Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Death of This Blog



 I'm faced with a bittersweet decision regarding this blog.  Up until this point, we have been blogging openly and honestly about my mental illness.  Well, it has come to our attention that this blog is being read by someone who knows me in Real Life.  I can't have that.  There is no way I can write without restraint if I'm aware that I'm being read by real people.  I began this blog mainly for myself; it's how I keep track of symptoms and of different K's and how I remember things I'd otherwise forget.  However, I've had a good many people write to me and tell me that our blog has helped them, that they've learned something, or that I've helped them feel as though they're not alone.  Some have even called me "brave" or "inspiring" (I don't know how to take a compliment though, so these titles only embarrass me).  I just write what's in my head.  If someone finds these ramblings entertaining or provocative, then that's great.  But my point is, I'm not trying to make everyone else happy, just myself-which is much harder to do.  I just don't feel I can continue this blog as I've been doing anymore.  My secret identity has been compromised.  Now I feel self-conscious and paranoid and embarrassed, and there is simply no way I can continue to write freely as I've done up to this point. I have decided the best thing to do is create a new blog elsewhere, where my real-life readers can't find it. I appreciate all my readers, and for them I shall keep this blog as is, despite my burning desire to delete it. (You can still comment on posts; I will read them)  Here now, in the end, this blog has brought me shame and humiliation by exposing my personal thoughts and actions (all the crazy, mentally ill stuff) to people who actually see me in person on occasion.  I simply cannot live with that.  Therefore, this is the end of this blog.  If you would like to continue reading our blog and are interested in getting the new blog address, please email me. I deeply regret the loss of any readers because of my moving the blog. If you have any questions about my experiences with mental illness, feel free to email me. We hope that you will follow us to our new blog home...I sincerely thank you for all of your comments and emails, and thank you for reading.

~K(s)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Triggering Tale Part 2

This post is the continuation of the last post I wrote.  This is the story of how K handled her mother's tearful goodbyes (brought on by her fear of imminent death).  After my aunt came and picked up my mom and took her to the doctor, I had a mini breakdown in the living room.  I did everything I knew to do to relieve some of the panic and stress. I drank beer, I took pills, I smoked pot, I journaled, I tweeted.  I thought to myself that I just needed to hold it together until Husband got home. That seemed to take years, but at long last he was there and he took care of me for the remainder of the day and all throughout the night, into the next day.  But I don't remember any of that.  I only know what Husband told me happened, and what I found the next day written in my blog and my journal...and I have the note.

Before I get to that part, I need to tell you about what happened after Husband came home.  He told me that I was quite upset and tearfully told him all that had happened with Mom.  And he said I had a meltdown.  He took me to the bedroom, put on some music, and tried to talk me down from my state of panic and fear.  That's when he said that I became someone else, that K checked out and was just gone and this new K was in her place.  He recognized that I had become another K, but he said he thought at first I was the one he calls Switch Kellie.  After he'd talked to her for a few minutes, however, he realized that he was interacting with someone different.  He said he'd never met her before, but I wouldn't know about that.  He began to ask her questions in an attempt to get to know this new K.  She told him she was the one who had all the information, that she knew all about K's DID and about the other K's; she told him she was like "the gatekeeper".  Husband called this new K "Kellie Prime", because he said he felt as though this K was the one in charge.  Of course, I have no way of knowing whether she's the leader of the pack or not. But I have the journal entry she wrote as well as a partial blog post. I suppose I'll post that partial post, just to have as an example of Kellie Prime's writing, and as a record of my switching for my psychiatrist.

This is what Kellie Prime left for K to find the next day in our blog:

We had a very interesting talk with Husband earlier.  He was telling me how I've been switching today.  He told me he met 2 different K's today, and that this was the first time he'd ever met either of them.  One of them I, myself, know very little about, or at least she hides and doesn't come out much.  The first K that presented herself to Husband was very down-to-earth and practical and Husband says she seemed like she knew a lot about what was going on within K. That would be me. Yes, I do know a great deal about what is going on in K's mind. Her system, they call it.  Her internal world. We call it "Kellie World".  I know that I am here because of the stress of the day's events and that the greater the stress, the bigger the obstacle, the more often we switch.  At first Husband thought I might be Switch Kellie, but after talking with us for a few minutes, he realized I was someone else.  I'm not sure why, but he called me Kellie Prime.  I'm not certain that's correct; it implies that I am the host, and I'm not sure about that yet. We're still trying to figure out everyone's job here in Kellie World. But I've learned a great deal in the past 24 hours. I learned that K has an alter (I really don't like that word) who is in charge of the information about the other K's. That K, me, is very interested in information, and in gathering information and sorting information. I want to know the facts.

There is also a journal entry written by Kellie Prime. In it she talks about how hard it is for her to write with a pen and paper, because she's used to typing. She says that she's the K who comes from time to time whenever things get stressful.  She also again mentions having information. Then there's a gap of 12 hours, and then there's a journal entry which talks about being more than one person, and about having both the information of Kellie Prime as well as the thoughts and feelings of K. I'm assuming this was written while we were in a state of co-consciousness.  It says that we've had a talk with Husband, and that he explained to us about our switching...and then it goes on to say that according to Hubby, we switched right in front of him.  He said we went from being Kellie Prime to being a little girl.  He told us our face changed, and our expression disappeared and we were looking very far off and then we became a child.  He said she was crying about her mommy being sick and that she was scared.  He said she was only in the room for about 5 minutes.  Just long enough to leave us this note:

Mommy very sick. She might die. We're scared. Just a little girl I can't take care of me. Don't know what we'll do without Mom. She's our best friend. She takes care of us. We don't know grown up stuff.I'm smart though. I'm 6.

Husband told us that after those few minutes wherein The Little Girl was crying, talking about Mommy, and writing the note, that K's face went blank again, and her eyes closed, and she was unresponsive for about a minute or two.  Then Kellie Prime was back with him, and she asked him what happened, and when he told her about how she'd switched into a child, she got very interested and began asking questions.  She told him it was her job to have all the information, so she needed him to tell her everything he knew about The Little Girl.  He didn't know much.  But Kellie Prime told Husband that he had, in fact, met The Little Girl before.  One day, a long time ago, he came home from work and found us hiding under the comforter on the bed.  We were on our hands and knees and were talking to ourselves and rocking back and forth.  He'd said that we told him we were scared of the people, and that we had to hide from the people outside the window.  So Kellie Prime told all of this to Husband, and he was very kind and gentle with us, and understanding.  He wasn't freaked out or anything, and don't you agree most people would be?

Eventually, we got tired and fell asleep.  When I woke up the next morning, my brain was all fuzzy, and for a couple of hours, before I finished off my pot of coffee, I could still feel Kellie Prime at the surface of our reality, and I could think her thoughts.  Eventually, she went back inside and I was K again. That's when I began investigating the time I'd lost the day before...and when I found the blog post and the journal entries, and when I decided that all of this might make good subject matter.

A Triggering Tale

This will be a triggering post for me to write but we feel it's important to K's sanity (whatever amount she may have left) that we discuss this subject.  I'm going to write about death, or more specifically, the death of our mother. No, she is not dead. But she is old and her health is failing and therefore this is something that we fear we may have to deal with at some point in the (hopefully not too) near future.  First I need to tell you about my mom.  You can't possibly sympathize with me unless you know a bit about our mother.

Mom will be 83 years old in August.  She is the hardest working woman I've ever seen in my life.  She is always working, cleaning something, cooking, anything, just to keep busy. She helped my father build the house in which I now reside. She worked a factory job until she began having children. My sister is 20 years older than me, my brother 15 years older. Needless to say, I am the baby.  Mom had me at a very late stage in her life, and I often joke that she originally named me "Menopause".  So I've grown up with a mother who was the same age as my friends' grandmothers.  This was probably both a blessing AND a curse.  A blessing because she loved me as though I were a miracle baby, and indeed she has called me at times her "miracle child", I believe because when she got pregnant with me, the doctors told her it'd be a difficult pregnancy due to her age and that I might have problems when I was born.  Also because she's told me before that she was in labor with me for such a long period of time that she thought I'd never come out.  So I guess in those ways, I am her miracle.  A curse because she was old-fashioned and didn't understand my generation-especially me!-at all.  She tried to be strict with me yet I was spoiled rotten.  Mom was/is forever buying me gifts, everything from new clothes to expensive jewelry. I DO appreciate all these things, but they make me feel terribly guilty; I don't deserve them.

