Where am I at? It’s hard to know. I can tell you that today a small voice whispers “ I am struggling. I am really struggling.”
Struggling with what? I don’t know. Just holding everything.
Adult me isn’t struggling. Adult me is functioning fairly well I’d say. But I know by my dreams and by the amount of time I am sleeping, that I am avoiding.
I am avoiding life, avoiding having to hold so much by myself, avoiding feeling too much.
Adult me isn’t even entirely sure what it is I think I am holding? Or what it is that is too much because adult me doesn’t really feel it.
I can’t listen back to my sessions anymore. That will change eventually I am sure. But right now, for some reason, I have a real aversion to hearing them again. So really, I will have to go on memory to write about my sessions. That’s annoying because I remember so little from them. And I can feel a pull to listen to them and write up exactly what happened – I want to. But there’s a bigger part of me avoiding it, completely adverse to reliving the sessions. Not that they’ve been bad or particularly upsetting because they haven’t. In fact they’ve ranged between completely non-descript to mildly sad.
I have been doing art every single day for months now and I think that it’s perhaps taken place of writing about my sessions. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a positive new step towards nurturing a new life.
But as I write this now, I do wonder if it’s another avoidance or coping tactic. A way of avoiding processing therapy, a way of avoiding feeling the feelings that come from therapy and a way of coping with the space left by Sienna since she’s withdrawn her outside session contact.
Avoidance seems to be a huge theme for me right now. I find myself holding back a whole lot of emotion from Sienna in sessions and as a result feeling even more isolated during the week. I am not intentionally holding things back….. when I get to session it’s like I forget what I struggled with during the week. I forget the things I wanted to tell her or talk to her about. I forget about my needs. And I just sit there, chatting random shit. I can’t even feel what it is those parts want to say. I just sit there, with a numb sort of mildly unhappy or disquieted feeling that has no words or real feelings and surf the sessions.
I sit there aware of really needing a hug. But never asking for one. Feeling like I desperately need to connect with Sienna on a physical level. Yet asking is too embarrassing or shameful. And also, I think there’s a huge amount of anger that I am putting between us. There’s a part or parts SO angry at Sienna for all her fuck-ups that they actively try to stay disconnected from her.
And still, Sienna is losing more weight. I looked at her in my last session, willing myself to ask if I could come over for a hug, but sitting mute instead. And as I looked at her, I could see old Sienna, my lovely soft curvy warm provider of cuddles was gone and is being replace with a smaller-framed person whom we do not know. As I looked at her, I tried to work out how I could cuddle into her? It seemed awkward. It feel like there isn’t enough to lean on anymore. Where would I rest my head?
It’s like a lovely feather-down pillow has been replaced with a narrow twig.
I don’t know how to hug this new Sienna. I don’t know this one’s body. And I feel angry. More loss.
The young parts cry and tantrum and just want to say “ I want old Sienna, I don’t like this new one!!!!! STOP losing weight, I don’t like it!!!!!”
I’ve been noticing lately how much I’ve split Sienna into different people. She is different people to me and the parts relate to each on differently.
Do other’s who have parts do this too? I wonder?
For me, there’s
I make out like she’s really skeletal now, she isn’t. She’s looking really lovely. I just miss the familiar. And I’m yet to know this slimmer version of her.
And she hasn’t offered me a cuddle for a long time. She hugs me on the way out sometimes but it’s not the same.
And it makes me wonder if something has changed? Is “new Sienna” not cuddly? Or does she not like me anymore?
I wish I didn’t have to be very distressed to be offered a cuddle. Why can’t she offer when I’m just quiet or tired?
I realise I haven’t really written about my sessions at all in this post.
The young parts are communicating with Sienna. But more through drawing and still outside of session. They turn up to most sessions in some capacity, even if they’re not fronting. Usually they’re just behind the adult that turns up. Sienna doesn’t always recognise they’re there.
But she’s trying really hard to reach them. She’s brought in puppets for them, to see if they’ll talk through the puppets. She talked in our last session about bringing in more soft toys and puppets in the summer holidays (from the School toy box).
