I did EMDR tonight in therapy, centred around a memory of my body being cut into pieces through a ritual. When it was over, I walked around the room as I had a voice say they couldn’t walk, so the walking was to show that I could do it. Surprisingly it felt okay and then I sat down and I could sense a voice inside, very surprised that they could feel the body. T commented that it must be weird for her, and the voice clearly indicated to me that she was in fact a he. I must admit I was quite shocked as I knew I had little kid parts who were boys but not an older male. The part said that he is a man because he never wanted to have babies and also because he needed to protect and be strong. And it was a mans world. But he also said that he operates alone in the system because he doesn’t want to be seen as a pedophile or give any of the parts the wrong impression. T said that not every man is a pedophile and that it’s okay for him to be connected with everyone and that he can maintain his goodness. She said that men can have stronger sexual urges than women but it is about how they control them and he doesn’t need to act on these things. Anyway, he is thinking about things. Meanwhile, I feel a bit weird about it all, but a little less phased by it. Being dissociative is weird so I am just getting a bit more used to it I think. Plus I am feeling good within myself and enjoying my work and relationship and getting fit, so staying focused on what is good in my life. For so damn long I have felt depressed and full of suicidal ideation and it’s just nice to sometimes not feel it. I can see the work I have done is paying off and I am proud of that and I can see light. Praise Yeshua, I am thankful I kept taking action, as little as I could at times.
I’m a bit dissociative tonight. Not sure why. Well my parts know. S is sick, she’s got a cold but my parts think she’s gonna die. That’s a real threat for them because of the past and it makes them sad. In these moments I like to keep myself distracted and usually just focus on work tasks. It helps me relax. I tune out, work well disconnected. But the downside is it keeps me numb and separate. Oh well, I think, you can’t always be connected, or can you?
I haven’t been attending the codependents anonymous meetings as of late. I’m finding them triggering and there’s just a part of me that can’t be bothered with twelve step recovery anymore. I just want to live as normal a life as can be, turn to God, stay fit and healthy and write. But I sit in guilt as though I am being avoidant, or wrong for not going. I think that is the thing about the meetings that annoys me- there is this sense that i have failed or am “sick” if I don’t attend. I’m tired of feeling that way. I’m not sure what’s in my head or real.
The good news is tonight I sparred a woman who triggered me quite badly a few months ago and it was great. I felt like I could handle my own and was slipping from her punches, rather than freezing. I’m starting to move more so this is good. Over time and with more practice I will get better.
Trigger warning. Satanic rituals.
From a part:
Some music scares me. They used it to confuse and scare us, whilst they did real bad things to kids (insert adult part: killing children). My head starts to pound and I just want to shiver and shake. It’s like mainly music with lyrics and rock music, and the Beatles and heavy guitar sounds. I don’t like it. S was playing some this morning and it made me go all funny. I didn’t say anything but I got all anxious and just wanted to get out of the apartment. People can be very cruel you know? We are killing this world and I am sad about it. Sometimes it is hard to not lose hope. I prefer when I am lost in my head and creating. Life is a jumble of words and ideas and pieces. Eventually, maybe they will come together to form a whole. I am worried if I integrate I will lose physical capabilities that I know I have as a multiple. I dissociate from pain, that might not happen when I am whole and sometimes I worry that I might not be able to walk or be as active. I know I can’t live in the future. Gotta take it slowly, work at being present. Out of body.
I didn’t go to therapy tonight but am going to do two sessions. My T suggested I write to the system to get a feeling about what theme I would like to work on:
(I ask my selves this question). They say:
– body pain. Body still cut in half and can’t rotate properly without it hurting.
– music stuff would be okay – but it’s dark and disturbing and could involve bad feelings.
– disgust. More around the disgust. So much disgust. It’s never ending. It’s like I am filled with disgust, wrapped in it and I can’t seem to shed it, no matter how hard I try. I am soaked in disgust. It would be good to do some EMDR about my belief that I am disgusting.
Will let you know how it goes.
Is it possible for me to say I have dissociative identities, rather than a disorder?
Am I contributing to the stigma surrounding mental illness by not wanting to admit I have depression, CPTSD, DID, anxiety? Maybe it’s not about not admitting it, rather not wanting to identify myself as these things. They are part of my dissociative identities experience. At times these things do not exist for me, other times I only live with faint reminders.
