Winter Nights, Sharing Bodies and Galaxy Nails

So I guess we haven’t been reading or writing much lately, because as much as we love blogging and the WordPress community “real life” has been occupying our time and while I could blame a million different things for my own lack of putting finger to keyboard <insert valid sounding excuse here> realistically time just gets away from us and when we do have time, we have been opting for unhealthy actions such as binge watching Netflix or playing mindless games on the iPad.

After a bit of a slow start it’s very much winter now, I generally hate winter, I’m apparently part-lizard and function poorly in the cold both physically and mentally. The part I do enjoy is being able to have bonfires outside again, nothing like feeling the heat of the crackling flames contrast the cold night air. Meanwhile, can anyone else see the devil in this photo? Or perhaps the big bad wolf depending on how you squint at it!?

So, what else is new?

We dyed our hair black and blue, okay, I dyed our hair black and blue, and it may or may not have been partially related to a hypomania and an urge to spite one of our prim and proper alters who is getting a little too big for her boots… ahem. Add funky galaxy nails pictured below to complete the look – it’s this fancy paint with metal flakes in it and they use a magnet to give it that ‘cats eye’ appearance! Tee hee!!

So as you guys are probably aware if you read this blog we have been more openly (online) defining ourselves as ‘multiples’ for a while now. After a LOT of confusion for a long time we have mostly accepted that we are a “We” and the puzzle that has been our life is finally starting to actually make sense.

Long story short (if you are staring at the screen blankly right now), We are many people living in one body – google Dissociative Identity Disorder or Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder for more information.

I’ll link info stuff on the website portion of this blog one day, but today is not that day.

So I (Kate) am writing this, and We (me and various others who share my body and find it applicable) have been going to a hospital day program for quite a while now, just one day a week, this particular course is 8weeks and focuses on depression using a CBT model.

It’s been quite intense emotionally actually, we started going with the intention of helping ourselves help each other but also held a lot of hope that one of our parts (alters) who struggles the most with the depression side of things would be able to be participate or at least be co-conscious and learn something helpful.

So one issue with body sharing (there are MANY ) is that while We don’t ‘switch’ completely very often, a few of us are often co-conscious (able to converse with each other internally and simultaneously have awareness of what’s going on externally). We also experience something called passive influence with each other and also non co-conscious parts, which for us means I can be happily engaging in a conversation or watching a movie and suddenly and for no apparent reason become entirely overcome with an emotion I can’t relate to, often embarressment, anger or sadness.

Now this emotion is essentially projected onto me out of the blue by someone inside who has been listening with or without my knowledge and has been triggered. For example an insider might have had a bad experience I don’t know about involving, I dunno, say apples.

So I could be holding a conversation with someone, they start talking about apples and suddenly I am completely overcome with emotion, crying, anxious and as I myself am unaware of the apple issue I have NO IDEA WHY I am suddenly so upset.

It’s extremely difficult to explain yourself when this happens, particularly if the triggered part can’t communicate with you.

Or alternatively it can be a happy thing like they say ‘apple’ and I might be overcome with the need to eat an apple at that moment, the taste of apples will flood into my mouth and I will feel like I ‘need’ one right then even if I don’t actually LIKE apples (think pregnancy cravings).

Anyway, this group is a lovely bunch of people but I am not ‘out’ about the dissociative identity issues to anyone IRL other than our psychiatrist, the husband and one friend so the patients and staff in this program do know about the bipolar but don’t know I am body sharing.

There is rather a lot of trauma history in this group and so of course stuff comes up and sometimes when people share something it triggers a part inside and while I might not actually know the history of ‘why’, it’s suddenly emotionally affecting me and I have had to leave the room several times to calm down. And I can’t explain to them why.

So I have been fronting (person moving the body and talking) for most of these sessions, but E (most depressed part), has been coming too in a co-con kind of way, so she is fronting a bit too except she gets overwhelmed easily so I kind of take over again we can communicate a little bit but honestly, its not brilliant and all of this swapping around stuff is not really done consciously. From my perspective I’m there participating in a conversation and then randomly I’m aware I’m dissociating out of a conversation and can hear the body talking but “I” am not actually choosing the words and can think independently while its occuring which means while I can hear/see what’s happening I often distract myself with my own thoughts and don’t pay attention (I zone out, body controlled by other person keeps participating), then I will either feel myself coming back ‘in’ again or sometime suddenly I will just be present again and find myself in control of the talking etc but not actually have followed the topic to that point. I have to smile and nod a lot.

We are very different, I am loud, opinionated and obnoxious, E is quiet and shy. This can be a challenging dynamic when we are in group too because I don’t shut up and she doesn’t want to participate, then you get Suzi (her and I are co con most of the time) chime in randomly with some random gem spoken in a gentle knowledgeable way that makes her sound like a seasoned psychologist. (They must think we are so moody!)

We have been doing activities on Core Values and Personality Traits and its so inapplicable to us that its a real struggle to do, our psychiatrist M laughed at this when I told her and said that the trouble is it depends which core they are talking about and we cant really speak for each other (well not correctly anyway) so its hard to know what to write when there’s more than one of us in the room – this whole thing is supposed to be for E really, we really need to do the course work separately and individually!

E has her own blog / journal now where she writes stuff so I know her more from that than our direct interactions. Life is a learning curve!

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