Integration?

If you would like some information on Halloween, there is an article in October of the 2011 archives.

Internal integration has never been a personal goal of mine. First, for years I didn’t believe I was multiple – just spacey. Then, when I started to conceptualize myself as multiple, I felt so fragmented that the concept just didn’t make sense. My fragments blend together to accomplish something, then blend back into the background. They integrate and disintegrate like drops in the ocean waves. No names, no personalities, just little bits and pieces in the vastness of my mind.

But I desperately wanted to integrate the ritual abuse into my daily life. I wanted to be able to hold the two realities in my mind at the same time; I had been abused in a Satanic context, and I was an average middle-class white lady. I would have been a soccer Mom if soccer had been popular back when my kids were little. I wanted both realities to be equally real to me.

My goal was to have RA woven seamlessly into my present. I wanted to be able to talk about it without having a panic attack. I wanted to feel sane if I didn’t talk about it for a few days. I wanted the little mini-flashbacks (flicks, as Trudy Chase calls them in When Rabbit Howls) to feel as normal as deciding to have a cup of coffee.

Now, after more than twenty years, the two realities are in constant motion, blending and unblending like my fragments. It feels much more comfortable.

My bookshelves reflected the stages I went through to accomplish my goal. Before I remembered, there wasn’t a single book on Satanism or ritual abuse. Then I started buying every book in sight until they crowded the novels, the cookbooks, and the reference books off my shelves. After many years, I said, “Enough!” and sent most of them off to a friend in order to form the core of a research library. Now 10%, at the most 20%, of the books on my shelves have to do with my abuse. There is room on my shelves and in my life for other interests. Both my books and my life are integrated.

I think this is an unusual definition of integration — and of multiplicity, for that matter — but then I am sure it means many things to many people. If you have integrated, partly or completely, what is it like for you? And if you haven’t, what do you imagine it to be?

Adapted from Survivorship Notes, Vols. 8/9 Nos. 12/1

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4 thoughts on “Integration?

  1. Hi, Jeannie – I’ve been reading Bonnie Badanbach’s “Brainwise Therapist” in which she talks about interpersonal neurobiology. It’s helped me a lot to understand my own DID, and to understand why it takes so darn long for me to connect, neurologically, with some of the split-off parts of my brain that were “disconnected” by severe trauma. A lot of times, I don’t tap-into, or repair my connections, with those clusters of who I am, because they’re what’s called “state-dependent”. The perps understood this, that those clusters of neurons and memory don’t get activated unless they are “triggered” by something similar to that part of my existence in the past. Dreaming has been very helpful for me, because a lot of the repair work, reconnecting with those parts of my mind (mind-body connections) don’t happen any other way. I usually have symbolic dreams at first, as the connections are repairing, then partly symbolic/partly real memory, then finally real memory. I absorb and accept those memories, and then I start feeling like that part of myself, and keep accepting it without freaking out like I used to, then the integration with that part of myself actually happens. Integration for survivors with severe abuse histories can sometimes be a lifetime process, and that’s what I’ve also finally learned to accept. But every day, week, and month I’m more and more my fullest self, and it’s really becoming a lovely life journey. I’ve found self-acceptance to be the biggest help. I hope this information helps some of you in your own recovery journeys. And even if you never want to be a therapist, Bonnie’s book is still an incredible recovery resource. She’s an excellent writer and communicator and makes the whole process a whole lot easier to understand.

  2. Hi jean,

    I try to focus on the healing and less on specific results. I generally try to enjoy life as much as possible while not focusing excessively on ra memories. When our daily lives are happier our brain naturally goes into a healing state. The longer we can maintain this state the more quickly and evenly we’ll heal. My goal is just to be happier!

    While traditional therapy focuses on memory work, I’ve seen that memories will naturally be released as we become stronger. Doing things we enjoy makes us stronger! The stronger we become the more easily everything else happens. I feel our minds will create the most efficient structure based on healthy self esteem.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Best of luck to you! Aaron

    1. Dear Aaron:

      I believe that traditional therapy focuses on replacing maladaptive coping mechanisms with healthy ones, and, when necessary, studying how the past shaped/shapes our coping mechanisms. (Not memory work per se.) With RA survivors, enjoying life is a healthy adaptation that needs to be learned. And happiness is well nigh impossible if one is still being tortured or if one is trying to manage the effects of recent torture. It comes later on.

      Realizing one is a ritual abuse survivor is like “coming out” to oneself. In the beginning, it is all-absorbing, but with time the heart and mind open up to other things as well.

      PS I deleted the link to the music you suggested. It made me very nervous, as it uses some of the same techniques used in programming and I would not want to trigger anybody.

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