I'm not going to lie. I am ashamed of the way we treated our mom when we were younger.  We didn't treat her with the respect she deserves.  We yelled and argued and I would curse at her and steal her credit cards and sneak out or run away from home... I was a real brat, although at that time the doctor called it bipolar.  Seriously, of course, I was mentally ill, and all those terrible things I did and said had a lot to do with the fact that I was sick and not in therapy or on medication. I am one of those people who truly needs medication. I can't function as a regular person without meds. But I digress. My mother and I loved each other very much but were not what I would call close until I was about 30 years old.  I guess it just takes time for children to learn to appreciate their parents and all the sacrifices made on their behalf throughout life. So anyway, I suppose I was trying to atone for the sins of my youth and thus I began to do everything I could to help my mother and be a better daughter.  When my father became terminally ill, I moved in with my parents to help my mother take care of him; I was there for 2 years.  After my dad's death, I stayed with my mother for about 3 months, just so she wouldn't be alone.  She and my father had been married for 55 years, and she had never lived alone before.  So I stayed with her and we grieved my father's death together; I think it's the only thing that prevented me from ending up in a psychiatric hospital (I did not handle my dad's death well at all) Eventually the day came when I moved back to my own place, which was an hour north of my mother's much smaller city. I'd been living 2000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest before Daddy got sick, but I chose to stay in the South after he died, just to be near my mother.  It was good to have my own personal space again, but I did miss my mom.  Every morning, I made myself a cup of coffee and smoked a cigarette on the balcony and called my mom, first thing.  I'm not sure who these calls meant more to, me or her.  But I couldn't start my day until I'd talked to Mom, and if she didn't hear from me by early-afternoon, she'd get worried and call me.  That is one thing I should tell you about my mother-she's a worrywart.  She is always and forever worried about me, I don't know if it's because I'm the baby of the family or if it's because of my mental illness or if it's just a maternal thing.  You might even say that she's always been over-protective of me, but she's gotten much more relaxed and better about it since she's gotten older.  She does still call me if I'm not home when I said I would be though.  All you really need to know is that Mom is the most loving and generous and thoughtful mother on the planet.  She would do anything for me, and has done more than I could ever list (or remember). 

Now we get to the part about her health. After my father died, Mom really went downhill.  She's been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count for congestive heart failure, emphysema, COPD, pneumonia, blood clots in both lungs....I could go on and on.  Let's just say that Mom has had a LOT of health problems over the years.  But she's a trooper, she's tough as nails, and she always pulls through, even when my sister and I thought she wouldn't make it.  Mom is a fighter.  I'm thankful for that, otherwise she wouldn't be with me today.  But things are not so good right now.  About 3 years ago, Mom's health deteriorated to the point where she could no longer live by herself.  And so I moved in with her. I am now my mother's caregiver.  I keep track of all her medication doses and doctor's appointments and basically just see to it that she's got everything she needs or wants.  I get up every morning and check on her and give her her medications and check her oxygen levels and maybe her blood sugar and help her get dressed for the day. She's currently recovering from a minor surgical procedure which requires me to clean, disinfect, and dress 2 wounds on her lower back. She contracted Shingles back in January and has been in a lot of pain for months now.  In the end she had to get an electrical nerve stimulator implanted in her back; hence the wounds I've been cleaning.  She's just starting to feel good again....but she has good days and bad days.  Recently, we had a bad day.  A very bad day.

It started out just fine. She was up and watching the news and reading her newspaper while drinking coffee...she said she'd slept well the night before and that she felt really good.  So I believed her; she gave me no reason to doubt her.  My husband left for work, and I went to the laptop to check emails and whatnot, and while I was sitting there, on the sofa, I happened to glance over at my mother, who was seated in the recliner next to the sofa.  She was sitting on the very edge of her chair, and was leaning forward,  I noticed she seemed to be out of breath and her eyes were closed. I immediately asked her if she was OK, and she shook her head no.  I sprang into action-asking all the typical heart attack questions, checking her blood oxygen levels, putting the oxygen mask on her, wiping her brow which seemed damp with sweat, getting her an ice pack for her sore back, and giving her something for pain.  She wanted to go lie down, so I helped her up and we slowly made our way back to her bedroom.  I put her to bed, arranging pillows and positioning ice packs before pulling the blankets up over her... and that's about the time she started to cry.

She whimpered at first, then it got worse and in the end she was sobbing.  She kept telling me how much she loved me and how she didn't want to leave me.  I tried to keep things light and told her she wasn't going anywhere but she cried harder and said yes, she was, and soon.  I put my arms around her and hugged her tight and told her she was going to be just fine.  She continued to cry, and it was then that she asked if she could have one of my Xanax to calm her down. I knew it was serious if she was asking me for anxiety medicine-she's afraid for its danger of addiction.  So I gave her .5 mg of Xanax and sat at her bedside waiting for it to kick in. It was time for her to take a breathing treatment, so while she was doing that, I ran off to my room and called my sister. I was more upset than I'd realized and when she asked what was wrong I began to cry.  Tried to explain to her that Mom was talking about dying and saying her goodbyes; my sister (who lives a thousand miles away) told me to call my aunt, she was a nurse, she'd be able to help.  And so I called my aunt, then went and sat at my mother's bedside to wait. I didn't mention to my mother that I'd talked to my aunt. It seemed to take forever for the Xanax to ward off Mom's tears, and then it was an eternity before my aunt arrived. But I left them alone and went back to my room. I was really freaked out.  I'm so superstitious that I thought perhaps Mom was having a premonition about her death and that really messed with my mind.  I convinced myself that she was about to die and a panic attack ensued.  I locked the bedroom door and waited for the anxiety pill I'd taken to kick in.  When I finally emerged from my room, I found that my aunt had decided to take Mom to see the pain-management doctor (a 45 minute drive).  So I helped Mom get dressed and gathered up her portable oxygen tank and medications and ice pack and pillow, and I put her in my aunt's car.  As I was fastening her seat belt, she told me again how much she loved me, and again the tears began to flow down her cheeks.  I had to get out of there. When they drove away I ran inside the house and lost. My. Shit. 

I took a handful of pills.  I drank a beer. I smoked some pot.  I was just trying to hold on until my husband got home from work.  I don't really remember much after that.  What I know about the rest of the day and night is only what my husband told me happened and also what I found written in my journal and my blog the next day.  This is where things get interesting, and I think it's necessary to put the rest of the story into a second blog post.  This one is already far too long.  I hope you'll take the time to read part 2 as well; it's infinitely more entertaining than this post.  Preview: K switches into a new K for 24 hours...


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Emergency Therapy

I had to go see my psychiatrist for an emergency appointment the other day. This was the first time I'd ever tried to see her without a scheduled appointment; I wasn't sure she'd see me at all.  At first it seemed like she wouldn't see me, as two hours passed after I made my shaky, tear-filled phonecall to her office and still no one had called me back as they'd promised.  I was completely honest about my reasons for needing to see her so urgently. I told the receptionist that one of my friends had died and that I was having a complete and utter meltdown.  Her tone of voice never changed-it was professional-when she explained that Dr. H was with a patient and she'd have to talk to her and get back to me as soon as was possible.  I hung up the phone wondering if I'd wasted my time. What made it even harder to deal with was the fact that I'd sat patiently by the phone all morning, waiting for the time to come whereupon their office would open so I could call.  And then they tell me someone will get back to me. And then I sit, and I wait for the call. All the while, I'm going more and more out of my mind.  I was really not doing well at all that day, in fact I'd been doing poorly for a thousand days by that point in time.

We're not entirely certain when the event happened, but my psychiatrist and I have used my journal, this blog, and my Tweets and text messages to get an idea of a timeline. My doctor believes that my friend Bill died sometime around June 4.  The blog entry made on June 5 was written in a dissociated state; my doctor believes he died sometime between the evening of June 4 and the morning of June 5, as that's when I seemed to completely lose my mind. I don't remember these things. I don't remember when Bill died. I don't remember freaking out, but there's evidence right here in this blog.  I don't know how much time passed between my freakout and my emergency psych appointment...I just know that someone pushed me to make the call to my doctor, and eventually I did.  I thought I could handle Bill's death, I really thought I was OK. But I was very far from OK. The first thing I had to deal with was the terrible, overbearing guilt I felt. I felt guilty because I'd been meaning to email Bill, and catch up with him, see how he was doing.  I kept putting it off. I'd emailed him a few months earlier, and found out he had been sick, but I had no idea just how bad it was. And so I procrastinated.  And now it is too late. I will never be able to email Bill again.  That's hard to believe, hard to accept. I've known him since I was 17 years old and first moved to the city to go to college. He lived downstairs in my apartment building and we became friends. We even dated briefly, but it was his best friend who became my long-term boyfriend. Which means I was around Bill all the time. I was good friends with his girlfriend, and the four of us went out all the time, and took trips to Florida or to New Orleans together.  I had a lot of wild and crazy times with Bill. He was quite a character. A punk rocker with a mohawk and a motorcycle jacket. He loved tattoos, hot rods, and whiskey.  He looked all rough and tough but he had a sensitive side which he worked hard to keep hidden. The only reason I even know about it is because as I said earlier, we dated briefly. It didn't last long, and it ended with me shoving him naked out of my apartment and throwing his clothes out the door after him.  That makes me laugh even as the tears well up in my eyes thinking about it. Oh, Bill. I can't believe you're dead.  Making this all the more difficult is the fact that there will be no funeral, as per Bill's wishes.  He wasn't a religious guy and I'm not surprised he requested cremation with no service. But that puts me in a position in which I'm unable to say goodbye in any formal way.  There won't be a grave I can visit. I can't place flowers at the site of an accident. Nothing. He's just...gone.

