Tag: split personality

I don’t remember why – the guilt of my dissociative episodes

It is scary sorting through piles of possessions I do not remember buying.

As part of my recovery work I’m allocating time to take care of my home, household related tasks (bills, organisation, housework etc), in order to take responsibility for living an ordered life, to not get into trouble or overwhelmed with unpaid bills and tasks ignored until they become insurmountable, and to make a safe calm and even beautiful home. I had no home for many years, moving from room to room, moves often prompted by my mounting distress. When I was blessed to find this place, it took a long time to feel at all safe or dare to believe in any stability. Then gradually, it became an escape, flight not by constantly moving around but by means of a protective enclosure. Which is good in some ways and something I still need when things are too much, which is frequent, but now it is time for my home to be more than that; even a place and a life that supports my health.

Part of this is continuing what I’ve been trying to do for some time, which is clearing through accumulated items and clutter and organising the things I decide I do need. I’ve been working on this for some weeks or months on and off, tackling different areas. I’ve acknowledged for several months in therapy and with my support worker how I bought and accumulated items as a desperate attempt at escape, distraction and protection. I acknowledge how out of control my spending used to be and too often still is and how impulsively I buy things when in my dissociative episodes, apparently driven by some desperate need at the time that leaves me sick at myself and painfully empty afterwards when my consciousness returns, a massive blank missing in my memory and emotion, but the fallout of my actions apparent – money spent, arguments had, horrific things said, tablets taken, sometimes alcohol drunk and most of all items bought (usually clothes, makeup, accessories, things I’d never buy for myself “normally” or rationally). I hate myself then, most of all for the money spent on myself and the hurt I’ve caused other people.

I’m coming face to face with all this as I’m clearing through hoarded possessions. Much as I’ve been aware of and fighting these problems for months, it’s still very scary finding things I don’t remember purchasing and don’t know why I have. Perhaps it’s even scarier because I don’t really know why I do this when I’m dissociated. Why? Why do I buy things? Why do I become what the evidence means I am in these times – selfish, irrational, irresponsible, needy, childish, bad? What else am I doing in these times? The violent emotion that takes over and hurts people around me, but still I can’t control it – who am I and where is it leading? Why do I behave in ways I can’t remember, that people close to me say are terrible?

I’m scared. I want to take responsibility. I’m trying to carry on gradually sorting out my home. It occurs to me whether looking at items I bought in these dissociative states where there are huge memory gaps, will help me connect at all with what I was doing and who I was at these times. I don’t know.

Ginny xxx

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Is this pain real?

WARNING: this post contains brief mentions of eating disorders and self-harm.

Which is harder to deal with: physical pain and physical disability / ill health, or mental pain and distress and poor mental health? Is there a difference for you? Does one seem more real than the other?

At the moment my physical health is poor and my physical pain and limitations have been worsening fast, in particular in the last couple of weeks. Any standing or walking is painful and shaky. I need to use my walking stick again, having had 5 years or so not needing it (apart from one time for a few weeks).

Physical health problems can be tangible and visible in a way that mental health isn’t. People can see that I’m using a stick or that I need to rest often. They can’t see in the same direct way when I’m having obsessional thoughts or hearing the voices. I’ve posted before on how many people I’ve met who have Borderline or other mental health problems, feel a shame about their mental health condition and support needs and a guilt for needing help or “not being normal” or not being able to cope. Many of these people, again myself included, have physical health issues too, and the common feeling seems to be that these are more allowed and acceptable (in others’ eyes and also our own thoughts) than the mental health needs. Often that does ring true with me and I’m sad so many people find that. I’ll post on that topic more separately.

Just now I’m struggling to trust that my physical pain is real and allowed too rather than being something I’ve invented, is my fault, not real…

Physical pain is still subjective. Nobody can objectively see how much, say, my back hurts or there are weird numb sensations then burning pain in my feet. Anatomic problems can be seen and measured on scans and tests but what our experience of pain and weakness is, can’t be.

