I have been thinking hard about why some days I wake up feeling frightened, or upset, or lethargic. Sometimes, I start off being capable, logical, feeling my age and acting it… to a frightened little rabbit-creature that can’t deal with life and needs to hide.
It bothers me and upsets me so much that I can be plunged into feeling terrible so quickly, and that I am permanently on guard to spot triggers and potential upsets. I managed to mention this to my therapist, Dr K, and the results of this shocked me.
Last week in therapy, I walked in feeling fragile, upsettable and dissociative. Dr K noticed this and asked me what was the problem. I let her know how bad I was feeling and she gradually worked out why.
During the session we got talking about what happened with my ex again, and I started to cry. Tears flowed down my face. I felt, suddenly, like a vulnerable eighteen year old who had no clue why these things were happening and felt guilty that she couldn’t stop them.
In the safe space provided by Dr K, she let me know that I was safe and that I was here in the hospital, and I was my current age. This is where things have always felt a little bizarre- there is a rational part of me, the grown up, adult part, that knows what is happening and why I feel how I feel. What Dr K was talking to in there was not that part of me. She was talking to a frightened and guilty eighteen or nineteen year old.
She explained to me later, once my adult part was active, that there were frightened parts inside of me that needed to be brought into the future and helped out. In other words, there are split parts of me that are locked inside me, protecting adult me from the worst of the trauma. This was a terrifying thought- I scanned back over what I know of DID. I wasn’t blacking out for long minutes or hours, coming round and finding that I had been doing something different and had no memory. None of that is happening. So then, what was going on?
Dr K wasn’t telling me I have DID, but she was letting me know that the way I feel -helpless and powerless, out of control and terrified- is as a result of a younger self being triggered. These younger parts don’t speak or say anything-rather, I feel all their emotions and flashbacks are much more common when I feel that way. In fact, I had one in the therapy room- it was scary, considering I’d never been that vulnerable in front of anyone but the mental health ward staff before.
Of course, Dr K has taken all this in her stride, and I suspect that under her careful help, these parts will eventually dissipate and be put to rest. I will still have the knowledge they held, but already I know that my eighteen year old self is calmer and less terrified.
Therapy is tomorrow. I’m going to tell Dr K what I think and see what she has to say. In the meantime, any of you DIDers out there are all welcome to comment on this- let me know what you think. It was quite a shock for me to realise this, and I would like some help for when I start regressing and a younger part takes hold. Thank you.