Making progress.

Okay, it’s time for some kind of mega post bringing my life up to date and organizing my thoughts. I really need to get this out of my way so I can start posting again without feeling like I have a mountain of things unsaid.

Divorce sucks. I think I’m going to be happier on the other side of this, but right now it sucks. My ex and my former best friend seem to be trying hard to make me miserable; I’ve been trying to reach out and connect with my older friends, but if they know either of them then it’s hopeless. I don’t know what they’re telling people to get everyone to hate me, but it must be awful. However, the treatment has definitely shown me that, whatever brought this about, it wasn’t 100% my fault. The kind of behavior she’s been exhibiting isn’t good, whatever the reason. It’s hard for me to accept that she isn’t the person I thought she was all these years, but the thing that I’ve realized is that our relationship had some problems. I know I don’t know the full story, but it’s evident that she was knowingly in a relationship with one of my alters and hiding the disorder from me, which is… awful. I feel immensely violated. I’m asexual and I thought she was okay with that, and having my body used for that relationship feels horrible. But, it’s over now. I’ve made peace with the alter involved, and she has been immensely apologetic.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve come to a sort of tentative peace with what has happened. It’s obvious that my relationship with my wife had some major flaws. So this isn’t me losing a perfect relationship that is never ever going to happen again, this is me gaining the knowledge, and illuminating the fact that my relationship was never perfect. It’s still painful, but one of the truths I hold to is that more knowledge is never bad, so while I will mourn the relationship, I will miss the good times we had together, I’m learning more about myself and that is good.

Most of my friends in the area won’t talk to me now, and that’s really disheartening. I have one friend who still treats me well, and I’m very grateful to her. I’ve been reconnecting with some of my older friends from before I even moved to my current location, and that’s been mixed. Most of them hate me now because of my heathen ways, but there are a few I’ve started talking to again, and it’s like no time has passed, and they have been absolutely wonderful.

Honestly, one of the things that I’m most upset about losing is my D&D game. My brother-in-law runs it, and he may be the world’s best GM. But, my sister has decided that my DID makes me dangerous, so I’m not welcome at their apartment anymore. Or, at least, that’s what she says, although I have a hard time buying it. She was perfectly fine with me when I was afraid that I had dissociated and been violent towards my wife, but decided I was some kind of monster when she found out that my alters had sent some messages to my wife before they realized that she didn’t want to hear from them either. I can’t really talk to her anymore; when I tried, every single conversation just led to more pain. She directly blames me for the actions of my alters, and has very little sympathy to offer for the bullshit that’s been happening. I know that when it all was going down my ex was close to her and they probably spent a lot of time together, and my sister probably got a lot of my ex’s perspective, so I guess it’s to be expected. It still hurts. My siblings and I have always had pretty shallow relationships, and that sister is the one I’d started to open up to, and it sucks that it’s backfired so hard.

I’ve managed to line up work. I have two jobs organized; one is for a global cloudsourced customer service company that I can work from home for. That one’s full time, the other is a part time typist position for some real estate title company in town. Neither is great, but they’ll pay the bills. I should be starting work in the next couple of weeks, and will be able to finally get out of this house.

I’m doing much much better than I was a few weeks ago. Getting work lined up took a lot of weight off, I’d started to really worry about that. But even better, last week I realized that since I’ll primarily be working from home, that means transitioning is an option far sooner than I’d planned for, since I won’t have to worry about workplace discrimination. The second job emphasizes their flexibility so I don’t expect it to be a problem, and frankly if it is a problem, screw them I don’t actually need the second job, it’ll just help me stabilize faster. So now I’m really excited about the prospect of being able to start HRT and building my new wardrobe and adjusting my appearance.

So I was talking to a wonderful old friend, and she brought up an obvious possibility that I hadn’t thought of. I don’t have to stay here. I can move, I can go anywhere. I don’t have many belongings, everything I own would easily fit in my car. My main job is extremely portable. I don’t have to get an apartment in town, I can get an apartment… anywhere. And beyond this current job, which I view as mostly temporary, my career skills are also very portable – literally everyone needs good 911 dispatchers. It’s an interesting thought. One of my friends is trying to sell me on Iowa, which is apparently a very surprisingly trans-friendly state.

