I stood next to my mom in the cashier line at the run down Macys. She is 87, battling dementia, and growing weaker. There is only one cashier and she is moving slowly, so the line doesn’t really move. I tell my mom to move back a little from the people in front of us as Covid is raging through the community again. My mom doesn’t have the wherewithal to navigate social distancing and masking without me.
A little girl, probably 4 years old, is twirling around with her mother in front of us. My mom is watching her closely and can’t take her attention off her. My mom says to me “she’s going to be a dancer” and when I don’t acknowledge her familiar comment, she says to the little girl “you’re going to be a dancer” and the little girl looks uncomfortable and then away as my mom can’t take her gaze off her.
I suddenly feel shame pouring into my body as my mom attempts to give this unwanted attention to the little girl. I know I can’t stop her, so I begin to dissociate just a little to try to pass this moment. But the line seems to be taking an eternity.
Time passes as I ease back into the present and find that the line has moved just a little. The little girl is doing her best to entertain herself while her mom waits to buy her the outfits she picked out for her.
I honestly am not looking very closely at the little girl other than to admire the cool shoes she was wearing. In a slightly dissociated state, I find myself only minimally present in the line with my mom. I am doing my very best to tough out bringing my mom and her boyfriend to the mall to get her a Bra and him a belt.
I have been trying to set boundaries around being with my mom. She was recently verbally abusive toward me, which had stirred up a lot of parts within me. I was doing a good job seeing her less at her assisted living home. But, she had called one of my little parts the day before.
Calling a little part is not something I am used to her doing. This is a new thing she is doing to “motivate” me to do whatever it is she wants. She had called on a part that she used to sexually abuse when she would have one of her episodes of drunkenness and despair when my father would disappear on her.
My sweet little part knows that it is the present, but they are still stuck in thinking like an abused child who has to take care of their mom, no matter what.
My therapist did her best at trying to help the little one with the way they were thinking, but these beliefs are strong and certainly not going to be undone in a 50 minute therapy session. The little one was in a significant amount of distress over these boundaries and us not doing more of what my mom wants from us.
I gave in and pulled together my protector parts who know how to be around my mom without any emotion. I stood there without emotion as my mom is talking to me without me really being present. Then, I heard it. I heard the sick words that weren’t quite right for my only halfway present brain to keep pretending like everything was normal.
“Look, she is already acting like a woman.”
My brain swerved to come present. Sounding angry, I said “what are you talking about??” At the same time I knew exactly what she was trying to tell me. She says with a smiling gaze, “you didn’t see it, but she is doing things to let us know she is ready to be a woman.” I glance at the little girl and she is only sitting there playing like a 4 year old.
Shame fills my body. The lights seem to go out for me briefly as I next found myself shopping for pillows while she was still in line. I see that she is finally about to reach the cashier and I come over because my mom has trouble remembering how to do things, so I help her pay for her bra.
I look to the exit at the Macys and wonder if we can make it that many steps without something else happening. I just need to pull it together and pretend like we are a normal family. No one can tell the perverse sickness accompanying me. I try to push the shame far away as I know I need to get us out of there and get her back away from me.
To someone else, her comments may have seemed benign, but I knew better. I grew up with this woman sex trafficking and abusing me and others, so I knew these were the words of a perpetrator who forgot her moment in time and was experiencing pleasure imagining taking the little girl’s innocence from her.
It is so weird because in my mind I think I can’t go back to the past and understand the how and the why of my abuse. And then this woman with dementia shows back up in my life. And with this dementia comes parts of her who are from our past. They are ugly and familiar. They are twisting up my dissociative system something good.
I want to believe that because I survived this day and didn’t go off the rails that some good will come out of this. Maybe I am in fantasy, but I try to be hopeful. I mean, I have been so afraid of this woman my entire life, and now I can stand next to her and realize she is sick and twisted and can’t hurt me unless I let her. I am the adult. I have more power than her. I just need for all my parts to believe this new reality.
I didn’t see this coming, but my part “Wisdom” did. They told my therapist last week that maybe the ordeal I am going through with taking care of my abusive mom may be a blessing. Maybe so, but I am left feeling like I need to die a thousand deaths after today.
I have become super-annoyed by any mention of the 3 phase approach to treating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). As put forth in the DID treatment guidelines by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), these are considered the gold-standard recommended steps for therapists who are treating someone with DID:
1. Establishing safety, stabilization, and symptom reduction.
2. Confronting, working through, and integrating traumatic memories; and
3. Identity integration and rehabilitation.
It sounds like an easy formula for assisting those with DID, but like previous treatment recommendations for DID, this 3-step phased approach is seriously flawed and needs updating (it’s been 10 years of minimal success).
