Mo’s Question – How to Start the Healing Marathon

Mo wrote a comment on my post, Healing: It’s not a Sprint, it’s a Marathon. And That’s a Good Thing.”  Her words just tore me up.  I just want to send hugs.  This post is to talk about her words because they resonate so strongly (and familiarily) in me. DavidRochester is further in his therapy than I am, and he has given me some insight into my path. I am a bit further ahead than Mo, so maybe my experience can do the same.

Listening Inside

“Right now I don’t even want to run the race. Starting see new T, I like her, but feeling so overwhelmed. She told me to listen inside, god it freaks me out.”

Tell her it freaks you out (I say somewhat sternly but with hugs).  You’re gonna get there – being able to listen, but it has to be at your pace.  If you feel freaked out, you both need to take some baby steps to get started.  My therapist (the new GREAT one) has emphasized over and over that *I* need to tell her when I get uncomfortable – and we talk about why and how to make sure we are working together safely.

About listening – I’ve been in therapy for about 18 months.  CHECK THIS OUT – up until the last few 6 months or so, I rebelled against this idea of ACTIVELY listening inside.  Sometimes I *heard* things.  Kate yells things and interrupts (but has done so my entire life).  But I was extremely uncomfortable about actively *asking around* for an opinion.

But my therapist broached it gently.  One session I felt crazy about something and didn’t know why.  She asked me to ask inside.  First there was nothing.  She didn’t push it.

She *asked* me to *ask* inside.

Slowly I am letting down the wall and just waiting.  Often it isn’t a sentence, but a word or feeling that isn’t me.  But the words DO seem to address the question we are exploring.

…. so this idea of asking.  I would say, don’t CHASE it.  Just try to start relaxing, and eventually you might hear.  Don’t force it.

What is real?

“I go between thinking face this and doing an about turn. When I catch myself thinking this is real, and thinking about this with this in mind, I then get so mad at myself for thinking this way.”

Yup.  Still feel that sometimes.  The HARD part (for me anyway) is that sometimes *I* believe and sometimes *I* do not.  Understanding that *I* is not always *I* has been key.  Listening and feeling has allowed me to separate the *I*’s.  It isn’t always obvious until you start thinking about likes, dislikes, feelings, memories.

For example, my gut feelings about a certain person in my life are a VERY good indicator of who I am at that point.  When I feel *odd* or just left-of-center, strangely, I just think about that person and my feelings completely crystallize me!  Just like some people know by the clothes they have on (that’s me in a few cases), my FEELINGS or memories help me.

So, Mo and everyone else, it ISN’T that you HAVE to have an internal roll call with names and separate memories and completely different feelings.  Remember, it’s a continuum.

And just because you don’t always know why your feelings are a little left-of-center, doesn’t mean that this isn’t REAL.  It is.

That Periodic Denial

“It’s like it was so much easier to be in denial and block things out when no one else knew, now that three doctors that I deal with know and act like its so run of the mill, the most natural thing in the world to be like this, I freak and the blanket of denial is moth eaten, and no longer can block things out.”

Oh Mo (hugs).  Yes.  That’s me.  So common.  Welcome.

Often I want to run back to denial because it was easier.  Pushing through this is hard.  I didn’t realize sometimes how hard.  Sometimes I tell my mom and my therapist I’m gonna shove it back in the box, knowing full well that I really can’t anymore.  But sometimes I wish I could.

Your docs who thinks this is “the most natural thing in the world.”  I have to chuckle – my meds doc is just like that, and I was AMAZED!  He was so matter-of-fact!  It shocked me, but also continues to give me a foundation for myself. Sometimes it gives me strength to grasp that SOMEONE who is an expert has no doubt!  I keep thinking of him – Cami, this is real.  (Read: Accepting a Diagnosis of DID.)

… (oh, hugging me and you) … there is just so much I want to say in response to your comment.  There is such pain and confusion, but so a normal part of the process.

Beginning to see yourself(ves)

“I freak and the blanket of denial is moth eaten, and no longer can block things out.”

Wonderful imagery – this sentence is why I wanted to expand your comment into a post.

Your struggle is clear, but this sentence went into my heart because it feels to me like there is hope in you.  Not sure why I feel this way – like you are allowing yourself to peek through.  You aren’t looking for a new blanket.  I dunno – it feels like healthy progress to me.

Is the blanket really “moth eaten”?  Are the holes you peek through ragged on the edges because some meddling insect is picking away at you?

My therapist would ask me about the moths.  Are they bad things?  Good things?  I’m not a therapist, but maybe you should take that line you wrote up there and talk about the imagery.  Truly.

Accepting how you help yourself

“And now I have a fractured heel from running too much, but get this no pain at all, and apparently someone went to sports doc to get it looked at and is doing all these things on my behalf and I feel like my life is being totally run by someone else, I hate it, but yet when I say to myself enough, take control, I can’t seem to face things enough to be able to do it.”

