Where did you go?

6 02 2019

So what happens when your brain gets damaged so that you lose all your previous information about your environment. You might just check out. On the outside you have just shut down and cease to function.

Anyone seeing you can tell you’re not in there. If it is severe enough they call it catatonic. You don’t speak or smile or make eye contact. You may not even be hearing or seeing anymore, because you temporarily can’t take in the new information.

Your brain is a processing machine, like a computer, only better because it learns from everything in its environment. When I bought my first computer my life got so much better because I had some point of reference for my own dysfunction.

I didn’t understand anything about why I acted like I did, so I spent a lot of energy just spinning thoughts trying to figure it out. The answer wasn’t there. I had to find it in my environment. When the computer would malfunction, I had to do a restart. I would blame myself for my lack of functioning, until the day that I could see that I needed a restart.

I was diagnosed and treated multiple times for depression, but when I stopped seeing it as an illness that needed to be cured, or a failure on my part to achieve what was expected of me, and started instead to view it as a hard reset, those periods of “depression” and dysfunction began to pass quickly.

One of the ways of dealing with the lack of information during the time that your brain has no access to it, is to look for clues in the environment to tell you what you are supposed to be doing. Traumatized children become almost psychic in their ability to read the people around them, because they have to.

Think about it if you and the adult in the room are doing something that made you feel afraid or threatened and a different you pops in with no idea of what is going on and you just tell them that; how are they going to react? “Bullshit! You know dang well what you did and why I am angry!” Shit will hit the fan!

If your not an infant life is placing demands on you. People have expectations placed on them at every age but more and more as you get older. Because of this need to function in spite of being damaged beyond the ability to, the brain can construct a tape of you to run in your place.

It builds that tape from the clues you have gleaned from your environment, creating a temporary automated response. This gives you time to heal and build a new data base for your behavior from that point on.

When I was inside this disorder and trying to function, I would switch functioning from one place of memory to another at times of intense emotion or stress, or if stress got bad enough, I might just shut down.

What people might see on the outside, could be that automated response tape running in my place, or they might just see someone who sleeps way too much and isn’t doing what they are expected to do. Both are equally judged as me failing to give people what they expect from me.

As I got old enough to have other places of information storage that I could operate from, I could switch from one processing place to another as I needed.
The resulting switch will most likely bring out a less functional version for the reason that the most useful functional parts may be consistently filed in the place that is most commonly accessed for information. Again, I was suddenly incapable of giving people what they expected from me.

By this point in my brains development I was beginning to notice something wasn’t right. Seriously for a lot of years that I spend damaged I didn’t even have a clue that I wasn’t normal.

Think about it. Everything is new for a little kid. Everyday brings new experiences and at that time you’re learning at an incredible rate so the adults around you might not see it either.

They may just consider you an “immature little brat”, a chronic liar, or tag you with some other just as inappropriate label and write off what your doing as intentional. Few will see that you’re really just a normal human trying to function with a malfunctioning brain. I know in my world they didn’t.

When you first start to notice there is really something that is different about you than others, it’s most likely because you have heard it a thousand times by now; “What the hell is wrong with you!” Seriously, you’re doing the best you can, but no-one knows that because you’re doing such a good job of faking it.

In reality, you’re totally lost half the time and everyone is ALWAYS ANGRY, sooo ya, there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU. So now part of your job has become figuring out what’s wrong with you.

What are your clues? People constantly have expectations of you that you can’t meet. You constantly lose things. You may lose time. People continually accuse you of lying when in reality you may have developed coping skills that have you making up information to fill in for anything you realize you should know but don’t.

You got all the clues but what no one does is give you the answers for what to do about it. Unless your provoked to the point of anger constantly, no one really see’s that you need help. Just acting bizarre isn’t inconvenient enough for most adults to take the time to look twice at you, they have their hands full managing their own life.

It’s the incredibly lucky ones that get the help that they need to find their way out because for many the resources for that help are just unavailable. Even those who kind of try just don’t know how to help you. Many times your just labeled BAD and they put you, where they put kids that are Bad. Sometimes that can be juvenile hall or schools for “disruptive” children.

Around this time you start developing the real “personality” Disorder that characterizes what people think of when they hear you have M.P.D. People can see that your anything but “normal” and the usual reaction is fear.

