5 Things We’ve Learned in the last 4 months: Jumping back in

So the last 4 months have been complete radio silence. We go through those cycles, unfortunately. Somewhere along the line one of us decides that we’re wasting everyone’s time by writing things they read when they have much better things to do. Isn’t that nice of us, to decide that for people we mostly don’t know? This, friends, is called either denial or control issues, not sure which, possibly both.

On that note, let’s jump into 5 things we’ve learned during our 4 months of silence.

  1. Our feelings are always valid, but often untrue.    This was a hard one to realize. Did you guys know that you can feel worthless and unwanted and have that be completely not true? Well, you can. And it’s most often not true. This doesn’t make the feelings invalid. On the contrary, it means you have some soul searching to do in order to root out the cause of the feelings, or you need sleep, food, or water. Lack of those three things can cause intense emotional instability that you may not even realize is irrational or unstable.
  2. A diverse support system is entirely necessary. When we first began our healing journey we surrounded ourselves with friends, mostly online only, who thought and acted pretty much like we did. When we were upset about something they were quick to tell us how awesome we were and how awful whatever we were upset about was. We had our own cheerleaders. Guess what? That wasn’t helpful to healing. Sure, it was helpful sometimes to have people validate us and be there with compassion and kindness, but it didn’t teach us anything about diversity, overcoming conflict, or learning to change things we don’t necessarily like about ourselves. It inadvertently told us we were fine the way we were, no growth was required. Fast forward to us taking our Peer Support training and then add to that Celebrate Recovery and finally listening to Mom and we learned that our healing comes best from having friends who aren’t afraid to say, “Hold up, that’s not cool”. We’ve learned how to surround ourselves with people who aren’t going to tell us what we want to hear all the time.
  3. It is entirely our responsibility to meet our needs.  It’s no one else’s job to chase us to eat right, exercise, find out if we are okay, sooth or calm us, or take our medication, manage our diabetes, or build relationships with us. It is our job to ask for what we need, as for help, and follow through on what we’re given. It’s up to us to reach out, make choices, and learn from our mistakes. Equally so, it is not our responsibility to do these things for others, but we can be pretty good at supporting others if they ask.
  4. Change is necessary for growth.   Sometimes we have to take a step back to things we didn’t want to, couldn’t , refused to do in the past. When we re-evaluate these things, we realize there may be some real benefits to trying them. This could be new foods (orange salad, anyone?), new behaviors, new routines, or even new options for life in general. None of this is bad. As a matter of fact, it’s necessary. We learn by trying. Which leads to number 5.
  5. Trying and making mistakes is not a bad thing. For the longest time we have often refused to try things for fear of failing, getting it wrong, or making mistakes. We have lost so many opportunities because of this. We are now willing to try most things, at least once. We’re running visuals at CR and doing Just Dance with the kids., and knitting. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and that is exciting.

Life is exciting. Growth is fun, and looking back on where you were even 4 months ago is huge. Looking back 4 years ago is sobering. We will continue this path and also come up with some fun blogs because we want to share our learning journey with the world, and have something to look back on for ourselves.

  • Kaysie
Not mine, we found it online somewhere. Facebook I think.
Advertisements

Inside Where We Live (Kassandra)

Facebook

Image found on Facebook

 

I’m Kaysie. If you ask any of my sisters inside, though, they will tell you I am Kassandra. Really, Kaysie works just fine. I’m about 16 years old and I am the Lead Protector for this system. Yep, me. I am solely responsible for their safety and security. I handle most of the doctor appointments, legal issues, new social interactions, and most uncomfortable situations. It is my responsibility to know where all of my sisters are at any given time and to know what the emotional state and ability of each of them are all the time. I am available to them for mediation and to handle negotiation with our Shadows.

I can’t possibly do all of this alone. It takes a team to make sure that inside runs as smoothly as possible. Mom, Dad, Bella, Brina, and Jessa are all in our first line of defense.  It takes a lot for me to remember that I need help, so Mom and Dad always are happy to provide the necessary reminders… haha.

I don’t hold any real trauma memories. Not that I’m aware of at this point anyways. I rarely ever even process my own strong emotions. I firmly believe our little ones are our strongest system members and they are the ones that see and hear everything so I tend to go there first when I need information.

I love butterflies, music, yoga, our cell phone, skulls, tattoos, and learning new things.

Migraines… the Root of All Evil

Migraines in Systems?

migraines

Picture displays an interpretation of an aura that sometimes comes with migraines Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/114113195@N06/12348152433

I’m not even sure where to start. When a migraine takes hold, it is sort of like hell is descending down upon us. The aura starts, which is surprisingly similar to what the picture is trying to show. We get the silver, blue, and purple sparkles flickering around and the colors swerving in and out and all around. The sensitivity to light becomes unbearable and every slight movement is like being on a roller coaster.

