Whatever Blows Your Hair Back ~ MJ and Me

I always thought I loved getting drunk, but once I started to pay attention, I realized I didn’t really like boozing all that much.  I never drank so much I would lose control, but I was often 1-2 beer away from feeling sick.  It took forever to get drunk, cost a lot of money, and made me feel shitty the next day.  As a bonus, I often acted like an asshole and was embarrassed that I had been overtly sexual to people.  I was definitely in the market for a better, more predictable ‘high’.

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I was late to the marijuana party when I began smoking regularly in my late 30’s.  I used it as a way to relax, read and focus.  I loved the way I could absorb more information, and I liked the way it made me think complex thoughts about the material.  I would read and think, and then go to bed.  Sometimes I meditated when I was high, and that was great too.  And there were lots of physical benefits.  There was literally no down side to marijuana from my perspective.  For me, it was a bridge to concentration and learning.

Pot kept my mind very busy.  I began to notice parts of myself that I didn’t recognize in my sober life.  There were really interesting, complex-thinking parts, creative parts, and also a few nutty parts.  For a long time, it was easy to control what parts presented.  If I was reading, only the professor part was interested in being present.  ‘Thinking’ too much, bored many of the other parts.  When I meditated, there was a very ‘zen’ part of me that liked to participate.  The Artist was usually down for any interesting ideas or discussion, and would always develop interesting theories and ideas for projects, which we would rarely follow up on. CrazyTrain loved our marijuana use, because it loved us to follow the wild theories of thought it would send us on.

Marijuana gave an audience to thoughts that were usually unconscious, and allowed my parts to become more conscious.  I began to see how diverse and complicated my thoughts were.  At the time, I was unaware that the parts were separate from me, but I was aware I didn’t always think the same way, or even have the same opinions about things all the time.  I also became aware that my thoughts often took on frightening subject matter, and fantastical beliefs.  I was learning a great deal about myself, and some of it was a bit unsettling.

Pot induced far more feelings of comfort and security, than it did of paranoia and fear, which made it easy to keep using it.  I would swear it off, and then find myself missing its healing influence.  I always felt like it helped me access my sadness, and work through all of my fears, even if it scared me a little sometimes.  It never scared me enough to make the lessons not worth the price of admission.  It did help me heal.  And it pushed me further into fear.

It was an exhausting loop.  Feeling happy and more rested while smoking, then a bit paranoid and fearful,  and afterward feeling bad and guilty for enjoying something that felt good, and legitimately helped my body feel better,  but was obviously ‘very bad for me and probably addicting and maybe making me crazier’.  The fragments of me wanting healing were at war with the fragments that were afraid to get better, and everybody was terrified.

The fragments that didn’t want to get better thought they would lose themselves, if we became whole.

Some fragments became more bold, sharing co-consciousness.  There must have been some realization that I wasn’t aware they were separate from me.    This understanding may have facilitated the desire of the ‘parts’ to become fully co-conscious.

As a collective, the fragments began to see the benefits of becoming healthier in every way.  The braver parts were excited to become co-conscious, and they announced themselves in ways that were most fitting to their personal relationship to me.

It seems like my subconscious had been afraid that I would find out that I was a collection of parts, but it was a surprise to the collection that I wasn’t at all unhappy about the news.  The dawning realization of my dissociated pieces frightened me, and gave me comfort.  As they surfaced, every part of my life began to make sense.

As far as I can tell, marijuana allows me to easily ‘switch’ between fragments.  It seems to physically restrain the system that keeps everything locked up and away from awareness.  I believe it relaxes my body, which allows my Gatekeeper to bypass the usual alarm system that keeps the fragments back. The Gatekeeper negotiates with, or is the bridge between many of the others and my awareness.  There isn’t usually a direct channel, except when I am highly engaged in something, or when I am high and turning my awareness to the interests of a particular fragment, or on the infrequent occasions where I lose control and am fully embodied by the consciousness of another fragment.

It feels like some of my fragments are physical:  For instance, my body seems to have a fragment all to itself that operates only in servitude to it.  The same is true for my ‘mental’ self, my ’emotional’ self, and my spiritual self.  Some fragments cross boundaries between selves and are operated by more than one aspect.

That’s my big confession, and one I have been wanting to put in writing since I started this blog.  I use pot.  Not all the time, or every day, but I do use it, and it makes me feel better.  Marijuana has the reputation of inducing paranoia, especially in the population of people with mental instability.  This is absolutely true in my case, but it wasn’t without its benefits.  It was a relatively easy way to stand up to my fear, and learn to fight back.

