Saturday, January 7, 2023

One of Me


Image from

This is a continuation of what I began writing about years ago after reading and listening to Richard Schwartz Ph.D. No Bad Parts aka Internal Family Systems. I liked learning that no matter how many parts of me there are, none of them are bad… not even the angry, judgemental ones. I have to get to know who they are and love them instead of doing what I have always done… push them away. I have also learned that everyone has parts.

To refresh your memory (and mine), I fell into a depressive episode for about six months when I got sick in June resulting in three weeks of isolation while I holed up in my bedroom in bed. Multiple voices in my head surfaced, competing for my attention at the same time. Some of these voices were angry, sad, lonely, and scared. I learned from that experience that I needed a bench sofa I could rest and nap on in my living room and only use the bedroom at night. I found one that works on Amazon.

At the end of 2006, I had moved to Texas and then got stuck here on my own. Abandonment issues magnified, and it took over five years to find a home, people, and groups I was comfortable being involved with. Holidays are the worst. I get homesick. Just as I was recovering from being sick, Thanksgiving and Christmas floated in. I felt left out of all the holiday gatherings I saw other people enjoying.

If you're reading this and were one of the people who showed up at my door or called me, thank you!

I gave up trying to make sense of the terminology for IFS (Internal Family Systems) that includes exiles, protectors, managers, etc. and in a fit of frustration, demanded these ‘parts’ get out of my head and sit on other chairs in my apartment. When I felt them all inside my head creating chaos and despair (like the picture on top), I began to tell them to go sit down where I can see them and listen to what they need to say. Somehow it worked, and I no longer felt like I would go insane with numerous voices inside my head. After describing this to one of my younger sisters, she suggested I write a blog post on the topic.

I like the term One of Me. It describes the detachment I feel when one part of me is functioning and the other parts are not.

One of Me is a workaholic. I used to work full-time jobs plus take college classes, eventually obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Management Information Systems. Working and studying was my medicine (when I wasn't taking the pharmaceutical kind)... a distraction from the emotions and feelings I couldn't deal with. Post-disability, as long as I had projects to work on, I was okay. You can say I am addicted to distractions.

One of Me is a lonely, abandoned, traumatized, scared child… afraid of the outside world… afraid of the unknown. She looks at people on Facebook who are having fun with their families… even traveling to be with them… and doing activities she can no longer do… like hiking and exploring. She sits down and cries inside because she is grieving for the family she no longer has even though her siblings live in other states. She also grieves for places she can no longer go. Isolation is painful. How did she survive all these years?

Indeed, One of Me is a survivor. Despite all the traumatic experiences, she is still here. Still breathing. The Divine has been by her side making sure she has her basic needs… food, shelter, transportation… even when she detached (disassociated) and couldn't feel the support.

One of Me is a dreamer. She used to dream of a future that includes fame with writing and music... and traveling in a nice RV.  Is it still possible? I don't know. I am older now.

One of Me experiences chronic conditions such as adrenal fatigue and spondylolisthesis and needs someone to take care of her and help with chores. Community Attendant Services didn’t work out, so she is on her own again. At least the Divine brought a Mobility Scooter and a van with a lift.

One of Me is an educated adult who knows what to do for the other one. She tells her to lie down and rest as much as she needs to and just tackle one thing at a time. Nothing is permanent, not even fatigue. Since fatigue usually partners with depression, reassure her that it is temporary. She usually begins feeling better in the afternoon.

One of Me is a compassionate adult who listens to other people when they call or come to her with their concerns. She is also an empath and can't always release the emotions she absorbs from others. She has to learn to differentiate what is hers from what is others and clear the others out. Towards the end of this last depressive episode, it occurred to me that I can listen to the other One of Me's the same way I listen to other humans... with a sense of detachment.

YouTube is smart and suggests videos to you based on everything else you have been watching, reading, writing, purchasing, and listening to. I opened the YouTube app one day and found the audiobook Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. Then I purchased the book. 

