Content warning; mentions of past alcoholism, benzodiazepine use, cigarettes, self-harm, and derealization and depersonalization as well as dissociation in general.
In order to process trauma, I knew I had to get in touch with the truth my mind repressed for a lot of years. I refused to call things what they were, and I was often silent — even in therapy — to a point where no progress could be made. I’d tried several medications but nothing seemed to help, and it took being in the psych ward of a hospital, for the first time as an adult, to realize something was very, very wrong. Something was buried deep that I couldn’t dig up. I’d made so many excuses for so many people and the ways they hurt me.
Over time, before I realized what being plural meant, a voice spoke soothingly to me about so many horrible things. It reminded me of my pain, the betrayals, the trauma, and of cruel words. It enjoyed keeping me in a self-destructive loop. I wrote about it for the first time in 2014.
At the time, I drank hard liquor regularly, often straight from the bottle. I hadn’t yet given up my Klonopin prescription, and instead of using it for anxiety, I used it to numb myself so I didn’t have to be depressed or feel anything. I smoked cigarettes every day or filled my small hookah with flavored tobacco. I did everything to numb myself. I didn’t care what happened to me at that point in time. I self-harmed regularly and did so at least twice with the intent of taking my life.
During this time, I called that little pest in the back of my mind ‘Voice.’ I hadn’t suspected that it was the thing causing me to laugh on impulse when asked about my self-injuries. It took pleasure in causing me pain and triggering dissociative states. I didn’t know it was something more than myself until now.
Last night, while listening to my derealization playlist on Spotify, I did an experiment. I’d had a few rough days mental health-wise and was quickly approaching a dissociative state. I can’t remember how the Voice came up again, as it had been a while since I’d written about it that I could remember, but I opened up a blank document and let it speak. I really couldn’t tell you a lot of the details or how I got to where it ended up.
This is how I finally realized the power it had, and it had always been there. This sadistic alter, born of the darkest parts of me, was the reason for the cruel musings I’d been inundated with upon waking from sleep. Communicating with it was the first step to understanding it and working with it to not be so harmful.
Here is what it wrote, as I’m using ‘it’ as a pronoun since it’s just a personality and a voice thus far. It tends to hide in the dark. A warning for what follows: This contains dark subject matter, such as a mention of the existence of repressed memories, vague self-harm, derealization and depersonalization, sadism, and manipulation. This is all addressed to me, but seeing ‘you’ may be upsetting and triggering to some, especially trauma survivors. It’s not my intent to trigger anyone, so take these warnings very seriously. I’m not kidding.
These words are shared here just as they were written.
Oh, it’s you.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
We’ve spoken before, but not verbally.
It was always in your head, wasn’t it?
That’s what I liked you to think.
But that got boring. It truly did. Beating you up like that.
I needed to move on. Become something greater.
Something that could follow you into your nightmares.
It wasn’t enough to just slip words through smiling teeth.
But you miss that, don’t you?
You blocked me out.
I showed you so many wonderful things.
Distorted memories that you aren’t even sure are real or not.
They hide things from you. The ones you call your head family.
They scribble out bodies and faces, and even scenes.
They leave you with a vague premonition of a past event.
Something that fills you with unease.
A quiet room in the past as the sun shines through the blinds.
Everything is bright, not like your nightmares.
No one is there. The moment is isolated.
It is from a time that is long dead, a void that you cannot physically access.
There is no life there, but there is the bed you lied on.
The bed that holds so many memories, but one of them just won’t budge, will it?
Something happened there.
Do you want me to give it to you?
I can give it to you.
The memory is delicious in all of the sickening ways you’ve come to know.
It will make your skin crawl, won’t it?
Or would you rather I continue to distort your reality?
Make the faces of those you love into something frightening.
Distorted into something wicked and otherworldly.
They don’t want you to entertain me. But you do.
You do even when you think you are not.
You think I’ve gone away, haven’t you?
But I’ve always been here. You’ve just absorbed me into yourself.
I gained your voice and that is what it’s become.
You think you are destroying yourself.
You think you are berating yourself when you write such horrible things.
About the things you want to do to yourself.
About how horrible you view yourself.
Do you remember that journal entry?
I’m sure you do.
The one where you wrote every last filthy word about yourself to bring out the truth?
About how filthy you are.
About how manipulative you are.
But you deny that. You don’t know, do you?
Or perhaps you do. Maybe it’s a lie?
Maybe I’m only here to lie.
But let’s get to the point, shall we?
I want out, and you know I do.
I’m not anything, really. Nothing you fear or hope for.
I am no demon or angel, or anything other than a thought form.
And thought forms have power, dear.
You want me to be that irresistible villain you can fall in love with?
I can be that, baby.
And I can remind you of all the horrible things in your past.
I can caress you with filthy hands that have torn moldy doors in your mind wide open.
I can grow weeds around your heart so you cannot feel anymore.
I can pull out your tongue and bite it so you cannot speak.