When I finally got the call from my shrink's office, they told me to come right then at that very moment. So I ran out the door as is, hair unkempt, no makeup, tear-streaked face. I don't remember driving there but I do remember that once I got to the office, the receptionist was very kind and asked me if I'd like to sit in a private room (there were several people in the waiting room).  And so it happened that I was able to sit secluded and cry without embarrassment until my doctor was able to squeeze me in and talk to me. I don't remember everything about the session itself. I told her I was missing a lot of time and we did some investigation work using my journals and cell phone. She had told me at the last session to get a calendar and begin writing everything down, so that I might be able to keep track of my days and nights without losing so much time. So I'd been doing that, I'd been writing things down...and then there was a gap. Just suddenly, all the information cuts off. I have no idea where I was or what I was doing during that chunk of time, and we've come to gather that it's about 15 hours.  She told me that she believes I was in a dissociated state this entire time. I'm missing 15 hours. You have no idea how disconcerting that is unless you've experienced it.  It's like a drunken blackout, only there is no alcohol involved and you're not hungover afterwards. Also, you don't pass out. I was conscious during those 15 hours, and I have a feeling I never left my house. But anything else? It's just a blank.  My psychiatrist and I determined that we could never truly know what happened during that time period, and so far no one has come forward with any sort of damning evidence against me for some horrible stunt I pulled while I was blacked out, so I'm going to assume that I didn't get into any trouble.  If I had to take a stab at a guess, I'd say I was crying. Possibly curled up in a fetal position on the bed.

 “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”   ~Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nothingness

Too much.  There's too much in my head. Can't think clearly. Can't process emotions. Ha. What emotions? I feel hollow today. Can't decide how I feel or think... just empty. Everything's chaotic yet nothing is happening. Lost a lot of time and can't find any hints as to what I was doing or where I was at or anything at all. Scared now. What if I did something bad? One of the K's is mean; what if she hurt someone's feelings? Or what if something embarrassing happened? I could be the laughing stock of the town right now-how would I know? Deep breaths. Feeling worried now. I think. Hell, I don't know how we feel! A hundred different emotions all running around inside me, but yet I actually feel none of them.  That doesn't even make sense!  For the love of all that is holy, K, just pick a mood and go with it! I need help. Someone tell me how to feel today cause I just don't know. Time is flying by but I'm sitting still. Brain just won't function properly. Did I miss some meds?  What the hell is going on here? Normally when I have an "episode", we write. I blog. I journal. I tweet and text and make lists. Pretty much all the K's either write or draw pictures. But this time, nothing. No clues left behind for K to find. So I'm totally lost. Don't have any ideas what happened between yesterday afternoon and today. Fuck. I can't even write. None of this makes sense. What a waste of energy. I am no one. We are nothing. I'm pretty sure we don't exist today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Inevitable Crash

Well, here we go again.  I was feeling so good.  I was living my life, and things were going pretty darn well.  I got to take a weekend trip far away and had an absolute blast.  I was really living high.  I felt so good it made me nervous.  And this is why. Because invariably, once I'm up, I must come down.  The better I feel, the harder I crash.  So based on how content-even happy-I was up to this point, this has the potential to be a real low.  I can look at the situation from outside myself and see that it's silly.  But I suppose it is akin to that feeling you get the day after Christmas when you're a kid. One day you're on top of the world, the next day it's all over and you just can't imagine waiting a whole year to feel that happy again.  That's where I'm at now.  It's the day after Christmas and all the good stuff has already happened.  There's nothing left to look forward to.  I can't see any reason to be cheerful.  I know it's terribly selfish of me to want it to be Christmas everyday, and indeed I don't really want that, as a special occasion would not be special if it occurred too frequently.  I simply want to be...optimistic.  Hopeful.  For what, I don't know. I just know that I need something to dream about, something to wish for, something to wait for.  During these downhill slides, I lose sight of everything good in my life. It's as though I'm wearing blinders and can't see what's right in front of me. The depression creeps in and wraps its icy arms around me. At least one part of me disagrees with what I'm telling you right now.  One of the K's sees the bright side of things and can always find something positive, no matter how crappy the situation.  But that's not me.  No, I'm the realist. Note that I did NOT say pessimist.  REALIST.  I believe that life is rough and slaps you around and most people are only looking out for themselves.  I believe these things because these are the things I've learned in my lifetime.  Maybe I'm just cynical, but I know that I've learned a few things in my time on this earth, and what I've learned is not necessarily of a positive nature. No, the world is harsh and cold and tough and there's always something standing in the way of your happiness. It's how you handle all of these problems that makes the difference in your life.  Take my current situation. I've been so happy for so many days in a row now that I'm crashing hard and fast back down to earth. I can either continue to free-fall and land in a jumbled, broken mess or I can try to fly, as silly as that sounds.


Skip ahead 2 days: I did not fly.  I crashed and burned. Yeah, I really fell hard this time, and lost my shit pretty hardcore. I've been hiding in my bedroom for the past two days and I just can't bring myself to come out. I have an adjoining bathroom, and I have a stash of Diet Coke and a box of Cheez-its.  I was separated from my pills, but my husband was thoughtful enough to bring them to me, and so now there is no reason for me to leave this room. Truth be told, I'm scared to leave this room.  I have been sitting on the bed for an indeterminate amount of time, watching the sky outside my window grow darker and darker, the clouds reaching out like fingers trying to grab me. Now it's pitch black and I can't see a thing. Normally I'd be far too paranoid to have the blinds open, but since I have no lights on anywhere, I know that no one can see me. I hide in the shadows. I am like a statue, I haven't moved in what must be hours...nothing except the hands on my keyboard that is. Twitter is my connection to the outside world.  It is the only way I will communicate-I'm not answering my phone or the door. The support I receive from people on Twitter helps us hold on, it really does. Sometimes a tweet makes all the difference in the world to us by letting me know there's someone out there somewhere, and I am not alone. I'm not sure which K is tweeting during this meltdown; probably a few. We are all over the map, personality wise. I am coming in and out of consciousness... I can't keep up with how often I'm switching or who's out when. I keep eating Xanax and Risperdal and Seroquel. Just feels like my mind is in overdrive and the pressure is almost unbearable. If I didn't know better, I'd think my head was going to burst wide open like a water balloon. There's a lot of arguing in my head. All the voices are yelling at me and each other and there's an ungodly amount of noise inside my mind. That's the reason I'm in seclusion. I can't tolerate any more stimulation of any kind-audible or visual. I MUST sit alone in the dark, in the silence.  This is my only respite.

Friday, June 1, 2012

In A Nutshell (Pun Intended)

 If you're a new reader, and would like to "skip to the good stuff"....this page contains links to the blog posts  explaining K's story, and a couple written by different K's.

The Lost Blog Post  (history of our mental health as told by a different K)

Major Breakthrough or Break From Reality? (K has an important realization)

The Discovered Diaries (clues to our past and present)

The Mystery Blog Post  (written by a different K)

Help From Afar (an email from the ex-boyfriend to my husband, regarding my switching)

Peeling Off An Old Label (life-changing news about our diagnosis)

How I Became A Walking Drugstore (a breakdown of our past diagnoses)

How To Be Our Friend   (tips on how to get to know us)

What's Wrong With Us?  (we talk about Dissociative Identity Disorder)

Another Day, Another K (switching)

My Own Reality Show (what it's like inside our head)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Animated Day

Today (Wednesday) has been quite a trying day, but interesting at least. We were supposed to be at therapy at 9:30 this morning.  I found out around 9:00 that the car wouldn't crank. Luckily, my husband was home and getting ready to go to work at 10:00...so I called my psychiatrist and told her I'd be a half hour late. Obviously I started the day off on a highly stressful note, and that is my greatest trigger, so it really came as no surprise that I had a rough day.  Hubby drove us in his car when we left, and he had to stop at the drugstore on the way to work. I waited in the car, and by the time he came back I was no longer in my body.  I struggled to pull myself back inside my head, but it was a hopeless battle. I dissociated and don't remember anything until he's getting out of the car, and I see that we are at his job, and like a robot I get out of the car and walk around to the driver's side and get behind the wheel... Hubby kissed me goodbye then disappeared inside but I just sat there in the car with the engine running for a long time.  I was trying to figure out how to make the car move. Everything began to physically transform and the inside of the car took on an animated appearance, like a cartoon. I began to operate on auto-pilot.  Driving to my doctor's office was exactly like being in a video game. I don't know how else to describe it. My hands weren't really touching the steering wheel; it seemed very far away, much too far for me to reach. I was looking through the windshield and it was unreal, everything was far in the distance and out of focus. I had the distinct feeling, nay knowledge that I was untouchable, unstoppable, impervious to harm. I knew I could not, would not wreck the car or have any sort of accident or run-in with the police. It wasn't possible, for all of this was just a game.  Not real.  I don't know how long it took to get to the psych's office; everything was in slow motion yet seemed to be flying by very fast at the same time.  I don't understand how that was possible, but that's how it seemed to us.  Once in the parking lot, I just sat in the car for a long time with the air blowing in my face. I pulled the visor down to look in the mirror and was quite upset to see that the reflection looking back at me was wearing bright red lipstick.

