DID System Members, and Panic Attacks

Edit: this was supposed to be posted sometime this past week, but it never was. I guess that week was a down week, but this week should be a bit better! – Adam
Last night something new and strange happened to me. I was laying in my room, watching a nice calm youtube video and getting ready to go to sleep. I got up to do my nightly routine and I felt anxiety start to boil in my chest. My throat was tight, my heart was pounding, I was sweating and shaking.
But I didn’t feel anxious mentally.

My body was having a panic attack without me knowing why or what was causing the panic. It was such a strange sensation, to have your body be so full of fear but to have no idea why.

I did my nightly routine, climbed into bed and took an anti-anxiety PRN, and I went in search to see who in my system was anxious. No one was fessing up to it, none of the adults anyway. I went into my kid’s room to say goodnight and I found the source.

Sunny was in such a bad place, over what I still don’t know. I can only hypothesize it had something to do with sleeping. I grabbed him out of his room and walked into the living room where my partners were. I sat in a rocking chair/glider type of thing, Elijah came over and put a blanket over the two of us and I started to try and calm him down.

After a minute, Sharkie came out carrying Matty and the guys too them and we all slept in the living room like we were having a sleepover. Elijah came up with the great idea to build a pillow fort but wanted to wait until we could all (or most of us) sleep in it.

Adam has had to do this a few times with Chance, though Jonah will either stay in bed or stay around Roo. Chance and Adam are very close, and Chance depends on Adam a lot.

Sunny was close to me when he first came around, but after that I went on a ‘no fronting’ kick because fronting and I don’t get along. I’ve been out off and on for the last two days, and I’m thinking of letting Adam take back over.

My therapist gave me some advice with what she does with her in real life children, she said it might not work for us but to try it if we remember. Last night we didn’t remember so we didn’t try it but I’ll pass it onto you all as well in the hopes of maybe helping someone else.

She does this with her kids when they have nightmares. With her older kids age 4+ she will say something along the lines of “When I get to 50, you should feel better” then she taps either side of their body (say the right hand and left hand) one at a time and counts to 50. She says it’s supposed to make the nightmare feel better, but not go away completely. If they’re younger than 4 she’ll say that at the end of a rhyme or lullaby that they’ll feel better and then do the tapping.

I don’t know if this works or not, but most the stuff my therapist suggests works so I try and pass it on.

In the end though, maybe having sleepovers will be something we’ll have to do. A lot of the kiddos like to be held, and a lot of them feel scared all the time. Usually, Zack and Sharkie can help bring them to an adults attention, but it shouldn’t be all on them.

If we come up with anything that works super well and isn’t something obvious, then we’ll write about it here. I just wanted to make a post about how odd it was to have a panic attack while also not having one.

~Kenny

Trying Bullet Journaling

Since we’re too much of a perfectionist with things we do by hand and since we’re always looking for a way to journal on our phone that actually keeps our attention, we thought bullet journaling wouldn’t be right for us. We saw a Tumblr post (that Sora has reblogged here [ I will warn you the post is small text and image heavy] ) that showed how this person set up a bullet journal inspired way of journaling on their computer using Onenote.

We thought, hey we could do this! We only usually have our phone the computer we have access to is our mothers and we wouldn’t really want our private journals there. The main feature we needed for the journaling to work (tables) didn’t work on the IOS app. We were pretty bummed.

We thought that maybe we could use Google Docs, so we downloaded it and tried it. It works! Setting it up was a little bit of a pain, so we borrowed our mom’s computer to finish setting the template up.

Below are the screen shots of what we came up with.

 

BJ 1
This shows our ‘Who Fronts When’ table. It lists our main fronters, the days of the week, and then a little key for what the check marks mean. We switch a lot so that’s why we have the key there.