It’s an encouraging thought. I never really liked Florida. I don’t like the weather, and I hate the culture here. I have lots of bad memories, and thanks to my ex not many friends. My reasons for staying here are mostly gone. Family, friends, job, and my D&D game. Well, half my family has moved away anyway, I literally have one local friend left, my job doesn’t matter, and my sister thinks I’m a monster so I can’t go to D&D anymore. Plus, my dad’s here, and while he’s been acting so much better lately, I have a hard time trusting that, and… frankly, he still scares me. I told him when I was six or seven that I wanted to be a girl, and his response was to threaten to kill me if I ever acted on it or brought it up, which led to a terrified lifetime of acting as masculine as I could, afraid that a missed step would result in death. He’s acting very accepting now, but I’m not completely sure I’m safe now that I’m open, he’s always been able to put on a good act. I’m painfully aware that I’m kind of an ideal homicide target; I’m depressed, going through a divorce, and have recently attempted suicide, it would be trivial for him to get away with it if he wanted to. I don’t *think* I’m actually in danger, but I’m not sure I’m not, either, and being afraid all the time isn’t healthy. Getting away from here, going far away, would help me feel safer I think, and that would make a big difference for my overall progress.

Anyway, it’s been a really bad few months, but I do think I’m on an upward trend again. The hope that I’ll be able to be me soon is amazing. My divorce hearing is on the 7th, and that’s not really real to me yet… I’m sure that I’ll be a mess that week, and I still have bad days or, more commonly, bad nights, but I really think that I’ve turned the corner and I’ll be able to make it. I’m thinking of the future again, not just the past, and that feels significant. I’ve had energy again! I’ve been working out – well, trying to work out, I’m so out of shape that five minutes of effort wipes me out – and taking better care of myself. I actually cooked a meal like a goddamn adult the other night! It was a nice change from my diet of mostly frozen burritos interspersed with cheap pizza, and was the first time I’d been up for even trying anything that ambitious since the day she left me. If that’s not a mark of progress, I don’t know what is.

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Procrastination

I want to write more. I really do. But I’m not going to tonight.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I keep wanting to blog more but right now it’s just… there’s so much, that trying to sit down and catch up with what’s going on is too daunting of a task. I’ll get around to it soon.

Isolating

I’m doing very very poorly today. Really this whole week. I’m trying so hard to hold onto the future but I can’t stop thinking about the past. I see myself closing off more and more. I’ve been pushing people away, the people who are actually kind and compassionate and want to help, and I hate that I’m doing it. I’m seriously considering stopping therapy. I’m obviously broken beyond repair so what’s the point? I’ve hurt everyone who cares about me, and I don’t even really know how or what I did so i can’t prevent it. Isn’t the right thing to do to try to keep people from caring about me to minimize the damage I do?

My sister’s probably right. Her take on my whole situation has been that I’m just too broken for relationships, that I’d become codependent and it’s all my fault. I’ve tried to help people my whole life but I’ve always failed. I wanted to protect my siblings and failed. I wanted to work hard so that my wife could focus on her writing, and failed at that too. I wanted to protect people and help people by working at 911, but was too broken to keep working there. Everyone in my life has hurt me or hated me, and they can’t all be wrong.

The thing is that I know this is at least partially wrong, that I’m seeing the world through a depression filter. But the part of me that can fight against it is getting smaller and smaller each day. On my good days when the depression isn’t as strong, I realize that I should be trying to strengthen connections, not pushing people away. But those days are rare right now. Maybe things will get better when I get employment and get my own place, I know this house is really really unhealthy for me, and is no doubt coloring my perception even further. I’m doing everything I can to get there, I’ve put in hundreds of job applications, and am still applying for everything I can find.

