Inside Where We Live (Josslyn)

image from google

hi im josslyn an im like, i dunno, 13 i guess. i usedta be littler but i was scared of everything and spent a lot of time under my bed or in the closet cuz i was always scared. but then i took a really loong nap, like from november to march and now im awake an with my twin sister parker and im bigger and not scared anymore.

my job is kinda to help watch stuff inside and to help feel fear. i see a lot of what the inside sisters do and how they act and i see and feel when they feel scared and i can mostly tell where the fear is coming from an why. i can find help, like tellin mama and daddy, or i can keep it to myself, or i can tell kaysie or bella or brina. they are the protector team. mama and daddy are on the protector team too but i don’t think they know that. some people think its weird that mama and daddy are only a few years older than the body but they raise us and treat us as our age but they don’t gotta live our life and its really not their business anyways so no one asked them.

i really like to color. i have a stuffed animal pony that is striped with all kinds of bright colors and i love butterflys. at our old house before this one i had butterfly stickers on the walls all over by our bed but daddy said they wouldn’t stick again so they didn’t get to move with us when sister peeled them off the walls. that really sucks a lot and i miss them cuz they were bright and fun.

we usedta have a husband. i guess we kinda still do. he hurt us a lot in the heart and on the body. we have a half moon burn on our calf that itches a lot today that he burned in there. he called it a brand and he spent weeks peeling the scabs to make sure it scarred real good. i still have dreams about that. it was scary. he has our dog and we have the bodys kids with him that we gave to mama and daddy because we can’t raise kids and none of us remember much about having kids and we didn’t even really want to but he liked pregnant girls and liked to keep us pregnant cuz we were easier to keep quiet an we were clingy. its hard to look at the body’s kids sometimes but mama and daddy help a lot an took over there and the body’s kids say giving them to mommy and daddy was the best choice we ever made for them and that we usually make bad choices for them so they are happy about this one.

i wrote a lot. i guess. oh well. thats me and what my job is an what i was thinkin about. oh an we have a butterfly tattoo i hate cuz its a property mark we were made to get. but its a butterfly.

love,

jossy

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Inside… Where We Live (Alayna)

Image credit: Values.com

Last night Mama was talking to Cadie and she said that we have suddenly all stopped communicating about our inside struggles. We haven’t been using our secret group to communicate with each other and the blog has been all but ignored. We rarely post in our own group about our struggles but we always have time to support our friends and group members. We have pulled ourselves inside and we are proverbially circling the wagons. We are not sharing at all what goes on inside, and we barely talk to anyone about what goes on outside. We have thrown ourselves totally into supporting others.

Mama said it has to stop. That we need to value ourselves and talk about how we are doing. She’s right, the best way we can think of to help others is to share ourselves. So now we are going to work on really being open. No hiding.

Inside we have a resort, a main house, a lake, gardens, a huge forest, and several different places where some of us hang out. It’s nearly impossible to translate into words so at some point we may take it one section at a time, but mostly what I’m trying to say here is that our inside world is vast, comfortable, and a real place.

Most importantly, inside is our sanctuary. It’s not always a cool place tho. I mean crazy things happen up there as we deal with things on the outside. And its so so so hard to explain it when it all sounds like some crazy imagined soap opera all of the time.  That’s like a huge part of the reason we started looking for Facebook groups to be a part of, because we needed a place to be around others like us. What we found instead, for the most part, was judgmental systems calling each other fake. And if you think Facebook is bad, you should see Tumblr. All of these places that could be so cool end up being drama and we have enough inside drama to last several lifetimes, we don’t need more from places that should be supportive and fun.

I wanna tell the world about us. I wanna make the world understand that this body is simply a shell holding one huge beautiful fucked up chaotic world. That the world inside of us needs to be cherished, blessed, loved, and protected. That world, the inside world, is what saved us during almost 30 years of abuse. The body is 34. My oldest sister is 17. The rest of us are all under 17. The outside world can’t seem to understand how this works, but that’s okay.

Inside I am a purple dragon hybrid. My name is Alayna Jade. I am 15 years old-ish in human terms. I have no idea where I came from or how. I just remember showing up here. Mama says I’m a pretty typical 15 year old who has no impulse control, a serious attitude problem, and a strong desire to do what I want. My favorite pet outside is Howard, the black lab. Inside I really love flying over the fields and mountains. I have a long history of starting fires and causing mayhem in general in the inside world. Due to that, I have the pleasure of being supervised by the largest dragon I think I’ve ever seen. His name is Dae, Dae and his mate, Lianna, guide a rather large brood of young dragons. They provide some internal protection as well as supervision for me haha. Not long ago we found our sister, Shiloh, and discovered that she’s a 4 year old baby blue dragon. She’s sweet as hell and I totally love her.  Its become my job (with Dae too) to teach her flight and to keep her safe. She’s got the dragon attitude and I love it so much.

