THIS POST MAY BE TRIGGERY SINCE IT MENTIONS THE REALITY OF MEMORY RETRIEVAL AND THE BODY RESPONSE TO IT, ALSO INTEGRATION.
I mentioned briefly the other day that my last therapy session was cause enough to dye my hair impulsively. It’s not that anything specifically went wrong, or even badly, it was just foreboding.
My T, whom I love, adore, and respect, is making it very clear that the time to take on some of these memories is: SOON. She is a definite believer in integration (is that a swear word in DID circles?), and her goal for me is to allow all of the alters to “return to soul” — which I’m pretty sure is just as valid an explanation for the process as anything else. And I sort of agree with her. Sort of.
J$, to no one’s surprise, does NOT agree. And none of the others have been asked their opinion. She seems to believe that I, Hats, am the only one that gets to make decisions for us, though I can do so compassionately. She strongly believes I should thank the alters and honor them at every possible interval, but her goal is to get them to feel appreciated and that they can function as part of the whole rather than as separate from it.
I just don’t know anymore. I feel like I don’t know them well enough to decide their fate so much based on the faith of a loved, but realistically unempathetic, professional. I only say that because she can’t *possibly* know what it feels like to be me, and her guesses are good but they are still, essentially, guesses.
At first she believed we could do healing work without having to revisit traumatizing memories. Her opinion on this has changed, and now she knows us better she seems certain that remembering is the key to healing. There have been clues in my journal from the others and from some recent dreams that the process is tangible, if only I choose to allow it.
But for the first time in my life, I feel stubborn.
I feel a very different side to myself starting to appear in session when the question of remembering is brought up. Usually I’m reasonable, compliant, and trusting in therapy, but lately, as in the other night, I was different. When the subject comes up, a part of me shuts way down. I don’t feel like smiling, or keeping eye contact, or even being nice. I just want the subject to go away, and I sense that I’m trying to make it go away by intimidation. Not in a scary way, just in a very clear nonverbal way of saying, “This is not going to happen, so back off.”
I think if pushed then J$ or Tempest would come out at that point, but my T hasn’t pushed, she has just continued to remind me that the time is approaching fast when we must do some hard work around memories.
Well no, that’s not true. There has been some pushing.
Wow. I’m not kidding, I just planned to write about it and suddenly I have absolutely no memory of what I was about to write. I know I had it a minute ago. But my mind is totally blank. Dissociation in action, everyone.
Ok so what was my point…see, when this sort of thing happens and I’m caught unawares, mid-thought, with memory repression, what do I do? I just have to fumble through and remind myself what I was talking about — which by they way would be impossible IF I didn’t have the useful reality of this being in writing.
I was going to talk about being triggered in T and body memories. Ok, I can do that.
There have been some bad dreams lately, and my T asked me to recount them, then asked me how certain aspects made me feel.
Well, I feel my body react. I feel nauseated, my head starts to hurt, I feel anxious and the only explanation I can give in those moments is, “I don’t like it.” Clearly there’s a boundary being pushed up against in those moments, and my body is telling me, “NO, THIS IS BAD FOR YOU, YOU’LL GET SICK IF YOU DO THIS,” and sorry, but I’m inclined to believe my body. The body doesn’t lie to you, it can’t help but tell you the truth. If it is telling me I need to leave this subject alone or I’m going to feel sicker, then of course I’m going to avoid that subject.
But of course part of being in therapy is trying to work with these roadblocks because they’re not healthy. In those moments though, I don’t CARE what’s healthy, I just care about keeping the scary things away. It’s the opposite of logical. I lose the 25-year-old portions of my brain and I’m suddenly a creature of instinct, avoiding what hurts me and with the urge to scare off the person who’s pushing me to feel bad. Obviously I know my T isn’t the enemy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the urge to growl at her or curl up on the floor behind the couch.
The other thing is…I’m not sure she will be able to deal with it when J$ or Tempest are triggered to come out. I can’t control them, especially Tempest, and I just don’t want anything bad to happen. She wouldn’t hurt anyone, I don’t think, but she’d try to scare my T, the same way an animal tries to scare off something that threatens them. I just don’t know, it worries me that I won’t be able to control her.
I love my therapist, but this is really hard. It’s her job to help me through it, and she is brave and good. I just hope I can remember that when what she’s doing feels threatening.