On my good days I know better, but on my bad days, I can’t see it. I just see the harm I’ve apparently done to everyone around me, and all the ways I’ve failed. And then I start pushing people away because I feel I have to protect them from myself. I don’t know. Maybe I just want someone to care enough to push back, to not let me cut them off. I know that’s asking too much of course, I don’t deserve their kindness, much less kindness in the face of active attempts to push them away. I don’t know how to stop it though. When I’m in that kind of foul mood, all of my logical understanding that it’s wrong goes out the window and the feelings take over. I wish I had better discipline but right now I just don’t, I don’t know how to fight this.

Oh well. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I really am just too broken for relationships and it’s better if I’m alone. I don’t want to hurt more people, and I know I don’t deserve the kind of effort it would take to push through my crazy and get to me anyway. I’ve never felt so lonely as I do lately, but it’s better to do no harm.

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Ramble

I’m having a really difficult day today, so I thought I’d start writing and see what shakes out. I’m not entirely sure why today should be any worse than any other day, nothing in particular is going on. I’m just kind of… sad and numb and kind of mellow. It’s strange, when I’m really upset, I can kind of turn that into motivation to do something about it, but right now I just feel like I’ve been sapped of all energy and passion and nothing matters. I mean that’s depression, but this just seems worse today, and I don’t know why.

It’s probably just that nothing is happening, nothing is changing. I feel very stagnant and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m putting in job applications every day and hoping something lines up, but other than that, there is very little that I can do.

No, that’s wrong, there’s plenty that I could do, I just won’t. I could go for a walk, go swimming, get some exercise, get some sun, and move. Sitting at my computer all day surely isn’t helping me with feeling stagnant. I just… can’t care enough to actually do any of those things. I’ve barely been able to make sure I eat lately.

Hmm. Let’s see, what else is on my mind?

My dad’s out of town today and will be getting back sometime tomorrow. I feel guilty about how much of a relief that is. He’s been kind and supportive through this whole crisis and hasn’t done anything wrong. I wish I was able to get over what happened so many years ago and judge him by his actions today, but I can’t. I’m constantly having nightmares and reliving past events, and I don’t know how to change that.

Actually it’s kind of weird. I’m having a really hard time accepting his behavior now, it just doesn’t jive with what I remember. It almost makes me doubt my own memories. I don’t have very much faith in my own sense of reality, maybe things weren’t that bad when I was growing up and I just made things up? That’s an upsetting thought. I think it would almost be easier if I could still see the monster I grew up with in him, at least I’d feel somewhat validated, but instead I just feel like a crappy person because I’m not treating him better, and I’m complaining to people about how horrible it is to be here, when he’s letting me stay here for free and being so kind.

I don’t know. Realistically, I wouldn’t have DID if I hadn’t been abused, so I think that logically I can deduce that my memories can’t be too far off the mark, but it’s so bizarre to me that there’s been such a change in such a short time. Maybe he’s just acting, trying to convince me that he’s changed so that I’ll go back to participating in his “big happy family” scenario we all bought into for so long. I don’t know.

I really miss my social activities. I used to go to a tabletop RPG game twice a week, but I can’t anymore. My ex is there, and it wouldn’t be pleasant, even if my sister hadn’t banned me from the apartment. Plus, at least one of the other people there seems to have bought into whatever she’s telling people and has blocked me, etc. Yet another former friend gone without me having any kind of chance to explain things. It’s hard not having the game session though, that was where I got most of my socializing in, and I haven’t really found anything to replace it.

It’s so hard to keep moving forward right now. All I can do is just go through the motions of life and hope that some day they’ll have meaning again, but every day it’s harder and harder to do that. I’ve been having a really hard time finding reasons to keep going, except that I know if I stop I won’t be able to start again.

I’ve never been very good at making friends. I need to find more people to connect with, I just… I’m hardly able to drag myself out of bed most days, much less try to go out and meet people. And I’m not even really sure where I’d go. I’m not the sort of outgoing person who can just go hit a club and make new friends. I suppose I’ll make friends out of some of my coworkers, whenever I manage to get work. It’s hard to see myself ever really getting close to anyone again though, after what has happened with my ex and my best friend. I don’t want to close off the world and go back to how I was before, but I see it happening, and I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t even have Shenai anymore, since she “died” she hasn’t shown up once. My therapist thinks maybe since I’d really connected with my wife and best friend and really opened up to them, I didn’t need the “close friend” alter anymore? I could sure use her now.

