December 19, 2007


Haunting My Halls: The Ghost of Christmas Past & Present

I don't know what the hell is going on. I've been trying to reach in and comfort those neglected child parts. I know I said that they keep slipping through my arms, but I really have been doing quite a bit to try to reach them. I do whatever I can to send them the message that they haven't been forgotten, that they are special and precious and that they deserve comfort, warmth, beauty, fun, etc.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I went out and bought a doll. She has been lovingly placed in a beautiful, antique doll carriage with cozy blankets and stuffed animals. I speak to her every day. I pat her, I sing to her. I rock her.

I've also had a big project I've been working on for the past several months. I built a dollhouse and I've been outfitting it to make it beautiful. Two little doll girls live in there with their very own angel. They have many toys and beautiful, comforting things around them.

The other day, I decided to go out and get some Christmas decorations for the dollhouse. Boy, did we have fun! We strung Christmas lights, put up a wreath, put up a beautiful treat-filled stocking at the fireplace mantel...and that's when I installed our angel.

I felt so much better after spending this special time with my child parts. Because the holidays are such a stressful time of year for me (with moments prone to running away, etc.) I've really upped my child comforting routine. I do a little meditation pretty much every day. It involves some stretching, grounding techniques and affirmations. Every day I affirm: "We are surrounded by love and beauty. We are enfolded in light and safety." I also always add, "I love you, my Beautifuls."

I've been spending a lot of time curled up in the rocking chair with a soft, cozy throw. I rock and use soothing words to my parts. I read them children's "love stories." We play with the dollhouse. As a little treat--just to show them they're special--I've been putting whipped cream on my coffee lately and dousing it with Christmas sprinkles.

I felt so good that I actually started getting into the Christmas spirit a bit. We got our tree up this weekend and I finished my Christmas shopping. All our holiday greeting cards went out. I was on such a roll that I went in and announced to my T on Monday that I wanted Thursday off. While I was feeling good, and even experiencing a bit of holiday cheer (a major thing to experience at all for me), I recognized that this week was going to be quite stressful. I wanted to avoid becoming overwhelmed before my son is off from school for sixteen days.

On the calendar this week, We had practice for a band concert, a dentist appointment for me, the holiday band concert itself (my son plays the sax), a hockey game, and volunteer work at a food bank. In addition, my son has five tests at school this week and a large writing assignment due. (Since he has a learning disability, his parents are highly involved in studying and assignment completion--we don't do the work for him, but we make sure it gets done and give him a lot of help with it.) I thought two therapy sessions this busy week before Christmas was too much for me.

My T and I had been working on rage. I've had a lot of good grieving going on, especially over my mother's involvement in my abuse. Lately, I've been asking my therapist for assistance on the accompanying rage, with tips on safe anger work. We made a good head start in my T's office on Monday, and then I came home and did some louder, more physical work down in my basement.

At first, I felt great! I congratulated all the parts who were involved and we had a little treat to reward ourselves for our hard work.

Then, the fatigue set in. I was exhausted! After my son came home from school, I told him I had to lie down for a while. Before I knew it, dinner was over and my husband was taking our son to band practice. I had been in bed for something like four hours. The funny thing was, I hadn't been sleeping. I dozed off a couple of times, but it was only for a matter of minutes. I started to get the distinct feeling that I was hiding in there. I was starting to feel some fear (I think from some parts) but I wasn't sure what it was about. Maybe they were scared that we were going to get in trouble for expressing the anger.

While my son was at his practice, I forced myself up and out of bed. I made myself a decadent meal of pizza and Coke and had some pudding (with whipped cream and sprinkles, of course) for dessert. I ate while I watched TV and enjoyed the lights of the Christmas tree. I felt pretty good by the time my boys arrived back home.

The next morning I got out of bed in time to see a beautiful sunrise. (This is often a difficult time for me and I've never been a "morning person.") I went to check my e-mail and found that, after I complained to my son's teacher, she had postponed one of the four tests he was to have Tuesday to Friday. Yay! This was great!

This good news didn't seem to help my son's mood at all. He bitched and moaned about various things and then was loud and disrespectful to me. I told him I was angry and gave him some consequence, but the plug had been pulled out of the bathtub, so to speak. I was already swirling head first down the drain. I tried talking it over with my husband and got some of my anger out. I thought I was feeling a bit better by the time he left the house for work.

Unfortunately, this was the same morning that I was supposed to go back into the dentist for some crack repair and to update the doc on how my night mouth guard is working out. I have my anti-anxiety medication, so I thought I could do it. But, why the hell did I think I could handle it the week before Christmas??!!! That didn't seem very smart. I guess I just wasn't thinking when the dentist's office set up the appointment right before we left for our cruise. I was feeling so good then.

