This has been a sad Independence Day… This July makes 2 years since I’ve seen my daughter. She was 11, she turned 13 without me. I really miss seeing fireworks with her. I knew I’d be declining many cookout invites for the holiday. Sorry, I cannot handle seeing you and your happy family with fireworks while I do not have mine.
My Aunt Emmy also passed away the week before and her funeral was on July 3rd. All the past week I’ve not slept but 3 to 5 hours a night. This death triggered me. Lots of strange reasons why. I hadn’t been under this kind of stress and grief in a long time, I had forgotten how it can cause a serious episode of dissociation, even as far as a fugue or amnesia. I should have been doing more self care all week. I should have been prepared for a catastrophe, that I knew would happen because of statistically happening in my past.
I was not prepared.
And now, a detrimental mistake is realized…..
I was triggered.
But first I was exhausted. No strength to fight it.
When you suffer severe and prolonged abuse in childhood, you never learn how to deal with even simple stressors. You never are allowed a safe environment that you can learn to cope with stress in. Which is what normal childhoods are allotted. Establishing that strong foundation of practice with coping with minor stress in childhood, so they can grow up into adults who can handle serious difficult situations. You need to establish a belief that you have a safe place to run back to before you can feel brave enough to go out and face the with world.
So now, as an adult with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you have to parent yourself and create your own safe space to face trauma in. I had been doing really well with that. I had been building myself a safe place and ridding myself of unsafe people. As well as working hard changing my unsafe habits and behaviors.
I don’t have these coping skills down pat yet though, is the thing.
Still need practice. I believe I will get better.
One thing gets me every time. I know this gets me every time. Yet there is nothing I can do to prevent it – insomnia. I know if I don’t get any sleep that I will surely have a break down in the end. I know my worst issues I’ve ever had were a result of the brain not having rested. People confusing my D.I.D. with other things because I seemed so out of it, from insomnia. Which, any “sane person” can be made crazy from torturous sleep deprivation. It made them try to act like my brain alone was the cause of my actions and only pills would fix it. But i learned in due time that pills don’t fix me. If they helped, it was the sleep comas they gave me that helped my brain rest. In the end though, I needed to not numb myself anymore with pills, needing to learn to cope with trauma and not bury it. A lot of processes are going on in my brain at once, and to keep things organized and under control takes a LOT of energy. Without rest, I’m a swirling ball of chaos. Yet with pills that make me sleep, I’m never full awake and able to process information. Working part time, insomnia rarely affects my actual schedule in life because usually I can just nap later with no interference. Sometimes though I have to cover extra hours at work if we have no help. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with appointments I have to be at and everything just adds up.
This lack of sleep compiled with the stress of living with c-PTSD and D.I.D. causes episodes that make me look pretty bad. But throw in a tragic life situation or life transition and the severity of dissociation shoots through the roof.
Such thing just happened this 4th of July. My aunt’s death (family deaths don’t happen everyday), and not having sleep because of the grief. On top of usual sleep issues.
By the time the funeral was over and we hit the fourth of July, I thought I was going to be okay. Seeing family at the recession after was both positive and negative effect on me. The desire to shout out my story and parts wanting to be seen and known but we couldn’t. Had to keep it in, keep it together……It was hard. But the comfort I had in being reminded that my family hadn’t changed the way they treated me lovingly had really been helpful. Not knowing what I was, the many “me’s” I am, they naturally respond to any switching because I believe they are used to it my whole life. They know it, without “knowing” it. I’ve had family repeatedly say they know their niece/grandchild/child, when I try to insist there is something they don’t exactly *know* about me.
They don’t know its a switch but they can easily balance with whoever I am and see them all as the child born into the family they love…..We all are us and we all are one and still able to be all of us individuallly.
My family was able to see all of us without knowing it was us. This i feel is a unique situation with DID.
Maybe when I went back home, I had grief of leaving behind family comfort I thought I lost again. Since my grandma died, we had not done any big family holiday gathering. I missed them. I missed coming together. And although this was a sad reason, i got to relive a piece of my life that I thought I lost. I thought my family was separated, grown apart and selfish. I thought no one thought about me or remembered me. I learned otherwise, as we all gathered at my aunt Tina’s like we used to for any gathering in the past. It was just as it always was. My family, though physically separated by miles, had not changed. They were still there, and they didn’t act like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I had been afraid to see them.
I’m not exactly sure of the cause of my distress the day after the funeral, on the fourth. I thought I had a moment of healing after seeing family again coming together like the “good ol’ days.” But something was obviously hidden that I was unaware of. It’s strange. I was just remarking to my boyfriend that I feel like we are getting really close to integration of consciousness. I told him, it’s hard to explain but i’m having trouble recognizing if i’m “me.” I know this probably doesn’t make sense. But on the fourth, it was like I lost that control I had been building. The sadness of my aunt dying who is younger than my Dad and leaving her 3 daughters behind, who are younger than me, was so saddening. It then made me think about what if I died too soon and what if my daughter never got to see me again before this happens? Now here is an unnecessary thought to have, yet there we go thinking about it….But I shut it down quickly. I guess I didn’t lock it up tightly.
