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srhai's big ol' try

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srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:06 am

(Lmao the title is silly but this is a "journey" thread about starting therapy and hopefully will help serve as a journal of sorts as I continue treatment and learn more about myself that needs a place to be aired. If this is not a proper use of the forum let me know and I'll happily delete. Thanks!)

Alright, the moment I've been waiting for...say my T for the first time yesterday, and I think she's a good fit, at least for now. She has some experience with dissociative disorders and a lot of experience with trauma, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

I don't remember the session very clearly, which I knew was a problem and even told her. It's less of a black-out amnesia thing and more of a stress+brain fog thing (i have GAD and fibromyalgia so my memory is pretty much always really bad, particularly when I'm stressed out haha).

I managed to make a point of stressing that with my last T I felt really misunderstood when I'd freeze during a session. My old T saw me pretty severely triggered once and the overwhelming sensation I got from her was that I needed to "snap out of it" as quickly as possible. I think it was less antagonistic than that...possibly she was really concerned for me because I'd never really gone that deep in front of her before, and maybe she was unexperienced with that level of dissociation and panicked a bit. Regardless of the intent, it made me mistrustful of her, since I couldn't experience my entire range of vulnerability in front of her.

That's what I told my new T about, and she seemed pretty receptive. I'm hoping to be more honest with her than I was with my old T. A BIG hurdle for me is telling people if I'm unhappy--replying to anything in the negative rather than the affirmative, saying no instead of yes, I need help instead of I'm fine, etc. I told her I suspect this behavior is somewhat dissociative in nature and she seemed to agree.

All we talked about really was what I need out of this therapy experience, and we tried a couple physical grounding techniques. I really liked the one where you trace a figure 8 on your skin with your finger. She had me try one where I put my arms over my chest and tap my arms. I hate admitting it but I'm a plus size girl, and crossing my arms like that felt really restrictive as a result. I managed to be honest about it, saying it made me uncomfortable, but even just saying "I don't like this" was REALLY difficult for me and I felt like something bad would befall me, even though on some level I knew it wasn't even a big deal. It was a very "waiting for the other shoe to drop" sensation, even though the topic was dropped and we moved on without any hesitation or negativity. I strongly suspect that's something I'm going to be feeling A LOT, and hopefully this T can continue fostering my trust by continuing to prove that this other shoe I'm waiting for may never even exist in the first place.

The only other concern I have is that I didn't get to talk about my partner much. They took me to the appointment and we have a SOLID relationship, but I do not always feel safe to be very vulnerable with them. Intellectually, I trust them with my life, and I proved this by moving halfway across the world to be with them, and I'm happier and healthier than I've EVER been in my life. However, they also have significant trauma, and my dissociation triggers THEM. Furthermore, they do not have a reliable social safety net...that all falls to me right now, so my own dissociation is really difficult to juggle when I'm afraid I will trigger them into behavior that feels dangerous when I'm already triggered. I plan to talk to my T more, but I needed to air that out somewhere haha. I've been in a long term abusive relationship before, and I know this partner is genuine, loving, caring, and would do anything for me. The problem is simply that we are both in a very raw part of our recovery journey, and it is a complex problem for now. Hopefully my treatment helps me respond in a way that is happier and healthier for both of us.

For now I guess that's it? I also am trying to remember to write notes during sessions, since I remember very little from conversations, etc, especially if I'm under a lot of stress. My T was very open to this and liked that I was utilizing strategies to make myself feel safer during sessions.

We won't be working on trauma yet, but grounding, coping, and security. I know this is an essential part of the three-stage process of treating trauma, and while part of me feels really impatient ("Just fix the problems!! Treat the trauma now!!! We can take it we can take anything we just wanna get better NOW!!!") i know that objectively this is the CORRECT way to treat trauma, and I feel comfortable putting the decision of when it is safe to bring up EMDR or other trauma treatment in the hands of my T as she gets to know and understand me better.

