Originally published at Basically Clueless.
I learned during my sociology degree that we 'brain map' our social constructs so that we can retain context on all our relationships, personal, social, work, school, etc.
Part of my #brainfail through my life was being unable to retain this ability to remember my own timeline, much less map how I fit in with everyone in a continuous stream of change over time.
I've been working on this for decades, and I think I'm finding a way to piece it together in a working map. In my mind I'm constructing this map in a 4D kind of way, perhaps 5D, since it covers changes over time. In my mind it kind of looks like a cosmic event map in 3D but with an added timeline so that the map model can change by rolling forward or backward in time.
I didn't know most of my life that I'm a fragmented person. They used to call it multiple personality, now it's dissociate disorders of varying degrees. As I've been waking up to my 'selves' and learning to share info among my fragments, as opposed to feeling locked out of my own long and short term memories and confused and disoriented, I've been very slowly piecing together the points of impact or breakage, as it were. It wasn't at all clear, especially since most of the fragments are independent enough to take and absorb life hits on their own, but over time I've been using a free association technique that allows me to 'randomly' tiptoe through my head, and learning to stop and let my 'head' talk back to me. That's more simplistic than it really is. Learning to recognize reality sifting down through simulated materials aka the way we process and retain our memories and then tell our stories back to ourselves has been a meticulous and very sketchy process taking several years, as evidenced throughout my blog fleet.
Part of the challenge has been more than one of us learning to do this and leave trails for each other, sort of like leaving notes or tag tabs for other people in a big project. Imagine working on a very large project over a very long time and never seeing the other people coming and going, and every time you come back to the project, things have changed and you either get a shift change log with not the greatest notes or nothing at all, and you try to pick up where they left off, which requires quite a lot of redundancy. That is what trying to piece together a bigger picture of a fragmented person is like.
For the most part, I'm very stable nowadays, rarely switching back and forth. And I can tell nowadays when I do because of the headaches. When I get sharp stabby headaches out of the blue that dissipate just as quickly, sometimes with a sick dizzy feeling that also comes and goes just as rapidly, I am dealing 'on the fly'. For years I would fret that those feelings meant something horrible in my body, like illness or stroke or whatever, but now I know it's simply a high stress moment being taken over by another part of me that can better handle a situation. Sometimes I'm cognitive of sharing space and sometimes I'm not. Most times I retain most of those memories, but they can get a little blurry. It's like I'm there but sitting on the sideline taking a break.
"I" is not always the same person. I figured out awhile back that we take turns writing in blogs, sometimes paragraph to paragraph and even sentence to sentence. Even when I had no clue this was going on, we were all chipping in together. Writing seems to be the way I talk to myself, or share my head with me. Many times I've gone back through blogs and read things I don't remember writing, or sections that seem surprisingly 'other person' chiming in. Any of you who've read through a lot of the old stuff probably saw sudden continuity breaks and just thought that was poor writing, lol. Well, I'm not a poor writer. We just don't all agree on when to stop talking, apparently.
So this summer I have figured out more of the free associating feedback, and it feels like the others are becoming a little more open to being stalked 😂, so we all seem to be building a common map together that helps show us where we all fit with each other.
In my mind, I was explaining to a fictional figure in an ongoing alt life reality (some might call it a dreamscape or storyboard) that a few key mes were like epicenters during fragment events, and they became their own color families. I think that explains the pinkybluejacky thing, and why Jacky is stuck on which color of blue is the best, azure, cyan, royal, or sky. Lately we've noticed that soft mint and rustic orange together seem to strongly evoke memory fragments, as well, so however an event cracked that current local landscape at the time, they evidently got color mapped. I realized a couple of decades ago I am synesthete and seem to map many things in my life around hex charts, including blogs, and that each color family strongly attracts or repels other parts of me. We seem to be socially grouped. The blue/pink treaty involving Jacky and Pinky happened a long time before I became cognitively aware of the significance, and now I recognize it as a shaky alliance between the two strongest personalities who fought for control most of my life and finally settled into sharing enough space to stabilize. This settling happened with my second marriage to a very patient and forgiving man who doesn't make a big deal out of my weirdness (this is where men emotionally ignoring women can come in really handy), and now nearly 3 decades into this marriage, I'm finally getting a bigger picture mapped out.
The actual traumas are incidental and fantastically boring to me by now, plus they've been written out all over my blogs, so I'm not going to reiterate anything. I do recognize that Janika is an epicenter that happened in the '80s, and that was so rough that I lost being able to map a continuous timeline for 11 years. I think all the really significant big stuff happened long before that last one, most of them during my childhood at various points over various very overwhelming events, but the key is realizing that two of the stronger personalities umbrella'd over and took control of successive fragment events. Jacky seems to be a parent figure for a few 'kids', and Pinky is the mom as recognized by other 'kids'. Claudia and Lydia respond and defer to Pinky making decisions and handling things, and since Pinky was universally recognized in my head as the interface with real world for several years, it was probably natural to become cognizant of those fragments sooner than others. Janika seems to be very rogue and is responsible for some of the 11 year messcapades, along with Yablo. From what I can tell, Yablo is a latent mostly nonverbal 'Loki' figure nearly completely disconnected from anything tangibly emotional to the rest, and probably saved our lives a few times during Janika's plunges into various miscreant behaviors. Not sure, but I think Yablo is the one who wakes up during surgeries and drove home during the heavy drinking. Yablo shares space easily enough, but without the emotional connections, the contexts are always sketchy. Yablo was around for a very long time before getting named by one of my sisters. Janika was named by my child when she was 4 years old.