Anyway. Sorry for this depressing ramble, I guess I don’t really have anything to say other than how much everything sucks right now. People keep saying things will get better with time and I’m trying to believe that, but so far things have just gotten progressively worse.

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Update: relationships, employment.

I haven’t been writing as much as I want to. It’s weird, I have nothing but time right now, but I wrote so much more back when i was busier.

So things are really bad right now. My wife’s divorcing me. I don’t really understand why, she’s been very non-communicative – she hasn’t been willing to talk once for the last couple of months. I believe that it’s something we could work out, but she doesn’t want to, so there isn’t much I can do. It’s horribly upsetting to me; I don’t really know what I did wrong. I think it’s likely related to the DID that I’ve discovered that I have. She claims that she thinks I’ve been manipulating her, because she found out that Shenai was never “real.”

Shenai is one of my alters, and was one of my best friends for most of my life. As it turns out, she was an imaginary friend when I was very young, and I’ve been emailing and chatting online with myself. I could understand that being very upsetting to my wife to discover, but her assertion that she thinks I’ve been using Shenai as some kind of alias to manipulate her doesn’t make sense. I’ve found evidence that she’s known about the DID for ages, and regularly and knowingly interacted with my alters.

I know for a fact that she has watched me at my computer talking to Shenai. While it’s very confusing to me, the only way this could have worked was if I was logged into two chat clients and literally talking to myself, while only being aware of “my” activity. I know that she’s watched me talking to Shenai, because she’s suggested things to say while looking at my screen – she has to have seen me “being” Shenai long ago.

Additionally, she’s been talking to a few of my friends. All of my close friends were close to her too. I don’t know what she’s been telling people, but my best friend and a few others won’t talk to me at all anymore. No explanation, no attempt to get my side of the story. It’s very very frustrating to lose these friendships that meant everything to me.

In any case. There isn’t anything I can do about that. I’m sure she has her reasons for handling things the way she is. I’m doing my best to just accept it and move on. The hardest part about it is that this whole thing went down while I was unemployed – my wife had encouraged me to take a break from work in order to focus on my therapy and recovery and transition, so that I could go back to work as a new person. She didn’t give me any warning at all, any window to seek new employment, and she cancelled my insurance with hardly any notice. Financially I’m in a very bad position. My dad is letting me stay at his house, which is very kind of him, but this is a horrible place for me emotionally. Too much has happened here for me to feel remotely safe. He’s being very nice, I don’t know whether it’s just an act or if he’s actually changed, but a couple of months of kindness does not eliminate the years of abuse.

So right now I’m living in a horrible place for me, without work, and without insurance. I’m searching for employment, I’d hoped to go back to the Sheriff’s office, but they’re taking forever with my application. I have a sad suspicion that they are debating whether I’m mentally sound for the job – they surely know about the two baker acts in the last year. It’s a valid concern, I can’t blame them for that. I’ve been putting in applications elsewhere as well, but have yet to hear back on any. My therapist has been amazingly kind, she’s giving me drastically reduced rates on my therapy, and is letting me run a tab until I get employed, but I don’t like adding to my debt even if it’s informal. I really hope I can get employment soon, preferably with good insurance, and get the hell out of this house and to my own place.

I just really wish I had somewhere else I could go, even for a short time. This house is just a constant tension and grating on my already extremely strained nerves. I want to get a little bit drunk so I can loosen up and cry things out, but I can’t bring myself to make myself any more emotionally vulnerable than I have to be while I’m here. I would have gone to my dear friend’s house for this, but she’s not talking to me anymore. I’d go to my sister’s house, but she’s decided that the DID makes me dangerous, so I’m not allowed to visit anymore. I feel like I have nowhere I can escape to, so the pressure just keeps building, and I don’t know how much longer I can handle it. I’m just going through the motions right now, hoping to get to where I can move out, but it’s getting harder every day.