I'll be posting more in here just to keep track of my thoguhts, etc, as I'm not always capable of remembering things here.

We didn't talk a whole lot about parts or whatever, but I suspect it will come up. I hinted at it...so maybe we will address it when we are done "getting to know each other," as it were.
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:13 am

Sounds like a really good start! I went into my current therapy also determined to be as honest as possible and not to let any concerns build up, and so far it is working well. Each time I'm brave enough to do that, it's very helpful to the process and the connection.

I've found that sometimes printing out my posts here and giving them to my T has helped me bring more information into the session that I want him to know. I don't have trouble remembering what we talk about in a session--we seem to be able to share all of that easily, but I have a lot of trouble bringing thoughts into the session that I want to discuss, and it can be really frustrating.

There are a number of journey threads on here--it seems like a good use of the forum to me!

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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:41 am

Yesterday was...a day. Had a massive panic attack that I now recognize I literally woke up in the middle of, which at first was just the overwhelming stress of life, but definitely became...dissociative in nature.

I'm doing a better job of recognizing which parts of me are..."parts" of me, even if they are just basic and emotional. I feel less "crazy" when I'm able to understand that emotions are coming out in bursts because they have been DESIGNATED to those bursts, and certain parts come to protect/conceal others in a way that's actually rather logical, when before it felt like a surge of madness that was inexplicable.

I suppose for example, I sometimes experience "flight" rather than "freeze;" but VERY rarely. Something in my trauma has taught me that escape is not a worthy pursuit, but I wound up upstairs, looking for somewhere to at least hide. It's still difficult feeling as though I "subject" my partner to these moments of extreme panic, rather than it being a thing that's happening more or less to both of us...I suppose I will attempt to cover that with my T.

After the "flight" part was gone, I experienced an unsettling calm, in which the babbling and incoherency silenced altogether. What normally feels like a din of shouting and clatter in my head becomes deeply silent--I imagine, just deeply dissociated, possibly as a response to being so overwhelmed that I physically cannot bear the intensity of whatever came before.

Then, on occasion, if my thoughts get back in gear, there definitely is an anger...a desire to say a lot of things I could never really take back. I think the anger is defensive of me. For most of my life, I simply did NOT feel anger. People didn't believe me...but I think a defensive mechanism for me was to pack it up and hide it somewhere. I think it is probably a good thing that it comes out in a way I can at least recognize. Metaphorically, I now know its face. I will learn how to cope with it eventually, certainly, but not just yet.

It took several hours for me to really calm down, which involved a lot of hiding under blankets, asking for things like my stress ball that I have a very child-like attachment to. If I were to have "littles" to any capacity, this is how it is expressed. I have that ball with me still and it makes me feel secure, so I try to take it everywhere with me. Probably a normal function for people of this forum, even though it makes me feel odd in "normal" society haha.

No more time to discuss the events of yesterday, but I'm hoping some of this will be useful to go over in a week when I see my T again. Just wanted to write what I could before I forgot it all to time.

Thanks everyone :)
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:55 pm

Finally having a day of peace and downtime, and had some thoughts about my dissociative symptoms that I’d like to jot down.

I’ve recognized for a long time that I have a very extreme reluctance to ground when in certain states. Instead of intellectually dissecting the source and validity, I thought I’d try communicating with the part of me that doesn’t want to ground. Actually ASK it why, even if “I” know why.

The answer I got was actually more uhh assertive than I anticipated. I think of “myself” as shy and kinda wilting, never really connected with much assertive or certainly not aggressive presentation. Let me back up a step. The question I asked surprised me too! “Why don’t you want to go back?” And not really “go back” as in time or state, but physically, as if “backstage”. The answer: I don’t want to go back when I still feel like THIS.