We talked about what games or toys Keira would like. Sienna said to me “ We haven’t done any drawing in a long time! Do you want to do some now?”
I looked at her and shrugged “ Do you?”
She nodded and smiled.
So, we sat side by side a drew. I taught her how to draw and owl and a cat. It was lovely and it did feel connecting. I felt quite adult at the time. But when I came out I could feel Keira and the other children’s excitement and warmth at having sat next to Sienna and spent time drawing with her. I hope Sienna enjoyed it too. She did seem to. And it felt nice for me to be teaching her something for a change!
I think we need these times. Quiet times, downtimes, away from the hard stuff – a space for us to just co-exist. To reconnect and build on our relationship before it is inevitably battered by stormier, trauma-filled days.
It’s so difficult when you have fragmented parts because you can never please everyone. There’s so many competing needs.
Adult me, teen me, and some child parts really need this down-time. Time to rebuild trust, and rediscover the relationship, time to recover from the awfulness that was 2017. Time to have fun and to smile and to connect.
But there’s trauma parts that are being held back, angry teens who hate Sienna and are so angry with her, so in fear of her and so mistrustful of her. There’s tiny children who really need physically held and constantly reassured and helped to deal with so much loss. There’s young adults who are really struggling with staying in therapy and have so much anger at Sienna and about the ruptures.
All of those need to hold on for now. Their needs cannot be met. And I don’t know what to do about that. It feels very unfair and certainly is very exhausting for all of us.
I am not sure why things are they way they are right now. Why I can’t get in touch with parts who really need to be there, why I present only the young parts whom……….. Sienna likes???
Wow. I just wrote that without thinking. Maybe that’s exactly it, I am presenting the parts I think Sienna can cope with?
Whatever is going on, I am just letting it be for now. The parts will do what they need to. I should trust that.
After Thursday’s drawing session, Keira sent Sienna a picture. And Sienna responded with a “ Love it” and a emoji with heart eyes. Sienna seems to respond really well to the child pictures. More so than words.
The child parts have taken to sending her pictures made on the Sketch app.
After Monday’s session where we talked about encouraging the young parts to come in to sessions, they sent her another.
She replied that she was glad they were surrounded by colour and that was going to reach out and find all of them in time. – Perfect reply.
Sending pictures and outside contact is technically not contracted for. I knew it was pushing the boundaries. Yet the child parts were so compelled to send their pictures that they did it anyway.
I think Sienna is making special effort with the child parts just now because they told her that they were scared to tell her things in case she gets angry. So, when they’ve sent pictures she’s responded warmly.
But I need to be careful with that. I don’t want to get into a habit of doing it and having to be told not to.
Things feel so weird right now. Both good and not good. Calm and chaotic. Warm and detached.
So that’s where I am, right now.
Well, I am in full avoidance mode. And it feels awful.
Once again, I am experiencing a huge avoidance of therapy. It seems ridiculous that last week I asked for a second session because I felt so awful and so in need of it and now here I am literally feeling so adverse to going today.
I saw Sienna on Saturday. And the huge need to be there that I’d felt last Wednesday was gone by Saturday and so we just chatted. We didn’t really get much therapy work done as I wasn’t really in touch with any of my emotions or trauma stuff.
It wasn’t until hours later that the young parts began raising their feelings about Sienna and therapy and their feeling that Sienna has abandoned them. They feel detached from her and from the therapy.
I let them draw it out, hence the picture, “Exodus” in the previous post.
So this avoidance is just a continuation from that.
I had been fully intending to show Sienna the two pictures I drew. One of which has a handwritten note to Sienna by a child part saying ” We are broken now.”
She needs to see it. She needs to know. She already knows the trust is broken and that the child parts don’t feels they can speak to her anymore because they feel like when they do, she gets angry at them. ( A Child part came out in session 2 weeks ago and told her that.)
I know she took that on board and had thought about it because she raised it briefly last week.
I don’t know what I’m feeling right now except that I don’t want to go to my session. I know I probably will, for no other reason than I don’t want to pay for a missed session.