Manic Musings~ Collected thoughts

ManicMusings

I AM KEEPING A RUNNING LIST OF SOME OF THE ODD SHIT MY MONSTERS COME UP WITH.  I DON’T EDIT (mostly).

It’s embarrassing stuff

.1) I bought a hammer and CrazyTrain immediately reminded me that Jesus was a carpenter (therefore, I am probably Jesus).  I wish I was making this stuff up

2) at the same hardware store, a kindly old gentleman of austrian descent wished me a merry christmas, ‘in case he didn’t see me’.  AdorablePsycho wondered if he was sensing that I was going to die soon, and was saying goodbye to me in the final sense.  This works nicely with the common fear that I really am going to die soon.  I have sorted my whole life out and finally seem to have everything I ever wanted.  Therefore, Adorable Psycho thinks the other shoe is due to drop and kick the legs out from under me.  When you are worried that you are going to die, I assure you there is a plethoria of meaningless shit in life that can provide proof to your meanest alter.

3)An alternate theory AdorablePsycho suggests is that he is trying to make me think I’m going to die, by inferring that he won’t see me again.  There is no winning against AP.  He has worked the magical thinking from all angles.  When your worst enemy acts like your best friend, he learns all of your tricks and knows how to use them against you.

4) My husband called me from work in his dump truck.  The sound quality was excellent.  AP starts collecting evidence to support the fact that his is not really at work, and is probably lying to me.  If I were to follow this line of thinking, I would have him cozied up with a second family I don’t know about.  Ridiculous, but these are the malignant thoughts that need to be examined, exposed and shared.

I have been ignoring these random thoughts for so long that I forget how ridiculous they can be.  I’m going to try to remember as many as possible so I can see how invasive they are.

Riding the CrazyTrain

From the ted talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TKR-IKtaCg

Although I really don’t relate to the bullying parallels, although I do agree that they exist and are as bad as she related, I do relate to the negative thinking, even if the message is different.


One of my most distructive alters is CrazyTrain, who is the fragment that is trying to stop me from enjoying life, by reminding me of the highly unlikely things that *could* happen to people I care about.


Crazy Train tries to scare me by using my perceived intuition against me by suggesting something terrible is going to happen.  The cycle of thought uses my need for control and fuses it with my desire to be able to predict the future.  I don’t actually desire this, but my ‘alters’ have kept me under control by using my fear against me.



I have fully engaged in the process of debunking every one of the stories that CrazyTrain suggests to me.  It goes as far as to create story lines of supporting evidence to suggest that I am seeing a complete story unfolding that is in the future.  I have reminded myself countless times, and in many ways that I am rarely right about the things I am sure about.  This continual reminder helps me to stop the endless loop of fear and projection that CrazyTrain would like me to join in on.  This part of me is a legitimate part of my thought process, although it is quiet most of the time that I am aware of.  There is likely lots of these thoughts going on at an unconcious level that I’m not aware of, because the trace of fear always accompanies any thought of the future.


This reframing has really helped me to notice the amount of stories CrazyTrain tells, using the same ‘wavelength’ or ‘frequency’ that makes me believe they are my authentic thoughts.  I can now separate the ‘voice’ of the negative thinking and immediately discern that I have begun to wander into ‘fantasy thinking land’.


My magical thinking largely centers on my fear of losing my kids and husband.  All of them have figured into many death scenarios that make me extremely upset. Even writing about them is making my stomach hurt, shoulders burn, head tense up.  It makes my skin crawl.  However, I will ‘take the train of thought’ in these directions without really noticing I jumped on, only abruptly ‘jumping off’ when I noticed the increasing physical sensations accumulating in my body from fear.  Then I am mildly angry at myself for thinking like that because it upsets me so much.  It’s like I am not consciously aware that a part of me is TRYING to upset me whenever the opportunity arises.