 

 

BJ 2
This just shows the days of the week listed out (and an example of our day). I guess this is where the bullet journal part comes in. It just lists the major parts of our day.
BJ 3
This is an example of a habit tracker. The “x” means we didn’t and the check mark means we did it. Also on this page is a blogging and internet stuff section (or the start of it) here is listed ideas.
bj 4
This shows the rest of the “blogging & internet” section where we have a table for whether or not we’ve posted. Then, this is just something I added because I thought it would be fun, a question of the week!
bj 5
Here is where we can talk to one another/the mute guys, or list some funny/sad/etc stuff that happens, thoughts, everything! 

 

It basically just gives us the guide we like but can’t find with any journaling app, and also gives us a “perfect” looking way to journal. We’ve added quotes and some nice pictures too, which just makes it nicer.

Of course, we can always add to it, or take away. That’s the best part, we have a guide but it’s easy to change if we need to.

EDIT:

After a day of using my the journal thing, I feel like it would be a good idea to share my template. It’s public, all my names and what not have been erased. I’m not 100% sure you can download it (more like 75% sure) but I know you can edit it. I think you can save a copy, so that way it becomes a document on your google docs account that way its more private but I’m not 100% on that either.

Here is the link to the template! It’s on google drive/google docs.

Feel free to tell me how it works out for you, or if it works at all.

Thanks everyone!

~ Lolly

Things I’ve Learned Since Getting Diagnosed.

I thought this might be a good idea, especially since I can add to it (or revise it) as I learn more. Also not to toot my own horn or anything but if this is helpful to anyone and you want to share it, feel free to! (But you really don’t have to.)
I also want to note that for two years after getting diagnosed I didn’t have therapy. I had a few sessions while I was still in a group home, but the therapist there was mostly absent. A lot of this has been learned on my own so take this with a grain of salt.

  • Everyone has different ways of handling their system and no one way is better than another. This one was hard to get a hang of. When I was first diagnosed I was a sponge soaking in all the information. It was both helpful and hindering because I thought that I had to follow some set way. After months of coming downstairs and ranting at my mom about how this thing or that made me so mad and didn’t fit what I wanted, I figured out that maybe I should just not care about what other people say.
  • Treat your parts nicely and things go smoother. That’s not to say that everything will always be calm and nice, but working as a team helps a ton. Relationships between parts are built slowly, just like real life relationships. I’m lucky, a lot of us already had a connection and the few of us who were talking when we were diagnosed were already close. Even now though, since most everyone had come back (I think???) it still feels awkward between some of us. Kind of like, hey you’re here and so am I but we don’t ever talk. It takes time, but don’t give up.
  • Remember that you are all abuse survivors. This one can be hard. Kids can be annoying with crying and whining, teens can be too outgoing, protectors can be scary and sometimes mean. Sometimes you just don’t want to be surrounded by all these people! The noise gets to be too much, there are too many needs that are all over the map. It can be wild. Still, you’ve all been through some horrible stuff. Just think about that next time a kid part wants to buy that $10 stuffed animal.
  • Sometimes switches just happen. You can really never know if you’re going to randomly switch for no reason. That being said, some systems switch more than others (or some less than others). We switch at least 3 times a day. More if someone who “shouldn’t be out” is fronting. It can be exhausting, but for some (like us) not switching can also be exhausting.
  • You can ask for some alone time. You might not get it, but you can always ask. Going to the bathroom and don’t want someone talking to you? Want to watch a video without someone talking over it? Just ask. Setting boundaries with your parts can be good.
  • Kid parts are developmentally kids. Don’t let them out unsupervised, don’t let them use the internet alone. Things you wouldn’t let a real child do, don’t let a kid part do either.
  • A good therapist is KEY. There is only so much you can do on your own. You can take the advice of blogs and books all you want, but that’s not finding a way to re-box the trauma into better places so it isn’t breathing down your neck all the time.
  • Find/build a support network. It can be blogs, twitters, facebooks, in real life people. Just find people you can talk to. Find people who are open to DID or who have DID. Don’t try and stick with people who don’t understand and who never will.
  • Remember self-care. Basic stuff like eating, sleeping, cleaning yourself and your house. Get that down first, then move on to setting up times to read a book or paint your nails.
  • Write things down! I’m still so bad at this, but it is so helpful when I do it. Even if I never look at the paper again, writing it down is so helpful to set it a bit better into your brain so it doesn’t fall out and go where ever all the stuff we forget goes.
  • Stuff that helps people with Traumatic Brain Injuries can be helpful for DID systems. I don’t know how it is from a medical standpoint, but my mom has a TBI and she’s given me advice for the memory problems. They do help, but your mileage may vary.
  • Healthy habits help. That’s a big one for memory stuff. If you form a habit it makes it so much easier to remember for everyone in your system. Stick with something for long enough and it will stick there.
  • Flashback Advice: (I don’t have a funky pulling in sentence.) Scent can help pull someone from a flashback. Find one you really like and keep it with you or where you have the most flashbacks. Candles (be careful if you light it), essential oils (put a little on a cotton ball and keep it in something, they can be overwhelming right from the bottle), body lotion or oils (my personal favorite). A cold shock like holding or sucking on an ice cube, a cold bath, grabbing (or even going outside in) some snow. Be careful though, don’t stay in a cold bath too long (you can get sick) and if you go outside make sure someone knows in case you wander off. Heat like a heating blanket or pad, make sure they have a timer and are controlled so they don’t hurt you. I warn that a hot bath or something like that would be too dangerous. If you can’t feel the temperature you could burn yourself and seriously hurt yourself. Cold is better than heat! 
  • Get enough fresh air. Going and sitting outside in summer, going for a walk, even just standing in your doorway for a few minutes can help ease any struggles. Open a window if you don’t think you can go outside. Sitting in a stuffy room always makes me feel worse.
  • When you work up to it, get a pet. I’ve always had animals, and I usually find taking care of them helps me a lot. Don’t get a pet if you don’t think you can handle to remember one (forming self-care habits is one way to prepare). Make sure to do research, don’t just put a fish in a bowl or a bird in a round cage. Make sure it’s something your entire system wants and will help with. Having a pet helps if you live alone too.
  • Have an area to decompress. Whether it’s a blanket fort, or just your bedroom finding a place you can make your own and that is quiet and peaceful can be a great help.

