silent agony

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I am at such a wtf am I going to do moment. I can’t get out of bed, except sometimes to take care of my kids in my house and to go to therapy appointments. This has been going on for bloody 17 months.

I am not getting better. Sometimes I desperately want to get better, other times I hear inside that staying in bed is better and I shouldn’t try to change it.

I hate that my wife is so confused about what to do. Sometimes I think she wants to leave me, and I don’t blame her. Sometimes I want her to leave me so I do not have to be judged and can just stay in bed with no one trying to change me or feel bad for me.

But then I remember my kids. Shit, I just can’t abandon them. They need me. I wish they didn’t so I could leave this planet. I love them so much, but I lay in pain so much too.

It is a cruel joke that I have survived in life. I am definitely not living. I am holding on to parenting my kids mostly from inside my bedroom or the house.

No one understands how hard it is for me to get up and shower and eat dinner with them.

I know this is some kind of anxiety. I M probably terrified people are going to hurt me outside the house. I have a lot of recent experience with that.

My mind tells my body to get up and take a shower and do something normal. My body just ignores me and lays in my bed.

I am literally wasting away in this bed. I am getting older and don’t have much life yet, so I don’t understand why I am doing this. Oh, an insider says I am punishing  myself for the therapist who abandoned me.

So many reasons. Not sure it even matters anymore now. I hate for my children to see me in bed, and wonder what they think of me.

My pain is raw. Yet I am also numb. This is why my suicide switch keeps flickering. The answer is there, but the insiders won’t agree so we languish in silent agony.

The indifferent therapist who ruined me


There is a woman who lives just about a mile from my house who I have so far allowed to ruin my life.
She is not a lover, or anything so exciting as that. She was my first therapist after my 13 year hiatus from the mental health community.

From the first moment I spoke to her on the phone about a possible appointment with her, she touched my mommy transference button. Not because she was so nice, but because she was indifferent as to whether I came for help or not.

I came in to meet this woman for a ridiculous fee, and she told me I wouldn’t succeed with the first therapist I picked because my DID was too much of a problem. When we talked about me possibly seeing her, she was again indifferent. My mommy transference was triggered again.

I ended up coming to see this woman as my therapist, and it was the craziest, most emotionally dysregulating relationship in my adult life. She saw her indifference as empowering me. It destroyed me instead.

I had always been a person who didn’t need anyone. I can go to the movies or dinner alone and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I love being alone. But she was different.

Her indifference throughout our relationship of whether I was dead or alive propelled me so far into transference land that I couldn’t let go. I needed to do this “mom do-over” correctly, so that she would care about me, or at the very least care whether I lived or died.

As each day passed on, our relationship became more destabilizing to the both of us, though she probably wouldn’t admit that.

She has a need to be the perfect, expert DID therapist in town, so she would never want anyone to think she was less than perfect. Neat, orderly, perfect, and sometimes cold as ice.

I was still obsessed with making this relationship work, even though I started going to an anonymous bar after every therapy appointment with her. I felt suicidal most days over feelings I had toward her, or perceived feelings she had toward me.

I became obsessed with her abandoning me. Sometimes paralyzed by it. We spent endless hours talking about the subject, so I became very clear about her rules of when she would abandon me. She said she would have to abandon me if I ever tried to kill myself, which is kind of a ridiculous rule to have for someone who is DID, but I agreed to it.  She promised that she would never abruptly abandon me, and that if it ever needed to happen, I would know far in advance and it would be a slow, gradual transition to a new therapist.

My protector parts had much more insight than me and my younger parts because we were so attached to her. They listened to exactly what she revealed about herself as her weaknesses, and acted on them.

We were suicidal and we told her we needed to go inpatient. She told us she would help, and she didn’t. The next session we told her again, and begged her to call the admissions coordinator, and she didn’t. This was interpreted by us that she wanted us to kill herself, and we couldn’t bare the callousness of her not caring. What other rational explanation could there be.