Unfortunately, the vast majority of DID patients get stuck in stage 1, or if they manage to get out of stage 1, it is too easy for them to get knocked back into the stage 1 need for safety and stabilization by triggers in life and therapy.
Talk therapy and learning new skills is not effective enough in helping people with DID to successfully master the phase 1 goal of safety and stability because it is too easy for them to fall back into deeply rooted familiar neural pathways that make them unstable again.
The deeply-rooted neural pathways of someone who has DID is what keeps them stuck in a dissociative reaction to stress, which is why it is critical to address rewiring the brain of a DID person in stage 1.
Instead of therapists challenging themselves to figure out how to successfully help their clients master phase 1, they are actually told by these same guidelines that some people just don’t have the capacity to get out of stage 1, and so they can therefore feel ok when their clients stay stuck in phase 1 and a life of misery. This is completely wrong and cruel to those suffering with DID.
It is quite frustrating that the majority of trauma therapists will identify Bessel van der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” as the book that has most influenced them, but strangely, almost every trauma therapist has little to no expertise in helping with the neurobiological effects of trauma, which is kind of the point of this book.
I believe there is a small percentage of people who can successfully manage this 3-phase approach as it is, but what I see from the vast majority of people I know who have DID, people get stuck in the phase 1 need for safety and stabilization. They may get stabilized, but either by working on trauma or some other life trigger, they slide right back into the need for safety and stabilization, which leads the person with DID to feel like they are failing therapy because it seems impossible to maintain enough forward momentum to make progress in therapy.
When your brain is wired for dissociation and PTSD, you can’t simply rewrite the way the brain functions through talk therapy and skills.
What if the very first step is impossibly flawed because therapists have been giving their clients the wrong advice on how to reach stabilization (DBT skills, mindfulness, CBT therapy, corrective therapeutic relationship, blah, blah). These methods can be helpful, but they don’t help the client achieve a strong enough mastery of safety and stability.
The type of stabilization achieved by talk-therapy and skill building is too weak to endure the triggers faced by the highly traumatized person.
Is it possible the answer to phase one stabilization is outside the traditional therapist’s wheelhouse, and involves neurobiology instead? Something that will rewrite the neural pathways?
Is it also possible that stabilization can occur in days-to-weeks instead of the years therapists typically spend on this with desperate clients?
I believe it is possible there is a much more effective and efficient way for traumatized individuals to get stabilized quickly.
An open mind and a belief in miracles is required at this point.
As the pandemic was nearing an end, I found myself loosening up on my fight-or-flight mode of survival that served me extremely well during those stressful months. As good as that might sound, what followed for me was a quick dump into the gutter of mental health hell. Apparently, my mind needed to do something with the build up of 14 months of limited parts activity I experienced to hold it together. If you are confused by this, try to understand that I was in the trauma of the pandemic, and to survive, I could only have around parts who were strong and didn’t feel, just like most of my childhood. The emotional and vulnerable parts were tucked away. The parts of me that had been frozen during the pandemic crisis were starting to rapidly thaw. Their emotions were overwhelming.
I rather quickly became depressed, suicidal, anxious, dissociative, and unable to deal with the stress of my children. Each day, I was becoming more unstable. I had reached a point where I had decided I was going to kill myself or go into a hospital (note, there are no hospitals that treat or believe in DID within my state, or even several states away, which makes this option less likely).
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), I was a 10 on the suicide scale. I couldn’t even hold onto the love for my children and what my suicide would do to them to prevent me from doing it. I was too far gone, and my suicide was becoming imminent.
How I stumbled upon Ketamine, stopped a serious suicide attempt, and saved my insurance company $30,000
In a complete fluke, a holistic doctor I work with for health issues had just prescribed generic ketamine nasal spray for depression and anxiety, and had no idea of the severity of what I was suffering because I hid it from them like I do most people outside a therapist’s office. I made the decision that I was going to try it as my last ditch effort before I checked out. The imminent risk and permanency of suicide outweighed any reservations I might have had.
The Ketamine Experience
I simply took one small spray of the ketamine in one nostril. I could immediately feel it coming down my throat as there was a slight burning feeling that lasted for a few minutes. After the burning sensation, I could quickly notice I was starting to feel what I would call a manufactured dissociation as it didn’t feel how I normally feel when I dissociate.
The dissociation lasted for 30-45 minutes, and then I felt kind of high. I was feeling emotions like funny, happy, and curious —funny and happy are definitely not normal feelings for me. I knew not to drive my car or make any big decisions. Though I did shoot off one very wordy email I kind of later regretted 😎.
The dissociation and high were gone within 2 hours of the nasal spray. I was left with a sense that my mind had been cleared of cobwebs I didn’t even know were there. I very dramatically had a mental clarity I wasn’t used to. I was much more aware of everything happening in my environment.