I have a bedroom in the main house. I also have a cave in the Dragonspan. I can be either dragon or teenage girl. I hate how this body doesn’t reflect me in either form. Lots of times I threaten to eat my little sisters if they annoy me.  I love with my whole heart, on the rare occasions that I love at all. I will walk all over anyone if I’m not convinced they are stronger than me. I have no idea how to cook, how to pay bills, how to raise children, or even how to decide what to eat for myself (turns out the outside world frowns on dragons eating other animals…..). I struggle with remembering that the outside body matters, and matters a lot.

I feel numb to most of the outside world but emotionally I’m a big open gaping wound. And when all of that gets too much, I have been known to cut and self harm. Daddy has forbidden self harm which was kind of a dick move really, but I’m allowed to (and supposed to) talk to him and Mama when those feelings take hold so they can help. I don’t do that often enough.

I kinda think I’m around inside because dragons are safe and good protectors. I’m a horrible protector for the most part. I do, however, think I’d step up and do some real damage if I ever have to, in order to protect my sisters. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but I do love them.

That’s me, inside and out.

Love,

Alayna Jade

Understanding Ourselves….

Henry David Thoreau said “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”

We have spent the better part of our lives lost. We didn’t really gain much for understanding ourselves.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with that. I just know that today has been rough, almost from the beginning. Jessa was out this morning, and she’s struggling hard emotionally and has been for months now. She faced our first major trigger by  9:30am and then the triggers just kept coming.
We have been working hard at reigning in strong emotion and not forcing anyone to pay for our emotional fall out. We succeeded in keeping our emotions quiet so far today, but not with a lot of struggle and a lot of silent tears. We are losing time badly and aren’t even positive who is out. I know right now I’m Layna, but I have no idea who was here or what happened in the last hour. Its Cadie’s turn at 3pm and I hope we can get that together. 
I just now remembered that the youngest child is here in the house.  I was in a full blown panic because I could hear noises and I didn’t know where they were coming from. I was sure that I was in danger… and it wasn’t the fist time today we thought we (or someone we love) was in danger. Being faced with triggers like that, especially the big triggers, ends up causing intense fear, dissociation, and paranoia. When faced with big triggers together, like we did today, we become almost emotionally catatonic, or an emotional volcano. 
I hate when it gets like this. I hate when we are triggered so badly that we slide into black outs and losing time. I hate that we can’t handle being alone at home for more than a couple of hours. I hate that we are so pathetic. I hate the messages from J and J. I hate the fact that we are expendable and second string. I hate that we are so easy to push aside and not at all worth chasing or talking things out with. I hate that I can not remember what I’m writing right now and I have to keep re-reading to remember. 
 
I hate that today we feel defeated and either useless or a fuck up (can’t agree on which). I don’t even know what to write about. Noises keep coming from outside and a couple of the dogs keep whining and crying and I have no idea whats causing any of it. The kids that are home keep asking whats going on and I don’t have an answer which is making me feel more scared, pathetic, and useless. I’ve done chores around then house in hopes of proving that we are worth something…. have any kind of value.  Anything that makes up for these PTSD reactions. 
Its now Cadie’s turn but we’re having trouble switching.We seem to be doing okay co-con. We just can’t totally switch. We are gonna have to work on that because Cadie is less emotional than me and I’m freaking out and no one comes home for another 3 hours. so she’d really be the best option. We will have to keep on working on that. I feel so alone. I can’t tell if this headache is from the emotions or the cold we are fighting. My eyes burn too. Hoping its not a fever.
**Layna**

Office Hours, Processing, and Jessa

We, or maybe just I, seriously need “office hours”. We need to dedicate a time where we can just write, research, learn, grow, think… and to process things. I process things through reading and writing, and using our cell phone to research and write is a lesson in futility… or maybe a lesson in patience… or possibly a bit of both. With so many changes in our life recently processing is soooo seriously necessary.

Right now I’m hiding away in my room with a laptop and music. I feel at peace today. Its a much needed feeling because the family has struggled with transitioning and adjusting and we take the blame for that. We all, as in all 11 of us, take the blame and that gets to be a bit complicated sometimes because we can’t possibly ALL be responsible for the family struggling. I started wondering a few days ago why we do that. I started to really think about it but got stuck because I can’t seem to process anything without writing and I’m out of notebooks to hand write things in. I prefer writing online anyways.

Why do we automatically assume that we are responsible or to blame for everything?

Well, its certainly not because we believe we are THAT important or because we feel everything revolves around us. That is definitely not it.

After some thought (and a few song changes) I think its because we have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong since early childhood. I don’t want to be one of those people who place the blame elsewhere or who complains endlessly about their past, but our childhood is kinda how we ended up a “we” in the first place. Oh… just thought of this possible reason too…. if we take the blame for everything then we don’t have to face conflict.

I think that’s a real possibility… and I think thats part of what’s going on with Jessa. Jessa is the oldest (in age) but still about 16 years old. She’s the main protector and has shouldered that responsibility for a long time. She has single handedly made decisions for the system and decided for what we will and won’t accept/take responsibility. She’s been told before that it would one day backfire, and I think that day may have come.

We are safe here. We have parents, the treasures are here and safe. We have a family. We have extended family now. We have loving aunts, an amazing nana, and the treasures have that too (along with some cousins… whoot!). We have supervision, guidance, and space to be ourselves in entirety. And we have NO idea what to do with all of this. Add to that an absolute inability to understand how to deal with conflict and some seriously immature social skills and you get an epic disaster and an overall emotional explosion.