Somewhat recently in my life (two years ago or so) I started to feel a presence that I would describe as a protector. Possibly male? Or neutral. Not a woman like me. It steps forward when a part of me is being “forced back,” this one is much more aggressive, with a very “how dare you” tone. If I ask a part of me to “go back” it also chimes in, saying “nobody should have to go back until they are ready.” It’s somewhat gentle with me, but aggressive towards outsiders. If someone looks uncomfortable when I’m in a non-me state, i get very loud thoughts of “you don’t get to tell me how I’m supposed to feel. / I DESERVE to feel this way. / You can’t make someone stop feeling what they are feeling. / This is exactly how everyone got split up in the first place, by being forced to go away, and this is only going to make everything worse!” Or the worst thoughts that I NEVER say aloud are more like “you are doing exactly what that person did to me. You are taking this away from me. This is just like before and you aren’t allowed to attack me like this.”

It’s a bit toned down because it’s pretty quiet unless I’m really distressed. The typical “me” has always been completely disconnected from anger, so I find it hard to remember how to BE or even sound angry if I’m me/in a good mood.

It felt good to confirm internally that the desire to not ground is based in that part of me just wanting to feel safe. I felt like it was a silly thing, (oh the protector hated that???? Sorry I guess it’s not silly at all haha) or rather I felt like it was...a black-and-white scenario; go away feeling awful or stay and not feel better. Now I recognize there might be a compromise. If I can make that part feel validatated and safe, maybe it won’t be such a tug-of-war trying to manage my symptoms.

I want to talk to my T about this someday; I think she is best equipped to work with this, but it’s not even been a week since my first session so it might come up down the line! That’s a big part of why I wanted to write it down here.

I’ll be back if I have more insights...one last note...I feel kind of “fake” using DD terminology like “protector” and stuff...no formal diagnosis and only one brief conversation about feeling pretty positive I have a dissociative disorder. But it also feels very convenient...I know this protector sensation is new and responsive in ways I can’t always anticipate, like above! I never used to feel any resistance towards belittling myself and my problems, but when I did just now, it was like an almost physical PUSH against me.

I’m also finding it very freeing to refer to all of this with a sort of plurality. I’ve avoided doing that my whole life because it sounded...childish? To me, even though if I’m being honest I’ve never felt fully. One, either. I feel a calm in myself like acceptance, finally making everyone stop yelling to be heard, knowing I will listen to all of them.

And interesting insight on a possible inner world? Very limited, but it’s like a stage or photo booth that parts are swapped in and out of in order to front, and like there’s a vast darkness on the other side of the curtain where everyone else waits. It may be that I am particularly blind the space outside of front stage but I definitely feel like there’s a sort of rotating door sensation to how others come into the space. (The protector feels like he/it is right outside the curtain, like some sort of bouncer, but also able to influence and speak through the curtain in a quiet way. It’s never REALLY fronted as far as I can tell, but I haven’t been aware of it for long either.)

Hm that’s a lot of stuff that...I’m not sure if I’ll bring it up w my T TOO soon...I’m afraid of the possibility of a person looking at all this and going, “wow, that sounds like BS to me! You’re faking! Step away from the internet and dissociative forums for a bit!” So that’s stil kind of vulnerable. I know everyone is different, but accepting this thoughts as okay to even HAVE is new to me.

I’ll pop in again if I have more insights. Hoping therapy this week we get a little more into stuff, but we will just have to see how it goes. If NOTHINGN else, maybe I’ll be able to be honest about how my parts respond to the session. We will see!

-- Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:58 pm --

I DIDNT REALIZE ID WRITTEN A NOVEL. WHOOPS. (I’ve toyed with the thought that there’s a part of me that is much much more verbal and talkative than the rest. I have been told my entire life that I was a very talkative child and simply stopped completely one day. Well, became very shy and quiet, but still normally verbal. Could be??? Or maybe it’s just regular ol me on a good day. Though it DOES happen more when I’m feeling a lot of physical depersonalization symptoms. Who knows!! If you read all that you’re a champ LOL thanks!!!)
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:59 pm

Today was my second therapy session! It went really well and I'm jotting it down here partly to cement my memories of it.

