i have an adopted therapy mom, she is my emotional ATM

its alicia. so last week eileen said she would be my ATM, adopted therapy mom. my friend katie had given me that idea that maybe she could adopt me while i am in session, for the hour and a half we are together. and she agreed to it. i didnt think she would so i got a huge surprise. i was very thrilled.
so we decided that while i am in her office, even if i am not the one out, that i will know she is there for me, and she loves me and i am her adopted daughter and she is my emotional ATM.
i think thats so funny, that she is my emotional ATM, its like the bank machine where you get money out, only she gives me emotional support, not money.
i didnt get to talk to her yesterday but thats ok, i am not mad about it. i have to go through our books and pick some out, because she says she will read to me and record herself reading and send the recordings to me. so now it is my job to pick some good books. we have a lot so that wont be hard to do.

To our host Shirley, from all of us, the insiders

You think we’re evil

We’re what you made us to be

Forgotten containers

Of your childhood debris

Scattered memories

That rise from the ground

And wait for the day

You’ll finally turn around

If you looked in our eyes

You’d see through to our soul

The pain has eroded

And taken it’s toll

We’ve waited long,

and been stored away deep

You trigger by the word

But we are the black sheep

We did not come upon you

The devil within

But split from the seams

Your very closest of kin

You don’t have a right

To pass us off and turn away

Without each and every one of us

You wouldn’t be here today

We are the holders

Of what you could not behold

The flames, the chants,

What is bled eventually ran cold

What you call evil,

What you casually label as dark

What we are is the only thing

That could keep fueling your spark

You managed, you struggled, you fought

Where did you get the energy within

That energy is us

The thrown away… inside your own skin

Liz

Not feeling like myself

It is night time. I hate the dark. I hate the night time. I hate when everyone is asleep and I am wide awake. I feel so scared, small, alone. Things that normally dont bother me really start to bother me. My head feels so messed up. I feel triggered. I feel childlike, but not switched into a child part. It is me, just that I feel young. Just not like myself at all.

therapy monday working with EMDR and finding safety

so we had therapy yesterday. i went to the session feeling jumbled. my emotions were all over the place. other insiders were blended with me. i felt unsettled and i didnt feel safe. i got there with just a couple of minutes to spare. eileen hadnt come into the room yet so i sat there trying to breathe, trying to ground myself. she came in a couple of minutes later.
eileen: you have no coat?
me: noooo
eileen: i think you did that intentionally, did you?
me: is it that obvious?
eileen: sorta laughing, yes
me: i dont need a coat.
eileen: but you’ll get sick. your asthma will start acting up. you’ll become chesty and then when that happens other insiders will become scared because they cant breathe, try to wear a coat next time.
me: yes, mom, ok.
it felt so good to have her care about me…about whether i wore a coat or not. i was joking when i called her mom but it felt nice to be able to do that. i continued to sit there and i tried to tell her how i felt. intense sadness kept popping up. i kept trying to push it away. eileen told me to ask other insiders not to flood me, to try to allow me to have some ground. she said i hadnt been in session with her in a while and it was important that i have this time…that we woulde get to other insiders too but for now i needed time.
i started telling her about how it had been my grammas anniversary this weekend, and the grief i felt due to that. and then i told her about my dad not being well physically, he has something wrong with his bowels and is waiting to have a colonoskopy. she asked me, how old do you feel right now? i said four or five. and how does that four or five year old feel? alone, lost, abandoned, on her own, i said. if you could believe anything about yourself, what would that be? me, um, well, that i could cope? from a 0-7 if 7 meant you were coping where are you at? me, about a two?
then we used the pulsers, we continued to work with the four or five year olds feelings, they were so intense. eileen kept reminding me that i wasnt in it, i wasnt back there, it was just a memory, but i was here with her, present, it was 2016, i was safe.
eileen: what would safety look like?
me: i dont know.
she repeated it again, what would safety look like?
me: well if you sit near me and i can touch you, thats safe. having that connection, where i can reach out and touch your leg or arm is safe. i dont have my eyesight to look at you so i need touch. i need that connection. i think touch is so very important in our work.
eileen: i totally agree, the right sorta touch.
me: yeah, i trust you to touch me in the right sorta way.
eileen: what else?
me: the ticking of the clock, every time I come into this room I listen to the ticking of the clock, its consistent, it is safe to me.
eileen: what else?
me: having a cue, for when we’re triggered, a cue to tell you, because I know we dont awlways say what is wrong, its not because we dont want to, we simply cant.
then we worked some more with the pulsers, on internalising the feelings of safety. eileen let me reach out and hold her hand, and i instantly felt safe, i could feel her skin on mine, her rings, immediately my body started to calm, i stopped shaking, i was able to get some ground back and was able to be present again.
eileen: now, on a scale of 0-7, how safe do you feel?
me: I’m at a 7.
Eileen: Thats great. so you feel totally safe?
Me: Yeah, totally safe and in control.
We continued with the EMDR then, and a teen part surfaced, so I started having highs and lows, swinging between both states, one minute my mood would be ok, the next I’d swing and almost burst into tears. Eileen kept telling me its ok, she’s just showing you her experience, but your not back there, ok carol anne? Your here with me ok?
Me: Ok, but I dont like this.
Eileen: Is it too much? Are you overwhelmed?
Me: No, I am ok, I just am a little uncomfortable but I am ok.
Time was up soon after we started that work with the teen part so eileen said we’d come back to it again. i felt i did so much hard work today. the session was really intense. most of ours are though.