That is scary, and it does scare me when something happens and I don’t have full memory of it.  Freaks me too, because I am so afraid I might have done something I wouldn’t do normally.  But most of the times I can at least watch from the background.  But, think about what you did – part of you helped you.  You were hurting and part of you helped remove your pain.  This is amazing!

(Okay, it would be even more amazing if you could remember it, I know.  But at least part of you isn’t doing self-injury while you aren’t there.)

Can you ask yourself inside to allow you to at least watch?  It might feel funny like you are talking to nothing, but you never know who is listening.

Your question of taking control … first thing is awareness.  My therapist and my husband have helped me reconstruct my missing memories by walking backwards from what I remember.  And walking forward to see what triggered me.  I have one trigger in particular that I have learned very well, and I don’t lose time much anymore because I can SEE IT COMING.  But that did take time to learn … but I DID IT!  I can SEE now what used to cause lost time.

Holding your own hand

“Sorry for rambling, my brain feels like its going to explode.”

Ramble all you want.  Rambling is good – getting your thoughts out.  Getting validation.  The exploding stuff – writing doesn’t help me when my head is going to explode, but I am learning things I can do to diffuse that sometimes.  Loud thumping music.  Sitting in a cold river.  Exercise.  Explore with your therapist things that might help YOU when you get to that explode state (and “explode state” is NORMAL!!!).

“I guess my question is how does one even get to the starting line of said race, dressed and ready to go with no fear :)

Another wonderful sentence in so many ways.  You have such hope I can see, but such fear of the unknown.

The first thought put into in my mind, from another part of me, is to tell you, “Mo, you’ve already started.  You’re past the starting line.  There is no dress code – what you are wearing is fine.  And having fear is something required to get you to the starting line to begin with.”

Give yourself a small smile and a hug.  Truly, you are further along than you give yourself credit for.

Here is a quote that helps me:

“In recovery, sometimes there are no answers…just healthy fear.” – Tollefson, “What Recovery is Not

– ∞ –

See also:

Table of Contents for all blog posts
Review: “What Recovery is Not” – Tollefson
Flame-Quenching “Move Along” Standard Disclaimer

Guest Book and Introductions



  rdrunner68 wrote @

oh Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. That Tollefson quote, believe it or not a part actually printed a whole page on that out for me to see, I have no idea where it came from. She also told me she posted here, but not what she said, and I dont know what she posted under. When I say told, she writes me things, and I can and do hear her, have for a long time, but T said we are very very alike, (hard to tell the difference)same voice which is why I guess I thought is was my own conscious talking.

The truth is I have been aware of over the years alot more then I have been willing to admit I guess. (rationalised away everything, I mean Id rather have a brain tumour than DID right or auditory hallucinations).I have allowed myself to peek through but withdraw in complete fear induced panic.

My Primary Doc actually is saying now that she will order MRI on head if it helps me to come to terms with things. Have not given her an answer yet whereas if she had offered that a few months ago I would have said yes right away.

Last session T asked to speak to the part that posted in here, apparently she has been doing alot of good stuff to help me and been around a lot, I freaked, said no way, no way dont do this…and T said ok no problem, she understood my fear…..see what I dont get is this part seems to be always aware, but where the hell do I go when she is in the body, I mean I know the body is still there, but where do I go. Even this part has said she cant find me if she checks inside….anyway despite my freaking out at T request to speak to this part, and her backing off, it happened anyway.
Im not worried about this part doing something stupid (at least I think). I am told she is very responsible, wanting to help and move things forward and apparently got excellent marks with “outstanding” written remarks in a course I was supposed to be taking :).

I guess I am going through various stages and will finally reach acceptance. Done the depression, I feel I am at the beginning of anger, then acceptance is next right ?

I guess the hardest one is my Primary Doc, who I have had for nearly 20 years, so she really knows me and I actually trust her, accepts it, believes it, and says it actually explains alot, and she told me that my T has told her the prognosis is good, as I am smart, which is really up for debate in all reality(the smart part at least:)). I guess I am considered high functioning :). Dont know if she would have said that if she saw me a few weeks ago, could barely get out of bed, but I guess I did and manage to push through it, and the increase in meds has started working also.

Thanks again Emily, I know I will get through this, no choice really, I have two wonderful children. My P doc tells me I am a very strong person, I wish I felt that way about myself, but she said all though it would be a long haul she had no doubt I would get through it. coming from her, I can accept it as a genuine sincere comment, now I just have to believe that myself.

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

I guess I am going through various stages and will finally reach acceptance. Done the depression, I feel I am at the beginning of anger, then acceptance is next right ?

For a long time, I tried to extrapolate the next step – the next milestone. I think in most cases I was wrong! Not in a bad way, but because it is so hard to see outside yourself, and *** realization for me *** it is hard to see what IS a milestone until you are passed it and you understand why it was so important. … and also because *milestones* may be different for each part of you. That’s hard.