I wound up talking about my parts, when I wasn't even exactly PLANNING to... I've been thinking for a few months about having a dissociative disorder, but still have a lot of denial using the language, despite the fact that it's the first time I've ever felt like I have the words for what I've been experiencing my whole life long.

I "went away" as my therapist put it when we started talking about some unexpectedly heavy stuff. She was able to reorient me and discuss what was happening with me in pretty good detail...about my feelings and thoughts, and it just sort of came up that there's a part of me that's vulnerable (we are just calling it the vulnerable part) and I had to clarify that when I "feel" terrified it's not so much that I am terrified as much as there is a part of me that is ALWAYS terrified, that constantly exists.

She checked multiple times that I was still "with her" and ready to go deeper into anything or proceed with discussion. At one point we tried to go even deeper into my vulnerability, but I completely phased out at that point. Jaw locked up, thoughts got muddy, and had a lot of persecutor voices in my head. I called it "critical" of my behavior, but then was also describing a part of me that likes to try and get me "back on track," basically a part that tries to convince me to switch back to what I consider "me" or normal (possibly should call it a host?). At that point, I had to clarify that there is "nice" critical and "mean" critical. "Nice" critical tries to remind me that I do exist in the present moment and that there is a pressing need for me to actively engage, stop dissociating, pick a part and fully switch.

She asked about what "mean" critical says, which I was really reluctant to do because, well, it's mean, and I don't let it talk. What I came up with was "Wow, it took you five seconds to get in this deep in front of a stranger," with a particularly biting tone. I was actually really surprised by what I said and how I said it. It had been a thought in my head, but it came out feeling like it wasn't really ME saying it. She seemed a little shocked, but not to a degree that I felt unsafe with her with it. More like...she was processing this other part of me she hadn't seen, and processing how I responded to it, too.

Mostly I referred to the extreme dissociation though as "chaos," like three or four people all shouting at once, and I can't physically speak because my thoughts interrupt each other, like I can't choose one. She got me out of that by suggesting I be interested in an object in my surroundings, which I responded to by asking to see a wooden bowl and spoke very quickly and directly about my thoughts about the bowl, which were tied to my work (art) and how I was perceiving the bowl from an artistic point of view, which may be more like the host part because it is very easily fixated on things visually and trying to dissect them objectively. It's a coping mechanism I suppose.

I became very aware that I was kind of rambling, but the grounding WORKED!!! it actually worked and I didn't feel aggressive towards myself, but actually somewhat tethered, which is REALLY difficult for me!!! This is actually a huge accomplishment, especially since I've had a T before who would try to get me to ground and it would do...the opposite...so I felt really relieved.

She commented on my separate states, and how I seemed to be cycling through some things, and that I was "back," and I was given the opportunity to express that it felt very much like something had pushed me out, and then pushed me back in. She seemed to actually HEAR that, not like I was experiencing a lot of emotions, but that my emotions were linked to something in me more complex than singular emotional turbulence.

She asked about my vulnerable part, and asked if I wanted to give it a name. That was a huge thing for me. I was being asked about this part of me, the most victimized and scared part, and offering it treatment like it was REAL. I didn't want to name it, because none of my parts to my immediate knowledge feel like OTHER people, but I was so grateful that she asked. She then asked to say hello to it, and asked me to do the same. She even gave me permission to say it internally if I was shy about saying it out loud, which was really nice.

She also asked me to say hello to the "mean" critical part of me, which I did, and actually felt safe enough to tell her, "It didn't like it, but I did it anyway," and she responded "It's fine if it didn't like it,"

I dont know guys, but it feels. really really good. It feels so good that she's acknowledging these parts and distinct enough to deserve their OWN recognition. None of them are fully formed personalities, and I do not have significant amnesia or black-outs, but they are all their own to a degree that I think they all deserve to be treated separately, and having someone do that for me for the first time in my life felt so good. Everyone feels so much calmer and at ease.

