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Our selfs-driven writing challenge: reflection and integration.

Written by Berlou

We’ve been feeling stuck about our writing and healing for some time now. After our system was revealed, we descended into writing mania, and this lasted a couple of years - we (Mia) wrote countless Facebook posts, thousands of poems, three poetry books, a colour poetry book for littles (Berwoo and Lolly did that one), our reveal story (The revelation), and started countless other writing projects, including Mia’s novel ‘The Unicoracle’ (which she worked on for months, then forgot about).

But then we started struggling. Last year was difficult as we spent much of it waiting for things, and fighting for things - therapy and PIP. And grieving things ending - a huge loss was the yoga studio we’ve been going to for years closing, and the year ended with us having to move house after ten years, and we were more ‘stuck’ than ever. 

Moving house caused us to split a new person - we spent over a month packing and moving, ignoring the ‘bad’ feelings and just doing what needed to be done, but when we got into the new house we found Mona - and she held all the pain we’d buried while moving. 

We had started therapy finally though, through the NHS and CTAD. That was hard for a few weeks, we felt like we were doing it wrong, we felt like we were coming to therapy in a strange place - we healed so much trauma in 2021, and my trauma (the big one that caused our DID) in 2022. So what’s the therapy for? We know we need it - we’re still a mess, but that’s mostly because we’re a we and we’ve been isolated for a long time, and we don’t know how to be, or what to do, in this world. We need help.

A week ago we decided to set ourselves a writing challenge, we quickly gave ourselves prompts to write from each day for a week, and decided to write a haiku and a short social media post for each prompt. Our prompts were:

Monday: Starting again 

Tuesday: Finding joy

Wednesday: Gratitude 

Thursday: Don’t think: do

Friday: Honouring the process

Saturday: Reflecting 

Sunday: Integration 

We did well, and did it for ourselves, not the likes. We wrote each day and found ourselves enjoying the process, it was a collaborative effort as we found some of us were more inspired by some of the prompts than others. We learned we find joy in many places, and have an abundance of gratitude for things in our life - when we’re able to feel these feelings. 

Joy and gratitude aren’t always available to us, as anyone who’s been through the process of healing decades-old trauma, and living with a dissociative disorder, will know. We are especially affected by our hormones, and routinely are debilitated each month by PMDD (severe PMS), add in our natural rollercoaster state of our emotions, and our capacity to do anything fluctuates a lot. But we’re trying to get some kind of routine, start writing, remembering to feel joy and gratitude, and hopefully ultimately become more functional as a human. 

Our prompt of ‘Don’t think: do’ allowed us to reflect on our processes of doing anything - we struggle to start anything because we’ve started so many things and given up before we’ve even fully got going with them (thanks ADHD). So we tried to just do it, but we learnt that that isn’t the complete answer for us - we need to learn to plan and schedule, but that alone feels like a big effort we can’t quite wrap our head around at the moment, so maybe don’t think: do is the best we’ve got at the moment - us trying to stop overthinking and start actually doing things, and it might be working…

We managed to complete this challenge, until yesterday, when I started writing for reflection and realised my rambling was too much for an Instagram post. We had other energy-consuming things to do yesterday though, so I decided to amalgamate reflection and integration into a blog post. We still need to do the haikus though.

So, how do we integrate what we’ve learnt this week into our daily life? Fortunately, targetted ads helped here, and we saw a Daily Om course advertised on Facebook - ‘A Year of Writing to Reveal Who You Really Are’: 52 written and audio lessons with several journaling/writing prompts for each lesson, so starting tomorrow we’ll dive into that, and probably share some of our writing on IG/FB or here as blog posts. 

It’s nice, because we’re doing this for us and we now know that we can introduce new things to our routine, and keep them going. Thanks to Mona we’ve been practicing yoga at home every morning for a few months, which has been something we’ve never managed, our old host Amber used to say she needed to pay someone to take her phone away and tell her what to do for an hour to practice yoga - but we’re doing it, alone, with Insight Timer, so we can see how much we’ve done each day.

We also signed up to do an in-person philosophy course that starts in May. Philosophy has always been an interest of ours so we’re excited for this, again we’re doing it for us, and while there’s fear about being around people, we need to start doing something - anything - out of the house, where there are people. We’ve emailed them and told them about our DID, that we can’t mask, and will need minor accommodations (mostly people to be aware that we’re many, we’ll dissociate at times, switch, be strange, and we might have small people around who will get bored - it’ll certainly be interesting if Tildy is present!)

Yesterday when I started writing for reflection, I quickly digressed into reflecting on our healing and the last three years, so (now we’re writing again) I’ll try to finish that as another blog post. 

We’re feeling positive about the changes we’ve made this week, we’ve shown ourselves that we can do things, we can write, we’ve started writing daily and we’re very hopeful we can keep this going. We also know that in a few days we’ll hit the bad bit of our month again, and might flail, and might feel useless, and might have to fight to keep going with this, and there’s a risk that if we miss a few days, we will forget we were even doing anything… So, we’ll try to keep it going, but we’ll have compassion for ourselves if we have some bad days, and we’ll hopefully manage to keep going on those days, even if it’s just sharing our misery. 

Embarking on our selfs-driven writing challenge has been a journey. Despite the ups and downs of our healing and the challenges we face as a system, we’ve discovered that we can set intentions and commit to them. Through our writing, we’ve explored themes of starting again, finding joy, expressing gratitude, and taking action. We’ve learnt to navigate our complexities, embracing both our strengths and limitations.

As we look ahead, we’re eager to incorporate what we’ve learned into our daily life, embracing a new writing routine, saying yes to things - instead of overthinking and letting them pass us by. We’re taking proactive steps towards personal growth and selves-discovery. While we acknowledge that there may be setbacks along the way, we’re committed to approaching ourselves with compassion and understanding, knowing that every step forward, and word written, is progress for us.

~ Berlou


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