I’ve been having some conversations with a new friend (she also has DID and PTSD) and we happened upon the topic of books that we like to read and TV that we enjoy watching.
Pretty basic right?
Well yes… but our choices and our reasons for those choices surprised me.
Both of us like certain shows that others could find very triggering.
We also both enjoy books that others could find depressing or horrid. An example of this for me are books written by Cathy Glass. She is a foster carer and in each book she discusses full histories of the children she has cared for (all done within legal and identity protective parameters of course).
She wrote one book called “Damaged” that discusses the home life and eventual realization that a young girl in her care has DID and why. I can easily see that much of this book could be very triggering and even harmful to some people but to me? It made me feel understood. It made me feel less alone in this world.
As “Damaged” progresses, there are many things that Dawn (the little girl) does or says that to me are totally normal things to do and say but then other people who care about her have these huge reactions to it.
When you’ve only ever lived in your own head, you can’t really imagine how it feels to think differently. What you think and feel is your own normal and I certainly had my own normal as well but my normal was based on trauma and a total lack of attachment.
As the book goes on, I learned what society as a whole feels about certain things that happened to this young girl in the book and then vicariously through her, I learned how people would feel if they knew what happened to me.
I felt as though it began to replace many of my brainwashed ways of thinking and made me see how someone with healthier relationships would feel. It helped normalize my thinking in many ways.
And most importantly? I felt like there is actually someone else out there that knew what my life was like from the inside. I wish absolutely no one any harm but when harm has been done, having others that just “get it” is an invaluable healing tool in my not always very humble opinion. 😉
The same goes for TV. I can not and will not watch shows that have graphic details or triggering visuals but there are a lot of shows that I watch that others may find an odd choice for me but once again, I watch them because they make me feel understood and less alone. They also show me once again what more normal reactions to that situation would be. Reactions that I never allowed myself to have. In a way I am slowly learning how to feel compassion towards myself through the reactions of these characters on TV.
I do avoid a lot of shows, almost all of the news, and many books because they can be triggering to me and that is not healthy at all. I don’t wish to be scared, triggered or activated. It is an odd balance between making sure to protect yourself but also allow enough space for healing to happen.
Since there is no real road map through our lifetime journey, we need to make personal decisions of what is best for us. Those decisions may not always make sense to others but if something feels like it is helping you and not harming you? I say go for it!
Do any of you feel that way as well? Do you watch or read things not only for enjoyment but also for the soul soothing feelings of being understood or less alone?
I did not add blogs to the beginning of this blog because they were never a part of our conversation but I do feel they are similar to books in many ways as well. I can not read blogs that discuss graphic details or really down and dirty subjects but there are many blogs that I do read that others may find depressing while I find them enlightening. I do not feel depressed by them. I feel less alone.
I guess I hope this blog does that for someone out there too. 🙂