By the 3rd hour, I began to evaluate my thoughts and feelings because I knew this was a test to help me figure out what to do with my suicidality and depression. I scanned my brain for thoughts, emotions, or voices of parts, and to my amazement, my suicidal feelings were completely gone, and I had no sense of any depression, anxiety, or even dissociation. I was completely grounded in the present with a strangely crystal clear mind. I was actually worried I was going to have a manic episode because I was feeling so oddly good.
My suicidality went from 10 to 0 in just a few hours.
Later, when my kids each did their behaviors that had been over-stressing me these past few weeks, I felt like a super-parent who was not the least bit phased by their antics.
As it was approaching bedtime, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep because: 1. I always struggle with insomnia (and sleep meds don’t always work for me), and 2. I was worried the feeling good and crystal-clear thinking was going to make me want to stay up all night being productive at some random thing. Surprisingly, I took my normal low-dose sleeping pill and easily fell asleep. Even more surprising, I was able to sleep-in the next morning, something my anxiety hadn’t allowed me to do for years.
When the day of my first ketamine dose began, I was looking at either a $30,000+ psychiatric hospitalization, or ending my life and traumatizing my family and friends.
Instead, one spray from a $45 bottle of compounded generic ketamine completely removed me from that suicidal crisis and stabilized me.
My mind has stayed clear, like really sharp, and my emotions have been extremely easy to regulate.
My ability to emotionally regulate was put to the test almost immediately. The day following my first ketamine dose, I was scheduled for a therapy session with my therapist who I was having some serious attachment conflict. The session was indeed volatile, and one that would have normally sent me into a suicidal tailspin. Instead, I noticed I had a few fleeting suicidal feelings during the session, and I moved on, and they didn’t stick with me post session. A highly stressful situation was completely manageable, which is unheard of when it comes to me having attachment conflict in therapy.
Maybe some of you don’t see how big of a deal this is. Before ketamine, I was emotionally wobbly every day. I never knew what little thing might send me off into depression, suicidality, overwhelming anxiety, or into my constant dissociative response pattern that creates quite a bit of amnesia in my life.
My use of ketamine is like someone handed me a brand new life. A life that has been missing for over 30 years. I was finally free of the debilitating existence I had known almost my entire life.
I am finding the experience of my new brain extremely foreign. I don’t feel emotionally overwhelmed. I don’t feel depressed, suicidal, or even dependent on a therapist at this point (I have struggled with severe disorganized attachment, so this is kind of a big deal for me). My mind just feels clear and calm, which I really am not used to.
I waited a couple of days and did a second nasal spray of the ketamine. I was still feeling completely stable before this dose, but I wanted to do what was recommended by the doctor who prescribed it. With the second dose, it was barely noticeable and I didn’t experience the dissociative and feeling high side effects.
I have researched ketamine a lot since then, and I know others typically don’t respond for a week. There are several ways to take in ketamine, and an array of different dosing strategies. The doctor that prescribed the ketamine I used was a believer that low-dose and through the nose to get closest to the brain was the best method.
Ketamine seems to be a miracle for me. Although I live near a big research center that has all sorts of clinical trials going on for ketamine, I know I would be excluded from those studies because of my dissociative disorder (a familiar narrative for those of us with DID). We are just too much with our diagnosis for a lot of things..
Alternatively, there are many ketamine clinics that have set up shop in my state so that they can make a lot of money off this new treatment. Typical treatment prices seem to be around $400 a session, and insurance rarely covers it according to their websites.
For once, the compounding pharmacies seem to be the most economical place to get it, but finding a doctor who will prescribe it this way may be the challenge.
If you are a long-time sufferer who has given up on treatment for DID/CPTSD, or someone who suffers from chronic depression and/or anxiety, I would give ketamine a try if you can get your hands on a legitimate form of the medication. I am not recommending the street drug that is a higher dose of ketamine and will do who knows what to you. Try Googling ketamine near you and see what comes up. There’s lots of research, books, and articles about the way it works and what it has been used for.
There is a fascinating article about using ketamine with complex PTSD trauma survivors here.
I have to believe an angel dropped ketamine in my lap when I was at one of my lowest points. It clearly saved my life, and it just may be offering me the chance at living with a non-traumatized brain. As each day ticks by, I am still amazed at the calm and clarity I feel.
As a takeaway, I hope that each of you who reads this will consider that maybe people with DID aren’t succeeding not because they aren’t working hard-enough, committed enough, smart enough, or don’t have the ego strength or attachment stability to succeed in therapy. Maybe it really has more to do with how their brain is wired, and maybe there are easy fixes such a ketamine that will address the neurobiological effects of developmental trauma.
Just maybe, the most difficult repair is easier than everyone thinks.
