I’ve been feeling very young recently. I feel like Ana is around more than I am.
There is a book (which I haven’t yet read) which talks about structural disassociation and describes the experience of having an “apparently normal part” and one or more “traumatized child parts.” My apparently normal part seems to be quiet this past few weeks and Ana, my traumatized teenage part is very loud.
Sometimes when Ana is around I do things that don’t make a lot of sense to my apparently normal part. And my apparently normal part doesn’t make sense to Ana.
I was trying to figure out if there were any particular triggers, anniversaries or memories surfacing for me recently, ones that would bring Ana to the forefront.
Next week will be the anniversary of when I first started being abused. It will also mark the one year anniversary of this blog!
I started reading through an old journal from 2001: the year I first was hospitalized, the year I tried to kill myself multiple times and the year I began cutting daily, sometimes multiple times a day.
Reading the journal, my 2001 apparently normal self seems extremely young. But even at that time, I clearly identified having a traumatized child part. Back then I called it healthy me and little girl me. I also called it “the voice.” I’ve found multiple segments where I speak about “the voice” and I recognize what she is saying as Ana.
February 21, 2001
“The sensation of hunger is not an easy one for me. It is frightening. Like I feel afraid of losing control of myself. And yet I know that the E.D is out of control. It is a part of me that often deceives and betrays me. I know that in the end, though it feels comfortable, it cannot be trusted. The voice which tells me not to eat, tells me to cut my skin, to smash my head against a wall, to step out in front of traffic, all sorts of dangerous and hurtful things. It speaks to me in persuasive ways. It is a part of me and yet foreign. My ally and my enemy. My strength and my destruction. But after so many years it is the way I know. A method of ridding myself of unwanted feelings…I feel like a stranger in my own life.”
I don’t know what to do to help my traumatized child part heal. What does Ana need?
The answer that comes to my mind is love.
She needs love. She needs acceptance. She needs to be believed. She needs to feel safe. She needs to be forgiven for all the years of self abuse. She needs to forgive her own body.
But I rail against it. My apparently normal adult self doesn’t feel capable of parenting an angry teenager. Ultimately, she is me…both the apparently normal adult self and the traumatized child parts are me.
Even in 2001, I can read in my journal signs of this inner battle. The battle between health and self destruction, between hope and despair. I’ve been fighting for a long time.
I can read myself trying desperately to convince myself that my engagement was a good idea. That I loved my partner. That my own PTSD and issues were the root of the stress in our relationship.
March 18, 2001
“I miss having him around me and yet I’m also afraid of our intimacy. He is at the same time my motivation to get well and my trigger to feel upset. The strong emotions I have toward him complicate and simplify my life”
I can read my younger self trying to convince herself that things would be okay. I can read between the lines that a deeper part of her knew the relationship was wrong and unhealthy. I can read how I desperately continued hurting myself, longing to be SEEN. Truly SEEN and accepted for who I was. I can read my self blame, self hatred and confusion.
And a good part of this fight has been internal, between parts of myself that can’t seem to make peace, forgive and start again.