Migraines almost paralyze the little ones. Literally. The little ones feel the pain and they start having intense body memories and fears that have nothing to do with the migraine. The whole migraine experience to them is like a nightmare they can’t shake off, so the little ones tend to avoid fronting during a migraine and the rest of us do our best to block them from being anywhere close to the front. Its just not fair to put them through the memories and flashbacks and fears over something like a migraine. It doesn’t do anyone any good at all.

We haven’t been able to pinpoint the triggers for our migraine issues. We have had consistent migraines in various intensities since we were like 8 years old and we’ve tried to keep logs and stuff but we never have figured it out really. The more we learn about DID tho, the more we are learning that it seems to be really common for people with dissociative disorders to struggle with various types of headaches and to struggle with a frequent migraine. Some people think that migraines are caused by switching. I know we have a headache all the time almost every day and I’m pretty sure that’s related to switching but the migraine action is definitely different and more intense so I’m not sure if its related to switching or weather, or stress, or hormones, or the thousand other things that WebMD likes to say causes them.

Today, despite the migraine, Sabrina managed 2o minutes of yoga and a 1.6 mile walk (yep, she took Howard with her… remember this post?). She also got the dishes done. I don’t know if that hurt or helped, honestly. She did ask Mom for excederin and took that and now I’m on the couch pushing water and I do feel a little better.

We’re trying really hard to keep the migraine frequency down. The endocrinologist even prescribed a medication that we’re now working on taking and getting up to the full dose. We had them well controlled on this med before so there’s big hope here. I might ask around and see how many of our other system friends struggle with these issues. Maybe there’s not much we can do about them. In the mean time though we will keep doing what we have to in order to get the body strong and healthy.

 

Kaysie

The Role Family Acceptance Plays in Healing

acceptance

Families make all the difference…

Family Acceptance

We have absolutely no biological family support when it comes to our mental health diagnoses. Not one member of our biological family, except maybe a cousin we lost contact with, accepts us as we are in our entirety. That lack of acceptance led us into a marriage where we thought we had found it, and instead had only found dominance and control.

Thirteen years of that marriage was more than enough to convince this system that we needed help. Actually our biological family was pretty good at making sure we knew we needed help but not in the way we really did need. The oldest of us  has always been about 17 years old, only now we were responsible for 4 children. We hit the online support groups in search of acceptance.

Those support groups eventually led us to the people who would become our family. Mama ran the main support group we joined. For some reason we caught her attention, which is pretty impressive, because not many people stand out to Mama. As she coaxed us into opening up to her we eventually realized she was our “Tribe”. Months later, we started talking to Daddy (Mama’s husband, in case you weren’t following along haha). He’s our Tribe too! The acceptance there was real and true. They wanted to know more and to help.

They spent hours talking the kids through bad dreams, the separation of us and the husband (their bio dad), the inevitable move that we had to make. From 2500 miles away they watched our system struggle and eventually start to buckle under the pressure. They made the decision to come get us and take us home. To their home.

They are raising the children. They are raising us. Nana and Papa may not understand but they accept us and the kids. The kids call Mama and Daddy “Mom and Dad”. Dad’s parents are learning. Our body doesn’t match our outsides. But somehow here we found family acceptance and that has made all of the difference to our healing. We have become a more stable and safer system. We have become more open. Less afraid.

We are growing and learning.

 

-Kaysie

Around the Fire Pit

I took this picture last night while being social! 

I was in the living room with Mama yesterday afternoon. Mama says “My friend is having a fire tonight and I really want to go.” I looked up from my phone long enough to mumble “Go for it. I’ll watch the other kids.” Don’t judge. I was bubble popping. Bubble Witch Saga is addictive, people. 

