Don’t you just hate those days when..

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Don’t you just hate those days when sleep does not restore the amount of fucks you can give?

This close

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“I don’t know who I am anymore
Not once in life have I been real, but I’ve never felt this close before
I’ve been looking in your windows,
I’ve been dressing in your clothes,
I’ve walking dead, watching you,
Long enough to know I can’t go on”

Flyleaf – This close

Updated our “about us” page

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It was very outdated and, frankly, quite horrible. It was pretty clear to me that RP wrote the whole thing before they’d gotten to know us.. So weird going back and reading it, but I guess it shows how far we’ve come in terms of getting to know each other.

/Phemie

Getting to know my alters

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Up until our diagnosis of DDNOS a little over a year ago our host RP was unaware of the rest of us alters, despite us having a high level of co-consciousness for years. And i suppose that makes sense since RP was basically the only one fronting ever. Now, that’s not to say that they (RP is agender, and we use the pronouns “they” when referring to them) did not notice that something was different about us. For instance, I know that at some point they told our therapist at the time that they felt like the body, mind and emotions were disconnected from each other, that thoughts did not reflect emotions and actions did not correspond to thoughts and so on. They wondered why they were unable to identify even the slightest with the body, and why “our” personality was so inconsistent. Not to mention all the times RP felt like the body was moving and talking by itself, that they had no control over what was going on. Sure, us alter did communicated sometimes, and while RP often did find those conversations strange, they just wrote it off as normal internal dialogues.

After being diagnosed with Aspergers and bipolar, and kind of sorting out the problems related to those disorders, RP slowly but surely became aware that we were several people sharing one body. As mentioned in a previous post, at first they dismissed the possibility of us being multiple because it just seemed too crazy. They did nonetheless draw a mind-map of all the “voices” inside and showed it to our therapist, who had no clue what to do with this information. We switched therapist, showed her the mind-map and soon after that she diagnosed us with DDNOS.

The alters that were included in that mindmap had been members of the system for years, which is why RP was able to identify them once things had calmed down with our bipolar and we had figured out our Aspergers more. At this point I’d also like to clarify that when RP is co-conscious with another alter, they are usually able to feel their emotions and communicate with them internally.

The first month after our diagnosis RP’s only way of getting to know the system more was mapping it. Every so often they’d draw a new “map” of the system members and write down every little piece of information they’d gathered. It was also during this time that RP and us alters together chose names for ourselves, which is why some of us have such unusual name. At the time we picked names with meanings that matched our personalities. RP would also try to figure out if there were more alters by writing down thoughts/emotions/opinions and so on that they could not backtrack to any already discovered alter. It didn’t work very well, don’t think they ever found anything conclusive that way.

A lot of the things we know about each other we have learned through co-consciousness. Feeling someone else’s emotions and being able to follow their train of thought makes it fairly easy to draw conclusions as to what kind of a person they are. However, this only let’s us know more about their personality (general attitude, moods, some likes and dislikes), there are still a lot of things we don’t know about each other. You can only learn so much about someone by observing them, some things you can only find out if the person decides to share with you, which brings us to our next “source of information”: alters voluntarily introducing themselves. Many things we’ve learned about each other simply because alters decided to tell us more about themselves. That is how we learned that Mimi was an orphan, that Benji lived alone with his father and so on. Now, naturally, some alters share willingly while others still have not opened up. We know very little about Stranger and Sinner, for instance.

Sometimes alters will give away some information during art therapy. They might decide to front and paint a picture, of a memory or what they look like. That is how we learned that Mimi has purple eyes, for instance.