Guest blog post by sam over at matters to sam-book review-pieces of me still awake, by Lynne Jamison

Today I am bringing you a guest blog post from a friend of mine. Her name is Sam and she is a very good friend of mine, she has been my friend since the summer of 2013. She is totally blind, and she also has anxiety disorder, ptsd and suffers from self injury issues. She runs an email support group called blind mental health, which is a group for blind people who also suffer from mental illnesses. I help her to moderate that group. And she helps me to moderate my did support group. She has a great blog, where she writes candidly about her ups and downs with life with a mental illness, she also writes posts where she reviews books that she has read, she also posts different resources she finds which may be helpful to others. Please visit her blog and give her a follow. I will put the link to it below. Today Sam has reviewed a book for my blog. The book is called pieces of me still awake and is written by a woman who has did, and is also well known on youtube. The review is bwlow. Any and all comments are appreciated.

the link to sams blog is

http://matterstosam.wordpress.com/

and here is the book review

Lyn Jamison is known by the youtube community as Tomy Jamison. Shes been making personal vlogs since the early 2000s about her journey with DID. Openly discussing all aspects and working to dispel the hurtful myths and misconseptions that are barriers for those with DID to feeling accepted even among the professional mental health community. Many of her alters make videos on serious subjects such as their purpose in the system, to funny things like cooking or just hanging out. Her amazingly loving and supportive partner Milissa also often is a part of these videos and makes her own.

I was introduced to Tomy by another friend with DID. I instantly loved her commanding yet gentle presence. Her way of reaching out to anyone with a mental illness to give encouragement and total validation for just how impossible recovery can feel at times. She holds nothing back and in that way has made what seem like life long connections. Watching her vlogs has given me the inspiration and courage to attempt to be as honest as she is in my presentation to the world.

I was somewhat familiar with all characters presented in her memoir before it was published. When it was I eagerly purchased it on kindle and started to read. On her video about the books release she says the book is one big trigger warning. And acknowledges that many who have been in her situation or similar with the level of abuse that took place may not be able to read the book at all or fully. Ive read many memoirs related to mental illness and abuse. Thankfully the abuse Ive personally dealt with has been emotional. Reading about the other levels of cruelty that an adult puts upon a child always breaks my heart. The directness and raw emotion in this book was hard to bear at times. However I took my time to work through it as I see Tomy and her system as my friends and wanted to hear everything they had to say.

The narrative appropriately is told in flashes of experiences and jumps around the different time periods in Lyns life. It covers everything from early childhood and the nice on the outside horrific on the inside family she grew up in. It covers her life as an adult and how flashbacks tore through her consciousness. Several alters tell their stories of birth, their order in the system, and the ins and outs of the inner world.

In an interesting twist, the lives of both Lyns parents are explored as well and made clear the level of abuse they suffered. This is in no way at all excusing anything done. However it does show the power of the cycle of abuse, and how perhaps in the creativity of the mind that creates alters, Lyn was able to take a different path of self-discovery and awareness which lead her to avoid making the same mistakes in later life.