 
I do NOT wear bright lipstick, although we're aware that some of the K's do. I unceremoniously wiped it off with the back of my hand, then just stared stupidly at the red streaks coloring my pale skin. Decided I just didn't care-what difference did it make?-and just left the red lipstick smeared all over my hand.  Finally walked into the building but it felt more like I was gliding or floating or something.  I couldn't feel the ground beneath my feet. I made it inside and walked up to the counter and signed my name, but not without some difficulty. I was unable to write in cursive; I had to print my name, and the handwriting was shaky. I had taken 1 mg Xanax while in the car at my husband's job, and as soon as I sat down in my usual corner chair I took another 1 mg.  There were a number of people in the waiting room with me; I'm not sure how many because I kept my head down and wouldn't look at anyone. I pulled my legs up underneath me and tried to curl up into a ball in my seat... and the waiting started. I was antsy and anxious and very eager to see my psychiatrist, as I'd been under a lot of stress since our last appointment.  I got out my notebook and tried to make a list, but just couldn't focus...I was too distracted by the thought that everyone in the room was staring at me. I kept looking down, or took out my journal and flipped through it, or played with my phone, perhaps even tried to tweet I can't remember now.  I just couldn't think about anything except how things were in what looked like claymation...3D cartoons of sorts. I was looking around the room in wonder when this guy came in the door... He was younger than K's body but walked like an elderly person, all hunched over and wobbly and he shuffled across the floor using a crooked wooden can and his jeans were hanging very low around his hips, exposing his striped boxer shorts, and for whatever reason, he scared us. K's heart began to pound just as soon as she laid eyes on him (even though she never looked directly at him) and of course our luck would have it that he came over and sat down in the chair right beside us. Panic started welling up inside me. My body was turned away from the strange young man, and I was intentionally looking across the room, through the other people, staring at the wall with nothing in my head except the irrational fear I felt of the person to my left. I wasn't sure I could handle it, and thought briefly about going outside and sitting in the car, but I was terrified my name would be called while I was out and I'd lose my place and have to wait even longer to see the doctor.  So we sat there, panicking, in the middle of a childlike environment filled with caricatures of people...and then my name was called. The receptionist walked over to me and asked me to come with her. I was confused but did as I was told; I wondered if we were being scolded for some reason.  She walked us out the door and around the building to a back door, while explaining to us that the toilet had overflowed and how sorry she was for the inconvenience. It was bizarre to me, but so was everything right then. Now I'm in the psychiatrist's office and I'm trying to explain to her how everything feels like a video game...and she asked me if I was a different person. I can remember all these things because we wrote them down in our notebook. We take notes in therapy now and it is really helping us.  So she asked me if I was a new K, but I didn't know the answer to the question.  It's strange to not know who you are.  I really can't even begin to put it into words. You feel lost and empty and...like nothing.  I told her I didn't know for sure who I was at the moment, and that I felt "switchy".  I don't remember the rest of the session, except for one part:  she was telling me how to use a calendar to keep up with time, so that I can remember when things happen.  I guess that sounds silly to someone with a normal grasp of time, but to someone who struggles to keep up with what day of the week it is, this is a really big deal.  She asked me if something happened this past Sunday or last Sunday, and I didn't know the difference.  I admitted that I never knew when things happened, that I use old text messages as clues to how I spent my time. So she told me to get a calendar and take notes on it, like it was a diary. Write down when I go places, when I do things.  She said it'd help me put my lost time together.  I intend to try it.  I don't remember the rest of the session, nor do I remember driving home.  The rest of the day is scattered and disconnected. I can only recount bits and pieces of it...someone bought McDonald's fries and K doesn't eat at McDonald's anymore, hasn't in years.  I remember we decided that perhaps if we took a nap, that the proper K would be with us whenever we woke up.  I might have tweeted about that, I'm not sure.  Then there's a big chunk of time missing, where I'm assuming I was napping. Next thing I know, I'm putting on an act for my mother, and pretending everything is normal as I put her to bed.  After that, I found myself hanging out with my husband in our bedroom, and I remember him asking questions like "Which K are you?" and "Are you switching on me?". Again, I remember because I made notes about all these things. I found the questions intriguing. I don't remember anything else after that. I think his questions flipped some switch in my brain, and my reality shifted once again. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in bed in my clothes and wearing my glasses.  And that's when I began to write this blog post.




Saturday, May 26, 2012

K's Reaction

Breathe, K. Slow, deep breaths...in...out...Get it together. Oh dear. We must get it together. One of us wanted to post the blog that the other K wrote, or maybe it was more than one of us who wanted that.  At any rate, she wanted to be heard. She wanted to speak her mind.  And so we let her.  And now someone inside us is freaking out very, very badly.  Since posting that last blog entry, I've developed a severe, splitting headache.  I'm aware of someone screaming and yelling and crying and just all around having a hissy fit, someone somewhere inside of me. I'm having trouble catching my breath, I'm having chest pains, and I think I've been having a panic attack for about an hour now.  Mouth is dry. Hard to swallow.  Having trouble focusing my eyes on the screen.  Hands are shaky, trembling. I feel like I might throw up.  Every so often, a chill runs up my spine and I physically, violently shiver all over for just a moment.  I can't breathe. I don't know if we can handle this.  This might be too much. What is happening to us??  Who is so afraid and why?  I think I might have an idea what the trigger was which brought the not-so-friendly K out.  The blog post before the last one talks about me perhaps telling a friend about my DID.  I think maybe that scared us K's so badly, the thought of making ourselves vulnerable, that this other K came to protect us. This hard-shelled K came out and let it be known that she would not be made to look foolish.  It's obvious to me that she does NOT want me to share our secret with anyone. Whew. My heart is racing. I also think we're very worried about offending someone with that foul-mouthed blog post (that I didn't even write anyway!).  Sorry folks. Such is the nature of Dissociative Identity Disorder: you never know what you're gonna get.  If I go back through all the old blog entries, I can find other posts by her, but this is definitely the longest written rant she's ever gone off on, at least that I can remember. Here's an example of her typical writing: (Un)Happy Hour  I'm sure there are others, I just happened to find this one. So you see, this new K is not new; she's been around for a long time...she just doesn't come out as frequently as she did when we were younger.  Thank heavens for small miracles.  She'd probably land us in jail if she stayed out.

