Archive for April, 2010

I think I have a better idea about what is going on with me now. When I left the gym this morning, I felt a very strong need to cry, but no tears would come. This is an odd thing for me because for most of my life, I could cry at the drop of a hat. Whenever I feel this heaviness of needing to cry but can’t, I know I am dealing with a dissociated part of myself.

So, when I climbed into the shower, I invited myself to cry, and a distressed alter part came out. I could not produce any tears, but this part wailed loudly. I felt completely separate from this part and had the same internal dialogue I always do – “I am being so dramatic. Who I am being dramatic for? Nobody is here!!” Then, just as suddenly as it started, it went back inside, and I could feel the heaviness in my stomach (where I keep feeling an urge to binge eat to shove it back down).

I invited the part back out, and then another part came. This alter part was absolutely terrified, hyperventilating and completely freaking out. I forced my eyes open and told myself that I am in an adult body and am safe. That drove the part back into my stomach, too.

I couldn’t get either part to come out again, but at least now I know what I am dealing with – more unhealed trauma. Oh, joy!

I invited both parts into a special “room” by my heart that is warm and safe with a door that only opens from the inside. It might take some coaxing for me to “move” these alter parts out of my stomach and stop the urges to binge eat.

Never a dull moment when healing from dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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AARRGGHH!! Last night was such a rough night. I have had two eating binges in two of the last three days, and I am very frustrated. As you know, I have been working very hard to transform my body into a healthier one, and I was making good progress. However, the last few days are really impeding my progress.

Since I began my body transformation on April 5, I have exercised every single day except for one. On all but four of those days, I exercised for at least an hour (and 45 minutes on the four days that I didn’t). I have been doing the elliptical machine for 45 minutes and burning over 400 calories each time. I have been following that up with 15-20 minutes of weight training. There is no question that my body is beginning to transform.

However, I am not going to continue to burn off fat if I am binge eating. I simply cannot work out long enough to burn off that many calories. It is frustrating the h@#$ out of me that I successfully lost 6 lbs. in two weeks, and then it all went to h@#$ as soon as returned to my hometown. (I am tracking anything that throws me off so I can analyze what factors are presenting obstacles to my goals.)

What is really disturbing is that there was nothing I could say or do to make myself stop. It was like this driving force took over and compelled me to do it. I didn’t want to do it, but I did it anyhow. It just occurred to me that perhaps this is an alter part, and that is why I feel “out of control” when I do this. I know it is me and that I am responsible for my own actions, but it sure did not “feel” that way in the moment.

I am going to ask my doctor about a sleeping pill that will help me go back to sleep when I awaken during the night due to nightmares. I don’t think having so little sleep and rest is helping. I have not been able to sleep through the night for weeks unless I am taking prescription medication, and I have used up my stock in the one that works the best. I have lots of over-the-counter stuff to help me get to sleep, but that is not my biggest problem. I jerk awake at 3:00 a.m. flooded with adrenaline, and then I have no hope of falling back to sleep. I am so tired of only getting five or six hours of sleep a night.

A friend texted me last night complaining about a “disturbance in the force,” which is our code for “I am feeling freakishly out of control and don’t know why.” We have concluded that sometimes these “forces” triggering us are bigger than just our own PTSD-warped brains. Did anyone else feel a “disturbance in the force” last night?

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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The past few weeks have been rough. I have not been sleeping well for weeks, with lots of nightmares when I can sleep. I finally took some prescription strength medication to get a good night’s rest a couple of nights ago. That moved into me feeling lethargic all day yesterday, like I was fighting off a cold (and maybe I was).

I got a lot of sleep and rest yesterday. Today, I just feel kind of depressed. It’s like I had all of this intensity going from the visit to my hometown, and now that the intensity has passed, it has left a dark pit of depression in its wake. The weird part is that I really thought I was okay while I was in my hometown. Perhaps I was just dissociating?? I don’t know.

It doesn’t help that we have a full moon tonight or that Mother’s Day is approaching, with my mother/abuser coming to my state. She told my sister that she might swing by my house to drop off a video whether I am there or not … should be interesting if hub is home! My son and I will be in another state. We will be gone from Friday evening through Sunday evening, so we will miss her passing through.

I have decided not to acknowledge my mother/abuser in any way for Mother’s Day. I am finished with contact. I wonder if I am dissociating my feelings about all of this. Perhaps a part of me is saddened by this decision?? I don’t know. I just know that she makes me feel crazy, and I am tired of her ability to wield this kind of power over me. I have decided to write “return to sender” on anything she sends me, and I will not be contacting her any more. So, perhaps my funk ties into that??