That evening when we had given up all hope that she was going to help us, we went to a bar and had two beers. We spoke to her on the phone and refused to tell her where we were because we didn’t want the police to show up in our small town. I offered to walk home since I wasn’t far from it and live in a fairly safe area. She wouldn’t allow it. I ended up driving because I was really ok to do so, and couldn’t leave my car in the parking lot.

She had told us before that she had no tolerance for people who were drinking, and people who were seriously suicidal. The therapist became triggered.

I flew out that night on my own, from my own decision, to a treatment center for people with DID, and spoke with her the next morning. I asked her if she was going to leave me over this, and she promised she wasn’t and that “it is nowhere on my radar screen.”

After entering the treatment center and more and more time was going by and I hadn’t heard from her, I knew she had lied. I knew she wanted out. She didn’t have the courage to tell me this herself. She finally came up with this long list of nonsense that were new requirements to continue treatment with her. She knew my protectors would never go for the list as it was just too ridiculous.

At first my protectors rightfully said no thank you. Then I panicked in a huge way and begged her to stay, and agreed to all her conditions, and she wouldn’t allow it. She told me I needed to listen to my protectors. She gave us three referrals and that was it. Only one of the referrals agreed to see me when I got back into to town, but after she spoke with this previous therapist, she literally backed out of agreeing to see me.

I must have interviewed 20 therapists who said they treated DID. At least half were nut jobs, and the other half were either not good fits or nice people who were extremely inexperienced.

I received in the mail a certified letter from the therapist containing all the SuperBills from the year before that I had requested the year before, and the 3 useless referrals. In other words, she was trying to cover her ass.

I called her and wrote her and begged her to either talk to me or help me find a therapist. She never talked to me again. She left me for dead, which is actually meant to be literal. She is no different than my biological mom.

In my entire life, I never begged someone to act like a human being and just help me by doing something as simple as calling me so I could understand what happened.

That was 17 months ago. And even though I did find a good therapist, and realized my relationship with the first was extremely bad for me for various reasons (primarily because we were triggering each other nonstop, though she would never admit that), I haven’t been able to leave my bed other than to go to an appointment for 17 months now, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I have also developed several health problems over this 17 months.

Today, we do see her across a parking lot from time to time. Depending on the day, sometimes I think of running her down, other days I realize she is just another imperfect human being and care nothing about her. My little ones inside still want her to be their mother, even though we try to explain why she wouldn’t be a good mother for us.

Some days we still cry over the loss of her, and more often, for what she did to us. In the end, we didn’t mean anything to her, and she didn’t care if we lived or died as long as she was clear of any potential law suits. She truly had become my mother in many ways, but when you are mental health provider you have all the power to ruin someone by simply saying they are borderline and extremely difficult. Doesn’t matter if that has any basis in reality. It enables her to protect her do-gooder image, no matter if it destroys me.

I don’t know when, if ever, we will be functional enough to get out of bed and live our lives again.

We know we shouldn’t let this severely less than perfect person wreck our lives, but we truly feel ruined and have no insight on how to move out of this condition. It is so hard to forgive someone who betrays your trust on this level, and then makes it your fault. Narcissism.

I am all for therapists taking care of themselves, and if she needed out, she needed to get out. But, this should have been balanced with my welfare, my chance at survival, and maybe an explanation for what was happening. I am actually a fairly reasonable and forgiving person to those who know me. I don’t know that I will ever forgive her, not that she cares.

So, this has left me bedridden and missing out on my life. I am sad about this tonight, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do to make it any better. I guess my horrible luck in life continues on.

There are days when I want to kill her, but those are rare and I choose to think of killing myself instead. Either way, without a doubt, she has killed an important part of me already with no remorse. Yet, another very difficult fact to accept into my life.

It is scary to think sometimes the helpers are sicker than the patients. Ah, but to admit so would be bad for the profession, so no one will be admitting that here. The helper is always right, no matter how much baggage she secretly carries.

Please pray that one day I will find my way out of what has become a very imperfect life for me. I deeply appreciate the stranger therapists, who were in the business for the right reason, and tried their best to help me because they cared about human life.

Leaning toward love

 

I am the child of a sadistic, narcissistic, evil woman, so this is a day of painful emotions.

