Runaway Part II

A big THANK YOU to everyone for their help on my post Runaway.  This post is followup to that one and I wish I could say everything is OK now, but honestly, I’m no longer in the loop.  My sister sees her daughter as just in one of her moods, and my niece doesn’t want to talk to me right now.  But my last conversation with her was frightening.

I am going to start referring to my niece as Persephone, representing both her dual nature (bipolar) and particularly the darker side of schizophrenia.  I’ve also decided to refer to my sister as Hera, not only because she is a mother, but she can also be a selfish bitch.  Names established, I will get back to the story.

Conversations with Persephone went from strange to stranger the night that I posted Runaway.  She was referring to herself in the third person saying that Persephone is lost.  Imagine my shock, on facebook chat, when I asked who I was talking to and she gave me a new name.  (I will call this second personality Proserpina, not for personality reasons but because she is the Roman equivalent of Persephone.)  I was speechless.  Meanwhile, after hours of cajoling, DH convinced Persephone/Proserpina to call me.  It was like talking to a stranger.  Proserpina spoke differently – in monotone, devoid of interest yet with a touch of anger by some of my questions.  She said she takes over when the emotional turmoil is too great for Persephone to handle.  Whether this is a true manifestation of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) or not, I cannot say as I have no real experience with this illness.  Proserpina believes this situation to be a manifestation of her (their?) schizophrenia.

She said that Persephone will have no memory of what has occurred while Proserpina is in charge.  Her purpose is to keep Persephone’s body from dying, although she made it quite clear that she could hurt (but not kill) the body if she chose to do so.  She is supposed to be in charge until Persephone returns, but also to help “find” her, whatever that means.  Proserpina told me that when my niece “blacked out” while driving home, it was she who took over to keep Persephone from driving off the road and committing suicide.  When I asked if she was Persephone’s protector, the touch of anger shone through the mostly monotone speech.  This is when she informed me that she could hurt this body if she chose to but she could not destroy it because it did not belong to her.  Proserpina told me that she intended to leave for a few days, going camping in the woods in order to “find” Persephone.  Proserpina said that the switch lasts typically from 12-24hrs, but it had already been 24hrs since the switch by the time I talked to her.  To say that I am worried, is putting it mildly.

Update:  I just received an answer to my text and Persephone said the last couple of days are a blur.  Her memory is fragmented over the past few days and she feels as though what she does remember doesn’t belong to her.  She isn’t concerned, she thinks maybe she was on a drinking binge.  Now what do I do?  Is it my place to tell her about this conversation with Proserpina?  How do I convince her to take her drinking, partying, and medications more seriously?  Next time, things might not end so well.


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5 thoughts on “Runaway Part II

  1. Oh Monday! I don’t know what to say except I’m glad your niece is safe! I’m especially glad nothing happened to her!

    Okay, before I continue, I’m going to say that this doesn’t come from a professional or personal stance. This is what I have observed for myself in a loved one and what I recognized in my own mental state. I don’t know the exact mechanism of this, but I’ll try to explain. Does she suffer from paranoia as well? Because that could be the trigger itself for the separate entity.

    I’m going to assume that the elements of the separate entity were already present. Okay, for instance, a tendency to dissociate. I’m just now learning about this, bear with me. So, she feels threatened and starts to back out of reality. With some people, this is done by emotional flattening. In this instance, it looks as if the dissociation conjured the entity.

    Remember when I had that incident a little after Christmas with what could have been a lethal drug interaction? I wrote up the post called The Heath Ledger Paradox? I described how I seem to have this mechanism responsible for keeping my body safe and alive. It seems as if in this instance, it was taken beyond a level of incapacitating one entity to preserve life, to creating another entity to stand in for the other.

    It makes sense. When I was in an incapacitated state, it was brief, and there was no “me” to interact with the world. However, when I feel as if the me that is present is in danger of doing something dangerous or engaging in what could be psychically traumatizing behavior, I do feel a shift. For instance, when I am trying to hold back from reacting, I feel something like flattening and kind of a blank mask over my behaviors in that period of time. Sometimes, the memory of it becomes choppy, but I can’t say I’ve ever completely split off.

    Times that I have felt the threads become a little more bare are during “affective” episodes. Times that I’m lashing out, and things of that nature, actions I’m carrying out that I consider to be uncharacteristic – those seem even less real, like I’m someone else, but outside of myself, just watching. Dissociation of sorts, I guess.

    Except, in your niece’s case, it’s much, much more severe.

    Again, not a professional thing. Just stuff I’ve noticed about me and folks around me.

    • She does not suffer from paranoia. She has had traumatic incidents that occurred during childhood. (I won’t go into details though.) She is schizophrenic, which when combined with a traumatic childhood, would indicate a tendency to dissociate. I am frightened to see the dissociation is as extensive as a second full or partial personality. I suspect it’s the latter. All she has to do is look at her facebook chats or even the string of text messages (unless Proserpina deleted them) to see an outright statement from herself saying that she is someone else. I wonder if she knows subconsciously that she is dissociating, but doesn’t recognize it consciously. How can you not wonder what happened when you lost three days of your life? How can you rationalize it as having gone on a drinking binge when you don’t feel hungover?

      I don’t know what to tell her and I don’t know how to get her to go back on her meds. She hate lithium because it gives her horrible acne and she can’t party when she takes it. She hates Seroquel because of the weight gain. I can’t blame her for not wanting to take the meds. But I worry so much about her. I feel like she is throwing her life away by going out and drinking and partying and getting all obsessed about boys who treat her like crap. She’s on disability and food stamps, but my sister takes a huge chunk of her disability check so she has very little left over and can’t afford therapy. She doesn’t see a psychiatrist; a nurse practitioner gives her the prescriptions. I wish I could bring her here for the summer and get her straightened out before she goes off to school. She wants to be a serious student, but I don’t see how she can succeed if she keeps up like this. Worst of all, what happens when the hallucinations and voices start again?

      My biggest question is: How do I talk to her? Do I tell her about Proserpina? I don’t know what to do. What would you want to hear if you were her?

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