The death of Hope

I’m in M’s office sitting on a black couch looking at the horse picture on her wall. I’ve just described my current mood as depressed but when she asks for details on what I mean by that I am unable to define it any further in the moment. We pause in silence for a second, I’m trying to figure out what makes ‘depressed’ a more appropriate word than ‘sad’ or ‘overwhelmed’ and while I feel those things too, I literally feel like the force gravity has doubled and I am being squashed. Perhaps ‘pressed’ is more accurate than ‘depressed’ but I’m unable to find the words to articulate any of that so I say nothing.

“Tell me about hope” M says. “It’s a four letter word beginning with H” I reply avoidently. Fucking hope. What is it with shrinks and the word ‘hope’? I’m aware ‘hopelessness’ is one of those suicide red flag feelings but I doubt M is red flag hunting, we have an agreement due to the whole years of chronic suicidal ideation thing in that we need to be completely honest with her about where we’re at and she will choose to trust us and not lock us in the loony bin all willy nilly.

It took a fair while for us, okay me in particular, to trust her on that, but 6years in we’ve been honest and she hasn’t had us committed, so she’s earned my trust and in turn I won’t break my promises to her either. In my opinion being trusted like that helps keep us ‘safe’ (*gag* God I hate that word) because we don’t ever want to let her down, get her into trouble or be the cause of additional unwanted paperwork.

Where was I? Hope. So what is hope? Hope about what? I have general hope… Like I hope my kids grow up to be happy functioning adults. I hope that humanity will get it’s shit together one day, although the glass is less than half full on that one. Personal hope? Like in what way? Define the question please. I have short term hope sure, like I hope I get a close car park at the shop – I have a pessimistic attitude that I probably won’t but I guess I still hope I do.

But long term hope? Well that kind of implies you have a future. I don’t know that I have a future. Assuming we don’t knock ourselves off intentionally then cancer is lining up to do the job. Besides, the future hasn’t exactly been something we’ve coveted. As soon as we are given ‘hope’ in regards to remission from the cancer the suicidal thoughts creep back in from under the floorboards.

From experience I find that Hope just leaves you open to disappointment…

I guess thinking about it, I’ve definitely been way more hopeless. I mean when one is at rock bottom then you’re not even thinking positively enough to think about hope, everything’s too shit. If anything you’re hoping for a sudden end to all your emotional pain that isn’t too physically painful. That being said, when you start digging to sub rock bottom actively suicidal level you stop even caring if it’s painful and the only hoping you’re doing is hoping that it works.

I guess hope is a spectrum. Yes I’ve definitely been worse. Does this mean I don’t qualify as depressed at the moment? Do I want to qualify as depressed? Is that why I used that word? Why? That label wouldn’t really fix/ change/ mean anything. It’s not like that would allow new magical access to antidepressants or something, M would probably prescribe them if I asked, but I don’t want them.

I’m suddenly aware that a chunk of time has passed and 99% of this conversation has apparently taken place in my head, but we have seemingly still been talking to M, must have half switched out or something. Therapy sessions are pretty much always fuzzy and disjointed. I still think ‘depressed’ feels like the right describing word for how I personally feel. I’m still not sure how I currently define hope or at what point the death of hope becomes the death of self.

This happened a while ago, probably several months but I’m not great with time and I found this written in my drafts folder. It still applies though. I’ve been busy with life stuff, but still feel “depressed” in general. I don’t think this feeling necessarily applies to all the others in our cohort but it’s my perspective.

I’m a little frustrated because I’m aware we have been having weekly sessions with M, but mostly phone ones (thanks Covid) and I feel like I haven’t actually gotten to talk to her properly in ages. We saw her a week or so back and she’d moved offices which made it oddly difficult to get into any sort of mental space to talk, though I don’t know what I even want to talk about other than ask her about our hospital admission notes from 2015 that we had sent to her sometime last year.

I don’t know if she’s talked about them with one of the others or not but I really want to know what they say and keep forgetting to ask! Memory issues are a right pain in the ass.

