So I am going to talk a little about one of the vaguer but more important parts of my mental health issues. Her name is Eve. I don’t know if she’s a co-existent alter or just part of my delusional beliefs, but she exists and I live with her in my mind every day. I can’t promise this post will make much sense as she is a difficult concept to grasp and talk about. When I’m in a good place she is usually asleep. I have a kind of mental bedroom set up for her where she can rest, and I can check in on her on my own terms. That’s the key phrase here – on my own terms.
At first, I believed I was her. That’s where her name comes from – Eve as in the first woman, biblical wife of Adam, one-time resident of Eden and eater of sinful apples. It was what the hallucinations told me; ‘you are Eve incarnate and you must atone for your sin.’ It was the most full-on of my delusional beliefs and it was the most dangerous. I would self-harm because I saw magic in my blood shining through my skin (think Twilight-esque vampires here) – it was magic that would save the world if I let it out. Eve and I were the same person at that point. I was the body, the meat-suit, and she was my soul.
When I got a little better and had more control she split away from my own personality. I don’t know if it was my mind giving me some protection from the danger of my beliefs or what caused the change into having two sets of thoughts, two people in my one body. It was definitely easier to cope with her when I was able to distance my own ‘me’ from her though. For a while, things were pretty rosy. We had a kind of truce situation; she was tired and unbelievably sad and I needed to get on with the business of living. So she slept away the pain and I was able to function again.
Her presence in my life has always been closely linked to my state-of-mind. Most recently in December 2014 I was heading back down the path of psychosis and as I got more unwell she became louder and more active. At first I would fight her and try to push her down and she would get madder and madder until I gave up trying. On a good day I would refer to myself as ‘we’. Bad days saw me giving her a voice, my voice. I never blacked out whilst she was speaking, but I retreated into the back of my mind to listen to her talk to my husband or my care co-ordinator.
The problem with Eve is that she is not well equipped for the adult world. She is a lot younger than me; too young to understand the guilt she feels over the sin she believes she committed. To her mind, the state of the world is her fault and she doesn’t know how to cope with the overwhelming sadness that is associated with what she did. In the end, she just wants peace and she believes that she was awakened in my body to gain that peace; for herself and for the world. ‘Atonement’ to her is suicide.
At the moment she is calm and peaceful. There have been times that she’s not been happy for me to speak about her but at the moment she is in a deep resting state; a state in which she doesn’t feel the hurt and pain that characterises her waking hours. I have done work with her in therapy and have realised that I can’t fight her. Now I just have sympathy for her. If we chat in my mind I do not spend my time arguing with her anymore. I stay calm and try to remember that she is only young and I try to relate to her, to make her feel accepted. It is a much nicer symbiosis.
I do not want to ‘get rid’ of Eve. It’s hard to explain why but I think I would feel like I lost a part of my own psyche if she went away. She is like my eleventh toe. Not useful in a practical way but still a part of me. I love her and she loves me, and I hope we can both heal by working together.