This is the song that makes me think of my relationship with CrazyTrain


“You got away with murder
Leave me at a loss for the words
Just wait until I catch my breath
WAIT UNTIL I CATCH MY BREATH
Yeah, but you thought you got away with murder
Leave me at a loss for the words
Just wait until I catch my breath
WAIT UNTIL I CATCH MY BREATH”

Fragments of Me

NOT A COMPLETE LIST, AND IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER…

 

Shower Girl arrived early in the new year, and stayed on and off, for about 10 days, in collaboration with Anima.  She is my fearfully religious fragment.  She spent most of her time on the shower floor, praying for sanity.  She felt imagery related to Joan of Arc, Mary (mother of JC), and the prostitute in the bible.  She scared the shit out of me.  My husband and my therapist were also concerned about her, but I didn’t tell anyone until months later.  I would have been committed if anyone was with me when she appeared.   She was completely out of control and unable to care for herself.  Totally afraid and agitated.  I believe she made a brief appearance over the Easter long weekend.  She used her influence to get religious again, which is probably why she didn’t last long.  She had me believing I was pregnant, and it was likely her who was devastated (twice) when it turned out to be perimenopause, and not pregnancy that had delayed my periods.  I’m fairly certain she thought she was Mary, and that the baby was going to be the next Jesus.  I am not consciously sure of that, but I suspect it.

Fancy is selfish and sometimes mean.  She is judgmental, short-tempered and irritable. She is also fun and flashy.  She’s entertaining and gregarious.  She wouldn’t think twice to ditch plans if she got a better offer. She ignores my needs and desires and serves her own agenda.  She is responsible for a lot of self-sabotage, and bad choices in my life.  She has stars in her eyes, and only wants to see things her way.  She is an attention whore.  She like jewelry and fashion, but she rarely gets to wear what she buys.  She has a penchant for very high, unpractical heels, lingerie and jewelry.  I have many earring/necklace sets that she buys, and I can never wear because they are ridiculous.  I would estimate that she has purchased 10 pairs of heels that we are never going to be able to wear.  She is probably who filled my closet with colourful, semi-stylish clothing.  She takes over when I am anxious in social situations.

The Mother is a recent addition to the crew.  She has been dormant or inactive until recently.  I believe she is an alter I created in the past 3 years to model the good mothering behavior I saw from a friend.  I always admired this friend, and I am proud that Mother has embraced the role so naturally. Her emergence has created a seamless front in my alter structure.  There is someone in place for every part of my life. Her influence became very dominant when I started taking Biphentin.   Within 1 month of starting the med, I had cleaned/organized/purged my entire home, all 3 levels.  Tackling the basement was the most unbelievable job I did.  I had a friend instigate the job, and I heartily agreed to tackle it with her.  Within 6 hours, the basement (my personal horror) was clean and organized.  There is a good chance the medication unearthed some OCD in me, as I have never in my life been tidy, or organized.  Now the OCD is my bff, and I love having a clean, orderly home.

AdorablePsycho is the alter that actively tries to fuck with me.  If there is a mental loophole, AP will find it and exploit it.  No topic is off limits.  He loves to make me afraid of losing my husband and kids.  There is no shortage of ways in which AP tosses out mental bombs. AP also enjoys suggesting that I am under the control of aliens, and that every time my ass hurts, I am having an anal probe. (UGH, I know RIGHT?) When I have a PTSD flashback, AP is right there to start wondering if this is a medical emergency that will cause me to die.  All day long, every day, these malignant thoughts arrive and are pushed away by The Gatekeeper.  I often don’t hear the thoughts anymore, or they don’t register in my awareness.  AP has greatest access to me when I am vulnerable.  Tired, under the influence, worried…these are his favorite states of being.  I understand that he lives to fuck with my head, and this is the only alter I would like to remove permanently.  I do not want this fragment in my integration process.  I am still unsure if this is even possible.

CrazyTrain is the alter that entertains any idea that crosses my head.  When AP and CT get together, it’s a hot mess.  Crazy train isn’t actively fucking with me as much as she is excitable, wide-eyed, and curious.  She thinks without limits, and as great as that can be, it goes rogue at times as well.   CrazyTrain usually starts the train on a halfway reasonable track, and then rides it right out to lala land.  Sometimes CrazyTrain and Adorable Psycho work together.  AP is psychotic.  He takes the ideas and twists them into physically painful thoughts, while CT is mostly just an asshole.

The Zealot has a great number of religious topics it likes to explore.  It wants me to spend time thinking about angels and demons, God and the devil.  It has made me move closer to, and then further away from religion.  I don’t know if I believe in God, which causes some anxiety.  On some level I have bought into the idea that you have to accept Jesus/God to be saved.  On another level, I feel like a good ‘father’ would encourage mw to explore my beliefs and live my own truth, rather than having beliefs forcefully rammed into my consciousness.  I feel this alter has given me more reason to distrust and move away from the concept of God/the devil.  I often think that we all have a devil, or a judas, inside of us.  I just know mine a bit more intimately than most do.