Lies?

Having memory problems is really hard. I sometimes get scared I have made up my entire existence. I don’t mean just the DID, I don’t mean half remembered traumas, I mean everything that has ever happened in my life, I mean every single experience I’ve ever had.

When I feel this way I need photographic or documented proof to trust anything I think is actually true, and even then I can still question if it’s real or somehow it’s just been falsified so I could convince myself it’s true later when I’ve in fact made the whole thing up.

Things can randomly trigger me into a spiral of doubting my interpretation of reality even though intellectually I know it seems silly, but the disconnect I feel with emotion and memory makes it impossible to really believe almost anything.

My ever patient psychiatrist just spent a chunk of time trying to confirm with me that I was in fact diagnosed with cancer. She was literally in the first operating theatre when the pathologist came in with the biopsy result so I should believe her.

Yes, I do have a massive surgery scar the length of my abdomen and an ileostomy but after I saw a magazine cover with some headline along the lines of “my fiancé faked having cancer” I’ve started questioning if I somehow made up the whole thing. If I’m somehow subconsciously manipulating people into feeling sorry for me when there’s nothing even wrong with me.

I feel like a total fraud and a liar.

What if the doctors were all just humouring me for some reason so gave me fake surgery and an ileostomy to shut me up and stop me whinging? Some big placebo surgery experiment? You know they actually do that with some people? To try and shut them up? It is unethical as fuck but it happens. What if this is the same thing?

What if I’m accidentally lying about the whole thing and my memories from having chemo aren’t even real memories, what if the hospital photos are photoshopped? The fear that I will be mocked and disbelieved runs so deep in me that it’s easier to accept that I accidentally lied and invented it / imagined it or a whole bunch of doctors might have also lied just to humour me or stop me annoying them than that it might be true.

You know, once I walked around the supermarket with our daughter and spent the whole time unsure if she was actually real or if she was just a hallucination? I convinced myself that I wanted a daughter so much I’d made one up but incase she was real I also didn’t want to ignore her. So I was trying to talk so super quietly to her so nobody could hear me speaking or see my mouth moving in case she didn’t actually exist and I was talking to nothing and everyone would think I was crazy.

Sigh.

I just cannot believe myself. I cannot trust myself. I don’t know what’s real, I can’t know what’s real. M says it’s understandable to feel this way given time and space are such a blurry concept to me but I hate having no linear timeline, I hate emotional flashbacks with no proper narrative, I hate feeling like a fraud and a phony no matter how much “proof” there is of something.

When I was little I saw people trying to trick me. Trying to tell me I was somewhere I wasn’t. I thought I was so clever when I proved that they had lied, when I knew I was right. Then I realised I couldn’t tell them I knew. I had to pretend. Because why were they tricking me? They might be really angry if they knew I found out and so I never told them. I was scared they’d hurt me or kill me or send me away, so I just looked out for all the lies. Tried to notice all the tricks. Tried to remember that it wasn’t safe to believe what people told you or showed you.

But maybe I remembered that too hard. Because now I can’t believe me either and I hate myself so much for being so confused.

I get into moods where I just want to run away and disappear forever to a faraway place where I can’t hurt anyone else with my lies. That’s why I didn’t want a tattoo but Kate got one anyway and now people could recognise us if we ran away. I sometimes want to just commit suicide and then apologise to the whole world in a note and beg their forgiveness for lying about… I don’t even know what. Everything? Or is it actually real? Or are they the ones who are doing all the lying and the tricking like when I was little? I don’t know!

Even though I don’t think I have lied or forged documents and scans and stuff, I can’t really prove anything to myself enough to believe my life is real. The alters in my head tell me it’s real and to stop worrying and it’s fine and it’s all real, it’s just hard. But then if I feel better I suddenly realise I’m taking comfort from something nobody else can see telling me things nobody else can hear and, well…

Also, what if they’re the ones doing the lying and the tricking and they’re telling me all this stuff to make me scared and make me go away again? Would they do that? Can they do that? Are they even real?