Usually I would gain awareness of my surroundings like I had come up out of deep water. Slowly I would take in my environment and get clues about what my next move should be. Only once did I startle into existence.

I came to in the middle of a busy street being beeped at for crossing against the red light. I had no idea how I got there, where I was or how I could get home. I checked myself into a mental hospital immediately only to find out years later they put in my charts that I was on drugs at the time!

By then I was 17 years old and living on the streets. I had no coping skills. My foster parents had given up and closed the door on that relationship and people that tried to help me, within a very short time, saw how damaged I was and reacted with fear.

I have lost several jobs. I got thrown out of an apartment because I didn’t recognize the owner that I had just rented it from the month before. I was asked to move out by friends and lovers that felt my problems were bigger than they could handle. As far as I knew I hadn’t done anything “wrong”. They were all saying the same thing…”There is something wrong with you, you can’t be here.” Life didn’t get easier for a very long time.

Advertisements




My brain function is so different now.

15 11 2016

I have been on here reading and find it difficult to remember what it felt like to shift between thought processing areas. My brain has been quiet for years now. I don’t feel out of control or like any part of me is separate. I am whole; complete, functioning, and capable of doing anything I wish in my life.

I am not on any medication. I don’t self medicate and have no problems motivating myself to do what I need to. I have had a membership in a fitness center 35 minutes from my home for a whole year now. I will never be a jock, but I do work out consistently 4 days a week for 40 minutes a day.

I have normal fears. I don’t like climbing ladders. I make sure it’s secure and then I just climb them by shutting down the thought that there is a reason to fear it.

I always have some project in process of being completed but have many completed projects behind them. While things can and do delay some of them, I do complete most things I start eventually.

I read things other than facebook. I am teaching myself to play piano and learning to code. While I have a tight time schedule most days, I still find a bit of time every day to practice those skills.

I am going on three years in a close monogamous relationship. We are friends, and partners and lovers. I am usually able to tell him when I have needs that are not being met with words, spoken face to face in a calm voice and he does the same.

He is successful, mature and supportive and doesn’t hold me back from what I want to do or try to control me. I try to meet his needs and do the same for him. We make a good team.

Our home is moderately messy. There are always clean dishes and clothes but they are never completely done. If most people walked in the door I would be comfortable with having company any time, but there are times I would prefer it to be cleaner.

I am able to go out into the world and function alone without battling fear. Wow, when did that happen? I shop at normal stores, during normal business hours and don’t even question it. That would have been impossible for me just a few years ago.

To me this is what healthy looks like. My life is manageable. I am free to live without crippling fear or overwhelming self management problems. I am grateful. I pray that anyone searching for this in their own life, finds it.

It is worth having and worth all the work it took to get here.





Healing isn’t just possible…

15 11 2016

It’s inevitable.  Everything about us is made to renew itself and heal.  If you stop the damage that the offending thing is doing your body will heal.  Your Brain will HEAL.

I am 58 years old and I can’t tell you how many Dr’s have told me that I, “would never heal”, “would never be able to hold down a job”, “would never be able to function without medication” and they were all wrong.

They wanted to refer me for permanent disability in 1995 and medicate me for life.  Making it was a mix of a loving family, luck, prayer and determination, but I have.  What helped me may not be the answer for anyone else but if you are like me and refuse to quit looking for a way to be successful in your life, you will find your own way.

I believe that we were made to thrive.  Just get as far away as possible from everything that is hurting you and you will begin to heal.  Keep looking for answers and answers that are unique to your own needs will come.  Often just at the point where you think you can’t take anymore, the biggest breakthroughs happen.

January 2014 I was in the hospital and grieving the fact that I had to be put back on medication again.  At the time I felt it was a final coming to terms with the fact that I would never truly heal or get over this tendency to have of stress totally overloading my system and making my brain malfunction.

This year is the hardest I have lived through in decades and I’m fine.  Between my divorce, estrangement from my children, the rape of a close family member, and this last election cycles constantly triggering events, I would have felt overload and malfunction inevitable; I am fine.

No voices, no shutting down, and no stroke victim like responses.  While election night was horrible, days later my thinking is clearer than ever and I feel focused.   I am almost hesitant to report it, but I am not losing anything.