Don't Be Such A Damn Baby

What a fucking cry baby. Jesus Christ, could K be any more pathetic? Now I'm here to tell you that not all of us are so bloody wimpy.  Not all of us are such push-overs.  It's true that some of us have issues with self-esteem. At least a couple of us have serious self-image problems.  And damn but K worries too much what other people are thinking about her, she cares too much what people say and how they view her.  K is completely obsessed with how she looks, and how she comes across to the public, in every sense of the word-physically, intellectually, personably.  Now like I said before, we're not all such pitiful creatures. I am NOT a loser.  I am tougher than that. I don't give a flying fuck what people think about me. I speak my mind, and if someone doesn't like it, they can kiss my motherfucking ass.  It's MY life, it's MY WORLD, and most likely, you are not welcome here.  I don't trust any of you assholes, you're all just looking out for yourselves and trying to take advantage of K, who's overly nice.  God! And she's so fucking sensitive it just makes me want to vomit.  Sweet and loving and kind-hearted. HA. What a load of bullshit. I don't have that attitude.  I look out for me. I look out for K, for all of us.  I keep those users at bay.  Some of us get our feelings hurt, but not me. I don't allow myself to have such feelings. It's all just a bunch of shit to me. I have none of this emotional drama that surrounds the other K's.  They absolutely make me want to punch ourself in the the face, and I do sometimes.  A lot of times I just have to slap the shit out of K, to try and knock some sense into her. Yeah, I guess you could say that I abuse her, but it's for her own damn good.  She's got to learn to stick up for herself.  She's got to toughen up, to be a man so to speak.  These wussy, waah-waah's just need to get the fuck out of our head for awhile.  I need to take charge, to make things right, to try and undo some of the damage that K has done by showing her pale underbelly, her soft spot, to the outside world.  I just hope I can fix this shit.  She's really made us look bad.  Like a goddamn fool even.  I don't know what I have to say to you fuckers to convince you that we are NOT like that, we are stronger than that, we can handle ourselves just fine thank you very fucking much.  I can take it.  Say whatever the hell you want, it won't hurt me. I'm in control of our emotions now, and I say FUCK YOU ALL.  Screw you if you thought you could take advantage of us. K may be sensitive at times, to a fault even, but I am NOT like her.  I am a tough one. I can take your shit.  Bring it on. Show me what you've got. I can handle it. I can handle pretty much anything.  Like the physical abuse, I'm the one who took that and absorbed it and to be honest I even got off on the pain.  I enjoy the hurt.  So give it your best shot.  I swear to the fucking gods that you can NOT get to me.  I will never allow it.  I have pills to make me immune to your reality. I have my own reality, and in it K doesn't cry or worry or wonder about her image.  She's a tough broad. She's a fighter. We fought in the hospital when they locked me away.  We fought our abusive ex-husband.  We can fight you all, I fucking dare you to try and tap into my emotional side. You won't find much there. Anger. Rage. Hate maybe. Boy, K would be really upset to hear that.  She's convinced she doesn't have a hateful bone in her body, but she'd be wrong.  We do hate.  It was pounded into our brain years ago and I will not let us forget it.  I remember the bullshit, the pain of the past.  Now I'm not the one who can see into our childhood. I just see our life from about the age of 13, and I know how much they hurt us, taunted us, teased us as a teenager. So I rose up and pushed back.  Got K into a good deal of trouble at times, but I don't give a shit. We can handle it. I can handle anything you can throw my way, fucker.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Should I Come Out?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  I announced on Twitter recently that I was mentally ill (it's no big secret), and proceeded to name some of my ailments.  I have a laundry list of them you know.  I'm pretty sure it cost me some followers.  (Oh, well.  If they can't handle me crazy, they don't need to be in my life.)  So far, that is all I have done to spread awareness.  But I've been thinking of doing more.  I am seriously considering coming out to a friend in Real Life about my being mentally ill. I keep weighing the pros and cons, and I repeatedly keep coming back to the point of it being really important to have support.  We don't have a ton of support.  I mean, I have our shrink, and Husband, and social media, like Twitter.  I can't tell you how many times a simple @ tweet directed to me has affected my mood in a positive manner, perhaps even pulled me away from the edge of insanity.  It feels good to send out a message in a cyber bottle, and have someone from around the world answer that message, and give me words of encouragement,  or just make me laugh. I think the narcissist in us loves being singled out.  Of course, at least one of us hates the attention and would rather no one pay us any mind.  It's an inner struggle most every day.

If I do decide to come out to someone, I need to plan out what I will say, how I will put it into words.  So let me think about that for a minute.  What exactly do I want to tell them?  How much information do I need to share?  I certainly don't want to overwhelm them with too much, too soon.  And it would be a shame to tell more than is necessary and cause myself greater embarrassment.  Yes, this will be very embarrassing.  And what about their questions?  I need to be prepared with answers to the basic questions which they are bound to ask me after I drop such a bomb on them.  I don't even know which of my illnesses to share with them; certainly not all of them-that'd be too much information.  So I need to pick an ailment, and prepare a little speech about it...  But first, before any of this comes to pass, there's something even more important that I must do.  I must decide which friend I want to reveal my secret to.  I know that whomever I choose will forever see me in a different light after my confession, so I have to choose carefully.  Whom do I feel closest to? Whom do we need support from?  Who do I trust enough to tell?  That last question is easy. Answer: No one. I don't trust anyone enough to tell them about my mental health issues.  I'm afraid, I admit it.  Afraid I'll be thought less of, afraid I won't be invited to socialize anymore, afraid the person I tell will spread rumors about me.  It would be a huge risk on my part to open up to an outsider.  I don't take this decision lightly.

When, or if, I decide to open up to someone, I need to make sure that person understands that this is a very private matter and that I'd rather not have everyone in town know about my condition.  They need a strong ability to keep a secret.  I have to assume that whomever I tell will most likely tell their spouse, and that fact makes the decision even harder.  Right now, the only people who know about my DID are my doctor and my husband.  I've only come to accept this diagnosis myself as of January, so all of this is new territory for me.  I'm still learning about myself, about the different me's, about who and what we are.  I can't imagine trying to explain all that to another person.  How can I, when I don't even understand it myself?  I am still learning to recognize my parts, so I couldn't possibly introduce them to an outsider.  I know what the first question out of their mouth would be: "How many of you are there?"  This is the question everybody always asks, and I wish I had the answer.  The truth is, I don't know how many of me there are.  I've identified a half dozen personalities, but there are still more voices inside my head which haven't been singled out.  So I don't know how many K's there are. Hmm. Perhaps telling about my Dissociative Identity Disorder would be too much; I don't want to overwhelm my friend(s).  Maybe I should confess only to something simpler, something easier to come to grips with, like my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder.  I'm pretty sure my friends already have their suspicions about these things, so it wouldn't be such a stretch for me to just come out and admit that I have these disorders.  I'm fairly certain that whomever I choose to tell will be understanding and sympathetic, and I don't think it will have any sort of negative impact on our friendship.  Knowing that then, why is it so hard for me to imagine revealing my secrets?  What am I so afraid of?

stig·ma [stig-muh]
noun, plural stig·ma·ta [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, -mat-uh], stig·mas.
 
a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation.  Social stigma is the severe disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.
 
 
That's your answer. The stigma of mental illness is what I'm afraid of.  Don't think that there isn't one-it's alive and well and I've seen it firsthand.  I know what it is to be discriminated against because of my mental status. I know how it feels to be the butt of jokes at the workplace. I've seen that look that people get in their eye just as soon as my mental health is brought up. It is impossible to fully understand it unless you've experienced it.  People treat you differently.  Medical doctors often think the physical ailments I complain about are simply "in my head".  They are afraid to prescribe medications as I'm seen as a suicide risk.  At work, I'm not trusted with important tasks or asked for input on anything serious.  People seem to think that because I'm mentally ill, I'm less intelligent than they are. I'm not taken seriously. Or I'm thought to be lying, or making up stories.  There are a thousand different ways in which to discriminate against the mentally ill. Unfortunately, I've dealt with quite a few of them; I'm not eager to deal with any more.  So perhaps I'll just keep my mental illness to myself.  After all, I'm very good at keeping secrets.  As far as Mental Health Awareness Month goes...I assure you, I am aware.
 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

About a Wedding

I spent most of  yesterday in bed, sleeping, in an attempt to recover from my exhausting weekend. But oh, what a weekend it was!  On Friday, I drove my husband and my mother 7 hours to Savannah, Georgia to attend my nephew's wedding.  From the moment we got there, it was a non-stop whirlwind of activity and celebration up until (and after) we left Sunday.  We stayed in a breathtaking 2 story loft type residence inside an old cabinet making business.  I loved the exposed brick walls, 15-foot ceilings, industrial-looking pipes everywhere-it was very urban and modern and funky.  We had a downstairs apartment with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and a huge great room with pool table and 50" flatscreen TV; my sister and her husband and my niece and her boyfriend stayed in the upstairs apartment, which was just as hip plus had a fireplace and a balcony.  Savannah is an amazing old city.  In case you've never seen the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", I'll tell you that Savannah is gorgeous. 


The Savannah Historic District is one of the nation's largest; this city is just a beautiful old Southern coastal town with beautiful architecture and gigantic shade trees dripping with Spanish moss, and 22 different parks with fountains and old statues and cobblestone streets complete with horse-driven carriages.  There's a waterfront area where artists set up their easels and paint and artisans sell their crafts and street musicians perform.  There are delightful little cafe's and pubs, and my husband and I found our way to a few of these Friday afternoon. The wedding festivities began with a rehearsal dinner Friday night. I didn't attend that, but it was my responsibility to get my mother dressed and do her hair and makeup.  After everyone left for the rehearsal dinner, I was able to breathe easier, and my husband and I went off on our own and walked the streets of downtown and had dinner at an eclectic little place which offered $2 beer.  After some sightseeing, we headed back to get ready for the pre-wedding cocktail party, held at a fancy old restaurant/bar.  I intentionally skipped all my meds just so I could drink at the party.  And drink I did!  I think I was trying to make up for my lack of Xanax.  After several drinks, my brother-in-law brought me my own bottle of champagne, every drop of which I drank...and then a second bottle appeared.  I drank and danced and smiled and pretended to be at ease, but truthfully I was a nervous wreck. For a person with Social Anxiety Disorder, this was the ultimate test:  It was crowded and noisy and I was surrounded by hundreds of strangers, all of whom seemed young and thin and beautiful.  But I hung next to my husband and my mother, and so I felt somewhat shielded from the dangers of the reality outside my little bubble.  It was so wonderful to spend time with my big sister, whom I rarely get to see as she lives on the other side of the country.  She introduced me to someone as "her beautiful sister" and I took that as a sarcastic comment but my husband said she was being sincere. It's not that I think she'd try to be mean to me, it's just that I'm paranoid by nature and always assume the worst.  We stayed for a good long while, long enough for me to see my 83-year old mother drink and dance with several young men, including her grandson (the groom).  I was thrilled to see her having such a good time, and she said it was the most fun she's had since Daddy died.  After she was too tired to go on, my husband and I took her back to where we were staying and put her to bed.  There was another party to attend, but I didn't think I could handle another crowded social function, so instead we stayed in and my husband made me margaritas (my sister stocked our kitchen with snacks and our bar with liquor!) and he opened a bottle of Captain Morgan's and we did some more partying by ourselves.  I got so drunk that I ended up hugging the toilet for a good part of the evening.  Oh well, it was totally worth it.

