May 7, 2011

Passive Suicide Not So Passive

Active suicidal thoughts are those on which the person experiencing the thoughts does act or attempt to act on killing oneself. A passive suicidal thought is: I wish a building will fall over on me...I wish I would suddenly die of an aneurysm...I'm so tired of trying I just wish I would die. I've had passive thoughts since high school. They have been a constant in my life but always in the background until recently.

Most survivors of abuse have passive suicide ideation. In my Polyvore group, it is a "normal" expression of feelings to wish to die. Those who are survivors of long-term abuse understand this and know how to support another who expresses such thoughts. On the other hand, friends, family, and others who care usually respond to the expression of such a thought with panic or feeling that they must stop the person from having such thoughts. That these others care so deeply is appreciated but it's not the response we need.

Last night, by mistake, I posted my Polyvore sets expressing my vivid desire to die to Facebook when usually they go to Twitter to those who follow my journey. It wasn't until after I had posted my third set "Death Wish" to Facebook that I happened to go on Facebook and see the panic I had created. Am wanting to write about this to help those with loved ones who are survivors.

If the desire is passive and especially if it's being expressed through art (a coping skill to release such thoughts), the survivor needs to hear things like "I am here for you; call me if you'd like to talk; I hear you and let me know if there's anything I can do to help."

Another coping skill that is not so healthy but definitely more frightening for those who are not survivors is "cutting". The intent is the misconception that by making some part of the body bleed it will release the pain. Of course that belief system needs to be changed through the help of a therapist. A new coping skill that is healthy has to take the place of the cutting. The danger though is that the person making light cuts on the skin may accidentally cut too deeply. A higher danger exists for those with DID since a harm alter may intentionally cause the person to cut deeply. It is prudent to ask the person to hand over the sharp objects if they are found engaged in the activity. But usually it is done so secretively.

The next level, for me, is programming. Programming is self harm or self-destruct actions that were made the job of one or more alters. Throughout my healing I uncovered many programs meant for me to kill myself that I was able to undo with my therapist. I have written sufficiently about what happened in March following the death of my sperm donor. I watched myself engaging in active suicidality.

Since being released from the Center after believing I was safe from the programming, another program came up that I was able to resolve once again with my therapist. The result has been my now passive thoughts seems to stick in my head and overwhelm to the point where I really do want to end my life to stop the thoughts. Sounds like a Catch 22. Am sure that goes with more aftermath of the original trigger.

Another cause of passive suicidal thoughts is the chronic body pain many survivors of abuse must endure. In my conscious life, I had only short-lived pain (post operative) from which I knew I'd recover. Since my many surgeries of 2007, my body has never returned to normal. I had been loving pool therapy until my depression became so bad in January I couldn't bring myself to engage in any activities I had previously enjoyed. Then the concussion from my fall at the Center a month ago has created a constant and sometimes seemingly unbearable pain in my back, shoulders, and addition to the body not working right.

I am realizing I may need another surgery to fix the one problem that would prevent me from enjoying any vacation. I'd have to stay in one place basically while my partner went off to enjoy and explore and take photographs. I don't want that for him or for me. The concussion is taking much longer than expected and I constantly wonder if other damage was done to my brain. I also wonder if the fall was also an attempt at death by an alter since I hit my head so hard.

My coping skill is whining (*snork*) and Polyvore sets to release the emotions. Often I can Polyvore my way through a very difficult time. Any art therapy or journalling is a healthy outlet to release the very real thoughts circling inside.

Am hoping this will help others understand the dynamics involved in what is likely seen as "drama"...a very belittling term for our reality. It doesn't go away. Well, actually, my passive thoughts did go away from 2005 through mid 2007. I wish for a return of that short time where I was not depressed and on such a low dose of anti-depressant. The best year and a half of my life. A sad statement in retrospect. Is that all there is?

We try to believe and hold onto dreams. We look for hope. The offering of an extended hand, literally or virtually, can go a long way to helping someone in emotional pain.

May 3, 2011

Defining Moments on the Road to Healing

Healing from DID sucks. It’s one mindbender after another coming out of the muck of subconsciousness and flopping into reality. Those of us in that journey are left figuring out what to do with the crap that just landed in our heads.

My journey is into its 14th year and I am still being stunned. I decided to share my most defining moments (i.e. the ones most difficult to accept and process and move on). This sharing is meant to help educate those with loved ones trudging through the muck to a more healed place and perhaps let survivors who are on the road to healing feel validated.

#1 My father sexually abused me. It is freakish to have a memory of something that has been hidden within amnesia for more than four decades. But when that first memory surfaced, it made complete sense of all the blanks in my therapy up to that point. The sexual dysfunction that kicked in shortly after each of my marriages…the resistance I felt to working on the resistance…the seeming jealousy my father had for my teenage boyfriends that sometimes ended in rage directed at me.
For me, learning I had DID was a relief which is a vastly different response from most. However, the two following defining moments created within me the response most have to learning they have DID.

