Meeting Hannah

For the past 2 weeks I have felt VERY young. I know I am still Heather and 45 years old much of the time but I have caught myself wanting to cuddle my stuffed duck while huddled up in front of the TV with a blanket.
I feel very small too. I looked in the mirror this morning and in my reflection, only my head showed above the dresser as though I was looking at myself from where a 4-year-old would stand. This is not the first time that these feelings have come over me but it is the first time that it has happened since finding out that I had DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). When it happened in the past, I assumed that I was losing my mind (literally), had a brain tumour or needed my glasses looked at in a big way. Now I am aware that it is likely a part of me (a Helper) trying to open up. Perhaps this little one needs to share something with me, she could have a need that isn’t being met, there is even a chance that “gatekeeper” Julie has decided to allow us to meet. I don’t personally know very many of my Helpers and have no memory or knowledge of them outside of what they leave in our journal or what Julie tells me about each one. It is nice yet unsettling to think I may get to start meeting more of them as time passes.

I am almost positive that this child is Hannah. I know there has been a lot going on for her lately and she is triggered by recent events that have been impossible to avoid (The Dugger Family chaos) in the news. It is stirring up the pot for most of my Helpers and I but for some reason, Hannah is taking it really hard. More so than the others. I do not know the connection there but I can make a few assumptions and then leave it at that.

Julie calls her “Little Hannie” and I sense a great amount of love between them which is a bit odd because Julie doesn’t like children at all. Not even our own. Something has bonded them together in a very special way and I am curious about that.

Even right at this minute, I feel small and young. I can think and write this blog as though I am 45 yet there is this major undercurrent of feeling small, helpless, needing protection, feeling incredibly unsafe and being afraid. I want to run away and hide but no place feels safe so where would I run to even if I allowed that feeling to take over? I am trying to maintain adult status and not totally dissociate but it isn’t easy. I am not accustomed to living WITH the feelings of another within me. Only Julie ever shared space with me and she is rather emotionless from what I feel from her. A really steady rock.

I’ve done a bit of research and the information that I have uncovered is that some people call this state “co-consciousness”. Basically it is when the host (me) and a Helper manage to exist in the same space together. Some research said that this is often viewed by professionals as part of integration but that is not at all how it feels and persons with DID do not seem to feel that this is true. Personally? I prefer to listen to someone else who lives with DID or someone who has DID rather than a “professional” who only reads about it.

No matter what I call it? I feel really weird about it all. I don’t know what to do to help Hannah and since she is sharing her wish to just bolt away from here, all I want to do is run away as well. I want to be able to tell her that it is okay, that I am an adult and that I can take care of her. That is what adult Heather would try to offer. I feel 4 though. I feel like I need someone to take care of me. To be held, cared for and loved. I know Hannah wanted that and needed it at her young and tender age. I also know she never got it. I didn’t either so I want to offer her comfort but I feel absolutely raw and completely unable to offer her what I never had myself.

I was in town the other day (I live in a very rural place) and went in to a book store. I felt this overwhelming urge that I believe came directly from Hannah  to buy a stuffed toy. It was actually a blanket (“blankie”) that she wanted. We found a small bunny holding a small blanket that seemed to satisfy her and I have a feeling it will be in her hands again before this night is out. The very least I can offer to her is a security blanket/toy. I never had one at her age. I can change that for her.

I suppose that in time, this will work itself out. Either I will start being able to help her more-so than just feel her feelings or she will fade back inward until I am stronger and have the resources to give her what she needs.

In the meantime I will leave paper and crayons out at all times. She seems to like to draw. Perhaps she can express something that way. I will also do my best to really practice good self-care and hope that she feels cared for as well.

Sweet little Hannah… I will do my best and try to take good care of you. Please try to tell me what you need.

Well… off to therapy for me today. My therapist is going to try to talk to Julie again so maybe she can shed some light on all of this.
Have a great day everyone! I look forward to your comments and ideas as always. 🙂

Run

23 responses to “Meeting Hannah

  1. It’s not surprising, given all that’s been happening to you in the last few weeks, that you are feeling so young and want to run away Heather. But perhaps Hannah is here now because she KNOWS you are ready and able to help her? And you already have helped – buying her the bunny, providing her with drawing materials, and acknowledging her.
    Hope the therapy session today goes well and that you learn more about Hannah. Many hugs.xxx

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  2. Dancing Butterfly

    Wow. that’s all I think I have to say but I have so much more to say. I agree with Wendy. You have been through A LOT especially over the weekend. Being and feeling completely overwhelmed. Yes, a little child would want to run away and hide and cuddle and be in the presence of safety. That said, it feels very foreign to experience these feelings in a 40+ body/precent state. I get it.

    And by being open, as scary as this is to meet and be with Hannah in this moment, to determine what she needs, trying to learn more about her, you will hopefully also learn more about this part of you. That by no means indicates that it will be easy. None of this is.

    You raise a really valid and real question about HOW to provide for someone/yourself the basics when you weren’t shown/given those skills, feelings of safety and security. That in and of itself leaves some (okay, I speak for myself) with feelings of complete overwhelm. You want me to WHAT? HOW? and then it becomes a frantic attempt to found out what to do and how NOT to run away; how not to want to crawl out of one’s skin.