It feels good to write again. I’ll try to post more often.

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Status Update: Mental Health

Trigger Warning: Dissociative Identity Disorder

Okay so I haven’t been keeping up on my blog. I’ll try to do better. There has been a ton going on in the last month or so.

The biggest update in terms of my mental health is that I have been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dissociative Identity Disorder is the new term for Multiple Personality Disorder. Basically, I’ve discovered that I have alternate personalities, which can take over from time to time.

This is incredibly surreal, and some of the things I’ve found out have severely shaken my faith in my own sense of reality.

Now, I’ve had this disorder for my whole life, and only recently noticed it. It seems that my alters have my best interests at heart, and are invested in keeping themselves hidden. From what I’ve read, this is relatively normal: DID operates in stealth mode, and doesn’t want to be noticed. I only noticed it because with the stress of the breakup and staying at my dad’s house, the symptoms got worse to the point that I was noticing time gaps in my own memory.

Typically, DID results from severe repeated abuse during childhood, which definitely happened. I think I can even recall the specifics: when I was very young and the abuse got to be too severe, I imagined that a “guardian angel” came and took me away from the situation. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that that “guardian angel” was my first alter.

The condition does not seem to be excessively disruptive. The times it manifests most strongly are when an extended period of interaction with my dad is called for. Every once in a while he’d ask me to help him with a project, and seeing as I’m staying at his place rent-free I can hardly refuse, but I can still barely look him in the face. Hours working with him would ordinarily be sure to induce a breakdown. However, on those occasions, it seems that an alter has taken over, and pretended to be me for the duration of the project. My brother says he can notice when I switch and can tell when an alter’s driving the old meat robot, but that it’s subtle.

Yeah. It’s really weird.

Probably the largest, most devastating discovery I’ve made about the DID is also the most bizarre. One of my close friends recently passed away, shortly before this whole mess started. She was a friend I’d made when I was very young, but who I had kept in touch with over the internet in the years since, e-mailing and chatting. As it turns out, she never existed. She was an imaginary friend when I was young, and became one of my own alters, and I had in fact been emailing and chatting with… myself.

I really don’t know what to make of that situation. My therapists says it makes sense, given that I had difficulty making friends, we moved a few times while I was growing up, and my dad kept me somewhat isolated. My subconscious was filling a need. But it is so bizarre to think that this person who I was so close to over my whole life was never actually there. And, I was still grieving over her death, and now I really don’t know what to think. Why would she have “died” in the first place, if she were just in my head? It’s been suggested that I no longer needed her, since I’d finally opened up more completely to my wife and close friends, but it seems like a dick move for my subconscious to slap me in the face with her dying, rather than a more graceful exit. And with everything that’s been going on, I don’t have access to the friends I’d opened up to anymore, so I wish she were still here.

Oh well. I did say it was bizarre.

I’m still coming to terms with a lot of things about this condition. I’ve managed to assuage most of my immediate worries; as my therapist was quick to point out, it doesn’t seem that any of my alters are excessively violent – after all, they’ve been around for my whole life, and I think if I’d ever switched and started hurting people I would know about it. Aside from the times that I lose hours because of interactions with my dad, my alters don’t seem to be excessively intrusive. They seem to express themselves over the internet, I imagine because that’s where they’re safe to establish a presence without the DID being obvious. I know that at least some of them have email addresses of their own, and have made friends online. It’s a medium that does minimal harm to me, so I’m okay with it.

From what I’ve researched, the treatment path for this condition is a lot of psychotherapy and hypnosis, but that the first step is simply getting to know my own alters, trying to open up communication with them so that we can establish an accord of sorts, so that’s what I’ve been working on. One of my alters is talking to me regularly, although I haven’t met any others. Once I have insurance again, which hopefully won’t be much longer, I’ll be able to establish a more complete treatment plan.

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