But, now, I had been majorly triggered by my son. Damn it! Why do I have to work my ass off to get out of my comfort zone and make a happy Christmas for our little family when I HATE CHRISTMAS...and then I just get treated like shit??!!

Oh shit, the fear closed in fast. I didn't end up hiding in a closet this time, but I curled myself up on the floor next to the Christmas tree. Sometimes, if I just give in to this for a little while, I can feel better and get on with my day. Maybe it's because my limbs always fall asleep; I'm eventually forced up and on with my day. This time, an hour went by, more time went by, and nothing was happening.

Have you ever asked one of your parts to come out and do something for you?

This is what I started doing, down there on the floor. I started negotiating. "Anybody up to the task in here? I can't do this. Anybody feel strong enough to handle the dentist visit? Please, anybody?"

I got no auditory response. The only thing I felt was Serena creeping in. You remember Serena--she's the one who comes and keeps the body totally still so that there's no injury, suicide attempts or running away. I wasn't sure exactly why she thought it so important to move in, but she was the only one responding.

It was all I could do to get up off the floor to go to the bathroom and call the dentist's office to tell them I couldn't make it in. Then, I moved to the bed. I just let Serena take over. I slept a little bit. But, mostly I just lay there, or I sat there propped up on my pillows, and stared into space for hours.

My mind was still working. I thought about what I would have for lunch. But, more hours went by and I never ate anything. I didn't even have to pee anymore because I'd had barely anything to drink all day. I thought about some clothes I would throw on. I knew I wasn't up to a shower, but the clothes I could do, right? I thought about getting those clothes on and picking my son up at school. I thought about calling the school to tell him I wasn't coming. I ended up getting his call and explaining to him that I was dissociated and it wasn't safe for me to drive in that condition. He'd have to walk home. By this time, I'd been staring at the walls for at least four or five hours.

I had those thoughts, like I said. But, I just couldn't get Serena to budge. Soon, I was negotiating for anybody besides Serena to come out and do anything to make my body move. I have this meditation that I do to collect everybody into this safe place I've visualized and installed in my mind. I count down from ten, like I'm descending stairs, then I open the doors to the safe place and sometimes we do a roll call there. At the very least, I'll assist a part who's hurting. I'll lead them to the porch swing and put them in the arms of the angel there.

This time, I went "down" there and I announced: "It's my turn to sit on the porch swing. I'm coming in and I want somebody else to come out for a while. I can't do this today. Somebody else will have to do it." I feel like an idiot admitting this desperation, when I'm the one who's supposed to be in charge and I'm the one who's supposed to get us to all integrate and all that. Smart move, huh?

Well, when nobody but Serena responded, I got royally pissed! I yelled something like, "Life isn't all just dollhouses and porch swings and sprinkles!" I then visualized myself slamming the door on the safe place room and storming back up those ten stairs. I wanted to add, "Screw all of you!!!"

So, I stayed immobilized and staring for a total of about eight hours yesterday. I dragged myself out of bed just in time to throw on some clothes, barely brush my hair and brush my teeth before attending my son's band concert like the walking dead. I didn't talk to anyone there. There was such a crowd. Maybe nobody noticed.

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we feel for you Marj, we have been there every Christmas of our life and even now, some parts are so excited, others so scared, some so depressed.
these are triggering times and so many emotions are "running loose". We understand, and we send you all, bigs and littles, tons of safe and warm hugs for all who want them. Bless you dear friend.

We have some who also stare at walls. It can be good and frustrating all at once.

I hope it is a better day for you soon.
Patches & Keepers: Sometimes this stuff makes me feel so crazy. It's getting better after a year now--I guess I'm getting used to some of it at least. But, it sure helps to know that I'm not alone in this. Thanks for your support.
Looking at this from an objective viewpoint I can see some positives. First, you were able to recognize that you couldn't make it to the dentist and to postpone it. Recognizing you need boundaries and setting them up is a good thing.

And by "storming down the stairs to the safe place and slamming the door" - well that sounds like anger work to me. And that's a good thing too. To express your anger and let it out.

((Hugs)) as you figure all this stuff out. Hang in there.
That helps me feel better. Thanks, Enola!
I hope you are right that no one notices when we are like the walking dead. That happens to me, too. I can't wait until Christmas is over. Having extra things to take care of only makes life that much more difficult.
Only six more days and it's over for another year, Lynn! :P I'm hangin' in there with ya.

Christmas is a non-event this year for us. You're not crazy, you are making great strides in taking back your life. I wish you the best and remember that the ones who care love you.
Hang in there Marj, and get a fridge for your blog! If you want any help let me know.

Safe hugs to you and I ditto what Enola said.
I used to think too that "I" was supposed to be in charge of my system, but I had it explained to me that that's not the case. They're here for me too, and they each have specific roles to play.

It doesn't work for me to ask one of my parts to take over. Not one bit. That may be different for others, but it's how things work around here.

