I know people even, for example, that on their bed — they hardly have room to sleep in it because it has books and old wrappers from McDonalds, etc. Its almost like there is a safety in that clutter. Now I’m wondering if there are ways to make little safe places, and to push back that clutter in a way that it would bring peace and bring a little more sense of order to the inside. There are various places where you can be safe. You can have a safe place inside, whether it’s a garden or a room or wherever where all the parts can go and be with the Good Shepherd or feel safe.
But what I’m talking about now are actual physical places. I think probably the hardest place to feel safe in is the bedroom. I’m wondering if there might be some very simple things that we can do that would make it so that we could actually go to bed and fall asleep. I know that there are parts who stay awake all night, parts that put off going to bed because of the symbolism of the bed and its just too much. I know somebody who had been sexually abused years and years ago, when everyone had white bedsheets, who found that there was a dramatic change in their ability to sleep or go into the bedroom and feel safe because they had bought different colored sheets. They had a purple sheet or maybe one with some safe characters on it and they said there was hardly any resistance now to going to bed compared to what it used to be.
So maybe asking the inside, “What color sheets do we want?” or “What kind of pillowcase?” or “What kind of bedspread?” You know, if you don’t have a lot of money, you can go to the thrift store and they have all different kinds of comforters and things like that. Making a simple change like that might really help.
Another thing might be, and this has the idea of being proactive, is to make a choice out loud. A bed is such a symbol of badness for most of us. Well, I think if we are proactive we could say, “I’m not going to put up with this idea that a bed is bad. This is new, this is different!” “Lord, Good Shepherd, I ask You to make this bed all cleaned up and that nothing bad is going to happen in this bed. This is a different bed.” Even by your intensity and spiritual aggressiveness in a sense and modeling that for the ones inside so they won’t be scared, and just asking the Good Shepherd, “Would You just cleanse this bed? This is my bed and I’m not going to let anything happen in it.” That is an example of taking more of an aggressive stance and it might be helpful.
Another idea I’d encourage is to build a fun spot. A fun spot could be taking one of your chairs (again you could take a vote inside and ask, “What’s the best chair to put in our fun spot?”) and decide on a corner or a spot and put that chair there. If your house even has all kinds of chaos and dirty dishes and its real common, by the way, there might be one little spot where you could put your chair and maybe put a little table by it and that would be your fun spot. Then you could say, “Who wants to be in charge of cleaning up our fun spot this week?” Make sure that things are put away, even if there are just two or three things there. That’s your space. That’s your fun spot!
It is different if you are married. The people who stay with people who have DID are doing a very difficult thing. I take my hat off to them. They don’t want to see their spouse suffer and have to go through memories and come back from counseling having eyes that let them know that you’ve been crying and hurting, that can be very difficult for them. But I think its helpful if you just communicate some basic things. I know someone who after she came back from a session, she just needed time by herself so she would go in the bedroom and she had this little placard or something with a hook on it, like from a hotel, that said, “Do Not Disturb”. Hers didn’t say that but it was similar. Her husband knew that when that was on the outside of the door of the bedroom, he should probably knock first before he went in or he should give her enough time until she came out. It would be good to have a talk with your spouse about how you can make the bedroom safer. Sometimes, in situations where its appropriate, just turning the lights off might help the ones inside and that will help make the experience more enjoyable.
I hope these few ideas have helped give you some things to think about and help you to develop a safe place in your home or your bedroom. It can be done. And what I’ve found, is gradually the clutter that was all around me began to disappear, as it was almost like the more self-hatred went away, the more I was able to keep my things pretty and organized.