Usually I, Life As A Committee, rarely switch in front of people. I try desperately to avoid switching, and hide who’s out. I don’t want people to see other parts out. I don’t want friends to think I’m strange or weird. I don’t want people to see the crazy.
I’ve been in hospital for two weeks now. For the last week we’ve been regularly switching. No one part/alter stays out for much more than half a day. I’m used to being out for days, weeks, months on end. Everyone else finds it much more tiring, and not because of the body’s physical health issues.
As soon as one part feels tired, or particularly overwhelmed, they tend to go back inside. Then someone who hasn’t been out so recently can come out, and take over for the next few hours. It’s meant that nurses generally have no clue which of us they’re talking to (unless they make the effort to ask, or it’s particularly obvious it’s not me), and our psychiatrist has been seeing a different part each day.
I’ve given up fighting it. Trying not to switch when other parts are desperate to be out is exhausting. Trying to fight a switch means I begin to feel increasingly dissociated, and other’s thoughts, emotions, and urges become overwhelming.
Here, in hospital, I’ve given up caring about switching. We’re switching multiple times a day as different parts find themselves needing time and space to express themselves. This can be through writing, drawing, or talking. Some parts are still hesitant to talk and prefer non-verbal ways of communicating. This doesn’t mean they haven’t been out. It just means if they’re out we’re very quiet, or someone who can talk comes back when there’s a need for us to talk.
Some of our switching is planned. We know what triggers certain parts to come out, and use that to do some more focussed work with them. Other times we discuss everyone’s wants and needs, and work out who’s the best part to be out at particular time.
We’ll be going home next week, and I hope the regular switching can continue. It makes life easier when we switch cooperatively. That’s something we need to have continue.