Mama sort of rolls her eyes and sighs. I clearly missed a point somewhere. Again, don’t judge. Bubbles… priorities. She says “I want you to make friends too. I want you to want to go places.” I put the phone down (I KNOW! It nearly killed me.) and thought about it for a minute. We had agreed to trust her. She’s worked hard to earn our trust. We had all agreed to step outside of our comfort zone occasionally. And to be entirely honest, a fire pit on an early summer night sounded like a really great idea. So I agreed. 
I was pretty nervous. I had no idea whether they knew about the DID, about all of us, anything. I was chatting with a bestie on messenger who said “Kaysie, just be yourself. Don’t worry about them not knowing about the DID.” I realized at that point that he was right. It didn’t matter, it still kind of doesn’t matter, whether they do or don’t know. Last night it was just me. Just Kaysie. 
The new friends have a beautiful home, a beautiful yard, and a beautiful dog. Like, I’m in love with their dog. The fire was bright and warm, the company was open and friendly, and the kids made new friends. Mama was relaxed. There was a lot of laughter, some nice conversation, and a general safe and comfortable feeling.
When I woke up this morning I realized something kinda huge. We were at a fire. Granted a fire pit, but still a fire. Most of our little ones have an intense fear of fire due to our childhood abuser threatening to burn our house down with us in it if we ever told. Not one of the little ones was scared last night at all. Some people were drinking and there was a fire. No one was even close to being out of control and the fire was contained and maintained. The entire situation was safe, comfortable, and really nice.
I hope we get to do it again. I really liked these new friends.
-Kaysie

Shadow People in the Closet

Image Credit:  http://thehorrormoviesblog.com/2015/06/16/shadow-people/

I’m physically in the livingroom. My mom is with me. She’s knitting and watching TV and I am working on DID awareness stuff and keeping up with the support group we run on Facebook for DID. I’m coughing, clearing my throat, and gasping for breath, Mama mumbles under her breath.

“I wish I could break into the closet and strangle them”

I heard her. To an outsider this makes no sense, but to me she just said “I love you.” It takes a bit of the fear out of this scary situation. Mama is here. Mama is watching. Mama cares.

Our inside world has been through incredible changes since last August. One of these changes happened over the last month. It was the opening of a gate inside, a gate guarded by a sweet 3 year old. Olly had guarded her gate faithfully for almost 20 years, but time has a way of changing things. The gate opened when it was ready and we welcomed Olly, Sami, Trinity, Shiloh, and Andee. They are a group of sweet and fun little girls that we affectionately call the C-Continuum. They hold a lot of memories, triggers, and fears from the body’s childhood years. They were not alone though.

Also behind that gate is a group of shadows. They are people but no one, not even the C-Continuum has ever seen them. They arrived some time after Sabrina posted Olly at that gate and they “shut off the lights” and made it cold. When the gate opened, the littlest ones chose to come out and join the rest of us. The shadows retreated into a closet and locked the little ones out. Or locked themselves in.

From that moment we get choking sensations a few times a week. It happens around eating, strong emotion, or at seemingly random times. There’s never any actual lasting damage done, but it’s uncomfortable and hard to fight through. At first I believed they wanted the body dead. Sami agreed and said that’s definitely what they want. I had decided to leave them, and the entire closet, alone.

Over the last two weeks I’ve noticed an increase in posts in our group about “angry” or “challenging” alters and Brina and I have educated many about patience, love, and kindness when these parts don’t seem to want it. So I was reading yet another post a minute ago while regaining my breath when it dawned on me.

We aren’t taking our own advice. We need to show love, kindness, and patience. We need to remind them that the body is safe, our life is safe, and we are surrounded by love. Most of all, that they are welcome to join us and receive the safety and love.

-Kaysie

Time Flies!

Its been over a month! I know, it sucks for me too. It turns out we despise trying to write a blog post on our cell phone. Our laptop is touchy and we really don’t like being at the big computer with our back to the room, and the big computer takes forever to load stuff and its frustrating so we often don’t bother. But then we don’t write!  And Lord knows we need to write. We all do better writing and writing on paper isn’t happening anymore.

Journaling is really helpful for most of us. Hand writing feels awkward and we all feel reluctant to have our thoughts laying around on paper. At least here we can make things private if we need to or want to, or we can share them with the world anytime we want to.

There are about 9 of us active right now…. they are….

Me (Kaysie)
Alayna
Jenna
Cadie
Lyssa
Hayley
Abby
Zoey
Bella

Bella isn’t fronting at all unless absolutely necessary. The rest of us are handling day to day life as best we can. Its been tricky because we had to make the very hard choice to give our dog to our ex for reasons that are best for her….mostly health reasons. She was our therapy dog… our bond was tight and we miss her like crazy. Its only been a week but the chaos its created is nuts. Everything from feeling alone, abandoned, unsafe, unable to trust, attachment issues, and overwhelming sadness. I’m hoping it all starts to settle down soon.

Because everything is mixed up we have been working on new ways to stay connected and together. We have found a way to communicate outside when communication inside is tricky and the parents have been monitoring everything to make sure we can ask them whats been going on and they can help us out. They have been pretty patient too. We want to start writing more too.

Thats about it for now…

Kaysie