I think I have a job. I think I am married and I have children. I think I’m sitting in a house with a ticking clock on the wall and a big black dog snoring on the floor. But maybe I’m not.

Maybe actually sitting in a padded room somewhere staring at a wall and imagining everything. Maybe I should be. Maybe it’s like the Matrix or the Truman Show or something like that and I’m so scared. So utterly terrified that people will yell at me, that they’ll be upset with me, blame me and shame me on magazine covers and the whole world will hate me for making up stories that I really thought were true.

I never wanted to hurt anyone but I don’t know how to fix this so if nobody says anything I just play along. Just pretend it’s real and they’re right about stuff and hope nobody yells at me and tells me I’m bad and mean and a liar.

Iced Tea

I’ve mentioned before that I live in a small town in rural Australia. Now it’s super tiny. Like whatever it is you’re picturing, I want you to halve it. Cool, okay, now halve it again. Now you’re getting closer, except we have evolved beyond horses and carts – think rusty Holden Utes – small doesn’t have to mean ye olde, people!

So 12 or so years back we left the big smoke for a tree change on a whim (it was because Hubby discovered eBay – If you want more on that story, you’ll have to buy my memoir). The farm we fell in love with was still close enough to the city to commute for work but too far for the in-laws to pop past unannounced. Perfect.

It’s Australia, so there is a pub, but pretty much all other small town amenity’s you can think of have been crammed into a single 20square meter one stop shop. This can actually be quite convenient if you don’t mind paying $6 for a litre of Coke and smelling like French fries every time you pick up mail or pay for fuel.

So as you might have imagined, apart from random million dollar marijuana busts you hear about on the news and the odd 4wd commercial, there’s not much going on around here at all.

The local entrepreneur and unofficial mayor of the town however, could foresee potential in our humble village and she bought up a block of land in the centre of “town” to turn into a group of actual real shops. The townsfolk originally laughed at her, but when a new highway to the coast was built and as the price of housing in the city became more and more unaffordable, the population exploded and suddenly we all discovered we needed an antique store more than we had realised.

After a gruelling few years of council plan negotiations, building supply shortages and 2020-2022 in general, the long awaited shops have finally opened and among them is a café.

The café is owned by my neighbours and they have offered me some casual work. It’s great because it gets me out of the house, they are aware that I am forgetful and I talk a lot, they know I have physical limitations from the cancer surgeries and can’t be there too much yet they are willing to accommodate those things.

I’ve only done three shifts now, but it’s really fun and surprisingly busy! The other staff are great, I’m meeting local people I had only heard of (I tend to hermit away on the farm) I’m also re-meeting a bunch of people I don’t recognise that seem to know me somehow… (DID problems). And today I got to play with a coffee machine. The science behind coffee is considerably more intricate than I thought and I have a newfound admiration for barista’s.

So if you’re ever in a teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere and you see a quaint little café, it might just be mine. Pop in for an iced tea, local gossip and quite possibly the best bacon and egg roll in Australia.

Crumble

Nothing seems to matter anymore, 
all our words have gone to waste.
I’m still chained up by our shadow’s law,
still shackled by this face.

As the walls around our prison crumble,
and the outside world comes flooding in.
hollow memories of voices rumble,
cutting daggers through our skin.

Kaleidoscope scenes haunt the weary eyes
of revolutionaries on the brink.
Seems I’ve been dreaming here for decades,
though I never slept a wink.

My fractured mind’s fought too many wars,
& I don’t know how much more that it can take.
Only writing secrets behind closed doors heals, as my heart begins to break.

When the ghosts of tomorrow’s past arise
to claim their uncollected thoughts,
Nobody waits and nobody tries
to learn the lessons nobody wants taught.

But as the photographs fade so do the memories die,
of the great battles somebody else once fought.
And justice was just a word they used to disguise,
a system that sold us short.

They’ll whisper secrets we should really keep,until no more will dare confide.
Just to let the strangers and the showmen weep, for an unknown soldiers bride.

