Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Autopilot

First, thank you all for your kind, helpful, and concerned comments.  I promise I will respond to all of them shortly.

Dissociative Identity Disorder has a fascinating side to it and that is its auto-pilot feature.  I have been on autopilot these past several days with others sharing the load of my daily life while I have been checked out or dissociated if you want to get fancy with the terminology. 

Sounds unfair?  They think it is.  I take a vacation while everyone else does the work.  Not really. 

In the past, this has been closer to the case.  I would get really overwhelmed and I would check out.  Others would maintain the facade of "me" and I would return when I was up to handling life.  I am, or I should probably say we, are really, really good at this.  After nearly 30 years, this is a pretty seamless presentation.

This time was different though.  I didn't take off out of fear.  Yes, I got overwhelmed.  However, I actually did something healthy.  This time I turned my attention inward and took care of those new friends brave enough to surface after learning he was finally dead.

This was not a pleasant experience.  These friends are probably some of the worst off.  They were hurt, broken, bleeding, and despairing.  It will take me some time to put into words what took place.  But for now, I can describe that I did my best to care for them like I would my own daughter.

On to something I can explain...

While in autopilot mode, I have also had some time to really think about the process I have found myself in.  Most refer to this as a healing process and I am closer now to understanding that than ever before.  I hope that is the case at least.

I am a former athlete.  I abused my body, pushed myself beyond injury, and never paid attention to pain screaming orders to stop whatever it was that I was doing.  And I have paid.  And I still pay with arthritis that runs through multiple joints starting when I was in my mid-twenties.

I have had two shoulder surgeries, two knee surgeries, and two foot surgeries.  All reconstructive including a shoulder replacement when I was 20.  Yeah, I know. 

Surgery is never fun.  Anesthesia is rough on me; I am slow to wake up.  The pain... well, it hurts.  You take pills to control that pain that make you nauseous.  And then if you are me, you get addicted to those pills and that is an entirely different bitch of a process and another post all on its own.

Day one, surgery day, is a blur.

Day two is better.

Day three... you might as well be dead.  That's my experience at least.

Day four is once again better.  Point being that the pain typically peaks before the healing process really takes off.  And here is where I begin to pray that my father's death was the peak of my pain.  Or at least the leading catalyst for real healing. 

When I woke up this morning I found myself thinking this is my day four...

I will always have arthritis.  I will also always have the dull and painful ache of memories.

I will always have the scars of my athletic career.  But if you ask me to show you my surgery scars, with a vague amount of pride I will.  I will point to one and tell you how I got it, how I endured, and yeah it hurt but I was tough and made it through.

I will also always have the scars of abuse and reminders of my past.  But one day I hope I will be able to point to them with another small sense of pride and tell you how I survived, how tough I was, how I made it through.

And how I began to thrive.  Here's to day four. 

20 comments:

Deborah said...

You take my breath away, Jennifer.

I started to say, knowing about your athleticism, I can see why you are so tough, but in fact its your toughness that made you able to excel at whatever it was you did. Now you are using that incredible resolve to push your way through a different kind of pain.
The parallel you have drawn is brilliant.

Your astonishing ability to explain the inexplicable is your gift back to us, not that you owed anyone anything. Inappropriate as it may seem, I am exhilarated by this post. And enormously hopeful for you.

Andrea said...

urgent prayer request and prayer button on arise 2 write.
andrea

Ruth said...

I feel such hope here. It might be a small feather of hope. But it's hope.

The Pliers said...

Great post, my Mosaic Making friend!

svasti said...

Seems to me that your life as an athlete was a way to keep punishing yourself physically for the evil done to you. But it was also a way of helping you to "toughen up" and survive what many others might not have been able to.

I am glad that some of the others have been able to surface. What a blessing that is, really. Even if they still have a way to go before they get to their "day 4".

Well done on this brave post, and for having the strength to manage your pain the way you're doing now. xo

English Rider said...

You are impressive in many ways.

Kathryn said...

You're doing it - acknowledging how tough you are!
You go!

sarah said...

the hope....your last paragraph...yes!!!!!! Sarah

Journal of Healing said...

SO proud of you, Jennifer, for using your auto-pilot in such a healthy way. keep at it my friend! Amazing to know you are uniting your insiders on a quest to learn how to thrive and not just survive. As you patch those emotional and physical wounds with strength, truth, and nurture, we (me and mine) will be praying for your wisdom in how to minister to the hearts of these beautiful pieces. My higher power prides himself in taking a mess and making it beautiful. May the bandaids you use only add to the . beauty intended for each insider. TRULY! you are building a mosaic, a beautiful picture! I am thrilled with the hope i hear...day 4! you can do it, Jennifer!
Again...so proud of you for using your inside time to do more than hide! The bravery! LOVE IT.

ang :) (((HUGS FOR ALL OF YOU)))

Shattered said...

Deborah, I am glad to read that you were exhilarated when you read this. :) I do want to give back here because I get a lot by writing and having kind people like yourself comment, listen, and read. Thank you...

Shattered said...

Andrea, thank you.

Shattered said...

Ruth, at this point, hope is hope... and I'll take it however it comes. :)

Shattered said...

The Pliers, when you refer to me as a mosaic, it makes me smile. :)

Shattered said...

Svasti, I agree that my athletics were at times a way to further punish myself. I knew I had to get a grip when I had to have my shoulder replaced so young. Unfortunately, I swung a little too far the other direction but I'm working on that too.

I'm very glad that those others have surfaced. It's hard but it is just another part of this process that needed to happen.

Shattered said...

ER, I don't know about "impressive" but thank you.

Shattered said...

Kathryn, it does feel good to acknowledge that I'm tough. It's a new step for me. :)

Shattered said...

Sarah, thank you. :)

Shattered said...

"As you patch those emotional and physical wounds with strength, truth, and nurture, we (me and mine) will be praying for your wisdom in how to minister to the hearts of these beautiful pieces. My higher power prides himself in taking a mess and making it beautiful."

Thank you, Ang. It means a lot to me to know that you understand this.

Chris Stanford said...

Andrea, thank you.

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