Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Still here! Still arguing with my psychologist!

I haven't quit blogging! I still haven't managed to get my laptop fixed though so it's difficult to write and read as much as I'd like to at the moment. Sad me. Sad, sad me. I miss my blogging friends and the support this blog provides me. Writing here and reading about other people who share similar experiences to me has been one of the greatest things the Internet has offered me and has helped me over the last few years to know that I am not alone in the things I experience in my life with dissociative identity disorder and dissociation in general.

Living in Northern Ireland it's easy to get to thinking there is no one else like me out there. I am reminded of this every week with my new psychologist as I can almost see her internal panic rising each time I visit her and she struggles with something that's so new to her. I'm sure there are others around me with this condition. The Internet brings me in touch with people across the world who have similar issues and this is reassuring. I hope also that in some small way other people might get something from my blog. I know it's not for everyone... maybe not for many at all actually, but even if someone feels it's helpful to them then that makes me feel really happy.

Things are ticking along for me. I've been off work sick now for three months. The plan is that I will start a phased return to work in May. This week is the first I have been able to think about the prospect of returning to work without feeling completely overwhelmed, so that's progress. I have been on some medication now for a few months too and I guess that may be helping, although I still have days where I wonder if it is doing anything at all. But at least I'm not thinking about killing myself all the time and I haven't self harmed in... gosh, it must be nearly six weeks? Over a month anyway. I'm pleased about that. I wouldn't say things are great, but I do think things have settled down a good deal.

NP is still both delighting and infuriating me. I will catch you up on that hopefully soon because there have been a few sessions I haven't told you about now. One week it goes great and the next it's a disaster. We had another fall out last week because we got to talking about an argument I'd had with Adam and she made a huge assumption and accused me of thinking that Adam is a bad person because of something small that is consistently unreliable about him. She was trying to BPD pigeonhole me again... which confuses me because I outright asked her a few weeks ago if she thought I had BPD because of her frequent references to it and she said she didn't. Anyway, I told her she was making assumptions and we argued about it a bit.

I stewed over this all weekend and thought over the conversation and got to realising she had misunderstood me. At my next session we talked about it again and I explained that I felt she had misunderstood me. I also confronted her about the way she interrupts me a lot and I told her that sometimes it seems like she's not listening. I said that I felt she was perhaps anxious about working with me because of my condition and that sometimes I sense she is nervous. I said I felt she has a very intellectual approach and that sometimes I can almost see her brain working over things while I'm talking: like she's trying to figure out what to do, but it means she's not really hearing what I'm saying. I said that if this was the case she would be better off just relaxing and trying to get to know me better. Phwew! I give her a run for her money don't I?!

Well, I said all of that in a gentle way and it was a really useful conversation in the end actually. She seemed to really be listening and wasn't defensive. She then told me that she does feel a bit anxious about my condition because it's new to her and she's learning as she goes and finding her way through it. She thanked me for being patient with her and she said she was aware that I have already forgiven her for a few things. I guess she was referring to all the other times she has pissed me off since January.

We talked a little bit about the differences between her and T (my usual psychologist who is off for a while) and she admitted that she feels a bit of pressure because T is her boss. She didn't explain very well exactly what that pressure is. She said that it impacts on what she can and can't do. I'm guessing though that the pressure she feels is that she will be judged by T and so she's anxious about doing a 'good job' with me. You know, maybe that's why she coped SO badly when I had that huge crisis in January. Maybe she felt it would suggest to T that she hadn't done her job properly if T came back and I'd fallen apart completely, or worse: if I wasn't here anymore. I really don't think T will make any judgements like that on NP.

We moved on to other things anyway but then at the end she said: "I feel like I have to say: I am really interested  in your welfare. I do care about what happens to your mental health and your well being. I empathise with your position; I think it sounds like you've been through a lot and I think it must be difficult and confusing. I am trying to help. I'm not always going to get it right."

I felt a bit sorry for her after that! I offered that in a way I feel perhaps that I want to be angry with her because it's easier for me if I am because I don't want to risk having positive feelings for someone else and then lose them again. After all, this is temporary. T is coming back in the summer. Hopefully.

I will tell you more about what else has been occuring in my sessions and in life in general. Tomorrow I have to go to see a psychiatrist (Arrrgh!). I've been referred by my work's occupational health. I've been told it's just to see if there are any medications that could help me better than the one I'm currently on so hopefully I'm not going to get interrogated and it would be good to know if there was anything better I could take.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Switching to alter part during therapy session: Pan

Pan is a child part in the system of parts that make up me as a person. Pan wants to be neither boy nor girl but if he had to chose would be a boy so that's why we call Pan a 'he'. Just so you know. Last week Pan got to talk to the new psychologist in my session and that was pretty huge for all of us because it's always been a struggle for me to give up control and let one of the other parts take over like that in therapy. At home, it's not a big deal at all. In fact, sometimes I feel like I hardly get a look in! But that's because I trust Adam a lot and there's no danger or risk involved in him communicating with other parts.