    You are doing whatever you can to try and reach out to her, to let her express her feelings and allow her to be in your presence – you are not pushing her away. You are listening to her and her requests to snuggle with a blanket, draw with crayons, and hug a stuffed toy. This is all part of the process.

    I am thinking about you as you continue to embark on your journey to explore your helpers and learn more about them and their needs as you learn more about yourself.

    Wish I was there to give you the biggest hug ever. I will send it virtually!
    XOXOXOXOXOX
    Your dancing butterfly

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    • Thanks so much D.! You always know what to say too. How did I get so blessed?
      I know you understand the inability to share what you never got and how you just want to crawl out of your own skin.
      I am sorry that you deal with this as well but it is nice to know that I am not alone. xoxox

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  3. Dancing Butterfly

    oh, and that picture of the little girl speaks volumes. I love it.

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  4. It sounds like you are responding to the little girl in the best possible way and if it is integration happening, then my guess is that’s a good thing?

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    • I am trying and feel better after the response to this blog. It helps when others can see what I am doing positive when I really can’t.
      Integration? No. But a better understanding of each other woudl be AWESOME! Thanks Cat!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow…. Julie.

    I was recently diagnosed with DID. Allie has always been around since I was young- she is also my gatekeeper so to speak . I have a Hannah, too. Her name is Senka. She too has a special blanky.

    I will read more on your blog tonight when I have time to indulge. Thank you for writing!!

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  6. Hi Heather,

    don’t discount what your husband (or others withwhom you are close) can provide Hannah, even if she never reveals herself to them. When my wife and I visit her parents, she lets the little girls experience all the hugs and kisses that her mother (finally) has been showering upon her. And so you can learn to let Hannah be there with you when your husband holds you.

    …Or you can be like us and just let your huband actually hold Hannah like I do the other girls. But that’s you and the helpers’ choice. Either way seems to work for my wife (though to be honest, it’s more powerful when they are allowed to front and just be with me).

    Take care,
    Sam

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    • Hi Sam! Nice to hear from you again. 🙂
      I don’t discount what my husband or others could offer. We are just not as comfortable with this as you have been. I am afraid to ask for “childish” needs and he is not really wanting to even consider the Helpers. Not in a mean or negative way. He just doesn’t know what he should do. We are still new to this but we will have more conversations and I will try to learn to express my needs in real life as I can while writing. Have a great day Sam and thanks again!

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      • It took 7 years for us to get where we are today. Many, many times in the beginning my wife was very uncomfortable letting the little girls come out and act just like little girls with me. It’s a process, not a one-time decision. But honestly, a lot times in the beginning it was easier for me to deal with the little girls than my wife(the host). I viewed them differently (like little children) and so I was better able to handle their inabilities to “act like a healthy adult” than when Karen simply said she couldn’t do something.

        Again, it’s you and the helpers’ decision, but all of us are happy that we took the chance and did things how we did.

        Take care,

        Sam

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      • I REALLY appreciate you telling me more. I was sort of hoping you would be didn’t even know what to ask. I’ve been very dissociative the past few days.
        My husband is dealing with a huge health issue right now and almost died this past weekend so its just not the time to even be discussing this but I do feel the way you have handled it is perfect. You have a very good intuition and you’ve been dealing with this for far longer than we have. I think that I need to find others that can help as well though so my husband is not the only one shouldering the burden. Do you have anyone that supports YOU Sam?

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      • Our son was instrumental when the girls first started joining us 7 years ago. He was 17 at the time. He and I are the only ones who have a relationship with ALL 8 girls. He doesn’t talk with me about it a lot, but he does a great job with the girls. I’ve got two entries on my blog about involving our son in the healing process (it’s not like you can really hide d.i.d. from your children even though the experts tell you to do so. He knew something was going on and trying to keep the secret was just dividing our family. So we brought him in, and it was good for everyone.)

        And I meet once a week or so with an uncle who still lives in town. And his 3 children, my cousins, were also confidants of mine when we first started this journey, though I don’t talk with them much any more.

        There’s not a lot of support for husbands. I started my blog hoping to attract spouses and so’s, but it just never happens. They come on my blog, make a few comments and then I rarely hear from them again. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but it is what it is.

        I just hope if/once I get my wife/my girls thru this, maybe we can drop the anonymity and try to do more for the FAMILIES who are involved: spouse/so’s and children.

        Sam

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      • That is a lot of help. My children were included right away by the staff at the hospital and we were given family counseling regarding the DID as well as a few other issues. How different and sad that your experience was being told you shouldn’t. Some people would listen to that advice.
        I am sorry that people have come to your blog then dropped away. I have had that happen many times for me as well but I am grateful for my faithful readers and commenters such as yourself. 🙂
        Thanks again Sam. Know that I think of you and wish you all the best.

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  7. Oh, and I’m so sorry about your husband. I hope things start to get better for him…

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  8. Did you ever read Cameron West’s account of his life through what was then called mpd? I can not find the piece in your entry again that triggered a memory from his book – it was something about your physical age yet feeling so much younger.

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    • I’ve never read it but I will look into it. I believe you are speaking about this blog post actually. The second? paragraph is about feeling younger.
      And yes please to letting me know about your site when you get it going. 🙂

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  9. Waving hi to hannah. You are doing all the right things. Buying her a toy, encouraging her to talk, color, express herself, all good! I hope therapy went well. XX

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