Posted in blogging, dissociative identity disorder, Girl blogger, mental health, mental health awareness, therapist, therapy, trauma, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

A Very Special Therapy Session.

I haven’t written about this session that happened 2 weeks ago because I needed time to digest it and keep it for myself I suppose.

1st October

“ Did you bring your story books?” Sienna asked.

I smiled “ Yes! Do you want to see them?”

Sienna nodded.

I had bought new children’s books as Sienna had suggested a few times that she read to my young parts. I’ve secretly wanted that for SO long but the shame of it put me off asking, so I was glad when she suggested it.

I brought the books out my therapy bag along with my dream journal. Sienna started with my dream journal which had fresh nightmares to read about.

Keira had been close to the surface all last week and she was still close by. I think because I’d been so very unwell physically my usual barriers were down and I was feeling floppy and attachment-y and vulnerable and I don’t have the same energy to keep the alters further back.

I sat back on my sofa, and snuggled under my cover whilst Sienna read my most recent dreams. As I settled back and had a minute to decompress while Sienna read my dream journal- “ The Book of Doom”.

I felt Keira take over.

I wonder if Sienna knew or sensed it because as she talked to me about my dreams she spoke with Keira directly?

“ I get a real feeling of loss and self-hatred and a feeling that you’re bad through and through. But it’s not you who’s bad, it’s the people who are around you. You’re just a little girl who wants to read stories and be like every other little girl. You think there’s evil inside you but it belongs to someone else, it’s not yours. And we are going to find a way of getting it out…. Deal?”

I nodded and smiled.

Sienna added “ Cos you’re not evil.”

Keira started talking about the evil that lies in her tummy.

Sienna explained to her that it isn’t her evil or badness, that it’s other people who’ve put that idea in me. That evil is perhaps shame but it’s not my shame it’s theirs.

She said softly “ You’re not bad or evil or shameful. You’re just lost…. But I see you.

Keira nodded. She liked that Sienna can see her.

But as Sienna talked a bit more, it became a bit much for Keira and we became slighty fidgety. Sienna changed her attention to the new story books.

“ So what’s your favourite book?” She picked them both up and held them up.

“ Which one Keira Bee, which one do u like best?” I love her cute nickname for me. No idea where she got it from though!

I told her “ I haven’t read them yet! I was waiting to look at them with you.”

I said “ Can I lie down? I’m really tired.” I didn’t really wait for an answer, I just slid down the sofa under my covers, resting my head on the soft arm of the sofa.

Sienna said “ Of course you can. Do you want me to read them? Do you want to choose or do u want both?”

I nodded.

Sienna asked “ Do you want teddy over?”

I nodded

“Which one do you want? Or do u want them all?”

I laughed – “ them all”.

Sienna dimmed the lights and I was cosy and ready to hear a story.

Sienna read the Big Big Sea. It was a short story about a little girl who goes to the beach at night with her mum. The illustrations were beautiful. One the first page I exclaimed “ Vee looks like her!” (My 3 year old alter)

Sienna said “ Does she? Ohhh?”

Vee’s hair is shorter and maybe a bit younger but yeah Vee looks like the girl. I wonder if that’s why I picked the book?

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I don’t know what happened but halfway through the book I started feeling like I wanted to tell Sienna to stop reading but I couldn’t.

I have read the book since and I have no idea what made me so upset about it.

At the end of the book Sienna said of the story “ It’s very powerful isn’t it?”

Keira said “ I don’t like it.”

Sienna said softly “ No, I didn’t think you would. But maybe your mum and you did something similar sometimes before things turned sad.”

She talked more about the book and how maybe it was a good book in a way as it helps us acknowledge what is missing.

“ I don’t want to!!!” I cried. “ I don’t want that book.”

I/Keira wanted to rip the pages out in anger and disappointment.

I said tearfully and a bit pathetically “ I thought it be a good book and it wasn’t, it was a terrible one.”

I lay on the sofa crying. Feeling heartbroken and pitiful.

Sienna said “ Maybe it’s the right book. But I know it’s so painful.”

Honestly, there’s nothing overly emotional in the book I have no idea what triggered it. The story isn’t even that good to be honest.

Eventually I sat up and said “ I thought it was going to be a nice book.”

Sienna said gently “ And you got a bit of a fright there, hmm?”

After a bit of talking, Sienna suggested we try the new book. I wanted to but what if it made me feel bad too? Made me feel the loss of that mother/daughter relationship again?

I said “What if it’s a bad book too?”

Sienna suggested she read it first to find out. I agreed.

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Sienna sifted through the pages, smiling at some parts.

She nodded at the end of it and said decisively “ Okay, we are reading this one.”

She turned the book back to the beginning and propped it up for me to see the pages.

Sienna said “ This is from me to Keira, okay?”

I nodded.

Sienna read the story of a grumpy little fox named Small, and Large – little’s parent.