This pandemic has done something to me that after almost an entire year of it, I still can’t really explain it. I wonder how many others with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) are in the same boat? I have moments of recognizing how my complex-PTSD affects me during the pandemic. But the DID, I don’t know.
Sadly, my therapist who is trying herself to survive this pandemic, is of little help to me as a therapist. She seems more like supportive friend material now. Maybe because our sessions are over the phone, it just doesn’t work well for most of me. I can also clearly hear her own stress most sessions as she deals with her own feelings through the pandemic.
I think the constant stress of the pandemic keeps me in fight/flight/freeze on a daily basis. There really isn’t anything to de-escalate it as the truth is the fear is real. None of us could have imagined our lives like this, and none of us know where we are headed. But, with this comes a constant cortisol surge. Part of why I know this is happening is because I am never tired.
If you are interested, I actually found a supplement that stops the Cortisol surge enough so I can at least sleep. I got the idea from an Amino Acids expert named Trudy Scott if you want to research it. The product name is Seriphos by InterPlexus. It is now a product I can’t live without, and more helpful than any psychiatric drug I have had.
Admitting there is little-to-no mental health help available to those of us who usually need a lot of it is an interesting thing. Honestly, I try really hard not to let my mind focus on that issue for longer than a split second. To do so is too reminiscent of a brutal childhood with no help and no escape. I can’t go there again.
I joked with my therapist the other day when she was expressing her pandemic fatigue that it was much easier for me because my DID gives me little sense of time. Intellectually I know how long we have been in this pandemic, but honestly, it feels like only weeks have gone by.
I am mostly coping without the help of my therapist. I am that child who got us through our childhood. That child who should not have survived, but somehow managed to. I keep my head down and keep pushing forward trying to get me and my family through this. It helps me understand how I might have survived something so horrific as my childhood. My auto-pilot survival part has taken over. Maybe those of you with DID have found this to be your experience too?
I made it 10 months before getting COVID. I was so careful, but one lapse in judgment, I let an electrician come into my home not wearing a mask because I mistakenly thought I was safe because I had on a mask. Never before have I let someone in my house without a mask. Perhaps the reason I did this is because this electrician was an abuser from my childhood. F-ing figures.
The very first symptoms of my COVID were 3 nights of very bizarre dreams. I was telling a friend about the strangeness of them the morning I came down with the full-blown symptoms. I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it.
When I got COVID, it attacked my brain, which was weird because I was so worried about my lungs before getting it. I know to the average person that may sound crazy, but I don’t really care. When I was in the emergency room, the doctor there validated me saying “we know that COVID gets into the brain because we have autopsies that show the virus is there.”
I believe the bizarre dreaming was the first sign it was in my brain. Then came the headaches. Then came the extreme head pain that felt more like brain torture going on in multiple places at the same time. Then I developed what felt like severe earaches that would come and go. Then everything turned surreal, in a way that was different than my regular dissociation, and I thought I was going to die.
I abandoned traditional medicine and went with a treatment protocol that the NIH had been ignoring, but my kids’ infectious disease doctor believed in (Marik COVID Protocol, if you are interested). I had already been taking the supplements, but when I got the Ivermectin my brain symptoms and high fever disappeared within a day. It was a miracle, but like DID, most people assume those of us who believe in it are just crazy. No matter, but I share it here in case it saves one other person.
I knew with the Adverse Childhood Events (ACES), my age, and the fact that I had asthma, I could die from this. Strangely, the only two things I told the ER doctor were 1. I don’t want to become brain damaged, and 2. I didn’t want to die. It was one of those DID moments where I was surprised what came out of my mouth. Internally, I marveled that that was what I found most pressing to say in the moment.
Anyway, I survived it. I am proud that I did. I had prepared for it with all the right supplements and medications. I still have some lingering symptoms, but I at least survived it.
The “experts” say that COVID will often attack what is already weakened in a body, so they say people with psychiatric symptoms will likely see a worsening of those symptoms. That’s a scary thought since I can’t imagine worse. But, it is true so far that I have moved from horrible, but medication managed insomnia pre-Covid, to severe horrible insomnia post-Covid.
I don’t know why I am writing all this kind of interconnected stream of thoughts down. Except that I know I need to write to try to get myself back.
I have felt paralyzed during this pandemic, and that scares me. It also keeps me alive. But I know it is a terrible way to live long-term, and I have no idea how to change it. I actually miss the challenge of living life as a trauma survivor. At the same time, I enjoy the luxury of it being socially acceptable to stay at home everyday and do I don’t know what. With my dissociative skills neatly intact, the days just blur right by.
But, paralysis with my DID means that most of me is missing. Those many, many parts who make me who I am are just not here the majority of the time. No, it’s not spontaneous integration. I haven’t become a singleton. It means I am so terrified I am locked into survival mode, repressing the majority of who I am. It’s lonely and I feel almost nothing for a year now. 🥺
Living through the Coronavirus pandemic with Dissociative Identity Disorder makes for some interesting times.
