One Crayon

The last couple of days have been so rough. I’m hanging in there, but I kind of feel like I’m drowning.

Thankfully my monthly peer support group for DID was today and that was a damn lifesaver. It is remarkable how healing it can be to sit in a room with people who have such a profound understanding of the fundamental way I experience this world. It was one of the best groups I’ve been to so far. We really touched on some deep and very important topics that resonated across the group, allowing for a really meaningful conversation that I think all of us needed today.

I always feel less crazy when I leave there.

I met my wife in Central Park after the meeting and we ate bagels while sitting on sun-warmed rocks, people-watching the walkers, runners, bikers, horse carriages, and rickshaws all around us. It was one of those experiences that feels surreal. The park was absolutely beautiful and the sun was soothing to my soul as it beat down on my cold skin.

Next was shopping. I needed a “business casual” outfit for an event later this month since all of my professional clothing is too big now. I found a blazer and button-down, but we both walked out of the shopping center with massive headaches because the lighting in those places is too intense for life. Plus someone had sprayed a truly insane amount of perfume and it was probably poisoning our brains as we browsed clothing racks.

At that point we were ready to get home and relax. I barely slept last night. I actually don’t even remember when I went to bed or the time before that. Wife says River was up, doing random stuff such as having a “Sister Act”/”Sister Act 2” musical binge YouTube session, which was apparently set off when someone mentioned that one of our patients at clinic yesterday was a nun.

I’m sorry I missed that.

My body hurts so bad. My right hip is the injured one and that certainly hurts more than I’d expect it to today, but the side of my left hip feels like someone kicked me. My back hurts all the way up my lower spine and my shoulders are sore. It feels like I was thrown against a damn wall.

I mentioned this to wife and she said I “fell out of the chair” at session yesterday. Which explains how I ended up on the floor of my therapist’s office, but it doesn’t necessarily explain the soreness. Maybe it is not today pain as much as a memory. Wife asked if I wanted to know more about what she knew about session (from River) and I said, “Nope.” 

But I do want to know. Sort of. I want to assess the damage I’ve done.

I was feeling so good about the relationship with my therapist. I still do. But I worry about how long we can sustain these types of incidents. I truly feel that she is handling this work and is keeping pace with me. But there’s always an Insider around that tells me awful things about her and myself and it terrifies me.

Plus I’ve gotten some feedback that makes me wonder if she’s doing this in a safe way. Maybe she shouldn’t have just let me walk out the door in that state? I don’t know what else she could have done, but it makes me nervous and scared to think she is not taking care of me (professionally) in an appropriate manner. I’ve had quite enough of that already throughout my life.

When I see her and talk to her, it’s easier to remember that she cares and is good at her job. When we’re apart, the internal voice dominates and I start to wonder if she cares at all and if I should even go back to session. I wonder if she is irritated or annoyed with me. I worry that she’s getting overwhelmed.

Maybe she’s out of her depth and neither of us know it (yet)?

I let this internal battle go on for about three hours before I called her to leave a voicemail. I told her I would like for us to speak before Monday’s session and that I felt it was important that we be able to do so. I asked her to call if she could.

Now I can’t remember what was so important.

I think I need to ground myself back to what’s real and what’s true. I need her voice to be louder than the voice telling me she’s no good and I shouldn’t trust her; the voice that says I tell lies and create drama because I’m an attention-seeking crazy person; the voice that says there was no abuse or rape or torture but rather a little girl with a wild and perverse imagination.

I should probably be doing that for myself. The ability to self-soothe is an essential developmental milestone that babies generally reach by four months old. If it is lacking in older children, it is considered a “red flag” worth investigating. If infants can soothe themselves, I should certainly be able to get through a weekend without needing reassurance from my therapist, right?

I can’t. Not yet. I don’t know how. Someone in group today said, “I feel like I’ve only ever had one crayon in my entire life and I’m being asked to create a masterful painting. I don’t have the right tools!” 

I really related to that statement.

My therapist didn’t call back today. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe she hates me.