I didn't realize until reading your post that it must be an actual part who lies or sits and stares at the wall. It always just seemed like I was in a funk--but of course, it would be a part, wouldn't it?

I too think you did well in canceling your dental appointment. As far as the stuff with your son--I guess all I can say is that multiple or not, you're going to have good days as a parent, and bad days as well. Not much comfort, huh? But all in all, it sounds to me like you're handling the stress of Christmas quite well. No one (singleton or multiple) gets everything right, so try to extend some grace to yourself, ok?

Glad you had some good moments. (((Hugs))) on all the difficult ones.
My only experience with MPD is working with those who trust me enough to be in their life as a therapist. I think that holiday times, anniversaries, birthdays and other important days make things very bumpy. I wish you ease and support as you all go through this.

I totally agree with everyone! Sounds to me like you are doing all the right things to get to where you need to go - emotionally not the next appointment.

Sometimes I just sit in the rocking chair and stare at the wall for hours, or soap operas which are about as fulfilling as staring at walls. lol But I need the break for whatever reason so I can pick myself up and go on again.

As for people noticing when we are doing the walking dead or maybe a good robot imitation, I think most of they time they are all in their own little world as well. Especially at this time of the year, who has the time to stop and study the faces in the crowd. Don't worry about what people think.

I have a doll house that I love but it's out in my barn. My husband took over the project of building it and totally ruined it for me. I keep hoping that someday I will be able to bring it back inside and finish it. It has suffered some damage being out in my barn. So sad!!

I'm glad that you are enjoying building yours and that you could decorate it for Christmas. Getting to a place where you can enjoy Christmas comes with little steps like that!! Believe me it will come.
Oh, no, I left a comment and didn't get the code right and it got lost!! :-(

I have the cough that won't let me do anything either. It is so frustrating wanting to do things but hacking so much that I can't. I hope you get over yours quicker than I'm getting over mine.

It sounds like you are getting more comfortable with the new house.
Beauty: extend some grace to myself? That has a nice ring to it! Actually, I'm feeling much better today. One good thing I can say from all this therapy is that I seem to bounce back from these things a lot faster these days.
OOoops! RR, I think that last comment was supposed to be left on somebody else's blog--maybe Enola's?

But, I hope you get over your cough.
Brian: a "non-even" huh? That sound nice and neutral. I hope my husband will go for that after our son leaves home. Thanks for the love and hugs.

Kahless: thank you for the hugs, too. I LOVE your fridge. If I decide to install one, I probably will need some help. I've been successful at putting so few neat things like that on my blog. ;P And, yeah, I think that Enola is pretty smart. Thanks! :)

Deb: Thank you for the wish for ease and support. That sounds just lovely.

RR: I hope you reclaim your dollhouse, make it yours again and make it beautiful. I swear, mine has helped me tremendously. I could never have one as a kid and always dreamed of having one.
Ooops again! Man, I'm scattered! Thanks to you, too, April. I so appreciate the kind words and hugs.

Safe hugs to all you guys!
(((((((((((bloggy buddies))))))))))
Geez, as I was reading through these again, I saw my comment that was supposed to be on enola's blog. I have no idea how I did that. But I'll have to check and see if I ever did get a comment left on enola's. post.

As for the cough, it still sucks! About the time I think I'm getting better, it gets worse again. I'm really having withdrawal. I haven't been able to do anything witih the horses in two weeks. They are what keep me sane.

I look forward to hearing more about your dollhouse.
RR: I'll try to remember to put up some more info on my dollhouse. And I sure hope you get to get out there with your horses soon.
We ask for inside help all the time. one of the reasons that we have a hierarchy is so that its already worked out what an alter can and can't handle. The higher up the more they can handle emotionally. The lower down the less they can handle. If a person is higher up they are asked to handle more if they're lower then no one turns to them and asks for a job they absolutely cant do. But each of us has a part in our world, in our daily life and existence. The system we have set up for handling things is named with a word many cringe at but its set up not on worth but on emotional strength. We don't want to ask someone to do something that will harm their progress. Knowing what each of us can and can't do lets us know who is best for what job. It took a very long time to figure out who is where. Truthfully, the system isn't static. It's changed over the years. Another thing is, age and gender have nothing to do with who can handle what job. When we have inner meetings each voice is equal no matter where they are in the hierarchy. The top three, Joan, Destiny and Morton make the final decisions on major things but when it comes to everyday type decisions its a group thing. for us this system works.

Asking for help and knowing who to ask helps us get the job done. We don't usually have volunteers, just assignments. Since we have a strong work ethic these assignments are taken rather seriously.

Austin: Thanks so much for your visit and comment. It's wonderful to "see" you.

Wow! Talk about cooperation! I'm impressed. I hope I can get to a point like that some day. Thanks for giving me hope.
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