About 6 months after our diagnosis, we experienced another trauma. I’m not gonna go into what happened, but I can tell you that it was not abuse. After that incident our PTSD-symptoms and dissociation intensified. Our memory became worse than ever, but we still worked hard on trying to communicate with each other, both on our own and in art therapy. At this point we had also already been hospitalized twice that year. From here on, things get very blurry, so bear with me

If I remember correctly, us other alters started fronting more frequently and RP tried really hard to stop interfering with us. And I suppose that fact that we got a chance to experience the world more helped us alters grow as people, and led to new discoveries about ourselves. Thanks to art therapy we also discovered a way in to the inner world.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think that every alter who surfaced after that incident already came with a name, which explains why some of us have more common names. And the last 4-5 alters to reveal themselves did so kind of dramatically by just popping up inside our head out of nowhere, usually when we’re about to go to sleep, or by simply making their way into our dreams, or both. (Most previous alter we’d discovered in flagranti/ when in action.  For instance, the fact that I exist first dawned on RP when I was fronting and they were co-conscious with me).

I can personally see some sort of “evolution of communication” in our system, from being unaware of each other, to RP trying to figure us out to alters raising their voices and sharing voluntarily.

This was a long post, sorry about that. Hope it was interesting for you guys! Any questions are welcome, as always.

/Phemie

The way it was part 3: Switching

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[Trigger warning: abuse]

I just remembered something forgot to mention in my previous posts! Another reason why nobody noticed our multiplicity is the fact that we as a system “specialize” in rapid, frequent and “smooth” switching. The primary abuse we experienced was continuous, if we weren’t being actively abuse we were just waiting for it to happen. Everything could change drastically anytime, any place, so we were required to switch frequently to match current circumstances. But of course no one was to know that we switched, which is why I believe that we have such a high level of co-consciousness. Life was unpredictable, every alter needed to be on stand-by, watching, ready to switch and handle whatever may come our way. Or, in other words, there was no way of knowing what might happen next, so every alter needed to be informed and ready just in case they happen to be the one needed at the front.

We still switch very frequently, to a point where we actually struggle to keep one alter at the front for more than a few minutes. As previously mentioned, our switches are far from dramatic, and most alters have the same accent and tone of voice, so know one will notice a switch.

The way it was part 2: The way it is now

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[Trigger warning: self harm, eating disorder, mental health care professionals, not being believed]

A little more than a year ago we (well, mostly RP) were seeing a new therapist in a psychiatric clinic for adults, in a different city. I had just figured out that I was dissociating a lot and had done my whole life. I’d just learned about DID, but decided that I can’t be suffering from it cause it was just too crazy (sorry guys, but it’s true. The possibility was just too mind-blowing. However, I don’t think so anymore). No, RP figured that we probably had depersonalization disorder, that would explain why we couldn’t recognize ourselves emotionally when looking in the mirror, why “we” could not identify with the emotions and thoughts that filled this body. I don’t remember exactly how we got to there, but one day our therapy drew me a little picture and explained some theory about how we all have different internal voices, like for instance a voice from our parents (morals, expectations). I did not recognize those voices in myself at all. So I went home and drew small boxes that represented the internal voices I actually experienced having (they were about 6 as opposed to the 3 the therapist had drawn). I labeled all of those 6 boxes, wrote down the gender and age, attitudes and emotions. The therapist didn’t what to do with my drawing, and I demanded a new therapist soon after. So I got a new therapist, a psychologist this time and I showed her my drawing. Then I demanded an assessment for PTSD (again, at the time I didn’t think that these voices actually were alters). She did the assessment and when she was done she told me that she would diagnose me with DDNOS.

Things went pretty much downhill from there. My bipolar acted up, and I (we) was hospitalized in February and then again in March. Here’s my theory: As previously stated, RP had been the most dominant alter for years, and so when we were diagnosed, they crashed, and there was nobody to step up and step in simply because none us alters had any experience with hosting. All hell broke loose, RP was too overwhelmed by all the bottled up emotions that came washing over the system. The rest of that year was just a hot ass mess, we were up and down, discovering new alters, struggling to get by. We were hospitalized again in late November, and it was hell. But it awakened something inside, a will to co-operate. To get better, to give each other a chance. We agreed to work together instead of standing in each others way.

