Update of sorts

We are not in a good space at the moment. We started working on some significant trauma memories. It feels like these are the big ones. If I can make sense of these and make peace; help my parts have a voice, perhaps my healing journey will have vastly concluded.

In response, RA programming has kicked in like clockwork. Oh, that word. It all feels very much out of our control.

Our body literally kicks itself into a fever with chills, exhaustion, and pain. Or tries to cause us to fall down unconscious. It has succeeded on both accounts directly after meeting with K. to discuss these memories.

Please keep all of us in your hearts or thoughts. We need support right now, and it’s clear a dangerous system shift is happening.

Stay safe everyone. We love you all.

My Plans for this Evening are…

One of the things we did at Sheppard Pratt’s Trauma Disorders Program, was every evening after dinner, we convened in our small group to go over our progress on our goals for the day.

In 2007/2008, everyone led off their share, by saying “Our goals for today were A, B, and C.  Today….(explain what we accomplished towards these goals).  My safety is….(explain any issues with safety), and my plans for this evening are….(explain what we are going to do to wind down, make sure parts are in their safe places, use coping skills, etc.).

During our last stay in 2018, it wasn’t as structured, but still had the same goal.  We reviewed what progress we made on our goals and chatted about what we were doing that evening.

It’s still a helpful technique, to wrap our mind around the day’s events. There have been days I’ve been surprised to find out I had gaps of time loss, and a little internal communication helped improve awareness.  It also helps parts feel heard and not ignored or avoided.

Here’s our basic outline for our night check-in.  I hope it helps give yous some ideas that are helpful!

Evening Check-In:

  1. Read off goals for today and progress/outcomes of working on these goals.
  2. Celebrate successes! Even small wins can be huge for some parts.
  3. What number am I on the Crisis Continuum right now?
  4. Did we experience any triggers today?
  5. Is anyone having intense emotions right now? (If so, are there self-soothing skills, grounding skills, imagery, or other things that might help you contain?
  6.  Do I need to ask anyone (external) for help right now?  If not, try to engage with an outside person before bed in a positive way (e.g. give 1 complement to them).

Then when we get into bed and get ready for sleep, we’re usually in a safer space.  We pay attention to our body to help parts relax any muscles they have tensed (facial, neck, or lap muscles) and do deep breathing to fall asleep well.

Tomorrow is therapy day! So, here’s to a good night’s sleep!

Healing Together One-Day Conference

If you haven’t heard of the Healing Together Conference, it is an annual multi-day conference held in Florida for therapists who treat DID, survivors with DID, and supporters. It’s been well established now. I’ve never been because I’m fearful of exposing my anonymity (even though there is no obligation to “out” yourself, just being somewhere in public at a known DID event unnerves me).

I get that there’s a growing movement of younger survivors who want to be “out” as DID/OSDD. That’s awesome for them. If that’s their goal for their recovery, go for it.

For a lot of us, however, we stay anonymous for many reasons. One is social stigma is still alive and well against this disorder. People regard it as an anomaly or a curiosity to be studied for entertainment, rather than for advocacy. The difference being that the focus becomes questioning of the survivor. The same old story pulling attention away from the abuser(s) and their crimes.

The second reason (which is true for us), is it is unsafe to be out as a survivor of ritual abuse. Our main abusers are still out there. One of the more harassing ones is dead now, but I still wouldn’t put it past the others to attempt to silence me if my identity was verified.

Safety must always be first, and foremost, in all of our recovery efforts.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with me and the conference?  Well, beginning this year, An Infinite Mind (the non-profit organization responsible for organizing the conference), announced a new annual tradition.  This is the development of a one-day mini-conference.  The plan is for the one-day con to travel annually to different regions of the United States.  For its first kickoff, they are hosting it at McLean Hospital in Boston, MA.

McLean Hospital is one of the country’s only inpatient providers that specializes in Dissociative Identity Disorder.  Not only are they one of the few, but they are one of the leading providers in the field.  And if that’s not enough, guess what they pride themselves on?  Their efforts on on de-stigmatization of the disorder.

Good people and a safe environment!

I was telling [the fiance] about the conference, and how I have always wanted to go, but I’ve been fearful about my anonymity. “But this one-day thing is going to be at McLean! That’s like if they had it at Sheppard Pratt.”

“Then you should go.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Really?” I looked at him. Even after all this time, his unfailing support catches me off guard.

“Absolutely!” He energetically responded. “Let’s do it, babe.”

“Us, together? You’d come with me?” I’m still shocked.

“Of course!” He began feverishly typing in to the computer. “Let’s see what I can find out.”

So he read about An Infinite Mind and the Healing Together one-day conference.  He remained just as enthusiastic and supportive and began researching hotels and flights to Boston.

Today, we took some time to look at the agenda.  There’s some great topics I’m interested in, like new research, mindfulness as a grounding skill, and trauma-sensitive yoga.