She also asked if it was possible for me to love that vulnerable part of me, and I mentioned that's a really big hurdle for me, and she seemed to note that and made a point of saying she wants to work on integrating all of that better. I (host) agreed that's what we want to do, and the whole reason I'm seeing her, despite what any other parts (critical mean) are focused on (hating that part, specifically).

One last thing is she did ask me to assign colors to the parts!! I'm an artist, so I've been doing that my whole life! The vulnerable part is blue, the critical mean is red. The chaos doesn't have a color, because it is a mess of colors all happening at once; what I suspect is multiple distinct parts simultaneously. She seemed happy with that, and my answers came really naturally, so I trust them.

I also showed her the foam ball I got for myself and she was impressed at my resourcefulness in giving myself items that help with security and safety. So that was nice. I really love that ball. I asked my wife if I can get more and they said yes. That makes me really happy.

I'm sure I'll have more updates, but I'm so excited about where this is going. I finally feel HEARD. I finally feel understood. I think we found something that will actually work this time.

Thanks to this forum specifically for showing me examples of what it's like to live this way, and what it's like to HEAL this way. Seeing stories of people experiencing things similar to me made me feel like I wasn't at the end of the road, but the beginning. I know I'm not very active (I have really bad social anxiety :( ) but the community here has helped me by virtue of existing proudly and communicating honestly. So yeah haha, thanks.
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby VioletFlux » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:02 pm

Congrats, that sounds like a really productive session and a huge step ahead for all of you!
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:55 am

Thanks Violet!

We woke up feeling really dissociated today and decided to do some journaling/soul-searching as it were.

I'm the host, so I'm going to try and keep this short. Basically, we decided to write down all the parts I am aware of, describe their personalities, and ascribe them titles. I'm much more OSDD than DID, so my parts aren't very individual, and most of us agree we are one person, even when we would like to be given individuality.

I say most of us, because I realized I have someone here who actually fronts a lot. We had a bit of a chat today because I noticed a pattern in when she specifically is around. She's...talkative. And she's the one who posts the most, actually, I'm just always co-conscious (I have very strict rules about always at least observing), but I'm in a lot of denial and she's the one who feels the most strongly about having a dissociative disorder and reaching out to other people.

I'll stop being rude and introduce her properly. She decided to go by Star as of today. I am personally feeling a lot of conflict about this, since I've insisted I don't like names, but she's been really Out there today and I've been able to recognize I don't really identify with the way in which she uses the body to reach out to people. And when I asked her what she needed, she asked to be treated as a person. That's when we settled on a name for her.

So...I'm Srhai for the purposes of anonymity (as the host I just go by my given name) and she is Star. She's definitely here right now, but I'm a little anxious about giving her the go ahead to write freely, especially since I don't want to overwhelm people with information (she writes for literal pages on end).

She's really passionate about dissociative disorders at the moment, also has a lot of other passions, really likes to analyze and take things apart mentally and verbally, and is a really good analytical thinker. I don't always remember the things she says, and as a result I always expect it to be "nonsense." I think she's tired of me minimizing her behavior and thoughts.

So...let's give her the space to say hello herself.

Hi! I'm Star. That. Feels really weird to say! I've never been allowed to speak as myself. But I'm Star, I talk a lot, mostly because the host doesn't allow herself to and frankly, she deserves to be heard! I do feel like I'm a part of her, for sure, don't get me wrong, but there's a lot she has to learn, and a lot I think I can teach her. We are co-conscious a lot, but when I front more she gets really dizzy and disoriented...hopefully working on integration will help. I want the best for her, I really do. And the rest of us! They aren't as formed, since I take on most of the communication and therefore have a more solid identity, since that's like, how language works? Okay well she's wanting me to back off now, feeling pretty silly about all this (she said that in therapy the other day too! silly!) but I'm basically the one who controls posting, and maybe we can find a way to share time, or figure out how to share in a way that's easier to interact with because I definitely know I can be a little overwhelming haha. Nice to be here!
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby VioletFlux » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:28 pm

Hello Star! Nice to meet you :D I know it can feel or seem wierd, this being yourself but also part of the whole, but we really got used to it quickly in our system. Most of us at least. :)

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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:13 am

Thanks again Violet! This is Srhai again; had a very interesting reaction to being greeted with a different name, and I think I'll go into it here a bit.