Jacky and Pinky go way back to very early childhood with their own continuous timelines of memories. Janika doesn't have memories before the 80s, making me think that epicenter was from my friend being murdered and then the immediate dissociation for years. Personally, I think Yablo was already around and probably helped stabilize Janika from going over addiction cliffs, but just barely, certainly wasn't out of worry or caring, more like having a friend to pal around with. When I look into those two I can kind of see the switching off. Janika never passed out, ever. It was like Yablo could bypass all that and take over and drive. Those two easily shared space and have common memory trails, so as I've been learning to free associate back into my past, I've been able to pick up on that buddy system between a couple of ne'er-do-wells. At the root of that, Yablo is responsive to Jacky. Pinky and Yablo don't ever seem to cross streams, which may be the bigger cause for memory holes in Pinky than anything. Pinky is emotional, Yablo is simply unattached emotionally, so it's like they are mutually exclusive. Yablo also doesn't fight for dominance or control. Jacky, on the other hand, is very dominating and fought with Pinky for years over control, even though Jacky is flat effect. Jacky may be "the cat that walks by himself" (Kipling), but Jacky does care deeply that things not go off the rails and considers Pinky to be weak when situations get stressful. The only thing Pinky remains strongest over Jacky with is being the mom. Jacky isn't really mom material and probably lets things slide more than they should. Since my first husband and that whole mess came hot on the heels of my friend's murder, whoever was occupying and controlling head space at the time was clearly not being supported by Jacky until the epic control fight that saved my child from that marriage. I'm still not able to access that very well, even though memories come through clearly enough to know what was going on, so I can't help wondering if the 'kids' were muddling through that on their own with a dash of Pinky here and there. I just know my head was such a mess that I couldn't logically think through anything. That was before Janika started drinking, so it wasn't alcohol. It was more like still being in shock, nothing felt that real to me except having a baby. That was real. And the fear was very real once we realized we were very much in danger and that my kid was being so abused.
I can see how and why some people can't see reality around them when they are in bad situations. If they are already fragmented from abuses, the parts of them that recognize it just shut down out of some kind of weird psychological protection. It's hard to wake that up and then do something real about it, especially when danger gets overwhelming.
Anyway, my map looks like an undercurrent of babyhood that one of me calls Sasha for lack of better information, followed closely by a couple of epicenters that cracked Pinky and Jacky (and possibly others) into existence, and then a short few years later Lydia and possibly another, and then another few short years came Claudia. The ages look a bit like baby/toddler, 3 years old, 7 years old, and 10-11 years old. I'm only guessing, they just feel like that. Lydia is the one who started having the witch nightmares, calls them witch-cats, and she never talks out loud when she pops out, but she sees everything. Claudia is the crabby fighter personality who remembers how to kill things, rambunctious and argumentative. Not sure who the 'kid with the bike' is yet.
I have clear memories that go back to babyhood. The memories that we all share before fragmentation events are the strongest. I've been learning to go back in time to before those events occurred, finding the shared memories, and then sorting out the fractures as I slowly move forward. At each fracture event a new part of map emerges, and events with strong epicenters seem to reorganize the continuities into new behavior group patterns. Figuring out how each of my fragments relates to all the others has been a real puzzle, because over time they change, just like relationships do with real people around us.
One thing I've been learning is that just because a personality seems to be latent for a long time doesn't mean they are inactive. They are literally part of a real time brain, a whole, and it doesn't just shut off like a light switch. Even latent personalities can hear, see, filter, and incorporate information into themselves even if they are not sharing cognizant space with other fragments. They may be a little lost in time and confused in place when they do present, but they aren't stopped and started again like a dvd player. Each fragment is part of a real person, and it's rough feeling left out of the loop and suddenly having to deal in spite of a big gap of continuity missing, but that personality being out and active might be a crucial development in dealing with something. Whether we are cognizant of each other or not, each fragment is important to the overall stabilization of the whole person.
Part of mapping some of the fragments into relationships has depended heavily on our willingness to share feelings without self recrimination and even self harm. Jacky and Pinky intensely disliked each other for many years, to the point of sabotaging each other. If you have a disorder wherein you are self sabotaging, you might want to look into a duality playing out that is seeking common ground. You may not be fragmented as such, but you may need some kind of reconciliation therapy. It's ok to forgive yourself. That was a very important part of my own processing. Parts of me are OCD level perfectionists, other parts of me are life fail depressionists. That battle between two conflicting personalities only made things worse. Learning to share space with agreements not to inflict insulting judgements and guilts on each other was a huge step, and reaching a place of understanding that the root of that bitter fight all along was Jacky loves Pinky so much that Jacky would force Pinky into submission out of harm's way so Pinky wouldn't cry was utterly heartbreaking. That was a real thing, and reaching that place broke down a lot of barriers.