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In The Beginning

It Started in the 1990’s

I had married a military man and had moved away from Colorado to Alaska.   I was in the midst of an identity crises – literally.   My first marriage was in its death throes and I was …  empty. I had no sense of identity and was suicidal, again.  I went to see a psychologist.  I had had a couple of appointments with her when she gave me a standardized test.  The results arrived and she wouldn’t tell me what the results were, but she did tell she couldn’t see me anymore. Essentially, I was fired by my shrink.  I took the rejection hard.  The psychologist did give me a couple of names and numbers for a doctor she felt more appropriate for the help I needed.

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February 2020

The morning had a rocky start.  The husband was in a bad mood that morning and was aggressively unpleasant when he took me to work.

When I got to work I felt stressed and disoriented.  Things at work required focus and problem solving.  I wasn’t up for it.  My anxiety levels were so high I went to my supervisor and let him know that I was having a bad brain day and needed to go home.  He agreed that I should leave.    I closed up my department and was preparing to leave when I realized I was not in the right frame of mind to see the husband and cope with his issues on top of my issues.  I chose to walk home. 

Home was 30 miles away.  I began with a long walk down a highway heading west.  While I walked the events of the day continued to spin in my brain.  It was all too much, things would be much simpler and easier if I were dead.  Then the debate started – would it really be easier?  How would I do it.  I certainly didn’t want the husband to find me dead by suicide.  He would never survive it.  I could do it at work.  There are places I could go there where I wouldn’t be found for days.  The question of where was solved.  How would I do it?  Do I really want to do this?  I do know that I don’t want to live this any longer.  Remembering things better left unremembered.  The stress over the lack of support by my sister and brother.  Why does it matter if they believe me?  Work stress – trying to work with all these parts and The One Who Rages pushing the agenda of suicide.  The husband’s mental health issues crashing into my mental health issues.  Life would be much simpler if we could just stay home.  The husband, my therapist and I had been discussing my taking social security disability.  How would we live?  Would being at home all the time co-existing with an angry resentful husband who opposed taking social security disability and retirement be any different from my current situation?

I had been walking for half an hour when an SUV pulled over.  The woman driving it offered me a ride home.  After a little bit of thought, I decided that she seemed safe enough.  Turns out she was part of a community service group.  I still didn’t want to go home, I’m was not ready to deal with the husband.  I decided to go to a nearby town and see my therapist without knowing if she could fit me in.  The good Samaritan who picked me up dropped me off the bus stop. 

I was fortunate, the therapist had a small opening to see me.  We talked about the events of the day, about how the husband is opposed to my taking social security disability retirement and evaluated if I should commit myself to a community mental health center.  Nothing was resolved and the therapist and I went our separate ways.  While eating lunch I decided to commit myself to the mental health center.  Doing nothing about all the aspects of my stress was not going to unplug the suicide debate I was having (and loosing) with the One Who Rages. 

I rode the bus to the mental health hospital of my choice – a place that knows and works with dissociative disorders.  It was around 4 pm.  They were full, no beds available.  They called a local hospital who sent an ambulance for me.  I waited at the local hospital until they found a mental health facility that could take me.  I was checked in at the mental hospital at around 2 in the morning.

The mental hospital I was placed in was not one that I would have chosen – at a point in my stay there I was told that dissociative disorder diagnoses were a contested diagnoses and that their protocols would label me as psychotic.  I was encouraged to see a psychiatrist of their choosing and retake the diagnostic tests after I was released.  The mental hospital followed a behavioral protocol known as DBT, Dialectical Behavioral therapy.  Ironically, the principles of DBT are very similar to what I learned in the 90’s as part of what I worked with that led to integration.

Although I did not find DBT to be helpful, admitting myself to a mental health facility did create the change I was seeking.  The first couple of days I was there I was kept in a ward for suicide watch with very little freedom.  I was able to use the quiet time in this ward to begin to work with my different parts that were up in chaos.  It was noted fairly early that part of what had been happening to me was due to a medicine imbalance.  In late 2019 my psychiatrist had changed my medicine.  The gradual affects of improper medicine laid the foundation for my current crisis.  The doctors changed my medicine and experimented with dosage.  When my mental health stabilized I was moved to a less controlled ward. 

I was in the mental health facility for a total of 8 days.  The worst, and best, repercussion was that it created the opportunity for the husband to ground himself in his mental health issues and allow himself to be there for me.  We had several hard conversations about what led me to commit myself, suicidal ideation.  He had no idea the direction things were going for me.  Since February we and the husband have developed a skill set for cooperation and communication.  The One Who Rages has been silent.  Life isn’t perfect, but it is better.

Awareness Event, January 2020

Trigger Warning: Flashbacks, Sexual Abuse

Day 1

We close our eyes intending to sleep.   Instead we see a dimly lit room.  We open our eyes and move beneath the covers.  We are back in the now, in our bed.

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Journal January 2020

Our experience with Facebook DID groups is that the group seems to function how we imagine group therapy to be. We are posting here our side of conversations we have participated in or posts that we have started as a way of trying to understand what is happening with us.

January 5; incontinence and dissociation

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Experiment With Gratitude

One of our aspects, ‘The One Who Rages’, is part of a group of aspects that forms our work identity, ‘Those of Us Who Work’.  The One Who Rages (OWR) role in the Lark in the Dark system is enforcing rules.  OWR’s original teacher was an abuser who used rage and negative reinforcement tactics.  OWR was present before our first integration in the 1990’s and is the only one we know of who chose to not stay integrated during this current dissociation period that began in 2019.  We are currently trying to teach OWR new ways of enforcing rules with personal growth tools that helped us with 1990’s integration.

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Journal – December 2019

Our experience with Facebook DID groups is that the group seems to function how we imagine group therapy to be. We are posting here our side of conversations we have participated in or posts that we have started as a way of trying to understand what is happening with us.

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A Breath At A Time

The week after the Christmas party a co-worker, moved by the Christmas spirit, begins to sing a Bing Crosby Christmas carol.  The flashbacks begin.  This was one of the songs the radio played the night we were raped by the family friend.    The family friend would sing to me when the bad things happened.  I begin to dissociate. 

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My First Experience with a Child Aspect

Yesterday

I was at work.  It was a stressful day with lots of unplanned out of my control events.  Adding to the stress was the knowledge that the company Christmas party was that evening.  I hate Christmas and I hate Christmas parties.  To be fair, I hate most parties.  I am always anxious and all those people (whether I know them or not) in one room has me wishing I was somewhere else.  I get tongue tied and it is a long night of dissociation.

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Neurofeedback – Third Protocol

This protocol was designed to address the dissociation issues that arose during the second protocol.  Dissociation is the brain’s coping mechanism to protect a person experiencing something traumatic.  It is a survival mechanism.  The first time dissociation happens it is a response to an actual threat of some kind – physical, emotional, mental, or sexual trauma.  Dissociation can become a learned response to stress.

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Neurofeedback – What is it and how do you know it is working?

The purpose of neurofeedback is to teach the brain to regulate itself.  What is the brain learning to regulate?  That is complicated to explain because the brain does more than one job.

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