Slowly but surely RP is learning to let go of control and to stop micromanaging us other alters. Almost all alter in our system front frequently now, which of course means that individual alters’ problems have become a bigger problem for the system as a whole (we self harm more frequently, disordered thoughts on eating/exercising/body image have increased, alters’ emotions and attitudes get in the way when in school and so on). But it also means that we are capable of helping each other out, if one or several alters are struggling, others can host temporarily. Destructive alters have vanished/gone dormant or calmed down. Overall we are a happier and more balanced system than ever before. And we, as a system, feel better than we ever have.  

I firmly believe that it’s because of the fact that we are no longer in an abusive environment, but also because we give each other room to exist, and co-exist. Thinking back to the time when RP fronted the most, the numbness and detachment from everything it just seems like worlds away now. We are feeling, caring, wanting to fight. And it strengthens my belief that we are on the right road, no matter what other people say.

The way it was part 1

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[Trigger warning: being misunderstood, trauma, mental health care professionals not understanding, breakdowns, emotional pain]

A couple of days ago I had to block someone I’d known for a long time due to his inability to accept that I actually do have alters. “It can’t be true, cause if it was, I would have noticed!”, “I don’t want to get to know them because they are just made up” and so on. And I got me thinking… Why is it that nobody noticed? I mean, I know that DID/DDNOS is a coping mechanism, it’s not supposed to attract attention, quite the opposite actually. It’s supposed to help us blend in and function as normally as possible. Alters hide and pretend to be the same person, so it’s really no surprise that people don’t notice, but why did no one notice my/our multiplicity specifically?

Let’s start from the top, shall we?

For the longest time, RP (rational part) was the most active alter, they fronted about 90 % of the time simply because we were in an abusive environment until the body was about 15-16. In fact, there was misery all around: things were pretty crazy at home, vandalism and assault occurred regularly at school. We didn’t have many friends, and barely meet up with the ones we had. Therapy was a mess, we were deeply misunderstood and past abuse was reinforced, and I dare say we experienced new trauma at the hands of mental health care professionals. There was just no room for anything other than rationality and numbness. We did not have any safe places for Nemo to express his pain, or for the angry man to explode, or any other emotion for that matter, so we had to push all of that far away to survive. Therefore, RP was basically the only alter that interacted with other people for  many years.

There were times when Wynn would come out, for instance when me and my sister were being silly and nobody would find Wynn’s enthusiasm strange. She hid in the safety of the situation. There were also a time when Nemo would come out almost every night, when we were alone in bed, just about to go to sleep. He’d come to the front and cry and sob uncontrollably, and I could feel his crippling agony, there was no end to the pain he felt. Sometimes I’d try to talk to him and comfort him, but there was just nothing I could say that could calm him down. I did find it strange that my internal voice could stay so calm and collected while I felt such intense pain and suffering, but I just wrote it off as a normal internal dialogue. I simply I didn’t realize that it was another alter I was speaking to.  Nobody ever noticed Nemo’s breakdowns. Though I remember one time when my mum walked in during one of those breakdowns, I think she wanted to ask me something, and I went from sobbing and crying hysterically to numb and collected in less than a second. My throat relaxed, my voice wasn’t strained at all as it usually is when Nemo cries, it was as if nothing had happened. The only thing that gave me away was the redness around my eyes. It baffled me, even at the time, that I could go from one extreme to the other in a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile at the psychiatric clinic things were very tough. RP went to most sessions, which led to no one even suspecting all the chaos inside. We were there for five years before anyone even suspected any disorder apart from depression. The first diagnosis we received was Aspergers, and the team who did the assessment told me that they had no doubt whatsoever that that was what “we” suffered from. Funny that it was so clear to them when it all the other countless mental health care professionals seemed pretty clueless as to what to do with us. But I guess that is was dissociation does, it masks and conceals, making it so hard to pinpoint what’s really going on.

Anyway, given the fact that RP was the most active alter for such a long time, it really is no wonder that nobody noticed our multiplicity. I’m sure our behavior at the time seemed consistent because of that, no one even caught a glimpse of the chaos inside.