It’s just like any other road trip that is expected to be uneventful. You get in the car, and all is calm without a hitch. Ten miles into your trip the snow starts falling in such innocuous flakes at first that they could almost be dandruff. Not to disappoint though, the snow picks up, and before you know it, it’s a big deal. It happened so incrementally that you initially did not panic, but you are now in that place where you know you cannot go back, you cannot pull over, you can only go forward ever so slowly. It’s that kind of situation where you know in your heart that at the end of this trip you will either reach your destination with the feeling of a victor finishing a grueling marathon, or you will meet your demise in your some horrible car accident that is the stuff of nightmares.

And that is the current state of affairs with DID integration.

Once I accepted the diagnosis it was a bit interesting at first, learning more about myself, figuring things out, etc. Discovering Letty was even a joy once I got passed the scared stage. Up until recently I had the idea that her purpose was to “keep a look out” for danger. The “keep a lookout” part was only half the story. The person she’s looking out for, apparently, is the other piece of the puzzle …

“He be comin’ back!”

“Who’s coming back, sweetie?”

“My Dad is comin’ back! He’s comin’ back! I wish everyone would stop sayin’ he’s not comin’ back! It’s mean!”

“Honey, no one is trying to be mean. It’s just that he’s very sick, and that is why he cannot come back to us. I know he wishes he could. We wish he could, but he can’t. Remember when I told you that he is addicted? That is a kind of sick.”

“But … but shouldn’t we go see him to tell him that we love him so he knows?”

“Oh honey, I wish we could. But it wouldn’t be good for us to try to do that.”

“You be like everybody else that tries to tell me to stop. I’m not gonna stop lookin’ for him. I not gonna stop …”

And she cries, and cries ,and cries. I am beyond exhausted.

Unrelated, or maybe it’s related, who knows … I’m taking an introduction to chemical dependency class for my own knowledge, and even reading the textbook gets Letty going.

Alcohol dependence is a progressive and fatal disease for those unable to exercise abstinence from alcohol.

“He be comin’ back!”

“Cirrhosis of the liver for those unable to stop drinking is an inevitable …”

“He comin’ back! You’ll see!”

Yep, I’m definitely in the midst of the whiteout.

You are sick

You are sick.

And, when you start to feel the physical pain of that sickness it takes you back, back to that place when you were a kid with a dangerous fever. You felt like you were dying, but you were told to stop putting on a show. But, it was real, and the reality of sitting at Thanksgiving dinner with a fever has never left you. The memory of the doctor admonishing your parents for taking so long to take you to the doctor still rings in your ears.

And then there was the time you threw up right in the middle of reading group, in fact, you threw up all over the reading group table. You threw up there because you did not want to go to the school nurse’s office because she would surely send you home. And if you were sent home your mother would be called, and she could not afford to come get you.You were already in trouble because you told the nurse the last time you were sick that Omega, the next door neighbor your mother put down as the alternate emergency contact, scares you because she drinks too much. So, your mother is the only person they will call, but if they call her she will have to come and get you, and that means that she won’t be paid for the rest of the day. But, you threw up in reading group! So, of course, they call your mother. She comes to get you, she gets mad at you, and she does not get paid. You could have written the script yourself at the time.

You’re trying to tell yourself that sickness is not the same now. You are not in trouble, and you are not going to die, and you will certainly get paid while you use sick days. Though you know you will get paid, you can’t help but ask the doctor for a note excusing you from work, just in case. It feels kind of dumb because you know you don’t need it, but you still ask for it, and you take it, and put it in your purse. You hate the fact that having it just makes you feel better.

You implore yourself to come back from the past, and leave it be. No one will be angry at you for taking care of yourself. No one will yell at you for saying you are sick. You can speak the truth of your illness with no fear. You are no longer reliant on your parents for care. You can take care of yourself, and make your own choices about your health. The nightmare of neglect is over.

You know it’s over, but part of you does not know this. And therein lies the problem. The second day of your illness you wake up with a sore tender spot on your head, as if you banged your head. But you have no recollection of banging your head, and you know that it was likely one of your alters, or one of your peeps, as you call them. You’re too tired to inquire extensively within. You’re too sick, and too tired, so all you do is beg. You beg the system to not act out, to not hurt the body. It’s all you can do, it’s all you have the energy to do because you are sick.

The next day

Today I headed out to Doc’s for a very unusual Sunday appointment because of yesterday’s events. I could hardly speak when I arrived, and I thought he just started the neurofeedback right away. Later, I learned that we actually had a bit of a session before neurofeedback, but I don’t recall it.

After the neurofeedback session was done he said this to me, “We need to talk about getting you on some meds.”

My brain just shut down when he said this as this is a rare psychiatrist who is very cautious about meds, and his eternal preference is to try a number of alternatives before turning to meds. In fact, when I originally came to him over a year ago I was on a mega dose of Lexapro, 40mg, with Xanax .25 as a PRN. There had been attempts by other clinicians to add Seroquel, Abilify, and Minipress, but those attempts were met with side effects that made all of those ventures short-lived. With Doc, I eventually got off of Lexapro, and I only have the Xanax as a PRN. I’ve considered this a victory, especially since I attribute part of my weight gain to this massive dose of Lexapro that I was on for 4 years.

But there we were with real talk of meds that I needed to consider. He prescribed Inderal for management of my PTSD symptoms and panic. I didn’t argue since he does not prescribe meds lightly. He also asked me to start taking the homeopathic stuff he recommended to me months ago.

At the end of the session he said this to me, “Honestly, I was frightened for you last night because it was Belle that was speaking to me on the phone. She’s never called me, and that really had me concerned for you.”

I became acutely aware that Doc’s actions yesterday and today kept me out of the hospital. Not only that, but they were far more helpful than any acute psychiatric hospital stay would be for me. The proof is in the pudding in that I was able to go grocery shopping after breakfast for the Thanksgiving pie I have to make on Wednesday night. I was even able to clean out my pantry, and make a simple dinner this evening. It was ass expensive to see him today, and I see my savings dwindling with neurofeedback sessions that insurance does not cover, but I am not complaining. No, sirreee, I am not. I may wind up broke after all of this, but it’s better than dead, and it’s better than completely undone.

Doc asked me to go eat something before I drove the 27 miles back home. He recommended a lovely restaurant in town, and they had this unique dish on the menu called shakshuka, basically baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.

That dish was just what the soul needed. There was also a chocolate croissant at the end of the meal that was unnecessary, but I let myself be indulgent with Letty. She likes sweets, and I still wanted to linger. Last night, I never would have guessed that I would be happily eating baked eggs with english breakfast tea and challah bread a mere 12 hours after I felt like the bottom of my world fell out from under me.