When I saw the reply, I decided to go in and invite Star out to read the greeting herself. She got...very quiet. It's actually the same thing I do when I feel "too visible" sometimes. I brought up "being visible" as a trigger with my T; it's something I've never been able to figure out really, just the knowledge of being seen is really upsetting to all parts of me. Star, however, usually wants to be visible in a way that I do not. Feeling her retreat the same way I do sort of gave me the courage to type this up. She's saying pretty softly that she's happy to be here, and to be greeted individually, but she can't come out.

I mentioned it before, but my T did say hello to two of my parts; the vulnerable one and the hostile one. The vulnerable one is nonverbal, so I just got really emotional. The hostile one immediately retorted with some, uh, strong language. But those parts never really front in normal life.

I also noticed that I often feel Star really strongly right when I wake up. I can tell from the start, today's going to be a Star day. Especially if I start journaling, she really loves that, she's actually kind of showing up more strongly now that I'm talking haha. But still emotionally pretty distant.

I think yesterday was pretty draining for her...she's used to me largely ignoring her when it comes to our life socializing with others. Even if she's speaking, we treat it like it's still just me, the host. I think coming out for the purposes of journaling and talking anonymously to others like us was a big, courageous move for her, but she's not ready to be introduced to my IRL loved ones just yet.

For now, she wanted me to extend a thank you to Violet for being the second person of all time to see her for who she is, with her own identity, and also she really wanted to make sure I recorded our reaction since she's all about data LOL. Oh, haha, that was a bit of her just there. Definitely interesting seeing the splits between the two of us now :)

More updates as this story develops! Thanks all!

- Srhai
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Re: srhai's big ol' try

Postby srhai » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:59 pm

Late at night here but an important update.

I posted elsewhere about my part, Star, who introduced herself to me recently. I mentioned I had lied to my partner about her...not because I was rejecting her, but because she’s the first to communicate with me openly. Lying about her was upsetting, but we resolved it. She left me a voice recording note explaining how much she understands the situation, what this means to her, how we can work together.

Usually she feels younger than me, but sometimes she’s wiser and gentler than I am, haha. She’s where I “put away” any emotion I feel is dangerous...which is all of them if I feel them too much. I have restriction and denial where she has excitement and curiosity.

But she’s been wanting to come out, as in, tell my partner about her. I was scared! Constantly! What would my partner think if I suddenly changed my mind about having a distinct enough alter to have her own name, even her own face? But Star is an open book, and she wants to be seen.

So...my partner has been dropping little hints about wanting to talk to me more about DD stuff. And I did. They asked if I had something I wanted to tell them and Star in my head was pushing and screaming yes!! Yes, tell them I’m here and I’m real!!!

And I did. We talked about it a lot, about co-consciousness and passive influence and everything I attribute to her, how working WITH her lately has helped me. And it was really good. They were so supportive (they always are of course but you know how there can be so much doubt with stuff like this) and said “I’ll have to give you two kisses from now on, then.” And something about that was so sweet and meaningful, even though I still have so much denial, so much fear, it was so powerful.

Star wanted me to write it down. I’m still kind of stunned. I’m not ready for this on some levels, but on others it seems so right. And Star feels quieter now. I’m not holding her back from her truth anymore. She’s happy haha.

We will just have to wait and see how this develops.
Host: Srhai, F (28)
Co-host: Star, F (unknown)
Suspected five other parts, unnamed, rarely front
--Undiagnosed/suspected OSDD--
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srhai
Consumer 1
Consumer 1
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:21 am
Local time: Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:12 pm
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