I think it is healthy I see myself as more than my conditions or states of consciousness. I dissociated as a mechanism to protect myself from extreme abuse. I cut off feelings and parts of me became dead inside. The shame took hold of me and I was separated from my true Christ based identity. Of course I became depressed, had suicidal ideation and lived in fear, guilt and terror. Normal responses to abnormal environments. I am waking up, shaking off these false identity states. The idea of having a mental illness or a disorder makes me feel like I am in a fixed state that I can’t change. But I can change it or grow within, around, through it. My identities evolve, emerge, adapt and dissipate. I have changed.
The more I accepted my predispositions, the more I surrendered to their power. I began to separate myself from the fixity of these states. So it seems. This is tonight I understand. An identity is out that is somewhat whole and healed and empowered. On the flip side this part of me might be in complete denial! That is the perplexity of the situation. I recognise it is also okay. This fragment serves a function I don’t truly understand. I live, think and imagine in fragments. Sometimes, over time, they come together and form a whole, other times they stay disconnected. This fragmentation has served me, it has enhanced my thinking – equally it has confused my thinking. I make random connections, which can be clever. Sometimes I go blank, and don’t know what to think. I read the body and facial language of others to gain approval or consensus. I look serious and maybe mean, because I have to concentrate so hard at times to stay present. My face reveals deep thinking, seriousness, intent… i have difficulty staying present. It takes work.
The summer before I started my post graduate diploma in producing for film and television, was the summer that my first memories of sexual abuse were unlocked. I was in shock, full of newly discovered fear and a sense of knowing that I was bad and shameful and disgusting and dirty. I think I had always known it, but it was so deeply repressed and now it was like I had learnt a language overnight. I was different before, but now it wasn’t masked with any sense of edge or coolness. I was marked. I was everything I had screamed out to be called in sex. I was a dirty slut, a filthy hoar. The person I thought I was or could be was dead. I tried to hold on to self, yet I was ashamed of that self, I tried to become someone else, yet, I didn’t know who to become. I drank it down as much as I could and persevered. I tried to be professional and a go getter. I tried to delude myself, tell myself I was gonna do it differently, I was gonna make it – make it okay. I didn’t know what I was gonna make okay, I was so not okay. That’s how I started my post graduate year and things didn’t really get better, they got worse. I fooled everyone into thinking I had my shit together, when inside I was dying inside. I wanted out and the thoughts were so defeating and exhausting that I could never give language to them, I had no language for how I felt. I just kept powering on. I wish someone could have told me that I was in shock, that I was experiencing complex PTSD, that I was dissociative, that I had buried my past because it was too painful, that it was a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. I wish someone had of told me that I could carve a space in this world and help others and be impactful, just in a different way. Instead, I powered on in the industrial model in which I was trained, that demanded long hours and contributed to fatigue and promoted false values to do with commercialisation and prestige and ruthlessness. And I failed. Of course I failed. Because I was a young woman who had had her mind split and her thinking taken away and all she was, was a shell. A gullible gal who kept running away from herself because to sit in her body was such a scary thing, that it took years and years of therapy to just get okay with the concept. Theoretically it sounded good. It sounded like the right thing to do, to sit with the body. But practically it was not so easy. It was damn near impossible. I would just dissociate or the feelings of disgust would become so so so intense that I would shiver and shake and render myself obsolete.
Tonight I went to a talk at the Melbourne International Film Festival about disability and cinema (“beyond representation”) and I realised that I have been doing it all wrong. Here I am teaching this industrial model of producing that I failed in. Not because I wasn’t good enough, but because the conditions that I faced were not welcomed in that environment. I was shut out and I thought it was all my fault. Yet it was systemic. There wasn’t conversations about inclusivity when I was training and working. I didn’t know that you could use lived experiences to tell stories, that you could use the arts to heal. I had no idea that the notion of ‘the other’ was something that I could embrace and use to discover my identity(ies). No one told me I was powerless or that I lived in a privileged society or that being white was privileged, I lived in a dissociative bubble and because I hated myself, because i was programmed to hate myself, I attached myself to a delusional version of self that silently lived in her head. I lived and operated in the world with ignorance – ignorance of the fact that I had the ability to make an impact, if only i would stop and listen to myself. Yet I am still so scared to stop and be with self. It takes me a long time to go slow. I am afraid to go slow because of the memories, but I am running out of options. If I want to make a difference and help change things (on whatever scale), I need to slow the fark down.