This is the list so far. If you have any suggestions leave them down in the comments!

Thanks, all.

~ Kenny & Roo

Fear and Kid Parts

This is something new we’ve been dealing with. I say new, but these kids have been around the longest in this system (aside from Adam, Elijah and Kenny). They’ve always been behind a barrier because a) we never saw kids or thought about them before getting diagnosed and b) we didn’t think it was something we had after getting diagnosed. Though we also thought there was only 7 of us, and that turned out to be wrong. 

We try to be respectful to the kiddos. Out therapist says that taking care of the kids(and everyone else really) can be very healing. That and we love them! Why wouldn’t we want to respect them? They get scared pretty easily, and since we feel what they feel usually it’s been hard.

They’ve been more open and around more, so we’ve tried to help ease them into stuff and also give them incentives. 

The fear and general nervousness is also common among other newbies. Sora for example has been fairly fearful. 

We got the idea from somewhere to have a point system for doing things that can seem hard or that bring up fear. Even if the fear is random, they’ll get a point.

Of course any adult system mate can earn points too. 

Who ever gets the most points at the end of the week gets an under $5 reward. If an adult gets the most points per week than there will be a child runner up too. At the beginning of the month who ever had the most points the past month gets an under $10 reward (again if an adult wins then there is a child runner up). 

I feel like this might work has a good incentive to broaden the spectrum of people who front. It also gives the kiddos a reason to hang around us some more and get used to some of the more fearful things. 

If this sounds like a good idea for you all feel free to take it and work it into your own system. 

Do you have any systems in place to help deal with fear?

– Roo 

Whisps, trauma, and inner world goings on.

I have another post lined up that I wanted to write, but I’m not quite finished with it and I feel this needed to be written up today. 