I have been desperate for more visible and concrete proofs of what I experience physically. I have some, for example, a scan has showed some degeneration in my lower spine, the GP performed various tests which diagnosed they inflammatory condition in my knees, and so on. However much of my physical struggles aren’t documented in the same way. You can’t see nerve pain or nervous system inflammation, painful joints, muscle spasms, poor regulation in the autonomic nervous system (well not directly anyway, although some tests can show disrupted adrenal or thyroid function or high white blood cell counts)…

The lack of physical, external evidence of what I’m experiencing is a real problem for me. If i let myself think on it the voices get loud. I think I must be going mad. It must be my fault. It must be my invention or my imagination. I should just get on with it and push through. I’m weak. The worst thing is the thought I must be a fake. I hate using my stick because of it even when I’m in more pain and more unstable without it. I’m deceiving everyone, the voice tells me. Look. Everyone knows. Everyone’s looking at me. Everyone’s talking about what a fake I am. They all know nothing’s wrong with me really. I’m terrified it’s all made up and I’ve faked it all without realising. I’ll never stop it but my whole life I’ll be a fake and at the end I’ll be judged and punished for it. Other voices tell me I’m doing it for attention to make people worry about me. Don’t you know how much upset you’re causing, they ask…

In the past I’ve felt I’ve deserved physical pain. That it’s safe if I have pain or cause myself pain. It means I’m being punished and suffering and that’s safe. It means I won’t be so bad. I won’t be so dangerous. I’ll be weak and that’ll be safe. That was how I thought during my anorexia. That was how getting thinner and thinner and more ill kept me safe. It is/was part of how self harming was safe too because it punished only me, just only me, stopped the evil emotions as I saw them getting out. I say “was” because I’ve managed not to self harm for a month and I’m grappling with the feelings that come to be now I’m not doing it.

The physical pain from my illnesses that I can’t control is different. It is overwhelming. It isn’t safe. It might show my badness (because I’m fake). It’s overwhelming and can feel inescapable but I feel I don’t have the right to think it’s real.

It interacts with my mental control too. When the pain is bad part of my mind freezes. I cannot be warm or present for other people. Trying to interact at all is a fight. Sometimes I want to hide and sleep. Being around anyone can be too much. I panic and want to be safe at home in my secure place. I mix up words and sounds and can’t get a simple sentence out straight. The all encompassing nature of emotions and especially anxieties and fears and psychotic thoughts increases. I feel shut tighter into the world of my Borderline.

I doubt the reality and truth of my physical and emotional experiences. The only pain I knew was real and undoubted was the pain of self harming or starving. The rest of my experience I doubt, as though the real me that’s bad really, angry, fake, deceitful, will be found out in the end, but I can’t escape from it/her. I only just realised that in writing this post. Trying to stop self harming is going to change a lot, I think.

Ginny xxxx

The fear of what lies within

It was my MBT therapy group this morning.

I was very sad at the end and the frightened abandoned child part of me was crying.

I do not want to risk breaking any confidences so I will just say that we shared our feelings and thoughts around abuse suffered, memories, trauma, and times of finding out that a loved or trusted person has done something very very wrong, perhaps the most terrible wrong of violating the most delicate and intimate part of another person’s physical being and emotional soul.

I wish I could write more freely but I am very afraid to break or betray confidences, even though I do not give personal information or write under my real name. Too much rides on that to ever risk it and it would cause too much pain to everyone else in the group.

[Note – at this point I know that my writing that follows has not become very coherent. This post is a lot of things I had to get written down for me and it may not make any sense whatsoever to readers. I am sorry for that. I am not sure that any good can be gained from reading it, actually. I feel I have to write it to start to unravel some of the terror I’m feeling right now about the experiences we explored and to start to pick out some of the emotions. I don’t know well what they are right now. This comes with a warning about painful and scary themes in the writing that follows although because I don’t know if it makes any sense at all, I’m not quite sure what exactly to warn for. It does mention a memory of someone threatening and abusing and physical violence. Just…. warning…. xxx]

I am sad and cold now and desperately wish someone were with me to hold me; to hold me here and tell me what’s real, what’s not real, what’s no longer real, and maybe the hurting child part of me would be protected. She knows only she is wrong and she has harmed and she could drive someone to death – and the flashes come of the terror of finding her, there, like that – and she must be alone and she must know the bad that she has done and if she just watches hard enough perhaps she can get away before it all happens again. But still she’s crying and hurting and nobody comes. Nobody held her, nobody told her it was alright, nobody told her being loved and being able to love didn’t mean being able to get it right enough, disappear enough and fill everything she needed without fail. She cried on her own and she wished alone would stay forever then, in the little room and her make believe world with the “children” she cared for and made real in her mind and for her eyes only, where she didn’t do harm, and later where she was even allowed to cry and someone would hold her and tell her she was good and it would be alright. She could even save people in that world, be brave and strong and rescue and save, suffer hurt herself to protect and save the others. She could slip into that world.