“Oh, look at this! This is for supporters!” I pointed and read out loud to him, “Optional Chat and Chews. Grab your lunch and come join your fellow attendees to discuss what’s on your mind. These are moderated by mental health professionals.  There’s one for survivors, and there’s one for supporters!”

“There is? I need to go to that. There’s not a lot of things out there for supporters.”  He responded.

It’s still a scary thing for me to contemplate, but I’ve committed.  I’m going with [the fiance] and I’m super happy he is finding his own independent value to coming with me.

I’m still not going to reveal, “Hey, I’m Nel. That chick that has had a blog about DID recovery for the past 7 years, and writes a lot about SP.” But I’m super excited, nonetheless, for my own healing, to learn the latest research, and widen my symptom management toolbox.

See you soon, Boston!

She Tricked Me AGAIN!

It’s almost been a whole year with K. again!  A whole year of her private practice up and running well.  And it’s almost taken that whole year to figure out how to get my insurance to reimburse me for our sessions.

What a frustrating mess it has been, to navigate Independence Blue Cross.  I have submitted claims, resubmitted, resubmitted, and resubmitted and they kept getting denied for odd reasons, like “provider name not on claim form.” Ehhh…yes it is.  That’s sort of the most important information and the first line you fill in!

I made so many phone calls to them, too.  It was a nightmare.  Each time I’d get a young woman who was clearly sick and tired of being yelled at all day on the phone, and they were worn so thin they just didn’t have the heart to help.  You could tell all they wanted to do was end the call and move on to the next.  On one call, the woman said, “We told your provider last time to submit X and Y.”  When I tried to correct her, that nobody told my provider anything, she has never called, and I have never signed a consent to release information to Independence Blue Cross, they were like, “No it says right here your provider called.” And she went on to repeat the conversation I had with them previously (not K.).

I also wrote letters and (I hate to do this) but got to the point of threatening legal action.  Finally, I had no choice but to involve the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission.  Anyway, that did the trick.  I have all my sessions from last year reimbursed and this year through March.

One of the things they wanted from K. is all the sessions neatly tallied for the month on one paper with a bunch of codes.  She gives me individual receipts at each session with the same information (but they didn’t care for those).  Right now, she is tallying up April and May for me to mail in.

I’m reviewing at at home, and I see two sessions are missing.  I call her back and leave a message.  We have a phone tag conversation.  Essentially she says she wants me to check my receipts and she will check hers.

I have a basket on the kitchen table where I keep receipts, bills, and mail.  I’m digging through the individual receipts and wouldn’t you know, I can find every single one on the tallied sheet but not the two that are missing from K’s. list.

A week goes by.  She asks me to keep looking.

Another week goes by.  She asks me to keep looking.

Now I’m frustrated I can’t find these two receipts.  Well, this morning I was putting some bags into the trunk of my car as I was heading off to work.  There, I see two folded-up-in-squares papers sticking out from underneath my trunk organizer (where I keep the extra washer fluid container, jumper cables, etc).

“That’s odd.” I think to myself. My trunk is super organized.  Everything has its place.  Why are these two papers there and folded up so small?  I slide the organizer over a bit and yank out the two papers.  As I unfold them, I can clearly see K.’s logo on the top of the page.  “Son of a — it’s those receipts!”

So, on the way to work, I call K. and we start playing phone tag again.  On the way home, she calls one more time and we finally connect.

“Hi Nel, it’s K.!” She says cheerily.

“Hi, K.”

“I got your messages, and the information on your receipts matches the copies I have.”

“Oh, good.” I sigh.  Now she can re-type the tally for April and May, and I can go through the process of dealing with Independence Blue Cross again.

“I just wanted you to know the issue wasn’t that I didn’t believe you had the receipts. I wanted you to actually locate them.”

“What?” I hate…hate…HATE when K. has me doing something and then I find out there was some psychology trick behind it.  “And WHY did you want me to find them?”

“Because those two sessions are important.  They led up to a very difficult session afterwards with someone, and I thought they might have been around prior to actually talking to me in session.” She says.

“C’mon, K., they were receipts. It’s not that big of a revelation. I just misplaced them.”

“Uh huh.” She says like she doesn’t believe me. “And where were those two receipts?”

I pause.  There’s no getting out of this unless I hang up on her, and I don’t want to do that.  I know she’ll call back.  “Folded up into tiny squares and hidden under some things in my trunk.” I said in a If-I-have-to-admit-you-are-right-I’m-doing-it-begrudgingly way.

“Yup.” She confirms. “Stuff for us to talk about!”

“Horray.” Meg pops in facetiously.

K. hears her and says, “Well you’re driving right now, so I will let you go.” She always gives Meg a hard time if she gets behind the wheel of  a car–being that she’s 14. “And I will see you on Monday.”

I laughed a bit. “I’m just gonna laugh for a while.  Bye”

What rapid switching roller coaster.  I’m feeling mad that she psychology-tricked me.  Meg is her normal irritable self.  And someone else meanwhile thinks it’s hilarious.

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