But the avoidance is SO strong that I literally am almost willing to pay the fee and not go.
I think I must be avoiding Sienna and avoiding talking about what’s hurting me. Normally I’m pretty good at pushing through avoidant feelings and behaviours. But whenever I think about going and being there, I just know I won’t want to talk about all of this with her and so will end up sitting with my pain unshared, and just chatting as if everything is fine. And it isn’t. And somehow that feels unbearable to go and do.
Fuck sake. Why is therapy SO hard. 😦
It’s 2:45am and I’m sitting with a coffee. I am utterly exhausted yet can’t fall asleep due to a pesky cough that only turns up during the night when sleeping.
I finally got myself to therapy earlier. With the help of some people here and also a nice response from Sienna whom I texted my struggles to.
My auto-immune diseases are flaring still. I’m in my 9th week of feeling truly crap. I am pretty much housebound most of the time because I am so exhausted and fatigued. I am in pain all over my body. It’s tolerable pain, but annoying and wearing all the same. The nausea I am experiencing most days is next level shit-ness.
I’m sure all of that isn’t helping my ability to cope with therapy stuff.
My session was okay. Not exactly what I needed – which was just to be a drippy “feeling sorry for myself” mess and just lie in a cuddle with Sienna.
But she never offered and I never asked. I still rarely initiate hugs. I can’t. The young ones if they’re the ones mostly in the room, they can ask and do. But if there’s enough adult or teen around, then I just can’t ask for hugs. I feel ashamed.
And shame was a huge topic in my therapy tonight. I feel so much shame for having child needs. Of being a grown-ass adult who spent so much of her life being super independent and capable and now has opened Pandora’s box and realised that all that independence was just masking deep fears and survival modes.
I don’t want to be weird. I don’t want to be a grown woman with the needs of a toddler. Which is currently where I am at. And it is embarrassing. And it is frustrating that I need this concentrated level of input on a weekly basis just to stay on an even keel.
My session had some pretty interesting conversations at times. Especially at the end when I started talking openly about the child parts and how they work, what they do. Sienna spoke about Sofia turning up to sessions a while back. I asked how she knew, and she said that Sofia wears different clothes!
I asked what like? And Sienna said black and purple clothes, dark eye-makeup. I was surprised as I don’t really remember Sofia wearing different clothes. But I do know that she wears dark make-up. Whereas when I go to therapy, I wear very little makeup/light, I like a natural barely there look.
Sienna said that a change in clothes or hairstyle sometimes what alerts her to there being a new part in the room.
I felt curious about that. It’s always strange when someone really sees me and notices things, even I don’t realise.
I wonder what she’s made of my change in style lately? I have definitely started buying slightly different colours and styles of clothes. More youthful and fun perhaps. Brighter colours that usual. I am really addicted to slogan sweatshirts and bright rainbow colours right now.
And I’ve taken to wearing my hair in bunches. Pretty much exactly like this ;
That’s pretty unusual for me. I don’t know why exactly, excepts that how a part wants it. I don’t know who but someone young. I’ve been feeling a lot of vulnerable youngsters around lately.. But from a practical point of view, I’ve needed my hair up and away from my neck as my auto-immune flare means I get quite warm at times.
I just feel all at sixes and sevens (is that a british phrase?) I feel like I am on an open channel right now and I am streaming all the alters. I feel all of them, and hear all of them and am sort of slipping in an out slightly between all of them. Meaning that things inside of me are very fluid and blended and it’s open season for all of them to just pop in and out. And it isn’t one at a time either, it’s like holding 10 children all at the same time, experiencing every single one of them simultaneously.
So I feel confused and discombobulated and so aware of all the alters, and seeing things from all of their perspectives, which causes me to feel weird and embarrasssed .
I feel so much need to be with Sienna all the time. I feel clingy and needy. And because I didn’t get what I needed tonight, part of me is tempted to ask for another session on Saturday if she has space. But another more adult part of me doesn’t feel like there’s any point or need even for it. Especially since I am unwell and since even though I am feeling so confused and blended with the parts, there’s not actually anyone with anything pressing to talk to her about. I suppose the need is for comfort and safety.
