I looked at the clock and it was 9:26 am. I read a short blog post then checked the time again. It was 12:20 pm. I have no idea what I’ve done with those hours. Zip, zilch, nada. No hints in my browser history. Nothing looks amiss. Just a big gaping hole where three hours of my day were swallowed right up. They’re just gone. I hate this.
It’s no different from coming out of an alcohol induced blackout, as far as the anxiety of “what did I do while not aware of what I was doing?!” The huge differences are that I was stone cold sober when it happened, so no hangover or lingering intoxication, and people tend to tell me I was acting relatively normal, but not “my usual self.” (They’re more right than they know). So no, we don’t tend to go batty, no internal serial killer or kidnapper (thanks, Mr. M Night Shyamalan, you ass-hole, for adding to the stigmatizing of traumatized people, and ironically making US–survivors of extensive childhood trauma–the villains in your film Split!).
This has been happening to me as long as I can remember, and believe me, its gotten me in trouble. A good example was in 9th grade when my cousin came to visit me for lunch when I was going to private school: I kept checking my watch and the last time I checked it was almost time to head back to campus. So I thought I told her at that time we needed to leave… apparently I said that quite a while after checking my watch, as we then immediately left, yet I was an hour late coming back. Should have seen my biology teacher’s face, he was so mad!
These are called fugues. I hate them. They’re bad enough when nothing apparently happened, but often they land me in awkward situations, like a couple years ago while walking to pick my daughter up from school. Some totally reasonable-seeming guy was absolutely convinced I’d lost my laundry card earlier. But the card was in my wallet. I had (still have) zero memory of even leaving my apartment after dropping my girl at school. But this guy was insistent, knew my name, and knew which apartment I was in; apparently, and logically, I told him during my fugue so he could return the card if found. (Little lesson here: unlike in the movies, for me at least, lost time, fugues, have never caused me to wake up in some strange hotel room in another state with a stranger or anything like that, nothing so dramatic, usually just awkward and embarrassing outcomes).
Something strange happened yesterday that makes me nervous about how many fugues I’m having lately. My daughter and I were discussing DID and I was explaining about how my parts are like different headspaces everyone has, but her walls are porous between them, while mine are thick and solid, that they’re compartmentalized so well that they don’t share much, while hers share everything. I used a simple diagram showing that, and it was going well. She totally got it, and it matched her experience of me, which was cool (by the way, here’s her explanation of what life with a mom with DID is like: “it’s like having a really big family, but it doesn’t look like it.”).
We both enjoyed the conversation. Then I was listing off my parts, writing their names down. Last, but not least, I said “and then there’s boring old me” and intended to write “Julia.” What I actually wrote was “Jane.” Freaked me out (there’s a peculiar, and indescribable, sensation, for me, that happens when another part momentarily takes control of an action without actually switching fully to that part–like my hand had just been hijacked). I will NEVER get used to that, the heart-stopping discovery of another part. Freaked me out even more when I saw the knowing smile cross my daughter’s face. She already knew!!!
I know I’m polyfragmented. We discovered that in therapy, when we started mapping out my system (parts work like a system, where every part has an important function, even if that’s not always obvious). We realized that the parts I was aware of all had groups of parts behind them–like supervisors over teams in a business. Each “team” usually shares the name of their “manager,” or a variation of it (so the Julias, the Julians, the Jules etc.), with the exception of one group I’m aware of that has a part with a totally different name, but the others there share variations of a name.
Anyway, there’s clearly a Jane, and I’ve no idea if she’s an unknown part from a known “team,” or, more likely, the “manager” or “host” for a “team” I was previously unaware of. No idea how this is going to go. It freaks me out so bad whenever a previously unknown part shows up and I have to remind myself that every single part developed to protect me and to help me function day to day without having to have all this trauma in my everyday awareness. No parts are “bad” or “evil.” My mind created them to protect me. They exist to protect me and hide trauma from me so I could function. Still, it’s unnerving. It may be that these fugues are her coming out. I have some level of co-consciousness with most my known parts, so finding previously unknown parts with zero co-consciousness really upsets me. Ugh.