I don’t know. It is all very annoying. If I have to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it would be nice to know why I am triggered so I can heal it and move on. I feel like I am trapped in this awful place of feeling pain without knowing why or how to fix it. It is very frustrating.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I Am So Wiped Out

I am so wiped out, everyone. The last couple of weeks have really taken their toll. My son finally returned to school today after a four-day weekend. I just collapsed in my bed after working out. I watched a TV show and then took a 90-minute nap. I caught up on work and then had to go pick him up. I fell asleep again in a chair while my son was watching TV this afternoon. Yes, I am definitely wiped out.

A friend pointed out that we have the full moon tomorrow night, which might account for some of my issues. I think that visiting my hometown took more out of me than I appreciated. For whatever reason, I have been running on full throttle for weeks, and my body just collapsed today. I plan to go to bed early tonight and try to rest.

I am sorry it is taking me so long to get back to blogging. Please look through my old blog entries. I have covered a lot of topics over the years. I do receive email notifications of all comments posted, even if they are to older blog entries.

Photo credit: Julie Crowley

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My kid had a four-day weekend (off school Friday and Monday), and I had the week from h@#$ last week as far as too much to do and not enough time to do it in. He goes back to school tomorrow (and I do a jig). I hope to get back to blogging then.

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I don’t know what is going on with me. I have been feeling out of sorts for the last couple of days. Part of the problem is that I have too much to do this week and not enough time to do it. My son has no school on Friday or Monday, which means I have two short weeks for getting my work completed. (My work obligations stay the same even when I lose the childcare.) I am also hosting book club at my house on Friday night, which I only do annually. I went out and bought all disposable items (plates, cups, etc.) to keep clean up to a minimum.

I cannot quite pinpoint why I am feeling “off.” Perhaps this is the aftermath of the trip to my hometown, but I haven’t been thinking much about it this week. It might tie into the approach of Mother’s Day, but I really haven’t been thinking about that, either, other than that I am excited about going out of town to see a friend.

I am wondering if I am actually feeling brave in light of my recent successes and am ready to heal another layer of crap. That is likely what is going on. I keep thinking about band camp from my junior year of high and the fact that I have no memories of it at all. And yet, there was this woman at my high school reunion a few years ago who was emphatic about thanking me for being so nice to her at band camp. Seriously, I don’t remember a thing … not even her other than that she used to say hi to me in high school, and I did not have a clue who she was. I am guessing that something traumatizing happened that week, which is why an entire week of my junior year is just “gone.”

I also keep smelling a weird scent – like a cross between talcum powder and something else – but I don’t know what it is. I am guessing this is an olfactory flashback (annoying), but talcum powder has never been triggering to me before.

So, who knows? If I have more crap to deal with, I guess I will have to do it. Oh, joy!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Well, I survived my weekend trip to my hometown (where the abuse happened). This trip really drove home how much I have healed over the last two years. I had such as difficult time of it two years ago that I blogged about it for several days and did not return for two years. You can read those blog entries here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

The purpose of this trip was to see my grandmother (father’s mother) one last time. She is very old and in ill health. For all I know, she will linger for years, but I hope not … and I mean that in a loving way. She is so miserable and seems to be sitting around waiting to die but also too scared to let go. That sure seems like a worse hell than the fire and brimstone version.

Back to me … I did surprisingly well. Two years ago, the trip was basically a month-long process – two weeks of freaking out beforehand and then two weeks of recovery afterward. I also slept very little and stayed shaky during the trip. I won’t say that it was perfect this time, but I was much less stressed this time. I was able to enjoy parts of the trip, such as an hour enjoying the sunshine while my son and nephews played at a local park where I played as a child. I was even able to see some of the beauty of my hometown with the gorgeous weather.

I am now less reluctant to return for another visit if my grandmother lingers. However, I also don’t feel obligated to return, either. I feel like I have finally made peace with this part of my life and myself.

On another note, my blogging might be spotty over the next two weeks. My kid has a four-day weekend (off Friday and Monday), which always blows up my work schedule since I lose a full day of work for the next two weeks. Yikes! I will blog as I can.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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As I shared here, I am 1-1/2 weeks into a 6-1/2 week plan to transform my body. I promised to keep you posted on my progress, so here is my first update.

So far, things are going very well. I have lost 6 pounds, and I have been exercising every day. With the exception of one day (when I was short on time), I have been exercising a minimum of an hour a day – 45 minutes on the elliptical machine plus 15 minutes of weights. I have also been eating much smaller portions.

I can’t remember if I shared this before, but someone told me years ago that, when your body gets enough food, it sighs. I thought she was crazy, but when I slowed down and paid attention to my body, she was absolutely right! In fact, it will start with a little sigh and then gradually get deeper as my body is sated. The shocking part was how quickly the sighing happened – easily a quarter of the way through what used to be a typical meal for me.

If I listen for my body to sigh and stop eating once it does, I walk away from the table feeling just right, and I don’t feel hungry throughout the day. If I disregard it, I wind up overeating, feeling too full, and then getting hungry two hours later. Weird, huh?