I can’t remember if we’ve described what a whisp is, and frankly we don’t really know what they are either. Our therapist and I have hypothesized that they are probably parts that are fully stuck in memories or some kind of split from actual parts that are just bad memories. In head world they’re long flowing dragon like things that when black (their original color- I’ll get into that later down the post) they have no face. 

🚨 Odd Pronoun Use Ahead! 🚨

The whisps use ce/cir/cirs/cirself pronouns. 

Ce = he/she/they 
cir = him/her/them
 cirs = his/hers/theirs
 cirself = themself/themselves/himself/herself


We have a rainbow one, who is just called Rainbow. Cir is a whisp with a kind of possum-pig face and small front paws that can go into cirs body. Cirs body is a stream of colors that flows out like a comet trail has ce moves. Kind of like if you held up sheer rainbow silk and let it flow out behind you. 

Cir is the original one to make contact as a ‘color whisp’. Ce came around when Sunny was first found and have stayed present ever since. 

In therapy today we were talking about how we had tried to explore what is out old living space in head world. We’ve been trying to find a way to add more things to do in headworld just so that it isn’t always just sit-talk-sleep. 

At the moment we live in a kind of terrarium of sorts. It’s like a very large warehouse(?) that has a lake, small forest, cabins and a rec center. This is off the main hall that is the downstairs of our ‘house’. Now we,  back when it was ‘just the 9 of us'(hah), lived in the downstairs but it was a different downstairs. Then we moved upstairs which is where we lived when all the ‘newbies’ were coming around. 

The house is settled on a hill surrounded by forests. There’s a path to the right that leads down to a town. The town has a road that leads to the caves which is where we all lived initially. The town was where we all lived during high school and for a little time before and after that. 

We went back down to the town, knowing the whisps were going to be a problem. There were more problems then we expected. The whisps left us alone for the most part, which was good! When we got into town everything was destroyed. The entire town is in ruins, building are crumbling down, nothing was bright or sunny like it used to be. There were monsters roaming around trying to get our attention.

We brought this up with our therapist, because to me especially it felt like a major blow. This town was supposed to be connected to good memories. The fact that everything is in shambles means that this place has been tainted like everything else. 

Our therapist listened to us (Kyu fronting at the time) vent. Kyu is really smart, and thinks of things to help the system all the time. He had the idea of maybe giving the whisps a color other than black that would make them less scary to be around and would give them the sense that they are important and can be a part of every day life in head world. 

So we grabbed the buzzers and our therapist just let us (Rainbow, myself, Kyu, Clarence, and Levi) sit and work ourselves out with the help of bilateral stimulus. 

Every one of the whisps got a color they’re happy with, and then they started to become more defined. Rainbow stayed the same possum-pig nosed creature, but others took a some what different form that would still be easy enough for them to keep. Teal, Lilac, and Powder Pink are kind of eel-like with a betta fish face. Orange, Red+Orange, Black+White, and Yellow are all kind of koi fish like though not as much as others. Cotton Candy, and Maple/Fawn are like Rainbow. Forest Green and The Big Guy (black+white+pink) are obviously koi fish, though Forest green might be more goldfish like. 

When we were finished and I had pushed Kyu out of front we felt so much better! Tired and drained, but I could feel the sunshine in there already. I asked my therapist what we should do about the town, since it was me who came up with the idea to maybe move back there and it was me who got so upset about it being razed. 

She said that it might have to be rebuilt, like by hand. We have builders (Squall, Renau are the main guys but Sora and Marly also help out) and they’re always looking for new things to build (and maybe feeding into my bad ideas too much). They of course said they would. Ren is my hubby so he’d do anything I wanted with in reason (apparently building a town is a reasonable thing to do), Squall is just a helpful guy and also Cloud’s partner and Cloud spoils me too much. 

We had a case yesterday of a child who we found at the door to the house who was… in bad shape (that’s putting it very lightly). He poofed away before anyone could really focus on helping him (aka get over how bad of shape he was in). Today Lolly got fed up and went out to find him with Kuzu by his side. They found the kid but neither of them knew how to help him. 