On another day, I found an interview with Bruce Lipton on his Biology of Belief. Bruce said to incorporate the affirmations into your subconscious, listen to them as you go to sleep. I created a playlist for Sleep with two "I love myself" videos so it would stop after the second one. I am usually awake during the first one and fall asleep as the second one plays.

YouTube also suggested Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention audiobook which I listened to twice. Perhaps YouTube talks to Amazon and knows I had purchased the book. “I intend to feel good. I intend to feel happy. I intend to choose thoughts that make me feel good. There is a solution to every problem." I rewrote my personal affirmation list to include these and to read throughout the day.

I found two Wednesday night online support groups through Mile Hi Church in Colorado: Transcending Trauma and Heart, Mind, Spirit Recovery. (The ministers at that church were originally in Huntington Beach, California when I lived there.) Trauma meets the first Wednesday, Recovery every Wednesday. While Recovery is mainly for alcoholics and drug addicts, I qualify because I took strong pharmaceutical drugs for close to 15 years. Besides, I am addicted to sugar which is known to be as addicting as cocaine. What do I want the most when I feel depressed? Sugar! I know what it feels like to want it even though I know it isn't good for me. It feeds candida which is not my friend. I do my best to avoid gatherings that serve sweets. Wish they would serve organic fruit instead.

Back to Transcending Trauma. The facilitator told us grief gets mixed in with trauma. I could think of a whole list of things I’ve been grieving about. Loss of childhood, loss of my siblings as I knew them, loss of my parents, loss of homes, loss of relationships and marriages which turned out to be dysfunctionally matched with me as the empath and them as narcissists and energy vampires, loss of possessions when I had to walk away from everything, loss of all the foods I discovered I had sensitivities to and had toxins such as glyphosates, loss of the social circles that serve these foods. 

Grief changes you. You don't ever go back to what used to be normal. No wonder I feel detached and disassociated. Instead of clinging to what used to be, I have to completely let go. I have to incorporate my Sky-Diving principle. Yes, there is fear in the unknown, but trust that I will land safely. I found a few groups on Facebook and Instagram on the topic of grieving which have been helpful. They say that eventually, you figure out a new way to exist. Fortunately, I can use the search on my blog to find topics I wrote about in the past but have no memory of.

Well, One of Me writes songs and strums an acoustic folk guitar. A song titled Wrong Planet began to emerge, describing my challenges as simply being on the wrong planet. I began to hum it when I go into the outside world or even think about going out there, and it feels comforting. 

The lyrics to Wrong Planet 

I’m visiting from another planet, observing earthling ways.
My ship left without me – said they’d return for me someday.
I have trouble fitting in with people in this place.
How do I explain that my ship got lost in space?

I’m on the wrong planet – and I need to find some friends.
I’m on the wrong planet – can’t keep up with the trends.
I need someplace to belong because earth isn’t it.
I look around this strange land where I don’t seem to fit.

I feel complex and complicated, fractured and duplicated.
How did I end up here in this place that’s overrated?
Show me love; show me grace; be kindness in this place.
My heart cries for the sadness that invades the human race.

My mind is like a mansion – it has a lot of rooms.
Let’s take a tour together to find our way out of this gloom.
It’s part of a life lesson… I’m writing a new theme.
Where will it lead me… just nothing too extreme.

There are ripples in the water, life is never still –
and neither are emotions that tumble down the hills.
I emptied out my closet, but I wish I could empty out my mind.
Boxes all shapes and sizes are filled with memories of every kind.

Courage, I know you’re somewhere; I’m searching for a dose.
I’m on the outside looking in, but I can feel you somewhere close.
I feel like a dreamer – can you read between the lines?
I’m a mysterious collection of rhythms and rhymes.

I’m on the wrong planet – and I need to find some friends.
I’m on the wrong planet – and I need to find some friends.
I’m on the wrong planet – and I need to find some friends.

Copyright © 2022 Renee Alter

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