We were at church with the family. It was during worship, the music was loud and the singing was great. The energy in the room was high and we were standing between our mom and our sister. Mom was in a lot of pain and was alternating between standing and sitting, to try and alleviate her pain and Dad was focused mostly on her.
At some point, the noise in the room started to fade into the background. The room, the music, the people even all became fuzzy and that’s the last memory we have before Kat popped out long enough to determine that the lights were far too bright and she wasn’t interested in being out and then it was Bella.
At that point Bella looked to Mom for some kind of explanation because the head was pounding, the body was in intense pain. There we were, in church, having missed most of what we love about being at church. The music, the message, it was all missing. Yet the body was present for all of it. Not only was there a lot of physical pain, but there was a lot of frustration to go along with it.
What Mom explained to Bella was that a young one made her appearance there during worship songs. She was confused and cried a bit. Mom told her she was safe and explained to her where she was, to which the young one replied, “I don’t know where I am and I barely even know YOU!” At that point, Dad took the young one outside to talk and give her space to breathe a bit. When he asked her where she lives she gave him our childhood address and when he asked her where she goes to school she gave him the name of our high school. When he asked her name she told him her name is Erica.
And that, friends, is an incredibly frustrating piece of DID. Dad simply gave her a quick rundown of where she is and why and they went back inside. She’s here now, she’s confused and overwhelmed and working on adjusting to this new reality. If she didn’t have Mom and Dad in those moments that would have gone a lot less smoothly.
So how to handle new arrivals:
- Be patient. They are confused. They likely have very little idea what’s happening around them or where/when they are.
- Be aware. They may not, probably will not… be aware of their surroundings. Or they may be hyper-vigilant. You will have to decide that and react accordingly.
- Plan for this ahead of time. Have some sort of game plan. Who in the system should you be looking for? Who do you direct the new person to be looking for/calling for/asking for? How does the system work?
- Get help from someone the system trusts. If this is something you don’t feel comfortable handling, that’s okay. Have a backup plan and call/text, someone, the system knows well and trusts.
If you are a system and alone, that’s harder to offer advice to. We’ve all been there. We all know it’s hard to add someone new to the mix. Be patient. Be kind. Be compassionate both to the new one and to each other. There’s going to be tension as everyone adjusts. Some of the newer arrivals turned out to be my closest sisters and yet I can tell you I was THE hardest to adjust to, to date. No lie. Ask anyone, it’s a true story.