I find my life is probably really disorienting under this sheltering-in-place set up. In some ways, it is perfect for the way I live. I now have an excuse to stay home everyday and no one thinks anything of it. The one huge difference is I am locked in with my spouse and two children every-single-day.
My days go by quickly and are very much a blur. My memory troubles me a great deal as it is very noticeable to me that I am losing time and not remembering much. I have internal conversations on the daily as to whether I am developing dementia or it is just the DID.
If I lived alone in this stay-at-home life, I think I would accomplish a lot, but I imagine it would really suck. My days go by quickly because I am actually having to run a household for my family. So, in some ways, I am doing more. I am cooking, ordering the groceries, running the family budget, helping both my kids with their own therapies and school work, doing some laundry, helping my kids with their medical issues and more.
I have moments where I forget about the DID and think about getting back to work soon. God knows our family needs the money. Then I catch myself throughout my days not being able to remember even the most basic things.
Truthfully, I think I could probably get away with working with the serious memory lapses I deal with. Most people are too distracted or self-involved to even notice —thank god. It creates incredible anxiety within myself, though. Always fearing I am going to be found out by those who think I am a competent adult.
Though in some ways this damn Coronavirus has made my life easier, I worry that it will continue on and my life will be one endless blur until the end. Maybe it would be anyway if life was normal, and maybe the normal life distraction just doesn’t allow me to realize how messed up it all is.
I’ll be honest, I am not one of the writers amongst us. I am pretty sure I am not saying much here. However, I do know other parts of me have lots of good stuff to say. I don’t really know why they aren’t writing anymore. Maybe this trying to be normal for the kids all day is just wearing us down or it keeps us from getting vulnerable.
My outside kids have not much to do but to notice when I am being different. God knows I don’t want to screw them up any more than they are, so I am really trying my best to be in parent mode, which doesn’t allow for much vulnerability.
My parts are being amazing with trying our best to hold it together so we can parent the kids and take care of life in a pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, we have had a few moments, but not nearly as bad as I would have thought.
In some ways I realize my childhood of nonstop trauma made me built for living through this awful pandemic. It gives me the excuse I need to stay I fight or flight, to be planning for our safety, and to stay safely in our home.
I wasn’t doing therapy for a while (can’t remember how long—weeks or months), and my therapist contacted me in a moment of weakness. I talk to her on the phone once a week most weeks, though I do try to cancel when I can to save money. Therapy over the phone, or even scarier over the video, doesn’t work for me like in-person therapy does. It doesn’t feel anything like regular therapy to me, so I feel guilty spending the family money on something that is more liken to a check-in or chat.
I know I have had a few seriously destabilizing moments that I needed my therapist, but I now can’t even remember what they were all about. I do know I have had some suicidal moments, but honestly, not as bad as before all this happened. I think it is because I know my family needs me to get them through this.
I am getting kind of tired of being the together one to lead us through these unchartered times. I dunno, maybe it is better this way to force me to do something productive.
I hope we will start writing again as I think we have some useful things to share.
I have been away a lot lately. It’s been a combination of extreme stress going on in my life and losing time.
I find that I am losing time and not realizing it, which makes me sad.
Facebook is a big revealer of lost time. I look back at memories from past years to see sweet pictures of my kids, but lately noticing all sorts of writings that I have done over the years and have zero remembrance of and no idea what I am even talking about. It is not that I sound incoherent. I just have no understanding or even a remote memory to what I might be talking about.
Somehow I have been living in this cloud that has kept this losing time from me. I have been diagnosed a long time, and I like to think I have a good bit of co-consciousness, so normally I can figure out enough to understand what the heck I was talking about.
I know my system was designed to keep this stuff from me, but I also thought I was further along than I apparently am.
Yesterday, I got on my daughter’s phone to deal with some boys who had sent some inappropriate texts. It took me about 6 hours to realize it wasn’t me who did that talking to those boys and threatened to call the police on them.
I wonder how many times I do this subtle switching in a day. How much am I forgetting?
I belong to a secret FB group for survivors of DID and ritual abuse. I used to get support in that group, but I stopped because I realized I had all sorts of posts under my name that weren’t from me. They weren’t from child parts, but parts similar to me, but definitely different in some major ways. It became too overwhelming to see post after post that I didn’t recognize and didn’t have any sense of losing time.
I was thinking this morning that my biggest disabling part of DID is the memory loss, which is not news if you follow me. Yeah, I am suicidal and have attachment issues and CPTSD out the wazoo, but that is all manageable compared to the memory. Then I was thinking for me, do I really have a mental health problem as opposed to a neurological problem since my memory seems incapable of storing and being accessed correctly.