The Professor/The Scientist is one of my favorite alters.  I liken this alter to the feeling of Albert Einstein, or Nikolas Tesla in my head.  It is the energy of a creative-thinker, and a very curious mind.  The ideas I have when this alter is present are often clearly not my own, and I need to pay attention, as I lose the thoughts easily.  It introduces ideas I have never thought about.  It examines things in a logical and analytical way.  It attempts to put appropriate patterns together.  It is most interested in hacking the brain, and reverse-engineering my habits and behaviors.  It has allowed me to see that few of the things I was taught about life are real, and that things are much more interesting than I could ever have imagined.  The Professor often works with The Artist to collaborate on archetypal ideas in photography.  Although the professor doesn’t usually do the shooting (but has before), he really enjoys the editing and digital creation.  The Professor is the driving force behind my writing.  It has always shown me that if I write things down in any altered state, the rest of me can read about what is happening.  When I want to remember something, the professor sets alarms, writes notes, sets reminders.  The professor loves the mother, and is relieved at the changes in our environment since she arrived.  I can shift fairly easily into this alter, but it is very ‘dry’ and mathematical most of the time, so it’s not as much fun as when it gets creative.

My Scared Child shakes.  When she is inside my body, the vibrations are intense.  I can shiver incessantly (although not necessarily cold) and my body shakes and vibrates.  It is physically uncomfortable, but I sense that when she is present, she is releasing old tension.  She is young, and doesn’t speak.  I recently felt her inside of me as I was have a PTSD episode.  I felt like somewhere in time, my Scared Child was experiencing the actual trauma, while I held her in my space and calmed her through it.  I felt like i was creating a space for her to go while her body absorbed some trauma.  She and I sat together in this space until her body stopped shaking, and the episode ended.   I don’t see much of her, but I try to hold space for her whenever she is around.  She really needs the help, so when she surfaces, we turn all attention toward her needs.

Anima feels like the consciousness of my body, my ‘animal’.  We only became reacquainted this year, after I woke up ‘newborn’ on January 1, 2014.  For 2 weeks, she and I coexisted, only meeting her basic needs.  She likes natural fabrics, raw food, no hair/makeup.  I wear cotton or wool when she is present.  She likes to feel ‘contained’ in my clothes, and loves snug clothes that make her feel secure.  She doesn’t like things to be tight, or restrictive. She is the part of me that wants to return to pioneer life.  She was instrumental in the decision to cut my hair, and once I did that, she and I felt bonded.  For the first time since i was about 14, I look in the mirror and think it is ‘me’. She and I have been at odds because of my self-destructive behavior most of my life.  She is angry about a few of the choices I have made.   I believe we are working well together towards complete integration.

The Artist was born a long time ago, but infrequently surfaced until this year. There is an obsessive drive to explore creative expression.  The Artist doesn’t care about eating, or drinking or going to the bathroom.  He/she is often the part of me that shoots, but once I am done, he/she quickly leaves.  He/she doesn’t care for ‘regular life’, and is only interested in the extremes in life.   I was manic a great deal of the time The Artist was with me from February-May.  It kept me busy following the rules of the art project I was working on.  It was The Artist that instigated the Crying Ladies, although it was originally a different concept. The Artist was furious that no one could see the importance of crying in art, and now I roll my eyes at that thought.  However, it was extremely real at the time, and I needed that outrage and fury as I imploded in front of my colleagues and community.  The Artist incubates the ideas it hears, and then sees what scraps can be created from it.  I remember how excited he/she was when I shot the first PTSD flashback.  I understood what it felt like to be Matisse, Picasso, Michelangelo.  It doesn’t matter if your work resonates with anyone else, when it resonates with you, you are THE ARTIST.  I strongly identified with Marina Abramovich and her ‘The Artist is Present’ piece for the MOMA.  I understood that she was doing what I was doing, but in a different way.  When my Artist is present, I feel alive and completely absorbed.  I would get very little done if The Artist spent a great deal of time at the wheel.

The Gatekeeper was the first alter I put into place on purpose.  Before I knew this was DID, I knew there was ideas in my head that weren’t right.  The Gatekeeper was a mental version of my husband, who was kind and fair in his thinking.  The Gatekeeper was the protector and the hero.  No thoughts were allowed to get through my sober mind without the Gatekeeper running them through the filter.  One of the first filters I used was in response to my brother, who used to like making me upset.  I would say: “If this was said to you by anyone other than your brother, would it make you upset?”.  It was this very powerful mental filtering that saved my sanity when things got very hairy in my head.  When you start to challenge alters, they rear up bigger and louder to try to scare you off.   I owe my sanity to My Gatekeeper.