I’m learning so much about myself at the moment – during a time of self-help, self-discovery, and self-taught recovery. I’m learning about why I respond and react in certain ways, and how I can recover from my disorders.
This journey started in 2013, but intensified in 2015, and has started to plateau into a slightly more manageable recovery in the past couple of months. I’ve learnt the most since being brave and opening up (to a small number of people) about my experiences, and perhaps more importantly how I’ve experienced them. When I realised (or was told!) that I don’t respond, react, or behave ‘normally’ I freaked out and it destabilised me. However, I’ve now started to come to terms with, and accept, how I am now, and how I have been. That in turn has enabled me to search for and learn ways of re-ordering my disorders.
Clearly, I believe that Jesus plays a huge part in my recovery. Also, I have a network of people who actively and consistently support me in my recovery. But I have actively sought to find answers to my problems myself. I’m keen to learn everything I can about myself so that I can teach myself to get better. I did try therapy, for a number of years, but I spent more time destabilised than was helpful for my recovery.
This is a difficult post for me to write, because I’m scared. I’m scared of abandonment and rejection. I’m scared of making people frightened of me. I’m scared of making myself vulnerable. BUT, I want to write this post because:
- I want people to understand what it’s like to be me
- I want to raise awareness
- I want to explain why I sometimes act in certain ways
- I want to record my findings while I’m in a state of ‘normal’
- I want to help myself to make sense of this stuff
- I want to recover
- I want to push through the fear
I’ve written other blogs about my mental health disorders. If you’d like to read some of them click on the following links: https://morningcoffeewithabba.com/2018/08/07/from-the-pit/ ; https://morningcoffeewithabba.com/2018/09/17/theres-more-to-me-than-this/ ; https://morningcoffeewithabba.com/2019/06/19/dissociation/ ; https://morningcoffeewithabba.com/2019/06/19/dissociation-part-2/
I have noticed in the past month that there are different ‘parts’ of me that ‘take control’ when in a state of dissociation. I don’t fit within the ‘multiple personality disorder’ box (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder), but I do suffer from at least 2 types of dissociation. For one of these types, I find myself ‘taken over’ by another ‘part’ of myself. There are at least two other parts of me (that I’m aware of). One is ‘scared little girl’ and the other is ‘evil twin Hannah’. Clearly there are parts of us all that take over sometimes, but this is bizarrely different.
For example, when ‘scared little girl’ is in control of me I speak and act as a very young child. My communication and reasoning is that of a child. My needs at that time are needs of a very young child. I can get ‘stuck’ as her for a very long time and am often ‘in crisis’ when she is in control. The ‘evil twin Hannah’ is not just where I do normal ‘naughty’ or wrong things, or make mistakes – that’s a normal part of the the real me. This is where ‘evil twin Hannah’ takes control of me and does things that I’d never normally do, such as sending texts or email ‘out of character’ or say or do horrible things that I’d never normally do. The part that is the real me is: kind, loving, caring, creative, compassionate, hard-working, clever, and in recovery – although prone to do bad things and make mistakes just the same as everyone. Clearly, not every time I do something wrong it’s because ‘evil twin Hannah’ is in control, I’m very capable of doing wrong on my own – but now that I can identify it it will be helpful to make the distinction between me and my ‘parts’.
What I’m starting to learn to do is to integrate these ‘parts’ so that they are no longer competing for ‘space’ to be ‘them’. They can be joined up to my real self. They have served a purpose in protecting me from abuse and harm, but now it’s time for them to recover too. I need to take them by the hand and allow them to ‘grow up’. I need to learn how to take back control of my full self. I need to learn how to recover from my types of dissociation and personality disorder (and other disorders!).
I’m not sure that anyone will understand this, other than me – and I’m not sure I fully understand it either.
Although very different, this bible passage helps me to understand it, ‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.’ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NIV)
None of this is an excuse. I take full responsibility for when ‘parts’ of me act and behave in undesirable ways, even when I’m not fully in control of those actions and behaviours. But recognising it is the first step to change – and recovery (and living as the person that God has created to be – the real me) is my intention and desire. I have noticed that I’m getting better. These disorders are gradually being re-ordered in me, and I fully intend to continue with that journey.
I apologise if I’ve ever hurt you during a ‘depersonalisation’ or ‘dessociation’ or ‘derealisation’ or in crisis. I apologise if reading this freaks you out or makes you scared of me – I hope we can stay in relationship.
I’m happy to try and answer your questions, but I’m new to discovering this about myself and new to finding helpful tools and ‘labels’ to help me recover and make sense of it all. You might find this link helpful: https://www.ptsduk.org/what-is-ptsd/disassociation-subtype-of-ptsd/