I am sad that I still play the pretend game and will call her later today to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. I will try to keep the conversation short as is always hard because she runs right over me with her words about herself, never listening to me.

But, I’ll get through this day.

My beautiful children will help. Their loving, smiling faces make life worth living. We are so lucky to have children who are the most beautiful angels it takes my breath away.

It amazes me that it didn’t take any special effort to not continue the cycle of abuse so many people talk about. It is natural to love and take care of your babies, which makes it harder to understand the actions of my parents.

I love my children more than anything else in this world. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.

I wish all moms could feel that way.

I am sorry for those of you who had moms like mine.

I am happy for those of you who are amazing moms, and also for those who were lucky enough to have a great mom.

A day of ambivalence. I will lean toward love. I hope you can, too.

Jesus, tomorrow is Mother’s Day


In my fog and crises of the week, I blocked out that Mother’s Day is tomorrow. I know so many of you are excited to celebrate this day with you wonderful moms. For me, it just puts me in a predicament of how do I handle it this year.

She is getting older and older, and I know some time soon I won’t have a live mother to celebrate or even talk to.

She also won’t be able to hurt me, and I know my insiders who know her true colors will be glad she is gone. I am sure there are those who will be sad and are already begging me to stop writing this.

Oh the internal conflict over mom. Some believe she was an okay mom, who just had a drinking problem when were growing up. Others, think she is the child of the devil, evil and sadistic and narcissistic, and should be killed in gruesome ways.

Why do they hate her so much, said the core. You know bloody fucking well said a protector. 

The spouse sent her a Mother’s Day card for us. I suppose we will be obedient and call her tomorrow, or maybe we will forget the day. Disobedience is always scary when it comes to her.

We have kids of our own, so they will remind us it is Mother’s Day. 

I wish we had the Hallmark card mother that so many other people get. We didn’t win that lottery, or any for that matter. No, not true. We did win the lottery with the beautiful children we have.

So Jesus, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Forgive me for what I think or do/not do. I am really not a bad person.

Figuring out the puzzle

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When I was a child, my mind was specifically made to not think. I wasn’t to understand what was happening. People around me did things to my mind to ensure that. I was simply worthy of being kept alive for the purposes of a lot of sick people.

The first time I remember something substantially unusual about my life was when I was around 10 and the first Star Wars movie came out. Back in those days, we didn’t have movies like that, so it was a big deal to be going. I remember waiting outside the theater with my friends (another family took me), all of us filled with excitement. The next thing I remembered was walking out of the theater with my friends as they were excitedly re-enacting the movie scenes. But, for me, I had no memory of the movie at all. I was terrified someone would find out that there was something terribly wrong with me, so I didn’t say anything to anyone, and pretended to know what the movie was about for months. It was so disturbing for me, I still have not watched that movie.

Then, throughout my life there were voices in my head commenting on various things and criticizing me. Even though I heard multiple voices and sometimes we talked back and forth with each other, I talked myself into believing that everyone had voices in their head. It was especially easy to do that when the whole “inner child” concept took off.

In high school, I didn’t put much thought into it, but I changed identities frequently and maintained opposite identities at the same time depending on who I was around or what I was doing. This was not your normal finding your identity experience. This was bizarre, and I knew it, but chose not to think about it.

Some of my identities in high school were band geek, druggie, political activist, ROTC rising star, non-drinker, heavy drinker, business entrepreneur, school skipper, slut, good girl, athlete wannabe, advanced student, special ed student, and of course the lost child who wanted help but never asked.

By some miracle, I got into the state college. It was a miracle because I hadn’t remembered or paid attention to about 90% of what I think they taught in school. I got in because I had such an interesting list of activities and successes (minus the not so good ones I left out). I was let in under a provisional status that gave me a couple of quarters to prove that I could do college level work.

I started college and was driven to succeed. I did extremely well in most subjects. I spent my first ten weeks learning everything important for college. I didn’t even know how to write an essay when I got there, but I worked hard and caught up with my peers. I became extremely good at debating both sides of the issues. I believe this was probably because I was able to switch into different parts to argue each side. This got me heavily involved in politics on campus and in the state. I became a rising star in the political successes I experienced. I was also really good at accounting, which was weird because numbers tended to bore me, especially as a career. But, I was good at it.

