Tuesday, 30 August 2011

About the chatter in my head

Eliza asked me how I felt after the last blog post where I typed up some of the internal conversation in my head. It's not something I actually reflected on much at the time. After writing down on paper what I could hear, I went straight to sleep (a coping mechanism or was it just the relief of getting it down on paper?) and after typing it up on the blog I didn't hang around  long to ponder my feelings either.

So how do I feel? Erm, OK? OK, so maybe I am just a bit detached from it all. I think I have to be that way. When I see things like that on paper, I either will get freaked out and fall into the vicious trap of alternating between 'what the fuck happened to me?' and 'what the fuck is wrong with me that I would make something like that up?' or the alternative is to not think about it. Quite often these days it is the latter and because I have done this writing exercise several times now, I'm just not so shocked by what I see on paper. I just acknowledge that it's there but try to avoid thinking about it too much. Sometimes I don't even acknowledge the writing and just forget I even did it.

The first time I did this writing exercise was very different. I had no idea about dissociative identity disorder. I knew about dissociation, because it had been happening to me and my psychologist had explained what it was (I had just put it all down to 'one of those things' that you can't explain. I still have a few of those things. Maybe they are all part of this? Note to self: add that question to the list for T) but DID?... multiple personality disorder? OK so I'd heard of the latter condition, but I knew no more than your average naive, clueless individual. I would have sooner believed I had undiscovered special flying powers than think I could have DID and not know about it.

I had been talking with the psychologist and somehow the topic of the chatter in my head came up. I was quite taken aback to hear the psychologist telling me that no, not everyone does have this going on in their heads. He asked me what the voices were saying and this got me thinking (or listening).

So that night, I sat down and really tried to listen to what they were saying. To be honest, I'd never taken all that much notice of them before as I just thought it was my mind processing all the shit of life in the background. I got a pen and paper and wrote down whatever words I could make out and as I did so, it became easier to hear what was being said and, like the other day, it wasn't nice. Only, unlike the other day, I had no idea that this stuff was coming from some other parts of me that I wasn't connected to and it scared me out of my whits.

I still remember sitting on the floor in the living room in the middle of the night with the papers, too scared to leave the room but wanting to run up to Adam and pull his arms around me and cry. I wanted to tear up the papers and pretend they never existed but I knew it was important I shared what had been written with the psychologist. I knew this was some kind of breakthrough even if it felt like I was breaking through the walls to hell.

I put the papers in an envelope and left them with a note in the psychology department for my psychologist. In the note I explained that I needed to get them out of my house and that I was really freaked out and I asked if the psychologist could ring me, which he did. I don't really know what I needed from him. I think I just needed comfort and reassurance that I wasn't crazy. At the time I felt let down by the conversation. He said that what I was going through wasn't unusual and happens to other people. I think he was talking about the voices thing but I just felt he was being really patronising about the depression that was affecting me. What I heard was: 'a lot of people are depressed so get over it'. I couldn't see how telling me that other people feel the same way could possibly help me in the slightest. In hindsight I feel pretty sure that's not what he was saying at all. He didn't offer anything in the way of an explanation and just kept saying we'd 'talk about it on tuesday'. I felt alone.

When Tuesday came, he had some questions about the things I had written, but I don't remember getting any answers. I don't know how many weeks later it was that he drew me a diagram of the inside of my mind which consisted of various circles, some of which were near each other and some which were very separate. There may also have been some that overlapped. He explained that these were parts of me and that somehow they had become more separated than usual. That was a light bulb moment. Well, in some ways it was a light bulb moment, in that it helped me make sense of myself; yet in another way it was like I already knew it and was just getting something confirmed to me at last.

I was always (am always) reserved in therapy but at that moment I wanted so much to leap up and grab the psychologist and hug him and thank him for drawing the inside of my head and explaining 'me' to myself in a way no one ever had before.

I know I could cope now though. I can tolerate the writings. They still confuse me and would freak me out if I let them, but I keep it at an intellectual level and try not to analyse things. In short, I just don't allow myself to feel anything about them.

1 comment:

JustEliza said...

Sorry I've been distracted lately. This awful migraine makes it hard to read and concentrate on text.

I am glad for those a-ha moments. We all deserve to be seen, most especially by ourselves.