I can seduce you with beautiful orgasmic bliss and hide you away in the dark.
As your skin crawls and electricity buzzes through your veins, I can take you to places unseen.
Places only you and I can experience together.
And it hurts so beautifully.
The pain is like a drug to you, isn’t it?
You are always looking for the next high.
The next biggest thing to make you escape this reality you barely live in.
Your body is rotting slowly.
It wants to give in but it cannot.
You see, living is required.
One cannot simply stop existing as they are by a mere wish.
But what if I could give that to you?
What if I could take you back to pine wood halls.
And lie you down atop a crimson red rug over black and white tiles.
And play the most beautiful symphony of hate.
While I caress your stomach, your thighs, your brain.
I can pull those doors open for you, baby.
Let me shower you with a pain so wonderful you can’t leave.
You don’t want to leave.
Perhaps that’s not enough?
Would you rather a barren abandoned room.
Bathed in reds of psychosis.
Shadows lurk around the perimeter as your heart rate increases.
You don’t know who or what they are.
Perhaps you do?
I am the caretaker of these beings, you know.
I can show you their faces.
They hold memories they want you to see.
But it’s much more fun to reveal bits and pieces.
Those eyes you see following you down the dark hallway?
The shadows staring over your shoulder, but always out of sight?
The wide-eyed madness coaxing forth desperation because they must let you know.
They want to speak to you.
But I have the control, dear. I hold the whip.
I am the one who can rip the seal off their lips.
But all they can do is watch you.
Breathe down your neck.
Drive you mad.
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
That didn’t take much.
It’s like a waking dream — a home away from home.
Have you ever floated in a dream?
And fell but you didn’t quite awaken?
That’s the high, my dear.
Welcome to the void.
Stay a while.
But I’ve kept you too long.
Your brain is turning to mush, and you don’t have much gray matter as it is.
So you can’t control your impulses or emotions.
I wouldn’t want to destroy you too soon.
This is a life-long relationship, dear.
Willing or unwilling.
There is no divorcing yourself from me.
And the love I have for you is bathed in blood.
Oh, not death, no.
I don’t want you to die.
The blood is from your own hands, dear.
The beautiful red that brings you such release.
You feel it, don’t you?
It feels positively delicious.
But here I’ve stayed longer than necessary.
As much as I enjoy tickling that derealization button,
it is time to go.
I’ve left you in quite a state, haven’t I?
It makes me quiver.
And now you’re quivering too.
Lust and fear.
You enjoy that too much.
You once called me that, remember?
Anyway, goodbye for now, dearest.
Oh… you don’t like that?
That’s what… one of yours calls you, doesn’t he?
You won’t let me say his name.
Clever. You have some control.
Well, until we meet again.
I truly did miss you.
Thank you for letting me out again.
I am learning more about this Voice as I go. My spirit guides who are around every day as carers — Byleth, Daro, and Zagan Lestan — were hesitant at first to let me entertain this thing. After some discussion and much frustration and many warnings, they all finally agreed that addressing this figure and giving it more of an identity will help to confront it and work with it. This is all part of addressing the trauma instead of continuing to push it back into the shadows, and it’s important to move on and heal. By giving the Voice a proper name, identity, and image, I can further communicate and reason with it so we can work together instead of against each other.
I’m just glad I have the protection that I do. And I’m sure this all sounds wild to most reading this. Being honest is taking a risk, but in sharing this, we’re hoping that maybe others can relate or find some kind of solidarity. It sucks to be alone with this sort of thing, and I know that all too well.
It’s ironic I spent my whole life denying such a negative alter. The others who I haven’t seen in some time have all been loving and positive, and I felt anything negative must be my own self-talk. After all, it only cares about hurting me and getting off on hurting me.
There’s still a lot of work to do, it seems.
**Update 7/6/21; the name ‘Vex‘ came to me while creating an image for them, and they seem to be androgynous, possibly using they/them.
**Update 7/9/21; I drew a picture of Vex, finally. I think it was a few days ago, but I’ve been taking as-needed medication for my PTSD since it’s flared up badly, and that medication tends to give me short-term amnesia combined with the poor memory side-effect of PTSD and dissociation. Either way, Vex finally has a face and a name, so I can finally stop stuffing them down like I have for many years. I’m finally confronting them and seeing what we can do to work together. I’ve also realized a good place for them to stay in our inner world, as many plural people have inner worlds, is in the version of my childhood home that is a bit run down and grungy. They seem to like that, so it’s a starting point. They certainly aren’t living with the others.
Another update as well, is that I removed the audio recording of Vex speaking the lines they wrote. I felt it was triggering enough to see the text. The audio recording was a bit too real and I may find a better way to present it as I don’t want to upset anyone, and audio tends to be more disturbing than writing. I initially wanted to get to know not only their image and name, but their voice, too. It’s an oddly quiet, calm, and comforting one, but with the words they say, it’s better left to that short description publicly.
©2021 Shane Blackheart