It’s like, I want to be with Sienna. I yearn to be in that office with her. Safe. I don’t need to survive whilst I’m there, I can put all of that down for an hour. But when I actually get there, reality bites and I suddenly don’t feel the comfort or safety I thought I would. And the parts don’t ask for what they need or talk about what’s really bothering them. Though they have been trying admittedly.
So why spend money on another session that won’t help anyway?
I do have a check in set up with Sienna for Friday, so we’ll just wait and see what tomorrow brings before I decide what I need.
I woke up yesterday morning from the most vivid of nightmares.
It was SO real. I woke up dissociated. Frozen. I spent hours in bed, unable to get myself up.
The dream…. well it was a CSA one again. I don’t think the actual events in the dream are memories. Yet, the dream feels true. The feelings and the experiences in it see, real. Yet….. here I am, still with no concrete memories of anything like that having ever occured.
CSA dreams are awful and I get them at least once or twice a week. I barely even register them anymore. And there’s no one to tell since I can’t reach out for support. So I don’t do anything with those dreams. I don’t speak about them much.
But every now and again, once comes along that floors me. And that one yesterday had me on my ass.
The details of the dream, seem like clues, part of memories perhaps?
The child’s narrative, the way she spoke and what she showed me in those dreams was just horrific. And she described things in her own childish language, not knowing the real words for the things she experienced.
I couldn’t shake that dream off. I just cuddled deeper into my duvet. Lay there feeling sad and alone and horrified and really missing Sienna.
Eventually, I drew a picture on the sketch app on my phone and amazingly that was enough to move me through the frozen state and allowed me to go shower which grounded me even more.
The rest of my day went fine but I did feel longing to have my therapist home. I still do.
4 days. 4 days until I see her again. Part of me feels joy at the thought of seeing her again. A young part of me just wants to reunite with her. Cuddle into her and be reassured that she’s back.
Yet when I imagine being there and seeing her I feel nerves and like I have nothing to say and then I feel anger towards her. I can feel my defenses bristle when I imagine being there. I can imagine not wanting to engage much with her, not wanting to show her I missed her or that it was hard, her being away for 3 weeks.
And I feel scared.
Scared to start therapy again, scared about what might come up, what ruptures we may face. Scared of the work ahead.
I’ve been having this recurring thought lately about finding a new therapist. Of feeling overwhelmed where I am with Sienna.
I don’t feel ready for where I find myself at in therapy with Sienna. I feel like I’ve been pushed into a space I’m just not ready for because of Sienna’s needs.
It doesn’t feel good. I feel like crying even typing this. I find myself flooding right now with feelings of fear, sadness and mistrust.
Fear that if I tell her how i’m feeling or struggling with this space we are in that she’ll make me leave her. That she’ll tell me to find something or someone else.
Fear that saying it, makes it real.
Fear that saying it out loud make it something I have to do something about.
Fear that saying it to her or out loud makes all my worries real and means that my therapy with her will have to come to an end.
Fear that things are really as terrible and as broken as they feel.
Fear that we have to deal with last year’s rupture.
Fear that I’ll be triggered back into a not coping place.
Sadness, sadness that my needs aren’t being met in the way that I want and need.
Sadness that once again I seem to be having to put my needs on hold so that another attachment figures can come first.
Sadness for all that I’ve lost in terms of trust and attachment and security.
Sadness for the deep suspicion and mistrust I have of Sienna now. Sadness for how much we lost through last year’s rupture and the hugely painful months that came before it.
Sometimes I feel like everything is broken beyond repair. And it feels awful. Sometimes it feels like we are coasting along because none of us want to admit it’s all broken.
I wonder if we are both staying on safer grounds because to discuss the rupture and the true costs of it would mean admitting it’s all fucked beyond repair.
And when all those feelings flood me all at once, I push them away, I push the down and away as far as possible so that I can maintain a working relationship with my beloved therapist. Pushing those thoughts and feelings down mean I don’t have to face another ruined relationship. I can’t bare the thought of it. So pushing it all away allows me to keep her.
