I think most kids growing up have imaginary friends; unfortunately I was not like most kids most of the time. I didn’t much care for the idea of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the like. I over thought everything and internalized a lot of things; like when my mom told me what to do if something happened to my grandma when she was sick. She told me to call 911 if she didn’t wake up; well I took that to mean that I was going to somehow kill her. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I didn’t have imaginary friends…I had alter ego.
I’ve had two alter egos in my life so far but I am pretty sure given the chance I could make up some more. My first one was Beth. Beth was mischievous but I also think she was more logical than I normally am. She thought through problems and worked them out when I was too busy being creative and trying to make it pretty. She was the engineering part of my brain. I think I liked to blame things on Beth which makes it a little better that she was an alter ego rather than an imaginary friend; she was a real person that I could assign blame too, even if that real person was still me.
The second alter ego I made up was out of necessity; she was a coping mechanism. Her name is Sweet, and I still live as her most of the time. Sweet is a lot tougher than I am and she doesn’t deal well with real emotion; the only ones she has are pissed off and happy. I made Sweet up because when I started having bad anxiety problems I needed someone I could switch over to after the panic attacks were over, I needed someone that could be tough because I felt so fragile. I never really knew that she would stick around so long. I went through a boyfriend trying to kill himself, a couple abusive ones, a lot of loss, depression, anxiety, new experiences; all things that I, as Sarah, couldn’t really deal with on an emotional level.
Now I am pretty much able to switch back and forth as I please. At work I am usually Sarah because I need to have a lot of compassion when I am with my clients, I am Sarah when I am with my son and with Psycho Knight. I am Sweet when I am dealing with Will, I am Sweet when I am dealing with my friends except for a very few that can see me with my guard down. When I am in situations that I feel like I could get yelled at or when I really need to trust my instincts I function as Sweet because I trust her judgment more than I trust my own.
This post makes me sound pretty crazy, and I’m pretty ok with that. I know that I am not crazy; the brain has interesting ways of dealing with stressful situations and this is the way that manifested in me.
So tell me, did you have imaginary friends or alter egos? Who were they?Swt