My boyfriend had the day off and we were supposed to have a great day. We went to bed early for once. I was exhausted from all the lack of sleep all week after my aunts death. Now it felt that, after the funeral was over, I could rest again. I had suffered a bit of extra stress at a recession after the funeral, interacting with family. I didn’t know what they knew about my life. I didn’t know if I would be trapped in an awkward situation trying to answer questions like “don’t you have a daughter? where is she?” and also have to deal with their disappointed faces.
Nothing like that happened. In fact, no one mentioned it all. I did get an opportunity to talk alone with one uncle about my situation though and it did make me feel a little better. Felt a little healing. At the same time, it must have just ripped open a secret portal of emotions I had stuffed down.
I was in control. I survived the whole exhausting week without losing it, though I could feel myself a little shaky. I just needed a good nights rest a few days and then I’d be recharged. I’d survived the triggers and getting closer to healing post traumatic stress symptoms.
But….i was denied the good night’s sleep. My boyfriend woke me early to ask me a question of where something was. It was next to the bed on my night stand but i dropped it and my glasses when tried to hand it to him. He bent down between the space of the bed and the wall and was reaching way under the bed. He was jiggling and shaking the bed. I tried to ask him to move, because i always knock off things and I know exactly where they fall but he reused to move because he was already there. Honestly he was doing something nice for me, and couldn’t have known that his jiggling of the bed for a minute straight was going to interrupt my healing cycle.
I was awake. I got up and tried to do things that would relax me and then tried to lay back down. Couldn’t sleep. I felt the anxiety in my chest, and my blood pumping through my veins and the adrenaline was pumping with it. I was so irritated with being alive. I was ready to lash out. I tried to lay out on a lawn chair on the patio and get some sun. It helped a bit. Then my boyfriend takes me out to lunch. It went well.
Then we stop to get my car gas and him some cigarettes on our way to the next destination to try to cheer me up, and that’s where things lost control.
I handed him a 20 that he was supposed to just use to cover his cigarettes and the rest on gas so that he didn’t have to do two separate transactions (he only has a credit card he uses). But he misunderstood and gave the whole 20 for gas. Which was too much. I wanted to go inside to get the change, because I do this a lot with this new small car I have, not used to the smaller tank yet.
He told me I couldn’t do it. He told me, he threw away the receipt and they won’t give me my money. I knew that wasn’t true because I do this all the time, without a receipt. Because you JUST prepaid them, and they can see on a screen the amount prepaid hasn’t been used. Then they just refund you that remainder. It’s really not too hard. So I think the first issue I had was being told I couldn’t do what I KNEW I could do.
But surely as my luck goes, the cashier was confused because a woman came in and not a man. She appeared as if she didn’t even know how do her job. She was just staring at me, talking slowly. I was annoyed. I told her I understood if she didn’t know how to do this so I can wait for her to get help. But she was refusing to acknowledge that and kept asking me who I was and what car I was talking about. She asked me to have my boyfriend come inside. So I waved for him to come inside. What I didn’t know is he was already annoyed with the fact that I went in there and then as I was angrily waving him to come in, I was being really unfair to him.
To make this story short, basically even after saying she needed to see him, she acted like she didn’t know what to do still. I couldn’t handle it. The problem was now I look like the bad guy. My boyfriend is right by default, that I couldn’t get the money back. It SHOULD have EASILY been refunded. He is not right. But he insists he knew it would happen and I am now the bad person for not listening to him.
What I noticed about a certain alter, June, is she is a protector by pushing people away. Also, protects me by being the one to deal with anger so I don’t have to feel bad about it. I hate anger, I instinctively relate anger to abuse because I grew up in a household where I saw family get angry and turn physical. One of my brother’s was always physically violent toward me for any little thing I made him angry about and my parents made it seem like that was not a big deal. I was terrified of being like the rest of my family, terrified anger would make me violent so I stuffed it down. So, June feels it, and she feels the wrath of all my whole life’s anger, to the extreme. There is no medium for her, it’s zero to 100 in .05 seconds for her, no matter the issue she uses the same force of 100% anger.
So, not being able to deal with a simple annoyance should have been as simple as just giving up and walking away. I tried to not go inside in the first place, but we had this switch happen and I lost control. I was co-conscious still. I could see and hear what was happening but i couldn’t take control of the body. I tried to reason and yell at June to stop right now and lets just go. I couldn’t be heard. She was lost in anger. She was struggling with our embarrassment and being wrong when she should have been right.
June just shoves my boyfriend toward this woman, yelling “Ugh! YOU deal with it!” after frustrated from trying to explain the situation several times and it was going no where with the cashier June was mad because my boyfriend didn’t listen and made this happen in the first place so she felt he should have to talk to her and she was thinking he would be more apt to explain to her that he paid her the 20 dollars for gas but it was more than he was supposed to. Yet he comes out angry and screams at me, pointing in my face, “Don’t you ever put your hands on me!”
