Hello Butterfly

I know why the butterfly builds a cocoon.

She builds it bit by bit, without even knowing it’s happening. , until suddenly, in quite a panic, she realizes she is trapped.  She resigns herself to being dead and falls deep asleep.

She awakens some time later, inside a dark, tight, frightening place that makes her heart beat furiously, in a body she does not recognize.

Eventually she grows tired of being afraid, and becomes brave.

There are curious changes inside her new environment, and in her perception of her environment.  It may indeed be small, but now the closeness seems intimate.  It used to be dark, but  darkness has become recognizable; comforting even.   What was frightening, has become an embracing, beloved home to the parts of her that have learned to live in this much smaller space.

When her cocoon begins to crack open, she is once again afraid.

Fear has taught her that bravery is a better defense.

She does not know what happens next.  The past has taught her that everything works somehow.  She must trust that this is the next part of the process.

She is released from the last remnants of her home, and she is free.  The world feels so achingly beautiful.   As her glorious wings begin to unfold, it is clear she has grown too large, and too lovely to hide within this tiny space.

She can hardly imagine where she will fly first.  In her own freedom, she is born anew.
She thinks of her fellow larvae, caterpillars, pupae, unaware of what is to be.  She is the them they will become.

She radiates her loving, encouraging beautiful energy to all of her kind, past, present and future.

There is always more to come.  Trust life’s miracles to unfold through you.  You will be the caterpillar who becomes the butterfly.

Unwrapping The Gift of BiPolar

I had an epiphany 2 nights ago. I have been avoiding my sadness at moving. Imagine that. I have been running so fast, filling my plate with so many jobs, to keep myself from falling down with fear about what the next phase of my life will bring. I realized a while back that the first 6-8 weeks I was here, I was the old me, manic and denying all pain. Everything was NEW! NEW! NEW! and I plunged headfirst into every pool of interest I found. There was the unpacking, organizing, decorating, canning, cooking, refinishing furniture…the list could go on. I kept myself very busy, and my conscious self needed time to integrate the meaning of all of the abrupt change.

Eventually, everything got unpacked, organized, decorated, canned, refinished, and the frenetic energy dissipated. What replaced it, was deep insecurity and fear.

The arrival of my manic self was welcomed and appreciated when I needed it. As I descended into the opposite end of bipolar, I was scared and uncomfortable, just when I had started to feel relaxed. Issues of trust, and lots of delusional thinking had me acting like an insecure teenager. I felt ashamed of the way I was behaving, but I didn’t know why I was having so much fear, and I did what I always do to balance the fear. I walked, I listened to music, I distracted myself with as many healthy things as I could. In my old days, I would have distracted myself with things that were self-destructive. In my ‘new’ life, my coping strategies left my body lighter, my spirit stronger, and I didn’t feel alone.

I believe this was just another layer of truth being revealed to me. My authentic self was giving me time to make a graceful exit from one life, but was not going to let me away with not facing the fear I had just left. It was the first time I have ever ‘felt’ the full cycle, and learned to recognize the symptoms in myself.

Mania for me is wonderful. It is full of creative, exciting energy. I have 10 projects on the go, and my mind is happy to be doing something interesting every day. It’s party time in my life, and very few problems surface.

When I dip into depression, it doesn’t look like traditional depression. My body feels numb-ish, but not so much that I can’t function. I do less. I get many more paranoid or delusional thoughts. The intrusive thoughts are manageable but annoying. I don’t sleep, and this is the most physically distruptive aspect of my mental illness.

This past cycle of my bipolar has left me in some sort of a Limbo. I know you can relate to the idea of being ‘parked’. I am a wife and mother, taking care of everyones needs, and surprisingly, feeling very accomplished and content. What if the thing I have been running from (domesticity) is the very thing that has brought me peace and contentment? I can thank mental illness for showing me how many places my attention was being drained, and how useless it was to invest attention in these places.

What if unplugging your life from Facebook, TV, fake friends, parties, and being part of the ‘social engineering’ can bring an incredible amount of peace and well-being into ones life?

When I had no other way of continuing the life I was living, my new life rose up around me. I hardly noticed the journey unfolding because I was busy licking my wounds. My new life was simpler, more heartfelt, grounded and good for me.

I know that thoughts DO create things. When I was too afraid to behave in my usual patterns, a new set of healthy, helpful patterns arose. The more I began to put myself first and became unapologetic about healing my troubled mind, the easier my life became. When I became unstable and fearful, these new patterns kicked in automatically to help me navigate the rough ride. Somehow, without knowing how or why, my desire to be the person I have always wanted to be started to manifest. I had tools to handle the problems that I had always avoided. I began to sort out all of the old shit that I had been hanging on to for too long.

During my sabbatical from social media, and people that didn’t have my best interests, I lost track of what the rest of the world was doing. Life became still. In that silence, I began to listen to a different voice. One that was patient, loving and accepting. One that loved me unconditionally and kept encouraging me to always make the best choice for me, that did not intrude on the rights of others. In real life, that voice was my husband, who has always been the kindest, most loving person I have known. I FELT loved, and words and behavior aligned for the first time. I was able to invest my own attention in things that were really important to me, like my family and a few good friends.

I began to look at BEHAVIOR, not words. I realized most people lie to themselves, and because they lie to themselves, they lie to others, consciously or not. When you compare what people say, to what they do, over time, you can create a very accurate representation of who that person is, and what role they should play in your life, if any. When people show you who they are, believe them, and don’t take it personally. They are not aiming their discontent AT you, but you ARE in the line of fire, and if you choose to take it on, you may. (But I wouldn’t!!! 😉 )

I learned that people who show up in life for the good times AND the bad, are the best people to align with. People who have been able to cut through the bullshit around them to remain authentic are the kind of people who I want in my future. These are the vessels I will pour my energy and attention into. When authentic meets intention, the REAL

Showdown in Therapy

Therapy has been a mixed blessing.  I have had someone to help me negotiate the worst (and best) parts of the sometimes frightening journey.  That has been great.  What hasn’t been great is the many subtle and not-so-subtle inferences that I am imagining a traumatic past.

The most current insult happened today when it seemed she was trying to get me to agree that my problems were emotionally based, and not a DID.  Now there’s a therapist who deserves a gold star.  I wouldn’t be in therapy if I didn’t have some fucking emotional problems.  However, my emotional problems are a result of a sustained traumatic environment.  I can reverse engineer all of the outcomes of the trauma, but the original and ongoing fear that began this full personality shutdown is otherwise locked up tight.  I do not appreciate that my case became a round table discussion for a group of small-town therapists (who have never seen DID in person) to mull over and come up with alternate theories.  I’m sick of it.

Let me be clear.  You do not live in my body.  You do not know what it is like to be me.  You cannot possibly understand the fog that is lifting from my psyche as I move steadily through this healing process.   I have been almost entirely self-led to push through my pain, and challenge my current circumstances and relationships.  The past year of erecting boundaries and watching people crash through them has taught me that I am the ONLY ONE who can save me.   Until I re-route all of the fucked up behavior associations that my fragments created to keep me ‘sane’ and functioning, I cannot begin to see all of the damage it has caused.  There were a dozen copies of each problematic relationship in my life.  I was trying to please ‘narcissistic mothers’, abandoning ‘fathers’, and bullying ‘siblings’ in every corner of my life.  My life was exploding, and I was putting out fires with a watering can.

I finally started to figure it out.  I saw the patterns.  I started making changes.   I saw evidence of problems, and started correcting or eliminating the relationships. As I machete’d through relationships, I got closer and closer to the source, which was my family of origin.  It seemed like the healthy relationships in my life survived, and the unhealthy ones refused to allow me to change.  When people refuse to accept the changes you have made in yourself, it is time to let them go.

That includes my therapist.  I am not listening to any more bullshit about DID.  She is not an expert.   She has no fucking clue what she is dealing with, and she is causing more harm than good in many ways.   There are a whole bunch of ‘me’s’, but she keeps wanting to tell me each ‘fragment’ is just an emotion I never learned to deal with.  NO.  I do not accept that.  If I had a client with DID, I would be bending over backwards to EDUCATE myself on how it manifests.  No, not every alter is a complete split from the original personality, unconscious from the host.  Yes, it is entirely possible to be COMPLETELY UNAWARE that you are a collection of parts.   NO, DID isn’t something that someone makes up to get attention, or they wouldn’t have kept it hidden for 6 months because it seemed too weird.

I am not a lab rat.  I am not a game.  This is my real life here, not just an hour in your appointment book.

Her attitude changed considerably when she found out that I had an appointment booked a week after my referral went in.  I included a personal letter requesting help, and a real-time documentation of DID in action. {I believe the best advocate for services is the client in need}.  The clinic booked me immediately after reviewing my information.  Usually it takes months for a client to get a phone call from the clinic.   I KNOW THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG, and I am doing every thing I can think of to fix it myself.   This clinic recognizes that there is a high need for services AT THIS TIME, and is moving the timeline dramatically to make it happen.

I think I gave her something to chew on.  There need to be boundaries in therapy.  There does not need to be walls.  Therapist doesn’t mean ‘boss’ and client doesn’t mean ‘crazy’.  Even the most damaged people can be extremely self aware, but if you are looking to confirm ‘crazy’, you will never have a problem finding it.   I am hopeful we will be moving to a more collaborative, supportive environment in therapy.

To wrap it up, I have an appointment in 21 days at a DID clinic in downtown Toronto, with a real, honest-to-god specialist in DID.  There is finally, finally a light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t know what this will mean for me, but I know that the responsibility for caring for my dissociative identity disorder will soon fall on shoulders other than my own.  For that I am overwhelmingly, exceedingly, heart-breakingly grateful.