#2 My father took me to graveyards where people were chanting. I had never heard the words “ritual abuse” before but was certain what I was remembering was true after diving into research about it cross-referenced with my own conscious timeline. I was still thinking he was just a sociopath and I got dragged into his world. Learning the government was part of some of the cults unnerved me because he was career military.

#3 The most shocking realization is the bigger picture. I was intentionally made DID through a government sanctioned program…likely MK-Ultra which went underground after the Senate hearings in the 70s. Understanding how our government condoned the kind of trauma/torture/horror I was remembering to create dissociation and alters just leaves me speechless. What else can one say? It’s evil. It’s licensed pedophilia at its most benign.

And it was after THAT realization that I came to the ever haunting: Who am I really and what was my reality if the life I remember was only the “cover story”. Everything at that moment becomes a lie: family, relationships, ability to trust. Who is safe to turn to for help? It’s shocking and terrifying.

"They spun a web for me." Coldplay, Trouble

#4 I met other survivors of government abuse (which included ritual abuse) online through a support group. I was blessed to meet most of the people from that group in person at a conference in 1998. Some remain my friends today. It was in that group that some shared memories of Mengele. I chose to believe that another abuser used Mengele’s name to make it more unbelievable. I was raised Jewish and the thought of that Nazi’s hands being near me made my blood curdle.

Through research I learned of Operation Paperclip and had validation that Mengele was part of that ushering of Nazis to the U.S. and other havens in exchange for their “knowledge” gained from their experiments in medicine (at the concentration camps) as well as rocket science. I also continued my then quest of acquiring and watching every video I could find on the perp names that came up for me. Many of my collages pointed to Mengele but still no memories surfaced. It was my second or third video on Mengele’s life that included a clip of him singing a song. When I heard it, I can’t explain the horror and chaos that happened within my being. It took weeks to settle down from knowing I was not only in his presence but he had touched me, hurt me, and programmed me…early childhood programming. It still curdles my blood.

Once I accepted I was an intentionally made multiple by my own government with my father’s approval and active involvement, programmed to do the bidding of the government, primarily covert and possibly illegal activities, the rest was undoing what was done to me. There was sort of a “same old, same old” feel to finding programming and dismantling through the help of insiders and freeing the alters  connected to it. I was surprised at how much self-destruct programming I ran into, but it was not a defining moment. With the help of my therapist, we undid anything that came up. I was very proud that I had healed to integration in 2003 without any hospitalizations.

I was proud to earn my Masters in Counseling and went to work immediately. Most who follow me know of my short-lived psychotherapist career due to extreme medical issues from 2007 to 2008 which caused me to be on disability. It also created a setback in my integration and alters began appearing again. All was going smoothly with that aspect of healing until defining moment #5.

#5 News of father’s death in early February compounded with my existing level of depression at the time. His death triggered a program unknown to me, although I now see it in many collages on Polyvore over the past years but had no idea what I was seeing. The program first went off on March 10 when I watched myself overdose on four handfuls of pills interrupted by my partner who called 911. It happened so quickly it made my head spin.

In the few days after discharge from the hospital to be seen by a facility specializing in dissociation, my Polyvore sets revealed the overdose was the first in a chain reaction of suicide methods meant to be implemented by alters still loyal to the abusers until their mission was accomplished. I was terrified to be in my own body. I felt environmentally safe at the trauma center but believed my body could stop my heart or create an aneurysm. It took nearly two weeks at the center before the programming was disarmed.

The truly defining point of all of that was recently realizing I was only three years old when the groundwork to that program was put in place. It was 1955 and my father’s death was 55 years later which also freaked me out. Father’s death or 55 years after “installing” the program, whichever came first? Perhaps I had a double whammy that both happened in the same year.
Regardless, I watched myself swallow those pills and didn’t fight back. That will always stay with me.

While take pills apparently didn’t have me fighting for my life, the methods of suicide that went with the other alters in line terrified me. I had thought I was fine from the time of realizing the extent of the program to seeing my therapist again to undo it. But it went off and bam I was in the hospital. Am still reeling. Even though I know I am now safe, my worst fear did come true. I can hope all is dismantled. Another program went off after I was discharged but my therapist and I successfully stopped it. Now the parts are healing and telling me more of my programming history. And I realized today it is two days shy of 5/5. It all means something. Am confident that second program that surfaced after discharge had a “deadline” of 5/5. Thank you to my alters who chose not to die and helped me with the information to stop it.

Is there more? If so, can it possibly be stronger? I have to believe all is well and believe in my healing abilities to tell me otherwise If the time comes. As defining and awful as these moments during the journey have been, they have not defined me. I am not the evil they wanted me to be. The journey is not over and I am waiting for a new antidepressant to kick in so I’m still having passive suicidal thoughts but once actively suicidal alters are healing. Yes, healing sucks, but I am going to Paris next Spring. And of my own free will. Guess I can’t ask for more than that. There can be good in life with DID.