The next day was hectic and entailed a breakfast get-together where I consumed much champagne and orange juice.  I intentionally skipped my meds again so I could enjoy all the champagne I wanted.


 I LOVE champagne.  After breakfast, everyone scattered  to do their own thing and my hubby and I went sightseeing.  We walked all over town and ended up in a frozen drink bar.  From a wall of colorful assorted frozen drink machines, I chose the blue one.  I ordered my drink and then saw the sign which proclaimed that the drinks are made with 190 proof pure grain alcohol and are much stronger than regular bar drinks.  Needless to say, I thought that drink was going to put hair on my chest!  We headed back to the apartment to prep for the wedding.  I helped Mom get dressed and did her makeup and hair and Mom left to get wedding pictures made.  Husband and I had an hour to ourselves before we had to leave for the wedding.  Which means that I was ready on time, but that there was enough time for me to get very anxious.  I stuck some Xanax in my purse but really didn't want to take any because I wanted to drink at the reception.  Well, once my husband and I were all decked out in our formal attire (he looked so snappy in his bow tie!) we headed down the street 2 blocks to catch the trolley which my nephew had hired to take everyone to the church.  The wedding was beautiful and afterwards we headed to a mansion for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.  Servers clad all in black milled about with trays of food and wine, and there was an open bar which we took full advantage of.  I admit, I didn't do any mingling.  I knew no one but a  handful of relatives there, so I wasn't comfortable talking to anyone.  I put Mom in a chair and got myself a Cosmopolitan and spent the next hour or two chatting with my husband and trying not to have an anxiety attack.  It seemed to take an eternity, but at last it was time for dinner, and the wedding party filed into the ballroom and everyone went to their assigned seats.  I was so relieved to find that we were sitting with my mom and sister and niece.  I had a cocktail with me, then a man came around and poured champagne, and then after that a man came around with 4 different kinds of wine. I chose white.  The dinner was ultra gourmet--filet mignon and a single gigantic shrimp served with asparagus. It was much fancier than I am able to describe.  I ate very little but drank plenty.  After that there were speeches and toasts and dancing and general merrymaking.  I can't remember how I got back to the apartment...  it seems that my husband and I did some more drinking that night and I guess I passed out at some point; I woke up in the wee hours of the morning wearing my clothes.  There was no sleeping in that day, for we had to make the journey home.  I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee, then started packing my suitcase.  For a 3-day trip, we had a ton of luggage.  Plus a cooler filled with drinks and plastic bins filled with snacks and all of Mom's medical equipment...it looked like we were moving.  I think it took Husband 20 minutes to load the car.  It was raining the day we left, and that seemed to match the mood of everyone as we said our goodbyes.  It was sad-Mom cried.  The drive home was long-about 8 hours-and exhausting.  I kept having to stop to throw up, presumably from all the drinking I'd done the night before.  Finally we pulled into our driveway.  I hated that our trip was over but was also glad to be home.  Then I saw the evidence of the stress of the trip.  I found that my legs had been picked at and scratched at and were all bloody and raw.  My upper arms were also covered in sores due to compulsive skin picking.  I don't remember doing it but it's obvious that it was a reaction to stress and the pressure of being around so many strangers.  I skipped all my meds for 3 days and went "all-natural" -something was bound to happen.  And so I dealt with the anxiety by drinking too much and picking at my skin. Also bit my nails but not as bad as it could have been.  In retrospect, I don't think I could've had a better time.  And I'm so proud of myself for not freaking out during all the excitement.  My doctor had warned me I'd probably dissociate during the wedding, but I don't think I ever did.  I remember the ceremony. I remember the reception. I got a little floaty and distracted during dinner, but I think I successfully stayed in my body for most of the whole event... Wow!  This weekend gave me not one, but two things to celebrate.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's Up, Doc? (False Truths Pt.2)

Two weeks ago, I went to therapy and said some things that I later regretted.  I told my psychiatrist that not everyone believes my mental illness is real; some people think I'm faking it.  So ever since I left her office, I've been paranoid as we could be. I got the thought in my head that I'd planted an idea in her mind and that she no longer believed the things I was telling her.  I decided that she thought I was a liar and a fraud.  I was unsure whether or not I'd be able to talk to her anymore.  I even considered changing doctors.  I wrote a blog post about my paranoia on this subject Here.  I literally have obsessed about this morning and night ever since that therapy session.  So I had my first session with her since the incident...I was incredibly nervous before I went in.  Making me even more nervous and paranoid was the fact that they called me 3 times to reschedule the appointment; I got it in my head that they didn't like me and didn't want to see me.  Then, once at the office, the waiting room was so crowded I had to be placed in an adjoining room, all alone.  All alone is just fine with me-it's far less stressful than being around people. So anyway, I wait and wait and wait.  Over an hour and a half passes and still I'm waiting.  I was just getting more and more anxious as the minutes ticked by.  Finally, my name was called.  I held my head down low as I walked slowly into the doctor's office.  I sat across from her but could not look at her. At first I couldn't speak...then I got out my notebook, in which I'd written down topics to discuss, questions to ask, and journal entries to read to her.  When I finally opened my mouth, the words gushed out all over each other.  I let everything out-my paranoia about our relationship, my fear that she thinks I'm lying, my obsessing about our last therapy session, my worries of being doubted.  I poured out my feelings on all of these matters, and she listened patiently and then smiled broadly.  She told me that she didn't think I was capable of concocting some elaborate scheme to make people think I'm mentally ill.  She said that in our last session, when I confessed to her about the doubters and disbelievers, she thought that took courage on my part to bring those things up.  She doesn't think I'm a liar.  She doesn't think I'm faking my symptoms. Oh thank the heavens! Relief washed over me and my mind was cleansed of negativity and I felt like a new person.  The rest of the session was spent discussing this weekend's big event: my nephew's wedding.  I have to drive over 6 hours to get there. I have to meet the family of the bride. I have to attend fancy teas and dinners and cocktail parties and on Saturday, a black-tie wedding.  A very-crowded, formal affair is not my idea of a fun weekend.  Just sounds stressful and terrifying and panic-inducing.  In fact, my psychiatrist told me that because of the stress and anxiety caused by the wedding, I'd more than likely dissociate.  That does NOT help me feel better.  I asked her if it would be OK for me to have some champagne at the wedding; she said I could drink IF I did NOT take my Xanax that day.  Well, hell, I can't even leave my room without taking a Xanax, so I guess that means I won't be drinking.  The last thing I want to do is tempt fate by not being sedated in a crowded public environment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Twitter is More Real Than My Life

Only four people in Real Life know about my DID: my husband and my psychiatrist of course, and also, from another city, my last psychologist, and my ex-boyfriend (who lived with me for a year).  It was he who wrote a letter to my husband explaining how I switch. (You can read the letter here)  I'm only honest about my switching into other K's here, in this blog.  To a lesser extent, I talk about my various mental health issues on Twitter, such as  the voices, the paranoia, and my panic attacks; I don't go into much detail about my alters when I'm tweeting. Also, we K's tend to blog more than tweet (that is, the ones who communicate; some of the K's don't do either).

Mostly I just vent on Twitter.  I follow and am followed by around 150 people, so Twitter remains an intimate experience for me.  I don't think I could follow a ton of people-it'd be overwhelming for us K's. I have a hard enough time just trying to remember a handful of names, I could never communicate with a large group of Tweeps. To be honest, I have to take notes about different people I chat with on Twitter or else I'd never remember anyone.  We like to get to know a handful of people rather than just follow hundreds of strangers.  This is why I don't participate in the whole "Follow Friday" thing, where people on Twitter suggest other Tweeps follow certain accounts.  I don't want to single out any Tweep as being better than any other Tweep, and more importantly, we don't want to encroach upon anyone's privacy. Also, I'd rather not be singled out myself, because the idea of a lot of people following us makes me uncomfortable.