But of course, being so fragmented, there’s also another side – several sides most likely, that are equally true.
Part of me says nothing is broken, certainly not beyond repair. That Sienna is committed to me and will help us find a way through.
There’s parts of me who trust her deeply. And have confidence in her ability. Parts who find safety with her. Parts who adore her. Other parts can see her as the flawed human who makes mistakes and that that’s okay. That part of my work is learning to tolerate other people’s mistakes and flaws. To not run away or distance myself when the fear of people’s humanity and short-comings threatens to overwhelm me.
And it’s really hard to hold within me opposing realities. Because both feel right and true to me and that makes it hard to know what’s right and what action I should take. It makes it hard for me to know if I need to protect myself or if I am letting my fears get in the way.
So for now, I do nothing. I wait. I will let thing unfold as they must.
9 days to go.
Nine days until I see my therapist again.
Do you know what’s surprised me this holiday? I’m not really missing HER, per se. I am not the usual pining yearning puddle of neediness.
I have found that I’ve struggled with just not having the framework of therapy. The psychological aspect of just knowing I don’t have that safety net must be sub-consciously worrying me because my bad dreams increased and my mental health definitely took a dip this week.
I’ve had a lot of observable growth in the past few months so to be honest, I feel quite disappointed by just how much I need my therapy. I can see how quickly I’d descend back into depression and quite significant dissociation without it. That depressed me.
I suppose if I was to look at the positives, they would be that my attachment issues have receded enough to make a 3 week break cope-able with. I’ve had moments of “ ugh”. But not the dragging, time-has-stopped aching for my therapist that I used to get. So that’s something.
This week has been tough. And for the first time in a long time, I actually felt depressed. That low level muted nothingness that depression brings, persistent low mood yuckiness.
I know it’s related to Sienna being away. And it gives me a glimpse into life if I didn’t have therapy. And I HATE that after all this time, I still really need that person, that place, that thing, to keep me on an even keel.
I’ve really missed her presence. I see how little I have in the way of supportive, positive relationships.
I think the problem is that my needs are that I absolutely need a strong presence in my life to guide me and regulate me, I need a parenting type figure still and no normal relationship with other adults can give me that.
Arghhhh it’s too depressing. ☹
I don’t want to need that. But I do need it.
And I’m assuming I won’t need that forever, I really hope not.
I don’t want to live with a deep need for a strong parental presence, I need to heal so that that need no longer exists. Because honestly, this week in particular, I’ve felt bereft and like my life is empty. I felt this empty nothingness open up within me and it just felt so painful and vast.
9 more days…. Sigh.
Yesterday was …… shit. Yes, shit is an accurate summation.
Last night I had this weird experience of hearing a baby crying. Like a really young baby. But its cry wasn’t normal, it was a distressed, traumatised cry.
And I was experiencing the baby’s distress as if it were me or I was it… I don’t know… it’s very hard to describe.
I have been playing a game on my phone a lot to distract and calm myself but this baby’s cry just interjected constantly for about 30 minutes or so.
Not sure if it’s a body memory thing or a dissociative part of me or something else.
But it hurt.
I flipped about all day, feeling okay and not okay. And mostly okay but not really okay.
Low level crapness.
Is this really all because my therapist isn’t here? ☹
Healing from identity fragmentation following developmental trauma and abuse
Living Life In Parts
Sometimes, I'm not Jess. Welcome to Dissociative Identity Disorder. Welcome to our integration. Read "About" before anything else.
My journey as a complex trauma survivor
Living with Bipolar Disorder & Mental Illness
Encouraging Growth: Children, Adolescents, Individuals & Families
The beauty and chaos of the journey to reclaim my lost selves
Supporting Survivors of Childhood Abuse and Complex PTSD
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I am on a journey; a journey to heal through my voice - surving life after sexual abuse
“We can only understand people if we feel them in ourselves”
Depression, PTSD, therapy and beyond
holding it together as I journey through therapy