I fell in love with a guy the first quarter I was there. I lived in a co-ed dorm, so we had some wild parties and it wasn’t unusual for boyfriends and girlfriends to live together. In our one dorm room, we had 5 people living there, and it wasn’t much bigger than a regular secondary bedroom in a house without a bathroom.

Sex, alcohol, pot, and pizza were everywhere. Though I was in no way a virgin when I entered college, many of my dorm mates were, and were losing their virginity quickly and stupidly. I had one really stupid sexual experience with a guy I didn’t even like because I was trying to fit in. Dumb mistake. That experience started something that stayed with me in a negative way, even to this day.

The man I loved, and did want to have sex with started out ok. But then I quickly started to have problems having sex. I would just freeze,  have a flashback, or just not want to have sex for reasons I didn’t understand. I mean, I loved this man, I was attracted to him, I felt safe with him, but as each day crept along it seemed to get worse, except every once in a while I would change in a way I couldn’t explain and have a good sexual experience with him. It was good sometimes, and bad most of the time. I truly had no clue what was wrong with me. He loved me and wanted to stick it out with me, but when we hit the 3 year mark I let him go. I couldn’t do it to him anymore. I knew something was really wrong with me because my sexual problems kept getting worse, and I didn’t think it was fair to do that to him.

I was able to keep succeeding at some important roles and clubs at school, and my grades were very good, which landed me a top job with a highly competitive corporation. They expected me to be somebody based on my resume, but none of us had any idea what was brewing inside for me.

After achieving success after success my Senior year, I found myself feeling depressed, crying a lot, and thinking of suicide. I had no idea what was wrong with me, so I kept it a secret and went to the elaborate student mental health center at the University. At the student mental health center, the psychiatrist literally yelled at me and told me to stop crying, and gave me a prescription for Xanax. At first it was helpful to get me through the days and the tough academic demands, but then I started reaching a point where I needed to keep taking more and more to feel ok. Finally, I started feeling suicidal again, and fortunately I found a good therapist and psychiatrist off campus who helped me get inpatient at a local private psychiatric hospital. I have no memory of how I found those two people who helped and cared about me a great deal.

I spent the next 6 months at the hospital, kind of a psychiatric mystery on why I wasn’t getting better. At the time, I was put on every anti-depressant available, and none of them worked. At the same time, I started to realize these strange conflicting feelings going on inside me. I was attached to my therapist, and I remember one time she was going to be out for a couple of days. During those couple of days, I was feeling ok, but then I also started having suicidal thoughts and other conflicting thoughts. I remember the voices in my head increased and were talking to each other. I also remember my body not always feeling in my control.

I tried to discuss this with my therapist and psychiatrist, and unfortunately, they did not believe in dissociative disorders, or at least thought they were very rare (not true). So, they continued to believe I was only suffering from Major Depression, which I was, but I also had other complicating factors going on, which explained why I wasn’t getting better. They finally put me on lithium, the drug mainly used for people with Bipolar illness, and it seemed to help my depression, or it was completely a coincidence.

I was finally well enough to leave the hospital. I still had serious mental health issues going on, but I finally was able to go home. Going home eventually made it so I could see an expert in what I suspected was going on with me, and she diagnosed me with Multiple Personality Disorder, which is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder. I hadn’t read up on it really because there was no internet back then, and books hadn’t really been published on the subject, or at least available to the public. I just knew it felt like other people were living inside my body, and I learned about therapists who were treating this condition. I knew I was not experiencing life like the “Three Faces of Eve” or “Sybil,” but a less dramatic form of that was taking place in my life.

