The Life You Save May Be Your Own

DID, knitting, sci-fi, and strong opinions

and count myself a king of infinite space February 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 3:16 am
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I’ve been having bad dreams about my mother again.

It’s interesting to me that I don’t often have bad dreams about my father–I used to, but I don’t have them often anymore.  Now my bad dreams are about hospitals and about my mother.  My father was much more brutal, but my mother’s abuse was much more subtle and got under my skin a lot more.

Last night’s was the trifecta: she said my hair was gross, she said I smelled bad, and then my teeth started falling apart and she told me I was disgusting.

It doesn’t sound that bad, written out.  That was what my mother’s abuse fed on: people saying, “But that’s not so bad.”  My mother was (and probably still is) an emotional abuser.  She was smart, and she was cruel.  She knew what to say that would make me feel utterly worthless without raising other people’s eyebrows.  A close friend who has met my mother told me recently, “The reason I hated your mom so much was how good she was at making me think she was a good mother.  She made me wonder if maybe it was just that you two didn’t get along well, and when I realized I was thinking that, I really started hating her.”  It’s SO good to have friends who believe me unconditionally.

The doctor I consulted with to confirm my therapist’s DID diagnosis spoke with my family as part of the consult.  Referring to my mother, he told me, “We have a shrink term for people like that .  We call them pathological narcissists.”

Suddenly things started making a lot more sense.  I knew something was wrong with my mother, but I never knew what.  She fits some of the characteristics of borderline and bipolar, but neither was quite right.  Bipolar and borderline wouldn’t explain her affinity for abusing my sisters and me.  I’d always conceptualized a narcissist as someone who thinks they’re perfect, and I’ve always gotten the sense that my mother feels broken or wrong somehow.  (Her father was horrible to her–and still is, really.)  But when I did more reading about narcissism, I realized I had an inaccurate conception.  This list of traits of narcissistic mothers reads like someone just went through all my old diaries–something my mother used to do.  It really was uncanny to read because it was such an exact echo of my childhood experiences.

I think the bad dreams about my mother are a message to myself that I need to do some more work around that in therapy.  (Once I actually have a therapist again.  *sigh*)  I don’t want to keep letting my mother be in my head.  Though my father’s abuse was, in most ways of thinking, a lot worse, I’ve found it easier to deal with because what he did was so clearly and obviously wrong.  Very, very few people will say it’s okay to beat up a small child, threaten/attempt to kill her, and rape her repeatedly.  But emotional/verbal abuse is much more of a gray area.  It’s a lot easier to say, “Well, she was trying to help, but she just said some things wrong” or “At least she was trying to be a good mother.”

I almost feel like a traitor to the parts of me who survived the horrible things my father did, or to other physical and sexual abuse survivors, saying that.  Physical and sexual abuse are definitely NOT easy to deal with, and I still struggle a lot with the effects of it.  But it’s my mother’s verbal/emotional abuse that really makes me feel crazy and doubt myself.  Then I start doubting my father’s abuse, too, and then I just become a big huge mess.  But that’s probably a whole other post.

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Is This Even My Body? February 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 10:28 pm
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I wrote this whole long post yesterday, and when I was almost done, Firefox crashed and I lost the whole thing.  The nerve!  Anyway, on to the actual topic of today’s symposium.

I’ve never gotten along well with my body.  I’ve never felt like it belonged to me.

I’ve generally considered myself a pretty healthy person, but the other day, my nurse pointed out to me that I’ve had all kinds of physical problems.

I had chronic middle ear infections as a child, and the first time my eardrums ruptured, I was 3 days old.  I had 5 ear surgeries before kindergarten, and in one of those surgeries the doctors realized my adenoids were gangrenous from repeated infections and removed them.  I’m now hard of hearing, and my left eardrum has a permanent hole from a karate accident.  (Never fight a guy twice your size who doesn’t pull his hits while point sparring.  Just don’t.)  I was a competitive gymnast in elementary and middle school, and I did a lot of damage to my joints because I had no concept of either the future or taking it easy.  My senior year of high school, what started as bad vertigo progressed into passing out and seizures where I’d stop breathing.  At 17, I was finally given a diagnosis: a very large arteriovenous malformation in the left frontal lobe of my brain.  Five days after my 18th birthday, I had gamma knife brain surgery to correct it.  I have several sleep disorders (central sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorder, and alpha-delta disorder).  I have severe lower back pain from a bone spur that’s the result of an untreated stress fracture, as well as congenital hypermobility syndrome.  And just recently, I was diagnosed with MTHFR polymorphism.