I know, it probably doesn’t matter to you what it is called or how it is classified.
It saddens me, though. To know I am living a life where I am missing so much of it. I guess it is a little like Alzheimer’s, but knowing you have Alzheimer’s which I think is more painful.
Now that I am getting older, people just attribute all the mental lapses as old age (though I am not that old). The neurologist who gave me an exam where I had to remember things was perplexed how severely I couldn’t remember the things she was testing me for, but in the end just attributed it to cognitive decline due to old age.
I was around my family over the holidays and I am hearing myself call my perpetrator brother my son’s name, and he call me his daughter’s name. We joke as if it is old age, but I know it is more likely that we are triggered and our parts are having trouble keeping things straight.
Anyway, why is Alzheimer’s a neurological condition and my similar memory impairment is a mental illness? Maybe someone can explain it to me.
Yeah, I am frustrated about my memory, but avoiding the tough conversation I need to have about something big I/we need to decide. Indecision is another curse for another day. If I remember.
Growing up, I don’t have a single memory of my mom holding me or saying she loved me. No photos of me in her lap, or her holding my hand as we walked down the sidewalk. In fact, there are no photos of me with her period.
I wish I had kind memories, even if only a couple, but absolutely none.
Mother’s Day sucks for me. I try to dissociate its existence so much that I am barely present for my own kids’ desire to celebrate the day. Sadly, I would prefer to stay in bed and not recognize the day.
I do try to just focus on my present day, but all the messages coming from seemingly everywhere about what great moms everyone says they had/have, puts it right back in my face of what I didn’t have.
It is a day I feel shaky inside, trying not to let my thoughts wander to why my mom did what she did to me. Trying not to have the rapid flashbacks of what she did give me.
Logically, it doesn’t make sense that a mother would do what she did to me. She was the opposite of what we would call maternal. So, it is dismissed as she is just a sick, twisted, sadistic, narcissist.
I can’t remember a time in my childhood when my mom did not hate me. When I go back to my earliest memories with her, my body tenses up with fear, shame, and confusion.
When I think of my mom’s body, I am repulsed and frightened. I think about my very young self laying in her bed in my father’s absence. I am trying not to be tense for fear she will get angry at me. She scratches my back for a few minutes, and it feels good. Then she pulls me toward her naked body. This becomes a regular thing for us. My father is absent a lot, and she scratches my back before she sexually abuses me.
This is as close to love as my mother ever came. She didn’t even bother to pretend that she cared about me in public.
My mom, though functioning as an alcoholic, always knew how to get what she wanted. She was powerful in her social circles and our community.
My mom sex-trafficked me from as far back as I can remember to get what she wanted. It didn’t matter the who or for what. If she could benefit from turning my body over to someone, she did. Sadly, sometimes it was only for her sick, sadistic pleasure.
It is hard to survive a sadistic, narcissistic mom. Most days I wish I didn’t.
I am still here, and honestly don’t know why, except to raise my own kids. I don’t know why I am not a person who would do to my children what was done to me. I imagine my mom’s parents did really awful stuff to her.
It is strange or lucky to not be part of the generational abuse that goes on. I don’t know why I didn’t become her, but I do thank God I did not.
My mom is still alive this Mother’s Day, and it feels like she is never going to die. I stay away from her as much as I can. When we are together, I become this numb person who does her best to not think of her mom for who she truly is.
As a family, at some point it was decided that we would not speak of the past, ever. I can’t say this made my mom become a loving mom, or even an ok mom. We just pretend like it didn’t happen, and God forbid if I let my guard down.
I didn’t escape “ok” from childhood. It left me saddled with complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Not to mention my severe attachment problems. These 3 things affect my everyday life.
So, it’s Mother’s Day, the day I am supposed to celebrate my mother. I wish I could fool myself into believing she wasn’t that bad, or that she really does love me.
Unfortunately, when I was in my early 30s, I had just driven 4 hours to see my parents with my own family. I don’t really know what happened, but within 10 minutes of being there, I found myself confronting both of my parents about never loving me, and only loving my siblings. I can remember so clearly both of my parents just sitting there silently, neither of them willing to deny they didn’t love me, no matter the cost to me. I put my family back in the car and left after that conversation, never to speak of it again.
But in case I forgot, fast-forward another 15 years when my father is dying and I am the only one in the family willing to take care of him. I watch as my father shares his love for my mother and siblings when they would be willing to be in the room with him (because watching him die was just something they didn’t want to deal with). Me. By his side, everyday for months. Not once did he say he loved me. Not once. Of course, like the trained dog I had become, I would tell him how much I loved him.
My mother did not thank me for the severe trauma I went through during this experience of taking care of my dad (another story for another day). Instead, when I begged her to come out of her bedroom to the living room to see my father on his deathbed, she slapped me across the face with as much ferociousness as she could muster, and I just stood there as the wounded adult child.