So, essentially, I self-diagnosed myself. I do not say this to brag, but to let you know the frustration I feel for myself and others who are in a mental health system that refuses to wholeheartedly believe in this diagnosis, or believe it is so rare that they don’t expect to see it in their professional career. The truth is it is extremely common, and somehow, we need to wake up mental health providers. I can’t tell you the number of mental health professionals in my current city who call themselves “trauma experts,” but refuse to learn about or work with people who have a diagnosis of DID. As a result, people with DID spend years and years getting the wrong kind of treatment, and essentially lose a significant part of their lives to the illness because the mental health professionals diagnosed them incorrectly because of their own bias or ignorance. This must change.

Ghost Child

 

Imagine growing up in an environment where you don’t really exist. Most of the time no one sees you, hears you, or even thinks of you and your basic needs. You don’t exist, but you do.

You know you exist because you can see them. Sometimes they sound muffled, sometimes you are drifting away, but you know you are there. You can feel some things like hunger, pain, and fear. You have to be real to feel those things. But most of the time the world acts as if you don’t exist, unless it is one of those times when the people want something from you.

As an adult, I am always fearful when someone asks me a basic question about my childhood. I am afraid my secret will be exposed. My secret that the things I could discuss with a regular inquiring human don’t exist for me. I don’t remember the normal happenings of any given day from my childhood, though I am sure I must have had some. I only have memories of the bad, or the quiet moments when it seemed like the world stopped and I was just walking around in it alone.

I don’t tell people that I can only remember 3 memories of Kindergarten, and have no memory of 1st through 6th grade, except for a few traumatic memories that involved school.

Now that I know I have DID, I suppose the logical explanation is that those memories are stored somewhere in my brain as experiences of another part of me. I try and try to remember, but I can’t. It is hard to make sense of things when you don’t have complete memories.

There is this really shitty group out there called the False Memory Foundation. They would dismiss all my memories because of the significant gaps in memory I do have. They like to say people with DID are faking it because they are trying to avoid responsibility for a crime, or perhaps the fake DID person just wants attention. We won’t go into their motives for saying that here.

I am not avoiding responsibility for a crime, and I certainly don’t need attention, especially of this nature. There were times when I denied it was real, but there is just too much that meets the criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder that I experience.

I have distinctly different parts who have distinct personalities, cognitive functioning, and beliefs about the world. They have different names, genders, sexual orientations, ages, bodies, and so much more. Though we experience ourselves as separate people, we do know there is only one body that we all share. We just don’t all agree on what the body looks like. Younger parts actually see small bodies when they look at our body.

Almost all of us experience terrible amnesia that affects us just about every day. We have learned techniques to hide it, but anyone who has any insight into this disorder would easily spot it with a few questions. I tried to write it off as dementia at one point, but then that doesn’t explain the parts who have very good memories and can recall all sorts of details I would never be able to recall.

My DID helped me survive horrific abuse, neglect, constant exposure to violence and alcohol/drugs, and mind control. By the time I reached 7th grade, my DID seemed to settle down some and I remembered more of my life from that point on, but definitely still experiencing periods of amnesia.

My parents decided for reasons I will probably never know to move to another state and start the family over in 7th grade. We became this new fake family that just tried to blend in with the rest. For the most part we did, considering so much was still going on.

I was still being raped by a family member during that period, but that seemed tolerable compared to my younger years.

Though I never mattered much to my family of origin, my life did become a little more normalized despite the ongoing abuse, violence, police interventions, drug dealing, suicide attempts and prostitution that still went on in our family.

Though I had friends my entire life, I have always felt alone because of the disconnect between my fake world and real world. I was taught early on that the real world I lived in was never to be discussed with anyone. And it wasn’t until recently.

So, I have always sort of felt like this ghost person, one who was there and at times interacting quite normally in the world, but one who had no real identity and no connection to anyone, except maybe my pets. It is hard to explain. Some of my friends would describe me as quite social, but that is because I have parts of me who can do that without being our authentic selves. When you can’t be authentic, it is like you are not really there, but just playing a part of what we think a “normal” person would do in those situations.

Sadly, I have been disconnected from other people my entire life. My children are probably my closest connections, but even then it doesn’t feel 100% connected or authentic.

I have always known I was abused and neglected, but I used all my energy to push that away from my everyday thinking. The memories stayed everyday, but the feelings and thoughts about them stayed far away until my Senior year of college.