The conversation with New Psychologist went something like this:

NP: Are you shy, Pan?

Pan nods

NP: thank you for your letter last week. It was very good. It was interesting about the milk and cats. (Pan laughs). Did you do any writing this week?

Pan: No

NP: Do you write letters to other people?

Pan: Sometimes to T

NP: OK. Do you miss T? Pan nods

NP: Aww. You're fond of her:? You've got to know her?

Pan: Yes... is she gonna come back?

NP: Yes. Yes... Did T help you?

Pan: Nods. She's nice.

NP: She's a nice lady. And what about Adam?

Pan: He's my friend.

NP: Is he your best friend? (Pan nods). That's good. It's nice to have a best friend. Do you ever make anything for Adam? (Pan nods) What things?

Pan: Like... pictures

NP: Is he pleased when he sees them?

Pan: Yeah... but he doesn't... he doesn't think I'm a boy.

NP: Doesn't he? What does he think you are?

Pan: He thinks I'm a girl.

NP: Oh... can you think of a way of letting him know that you're a boy?

Pan: I tell him but he says I don't have a willy.

NP: So he doesn't see it the way you see it. Can you disagree and still be friends?

Pan: Yeah... I get cross... He says 'it's ok'.

NP: So Adam doesn't mind if sometimes you're cross?

Pan: No. I shout at him.

NP: He doesn't get upset? He understands (Pan nods). What type of things upset you?

Pan: Emm... I don't like people bossing me around!

NP: You don't like being told what to do? Does Adam try that?

Pan: Sometimes he tells me "You can't have sweets! You won't eat your dinner!" and I say: "I can do what I want to do!"

NP: Do you know why he might say that? (Pan shakes head) Did you know sweets are bad for your teeth? And maybe Adam worries about your teeth?

Pan: I only eat them sometimes!

NP: Mm. Sometimes is OK but Adam doesn't like it before dinner? Does he let you have some after dinner?

Pan: Yep. He can't tell me what to do!

NP: Do you listen to any grown ups? Some grown ups are angry and bossy and that's not nice but some can keep you safe.

Pan: Shakes head. I can look after myself

NP: Do you know Candy? (Pan nods) Do you listen to Candy? (shrugs) So Candy's not bossy?

Pan: Sometimes.

NP: So is Candy your friend? How old is Candy?

Pan: She's a lady. She's 28.

NP: OK. And she's not too bossy? She's a nice lady to have around and know about? And does she ever tell you to take care or be careful? (Pan nods). And you can see that she's being nice?

Pan: Sometimes she says "You can't come out now because it's not your time and you have to wait" and I have to wait then.

NP asked about this a bit. If Pan gets upset about waiting etc.

Pan: I like to just do what I wanna do.

NP: Yeah. And what do you like to do?

Pan: Emmmm.... I like... emmm.... playing?

NP: Yes. Can you tell me with what?

Pan: I like drawing pictures. I like my teddies. I got two (holds two fingers up). One is Winnie and one is Cherry and they sleep with me all the time and Winnie went to New Zealand with me and when we went, Winnie drove the caravan (laughs)

NP: Ooh!

Pan: And when we went to Australia, he got kidnapped.

NP: Oh. and did you get him back?

Pan: Yeah. He was in a bag and he couldn't breathe.

NP: Aww. Oh dear. He's a very well travelled bear isn't he?

Pan: Yep. He has to go everywhere.

NP: OK. So he gets to see a lot of things.

Pan: Yeah. And I put goggles on him and a hair band and he looked funny (giggles) and he wears a T shirt cos he needs to have a bath...

NP: So you pretend sometimes that he's doing human things?

Pan: He's like my friend...

Pan: I've only got one shoe on (points at foot).

NP: I know.

Pan: I don't like having shoes on. (takes other one off)

NP: Yes they can get sweaty and tight can't they? So you like to draw and write...

Pan: Ice cream! And I like cinema. I didn't get to do that before... a long time ago. And I like... Picnics! I like go out to where the sea is.

NP: Very nice. it's lovely to like the fresh air. And do you choose somewhere nice?

Pan: (Nods) I like Bangor.

NP: Very nice. That's by the sea? That's lovely

Pan: (nods) And one time we went to the one... Crawfordsburn? and we took my teddy and we had a picnic and it was really cold and I had a big blanket on and a hat and a coat and umbrella (giggles).

NP: Mmm! So I've heard this about you Pan. I've heard sometimes you put clothes on and Candy doesn't like them. Is that right?

Pan: She wears like... girly things!

NP: You don't like what she wears either? (Pan shakes head) But you wear things that are warm and keep you covered and that's all you're bothered by?

Pan: Comfortable. I like my clothes today (looks down at track bottoms and hoody)

NP: Mmm. So you like to feel relaxed? That's a good feeling, yeah?

