Back home now for nearly a week and back into the routine. I do miss those relaxing days up north but at the same time there is something to be said for familiar surroundings.
I have had a fun few days socializing with friends. As I said in my Queensland post, it can be hard to socialize with others who do not know anything about my condition or even that I have it. Yesterday I went to a friends 30th birthday party. She knows of my Disorder but I have not discussed it in detail with her. I had my excuse ready if I couldn't cope with the party any more, and I felt comfortable that I could leave at any time. As it turned out some old friends were also there, so I spent most of my time catching up with them. I wasn't switching at all and I enjoyed the whole afternoon, and I didn't leave early.
The day before I had spent the afternoon with another great friend who also has issues with dissociation. We had a great time and I felt very relaxed. We (my alters) were not all in agreement on going to her house but in the end it was a good move.
I spend a lot of time at home, partly because of the boys, and partly because that is where I am most comfortable. I enjoy my time here. I have plenty to keep my occupied, and I am not often alone. (some might say with 20 odd alters in my head I am never alone) But I forget how good it can feel to spend time with friends. Good friends who accept me as I am (disorder and all) or friends who don't know about the disorder and so don't expect any different.
Being a multiple it can be hard to hang out with others. If I invite someone over, it is not uncommon for another Alter to be out when my guest arrives. This alter may not be interested in socializing at all, let alone with this invited guest. Part way through the visit something may trigger a change in alters and suddenly the event can take on a whole different feel. I have often found myself chatting with someone and suddenly be triggered and find an alter out that is tired and just wants to curl up in bed and talk to no one. The can be rather difficult 5 mins into the guests visit.
Because I often feel the need to be perfect around others, there is also always the post socializing analysis. That is dissecting every conversation I have had over the evening and recalling the reactions from those around me. Did I say the wrong thing, next time I should not have said that, maybe I wore the wrong outfit, maybe I am too fat and shouldn't have even gone anyway. Did they really like me or were they just politely tolerating me. This can go on for some time and as I am sure you can imagine there are plenty of alters on the inside who will chime in with their opinion. As I generally spend most of my time feeling unattractive and unliked, you can imagine that this analysis does not end well. It is a wonder that I even venture out the front door again.
Having others who go through the same thing is always a great help. I discussed some of these things with a friend who has DID the other day. It gave me so many answers to my own behaviour. Because I have been this way for most of my life I don't even realize that what I am doing is part of the disorder. I, as usual, think everyone thinks and feels as I do.
Thank you to my dear friend for the afternoon at your house. Our open and real conversations about our condition was not only hilariously funny but also amazingly healing.
And to my other friends who know about my disorder but accept me as I am, Thank you too. This is a hard journey but you all make it so much easier.