24 thoughts on “One Crayon

  1. Boost Connection says:

    It is totally natural (but extremely painful) to worry about your relationship with the T. I think you are both doing the best you can, and that your best is pretty darn good actually. I think we all have anxieties we’re projecting here about what’s happening. But I hope you find the answers you seek. Keep in mind that while you’ve had DID your whole life, your understanding of how this impacts your life is still fairly new and your system is figuring out how to do their jobs now in a more visible way. This must be scary for all of you. Try and be patient with yourself if you can, but wherever you’re at is where you need to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      That’s a really damn good point. I think I tend to get pretty impatient with this whole process. I want it to be fixed NOW and I want to stop feeling so helpless and out of control. And, yes, we are both doing pretty darn well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    I totally understand why you would be noticing thoughts that she hates you, or whatever other mean thoughts enter. or that Insiders bring to you. Totally get that, of course, there is fear. And, I want to offer the alternative reality that she is completely in this with you. And I’m not sure why she hasn’t been able to talk on the phone. But therapists are people too, you know? Maybe something is happening in her life and she doesn’t have the same availability this weekend. I would also feel and think similarly, but I don’t feel that she is a flake or insincere in everything you have been through together so far. I do sense something is different, but probably just her life and her being a human and all. That is what I gather. Not that it helps, but sometimes an outsider’s perspective is helpful to me. So I wanted to offer that. Also, it is okay that you want to reach out over the weekend. If you can’t make it till Monday, that is okay. There is no rule about where you should or shouldn’t be in terms of emotion regulation. You are working your ass off, so where you are is exactly perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Sometimes you sound so much like my actual therapist! She always asks me if there is an alternative to the way I’m imagining things in the current moment. Sometimes I can, sometimes I literally cannot. This is one of those things where it can be extraordinarily challenging for me to picture her feeling anything besides regret and irritation for me. Luckily, she’s becoming more transparent about how she’s feeling (as she realizes that I am indeed stuck in my own reality). Thanks, as always xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rachel says:

        Yes it can be SO challenging to find any alternate reality – but I suppose that is why we have therapists? Lol. And the transparency really is key, even for the most seemingly insignificant things. I need to hear it from HER, that she doesn’t think ___ or ____. I feel you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Cat's Meow says:

    I think that what the person said about one crayon is so apt.

    I kind of wonder if your therapist didn’t say something about not being available this weekend while you weren’t around during the session, but doesn’t realize that you didn’t get the message. Because I agree that something different is going on here. So either she is dealing with something unexpected, or she talked with “you” about it in session. Except that it wasn’t you, so you don’t know about it. Her talking about your reaching out to other support people reminds me of things my therapist would say to remind me of resources that we had already talked about my using. I could be completely wrong, of course…

    I can’t imagine how disorienting and frightening it would be to have an entire session blank. I have had them extremely fuzzy and been unable to remember details and I have lost bits and pieces (usually without realizing it until my therapist talks about something in session), but I have always been able to remember a general idea of what happened. You might want to ask your wife to ask River if there is anything about plans for the weekend or self care that was talked about.

    I wonder if she realized just how out of it that you were at the end of the session? I know that it took my therapist time and experience with me to recognize the signs that I was extremely dissociated but putting on a really good act to try to get out the door. For whatever reason, sometimes I have this driving need to get away and hole up, so I can fall apart and I will do my best to seem ok enough to leave, even though another part of me desperately wants for my therapist to recognize that I am in extreme distress and shouldn’t be leaving the building until I can figure out what decade I’m in.

    I really do get the impression that she is extremely competent. It is possible, though, that you may need to build in more time at the end for her to make sure that you are well enough grounded and that you know what happened during the session, until she is better versed with all of the different ways that you might present to her. I tend to use that grounding time (if I am not horribly out of it) to talk about current day topics that are important to me, but aren’t going to trigger me. So I will talk about my daughter or my art or something like that. That way the time never feels wasted.

    Sending much, much support for getting through the rest of the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I think you might be right – I’m not sure she’s fully understanding just how spaced out and dissociated I am in those moments. Even if she’s able to call me back, I’m not always in a good state (which makes me sometimes wish she’d call someone else back, haha). I asked her about the availability thing and she said that we didn’t talk about it, but that she just wasn’t available. Which sucks, but I could tell that she had WISHED she’d been available and that helps.