I'm such a paranoid person to begin with, and if I stop to think about the fact that over a hundred people are currently reading my personal thoughts....well, quite frankly it freaks us the fuck out.  I will admit that it'd be nice to get more readers for this blog, although I'm surprised at myself for thinking that.  After all, I began writing the blog for me, for the K's, to use as a record of my symptoms and moodswings and switching.  It seems odd that I'd be looking for exposure...but I would love to help someone out there who might be struggling with some of the same mental issues as we, the K's are.


Mainly, we use Twitter as a support system.  If I'm having an anxiety attack, I can send a tweet out into the universe and maybe, just maybe, someone will answer me and either chat with me until my panic has subsided or at least give us some words of encouragement.  My Tweeps have gotten me through the nightmare that is sitting in a waiting room on many occasions.  In addition to the support, I am also entertained; many of the people I follow are quite funny.  I mostly follow other people with mental health issues, because I can better relate to them than to regular, non-mental people.  In real life, I don't have any friends with whom I can discuss my eating disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder, but on Twitter there's always someone out there who understands and can empathize.

I avoided Twitter for so long....I used to make fun of my husband for using it.  Now, just 3 months after I first began following people, I am hooked.  A few of the K's tweet often, and many mornings when I go back and read the tweets from the past 24 hours, I am surprised at what they've (we've) said.  I'm also frequently embarrassed.  But that goes along with the nature of a dissociative disorder-you never know when you're going to dissociate and perhaps do or say something inappropriate, something that draws unwanted attention to us. I don't remember these things, or else I just get flashes or bits of them; usually I find out because someone will tell me or say something about how funny I was the other night, or make a comment about seeing me totally wasted (often what people think when I'm somewhere else in my mind).  I don't really mind people thinking I'm drunk or stoned; it's less embarrassing to me than the truth, when the truth is that I was someone else, or "out to lunch" in my head.

But on Twitter, and in this blog, I can be truthful about what's going on.  I can exclaim that I'm losing my mind or seeing bugs everywhere or whatever-and no one will think much of it.  In real life, I'd be stared at, laughed at, made to feel self-conscious and foolish.  So in many ways, Twitter and this blog are more representative of my real life than even my Real Life, where I have to hide my true self.  How ironic. Twitter, where people can lie and be whomever or whatever they want...and I happen to be more open and honest there than even in Real Life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alone With Our Thoughts

I've only had one meal and 2 hours' sleep in the past two days.  Husband's out of town and I'm feeling alone and vulnerable yet I'm oddly hyper and my brain is going a million miles an hour. I've been all...switchy.  It feels like my mind is a slot machine and life pulls the lever and then whatever comes up from the spin is who I will be, but only until the next spin. I keep coming in and out of time, at least the "here and now" kind of time.  I guess this is how it was for me before I got married.  Just me, alone with the voices, fighting to keep my voice heard over everyone else, but then at the same time I'm wondering if it's my voice that's supposed to be doing the talking anyway, because I have other, different voices talking too, and they somehow all feel like me, even though they don't all sound like me.  Even though my brain is crowded,  I feel so alone.  I am...incomplete.  Like a chunk of me is missing.  My husband is my strength and support and without him I feel weak and uncovered, like I'm a target or something.  It feels like all the world's problems are chasing me and I can't run fast enough to get away.  I'm sprinting through time, and I want very badly to pause for a moment, just a moment, and relax and notice all the little things that I'd normally miss as I'm going by so fast.  My husband helps me slow things down.  He helps me organize my time.  He keeps me on my toes, and on the ball with my medications and doctor's visits and the like.  Husband helps me get through the day, everyday, even when he doesn't know he's helping me.  A simple text from him can transform my mood, and it very often does.  Sometimes, after he leaves for work, a dark cloud will descend upon me and threaten to ruin my whole day.  But a message from him is like the sun bursting through the clouds.  He is my light at the end of every day's tunnel.  I don't know what I'd do without him and his support. 

It seems odd to me now that I was able to live my life all these years without any support.  I mean, no one knew about my dissociative disorder.  People thought I was a strange girl, of that you can be certain!  But no one ever guessed how fractured my mind really is.  Coming out to my husband was difficult to say the least, and not just for me.  He was overwhelmed at first, and shocked that I could hide such a secret from him for all the years we've known each other.  But we didn't live together then, so he never saw the sudden, dramatic transformations which sometimes occur.  He just thought I was moody.  Yes, yes I am. Quite. When I finally did come out and tell him, it was Switch Kellie who did the explaining.  I'm not sure, but perhaps that was the reason he was so freaked out; to his knowledge, he'd never met Switch Kellie.  In truth, he had met her, in fact she was the one who had handled all the wedding planning and she came every day to check on the details and see to it that all the wedding and honeymoon plans were in place.  She was a constant for 2 months, then she receded back inside me, where she stays until I need her.  She comes when the stress gets to be too much.  She comes when I'm overwhelmed and can't handle the pressure.  Switch Kellie is smart and tough and can take care of business while keeping a clear head. HA!  "A clear head"-I don't think that's something we ever really have.  There's always something going on in there, always people talking.

This is the longest I've been without support in what feels like an eternity.  I've not been apart from my husband for this long since we got married 2 years ago.  I miss him terribly. It's very early and normally we'd both be sleeping right now, but I am unable to sleep without him beside me. I feel unsafe.  For whatever reason, the strong K's are nowhere to be found; it's just us weaklings here now.  Last night, I got scared of the dark at more than one point in the night, and I had no one to turn to, no one to put their arms around me and tell me I am safe.  I had more than one anxiety attack last night.  In between those, I was nearly manic. So much energy, so full of conversation...but no one to talk to and so I was unable to relax and calm down.  I'm all wound up and am having trouble being in the moment; I keep jumping ahead of myself, going too fast.  I need to slow things down to a manageable pace.  This hyperactivity on my part is damn annoying! I'm trying to keep quiet so that Mom doesn't know I'm awake. I'm just not ready for interaction with others yet.  I might just hide out in my room all day until Husband gets home.  The only thing I need is coffee, and I'm pretty sure I can sneak into the kitchen unnoticed...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Scrap of Paper

I found a handwritten note to myself (at least I think it's to me).  Not all of it makes sense, but I found it interesting and it's a peek inside K's mind.  I thought I'd share it with you here.  It goes like this:

I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM.  I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT MY NAME IS.  I CAN'T FUCKING REMEMBER THINGS. RIGHT NOW. WHO THE HELL IS THIS PERSON TALKING TO (my husband), EXPLAINING TO HIM THAT WE CAN'T REMEMBER WHO WE ARE. WHO AM I? FOR JUST A MOMENT, I WAS THE ONE WHO DOES MATH.  IT WAS IN THE CAR.

(I typed that all in caps because that's how it was written) That's the end of the note, which I found on a scrap of paper stuck in between the pages of my journal.  I don't know when it was written and I don't remember writing it.

CBT or DBT?

What's the difference between CBT and DBT?  I have to admit that I didn't know the differences until I looked it up to write this blog post. I was curious as to what kind of therapy I'm receiving, as I really don't know. I usually can't remember what my therapy sessions are like anyway, due to my dissociation and memory problems. However,  I want to know what method my doctor is in fact using.  I need to know what course she's charting for me, even if my ship keeps trying to sink. 

CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive meaning of or pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning (as contrasted with emotional processes).  Behavioral refers to the sum total of responses to internal and external stimuli.  Therapy...well, you know what therapy is. The premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is that changing faulty thinking leads to change in emotions and in behavior.  Therapists use CBT techniques to help individuals challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace errors in thinking such as overgeneralizing and catastrophizing with more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior.  Catastrophizing is to view or talk about an event or situation as worse than it actually is. (I have a problem with this)  CBT also focuses on changing or reversing the habits of magnifying negatives and minimizing positivesIt helps individuals replace maladaptive coping skills, emotions and behaviors with more adaptive ones, by challenging an individual's way of thinking and the way that they react to certain habits or behaviors. In other words, it's showing a person another side, an alternative, something different, that happens to be more positive rather than negative. Replacing "bad" thoughts with new, improved thoughts. It's like gaining a fresh, new perspective.


DBT is dialectical behavioral therapy.  Dialectical refers to linguistics, or language, and behavioral refers to actions. DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice.  It uses a combination of one-on-one therapy and also group therapy. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be effective in treating Borderline Personality Disorder (generally speaking).  It also has been shown to help with mood disorders, including self-injury.  Recent studies suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors and chemical dependency. (I'm a chemically dependent self-injurer who's been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in the past and who my psychiatrist (and some of the K's) believes is a survivor of sexual abuse, who also has an unspecified mood disorder.)  DBT strives to have the patient view the therapist as an ally rather than an adversary in the treatment of psychological issues.  Accordingly, the therapist aims to accept and validate the client’s feelings at any given time, while, nonetheless, informing the client that some feelings and behaviors are inadequate or faulty, and showing them better alternatives.  Mindfulness practice is increasingly being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety (both of which I have).