So I’ll let us go now off to sleep,
we’ll float away in a crimson tide.
Because the price of treason won’t come cheap, the house smells of greed and lies.

Now when your sun sets for it’s final time,
you’ll still have your day in court.
But as anger burns inside our soulless eyes,
now your judges can’t be bought.

Sabotage My Soul

Everyone is waiting
but every day’s the same.
Everyone’s debating,
but the questions still remain.

I cashed in my chips at the first sign of trouble, now I’m running out of room.
I found my heart at the bottom of a bottle
and then I broke that bottle in two.

Will the earth keep on turning,
long after we’re all gone?
And will the beggars still be choosing,
a path of righteous songs?

Better grab your spades, keep digging,
until rock bottom comes along.
And hope to Hell repenting,
will save you from your wrongs.

Cause my broken mind is sold,
on the future where I don’t grow old.
No matter what we’re told,
guess I’ll still sabotage my soul.

And we’re still casting histories mould.
Still Fighting wars that won’t grow cold.
And if I’ll never again be whole,
guess I’ll just sabotage my soul.

Tell me,
Why do I still need a reason,
to fight against this demon?
When it’s taken all my feelings
And locked me in it’s Hell.

Tell me
What’s the point of standing?
Watch the people all demanding,
an impossible solution,
to save these crumbling walls.

So I’m making bitter lemonade,
from the fallen fruits of our loins.
Wishing things went a different way
But the vicious cycle carries on.

It’s too late to hope for redemption,
in this world of toxic thoughts.
When inclusion became the enemy
and common sense so rarely brought.

Now my broken mind is sold
On the future where I don’t grow old.
And no matter what we’re told,
guess I’ll still sabotage my soul

And we’re still casting histories mould.
Still fighting wars that won’t grow cold.
And if I’ll never again be whole,
guess I’ll just sabotage my soul.

Forwards

I just drowned two Valium in a glass of rum against my better judgement, but we need to sleep tonight. Last night was one of those nights. The tossing, turning, ruminating, shaking kinda nights. One of those nights where you think too hard about whether calling a crisis line is quieter than committing suicide while you try to sob into your pillow without waking your sleeping husband.

Things have been rough lately. We’ve been struggling with eating disorder feelings again, the familiar thoughts, familiar patterns, intentional triggering. These habits creep back in hard and fast. It’s an addiction and I’m an addict. Recovery isn’t a destination you reach but a never ending journey along the edge of a cliff. Sometimes you fall. Sometimes you want to jump.

I went into that scan expecting it to show a recurrence of the cancer. When they weighed us beforehand I should’ve told them to weigh me backwards and not tell me the number. We don’t keep scales in our house, it’s akin to giving a withdrawing junky a syringe full of heroin to look at but not touch.

But right now, we are not strong. So I said nothing.

When I saw the weight I saw that we had put on 20kg. 20. and then two things happened, firstly every insecurity I’ve ever had about my body came crashing onto me at once, secondly, I completely accepted that I was going to die.

It was self protection. The weight? It didn’t have to matter, the cancer was back and I’d be guaranteed to lose it again soon enough.

Yesterday we got “good” news. Our PET scan was clear, whatever these aches, pains and lumps are is irrelevant because we are still cancer free. I should have been celebrating. I should have been happy. But all I could think about were those numbers on that scale and how I’d just leaped right off that cliff without any harness whatsoever.

I was free falling.

Last night as I lay in bed sobbing because I had no idea how to move forward if I did not find a way to lose this weight. I can’t run anymore at all, I can barely walk more than a kilometre without suffering for days afterwards. My body is battered and broken, my mind is shattered and exhausted. I don’t want to feel like this.

I’ve spent my whole life either planning to, or expecting to die. I’ve never needed long term goals or entertained thoughts of a future because it’s never been relevant. Death gives me purpose, stops me questioning my bad decisions, saves me from leaving my comfort zone to express my own needs and the needs of those who live within me.

By losing my death sentence, I’d lost my guarantee, my little safety blanket of doom and I realised that when it comes down to it, I don’t just not know what I want from the world, I don’t know how to live at all.