Small says “ I’m a grim and grumpy little Small and nobody loves me at all!!”

Sienna said to me “ Who does that sound like, hm?”

I said “ Keira.”

Sienna nodded her head and smiled and continued.

Large replied “ oh Small” said Large. “ Grumpy or not I’ll always love you no matter what.”

I smiled.

Sienna turned the page and said “ Is she listening? Is Keira listening?”

I nodded and said quietly “ uh huh.”

Sienna continued through the story which was truly beautiful. And made all the more special because I knew Sienna was reading it to me and meaning the words.

I loved the story.

Sienna closed the book and whispered “ So it doesn’t matter what you think, Sienna still loves Keira!”

I smiled. I knew she was alluding to the fact that I had told her  the previous week that Keira worried that Sienna didn’t like her.

Keira said “ And u even love Sofia when she’s being an angry crocodile!”

Sienna laughed. “ Yes!!”

She added “ So see, just because, sometimes, u drive others insane, doesn’t mean we stop loving you. Cos that’s love, that’s life.”

Keira said “ but there could be that one time that I do something to make you stop.”

Sienna explained as simply as possible for Keira “ But when you love somebody, you don’t stop loving them just because they’re really bad to you. You might not like their behaviour or you can’t understand them but it doesn’t stop you loving them.

And it shows when it hurts that that love is still there. So you can’t really switch that love off is somebody Is doing something you don’t like. You just don’t like the behaviour, you don’t dislike the person. And people aren’t perfect and Keira isn’t perfect either or Sofia, all of you… they think they’re not loveable but they are. They just can’t see it yet.”

Keira said “ But they’re leave-able.”

Sienna thought for a second. “ Not because of them though, not because of anything you did. You mum left because of her own stuff.”

Keira sobbed as Sienna spoke about my mum.

Eventually, the session wound down. The conversation quietened.

Sienna yawned. She apologised and said “ Oh, sorry, it’s all these dimmed lights and stories making me sleepy!” She laughed.

I laughed too.

Sienna said jokingly “ What would you do? If I fell asleep? Would you tuck me in?”

Keira said “ Yes! And I’d give u my special covers and my teddies.”

Sienna laughed gently at the idea.

The rest of the session, Sienna and Keira played with the teddies and read nursery rhymes on Sienna’s phone. It was super cute.

It was such a lovely session. It was important. Really important in it’s sweetness and it’s genuine love and affection.

To hear Sienna lovingly read to Keira and to explain love to her was a memory I’ll treasure forever.

It really secured Keira in her attachment to Sienna, made her more sure of the realness of the relationship and the real love that was there and reciprocated. That is what is and was important – that Sienna loved us back, that her love is real.

And best of all, the secure feeling lasted a good couple of weeks, which for me is an absolute miracle!

The oxytocin flushed through me and sustained me for so long and it felt wonderful and magical.

I’m starting to feel that our relationship is real and sustainable and there no matter what. It’s hard to trust that it’s real and enduring or rather it’s hard to put down the hypervigilance and expectation that it will end spectacularly and suddenly. There’s parts of me that feels like if I put the hypervigilance down, then the shock of abandonment will be so much worse!

Yet I do feel the enduring nature of our relationship. That maybe, just maybe this person loves us enough to stay.

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Posted in dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, Girl blogger, mental health, mental health awareness, trauma, Uncategorized

i am here

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This week I had open to me a 3rd week of daily check ins. But I didn’t use them, well, with the exception of the usual Friday check in that’s always in place because I want to keep that structure available for the parts.

My dreams have settled down quite a bit and are now back to my bog-standard level of anxiety and nightmare trauma dreams…. ones I can cope with.

My pain levels are still much higher than usual and that’s been tough to deal with. But there’s not much I can do about it other than self-care my way out it.

I have went through a gamut of emotions this week on the back of some fairly hefty nightmares and revelations. But what has stopped me reaching out to Sienna is this muted sense of having nothing  new to say on the matter. There’s nothing she can say or tell me that she hasn’t already. There’s nothing I can say or express that I haven’t already, so it just feels pointless.

It amazes me, that when I think back to the early days of this therapy journey, the permission and opportunity to speak to my therapist every day would have been too amazing to miss. Back then though, I was haemorrhaging feelings and thoughts and emotions. The trauma was just gushing from me, dying to be heard and attended to. And the level of need for my therapist’s attention and care was overwhelming. Now the needs ebb and flow, but I can hold a lot more for myself these days and it feels good.

And I suppose it’s not that I am holding it all in. When I talk of holding it for myself, it means that all the haemorrhaging has slowed to a trickle and sometimes it stops all together. I am starting to clot, so to speak. And it isn’t always excruciating pain now and that’s why I can hold things better. It’s like the trauma stuff has been turned down to a level I can hold.