OK, let’s get one thing straight. INTENT matters a lot when you are delving out punishments. No one was not hitting him in anger. No one was hitting him at all. June thought he was on my side not knowing he was already angry at me because she felt it was his mistake that got us there, and felt confident to push him toward the cashier like the 14 year old girl she is, thinking, “See NOW you’re going to get it ’cause my boyfriend’s mad now too….” Because my boyfriend was supposed to be just as angry at the cashier not her. By June’s irrational view. Yet, his anger was at me. Yes, my hands were “put on him” in the way you push someone toward the direction you need them to go or look. It was not a violent assault, but if you want to you can say, yes “i put my hands on somebody.” I was hurt more by this insinuation that I was a dangerous violent person, as if I punched or slapped him out of anger with intent to do physical harm. When I really was just pushing him in front of me as my wall of protection. My intent was to hide behind him as a wall of protection, not to hurt him. And then I stormed out… which is good that I didn’t start shouting at anyone in the store.
Of course, no intent excused the fact that even shoving to get past someone is a disrespectful act and I knew things like this upset him. I knew that if he felt someone angrily touched him, it is a trigger of his. No reason excused the fact that I was mad and i did technically touch him with my hands in a shoving manner. He couldn’t differentiate that it wasn’t in anger toward him, which is understandable. So I am truly accountable for my actions. I just simply want to get the record straight: I am not violent. I made a bad annoying judgement call. June was making the judgement calls when I could not find the energy to break her walls and control the situation.
Now the next thing June did was more extreme than anything she’s done in the past. As we had stormed out to the car, he followed a few moments later. Sitting there quietly alone I was almost calming myself back into control. Then I saw him walking out and it went down hill from there. He was cussing at me before getting to the car. He got in my car and screamed in my face for pushing him, saying “Don’t you EVER put your fucking hands on me!” and I told him if he is just going to scream at me like that and not talk, then he can walk home. As soon as he got out of the car, one of the others feels guilt and fear for him. “He’s just triggered too! He needs help! Help him! It’s too far to walk home! It’s too hot! No, no don’t leave him!” So this rouses June once more to go to the next level, as if she wasn’t punishing us all enough.
She’s still angry and now has to force him back into the car because me, Jess, asking him to get out upset the little ones. So she tries to block him off with the car, then was going to get out of the car to talk to him. But my car is really tiny (i own a smart car) and doesn’t make a good barricade. He immediately is able to swiftly walk around it. After several attempts to block him to stop long enough for her to get out, she gives up and I am starting to get control of the wheel again. I drive next to him and tell him we don’t have keys to get inside, because we didn’t grab them since he had his. Asked him to ride in silence with us the rest of the way home and we’ll talk about this when we get there.
He gets in the car… He is silent….but not for long. You know how it is, when you are all pent up with fear and anger. He just started exploding on me again. When his voice raises in anger to accuse me of trying to “run him over” with my car, I choose to do self care and tell him to once again, get out, because he was making us both feel worse. But immediately after I say it, and he is getting out, someone gains control to try to grab him and beg him not to get out. But he is too fast and too strong for us to hold on to. I think it was one of the young ones reaching for him. This rapid switching under distress is such a head spin.
Then June responds to the young one’s sorrow with more anger. This crazy rapid switching is making me nauseated by now but I’m still struggling to gain control. Right now, I am the one who is “just the voice in my head.” I can see and hear things but not have control of the body. I’m trying to, and trying to relax June. So, June is now slowly driving next to him in the center turn lane to scream at him about, “how can you do this to me when my aunt just died, you know i just can’t handle stress when my aunt just died, you know i wasn’t trying to hit you with the car! don’t this to me right now when my aunt just died”
All I’m thinking is I have got to get her to stop before police get called about me driving down the center lane and screaming at the top of my lungs. With one last push I got control. I drove ahead to a parking lot. Waiting for him to reach it and asked him nicely to please just get in the car and please just us all be silent so we can get home. He did it this time. But barely waited for the car to stop moving when he jumped out of it and stormed inside.
This is where my memory is getting a bit more fuzzy. I don’t know exactly what happened but I know it went bad. I know June and my boyfriend were screaming at each other. I know I have never in 4 years seen my quiet calm boyfriend act so angry. I know I was trying to break up with him or kill myself. I know someone had me leaving to go to the hospital before we did hurt ourselves. I know another part stopped that momentarily because they had to pay rent and bills before we left. It was the 4th and my aunt’s death had me forget to pay rent. I know I left. I know i was talking to a friend who helped talk me down and I know I came back home where we talked about this exteme issue that should never have happened over a few dollars we could have walked away from.
I’m still trying to make sense of why she got so angry and why she was taking it out on my boyfriend so bad. Why would t she listen to me and just let the day be a great day like it was starting to be?
I dont have all the answers But so the moral of the story is JESSICA HAS GOT TO GET MORE SLEEP.
Or she turns into a monster.