Financially we’re beyond fucked. We’ve been relying on making a profit from the sale of mums house to pay off debts but while lots of people have expressed interest in the place, offers are way below what we’d hoped for and it looks like we’ll be lucky id we break even.

The back up plan was my life insurance attached to my superannuation policy which will pay out when I have less than two years to live, but now that I am in remission, that safety net for my family is gone too.

I slept fitfully for around an hour. My dreams filled with a combination of fears and dreads, flashbacks and uncertainties. I awoke, once again with puff the magic dragon whirling round and round in my head. The comfort song for one of my young alters, I’ve heard it a lot lately, there was a bad trigger for her recently and I don’t know how to shelter our past from our present, let alone the other way around and now our whole system is in turmoil.

We desperately need to see M. But Covid restrictions leave us stuck with Telehealth as our only options, zoom doesn’t work for us, not in any real way. We don’t have the privacy. I’m tempted to quit therapy all together. I’m so tired, I feel so drained and at the point where everything seems so hard and utterly hopeless that really I’m not sure there’s much point in even trying anymore.

In a life that isn’t linear, we just need to find a way to move forwards.

Cancer Scan Time

We’ve got a PET scan today. It’s sort of something we’ve been putting off for a while. We were supposed to have an MRI last year but Medicare wouldn’t cover it and we couldn’t afford it. We were unable to see our oncologist because of Covid and hadn’t seen him since finishing chemo in June. We had the follow up CT scans (they were clear) but when we were initially diagnosed we ended up being riddled with cancer and the CT had missed all bar the grapefruit sized tumour on our ovary, so I haven’t got a whole lot of faith in them.

I’m nervous.

It’s not so much the fear of what the scan might reveal (although that’s definitely up there), but the cannula. Blood tests and needles had never phased any of us to my knowledge, we grew up around needles as our father worked in a pathology department back in the days when you could take your kid to work and I know we spent a reasonable amount of time in the lab and going on ward rounds.

So, PET scans involve a cannula and an injection of a radioactive isotope (unfortunately not one that gives any sort of super powers). You have to fast before the test which can make me feel kind of queasy already, you have to wear a gown (can be triggering for us) and then they stick you in a tiny room where you have to sit perfectly still for 45min (can’t even take your phone in) while the isotope – which is delivered through a line coming in the wall sci-fi style- does it’s thing, then they do the actual scan which involves going into a tiny tube the top of which is inches from your face.

I’m not a big fan of small spaces. Closing your eyes and not opening them until it’s over can help with that though. Unfortunately chemo has really messed my ambivalence towards needles up. It isn’t so much the needle itself, it’s the smell of the alcohol wipe. It instantly transports me back to the hospital and I am immediately nauseous. In that tiny room, the smell lingers and… ugh. I’m really not looking forward to it.

DID unfortunately doesn’t work like the movies, so I can’t just call out some braver more patient alter to deal with it all on our behalf. I remember past scans & procedures quite well so I seem to have been present for most or even all of them, there’s no reason why this would be any different.

The last PET scan we had was clear, with the ( potentially unreliable) CT scans as well, that technically means we have been considered in remission since chemo. Unfortunately in the last several months a bunch of symptoms we felt pre cancer diagnosis but had gone away after surgery, have come back and are getting slowly worse, along with a small lump. Due to Covid, we were only able to communicate this to our oncologist via Telehealth at the end of January and our GP was only able to order CT scans.

I’d been totally off pain killers since recovering from the surgery but I’m back to needing them everyday along with meds to sleep (although that is a combination of pain is more noticeable at night and a generally overactive brain). We have been overdoing it the last few months getting Mum’s place ready to sell but some of the symptoms like bladder issues, the lump, bloating and feeling full really quickly don’t seem like they could be related to that and are classic of recurring peritoneal metastasis.

On the bright side, if the cancer is back then we’ll be eligible for a terminal illness payment from my insurance which means we’d be able to just pay off our debts and maybe go on a holiday with the family (Covid pending). I don’t know how long those things take to pay out though so there’s the fear of being too sick to actually go on a holiday or dying first.

