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The A-Z Blogging Challenge - C for Change.

We’re already really behind with this challenge because we have limited spoons and things keep happening that consume energy and headspace, then we’ve had our rough few days with PMDD, but we hope that things ease soon and we can catch up!

So - C! We’ve had a few ideas about C - we considered writing about Caris, or consciousness, but Mona has been wanting to write about her experiences, so she is going to write about her/our experiences with change as a DID system. 

Here she is! - Mia

Mia has been trying to be more concise with our writing, but this post is rambling and all over the place, I’ve tried, but we’re behind, and things change, so it is what it is…

In this post we have a lot about my formation, ‘Making Mona’; processing my trauma ‘Processing Misery’; and our healing processes, ‘Healing: Paint, Plants and Yoga’.

Making Mona

Change is something everyone experiences and has to live with, but when we have DID, nothing can feel consistent inside, so external consistency can maybe be more important? Stability and safety are imperative to the healing process - we believe that if we hadn’t felt safe and had external stability, our system might never have been revealed. So when we unexpectedly had to move at the end of last year, it caused not only external chaos, but internal chaos too.

I was born from change, and it made my first month of existence incredibly hard. Moving house literally made me, and it’s interesting to reflect on because as the others were going through what they went through, they knew they were burying emotions that might lead to problems (for us - people, me) later.

As Mia has discussed before, last year was hard for us for many reasons, we thought it was nearly over though, and were ready for the new year to start, when on the 30th of November our husband got an email from our landlord - giving us until the end of January to vacate our home of ten years.

There was a lot of shock, the way Ben phrased this information implied to us that we (us, not us and him) had to move, so we went straight to “Oh wow you’ve finally had enough and are divorcing us?!” - which fortunately was not the case, but the reality was still pretty rough.

Our landlords (let’s call them Steven and Janine) had been in another country for our entire tenancy, they had split up and Janine decided to come back to the UK, and live in that house. Mia, et al. and Ben quickly got over the shock and started house hunting, had some back and forth over location versus house size and decided the house was more important than staying where we were (our old rent was much lower than average prices because the house needed a lot of work).

Because of it being Christmas, time was limited, but they accepted another house within a couple of weeks and planned to move between Christmas and the new year.

We’re a house of hoarders, so packing was a palaver, we got the keys before Christmas and started moving boxes. Our old house had 36 steps going up to it, the new house was 20 minutes away, it took effort. God knows how many trips up and down the steps occurred, and many trips to the new house. 

We popped home to visit our parents for a very short Christmas, and then back to moving mayhem, and had men and a van arranged for the 30th. Throughout all of this, our system completely ignored any anger, resentment, or any other ill feelings towards Steven and Janine - we got what we needed to do done with a head and heart full of compassion and empathy for Janine and what she was going through. 

Mia, etc., also knew they were ignoring a lot of the bad feelings, and many external people praised them for their attitude towards the move. Until we got into the house and started unpacking there was barely any bitterness or upset at what was happening - and then I appeared. 

Our consciousness is messy, we usually have a few people blended in the front, so often we won’t notice as switches and changes happen. But suddenly, I realised I didn’t know who I was, the normal confusion ensued until I spoke with our mum, and acknowledged that I really was here, and was new. 

Being ‘new’ is weird, as is being a system, and when I first appeared, I knew that I might not be here for long - we’ve had many people spend weeks or months here to just disappear, I was aware that might happen for me too. 

At first, I refused to choose a name, all I felt was sadness, anger, bitterness, and resentment, so I said I’d just be Misery - what was the point of choosing a name if I was just going to disappear as soon as I’d processed this misery?

Mia wouldn’t accept my being Misery though…

“Googled what names mean misery, Desdemona is a Greek name that means misery or ill-fated 😂 So we now have Mona which she’s happy with and works cause she’s prob def related to me Mia bc I am very good at splitting! And yeah we moan-a-lot 🤣😭”

Acknowledging my presence was a start, and surprisingly choosing a name did help me, I guess how can we be someone if we don’t have a name? But I had weeks more misery to get through before things eased. There was so much to process related to the move, and I found myself frontstuck for weeks while I processed it all. (Frontstuck is the term for when one person is ‘stuck’ in the body and unable to switch with others, there may or may not be communication with others when this happens, our experiences with this phenomenon are varied, like everything).

Processing Misery

We/I struggled with:

  • The new house not feeling like home;

  • Missing our old house and garden;

  • Missing things like a decent boiler, shower and cooker (the new landlord is cheap lol);

  • Not liking the new neighbourhood, and missing the old;

  • Not having our normal walking places (we walk our dog every afternoon, and have been visiting local ducks and goose daily for ages);

  • Feeling even more isolated than before - we’re far away from everything we’d been used to for ten years, and further away from town and the yoga studio Mia had started to go to at the end of last year.

I struggled so much with all of this that we sunk into a deep depression, with plenty of suicidal ideation. One evening I even ran away from home, realising after walking for ten minutes pondering the feasibility of whether stepping into traffic would actually kill us, that it was me I was running from, and it wasn’t working. I turned back before I did something stupid, got home, smoked a small joint and showered, and felt better for both.