That’s where Jessa is, I think. She’s pretty much not communicating at all with anyone at all. She’s almost perfect in her politeness. She’s staying calm, polite, civil, and out of the way. She’s doing her best to not ruffle feathers and is taking care to be productive and useful. And she’s miserable. What’s worse is that she can’t see how uncomfortable and sad she’s making other people. She’s stuck and can’t find her way out of it and refuses to discuss anything with any of her trusted adults because she doesn’t want to cause them any trouble. Maybe she doesn’t really trust anyone. Maybe she’s too scared to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a hard one for me, personally. I hate admitting weakness and traditionally my fears, anxieties, and weaknesses have been met with exploitation or just ignored in general. That doesn’t inspire me to open up and be vulnerable. I have zero good experience with being vulnerable and I have a hard time talking about hard feelings and emotions when the conversation doesn’t change anything. Too many times in my existence people have said they care, they love me, they are going to help me… and then they disregard and ignore my anxieties and leave me literally struggling to breathe and to not dissociate while they go out and have a good time. That kinda gets old. I know Jessa sees that too and she’s usually the one that has to help me function through my anxiety so that might make it hard for her to trust too. I’m really not sure.

I know that me, Mia, and Jenna are working our way through some self-help workbooks. We are doing our very best to teach Lyssa and Cadie what we are learning and we are working hard at applying what we are learning. I think its been helping. I mean, we don’t feel much different, but family life seems to be running more smoothly.

Now that I think about it, I believe part of why its running more smoothly is because we have finally let go of a power struggle we were having with Mom. We can NOT keep saying we trust her and then treat her like we don’t. We understand what we are doing and why, but she doesn’t always and that’s not fair. And she has her own emotional shit-storm to process too. It doesn’t make it any easier for anyone in this house to bond or function well and somehow Dad seems to end up in the middle of it all and that’s not cool either.

Mom and Lex had a really really good talk yesterday. Lex has settled in at the age of 4 years old but we have strong reasons to believe she’s the original. We did learn yesterday that she understands things far better than we ever gave her credit for. Alexandria has been around for as long as any of us can remember. She hasn’t always been active, but she’s always been there. Lurking. She’s a clever little girl who proved yesterday that she can listen, understand, and apply what she’s given for information. It takes her a little while to process everything, if she retains it, but when she applies it she has the ability to calm the entire system and calm our inner world.

I know this is all over the place. I’m about to jump topics again. I need to get it all down now and I can come back later over time and chip away at it.

Triggers… we aren’t handling some of our triggers very well. Some of them are worse than we originally thought. Some are really hard to swallow and we are left feeling very alone with them. Others aren’t so bad and are clearing up a little, I need to explore the relationship between trust and our triggers.

External people. We have been recently made aware that not all of “us” are accepted by everyone we are around on a regular basis. That has been a bit of a blow. We understand are completely accepting of the fact that not everyone has to accept us all. That part isn’t the issue. It’s trying to figure out how to keep everyone around us comfortable and happy.

Everyone.

That’s kind of a big job. Maybe we shouldn’t be worried about keeping everyone happy and comfortable. But if we don’t, we are going to lose people we want to keep around. Or lose out on their time and attention. Ick. That’s going to take more thought.

Moving on…. Dad’s home and dinner will be ready soon.

So I read a really great blog post today about DID being an injury vs an illness. It was such an eye opener. I shared it on our Facebook and can post it here if anyone’s interested. DID is not an illness. We are not contagious. We have not contracted a sickness. No amount of meds will make it go away. What it is, is an injury. We were injured at a very young age. Someone deliberately hurt us.

Dad just cut me off.

Later!

~Layna

Except when we don’t. Because we are a family and we are real. And lately, we do “leave people out, hurt feelings, yelling, door slamming, frustration, and unrealistic demands of each other”. Awesome, huh?
We’re a new family. We are still transitioning and learning how to be a family. Every single person in this family… from our system, to the parentals, to the youngest of the treasures…. has issues they are working through. It’s like a sea of damaged people coming together and trying to mesh to become this thing called family. Only most of us have no idea what family is or is supposed to be. We all have these ideas in our head that should be good enough but they don’t mesh with other ideas and it causes tension and problems. Everyone in this house is trying to learn their place, the rules, the routine. Everyone in this house is struggling with poorly set expectations, dealing with major triggers on a daily basis and being expected to be fine with that, and trying to be what each other needs despite the chaos and lack of communication. Everyone is expecting things from each other that simply can not be obtained… not because anyone is lazy or refusing, but because the skill set isn’t there and full trust isn’t there yet.
To most, this would look like a recipe for a serious disaster. Honestly, it kinda felt like one for the last few days.
But it’s not. It’s real. It’s raw, its messy, its painful. It’s hard and its complex. Without love, it would be doomed. But there’s love in this house and in this family. None of us ever give up. We make it through and we come out better for it. We all learn. We all grow. 
This family will make it. Failure isn’t an option here.