But I’m jumping ahead. Maybe there’s just a lot of scar tissue and some other simple explanation for the symptoms and the Cancer is still gone. I could be worried over nothing. The PET scan should tell us anyway. We have an appointment with the Oncologist next Wednesday so I guess we’ll find out then. Fingers crossed.

V

Tomorrow’s Song

Digital art by Ezzy
It’s been a while since I learned something new.
It’s been a while since I took a chance on you.
Let me breathe, take a minute or two.
Because It’s been awhile since I knew what to do.

The older I get the less I fit in,
Perpetually stuck inside a teenager’s skin.
The world grew up around me while I stayed in, only wrinkles in the mirror show me where I’ve been.

I laugh about the old days when we were all so free.
But cry for all the yesterday’s now lost to me.
I’m living out my days like a recurring dream
Still writing songs about tomorrows, sewer rats and trees.

But how many tomorrow’s will I still get to see?
The world I thought I knew lost to history.
Syc is but a fragment in a distant memory, but in my head we’ve still got futures & hope and dreams.

Always tomorrow but never today,
Memories of yesterdays keep fading away.
Always tomorrow I’ll know what to say,
Yet tomorrow never comes, it’s an impossible day.

Always tomorrow but never today,
Been searching for myself, guess I got lost along the way.

We still make plans to dance & write & play,
but if they’re only plans, we’ll never change anyway, because they’re always for tomorrow but never for today.
And tomorrow never comes, it’s an impossible day.

Funny how I’m dying to live now after so long living to die, guess I’ll never just be happy and I don’t really know why.
I’m just hoping someone will rescue me as I look up into the sky, and ask a God I don’t believe in if it’s still alright to cry, ask a God I don’t believe in to give me a reason why.

Maybe I’m following a broken map of the stars
Chasing satellites not northern lights & never getting far.
My therapist told me not to work so hard,
but obsessing over everything might just be who we are.

If you had only one more tomorrow, what would you do?
Let go of everything or pull it closer to you?
Where would you go, Who would you call?
Or would you just close the curtains & tell no one at all?

Always tomorrow but never today,
Memories of yesterday keep fading away
Always tomorrow but never today,
Yet tomorrow never comes, it’s an impossible day

Always tomorrow but never today,
Memories of yesterday keep fading away
Always tomorrow but never today,
Yet now’s the only moment they can’t take away.

Rest now, little one.

Clive died today.

Also known by the names “Guinea Rat”, “Squeaks”, “Piggles” and “Mr Piggy”, Clive was our pet Guinea Pig and an important member of our family. He had patchy brown fur and a little cowlick rosette on his head, but other than being extremely cute, Clive was by far the coolest Guinea Pig I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Clive was approximately a year old when he moved in with us in early 2017. Having always lived as an indoor pet, Clive came with an air of confidence that was unusual for Guinea Pigs. He was friendly and out going, Clive loved people talking to him and patting him and when our German Shepherds sniffed at him through his cage to say hello, he always sniffed right back without blinking.

Like most of his species, Clive loved food, carrots in particular. When we would open up the vegetable crisper in our fridge Clive would rush out of his little house and start squeaking to get our attention and he would keep on squeaking until we gave him something.

There is now an empty space in both our living room and our hearts. Rest In Peace little Clive, we hope you are enjoying all the carrots Guinea Pig heaven has to offer 💜


Rest now, little one.
The time to say goodbye has come.

Scamper now, little one.
Along rolling hills and under gentle sun.

Safe in our heart until our time too comes. Rest In Peace now, little one.

You Are Bad.

I talk too much. Always have, and as I have been trying very hard to accept and be okay with in recent years, I always will.This has been one of the biggest causes of our internal conflict as someone living with DID.

My alters struggle with my personality and the way it impacts them. I am an extrovert, I talk too much, I unintentionally interrupt people and I am extremely annoying to be around for any length of time.