I think the daily check-ins for the past two weeks have been amazing and much needed support. And they have had the desired effect of giving me continuity and structure of care, and giving me a support valve to release whatever was coming up for me. It gave me confidence to cope with everything because I knew I had contact points every 24 hours.

But more than that, it helped settle the young parts who have deep attachment wounds. They were able to stay emotionally connected to Sienna in the face of some pretty dark material being revealed. If I hadn’t had the back up of the check ins I almost certainly would have had young parts feeling abandoned and alone and that would then stir the teens who would feel huge mistrust and rage towards Sienna for leaving us all alone with the bad things.

In absence of the attachment stuff, this dark, upsetting abuse stuff is something I can cope with, which I think says something about the level of distress attachment trauma causes.

The thing with child abuse…. No matter how I feel or the child parts feel, we know on some level that we are the victim. We are innocent even if sometimes we feel complicit. And even if some parts don’t know they’re not to blame, they are still treated by Sienna as the innocent party, the victim, the person needing love and care and gentleness. Which does confuse them, and I’ll come back to that in another post.

But when I am in the middle of a developmental/attachment trauma flashback, I feel annihilated. I have used the phrase “annihilation black-out” a few times because it describes perfectly the blind panic, the dark reality I fall into and can’t easily come out of without the help of a relational other.

And that is much worse than any flashbacks of child abuse. Much worse.

It might surprise people to read that. That the child or infant’s fear of abandonment or rejection is worse than being sexually abused. But for me it is.

Yet the “annihilation black-outs” fetch far less caring and loving from anyone, Sienna included. And I find that incredibly sad. How tragic is it that attachment wounds garner far less empathy yet cause so much more pain?

I mean, Sienna is generally very caring, even about the attachment stuff. But I can tell she doesn’t get it, not fully. Like, when you have empathy for someone who’s broken a bone, you can look after them, and appreciate how deeply painful it must be, but if you’ve never broken a bone, you can’t fully understand the agony. That’s just the human condition. Empathy can only go so far.

The attachment trauma flashbacks and blackouts are so heavy and deeply dissociative that I think, well, I know, that it triggers Sienna’s own “stuff”, her own attachment style and the counter-transference is deep and sometimes confusing and muddy. And sometimes (more than I’d like), Sienna pulls away instead of moves towards me.

It’s something I’ve spoken to her about before. But it was a long time ago and I’d like to draw her attention to it again. Because I’d like the love and caring and availability she’s shown me these past couple of weeks to be there during the abandonment stuff too. Because for me, the attachment stuff feels worse.

I always feel responsible for the attachment wounds, to blame. That I am weak and needy and pathetic and full of shame, I am burdensome and not nice to be around and my reality is so deeply skewed, yet I can’t help it, it feel real to me in the moment. Very very real and terrifying.

The abuse stuff I know it in the past. I know I can’t be hurt in that way anymore. So, for me there’s a sense of distance and perspective that allows me to cope with it better. That of course may change if I get more dissociative material being flung up from the depths of my unconscious. There have been times I’ve woken from a nightmare that may be and certainly felt like, a memory/flashback and a body memory and being super dissociated and as a result highly distressed. So I do know that things could get a lot more difficult for me with this stuff but right now it doesn’t cause me as much pain as the attachment stuff does when it’s fully activated.

This morning, while I was in a half-asleep, half awake state I was aware of feeling so much pain in my body. All down my left-side, arm, wrist, shoulder, clavicle, hips burned with pain. And there was a young part in deep distress about something that I now can’t remember. Don’t even get me started on alters and dreams and sleeping memories and alters’ dreams while I’m sleeping and Parts having conversation whilst I am actually dreaming….. having alters is fucking insane!

So yeah, my alarm went off and I had the young part’s distress in my ear and I knew I was desperate to speak to Sienna. I only had 10 minutes to wait. But within that 10 minutes, my pain left my body, and the young part disappeared and I was left with this mute numb state where I had no idea what I wanted to talk to Sienna about?

As I waited for my time to call, I lay in bed numbed, feeling frustrated because I know that minutes earlier I (or the child part) really needed to talk. And I noticed I was holding my teddy to my mouth, sucking my thumb like a very young child. She was still around…. But this Editor part had jumped in and taken over.

My actions were that of a child but my thoughts were very adult and I didn’t even have the body pain that’s been plaguing me.

I did tell Sienna about that and we had a really good conversation. She suggested that we work with the Editor, find out more about her and find a way to work with her so that she can allow the child parts through.

Sienna asked if I needed check ins over the weekend and I told her no. I think I’ll be okay to get to Monday.

Shortly after our call ended, I felt the body pains return and I settled down to sleep some more.

It still amazes me that my brain can split so much as to take away very real physical pain in order to protect itself.

I have so many questions unanswered about my splitting. And why things happen as they do. Sometimes I feel so together and other times I split and I don’t even know it.