I must say that I have impressed myself with my ability to stay on target because this has been a rough week emotionally. In addition to the nightmares, I was triggered by seeing a picture of Russian nesting dolls and receiving a letter from my mother/abuser.

I have also neglected to share that I am driving to my hometown this afternoon (where the abuse happened) to see my grandmother, who is in ill health and probably won’t be around much longer. (That probably accounts for at least some of the nightmares.) I am meeting my sister there. Other than my sister, who also lives several hours away by car, nobody in my hometown other than my grandmother knows that I am coming. I won’t be visiting with friends, and I definitely won’t be seeing my mother/abuser.

I typically go into an emotional nosedive for weeks before and after a visit to my hometown, so I am doing extremely well all things considered. I haven’t been back in two years because it was so hard on me emotionally last time. However, I would like for my son to see his great-grandmother at least once more before she passes away, so I am making this trip despite the emotional cost. Compared to prior years, I am doing quite well.

So, I would consider the first 1-1/2 weeks a success if things were going smoothly. The fact that I am doing so well with all of this emotional “drama” going on is nothing short of a miracle. Five more weeks to go!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I had nothing but intense nightmares last night, but even in my world, these were really, really, bad. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and would have just watched TV to clear my head if my kid had not climbed in sometime during the night. I just woke up this morning, and I am shaking. I would love any theories on what my subconscious is trying to tell me so I don’t have to endure another night like that.

In the dream, my mother/abuser has been missing for months. The police have been searching for her, and I have been able to say honestly that I wouldn’t have a clue about her whereabouts since she and I are not in contact.

I receive an anonymous text telling me that “what remains of her body” has been found. I am suddenly in a meeting with a guy from the FBI as well as a group of other people, and he is filling me in. This whole time, her body has been decomposing in pieces on her own porch, but nobody noticed. After her last letter from me, she went out on her porch and killed herself piece by piece. She used some weird tool (like a cross between a pizza cutter and a box cutter) to cut up her body piece by piece and spread it all over her front porch and lawn.

I dreaded telling my sister the news. She walked in the room and was very young. The FBI agent began with condolences, so someone had already told her. Her (dream) boyfriend was there – a blonde high school jock who asked what happened. My sister looked at him, was young, and a very young alter’s voice came out saying, “My mom is dead.” He reached out to her, but I grabbed her and held her like a baby, and she was as light as a newborn baby in my arms. Her boyfriend said he can’t deal with this and left.

My sister was very upset, but my feelings were mixed. I was horrified by the state of her remains, but I was relieved that she was finally out of my life forever.

Then, someone gave me a newspaper with pictures, and that is what really shook me up. It had black and white photos of my mother’s remains. Her body was more liquid than solid, but there was enough definition in her face to be able to tell that it was her.

It took me a long time to get back to sleep, and then I had more intense dreams but none as terrible as that one. The last one centered around dirty laundry, and I get that metaphor.

Still shaking…

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Oh, the irony. We just spent yesterday talking about my mother/abuser (m/a), and then I got a letter in the mail from her in the afternoon. I was torn about whether to read it at all, so I decided to skim it. It did wig me out, but I am grateful that I read it because, as painful as it was, I finally saw the manipulation in it.

First of all, I have told her several times that she is not to write about reconciliation, and yet she did it again, just as she did in her last letter. Second, even though my sister told her that I would be out of town on the weekend that she is planning to visit relatives in a nearby city (over Mother’s Day weekend, no less), m/a asked about me meeting her along the Interstate to pick up an item from her, which leads to point #3.

Third, my sister told m/a that I would like to see a video of some fool thing that she has been doing. (Too long of a story to go into.) I said it to my sister because I would laugh my tail off at m/a looking incredibly stupid, but m/a took it to mean that this is something I really care about getting. M/a’s letter wants me to meet her along the interstate to pick up the DVD she had made for me. Of course, mailing a DVD is dirt cheap. This is a carrot.

And, finally, we have a lie that she is dating some guy, who she has specifically told my sister is “just a friend” and that she has no intention of dating. Why lie about it? My guess is that this is a manipulation as well. She has not dated since my father passed away back in the 1980’s, and maybe she is hoping that a dating story will pull me back in. It won’t.

I thought about putting the letter back in the envelope and writing “Return to Sender,” but I ripped it when I opened it, so she will know that I read it. I have decided that any further letters will get “Return to Sender,” and I will not open them. I never feel like I have the option of not reading a letter she sends, so this will be huge for me. As for Mother’s Day weekend – I will be out of the state, so it won’t be my problem. If she does choose to drop by, I guess hub will have to deal with her, which will be quite amusing.

There is truly not one ounce of me that feels grateful for this correspondence. I hyperventilated and got a bad headache. That is the little girl inside of me saying, “Enough!”

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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