I am very aware of my faults. My alters and other outside people in my life have been pointing out these character flaws to us our entire life. Unfortunately, knowing my short comings hasn’t given me the ability to change them.

I loathe that I am like this. I hate how it hurts my alters and affects the lives of those around me. I promise you if I could be different I would be and I have tried to not be like this, God how I’ve tried but I am completely unable to stop it. I might last five minutes while consciously trying to act ‘appropriately’ but inevitably I get distracted and fall back into these annoying character traits.

Suicidal ideation has come and gone throughout my life in varying intensities since early childhood. Different factors play their roles as to ‘why’ but fundamentally, the reason I have wanted to cease to exist is shame.

I hate who I am as a person and I always have.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons I developed DID? It is naive of me to think I was the ‘first’ and yet I can’t help but wonder if they were created by our brain because I am so shit, and in order to survive, there needed to be less shit versions of me so the people around us didn’t go crazy and leave.

I mean, realistically, a lot of the cptsd traumas we experienced in childhood could have been avoided if I wasn’t like this. Not everything, but a lot of it was brought upon myself – it seems my alters were very much aware of this and have been understandably frustrated by me since the dawn of time. I always fucked everything up for them.

I had an amusing conversation with my niece recently – this is the niece who came about via egg donation, for the purpose of this post I’ll name her Giggles. So Giggles is 8 and lives interstate. Her grandmother (my mother in law) was visiting over Christmas and so Giggles had to stay in her little sister’s room and she was telling me how her little sister, let’s call her Mischief, was “OMG Aunty Kate she is soooo annnoying to live in a room with!”

I thought the way she said it was funny and cute so I relayed the story to my mother in law this morning. My mother in law has always been a bit funny about Giggles. She has never said anything specific, but it’s been pretty clear that she wasn’t happy about the way Giggles came into being (genetically related to me) and when Mischief was born (not my egg spawn) it became obvious who the favourite child was.

So MIL says, “Bah! Giggles is far more annoying though. She’s exactly like you. She looks like you, acts like you and talks like you. Faith (SIL) hoped raising her in a different environment would help but it seems to definitely be genetic.”

Okay cool. At least I know where I stand. Thanks MIL. Now I know MIL never exactly loved me marrying her son 20 odd years ago,but I thought we’d been on better terms. I try really hard to rein myself in around her but I am like I am and can’t stop it. Unfortunately none of my calmer alters want anything to do with her so they very rarely seem to front around her.

So I struggle with the whole egg donation thing. I mean I agreed to it during a hypomanic episode that had been going for months. I decided on a whim, without considering my mental health issues and without consulting my husband or family. I recognise that’s not okay.

I hadmade peace with that to an extent because well, I love Giggles. I get random text messages from her parents telling me how much they love her and how thankful they are and that seemed to make it all worthwhile.

But now giggles is eight, they think she has ADHD. They take her to therapy every week and while frankly I think therapy should be mandatory for everyone, I can’t help but wonder if they see our similarities and assume she’s going to end up crazy.

When things happen like MIL making these comments I get anxious that Giggles is being put into a “just like Kate” box and not getting an opportunity to just be an extroverted kid who loves music and animals and talks too much.

I worry that I did the wrong thing by doing the egg donation in the first place. I was trying to help, but perhaps I’ve just brought someone into the world and doomed them to a life of suffering and failure? Doomed her to a life of thinking something is wrong with her and that she’s fundamentally “bad” because she shares my DNA.

I’m sorry Giggles.

One of our little parts, Isabella, feels this even harder than me. She’s crying because she remembers how lonely she was and how nobody liked her. I’m sad because I never kicked the habit that hurt her. V is annoyed because she says MIL’s comment was really rude. Catherine is apologetic for not dealing with MIL more.

Giggles is just a little older than Isabella perpetually is and We all see their similarities. Suzi try’s to comfort us from inside the way she did as we grew up. Suzi was Isabella’s only rock. I worry because Giggles doesn’t have a Suzi, but then again I hope to dear God she never needs one.

Kate.