Squall came to them because most protectors have some sort of “medical training” (not in real life). There was really no easy way to help this kid, and Squall had to rebuild part of his body.  Long story short he managed to rebuild the boys broken parts and now the kid is fairly healthy!

This gave me the idea, as I sat waiting for my mom to come down from a shower to watch TV, maybe we should see what the outside headworld was looking like now. The biggest problems that were keeping us from being able to rebuild it were the lack of sun and the monsters. 

I came out the door, and it’s actually bright and sunny. The monsters have formed themselves into less(?) scary forest animals which is easier to live around. The town is stil destroyed, but Ren and Squall are hopeful that they can rebuild it with some help. 

I may make this a series about inner world stuff and the progress we make. I want it to be slow so that we don’t push ourselves too far too soon. 

My therapist always says that taking care of either other system mates or the headworld in general is a form of healing ourselves with out having to relive the trauma. I agree with her 100% because it’s always worked. Putting effort into making our space better and more happy/healthy/homey/warm/etc always makes us feel better. 

If any of you bring anything out of this, my suggestion to you is that if you have a inner world/head world try and tidy it up a bit. Add some lamps/light, give people beds, cook warm food, have toys for the kiddos. I don’t know how else to explain but but doing stuff in headworld to better your relationship with your parts or bettering the space you go to to escape is healing. I’ve heard/read professionals saying that and it’s true at least for us.

Take care of yourselves! You’re all important. You matter. Your feelings/thoughts/everything are valid. 

Thanks for reading!

Kenny

New Hostinng Situation. 

For the past few weeks (a month and a half or so) Kenny has been fronting with minimal help and minimal time away from fronting. He’s been dealing with the kids and gathering them from outside of the terrarium. He’s been helping more with our sister and our mothers needs. He has been doing the therapy sessions. Mostly by himself, with me(Renau) or Elijah has a background carrying the kiddos who are attached to him around so they can be close to him. 

Kenny has never liked fronting, he’s always been way too sensitive. He gets wound up and makes people angry, or will assume he’s done something wrong and get anxious. Fronting is not his thing. Co-fronting is though, since we’ve been diagnosed he has co-fronted a lot but enjoys his breaks. 

He only took up fronting because our regular hosts (Cloud and Adam) have been having a bit of a hard time in their personal lives. Adam is always default; if no one else can or will front he is out and at the ready. Kyu is our back up host, in times of high stress (our mothers health scare in 2016 for instance) or in times where things really need to get done, but just aren’t. This really isn’t that time. Kyu is also too abrasive for long term hosting, our mom would notice something is up. 

Roo has been getting better at fronting for long periods of time, but he and Adam are currently going though a mutual existential crisis. He has agreed to co-host and help me do things like run the shower. He will also front as often as he feel he can (usually once a day). I hope he will help me manage some of the things with our mother, since she is awkward for me to be around. 

I and Squall are the only others (who aren’t listed above) with hosting experience. We co-hosted together for a while way back before we got diagnosed (we’ve figured out it was us hosting). Squall is a protector though, and it is very exhausting to have a protector front for longer than a day. Plus, Cloud would want to help him and Cloud needs a major break.

Kenny asked me because not only am I his partner, I also spend lots of time with our kiddo parts as well. I also happen to be a fairly grounded part in terms of who I am and what it feels like for me to front. That makes it easier for Kenny to co-front with out coming out fully and taking over and in turn wearing himself down even more (as is the case with him and Roo). 

He asked me because since I’m usually around him it will allow him to spend time with the kids and not have to front- something that is very important to him. 

I’m hoping I can do this long term, and I believe I will. At least until Cloud or Adam gets enough gumption to take their positions back! 

I will still be posting Roos poetry (and he will still be writing it f course) and I will stick with the at-least-once-per-week blog posts. (Which are going to be on Wednesdays!) 

Thanks for reading, have a nice evening! 

– Renau