      I think we’re working on figuring out how to make the end of sessions more safe and contained. It’s so tricky. I like the idea of ending on a more neutral topic. That’s a super good idea and I’m going to run it past her next session.

      As always, thank you for your support x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. luverley says:

    Sometimes it is not appropriate to know what happened. I know that sounds ridiculous but to be dumped heavy shit on you that yousaid, as you about to leave could cause alot of chaos for all of you. Also some parts tell the t not to tell the host. What is she supposed to do? She needs to gain their trust as well as yours. If she breaks their trust things will get worse

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I totally agree, which is why I’m always super cautious about how much I allow myself to process after such an incident. I like to just get little bits and pieces at a time, rather than be punched in the face (which is what it can feel like sometimes). I also agree that she needs to gain their trust, too. And I know she knows that because she always says that she values “everyone’s truth”, even if those truths are polar opposites.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. La Quemada says:

    Hi Andi,

    I was thinking about this part of your post: “the voice telling me she’s no good and I shouldn’t trust her; the voice that says I tell lies and create drama because I’m an attention-seeking crazy person; the voice that says there was no abuse or rape or torture but rather a little girl with a wild and perverse imagination.” I listened to that same voice in my head for nearly 20 years. I let it dominate, and it became a gigantic boulder that completely blocked my path to healing. When I finally decided this summer that I would banish Denial/Doubt (i.e. that voice), it was a huge step forward for me. I still slip sometimes, especially when I haven’t seen E. (my therapist) for a while. But I have E.’s voice in my head that says: “Even if you were to have some of the details wrong–and it’s normal to have incomplete or distorted memories–you still deserve to heal. The girl still deserves comfort and care. You can see she needs it. Whatever caused her to need it, she needs it. And you wouldn’t deny it to another little girl. You wouldn’t get caught up on whether her story was crazy. You would see her pain and her need and take care of her.” I was just telling myself that again tonight, in fact.

    I suspect all of your story is terribly, tragically true. But more important is the fact that you suffer emotional pain that comes from your childhood. You are smart and insightful, and you yearn to be healthy and whole. You DESERVE that. Please don’t let that harsh voice distract you from your difficult but wonderful healing process.

    Your therapist really does care, and loads of your readers as well. Hugs, Q.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      My therapist and E. say very similar things, such as that even if the exact details are off, or my memory is imperfect, I’m still worthy of being in therapy, being heard, being validated, etc. Everytime she says that, I’m blown away. HOW could I be worthy?

      And, no, I would never EVER deny love and support and compassion to ANY child. I have an incredible gentleness with children. I think part of that is because I want so much to have had that myself, so I provide it for every child I possibly can. I want them to always feel loved, heard, supported, protected, etc.

      Now to learn how to turn that inward…

      Thank you, my dear.


  6. Ellen says:

    I hope nothing I said caused you to doubt your therapist. I actually have no personal experience with DID with amnesiac walls, so anything I say is just going be my own different experience. Your T seems exceptionally able and dedicated to me.

    I’m struggling with pain also – it seems to trigger emotional pain for me. Hope yours eases soon. Your DID group sounds wonderful. I sometimes go to a 12 step, and it’s helpful, but I also often feel so different than the other people there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Oh gosh no. But thank you for checking in on that, I appreciate that. Thank you for saying my T seems able and dedicated. I so much need to hear that. A

      Yes! Physical pain and emotional pain seem to be in this vicious cycle that I just cannot break. So frustrating.

      I LOVE my DID group. I wish everyone had access to such a group.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amb says:

    She definitely does not hate you. It’s so hard to battle the relentless voices in your head that are telling you so many bad things about yourself and the people who care about you. They seem to scream so much louder than the many voices that try and disprove them. And Andi… That voice that’s telling you that you’re telling lies…it’s bull shit. It’s the many, many years of abuse and shame that you were subjected to that have created the distorted thinking in your brain that tells you that you’re making things up. You are NOT a crazy person. You are a BRILLIANT, strong, resilient woman. Hugs. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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