I got up the next morning at 6am, went to work out at the gym with my friend and then went to work.  I have done so every day since without a problem.  In fact I am processing information better than ever.  I’m finding solutions and setting new goals.

Several times in my life I have quit just before I actually reached my goal because the truth is, it is always darker before the dawn and things do seem hardest just before you make the headway you’re working hard for.

I am learning that when life is getting harder, I’m succeeding.  Hang in there and watch for the miracle.  It’s so close…don’t quit, don’t give up…you deserve the success you worked so hard for and it will happen.

 





All my life people have thought of me as being Manic Depressive…

25 01 2014

It isn’t accurate and it hurts my relationships.  It definitely leaves me feeling alone and misunderstood.  Bipolar is often a misdiagnosis for people with Multiple Personality Disorder.

We can both have similar highs where we are out of touch with our normal boundaries of behavior.  We can both ride similar lows where we appear suicidal.  The difference is they are directly correlated for Bipolar people.  They will ride that high till they crash. Then all the negative feelings that they have will hit and like a drug, the effect will be controlled in a huge way by the chemical compounds released into their brain.

On the outside it is hard to see how that is different from the sex addicted self inside shifting to the the suicidal one.  It may look like I have just come down, except now with brain imaging they can actually show the shift that we feel inside, is a very real shift from where we were thinking to another center in the brain… what I experience isn’t at all like a drug wearing off.

It’s a total internal shift between brain centers that don’t share the same experiences, values, and memories.  I can shift back and forth multiple times in any moment.  At this point in my life I can use my own thought processes to control where I am unless my stress level is high.

Stress does actual damage to brain connections and can inhibit my ability to shift out of where I am but the real problem is, that it’s an external trigger that just keeps shifting me into a brain center that functions poorly.

This week my stress level took a drop and my ability to stay in an area where I have some brain function, is returning.   I can be here and think clearly enough not to dump poisonous crap.

It is only the last couple of years that I have gotten any amount of control over that.  I can shift my thinking intentionally by thinking in a way that brings up a feeling: like trying to remember snuggling a kitten, how someone I liked smelled, or feeling myself reacting to something, and it puts me in the part of my brain that experienced that.

That allows me to intentionally bring out the parts of me that are most socially acceptable.  The ones not wrapped in fear.  The parts that feel good about who they are.  I have a hard time now because I am not seeing a corresponding improvement reflected in the life I live.

The ability to share my experiences across the board to all the different processing areas I have, is something that has only happened for me in the fairly recent past as well.   Whatever I experience now connects in ways that were never possible for me before.

It is still difficult to know whether an offer of sex will trigger the part that experienced sexual abuse, the part that wants sex, or that thinks all of that is against God, but each of those processing places are now less pure than they used to be in a big way.  The walls that kept the experiences and memories separate are down and that sharing is making the shifts more seamless on the outside.

Still stress seems to undermine every improvement.  When I am in public every person coming into my circle can trigger some other part coming out.  There are still some parts not socially acceptable and pain can bleed out at inappropriate times.  Because of that, my anxiety level for it is high.  I switch between selves and the higher my stress the less control I have over it.

Asking me to decide anything is to set up an internal argument that will spin on until I find some place of understanding and resolution within.  Maybe that’s positive as well but it severely limits my range of experience because we will always solve the conflict like a lawyer does.

It’s like getting a bill through congress.  I used to unilaterally be able to make decisions by who ever was out at the time.  Any time I have to make a decision now, no one part wins.  Everything’s a  compromise and we chose not to move past our current comfort level.  It keeps me stuck where I am.

When I am with anyone the level of trust we have is the only thing that will keep me present and stable.  I react differently around friends and family then I respond in public.  Even if something might be triggering, I will react to it better.

I need to feel safe to be my best self.  I don’t have employment and moving to a place of being employed now is harder than it used to be in ways that I wasn’t capable of understanding myself until this moment.   This is really working against me.

I have spent years trying to heal and really felt that would mean an improvement in my quality of life, but that hasn’t happened.  It’s really hard to live with that.  All that work and my functioning isn’t really better.

In fact lately my loss of brain function has made my family worried about me.   I have determined I will need drugs to reset my brain.   I try not to think of that as failure and for now just have to accept that it is.





