Guide: Body Focus, Communication, and Memory
These are a collection of body focus, communication, and memory tricks and tips we use for headmates who are dissociative, have poorer communication skills and/or are sensitive to time-weirdness.
Note: take all these things with a grain of salt. These are things we use, they might not necessarily be the same things that work for other people.
Body Association Tools
These are two techniques we learned from bodywork classes though they work even if you don't have the energy skills.
(note: I'd suggest only doing this if you have someone you trust for safe-touch, but it's extraordinarily effective)
Person to be swiped stands with hands against a wall. Swiper starts at either the top back of the head OR the shoulders (depending on person's comfort level), and then with firm but not too heavy pressure, drag your hands down the back, shifting to the sides at the hips andthen down the legs and off the feet.
If possible, cross your leg so that the foot to be sandwiched makes the crossover of a 4 shape. If you can't cross your leg or for example you are in public wearing a skirt, you can also use a stool or a chair or a porch step (you just want the bottom of your foot to be more easily reachable by your arms). Put one hand on the bottom of the foot. Put the other on the top. Hold while breathing. Repeat on the opposite side.
And this is a third energy technique, that also works without the energywork skills. It's a variation of a self-hug. Our reiki master calls it the "Anti-Stress Position".
Put one hand at your chest over your breast bone, and the other on the stomach.
Bonus perks is it helps regulate breathing back to diaphragm breathing because you can feel the difference.
Additional body-awareness tools we might use:
- various textures
- pretty pictures
- strong tastes
- steepling hands (face palms to each other and press the fingertips to each other firmly)
- that beaded pouch necklace we're wearing in the anti-stress position demo is both a tactile grounding tool itself AND has polished "grounding" stones in it that are also tactile grounding tools
This is a variation of a tool that's really common as a recommendation in books for systems who identify as having Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder. Basically they're little emergency cards, though our version removes things like emergency contacts because we keep those in separate paper things AND our phone applications (which we train EVERY new fronter to use even if they're selectively mute).
For us, we have a general card which has on the back our legal information (name, current year, our home address) and a note to look at the WRAP application for self-care support AND/OR emergency contacts.
And then one for every headmate who is susceptible to various forms of dissociation/time weirdness. We used to keep ALL the cards in our wallet, but now that our system has for the most part gotten a FAIRLY regular fronting team schedule, we usually only keep the ones for the fronters who show up in the morning.
This is the one for Honeybees (Kevin's system) that went into our purse today.
Finally, we use a lot of redundancy tactics WE DO have multiple to-do list apps on our phone and our schedule is ALWAYS mirrored into our google calendar, but we got this daily organizer at Staples when we started getting to be a much larger system fairly early in college and weren't doing so well on communication due to school-stress and just headmates's personal dissociative tendencies. It's only lasted this long because we use it irregularly now -- only when we know we have a crowd of dissociative people fronting or if our medication is messing around with our ability to communicate.
The left side is a page that has a to-do list section, an appointment book section, and a little journal section. The right side is a page that's for a phone message log.
We usually ignore the priorities on the to-do list section. We use the appointment book section for meetings/classes on the days we use it. The journal section is used to make notes for provider meetings. The phone message log is repurposed to be a communication board between headmates. Sometimes it'll have additional to-do lists (like today's), other times it will have requests such as: "Does anyone know how to snake the bathroom sink drain?" or "Can someone else please schedule our upcoming doctor's appointment?", and yet other times, it can be little doodles from the headmates who identify as nonverbal/selectively mute.
[Edit 09/09/2019 - Since this essay is making the rounds due to LB's kickstarter essays on How To Memory Work, I figured I should put in the source for what we call "Reboot Cards" here. We couldn't remember which book it was in, which meant we had to investigate our long file of WRAP notes to locate the book that we first learned it in! It was apparently Deborah Bray Haddock's The Dissociative Identity Sourcebook and they are called "Self-Care Cards" in the book and mentioned/described with examples from pages 224-231.]
[Edit 07/15/2021 - some of this information is now outdated on the attached reboot cards. This is the WRAP application (Android, IOS). We also have used Virtual Hope Box (Android, IOS), which has some items for self-care included!]
(originally posted on Dreamwidth for December 9th 2015 December Blogging Meme Post and spawned from a discussion between lb_lee and I believe dreamer_marie during LB Lee's livestream on Sunday December 6th 2015 wherein they attempted to ask advice about dissociation stuff and I kept having internet fail, also part of a backlog of things we've wanted to write since our 2011 FONSFAQ on Plurality/Multiplicity, and crossposted to Healthy Multiplicity)
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