It’s really fun trying to fill out medical history forms.

It isn’t just physical problems that make me feel disconnected from my body, though.  It’s also the trauma.

I don’t remember when I realized it wasn’t normal to check out and leave your body when things got bad.  I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t do that.  I still do it a lot more than I’d like to–something stressful or scary happens, and suddenly I’m not there.  My body’s abandoned, and I’m gone.  Or somebody else takes over and runs my body for me.  Sometimes it’s a few minutes until I come back to my body; sometimes it’s weeks.

I’m trying to learn to treat my body better.  It’s difficult, though, because so many people have treated my body as though it deserves no respect.  And I learned from them.  I starved myself, cut myself, binged and purged.  For the most part, I’ve been able to get a handle on those destructive behaviors, but the temptation is still there.  It’s just another way to take myself out of a body that doesn’t feel like it’s mine.

 

Therapeutic Alliance and Lashing Out February 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 9:41 pm
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I told Pseudo-Therapist a computer could do her job at least as well as she does.  I told her I was sick of getting nothing from her but noncommittal noises and canned, pseudo-empathetic responses.  I told her I was sick of being nice and pretending like Windhorse was helping just so that other people would feel better.  I told her I was sick of being asked what would help because I don’t know–said I can’t do their job AND mine.  I told her I didn’t care how she felt.

I feel like I should feel either guilty or relieved, or possibly both.  Instead, I want to keep on.  I want to hurt her.  I also feel like I should feel guilty about that, but I don’t.  I just feel like destroying someone other than myself.  And I don’t know what to do with that–the information or the feeling.

And right now I’m skipping the knitting group I run.  I will not destroy people, even if I don’t feel guilty about that impulse [yet].  But also I want someone to care enough to notice and ask if I’m okay–partly so I can be an ass to them like I was to Pseudo-Therapist, but partially because I still desperately want to believe that someone can help me.

I’m not sure I make any sense right now.

I feel like someone should kick me in the ass and tell me no one can save me, or even help me–but that probably is at least partly my masochism.  It’s not true that no one can help me or that I’m unreachable.  My therapist in Boston was helpful.  My therapist at Riggs was helpful.  I’ve been tearing my brain apart trying to figure what it was I had at Riggs that I don’t have here.  Therapeutic alliance, yes–but what’s missing here that makes it so hard for me to build that alliance?  Part of it is that I feel like no one wants to be present with my shitty feelings.  They’re all about problem-solving and doing functional things.  Those are good things to do, but not when they’re used to avoid being present with pain.  I feel like they’re afraid of me, and if they’re afraid of me, I can’t trust them enough to establish an alliance.

But concretely, I have no idea.  I cannot define for them what it is to be present with me when I’m feeling badly because it’s more than just sitting in the same room and staying awake.  I just can’t define it any more specifically than that.

I’m so frustrated I’m in tears.  I don’t know what to do.

 

no, this is not a test February 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 5:20 am
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I miss Kelsey.

She died 2 and a half years ago.  Too long with an eating disorder; her heart just stopped.  Housemate and I went to her parents’ house this weekend, and I brought a stack of CD’s for the drive without looking at what I grabbed.  On the way back tonight, Housemate grabbed a random CD and stuck it in.  It was a mix Kelsey made for me.  It says: “For my future wifey!  ILU!!!”

God, she was so fucking amazing.  I don’t think I could’ve made it through high school without her and Helen, my other best friend.  Hell, I don’t think any of us were sure we would make it through, what with our desperate clinging to self-destruction.  She saved me.  We saved each other, all three of us.

And now she’s gone, and I sat in the car listening to her CD and trying not to cry.  I want to cut, and I don’t even know why.  I’m not going to–Kelsey would kick my ass if she found out.  I don’t put it past her to come back from the dead just to kick my ass.