Ive read some other books on DID. Before I personally had friends who dealt with this, I found the books fascinating and interesting and felt for those in it but didnt have the knowledge and emotional attachment to watching someone go day by day trying to constantly make a healthy life for themselves while being haunted by flashbacks, and overwhelmed with the daunting task of connecting with the others inside. Lyns account talks about this in detail. The struggle to accept get to know, and build a safe world for she and all of her inner family so that they can have a cooperative life together. This has ups and downs and is ultimedly heartwarming and overall successful. Its empowering to see how the system takes their own path to healing. Taking what works from therapy, but ultametily being self-supporting and knowing whats right for them. Theyre not about to be manipulated or controlled by people who try to tell them whats best for them. In all other DID books Ive read integration is the preferred method of treatment. Before meeting my friends I thought this made sense logically. That was before intimately getting to know these complex systems, each alter a true person in his or her own right. And seeing the complex nature of DID, it makes sense that integration is by no means straightforward or even any kind of valued option. It should be individualized to what each system feels is right. Lyn and her system discuss integration, how theyve made it work for them specifically and how in their world no one can integrate unless its just the right time.

Many books dealing with DID focus on the retelling of brutal abuse with little about the day to day life of the person, or very much positive other than some kind of integration compelled by the therapist feeling this is necessary. In this book other aspects of their lives are fully explored. Such as their job and the breakdown that caused the end to Lyns denial about her situation. The various relationships she had and how they served her in healthy or unhealthy ways. And in the eliment of peace about their lives. Not peace like happy ending or like nothing will go wrong again. But peace like she found a life partner thats truly a soulmate. Peace in a full understanding of herself, her system, exactly what works for them all. With all this experience, ups and downs, shes able to move forward building a healthier life than she ever could have imagined. At the end of the book she says something quite powerful that I too believe. It all had to happen. Everything leading up to this moment. If she hadnt gone through all that she had she never would have met Milisa. . Or any of the others who touched her lives in her many moves. She never would have such a rich understanding of herself and her inner world. And she never would have written this book. Or touched probably hundreds of people through her live encounters on video. Including myself.

I encourage anyone whos interested in truly learning about life with mental illness to read this book. Its nothing glamorous or dramatic or like in the media. Its rough down to earth, and with unexped pleasant surprises and moments of peace and healing along the way. For those who deal with this on a daily b basis I feel anyone can see at least one aspect of themselves or their struggles here. For significant others I hope you read this book and give your loved one a big hug. And maybe cry because you finally sort of get it. Why this person might seem out of reach at times, and how you really cant know whats going on inside their head. Maybe it will make you a little more patient in the bad times. And take your breath away so that all you can do is listen.

Lastly, of course the trigger warnings. This book has moment by moment graphic descriptions of physical and sexual abuse. As well as some cult like ritual abuse. I have no personal experience with these traumas but I found them very hard to read at times. If I found them hard to read Id extremely caution those with personal experiences to try and monitor yourself emotionally. It also deals with a suicide attempt in detail. However if you arent able to read the book, Iknow that Lyn would understand. And that shed probably be willing to connect with you through youtube and be a listening ear and have only compassion and understanding for what youre going through.

Below is the amazon link to the kindle book.

http://www.amazon.com/Pieces-Of-Me-Still-Awake-ebook/dp/B00SUI057M

Also here is the link to their channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/sidian3

what if eileen dies, what will i do then?

its alicia. and i am panicking. i feel so sad. and alone. and lonely. and lost.
i’m so scared that my therapist eileen is gonna die. and leave me. what if something happens to her? what if she gets sick, or has an accident? what if she dies and i am alone and have nobody who sees me and nobody to talk with ever again?
i just sent her an email. this is what it said.

Eileen
dont die. i am so scared. i dont want you to die. i keep thinking what if you die what will i do. dont leave me. i just feel so scared. and it hurts. and i’m sad. please dont die on me ok? i would never get over it.
alicia

i need her to write back. i hope she will and i hope she does soon. i feel like my heart is gonna break. it hurts so much. i just feel like crying. but i cant because there are other people here with me. i need to be brave. but i am only 9. i just need eileen. i really, really need her.
alicia age 9

recommendations for books on did and trauma, your feedback is needed

so as you all know i am doing a case conference to educate junior doctors on did and trauma. its happening next friday. so my question is, does anyone have good recommendations for books on trauma, or dissociative identity disorder? they can be first person accounts or books of a more academic nature. dr. barry is going to make a list of books and print out a copy for each person that is going to be in the room and hand them out on the morning. so I’m all ears! Please give me recommendations and maybe a little bit about what the book is about and why you found it helpful.