This woman, whom I twice saved her life as an adult, just never let go of her hatred of me.
This woman. My mother. She will not be celebrated. But this trained dog will call her still to wish her a happy Mother’s Day.
I went back to therapy 4 years ago to deal with some new trauma, and some old trauma that was awakened by the new trauma.
I stayed in therapy because I had developed a lot of clarity about how inauthentic my life had become.
Honestly, I have never had an authentic life, as my family of origin and the community I grew up in robbed me of my life since as far back as I can remember.
My cup is currently overflowing with the amount of child abuse I experienced growing up. That may not make sense. Normally, my mind can only hold little pieces, but right now, it is in the unusual place of holding a lot of the abuse in awareness instead of dissociating it all.
It seems like the memories are never-ending, and they are not like memories I can deny or question the validity. They are memories I know to be true, but had somehow managed through my dissociation to forget.
Other people I know with dissociative identity disorder (DID), seem to be surprised by their memories when they get them. For me, that is typically not the case. For me, it is like remembering a horrible old friend you tried to never think of again.
I dunno, maybe I am just worn down with the shitty cards I have been dealt. The never-ending shame and depression I feel about the facts of my life. It has taken its toll.
I have lost all hope of living an authentic life. I have been staying alive these past 4 years for my children. I haven’t wanted to hurt them or ruin their lives by me ending mine.
Always the martyr.
I am suffering. I suffer every day trying to hold onto my life for my children. Jeez, I sound like a cry baby. But it is so fucking hard to hold on all the time.
I just want some peace, love, and understanding based on who I really am, not the imaginary many versions of myself that the world knows.
Almost no one knows me. Not even my kids, which especially breaks my heart. I never set out to be a fake parent. It is just what is best for them. 🙁
I don’t hurt people or do any awful things to deserve the horrible treatment I receive when others find out any of my truth, but I am rejected and tossed into the garbage or worse, just for being my authentic self. That is how we treat victims in our world.
Who is my authentic self?
I am a wounded survivor of horrific child abuse who developed dissociative identity disorder as a result.
That in itself is apparently enough to know about me to warrant the rejection of me.
My ex-minister and supposed friends tried to take my children from me when they discovered diagnosis alone. I hadn’t done anything. My kids don’t know I have it. In fact, out of both their parents, I am confident they would identify me as the saner one.
It doesn’t matter. People can’t tolerate the idea that my mind is what it is. They can’t tolerate believing I endured the level of abuse I have experienced.
So, they get fake me. The me that is probably copied from characters off television shows and people I have observed. And fake me, I really hate.
I don’t really know any other me than fake me, so that leaves me with hating the only me I know.
I hate me.
The world is an awful place, where perpetrators are protected, and victims are the bad guys.
I know I am a victim. I did not deserve the cruelty, extreme abuse, and lack of love I received.
It doesn’t matter, though.
My life is a shit show and I work hard to hide authentic me from everyone but my therapist.
This is no way to live. It doesn’t get better, but the cruelty remains because I am not allowed to leave. If I leave this shitty world, then I abandon my kids and hurt them in ways I don’t even understand, but know to be true.
My abusers. My family of origin. All the fuckers from my community. You have successfully robbed me of my life. I hate you all, and hope you burn in hell.
I will do my best to push through another day. It is getting harder. I won’t make any promises, but I will try with all my might to hold on another day for my kids.
My system of parts has been in a state of perpetual trigger these past few weeks. I can verbalize I am in the present moment, where I am at, and what is happening, but my body and mind is adamant that I am in the same danger as my childhood.
I have become afraid of my spouse, therapists, and all sorts of other things in my life.
Usually when this happens I am not able to verbalize that I am safe, an adult, and in 2019. So, it’s new and scary to experience both realities at the same time.
When I am overwhelmed like this, my knee-jerk reaction is to convince myself I need to commit suicide. I know I don’t want to do this to my kids, but how to figure out how to stop the pain, the fear, the confusion.
My therapist was gracious enough to do an extra-long session with me yesterday to try to help me. We both want to get me through this time of year without a psychiatric hospitalization, which has been inching closer.
My therapist wants me to dig deep.
My mind is programmed to look for similarities to my child abuse so as to protect me from more abuse. Guess what. It is easy to find a lot of similarities in my life right now.
My therapist says I need to focus on what is different (and some other things that I can’t remember), so I am trying to talk my way through the day asking myself what is different. I do this because too many parts of me do not understand that my life as an adult is different than when I was abused as a child.
I must remind myself I have power I didn’t have as a child. I have choices I didn’t have as a child. My environment is different than when I was a child. My body is stronger and my brain is smarter than when I was a child.
