, yet no one thought to get me checked out to rule out anything sinister.
Me being me, I took on board everything my mum said after the lecture and felt guilty that I was a bad Christian. I prayed to God for a healing one night shortly afterwards and strangely enough, I stopped having IBS symptoms from that day onward (Yes, perceptive reader, I have IBS now... it started again when I was being bullied on my University placement). I was so thankful to God for the miracle at the time. But did He really heal me? Nowadays, I try to keep an open mind. I do still believe in God and I believe God can heal people. I don't know if He healed me or not on that day. I also believe that the mind is very powerful over the body. I apparently had already learnt amazing skills in dissociation; maybe this overnight healing was part of it. It wasn't acceptable for me to express in a physical form the psychological issues that I was already suppressing from my consciousness, so maybe my mind stopped me from doing it. What happened to my issues then? I guess they got hidden somewhere else. The first times I remember having black outs were around that time. The black outs would happen when I got 'upset'. I'm not saying it's one way or the other and I hope God won't strike me down for being so ungrateful of a healing, but I'm sure God gave us logic for a reason and all I'm saying is that either explanation is possible (Dear God, please don't hate me!).
I remember that from time to time my mum would also 'accuse' me of being depressed. It was always said in a way that made me feel as though I had done something terrible and it had been found out. I'd get angry and tell her I wasn't and stomp off to my room feeling embarrassed. I think she was trying to be helpful but I don't know what she felt highlighting the issue to me would do. It's not like I would have been offered any help like counselling or medication. Both of these remedies would have been very greatly disapproved of in my church.
Nowadays, she's a bit different, in that she thinks she doesn't believe it's wrong to be ill anymore but she definitely sees it as weakness. She was asking me about my liver tests recently and I was telling her about being diagnosed with polycystic overies and my kidney now being bad too etc and then she proceeded to give me a lecture about how I needed to start eating healthily and how I could do that and that she thought all of these things are to do with diet. Urgh! All I heard was "you've brought this on yourself".
So yesterday I pointed out to her that although we weren't in the cult anymore I had still felt like she had thought my liver thing was my fault by what she said and that I felt she would always try to fix any problem. Bear in mind, that my mum works in mental health as well. She thinks she is the ultimate wisdom on anything to do with mental health and loves diagnosing everyone she meets. There is no way in this world she would be able to just 'listen' and not try to impart some kind of patronising advice on the topic. She took the point well and said that she hadn't seen it that way but now that I had told her, she understood and then she used this to highlight that as a family we need to all tell each other about our struggles so that others can be more understanding of them. Katie re-emphasised that she didn't feel a lot of people would be able to be understanding and so the discussion went on.
I felt paranoid when my mum was saying all of this. It felt like she was talking directly to me, although I admit, it is
obvious to everyone that all of my sisters have at least as many issues
as I do. In fact, I would be classified by my family as the
person who has been least affected by hard times in their life but this is only viewed this way because I hold everything in and share even less with my family than my sisters do. I think
outwardly, I appear the most normal of my sisters. Ha! If only they
knew! I know my mum found my antidepressants when I was on medication because she tidied up my house one time when I was away (Grr!). She never said anything about it but I could tell she was dying to ask me from several comments she made. I wondered if she had told Katie though because when we were discussing this yesterday Katie used an analogy: "Say for instance, if one of us were depressed and taking antidepressants...."
I get paranoid that maybe my mum has found other things too. What if she's read my blog or my diaries? What if she knows all about me? No, I don't think so. I think she knows I have issues and wants me to talk to her about them but I don't think she has any idea as to the extent of them. She mentioned someone we knew yesterday who had been having 'thoughts of self mutilation' and was saying that to feel this way you have to be someone in an extremely dark place and that she was really worried about them. It was weird to hear people talk about how shocked they were that someone would do that and at how bad things must be. She said something about how it's a terrible place to be and that not many people know how that feels.
Then sometimes she talks about her patients. Sometimes she seems so harsh and uncaring and unsympathetic. She often talks about people who need to 'get a life' and stop wallowing in self pity.
So, given all of the above, how do you think my mum would react if I turned around and said to her: "Hi Mum, you wanted to know what's up with me.... well, I guess you already figured out I have depression but here's the thing: that's just one symptom of what I have. It's actually Dissociative Identity Disorder. Yeah, you know... the one people call multiple personality disorder and that usually occurs as a result of severe, ongoing trauma in childhood. Oh and by the way, would you like to see the scars on my leg from where I have self harmed and a few nice fresh marks on my arm? And did I mention I had an eating disorder from the age of twelve and you didn't even notice because you couldn't have given me the time of day? Yes, I starved myself for several years of my adolescence and then developed bulimia in my twenties and abused laxatives until quite recently."?
I think I can safely say she would:
a) tell me I don't have DID and try to prove why, one reason of which would be that I had a loving family and nothing bad could have happened to me (she might also be angry about this)
b) she would be really patronising about it all and suggest I need to 'get over it'
c) she would try to advise me on how to fix it all
d) she would be really upset and worry herself silly about me
e) the whole family and possibly the whole world would know about it within a week
and then she would probably try to hug me and look after me and I'd want to squirm and run away.
I know she loves me and only wants the best for her daughters and it hurts her that we won't share what's wrong with us, but she doesn't understand that she has been one of the ingredients in the big cake of fucked up Candycan and her sisters.