And that began the official deconstruction of my life.

Attachment issues, oh how I hate you

I am blown away that I am just now learning what a huge affect attachment problems have on my everyday adult life. I had no idea what played out for me as a child is totally being re-enacted by me as an adult in many of my relationships.

Fortunately, by some miracle, I don’t think my attachment problems play out too negatively with my children, which begs the question of how I learned how to be a good parent when I had no experience or role models for it? Kind of a mystery for me.

Anyway, I hate my attachment problems. It turns me into a 2 or 3 year old, which is not so cool, and people, even the most well-intentioned therapists, don’t get how difficult this problem is for me.

It is such a primal wound for me, it is probably the leading cause of my suicidal or self-harming thoughts.

Despite the horrific child abuse I experienced, I grew up unloved and uncared for. The message was loud and clear: I did not matter in this world.

Even though I was clearly unkempt, emaciated from lack of food, and often wandering  around a beach town on my own at a very young age, no one intervened to even ask me if I was ok or considered whether such a small child should be wandering around alone in a town full of transient people from many bad walks of life.

I do enough reading to know this is not an uncommon phenomenon. People know someone is being abused or have strong suspicions, but decide to stay out of it for their own reasons. Maybe because we don’t scream from the rooftops that if you see a child you think is being abused or needs help, you need to do something. At least make a phone call to DFACS. We all need to do better.

But too many of us have been treated like we don’t matter. No one helped us. No one picked up the phone or asked the questions. That is such a horrible message to have branded on to your brain. It is not a message I have been able to get rid of. I will always put myself second and take the bullet for someone else, even if that someone is a stranger. I guess I am like that because no one did it for me. On some days that makes me the good guy. Other days it leaves me broken, hurting, and almost dead.

When I was a child, I can’t ever think of a time when someone told me they loved me. I don’t remember any affection. I was treated less-than my two older siblings. I hardly received any attention unless it was the wrong kind of attention. I had no one.

When I was about 4 or 5, I begged for months for a stuffed animal. That is all I asked for. I didn’t need or want for anything else. Every day, nothing. I was so alone.

Finally, after someone in my life used me for sexual purposes, that person threw a used cheap carnival stuffed dog at me. That was one of the happiest days of my childhood. I finally had someone to hold, someone to talk to, someone who belonged to me. That grungy stuffed dog probably saved my life. I had it all the way through High School. I didn’t think much about its meaning as I got older, but I knew to hang onto it.

Interestingly, at this point in my life, my younger parts have a stuffed dog that we bought off Amazon. At the time, I didn’t see the connection. I just knew they knew with certainty that is what they wanted. Now it makes sense to me.

Today, I am a grown woman who owns a stuffed animal that resides in bed with me and my spouse. Not exactly what my spouse signed up for 20 years ago, but it is what it is at this point. Because of the way my attachment problems manifested for me, it is easier for me to say love me or leave me, I don’t really care. But, not all parts of me agree with that attitude, which is something I try to keep in mind.

In my therapy today, we talked a lot about attachment issues because my therapist is leaving us next week for surgery. It is something that gives me an instant panic attack when I think about it. Most of the parts in me who hold painful emotions are devastated by this event. I don’t expect others to understand, but it is like I am going to die without her for the week, and god forbid, what if she dies from the surgery.

I am absolutely clear this is not a normal response to what is happening, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you this is our emotional truth and predicament. It is as if the mom is leaving us in the crib with nothing to eat and may or may not come back if we were to survive that excruciatingly painful week.

You see, in therapy world, there is this belief that if you create an attachment bond with your therapist, you can have a corrective emotional experience and heal the attachment wound that doesn’t feel the least bit fixable. But yet I am willing to try because I still hold out hope.

I know for those of you who may have had secure attachments with your parents or some other caregiver, you can’t possibly conceive an adult having these feelings. Feeling like a baby or small child. But for those who have any of the dysfunctional attachment scenarios, I can imagine you know a little of what I speak.

Yet, another unacceptable feeling that we cannot express in the real world, so once again alone, or at least with each other through this blog.

K