The myths of this disorder

25 01 2014

D.I.D.  used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder.   The belief then was that several separate personalities inhabited the same person.  When they got a better understanding of it they changed the name to Dissociation Identity Disorder trying to keep from giving people the wrong idea about its nature but that’s just as deceptive.

People think that it’s formed by some effort on our part, to remove ourselves from things that we have a problem dealing with.  That we choose somehow to “dissociate” to protect ourselves from our reality, and that is what causes other parts to take over for us when we are too weak to handle life.

That is such a prevailing myth that suggesting it isn’t so is just as emotionally charged as the whole argument of the existence of M.P.D. at all!  It is very hard to fight when it fits with the bits and pieces of the reality of how it often displays itself in the lives of those who have it.  It does so, so often they are the biggest defenders of this falsehood.

Have you ever played the game where you reach into a bag and feel whats inside to try to guess what it is.  Your first touch will tell you one thing but as you explore you get an even better impression, but in the end can find that your best effort still gave you the wrong answer.

That is what we do when we blindly try to figure out what is going on in our brains.  You get very real images in your brain that tell you what is there based on your own knowledge and past life experience, but what you know about what is happening can be just as wrong as the guesses you make of what is in that bag.

The simple truth is this ‘personality disorder’ is a brain injury.  Everyone is effected by these same types of injuries but only a small percentage to the extent that it causes the personality disorders that people expect to see in someone with DID.

This is a trauma disorder with several components; the amount of trauma, the repetitive nature of it, and its timing with-in the normal development of your brain.   That damage and it’s effects are different at every stage of brain development.  I have tried to explain the components of the disorder in a way that anyone can understand how it develops and what causes what you know as D.I.D. to appear the way it does.

The disassociation part is no more a “choice” than when Pavlov’s Dogs salivate. There’s a neutral stimulus, and your system produces a pre-programmed response. Like the salivating dogs, the disassociated person doesn’t have any control or decision to make, it’s a pre-programmed response to the stimulus presented. When you represent it as a “choice” that carries with it a component of judgement that isn’t helpful or accurate.

There is no typical case of D.I.D. because every single brain is different, but the pattern of its development and the changes that take place in the brain of someone who has it, are predictable and can be traced and followed.

We can take control and expedite our own healing.  First we need to protect our brains from further trauma to allow healing to occur, and  respect our instincts when seeking help from others.





In my first experience with my own alters

25 01 2014

I was sitting at my keyboard and my fingers just typed out “My name is Sarah”… without any conscious thought to do so, and as soon as I read it, that fact felt solid and true to my heart even though my name is actually Shannon.

I typed “my name is Sara” with intent and a whole argument began where I fought over the spelling of the name Sara.  I don’t spell it with an “H” but “She” did.

The experience was frightening and confusing for me and I struggled a lot to find answers for what was happening.  This was actually the beginning of more than a year of becoming co-conscience with several of my own Alters.  At the time I thought it was their way of introducing themselves and making me aware of their existence so that I could do what I needed to do to heal.

I have a long history of supposed therapeutic intervention meant to help me to function normally so was already under a Dr’s care at the time.  They were treating me but they were not listening to me.  They were not “helping” me.  I was given ineffective drugs for years that did nothing at all to help what was actually going on and most therapists chastised me like a small child for refusing to be a good patient and just take them.

The Dr I was seeing at the time told me that I was just having hallucinations, and that what I was experiencing had no basis in reality.

If you are under the age of 40 you probably didn’t share that experience.  We have at least some moderate mainstream acceptance for the existence of Multiple Personality Disorder, even if people’s actual understanding of the condition is far from the reality of it.

I couldn’t, just accept what he was saying.  I wasn’t just seeing things.  Alter’s that appeared, took over.  It was so clearly NOT my thinking.  We didn’t share the same belief system or pattern of behavior, and I seemed to have no control over what I was doing.

Telling me that I was having hallucinations didn’t help me to deal with what I was experiencing at all!  It didn’t stop me from having to live with the things that I did as these others seemed to take over, and it didn’t help me deal with the actual real life damage resulting from other people’s reaction to what “THEY” did!

I was chronically losing jobs and finding myself homeless and unable to provide any stability for my children.  I was also dealing with confusion, guilt and grief over what “I” was doing.  I wanted to take responsibility for what I did but often gaps in my own memory seemed to make that impossible.

