Alter Post: Scary Spider Knockout Story

GOOD MORNING, AFTERNOON, EVENING,

I am writing this the day after it happened.  Please excuse the spelling and grammar errors.  I am not as good at writing as some of the other parts or alters.  On the inside, we are a family system working together to create a unified self.  Each of us plays an important role in making sure our system functions well.  My job is to protect us from the rapists and torturers.

I know those males and females aren’t physically part of our life now.  The adults in our system work hard to keep us safe that way.  I am ageless.  So are my partners. Age is meaningless to us because it is not necessary to our jobs.  We protect and support the parts who struggle with the difficult memories.  They are often stuck in the past and don’t remember we are safe when the flashbacks and nightmares hit.

Yesterday was a unique experience.  My partners and I don’t usually spend time outside.  It’s scary and always changing.  But I came out yesterday morning.  A blond spider got into the house earlier in the week and kept scaring the child parts.

We kept seeing a shadow move out of the corner of our eye and couldn’t tell if it was real or fake.  Spiders in general tend to scare us.  The males and females who hurt us liked to put spiders on us and then scare the spiders into biting.  Being tied up or held down meant no escape from them.  Before that, no one had issues with spiders.  Now it’s different.  Years of spider torture took its toll on us.

So what happened?

The spider climbed onto our bed and then our body.  Most of us were sleeping.  Staying awake and keeping busy Saturday took a lot out of everyone.  But Some of the kids are early risers and were playing when they felt something climbing on their leg.  They tried to brush it off, but it wouldn’t go away.

Someone opened their eyes and saw a spider on us.  Maybe there was a scream.  Maybe just panic.  That part is blurry.  The kids panicked, and rolled around trying to get the spider off.  Someone ran to get help.  I took over and got the spider off, but not before it bit us on the leg hard enough to leave a penny-sized red welt.

Yes, we are allergic to spider bites. I grabbed the closest hard object and tried to kill it, but the blankets were too soft.  It ran off the bed and disappeared on to the floor.  I grabbed our slippers and left to find the electric bug zapper while other parts scrambled to comfort the kids and other distressed parts.

The spider bite sent most of us into panic mode. Adrenaline surged.  The not always human parts joined me in the spider hunt.  By now, no one would feel safe until that spider died.  So it had to die.  But the apartment suddenly heated up to boiling.  Sweat poured off our head and face like in a sauna.  And everything itched.

On the way back to our bedroom someone stopped and turned on the air conditioner.  Then we stumbled back to bed and passed out.  Why?  The adrenaline combined with anxiety and fear shut down our senses for a time.  Gives our body a break and time to relax until coordination and movement came back.

Soon as it did, the spider hunting continued.  I found it hanging on the open window and used electricity to zap it dead.  Unfortunately, the spider was on the other side of the screen when it curled up and died.  I shut the window to keep the cool air in and went back to sleep.

The caretakers took over and used some meditation and DBT techniques to help calm everyone down.  Then we took turns telling stories about how the brave young girls and boys grew up to be strong adults who fought evil.  Some stories got acted out as dramas; got told under starry skies.  And everyone took turns killing the evil spider monsters and the demons who created them.

This took most of the day.  I think the adults in charge woke us up 4 times after the spider bite to make sure we ate and used the bathroom.  And someone turned off the air conditoner.  One of us downloaded books and tried to read, but we were too tired to pay attention.

This morning, the adult in charge woke up and noticed the spider bite.  She didn’t know how it got there because last weekend was her vacation.  After we told her the story and how no one felt comfortable using the shower without supervision from someone in charge of body care, she found someone to help us out.

We took a hot shower and picked out nice clothes for work.  The spider bite stopped itching too.  All of us felt good about how this was handled.  No one got hurt.  There weren’t any accidents.  The meditation worked.  We survived the flashbacks, nightmares, and body memories of the day to still be able to work today.

So cool…I finally figured out why the last few posts had weird formatting.  Have to remember to share with the other posters

Coping Strategies: Spirituality and Meditation for Fear

My first experience with this quote came from reading the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  I love this series because the characters are tested and allowed to grow in spite of or because of their internal and external struggles to live in an uncertain world.  Happy ever after comes at a price, and these characters make choices throughout each book to define and fight for their happy ever after.

I read this quote and think about my internal conflict to work with my parts instead of against them to do what is best for all of us.  Each part of me likes to think about choices before deciding on a course of action.  This way, we are not in doubt and do not have regrets.

Choices are important to us.  Knowing we have choices lessens our fear of the unknown.  

And reminds us to believe in faith.