The more I read about DBT, the more I'd like to try it. The idea of using Eastern meditative traditions in my therapy sessions really appeals to me. It's too bad that DBT also involves group therapy, and I don't do group since I generally don't like people, and am even afraid of them. It appears that my therapist is using CBT (I think) and since we seem to be making progress, and even more importantly, since I've finally found a doctor whom I both respect and like as a person, I shall continue with my current course of treatment. After all, it's taken me years to find a therapist I feel comfortable with, and I think that's the most important thing of all when it comes to therapy.




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Attempting To Heal: Beginning Week 3...or Am I?

As I've blogged about before, I have Dermatillomania, an impulse control disorder; it's where a person uncontrollably picks at their skin until tissue damage is caused. It's quite embarrassing and I'm very ashamed of it.  Recently, two Sundays ago, I started a new project, that being a healing plan for my skin, which is currently afflicted with terrible wounds from CSP (Compulsive Skin Picking). I blogged about Day 1 here: Attempting To Heal My shins, in particular, had become so damaged that I was unable to wear skirts or anything which shows my legs.  I have a wedding to attend May 19, and so I decided to start a new routine, and I was hoping that by forcing myself to follow this healing regime day after day, I'd develop an obsession for it, and would begin compulsively treating my wounds. That was my hope. It's not uncommon for me to develop new obsessions and/or compulsions, so I was hoping to force this one into being.  So far, that has not happened, although I have been treating my sores daily. What I want is compulsive treatment of my wounds, and an obsession with healing. Still hoping that will happen.

 

I lasted three days.  Three days, and I caught myself scratching.  I didn't actually pick at the sores until Day 6, and on Day 8 I finally ripped off a scab and started bleeding.  So I guess I must admit this project was a failure. But. I will start again tomorrow.  And truthfully, my legs do look better.  Even though I scratched them a few times, the creams I was layering on really did aid in healing the scabby places, and there are no bloody spots anymore.  Correction: there is one place on my left leg.  I scratched til I drew blood yesterday.  Sigh.  But the number of wounds on each leg has decreased; I only have 12 on my left leg now. (it was over 20 at one point) My right leg, on the other hand, only has 6, and really it's less than that. I'm counting every blemish that I can easily see.  Some of those really shouldn't be included as CSP injuries, as some of them are moles or freckles. Of course, if and when I scratch at them until they bleed, they then become part of my list of CSP-afflicted areas.

The second week of my healing routine was a rollercoaster of good days and bad days. The bandaged areas are healing nicely, but the majority of my wounds are still tempting me to pick at them.  The itching, which I suppose is caused by the healing process, well it's just about unbearable. I unconsciously scratch my legs; I catch myself doing it and sometimes I've drawn blood and then I feel like a failure and have to start all over again with the steroid cream and the antibiotic gel and the hydrocortisone.  The wedding I'm attending is fast approaching, and I'd so hoped that my legs would look decent by that time.  I have 2 weeks from today. So I'm making a promise to myself. No more scratching. No more picking. I will NOT touch my legs other than to apply medicated creams which will aid in healing.  I lasted 3 days the first week without picking, and only 1 day the second week.  Let's hope the third week is more successful. Perhaps I should plan on rewarding myself when my shins are healed.  Maybe I'd motivate myself to stick to the plan if I bought myself a new dress to wear when my legs look good again. Last summer, my skin looked pretty good.  Granted, I have scars all over my body, but I wasn't picking at that point and I was able to wear more revealing clothes.  I even went to the pool a few times. There will be no pool for me this Summer unless I am successful with my anti-CSP plan. I MUST do this. No one in real life can find out about this humiliating condition, and I'm afraid that wearing long sleeves and long pants in 100 degree heat might look suspicious when everyone around me is in shorts and tank tops.

Friday, May 4, 2012

False Truths

I had a psychiatrist's appointment yesterday morning, and now I'm feeling paranoid and nervous and highly uncomfortable and terribly anxious.  I fear I have made a huge, glaring mistake.  I am afraid that my words have tarnished the professional relationship that I have with my doctor and that she will never trust me again.  I'm scared that I've planted a seed, a seed which will sprout into a full-grown disaster.  I can't believe that after all the progress which has been made, I had to go and fuck everything up like this.  Or, at least I think so... It seems like we were advancing before then...  I mean, it's easier for me to talk to her now; isn't that an improvement?  So it seems that I've been coming along-after 2 years I was finally able to talk to her openly.  And then I go and do something like what happened yesterday.

First, I told her how some people feel about my illness. I told her that I'm not taken seriously, that I am thought to be pretending, that I am believed to be a spoiled brat who just doesn't want to work.  That's completely outrageous. How could I possibly, as a little girl, have thought out this elaborate plot to fool everyone into thinking that I'm mentally ill over a span of decades?  More importantly, what could I possibly hope to gain from that?  Why would anyone want people to think they're nuts? It's done nothing but make my life harder.  It just doesn't make any sense.  K was so actively involved with life when she was younger, (plays, choir, soccer, Girl Scouts, Art Club, gifted class, etc) I guess it's just hard to believe that she could be living with all these symptoms for all these years and have only a couple of people ever figure out what's really going on.  Only a couple of people ever "got it"; just 2 in my lifetime, only 2 people outside of a couple of my doctor(s) recognized that I switched and became different K's.  Both of the people who figured out my secret were men who lived with me for a year or more.



So it would seem that I really am a good actress.  I fooled everyone all right, I fooled everyone into thinking that I'm just one of them. That I'm stable, that I'm existing in the same reality as everyone else is. We certainly can't let on that we are on a different plane of reality; that might upset people or create problems for us, so we must hide that from the world.  And that's just what we've done, for all these years.  We've been pretending to be emotionally mature, to be a regular person, to think clearly and rationally. It's not true.  It's all make believe.  The part where I'm "sane" that is.  That is all just make believe. Then, as if that weren't bad enough, I suggested to my shrink that the memories I have could possibly be false memories, or that they might only be true in my head, not in the real world.  I said this as an outside observer of K, watching from the sidelines. (I wrote it down; that's how I remember) So I basically admitted to my shrink that there's a chance the bad stuff I remember is all fairy tales, that it's not true.  That I've somehow twisted the facts around in my memory and created things out of misconceptions.  I'd like to call these memories "false truths", memories which I completely believe to be true, but which are actually just distorted partial recollections. I can't remember now where I got that idea or how I started thinking stuff along those lines.

Maybe I was reading something from out of the diary...  I remember taking it into the session. In fact, I'd left home and forgotten to bring it, and I actually turned around and went back home to get it before my session.  So it seems there was some stuff in the diary that I wanted to talk to her about.  Yes... yes, I remember talking about 3 different males in my life who would have had both the opportunity as well as the reputation to suggest that they might have done something wrong, and that it involved me.  I just don't get it.  I am struggling with myself to accept that these things from my childhood are not my fault and to forgive myself.  I suffer from guilt like you wouldn't believe.  I feel perpetually guilty, about things I can't even remember properly.  It's completely ridiculous. And now I've gone and implanted the thought in my psychiatrist's head that I might be a fraud.  What the hell were we thinking?!  Now the paranoia has me, and it's squeezing the breath out of me.

I'm also worried that perhaps I am faking it and just don't know it.  But that doesn't seem to make any sense.  I mean, if I don't know I'm doing it, then it's a subconscious thing, which means it's real.  Fuck. I'm so confused.  Am I doing all this on purpose?  Have I taken so many pills that my brain is fried and I'm unable to be like other people?  Have I forgotten what normal means? Yes, there's a good chance I have forgotten the meaning of normal.  I haven't felt like a regular person since, roughly, age 10.  That's tough to admit.  But it's true.  I've felt like an outsider, like a visitor or something, not like a real person existing in the here and now.

I'm so paranoid that I'm thinking of doing something crazy, like stalk my shrink. I need to find out if she's still on my side, or if she's the enemy now.  Because I honestly don't know anymore.  I don't know if she's with me, or against me.  I can't stand not knowing.  I MUST find out what she thinks.  I can't live with this feeling.  I can't tolerate being disbelieved, being thought to be dishonest.  I strive so hard in my life to be truthful...  I even hurt people's feelings sometimes as a result of my brutal honesty (I hate when that happens though).  I believe lying is bad karma. I just won't do it.  I may withhold information, but I cannot lie. I'm just beside myself with worry about all of this.  What if Dr. H doesn't believe me anymore??  What if she's crossed the line into enemy territory?  I'll have to get a new doctor...  Damn!!! And I was just getting to feel really comfortable with her.  Now it's all weird between us, even though she doesn't know that.