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In my travels I have noticed a recurring theme among people: We seem fixated on trying to prove that we are okay. We try to prove it to ourselves, to our friends, family, work colleagues, teachers, therapists, even strangers! And we seem convinced that being okay is what other people expect of us. In some cases, this may be true. There are those in the world who do not have the capacity to deal with anyone else’s burdens. And you know what? That’s okay!

What’s not okay is lying about how we really feel just to please other people. Would it surprise you that everyone has periods in their life where they are not okay? It shouldn’t surprise you. If we deny these emotions, we set ourselves up for real problems later on. It’s normal to feel sad or lonely or hurt. Bottling them up and denying them is unhealthy. It’s been scientifically proven that our emotions can directly and indirectly affect our physical health, so if we deny the emotions and provide a healthy outlet for them, we could be causing ourselves even more harm. Physical problems like hypertension, heart disease, chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue and a whole list of disorders and diseases are linked to our emotional health.

Equally, it is wrong to expect others to always be okay. It’s wrong to expect them to always be happy, healthy and mentally and emotionally stable. It’s wrong to put those expectations on others when we, ourselves, struggle from time to time.

So how do we manage when someone we know is not okay? Here are a few simple steps you can take that will ensure they feel loved and listened to but at the same time, not overstep your boundaries.

1. Schedule a time and place to listen to your friend. This gives you time to prepare, especially if you know they are going through a really hard time, and the conversation is likely to be heavy. It also gives them something to look forward to. And finally, it shows that you are in control of your own capacity and time, not them.

2. Have a time limit on the meeting. Tell your friend that you can give them x amount of time and after that you’ll need to schedule another meeting. YOU control the time. Some people will talk and talk and talk, which in and of itself isn’t bad, but it can be very draining on you, plus, it can use up a lot of time.

3. Gently but firmly establish your boundaries. It’s important your friend knows and respects what you can and cannot do. If they do not respect your boundaries, then it might be important for you to limit your time with them. But always be loving and caring.

4. Listen actively not passively. If you are meeting with them in person, listen with both ears and both eyes. Look at them when they are talking to you and acknowledge their words. If it helps, take notes and refer back to them when speaking to them. This shows them that you are listening and actually care about them.

5. Don’t interrupt (except in emergency, of course!) You may notice your friend might go over and over the same things. Remember, their way of processing problems might be different to yours. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Let them get it off their chest and only interrupt if it’s very important.

6. Affirm, validate and acknowledge your friend and their feelings. Even if it differs from your own. Until you walk in their shoes, you cannot fully know what it’s like for them. Their feelings are real to them, even if they seem unrealistic to you. If your friend is going through a particularly rough time, chances are, they are not thinking clearly anyway. Their feelings and thoughts will be all over the place.

7. Offer them reassurance and when you comment on their feelings and thoughts, do so with love. Don’t argue with them. Point out things that might be beneficial for them to help them better understand their emotions and ways to improve their situation. It may be that they haven’t thought about the best solutions yet.

8. Don’t bring your own issues into the conversation unless it’s relevant. They are already burdened with their own problems, as likely you are too! But if you have agreed to listen to them about theirs, try not to bring yours to the table too. If they discuss something that you’ve experienced yourself, it might be helpful if you share and then describe what helped you in that situation. But try not to bring your unresolved woes to them at this time. There will be an opportunity for you to share at a later date.

9. And finally, always aim to end the conversation with something positive and affirming. This goes a long way to alleviate fears of abandonment and worry and helps them to know that you do care.

So what about the person who is not okay? How should you approach people when you need to talk? Here are some pointers:

1. Always respect your friend’s boundaries. I cannot stress this enough. I know the word “boundaries” can be uncomfortable for some, but they really are necessary and are a good thing to have! If you don’t respect them, chances are your friend won’t be there in the future when you need them.

2. As hard as it is, try not to “dump” all of your problems onto your friend. Maybe pick one or two things that is really bothering you and speak about them.

3. Your friend is not a miracle worker. They will not have all the answers. And chances are, they might not even be able to help you more than just lend you an ear to listen. So don’t expect them to fix your problems. Fixing your problems is your responsibility at the end of the day. It’s okay to ask for advice and help with resources, but you need to be the one to deal with the issues you face. Your friend is there to listen and encourage and maybe advise if appropriate.

4. Be kind. Your friend may be going through their own problems too, so be kind to them and respect their capacity to help you. Try to think about them as well. I know it’s hard when everything seems to be falling down around you, but everyone has their issues to face and deal with. I hate to say it, but you’re not the only one with problems! That said, I appreciate how difficult it can be to think of other people’s issues when your own are so overwhelming. Just try to be mindful of them too.

5. Try to be patient. Your friend might not be able to see you right away when you need them. This isn’t because they don’t care or don’t want to talk to you. There will be a load of possible reasons for it. Look at the time you have until you see them as an opportunity to try to focus on exactly what the issue is with you and maybe try to come up with some possible solutions that you can discuss with your friend. This does two things: 1. It shows your friend that you are wanting solutions and are willing to work towards fixing the problem and 2. It allows you time to really focus on the situation and maybe get those very intense emotions under control.