If only the alone time always lasted. If he didn’t come home, didn’t open her door, and know instantly from her frightened watching and sometimes her attempts to block the door, and her mother in her own bedroom in the dark in bed (sleeping? Silent and still, certainly.) If he didn’t come and Mother didn’t get up (one day would she not get up? would it have happened that she’d gone away as she threatened, or even that she was dead?) then alone would last. It was frightening and panicky and hollow but it was safe and she could slip back into the other world, with her “children”. But he always came home. He knew straight away – without a shadow of a doubt she thought this – what had happened that day and what she had “done” to her mother and what had happened and what her mother was going to do because of her. He’d go in to her mother and her mother would tell him what she’d done. Then down they’d come, and he’d be cooking dinner, and the evening and night “session” would start, of Mother crying and screaming and threatening and asking her over and over why she had done it, until Mother came up with the explanation for the evil thing she had done, to punish Mother and get her own back in some twisted way. And the child wouldn’t even understand what the initial deception was supposed to have been, sometimes, let alone how that was punishing. The wrong, you see, was only a wrong if she had intended the evil and the punishment in her action. The action wouldn’t have been wrong without it because it had not any value, it just was. But there was the evil motive and intention and Mother always knew it exactly. And all the time she’d be asking, watching, shouting, accusing. And the child would be crying. Nobody came to her. Nobody helped her. Father comforted Mother, hugged her, sat beside her, stroked her feet and legs, sat with her when she went up to bed when she’d made her so sick she couldn’t cope. He brought Mother the wine and coffee she drank and the cigarettes she chain smoked. (Did he know she threw the glass jars at her? With practised precision to smash into thousands of shards directly at her feet, I know now.) Nobody brought the child anything to comfort her and nobody held her when she cried at the threats and shouting or being left alone when Mother went away and she wondered if that would be the time Mother didn’t come back – look what you’re doing to your Mother… stop crying like that, that’s what people do when they’ve had something really serious happen to them, stop sitting there dripping like a blood machine – and nobody went to her when she cried at night and nobody was there when she got up and was terrified to move and terrified of the stairs. She couldn’t tell anyone when she wet herself because she was too frightened to open the door of her bedroom to go to the bathroom in the night because she thought Mother would be dead outside and that would be the night she would find her – but if she didn’t go out it wouldn’t be real in that child’s mind – she tried to hide the wet things and when Mother found them stuffed into the back of the wardrobe, smelling, she didn’t answer why she had done it. Mother was always there. Father took completely her side and the totality of everything she claimed was the entire truth in his eyes. But nobody was there for that child.

She’s still there and scared and she wants a hug and in the flashbacks she’s all I am and I’m frozen and terrified. She needs someone to take her and not let go and never let go and she really really wants to be real and not be bad, just be the real little girl she is and not the terrible other evil things that Mother said she was doing. Is she a little girl or is she manipulation and evil and danger and damage? Is she real? Is the world she prefers to escape into real? Because it’s so much better and so much safer and it’s there that somebody wants and needs her. Please could she be real.

It really really hurt when Mother did the things she did with her body, in front of the mirror and on the bed and in the bathroom and……. inside…… it really hurt and Mother told her how to breathe so she could do it.

Why didn’t she know it was wrong?

Why was it her normal?

Why didn’t she tell? Why didn’t she stop it?

Especially in the bathroom. Because she was older then. Why did she just let her. Why even when the problems started later did she still not connect it.

Why.

Why is she so dirty and disgusting.

And most terrifying of all what if all this is a lie. What if she’s a foul ugly silly little thing and she’s repeatedly punishing Mother and that’s all this is and it’s all a lie.

Voices. Voices. And crying. Crying tired. Crying for it to stop. Cold.

And was there anything that was good?

****

And what if someone so bad – as what Rev. F. did with the young men… what about me? I thought he was kind to me. I thought he encouraged me. I thought he was kind and he always remembered my name, said hello and said he’d pray for me, and told me hope when I was in the grip of bulimia and losing the plot. I held on to the peace in the evening services as we prayed. But then he did – was doing? – that with the young men. And that was pure hurt and wrong and never never can in any way be alright and so so much harm has been caused to them. What does it mean that I thought something he did was good? What was his thinking when he did the things I thought were good? Would I have become complicit? Why did I think he was kind – someone who could do things like that? Am I so so bad too if I could think he was kind? Am I somehow open to being taken? Taken and used and used to hurt even without knowing?

Yet again. There it is. Used to hurt, doing bad, doing bad without knowing.

Can good be done without good being the intention?

Does that just reinforce that bad can be done without knowing too? Does that mean you can be bad without knowing?

Ginny – – – but not Ginny, really, tonight. Ginny’s got a bit lost right now. Tonight I’m still the frightened child. (Dissociating again.)

I’ve called her Lily – the child. I’ve called her Lily. She’s always there.