I am now a level one boxing coach. Yay. The course this weekend was terrific, though I got triggered yesterday. I was okay and just dealt with it, but I had a body memory. One of my major struggles in boxing at the moment is in my hip, trunk and shoulder rotation. I’m very stiff and can’t seem to move easily, which holds me back from packing a punch and from being agile in the ring. Yesterday I was practicing a lot of rotation as people were pointing it out, so I was really concentrating on getting it right. Then I just started to feel all panicky inside and my parts went off. They told me I was separated in a ritual. My body was cut into parts. The movement was about connecting the body, getting it moving in a fluid, combined way. When I do it, the memory comes up and I feel real gross and small. I dissociated last night when I got home but it was okay because i didn’t do much and S was good to me and we went to bed early. I think I gotta work on this one with my therapist. There’s lots more to say but I’m real tired now.
Sometimes i have a creative burst, but it stays in my head. This is an aspect of dissociation that fuels me, because it feels good and alive and keeps me very preoccupied, but in self. Part of my writing is to challenge myself to get the thinking out onto paper (or computer) and articulate and / or make sense of this thinking. The problem is when I come to it, I forget what I was going to say. Perhaps this is programming, perhaps it is fear… I do not know. Its best not to judge it and instead practice automatic writing, uncensored, so I can just attempt to make some sense.
I listened to a terrific podcast earlier about Power, Privilege and Patriarchy and it has really busted open my thinking. In fact, since joining the Home Group Church, the Lord is just introducing me to some terrifically challenging content which is expanding my limited ideas of Christ and how to live with Faith. I have found it very difficult over the last couple of years. I guess since meeting S and admitting I was same sex attracted (for the second time) I have grappled with Christianity and God. The God that I felt saved me and embraced me, was also rejecting me at the same time (so says the narrative of most Christians). I felt the way the Church and Christianity was communicated, set me up to be divisive amongst my friends and the world I live in. Whether true or not, I digested messages that said “being gay is a sin and acting on it is worse”, so I was destined to be alone or live a celibate faith based life. That was the only way God would fully accept me. Either way, I was just putting to the side a shame based identity, thus affirming the one that I was trying to get rid of in the first place as a ritual abuse survivor. I’d gotten married, I tried to be the “good wife” and to be truthful, there was a great sense of relief in living the heteronormative lifestyle. Noone batted an eyelid, noone was that intrigued, we lived a semi traditional structure – i did the house stuff, he did the garden, car, credit card stuff. I looked after him, like my mother looked after my father but that was a far more codependent and dominant/ submissive relationship. Either way, it set me up to have a distorted understanding of power and partnerships. With M, I was submissive in sex, I was confused in sex, I let him have me when I didn’t want it, when it was triggering, when I just needed to be a child and comforted. Instead I lay dormant and let him take me. I felt that i had to, but yet it was my choice, because that was part of being a good wife. I gave up my chosen surname to become his, even though he’d already been married and his wife still hadn’t changed her name back! So the first wife and I shared the same name and I realised this stupidly too late, but because I thought it was the right Christian thing to do, I let it happen. When I met S, it challenged everything. I didn’t want to be gay. I still don’t want to be gay. I don’t want people to look at me funny, I don’t want to have a conversation about my sexuality (necessarily), I have no idea whether I am really gay or whether it is because of my abuse. All I know is that Christians suggesting that I am gay because of my abuse is not helpful for my healing. Whether or not I am choosing it is none of people’s business. The more important question is, “am I in a respectful, nurturing and positive relationship that allows myself and the other person to grow and reach their full potential?”. And my answer for now, is yes. That might change, but its pretty damn loving and good and healthy and that is pretty darn awesome for someone who has not known how to have effective relationships and certainly wasn’t modelled such things. Its taken a hell of a lot of work to get here and is going to take more as I strip away a codependent, shame and fear based identity. I am listening to radical Christian teachings that are encouraging me to think about God as inclusive, God as light, God as love and God as for everyone. It is not at the cost of Yeshua either, in fact, it is because of Him that these conversations are happening. I am deconstructing and reconstructing my ideas of God in a massive way. I am starting to challenge the doctrine and it feels great. I am having my own ideas and I am fostering my own relationship with God, which asks, “God, who do you want me to be? What is my identity? Who can I be with You?”.
Today at therapy, I hit a mattress with a soft baseball bat and I screamed abuse at the nasty student who put me down and said I was too strong and to be feared and inadequate and I gave it back to him, via this form of release and I cried and then sat in a ball and shook and it felt good and healing and I want to hit some things some more, because I gotta lot of this stuff inside me and it needs to come out. I am tired of hiding it. I am truly ready to be tough and to be tough means vulnerable and maybe that is okay, for the first time, maybe that is okay.