No one I spoke to seemed to have any understanding of what was happening but I HAD TO KNOW.

The book Sybil was the first thing I found that seemed to give any explanation that aligned itself with my own reality.  It was 20 years old at that time, but it put me on a track of discovery and healing that finally really helped.

I became a consumer of information.  These were the days when the world didn’t believe that Multiple Personality was “real” and any therapist treating it was considered a quack with a capital Q.

I had to fight my way through thousands of pages of information that truly hurt me to read, in order to glean tiny bits of information that might give me a better picture of what was going on in my brain, but I kept reading.

After I ran out of material that was written for the general population, like all the diaries and mainstream media hype, I was left with only books written for college students studying it.

What they were teaching was counter intuitive to everything I knew about my own condition, so I got away from reading about what the current thoughts on M.P.D. and D.I.D. were, and started reading everything I could find on how our brains work.

I read volumes about taking control of your own thoughts and emotions, self-hypnosis, and psychology.  I read about things that seemed unrelated, like how they were treating physical injuries, strokes, other brain injuries, and addiction.

The more I read the less readable the material became.  At the time I felt so driven, it felt like I needed information more than I needed air.  I never finished high school so much of the material was above my own ability to understand it but I forced myself to read the same pages again and again, often having to look up dozens of words on each page as I read.

So little of it made sense but I kept reading, and then all at once everything I read formed a cohesive picture in my brain and I finally felt like I KNEW.

For years I have tried to find a way to pass that knowledge on.  It was so hard to gain and has truly helped me take control of my own life.  I am not always happy but I know who I am and how I got to be this person.  I know what I need to do to stay emotionally healthy.  I put the information that actually helped me to understand myself here.

So many people land here and read 2 or 3 posts and leave, and it makes my heart sad.  You can find real answers for what dissociative identity disorder really is and how to heal it here, but nothing helpful in just 2 or 3 posts.

If you suffer the way I did, you can learn how to take control and heal your brain.   If you have any ideas that might make this site better please comment.

Thank you for being here.

sincerely,

SB





Finally living on middle ground.

18 02 2013

There are always these feelings inside of me that say we need to respect where people are in their own lives.  That I can accept their belief system even though it’s different from my own.

When it comes to religion, I truly believe that everyone’s belief system holds some truth and their belief system is worthy of respect.  I believe in an all-knowing, omnipresent, creator, which most people I encounter share, but I also believe that there is a possibility that belief is wrong, that we can’t KNOW.

When it comes to politics I am probably more left leaning then right but when it isn’t just hate that’s being pushed, I know we can find a middle ground where our beliefs meet.  I feel that we have a responsibility to look after each other but when you say that it shouldn’t be our Governments job to do it I am inclined to believe that too.

When we speak about DID I want to find that softer fuzzier view but I came from a view of myself as separate parts: I felt them shift from one to another, was horrified at the disconnect I felt between what I saw them doing and my own feeling of the amount of control I had.

That drove me to look for answers.  I studied hard and long and after years earned the truth I found.  I really feel as in control as anyone else now.  Really how in control are we?  Anyone out there trying to quit smoking?  Everyone is having a measure of success and failure, but I am living my life as a unified human being.

Profound thinkers of our time believed that D.I.D. didn’t exist.  After years of arguing with that I came to know that what I perceived internally wasn’t factual.  I found out what caused my miss-perception.  I can’t go back to not knowing that!

I am not prepared to except this new world that not only thinks of DID as “REAL” but embraces it as an identity in itself.  If you want to except that what you perceive is true, I can understand.  It is very threatening to know that you can’t trust your own reality.

That being said I can’t go back to the place where I can embrace it as well.  Not for me and not for you.  When You say I am Sarah, and John, and Tara, I can only see you with little sock puppets on being all of them.

If your parents or significant other is going along with it, to me that’s no different than them wrapping their arms around you and saying it’s OK hon, I will stay right here and protect you from that monster under the bed; instead of helping you to know that “the feeling” that there is a monster under there, is different then there actually BEING a monster there.

It feels comforting and loving in one light and totally wrong in another.  You have a right to believe what ever you want, even when it’s wrong.  I just don’t see the point.








%d bloggers like this: