Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Frank Gets Candid, About Memories...and Bethany

Bethany's bubble picture...

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware. Some posts cover information about Us and our life with Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder. This is part of writing therapy and an attempt to raise awareness and reach out to others who deal with this in their life. If you have not read us thus far, you will be confused, perhaps angry. You may discount this as bull shit. We don’t blame you. You don’t have to keep reading. If you continue on, however, you might want to check out the story of our life, to give you context on why we are who, and “what” we are.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We’ve been trying to find our memories from before we were 8. This is an important step in finding the ones who might be hiding in the recesses of our mind, where some of the others have been, others who we have found, but not yet wrote about.

I had known that Bethany (who you’ve all heard me to refer to as Bitch in the past) was there, but the more writing I did, the more we went back to it, the more I realized it was not possible to be attributing all the qualities, and out of body experiences, that I felt were not part of me, onto a singular alter (DID speak for another personality). There was no way that Bethany, who I had always know to be a child, was the one who was taking us over and causing all the things that had been happening to us;  and there were a lot of adult themed experiences that no 6 year old is capable of.

Marissa, who has dealt with this same issue in her life (DID/MPD), and who is guiding us with her experience, says this is normal, and actually how she had dealt with it before she started therapy, before her therapist worked on helping her figure out how to find her others. You can’t imagine how much relief it is to find out that what is happening is DID/MPD “normal”, at least to one other person who has been there. It’s not always the same for everyone; at least we don’t think it is. It’s hard to find people willing and able to talk about it, or able to articulate what it is that they are going through.

We don’t have any memories that we are aware of before 8-10 years of age. No matter how hard I have tried I can’t seem to find any on my own, and have not been able to find any with the help of Bethany. We know that Angry Brother, being only two years younger, should be there somewhere in the memory bank. We don’t seem to remember anything before Baby Brother was born, when We were about 8. As a matter of fact the oldest memory we have is our dad coming to pick us up from the Christian private school we were attending, the day that Baby Brother was born.

We remember standing in the window of the tiny circular library that day, waiting in anticipation for The Father to pick us up in the little blue Ford Escort; waiting for him bring us to the new arrival of our family. There is nothing that we can gather from before that day – no single memory of time with just Us and Angry Brother. The first 8 years, and many from then until we were 12, are missing.

In addition, most of the memories we have are not of things that happened to us, but times when we would have been called to action as protector of The Brothers, times where there may have been drama, sadness, anger, fear…a sense that we somehow had to protect them – like when baby Brother “fell” out of his highchair and split his head open with The Maternal Grandmother was taking care of us one day; she also had mental illness issues.

Last night we were doing what we usually do when not painting or writing; chatting with our “virtual friends” on Twitter. What happened in the hour leading up to our sudden departure is hard to explain, a departure noticed by a couple of the people who are our regular friends, those we try to remember to interact with on a daily basis (they usually end up in The Exclusives list; sometimes we forget to put them there right away though). Our memory, even now, is shit; but then, when it comes to some things….it’s crystal clear. Annoying, and depends on the day.

This may seem strange to those who chat with us on a daily basis, but there are times you are dealing with me, and Bethany (and sometimes those of us you don’t know about that only we know about)…they, and we, go back and forth, sharing "my" consciousness. Sometimes our interactions include adult content, and Bethany starts to feel uneasy and leaves; sometimes she stays around and asks me to stop it from happening. Either way, adult time, and kid friendly time, is important in our Tweeting.

I could feel Bethany wanting to play, as I tried to maintain some “adult time” (which is restricted to the open timeline, we do not partake in funny business behind DirectMessaging (DM) doors). I could tell she was sneaking out, because we often say our Tweets out loud when we are at home, and as the hour grew on I felt like I was being pulled away and as Bethany started Being/fronting, and I let her…our Tweets became embarrassing.

As I watched her Tweets: *running in circles* because of “many cookies for the many us” and yapping about a picture of bubbles that she posted on Tumblr, bubbles being one of her favourite things, tweeting “bubbles are happy”, I decided it was time to shut down the social networking. I realize that what amounts to a 6 year old should not be playing with the adults, lest we get confused, and confuse others who view us as always being an adult, I convinced her to go play with the cats.

While she laid on the floor talking to the cats and letting them purr and rub against her, trying to get them to play with their cat toys with her, they can tell some of us from others, and the cats like her (some of us they do not like); I tried to get her to talk to me about the memories she has. All she kept saying is she wanted her “blanky” back; a comfort/security item that The Mother says was made for us before we were even born – an item that The Other Girl took away from her after the car accident when we were 25. That blanket went everywhere with us before that, even on our missionary trips to Mexico.

She kept playing with the cats, she tried coming up with the memories but I guess I was rushing her, and she ultimately started crying, rocking, crouched on our knees, our head in our lap, on the carpet, and she went to hide.

What happens after we have these experiences, experiences that many have a hard time grasping? Different things, usually if we have been on Twitter and it was only mild, we sit back and watch what’s happening until we feel comfortable enough to talk to people; this time we took a shower, crying because when things like that happen it is scary and it makes me think I am losing my mind, even though I  know we are not because I used to be in there with them, and now I am out here.

We were trying to come up with a way to describe what it’s like, the We that is us, how that works. Imagine living in a two story house, and you are usually on the main floor hanging out. There are other people who are on the second floor. Sometimes you can hear them like they are yelling down to you from upstairs, or the top of the stairs and you can see them; sometimes you cannot hear them at all. On occasion they come down to the first floor to hang out with you (in DID called co-consciousness), to see the things you are seeing, to talk to you more, to “hang out” with you (which is what Bethany likes to do, a lot). Sometimes more than one comes downstairs to hang out and it gets noisy, and then other times you go upstairs and somebody takes your place on the main floor, and you have to yell down to them, or watch from the top of the stairs. When you are not on the main floor someone has to tell you what went on when you were not there, and sometimes they won’t tell you right away, sometimes they tell you later, sometimes they won't tell you at all. Sometimes you are all by yourself on the main floor, and you can't hear anyone on the second floor, and if you are us, or me, you get lonely.

After Bethany went to hide I e-mailed The Father to ask about things from the past, a couple things that I remember, but needed to confirm my age on, even though we already know we were over the age of 10. Things like taking care of a horse we once had, who had cut its chest wide open trying to run through a barbed wire fence, a horse we took care of every day with the help of The Father, cleaning its wound and spraying iodine on in, back when we wanted to be a veterinarian.

“Why don't I have any memories of anything that isn't photographed or has been talked about repeatedly before I was 8-10 - was there nothing to remember? Do you have memories from when you were a kid? How do those work?”, we asked The Father in the e-mail we sent last night. (Haven't heard back from him yet)

It seems strange that there are no memories; perhaps that is what happens to everyone. We’ve talked to a couple of people about their first memories and we have heard ages from 3-5. So we don't know why we don't have any.

We understand now, however, that with a history of child abuse (and neglect), and with what has happened to the way our brain works, that these memory losses can be normal. What we are trying to do, while we obtain memories piece by piece and write them down, is find out if there is any being repressed, because maybe it will help us. There are times, however, that we think maybe we don’t want to know, because if the things about The Other Girl were so horrible as to create those of us we are already aware of...what others, and other things lurk beneath the surface? What are the things that cause us to wake up, knowing that the night before we had remembered something, and have already forgot, and it is the reason for the tears still fresh on our face?

After we e-mailed The Father, we sent Marisa some questions, asking her about what she experienced when she attempted finding the members of The Crew, with the help of professionals, because we still can’t get through an entire entry in her blog about how she dealt with this many years ago.

After reassuring us that what we had experienced last night was on par with some of her own, she advised us, “Don't try to force conversations about the memories. As she (and they) get used to being accepted as they are, the sense of safety will grow and the conversations will happen on their own.”

I agree with her, perhaps next time I will let Bethany play, instead of make her try to remember things that might be scary for her, then maybe, eventually, she will feel comfortable enough to share. Plus, the cats would like to spend more time with her too.

What I remember most are the great pains of my life.
The pleasant moments I have forgotten.” ~ Pierre from Delta of Venus by Anais Nin


Our DID/MPD Journey:
Frank Gets Candid (April 4, 2011)
**We Freak Out** (April 6, 2011)
We Are Fragments (April 9, 2011)
Marisa Answers Our Questions (April 9, 2011- second post of that day)

Read stories of our life:

5 comments:

  1. I miss you. @BurlesqueRagga

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would also highly recommend crayons and coloring books. Many adult women still color for stress-relief (a fact I was shocked to learn)and there are even coloring books more for adults (a little more abstract in the images).
    If there are any boutique toy stores in the area, you'd be amazed at the kinds of toys that a young one would love that don't bat an eyelash for an adult to own.

    Having 5 kids gave me plenty of cover for all the littles' stuff in the house... it only got really weird when Amelia wanted to wear her light up shoes in public. ;-) Something I can blame on my oldest, by the way. She accosted me in the store with them, totally triggering a mass of squealing littles. I swear my 3 girls made a game out of seeing who could get Mom to switch in public fastest. *rolls eyes* Fun times...

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG - we saw a blanket with colourful fishes on it the other day and...we wanted it...but we can't have everything we want:(

    <3 you make us feel "normal" ((<3))

    ReplyDelete

  4. <3 you make us feel "normal" ((<3))


    You have NO idea how much that means.

    I love your analogy of the house. It's so similar to ours. It's funny how it changed and grew over the years. At first it was nightmare of an institutional type place... but as we worked together it changed to a home.

    It's good you have that visualization. There was great joy and healing in allowing 'creating' rooms for the younger ones and allowing the older ones to make their own space inside the house. It gave a sense of belonging, ownership and family... something needed to work together and get past the sense of constant chaos.

    *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wanted to thank you for this great post!! I enjoyed every little bit of it, I have you bookmarked and waiting for all the new stuff you post.
    Air Conditioning Parts

    ReplyDelete