Pan: Yep. I like pyjamas... even though most of them are Little C's but I don't mind that.

NP: OK and does Little C mind you wearing them? (Pan shakes head) And is little C your friend?

Pan: Yeah (smiles) She's cute

NP: And I've heard that you look after her and you're good to her as well (Pan nods). That's a nice thing. Do you worry about her a little bit?

Pan: (sounding sad) Mmm. Sometimes she gets.. em... scared and things.

NP: Aww. And can you help her?

Pan: I don't know

NP: What do you try?

Pan: I get frustrated

NP: Would you ever tell her a story or sing her a song

Pan: Erm... one time I drew her a picture with lots of hearts cos she likes hearts and blue and pink... she likes pink. But Candy helped.

NP: That's OK. That's nice. And did Little C like it? Did it help?

Pan: Yeah... and Candy wrote on the back that she didn't have to be scared and nice things.

NP: So did you make that because she was scared?

Pan: Yeah. She doesn't like monsters.

NP: Mmm. Monsters can be scary... or do you not find them scary.

Pan (shrugs): maybe

NP: Have you seen any monsters in the cinema (Pan nods). Do you know they're not real?

Pan: I just cover my eyes. I try and go and see only... I don't go if it's a... big film.

NP: Mmm. So if it's scary just, 'yuck, no... they're for older boys'. (Pan nods)


NP: So did you see Candy's mum when she stayed in the house? (Pan nods) Was that OK for her to stay in the house?

Pan: (shrugs) I don't know!

NP: Was it nice to have her stay?

Pan: She's... she's nice sometimes....


Pan: She doesn't know about me.

NP: So you have to stay hidden sometimes... but sometimes you were around when Candy was in bed and Candy's mum was in bed as well. I just wondered if you knew she was there?

Pan: (nods and mumbles about someone putting things against the door: part had tried to block my bedroom door when my mum stayed recently and Adam was away. This is what NP is asking about)

NP: So sometimes she OK, sometimes she's alright? And the other times?

Pan: She's like two.... two people... two! (holds up two fingers)

NP: She's different?

Pan: Two! Yeah

NP: Mmm. That's confusing. Isn't it?

Pan: You have to figure it out and then you know... she's like that one...

NP: Mmm and can you work it out?

Pan: Candy does it

NP: And does she tell you?

Pan: I just listen to Candy when she's in charge and I can hear... she says "Ugh she's like two different people!"

NP: OK. That's very tricky. Very tricky Pan... for you.

Pan: (shrugs) Well I don't have a mum so...

NP: You don't see Candy's mum much? Do you think it's good not to have a mum? (Pan nods) Why is it good?

Pan: No bossies!

NP: No bossies... I could see why you wouldn't want to have a dad because of the bossing... but you don't want a mum either? (Pan shakes head) Would you like one that was two people? (Pan shakes head) No. That would give you a headache, wouldn't it? (Pan laughs) Mmm. That would make your head sore (Pan laughs more).

NP: OK Pan I'm going to ask you to go inside and get Candy and ask her to come back out again

Pan: Will I be able to come back again?

NP: You can come back again of course. I'd be happy for that. We'll both make sure that happens. I promise.

Pan: Do you not like me?

NP: I do like you. I do. I've only just met you but I like you. I think you're a clever child and interesting... and funny. A little bit fun and a little bit funny.

Pan giggles

NP: Yes. And interested in interesting things... but I realise some of that's only new. It's a shame you didn't know about it earlier.

Pan: About what?

NP: About the cinema.

Pan: Yeah

NP: It's good to have things you can do to switch off and it seems like you chose things which are good for children as well and that's a good thing.

Pan: Candy lets me.

NP: That's a good idea.

Pan: And... well... (pauses)... maybe I'll tell you next time

NP: OK. Will you remember? OK. Well you can see how you feel next time and maybe you can tell me then.

Pan: OK. And... (giggles) she's probably gonna be embarrassed (points at feet and my psychedelic socks) cos I got funny socks.

NP: That's alright. It's only a small thing. Even if Candy had come in here today and taken her shoes I wouldn't have been surprised because it's sweaty and warm and this room is too hot. So I'll see you again Pan but now will you go and get Candy and I'll see you again.

Pan: OK

NP: Bye

long silence

Pan: I'm still here (giggles)

NP: Are you?! (Laughs) Can you get Candy back?

Pan: I'm trying!

NP: You're trying. If you can tell Candy that once she comes back I'll get us both a glass of water...

Then I came back to the front and Pan went back and that was that. It must be visibly obvious when I switch because NP knew as soon as Pan came out and as soon as I came back. I wonder what she sees? Anyway, I don't know how interesting all of the above has been to you but there we have it. It was a great relief for me to see other parts talking rather than the old way of feeling them trying to speak but me being too scared to let them out.

Bye for now!