Opening the Doors to Inside

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I want to share. I want to share so badly. I just wrote and deleted an entire post because it was so clinical and impersonal. I basically wrote in general about a topic that has been touching us personally and I didn’t include our situation in it at all. That’s not what this space is for. That’s not how this works.

We isolate from our friends and family when things are going badly inside. And by isolate, I mean that we don’t reach out. We don’t talk about the inside world, and we definitely don’t make any attempt to help anyone understand what it feels like for us. We are absolutely not going to reach out should we ever be in crisis. Our family is forced to guess. Even with our family, the people we have lived with for the last three years, we don’t go into many details and will often stop telling them who is front.

With friends and acquaintances, we present pleasant and capable. We can hold that together for a few hours, especially because what we are doing/attending is a distraction from what is happening inside.

Over the last month inside has been sad and chaotic, and very emotional. The shadows took over again and threw up a wall leaving Sabrina and Erica on their own. They are both very emotional and reactive, which ended up pushing Brina too far and she is now asleep for a long while. This was hard on the system as a whole because it’s not easy to adapt to losing a stronger sister. Brina’s actions caused intentional physical harm to the body and emotional harm to the family. That can’t be overlooked, but damn I miss her.

This sort of thing is almost impossible to bring up in conversation with people outside of the family who already get it. It’s not a great conversation starter.

“Hey, how are you? You seem down.”

“Oh yeah, it’s been a rough week. You see, the shadows took over inside and are projecting images everywhere of us being hurt and alone. Brina and I are stuck out alone and can’t contact the inside at all so we’re without our sisters and a lot of our common memories. The images sometimes turn into movies of past abuse and actions we took. The emotional toll is crazy and I wish we had the dragons or Simon, our inside huge teddy bear, to help us out. Sometimes I think about dying just because I know it would make the shadows stop. I’m safe though. Dae, the biggest dragon inside, will find a way to get Layna through most likely since she’s part dragon and they can do things like that. I wonder what Bella, the big white tiger hybrid, is doing. I miss my sisters.”

Riiiggghhhht. Yep, this sounds like a great conversation to have with someone who knows but doesn’t KNOW about DID. It falls right into “how do we make friends when no one can relate?”

Now that the hard stuff is behind us for a while (it will be back, it always comes in cycles) it seems like a good time to visit this.

Question:  How do people learn about DID and become support people if they don’t ever have real exposure to it?

Answer: Hell if I know. Seems to me that they can’t. And how fair is it for them if they want to be there for us completely? Are we saying that we can’t trust them by refusing to let them in? Does it make us feel vulnerable and insecure just thinking about it? (The answer to that one is yes, for us, definitely.) Will some people decide it’s too weird/hard/complex for them and no longer want to get to know us? (Yes. That’s a sad part of life.)

The right people will stay. And will learn and grow. The right people will help us learn about friends, relationships, and social skills. They will forgive our awkwardness and will learn from us just as we will learn from them.

So being open is necessary. It’s the next chapter in our healing and growing.

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Acceptance

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Last night we had the privilege of meeting someone who had DID and has fully integrated into one personality. I say privilege because these meetings often do not go well. The rare few other times this has happened we were treated to a disdainful attitude because we choose not to pursue that path. In this case, we were welcome with a smile into a beautiful conversation about how everyone has to do what is right for them and their system, and how God has different paths for everyone.

She explained that she did nothing to make the others in her system go away. She feels that God did that so they/she could better follow the path He set for her. She feels that if we were intended to merge it would just happen – and that all of us wholeheartedly agree with. Obviously, since that hasn’t happened, our purpose requires that we stay as a team, a sisterhood, a system.

That conversation happened after a Celebrate Recovery meeting where we accepted a 60 day chip for our focus being more on God and less on how to make others love us. That’s a big deal. That same meeting, we chose the word acceptance as our positive focus word.  We are accepted there. I long for the day that mental health and people who are less than perfect, people who struggle, people who are less than politically correct or don’t exactly fit into polite society will finally be welcome in the church with kindness and understanding. Jesus never intended for churches to be just the polite society people. I know, we’ve been reading the bible. Jesus loved and reached out to those of us who will never be polite society material.

Acceptance. We need to focus on accepting each other and ourselves just as we are. We also will focus on accepting ourselves and people around us as they are right now, and not where we all “should” be. Acceping that our path is correct. We have made the right choice to pursue our blogging and writing about our paths. We have made the right choice not to go into life trying to be something we are not. Accepting that we need to reach out more and isolate less. Accepting that no one can more forward without change – and we definitely need to move forward and continue progress. Accepting that what happens in our inside world is meant to happen. It’s a catalyst for system growth. Accepting that being open about what we are experiencing inside will not lose us the right kind of support.

Fear, failure, rejection — these things all happen, to everyone. We can’t tell people to fight those feelings if we aren’t willing to also. We will all be rejected at times. We will all fail at things. We will all experience fear. And we will all survive from these things and we will grow, if we allow that to happen.

 

Afternoon at Seaside Beach

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Seaside Beach, Seaside Oregon

We currently have family here from Colorado. Nana and Papa came up to visit and with them, they brought 2 cousins. Woohoo!  Mama took them to one of our favorite parks to hang out and we’ve been spending a lot of time visiting and just being together. Last Sunday, however, we went to Oregon. It was a 3-hour drive and we were all crammed into one vehicle but the cramped feeling was worth experiencing this beach.

We like to explore, we always have. We like the adventure of seeing new things and learning about new things. Granted it would be a little more fun if more than 4 of us were around. The Shadows threw up a block and now Erica and I are the only two front with occasional visits from Kat and Gina. It’s frustrating at best. That being said, exploring the beach was a good distraction from that frustration.

The beach was pretty crowded for a downcast and rather chilly day. I was surprised to see how many people were actually swimming. We didn’t swim, the family walked around in the water and on the beach and looked for shells. I knew Maddison and Rachel would love an intact sand dollar. I talked to God a little bit about that as I admired the ocean and the pieces of shells and sand dollars I was finding.

Walking a little bit further I stumbled on an intact sand dollar. I was so excited as I picked it up. When I got it out of the water I realized it had little fibers all over it that moved when I touched them. It was alive. This was a huge problem. I wanted to keep it for Maddie and Rachel so badly, but it was alive. Is it right to suffocate it and kill it simply because we wanted to display it?

After showing the family the sand dollar (stopping every so often to dip it into the ocean to keep it wet) I decided it wasn’t fair to keep it. I walked out as far as I could without getting my capris wet and threw it out as far as I could so that no one else would find it, hopefully. I didn’t even take pictures of it. Didn’t think about that until after the fact.

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On the way home, we went over this incredible bridge. I don’t remember the name of it, but it’s so long and so cool.

We also went over the Lewis and Clark Bridge to get to Oregon.

 

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Lewis and Clark Bridge

This Bridge wasn’t overly impressive to me. I love that super long one and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge much more than this one, but it was still fun to take this picture.

As much as it sucked to have what I wanted for my sisters and have to let it go, I’m still glad I threw the sand dollar back. I hope it lives a good life in the sea. One day we will find a whole one that we can keep.

The Pacific Ocean makes me just as happy as the Atlantic does. The oceans call to us, and we feel something so incredible standing in the ocean or on the beach. Truly one of God’s most amazing creations. And we got to share it with our family.