I am hoping and praying that by digging deep into what is different for me today that the many system insiders who are stuck in a triggered state can come out and be free to experience life as a person who doesn’t get perpetually abused.
My insiders believe our purpose in life is to fulfill the fantasies and needs of the sick and twisted on earth.
I am trying my best to imagine a life where my system doesn’t expect to be abused at every turn throughout our days. What I have learned for myself is that the abuse is such a part of my system insiders that my perpetrators get to continue the abuse even when it has actually stopped.
I am not saying that abuse doesn’t happen to adults, especially those of us who have been abused as children. It does. And it has happened to me more times than I like to think about.
Still, the brutality I experience in my mind everyday is not really happening, so I must learn to turn it off. Separate reality from distorted reality.
My system of insiders deserves peace. We deserve to live at a restful state of not feeling like we are being attacked constantly.
So, I must scan my environment and my mind and remind myself of what is different today.
A message from the Universe, I suppose. Everywhere I turn I am seeing videos and stories about repressed memories.
To some, using the words “repressed memories” brings up the idea they are not true memories.
I have to admit, I don’t even use the words “repressed memories” when I often think about or fight to remember all that has been forgotten from my childhood.
For me, I have always known I was the victim of a lot of child abuse. I just did my best to not think about it, and to try to move on with my life as if that didn’t happen.
There have been moments in my life when I was able to get away with not feeling like an abused person. It isn’t hard to pull off looking normal when people really don’t look that closely at you.
For instance, when I was in high school, my behavior was full of contradictions, but nobody really cared enough to pay attention or say anything to me.
In high school, I was the nerd who excelled in ROTC. I also skipped school and hung out with the druggies. I was a nervous wreck when it came to dating boys, and I was also spending a lot of time having sex with boys and men in dangerous situations. I was both super responsible, and super reckless.
I later learned this was my Dissociative Identity Disorder playing out without me realizing it was doing so.
Even with all those contradictions in my behavior, I didn’t try to figure it out. I was hell-bent on repressing my past and trying to pretend I was alright.
I could remember plenty of abuse if I wanted to. When I was in college and got raped, that stirred the pot for sure. After that, I fell in love with a man, which I later learned didn’t work so well with the idea of keeping my past repressed.
I had plenty of meaningless sex in high school, but now in college, having fallen in love for the first time, sex was extremely difficult, and becoming more difficult with each day that passed. My past was really coming back to haunt me as I experienced flash backs and younger parts while trying to have sex with a man I loved.
Being the martyr most CSA survivors are, I told this man to leave me enough times that he finally did. I was heart broken, which is probably what led to my first psychiatric demise and hospitalization.
Fast forward 30 years, and I can still remember countless episodes of me being sexually abused as a young child. What’s missing is that I often don’t remember right before, some of the during, and definitely not afterward. It’s like I don’t have complete memories of anything, but I know with certainty these incidents I do remember are true.
Nowadays, I am finally working to try to process these memories, and for me, I honestly have no idea when new pieces of the memories are coming.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my car after therapy thinking about a specific abuse situation I had mentioned to my therapist, and I described it in session as a random occurrence that happened to me. Not 45 seconds in my car I was consumed with flashbacks and voices of my mom telling me to get out of the car right before I walked toward the man in the parking garage. I must have been refusing which is a little surprising to me as I normally did what my mom said, but she wanted me to get out into a darkened parking garage by myself when I was around 5. I was terrified and knew no good was coming from me getting out of the car. But the flood of memories could feel her anger and her demands and her pushing me out of the car.
This little piece of repressed memory has left me intensely suicidal for days. Somehow it was better to think I randomly encountered the creepy man in the parking garage than to know this was yet another man my mom had set me up for.
It is not like this is news to me that my mom was a disgusting, narcissistic, psychopath. I have known that for a long time.
But, this little piece of the memory still hurts so much. I guess it is hard to come to terms with someone’s evilness when you keep getting new pieces of evilness tossed your way.
It is not that I forgive, I don’t. It is not that I love her, I don’t. She deserves my hatred and worse, but I am limp with weakness when it comes to having any appropriate or real feelings toward her.
Incidentally, I ask my parts to tell me more, and I am often frustrated when they don’t. I feel like I can handle it, but now I realize each new fact brings new pain.
So what is it like to receive repressed memories. It is fucking awful, and there is nothing you can do to prepare for it. The best I can hope to do is to ride it out without killing myself.
Staying alive has been really hard with this stupid new piece of a memory. The worst part of a memory is not always what seems like the obvious worst part.
I do believe it is important work to work through memories to move toward recovery. I disagree with those who avoid it and say it is not necessary.
For me, I may not heal, or integrate, or even find happiness, but I will at least know who I really am before I die. And that has to be enough.