Friday, September 10, 2004

My history in a nutshell

I grew up in the mountains of Colorado. My parents were divorced when I was 2 or 3. I lived with my Mom and Stepdad and visited my Dad and Stepmother every other weekend, some holidays, and vacations in the summer. The abuse, from what I gather now, happened between ages 3 and 8 fairly routinely I think. Most happened at my Dads house from him and my stepmother. I also had secondary abuse from the medical community related to chronic bladder infections with multiple catheterizations that really took the form of rapes. Also many instances of forced sexual activity and generally being used by guys in adolescence. From my Dad the abuse took the form of incest and involved me basically being turned into a "comfort toy" for him both sexually and emotionally, and this was mostly during the divorce from age 3-5.

When my Stepmother joined the family, she continued this heinous treatment. With her, the abuse took on a different, bizarre form. She did a variety of things which look and feel more like what you would expect to find in SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse), but without the religious aspect. She was a sadist and a lot of what she did I generally refer to as psychological terrorism. She made me believe that I would not live to see adulthood. I also think that there was some collaborative abuse between my dad and her. All of this information has been gleaned from years and years of therapy work with my T and on my own. I had absolutely no memory of any of this until I was 19. I moved out when I was 17 and my adolescence was one of tumult with multiple suicidal gestures, and running away 1300 miles, plus much binge drinking and promiscuity. Getting pregnant when I was 17 gave me a reason to live and a determination to break the cycle of misery that was my family legacy. At the time I didn't know why, but it was deep in my gut. At age 19 and pregnant with my second child I saw an Oprah show where people were talking about having repressed memories of childhood trauma that later emerged in adulthood. I had never heard of such a thing and somewhere in the middle of the program I started sobbing and didn't know why. I went in the bathroom and while there, had my first flashback. It was small and inconclusive, just a scene of my dad and me lying in bed in a spoon position with only our underpants on. I knew it was a memory, I just hadn't remembered it for years.
From that day on, I began my quest to put together the pieces of the mystery of my past. This was 1986 and understanding of trauma and dissociative disorders was embryonic. No one would validate what I felt inside, that SOMETHING had happened that I was not consciously aware of. I had many breakdowns and went to many therapists but got no where. Shortly after my first divorce and remarriage to my current husband, I was attacked by a man, and narrowly escaped being totally raped. It was after this that my PTSD was activated. I started having all of the typical symptoms. Paranoia, roaming the house with a gun or knife thinking someone was after me, having disturbing and bizarre dreams of my dad sexually abusing me, breaking down into catatonia once for a week or so. PTSD in some form has been my constant companion ever since. In 1990, 4 mos. after the birth of my third child, we moved to MI. It was there that I met people in church who were themselves survivors of sexual abuse and had begun the recovery process. They acknowledged what I felt inside and helped me find the resources to put together the missing pieces. In those years I was very focused on the recovery of memories, wanting to know what had happened to me. I read every book and joined multiple support groups and went to therapy, and in the next 3 yrs. some stuff did emerge. I was never hypnotized though. Through the whole process I have prayed for truth above all and that God would protect me from deception.
In 1993 I started to recall things that my dad did to me and it became too much. I confronted him on a hysterical whim, which made me more confused and crazy feeling than ever and subsequently decided that I was done. I knew enough and I was going to just put it behind me. So I did, successfully for 4 yrs. I submerged myself in my schooling totally and managed to avoid it until I had to take a family theory course where I had to do an evaluation of my family of origin. As I did this, the fact of the abuse started to become clear again and I started a downward spiral. Right on the heels of this class was my psych rotation in nursing school and during this period, I completely broke down. This was in 1997. I had to drop out of school and was hospitalized for 2 mos. It was then that I was officially diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar disorder. One condition of discharge was to be in outpatient therapy and that is how I found Janice.
I have been in therapy with her for 5 1/2 yrs. I was on Lithium and antidepressants with the occasional anti-psychotic or benzodiazapine. I finished nursing school and graduated with honors acquiring a bachelors degree in nursing and one in anthropology. Since my confrontation of my father in 1993, my relationship with him has been practically non-existent, except for birthday cards with money and money for Christmas. And once he just came here and stayed at my house for a few days. I don't know how that happened and I seemed 'drugged' the whole time, falling asleep all of the time. As I came to trust Janice more completely, more memories came out and my understanding of traumatic memory specifically, and memory in general grew. The pieces of the puzzle started to come together to make a general picture of the horrors of my childhood.
It wasn't until the beginning of this year, 2002, after a long period of stagnation and my avoidance symptoms of PTSD getting steadily worse, that we started discussing cutting my father out of my life permanently and completely. Even though contact was minimal, it was still on his terms, not mine. I was open to any relationship and he chose to be minimally involved. But I guess, to my parts inside, it left a wide open door to future abuse. So I finally did it in March, 2002. I sent a certified letter to him and to my stepmother saying that I wanted no further contact with them, ever, in any way. Since then, I have not heard anything from them and they have respected my wishes.My guess is that with this accomplished, my alters felt safe to come out of hiding. At first I thought that I had DDNOS, but as I learned more about dissociation disorders in general, it became clear that I had DID. The criteria that put me in that category was that my alters had names, identities, preferences, jobs, and beliefs unique to each one.
Since then I have steadily discovered more and more. At this time I am aware of at least 6. I have been continued learning about them, but am not good at corroborating with them yet. They are threatened by me and my desire to be a functioning adult, and I am threatened by the power they hold over me. All of them are kids except one, Barbara, who is my sexual self. There is the first layer of defenses who are all adolescents and under that are the smaller, "littles", who are hardly ever allowed to come out. We are all afraid of them and the craziness they bring.
So that is where I am now, and an anxiously awaiting what next step God has for me. My journey with him certainly has been a convoluted one, not a "strait and narrow" one that most people think of when walking with God. I am very into my Celtic roots and yearn for others to share this unique take on Christianity with me. For them, the never-ending Celtic knot signifies our journey with God, twisting and turning, but with a mathematical precision and organization and is never ending.So, this is the condensed version of my story. I know this was a long post and I thank you if you are still with me.

addendum: I wrote this a couple of years ago, not long after being diagnosed with DID. Since then I have discovered a total of 10 personalities. It is constant work to communicate and cooperate with all inside. At least now they have agreed to allow me to work full time and one of them, my scholarly self, Trudi, helps me.
After writing this, I got a great job at the University of Michigan hospital, but my understanding of my DID and my alters was limited and everything at work started triggering young parts to come out and I had no control over it. I fell apart and lost that job. Then I started treatment at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Uof M. I ended up in the hospital about a month later for a few days after a pretty bad cutting episode. I hit bottom and thought that was the end of my career. Since then, I have little by little worked my way up and regained my confidence and now I work successfully full time as a hospice nurse.
Love to you all!


The love of Christ surround us
The light of Christ lead us
The peace of Christ fill us
The power of Christ aid us
The joy of Christ thrill us
The presence of Christ be with us evermore.......AMEN

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jesus suffered extreme torture and humiliation, naked on the cross, so that his wounds overrule/cover any trauma. As he entered the kingdom of death, he was not afraid to open the deepest dirty cages, especially looking after completely isolated sheep, leaving the crowd behind. In his ministry he was always after the individual, mocked, rejected by others. There's a special love from God for the martyr, which shares in his suffering. If (a)part(s)of you still a child you might experience more of His elderly love.God bless you outside the lines. Thanks a lot for being so open, touched me and my little me deeply. We will survive, God will prevail.

Greetings, A and C, the Netherlands.