Basically, respecting each other’s boundaries and feelings is a must on both sides. If you can do that, you are both well on the way to having a very fruitful conversation and it builds trust between you and them. I recognise that some of you reading this might have some very real problems with no easy solutions. And it’s okay to not be okay! Give yourself permission to feel those emotions; just don’t let them overwhelm you! I know it’s hard, but you got this! I believe in you!!

Thanks for reading. Stay safe!

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Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Littles! We all love them. We all want to protect them. Singlets always want to meet them. So what are Littles?

Littles are child Alters, usually created at the same body age as the age they represent. Often they are trauma-holders, but not always. Sometimes they are innocent children, created to preserve that innocence and trauma-free childhood. They are usually under the age of 13. Littles are absolutely the age they represent in every single way; emotionally, mentally, developmentally and intellectually. Sometimes they can understand adult concepts, but more often than not, they can’t.

So what do you do if you suddenly find yourself talking to a Little? It might be hard to get your head around seeing a Little in an adult body, but here are some points to remember:

· Validate them. Always validate the Alters (yes, even the difficult ones!)

· Show them love and acceptance

· Treat the Little as the age they represent. How would you speak to an actual 4 year old, for example?

· Be prepared to play with them if at all possible. If you know your friend or loved one has D.I.D, have some toys available (but out of sight until needed!) for them to play with.

· Speak to them in terms they will understand, but don’t use baby-speech (gah gah goo goo etc. That’s just insulting)

If the Little is a Trauma-Holder, it’s important to remember they will be traumatised and reliving the bad experiences. Be patient and kind with them. Tell them it’s okay to talk about what happened and reassure them that they are safe now. Explain to them they are in a big body now and can protect themselves and that nothing bad will happen to them again. Reassurance, kindness and love go a long way to helping these Littles.

If the Little is an innocent, it’s important that you don’t discuss trauma with them. Preserving their innocence is vital. Let them play and be free to be the child they wanted to be at that age.

For those who have D.I.D, and are worried about their child Parts, don’t be. They are there for a reason, as with all Alters. Nurture them as you would yourself and allow them to front when it’s safe to do so. Have toys, books, colouring, DVDs etc on hand for them to play with and make sure they don’t have access to your credit cards!! Take it from me… they will quickly learn that they can use the cards to buy all the shiny toys!

Children are very precious, and child Alters are equally precious. Treat them with respect and love and look after them. Protect them. Don’t be overbearing or over-protective, but just be mindful of them and look out for them. If you’re in public when they front, maybe take them to a safe place and sit with them. Give them a drink or some sort of snack if appropriate and help them to feel safe.

For those with D.I.D; if a Little fronts when you are out and about, maybe have a Protector, Gatekeeper, Caregiver or some other Alter on hand to help them to get to a safe place until someone else Fronts. It’s unlikely that anyone will try to harm or kidnap a Little, simply because people will see an adult body, not a child. But even so, safety is the main priority, so always be mindful of where you are and who you are with.

I hope this has been helpful in understanding Littles a bit better. Until next time! Be safe.

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Hey all, so I am aware I have not written anything for a number of days, but I’ve been super busy with preparing to move house. Plus, everything seems to happen all at once sometimes! I have been looking for a place of my own for a while now, but due to Covid and various other factors, have not been successful. Then, all of a sudden someone offered me their studio flat to rent, so yesterday I moved in and have spent the last two days settling in and organising all my stuff.

We have never lived on our own before, so this is an exciting new chapter in our lives. I’m a little nervous but mostly excited and feel like I can finally breathe a big sigh of relief. I have big plans moving forward with my life and the first major step has been to move where I have my own space. Now I’ve done that I can set my sights to the next steps in my journey of healing, learning and discovery.

As we come to the end of the year 2020, I can honestly say, along with so many of you I expect, that it has been a pretty dreadful year. Covid-19 has been insanely annoying on many levels, and people have tragically lost their lives. So many things have happened this year that it’s just mind boggling. And yet, it has also been a year of reflection and self-discovery, and for that I am thankful. I do not want to minimise the tragedy that this pandemic has brought. I know it has affected nearly every single person on the planet in one way or another. I like to think that next year will be better for many people, but the truth is, I just don’t know. But I can hope and pray it will be a better year for everyone. Myself included.

Next year I will be embarking on a journey of study as I take a course that will prepare me for university. My plan is to study psychology, which will be a long road, but hopefully a rewarding one! I also want to start giving talks on D.I.D. and B.P.D. to raise awareness and help people understand. Lots of plans in my future!

So yeah… the big move is the reason why I’ve not posted recently, but stay tuned because I have several topic ideas I want to work on over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I am taking some much needed respite to settle into my new home and do a bit of self-care.

Be safe everyone.

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