Having faith in a higher power feels wrong sometimes.  The people who raised us believed in the many versions of the one true God and His related religions.  I am skeptical of any organized religion.  My parts flat-out disbelieve in organized religion of any kind.

But we accept that not everyone feels this way and respect other people’s religious beliefs.

At times like this, when all of us on the inside are experiencing conflict, confusion, and fear, we all turn to our faith in the higher power.  The one who gave us our intelligence, strength, empathy, and resilience as children and showed us how to use them as we aged.

We are not religious in the traditional sense.  Sometimes the fear and rage overwhelm our good sense.  Then one of us gives in to the confusion and fear.  React without stopping to think first.  The only goal is to make “it” (fear, confusion, conflict) go away.  We don’t have any choices.  “It” is now in control of body and mind with only one goal: hurt anyone and everyone in both worlds out of revenge and hatred before everything dies.

Scary isn’t it?  The “it” is actually me, or all of us, believing what the abusers taught us to believe about ourselves.  And for a long time, that persona is who the outside world interacted with.  That persona is only a small part of all of us, one created to protect us and remind us of all the rules we needed to follow in order to survive.

And now, every part of me is breaking that rule…and the others beaten into us as children.  The backlash is horrible. It feels and acts differently because this time all parts are involved.  It used to be only one or a few parts were suffering, so our therapist could help the ones involved process the memories and move to a better place.  Eventually, we all learned to help each other move there in between therapy sessions because sometimes the time between sessions is too long to wait.

We are breaking the rules.  All of them.  And living by our values instead.  The punishment hurts.  There is no escape or distraction.  Not this time.  Not when everyone is experiencing the same feelings, thoughts, sensations.  And not when self-care, self-soothing, and all of the other coping strategies mentioned before bring more anxiety instead of relieving it.

So what to do?

I and my parts go to the one coping strategy that never fails us:

Spirituality or belief in a higher power

That means Buddhism for us.  For you, maybe it’s something else.  Buddhism offers choices and opportunities to learn as we challenge our thoughts and perspectives about everything while also teaching us how to cope with suffering.

Reader’s Digest

Right now I feel a soul deep anger combined with a fear of the unknown as I acknowledge my past and honor the experiences in every way before letting the memories and feelings go back to where they belong.  Remembering is hard because I and my parts still feel shame and hurt about the choices we had to make in order to survive.  Ivy Baker Priest (first quote) says it well.

For the first time ever, all 88 of us are feeling backlash at the same time.  We are breaking the rules beaten into us as children.  Rules for behavior, for thought, for living, for surviving.  They are not applicable anymore.  The pain that comes from breaking these rules comes out as fear, body memories, anger, shame, and hurt.  None of these are easy to let go of or soothe with traditional coping strategies.  So we turn to our faith in a higher power to help us get through.  That higher power is Buddhism.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s words and books help us a lot.  We hope they help you too.

Recovery & Life After Recovery

Who am I?

I am a survivor of long term domestic violence and various forms of abuse at the hands of family, friends and others from childhood to young adulthood.  Ten years ago, I started the recovery process.  Two and a half years ago, I finally separated from my abusers and am safe.  Now my focus is on life after recovery because, while recovery is a process I am still going through, my focus is more on living and thriving than merely surviving.

What is recovery, and what does it mean?

On this blog, recovery means reclaiming one’s life after experiencing trauma or traumatic events that impact and alter one’s life in negative ways.  For me specifically, this means domestic violence and abuse that caused complex posttraumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder.

What does life after recovery mean?

Life after recovery is that special place where a survivor can focus on putting her life back together, focus on living and thriving instead of surviving.  It means making friends, going back to school, building relationships, achieving goals, travel, dream jobs, financial security, having fun, or whatever your definition of living is to you.

So why this blog now?

Part of my recovery coping strategies and one of my values is being able to help others.  This blog is a safe place for me to write about and share my knowledge and experience with recovery and finding resources with others looking for help, and the website allows me to offer a safe place to find other kinds of resources (i.e. books, website links, hotline phone numbers, resource centers) for help, recovery, coping, and survival.  These resources come from my personal library or are recommended to me by trusted medical professionals.

The Reader’s Digest Version:

Welcome to the blog and website.  It offers a safe place for trauma survivors looking for help and resources related to recovery and life after recovery.  I am a survivor, not a medical professional, so these resources are options to be used in conjunction with professional help, not medical advice and therapy.  In the blog, I share my personal experiences with recovery and life after recovery from complex posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder and related topics.  Some might help, some might not.  Please use what you can and disregard the rest.