Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath Pt. 1

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath


“Having Multiple Personalities is like hosting a kegger in your brain only you’re passed out cold while everyone else is just trashing the joint.”
Reese was always too concerned with “being in the way” to leave a mess. Stephanie would scour the house when she was pissed. For me it was less hosting a kegger than an endless sleepover for a bunch of elementary school girls.  We had Stacy and her Barbies (which she learned quickly not to leave out because my daughters would play with them and lose stuff), Amelia and her crayons and paints and any of the other littles with their precious things... Over the years, they each were given a few belongings of their own. From the Braille tablet and stylus for Laura to the mind-numbing amount of stuffed animals the youngest of the young adored. Oh yeah, I could tell who had been out by what had been moved around or left out in the open.

It was never quite as bad as Tara deals with. I think part of the reason for that is my Crew was expected to behave as part of an already large family with 5 young kids. There was an almost built in sense of protecting their belongings from “sisters” or “brothers” that would get their hands on them and leave them in less than good condition. I vaguely remember a couple of tantrums from Amelia and Stacy about “those other kids” borrowing their things without permission.

No, it wasn’t so much a kegger for me as it was the Dugger family, without the sense of order and discipline.

Family Meetings-
Oh sure. We tried. When the kids were younger it was easier. They loved talking about and to anyone in the Crew who happened to be around. They had grown up with it, had their own favorites and knew Mom needed the details afterward. They also got a kick out of sharing stories about the others. We’ve always been a story-telling family and filling me on the actions of the Crew was an opportunity to tell a story.

As they grew older, the meetings became more difficult. Trying to keep everyone’s attention (including the Crew’s) for more than 10 minutes was an exercise in frustration. We also fell into the habit of only really holding family meetings when the kids were in enough trouble they all needed to hear the same thing at the same time. It’s no wonder resentment built towards such gatherings in my house.

I homed in on the detail that T smokes menthol. In the first episode we see Buck smokes reds. It was kind of a head shaker for me because for the first year or so after diagnosis, I caved and let Stephanie and Reese have their own cigarettes. I was buying full flavor, lights and ultra lights. I eventually begged both girls to please just deal with one flavor. I didn’t care if they cut or took off the filters… it just made no sense to keep buying something different for each of us.

“It’s that’s really good we can discuss this as a family. It doesn’t have to be weird.”
“It’s weird.”
Kate pisses me off SO much. If I’m honest about it, I think Kate hits all the guilt buttons. Looking at her I see al the anger and resentment my own kids, especially my oldest, never felt they could express. All those “I’m fucking up my family” feelings rise up and try to choke me when I see Tara and Kate together.

“Look, we knew when you went off the meds the whole gang would resurface.”
“Yeah, Multiple Personality Reunion Tour.”
… “Anyway, I can’t… we can’t begin to understand why you need them unless we let them show themselves”
Meds and DID- It bothers me how often DID is treated with anti-psychotics. The doctor treating me when I was diagnosed had no experience with DID. His immediate answer was Risperdol, a medication then used to treat Schozophrenia. If I hadn’t had such severe side-effects, there’s no telling how long I’d have taken it. The side-effects were a blessing in disguise because I’d already locked the Crew behind a wall for 7 years. It would have been damned cruel to medicate them into silence just as we were coming to know them.

Some medications can help in treating DID. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and even some of the older anti-psychs… but it’s a crapshoot and not an answer. Meds should aid in treatment, not be the treatment. The idea of doping up a patient to make them easier to deal with sets my teeth on edge. But then, before the Wall fell, I’d already had plenty of experience in being medication into oblivion for the sake of making me easier to deal with rather than better… so my perception here may be skewed.

When it comes down to it, DID might exist in tandem with depression and a whole host of other problems but the DID itself is a trauma response and not a biological illness. You can use a medication the way we use Advil, to ease pain… but if you aren’t dealing with the source of the pain, what’s the fucking point? You can’t deal with the source using a drug as the main tool. Not with trauma disorders.

“Last thing you need is to worry about my stupid school stuff.”
It sounds like Marshall is being helpful in trying not to add stress to Mom’s life... Let’s not even go into the issue of kids feeling the need to protect their own parents or be the parents… but when I first saw this episode, my immediate sense was Marshall either didn’t trust his mom to follow through in a helpful way or didn’t trust she could do it without switching.

Tara trying to talk to Kate about sex- Ugh… More guilt. Seeing it from the outside, I realize my efforts to be cool mom probably made me look even more an idiot to my kids. I know much of that is normal parent/teenager stuff but like Tara, I have a hard time truly believing it’s not me failing in some way.

“Evil fucking Bratz Doll.”
I can’t think of a better way to describe an angry, teenage daughter. I’m still worried things are too screwed up for the “adult daughter” with children friendship thing… but there’s hope.

“And tomorrow, I’m gonna talk to Marshy’s teacher and we’re gonna get that straightened out as well.”
Oops. Cat’s out of the bag. Marshall doesn’t want Mom talking to his teacher. What a horrible, horrible feeling… and all too familiar. It’s that stupid guilt thing again.

“It’s like they don’t even want me around when I’m me.”
“Please, it’s all you.”
Forgetting for a moment Charmaine’s comment… It’s been how many integrated years now and I still feel that way. Like I’m not good enough as I am… or I’ve screwed things up so badly there is no healing or forgiveness. There’s also the fear they simply liked the others enough that I’m… I don’t know… boring and 2 dimensional in comparison.

Thing is, it’s STILL not the kid’s job to reassure me there. At some point, I have to get over myself and move on. Most of my kids are adults now. It’s time to let them think and feel what they choose and to let them accept the consequences for their choices without looking at it through my useless guilt filter.


And again, less than halfway through an episode and I’m pretty sure this entry is as long as it needs to be. Perhaps it would ease some worry to accept that, for now, there’s enough to comment on in each episode that it’ll take more than one entry to cover it all. Ease off on the self-imposed pressure and deadlines and give myself a break…

Yeah, I crack myself up.