So, I suggest not thinking in a linear fashion of depression … anger … acceptance. I think this is simplistic. Translation – it all happens in cycles – sorry to say – depression mixed with anger mixed with acceptance at any point in time. RECOGNIZING WHY you feel each of these at any given time is a key to understanding yourself. (IMHO)

(Regarding your primary doc and your T .. ) Yeah, I am in a hard place now where I am cycling daily between the “hard to get out of bed” and then about 5pm “What’s the big deal, let’s get some stuff done.” I think they all recognize this is typical, so don’t worry about what they would say if they saw any phase. (Although I personally know that is very very hard in that therapy room.) I hope the meds are working, but look inside too to see how the meds affect you totally inside.

My P doc tells me I am a very strong person, I wish I felt that way about myself, but she said all though it would be a long haul she had no doubt I would get through it. coming from her, I can accept it as a genuine sincere comment, now I just have to believe that myself.

Wow – what a wonderful and genuine note of support for you. I am told the same thing – that I am a strong person – and it IS hard to hear and believe when you are in such pain. My mom just this morning wrote something similar to me, and at first I rejected it as some sort of platitude, and then I realized it was genuine and yes, it was true. So yeah, believe in yourself. I am trying to do the same. Hugs.

  mo wrote @

I have been thinking about the moth thing, and some of your comments. Intially the idea/thought completely escaped me, but I am actually terrified of moths dont really know why except I find them big and hairy and for some reason they freak me out, I am not really afraid of any other insects etc. so it is weird in a sense. What is even weirder is that it took me several days to remember that. Something similar happened in therapy recently the second session with new T. She was taking a history which is funny when you consider mine is so fragmented. Anyway she was asking about abuse in my family, I listed off the usually alcoholic, eating disorders, depression, drug addiction whatever, but never mentioned sexual abuse. Now I have never been in denial it has happened in my family, but at that point in time, this fact was not even in my head . It was not until I saw an email from part to T or should say assisting T saying that there was abuse in family, that I thought how did I not tell her that, I have never been in denial about that.. this part is the one that told old T to hit the road apparently, and then contacted and asked this T to take us on as patients. Here in Canada health care is very different and there is a shortage of shrinks never mind shrinks that specialize in DID, anyway this T agreed to take us on and I am working with both her and a nurse practitioner who she supervises,. I see them both next week, and they will be basically going over treatment plan with me.
When I read emails sent to this T from part I was freaked but in awe at the same time, she is far more assertive and direct than I could ever be. By doing this she managed to by pass us through a huge waiting list to see this T. From what I can tell she does have abuse memories but can still be so feisty, and recognise what she needs and is not afraid to ask for what she needs.

I probably could learn alot from her, and T says she knows alot about inside, but I am so afraid as she seems to have such a strong personality, that I am afraid she will take over, and it will be the end of me, which I know is not rational, she is really trying to help, but I told T that i feel like nobody cares about how I am feeling in all this, that this part seems to be getting all of the attention for lack of a better term, which I understand why to a point, as what I was told that this part can be extremly helpful to all of us by telling them things about inside. I get that but I dont have to like it 🙂
Rambling again sorry

  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Hi Mo – I’ve heard of many cases where a part will write or talk directly to the therapist to get over humps or to get “useful” (perhaps) information out on the table. It has happened to me once with my last therapist, and I have written a couple emails (well, forwarded a couple of these blog entries) to the new one.

I’ve been a little nervous about who I will end up “being” in the end. I hope overall happier and more aware of everything. I personally don’t think it will be the end of *me* but hopefully being able to access the good parts. You said:

From what I can tell she does have abuse memories but can still be so feisty, and recognise what she needs and is not afraid to ask for what she needs.

That actually sounds positive in a couple ways. First, she has information that can help all of you, and she shares – maybe stuff that is harder for you to vocalize. Also, you said she asks for what she needs. My therapist has said that healing includes listening to what the needs are inside – needs are different. Perhaps she has a need that you are just unaware of, and that you might not know for a while. But, it is a part of you with some sort of healing to do, so maybe try not to be so worried about being taken over? If she gets the healing she needs … maybe things will feel less competitive (probably not the right world)?

Not sure that makes sense with what you are going through, but I am also struggling with this idea of trying to ask questions when I am not driving the bus.
Good luck….

  mindparts wrote @

Yes, it certainly is a marathon. Honestly, some days I feel like I cannot continue. Yet, I push on.



  Emily’s Camigwen wrote @

Hi Paul – you’re right. We have to keep telling ourselves this, even though at times it just seems impossible to even conceive of a finish line. (Although for me, picturing the finish line of a 26.2 mile marathon is about in the same category!) Thanks for writing. I am checking out your blog now.

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