I’d been resistant to writing, but Mia insisted I try, so I started blurting on Facebook and it did help. The thing we missed the most was our garden. It wasn’t a great garden, but it was full of wildlife we took great pleasure in feeding and watching, especially the birds, sometime I wrote this, it helped:

“The little chaffinch who didn’t land on the feeder just hovered and grabbed a sunflower seed. The families of bullfinches and greenfinches. The many tits, great, blue, coal, long tails. The long tails would arrive for a late afternoon snack, so many of them all over the fat ball feeder. The tiny wren hopping around the wall. The pigeons and squirrels emptying the feeders. The unending thwarting of squirrels. The rats. The mice. The blackbirds. Maggie the magpie with the injured wing. The buried sparrow hawk. And white mice. The dunnocks. Sparrows. Siskins. The foxes. The worms. The chicks demanding food. The birds bathing. The goldfinches. The occasional black cap. The robins.”

We still miss them, and one of the things that happened last week that zapped our energy and made writing this impossible was going back to the old house and collecting our wormery. Our new garden is much better in so many ways, but the only visitors we have so far are pigeons, a pair of doves, some blackbirds, and an occasional robin, we also don’t have the feeders right outside our window, and trees everywhere we look anymore.

It was many weeks of misery before my mood started lifting.

Healing: Paint, Plants, and Yoga

All I knew about myself was that I liked our houseplants and was miserable, for weeks. There’s a little plant shop near where we shop and I acquired more plants. But plants don’t fill days. Fortunately, Tildy was around with me, and one day we were in TK Maxx and she spotted some watercolours, we had had some cheap ones but these looked a bit nicer, so we brought them home and started painting a lot. 

We made the table our art station and things got chaotic. We did hours of tutorials (we recommend This Writing Desk on Youtube) and just played, got some nicer paper and brushes, and Tildy started thinking of and painting her own artwork.

Our parents had helped us clean the old house, and while they were here bought us a housewarming present - a Ninja Airfryer. It's been used multiple times every week since and we've found you can make cakes fast with it, it's relevance is that we didn't have any space in the old kitchen for anything more than essentials, so having space has actually been good, remembering that it's good isn't always easy though...

We’d started therapy in December, and for weeks there was only me turning up, it was hard and I/we felt like we were doing it wrong, but until we processed last year and the move, we were unable to do much other than complain about those things. 

I wrote this in late January: 

“All I know about me is I like plants, and have been listening to the Chili Peppers who were a special interest for a long time, it’s nice to feel like I like something. I just don’t know what to do, or what I want to do, or what I should do. 

I’m really missing having the old yoga studio - that routine of somewhere to go a couple of times a week (and doing something physical) was really helpful and we don’t have that now. Mia joined another studio but I can’t face trying to be a person around people. I just don’t know. It’s making me want to cry thinking about all the things I’m not. 

Mia had plans and hopes and wanted to do things and it all feels lost. She wanted to be a writer. What would I write though. And without any accountability or reason to do anything it feels impossible. I don’t know. We ordered some new paintbrushes and have been doing a bit of art but I don’t know, it just feels pointless.”

We were getting more and more stuck, physically, mentally and emotionally. By late January our body was not doing well, we’d moved from a house with 36 steps that was on a big hill to relative flatlands, we were eating our feelings, and we were gaining weight. This was horrifying to the littles, and it wasn’t feeling great for me either. 

Not having a regular yoga practice for around six months, since the yoga studio we went to for years closed, was impacting us and I realised I could do something about that. I started getting the mat out in the morning, I made a specific place for us to practice, I started looking for apps and videos to help. Sometime I remembered we’d used Insight Timer years ago and found there was an abundance of yoga lessons to choose from and even live yoga classes throughout the day. 

We managed to get a routine going and even practiced every day for over a month. The intensity of our yoga and how we practiced (guided or not) varied from day to day, and now it’s been over two months and we practice most mornings for about half an hour, depending on how we’re feeling. 

I started finding music I liked and got used to the house and our daily walks. Adjusting has been hard, but it’s over three months since we moved now and we feel like we’re doing better. In February sometime my frontstuckness ended and others were able to spend time out.

Fortunately, our husband and Mum are used to us and supported us through this adjustment period. The external upheaval caused internal upheaval that we had to process, and it took months until we felt vaguely settled again. The shock of having to leave our safe place really shook us up - so much that it made me, and I’m still here, I’m still me, I know why I was made, but it doesn’t hurt as much, and I’m no longer just misery.

I had to figure out ways to heal and adapt, creativity has been a constant for us and it was integral to our healing. Finding mindfulness in art and yoga was possibly the most important thing for our healing. 

This was an unwanted new beginning, and we’re not yet at the point that we are glad it happened, but there have been many benefits to us having to move house - the main thing being that it has benefitted our dog, he’s a lurcher and has shoulder injuries, and a decade of living with those steps wasn’t helping him. 

We knew we’d get through the misery, but figuring out how was hard - when the debilitating emotions are rampant, it can be impossible to find and do the things that help, and often we just have to keep going, keep feeling, keep wallowing, keep distracting, keep moaning and complaining loudly, until those feelings pass, which they eventually do.

We got through my misery, and now we’re trying to do things again. We’re engaging with therapy, we don’t despise where we now live as much, we don’t ruminate on what we’ve lost anymore, we’re determined to integrate writing back into our days, and we’re finally doing things again.

I’m excited to see where our journey through the rest of the alphabet takes us, and as Mia said after B... someone else can do the next one!



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