I just really fucking miss her.  I don’t have any friends anymore, not in the “real world.”  I would love to have just one friend like her.

 

System Structure February 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 7:59 pm
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I’ve been working a lot on figuring out my system.  It’s weird and confusing.  There seems to be an internal structure that I don’t understand.  Basically, there is the front, like a door.  I-Sara am almost always there.  Behind the door, there’s a big wheel-like thing.  There are several smaller wheels on the big wheel.  Each of the smaller wheels is a subsystem of alters.  Turning the big wheel changes which subsystem is nearest to the front/the door, and turning the smaller wheel changes which individual person is front.  It seems to be fairly easy for the small wheels to turn; we can switch fairly easily and quickly between people within each subsystem.  There also appears to be a common memory bank for each subsystem, so people within each subsystem know what others have been doing.  But there doesn’t appear to be any communication between the different subsystems.  I don’t even know how many subsystems there are.

As far as I know, the first split happened at age three.  How could I, as a small child, have been organized and smart enough to organize my system this way?  I’m not entirely sure I believe all of it.  I don’t know.

 

Struggling February 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 5:33 am
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I broke a glass today and cut my finger.

Me being clumsy is not terribly out of the ordinary, but I’ve taken it to a new level lately.  The more dissociative I am, the clumsier I become.  And I’ve been dissociating a lot lately.

The cutting my finger is also bad.  It was not intentional, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of urges to self-harm lately.  Comes with the depression.  Hurting myself accidentally makes the urges even stronger.  The frustrating this is that I know self-harming would numb the pain–for a while.  Yeah, it would come back, and once I’ve started cutting, it’s hard for me to stop.  That is not a cycle I want to get back into.

It just really sucks because nothing else is helping.

I need to think about finding a new therapist.  There is no guarantee that New Therapist is coming back, and even if she does, it won’t be for another several weeks.  It’ll take a while to get used to a new therapist, but once I do get used to someone new, therapy will probably help.  It usually does.  I just can’t keep sitting around hoping that New Therapist will be able to come back because I’m not okay right now.  I need therapy, and I need to know that my therapist will be there.  It’s not New Therapist’s fault she’s not here; medical illnesses can’t usually be scheduled.  But it still leaves me without a therapist.

In other news, I started knitting a doll.  Several of the kids in my system have been more present lately.  I’m not sure who, but someone really wants a doll.  I can’t afford to buy one, so I’m knitting one.  It won’t be the prettiest thing in the world, but I hope it will make whoever it is that wants it happy.

 

I’m a Mutant! February 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 4:50 pm
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I’m pretty sure the people who know me in real life already suspected that.  I mean, after all, I had my brain nuked.  (I had gamma knife brain surgery for an arteriovenous malformation back in 2004.)  I was working at a science museum with a bunch of other nerds, and my boss was convinced I was going to turn into the Hulk.

But aside from my freaky mutant gamma-radiated brain, I also now have proof that I’m a genetic mutant.

My psychiatrist has been trying to find physiological causes for my intractable depression, so I’ve been getting a ton of lab work done.  The latest showed that I have a double-recessive mutation of the MTHFR gene.  It means my body can’t process folic acid, which can lead to (among other things) intractable depression.

There’s a med to treat this, Deplin.  It’s L-methylfolate, which is the active form of folic acid.  Unfortunately, my Part D insurer is being stupid and refusing to pay for it, even though my psychiatrist faxed them the labs that prove I’m a genetic mutant.  You’d think they’d want to treat it so I don’t turn into some psycho comic book antihero, but apparently they don’t read comics.  You can get L-methylfolate as a supplement, but it’s only slightly cheaper to buy it that way than to pay out of pocket for Deplin.  I’m looking into prescription assistance programs that might make the Deplin cheaper.

Maybe once I figure out how to pay for it and start taking it, it will help.  I really hope so.  I’m sick of depression.

(PS: Am I the only one who thinks MTHFR looks a lot like a certain swear word?  I am a MUTANT, MTHFR!)

 

 
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