Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Solitary

Click on the image to get it larger so you can see the solitary bird.  I found this in my archives of pictures.  I felt so alone for a long time.  This picture captures the vast loneliness that can creep into my heart.  I work at feeling connected.  I am learning that I am not alone.   

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crazy


Every child believes that their mother is crazy, my children have documentation.  I have joked about this for the past 7 years.  I struggled with accepting my diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with dissociation at a severe level.  This week I was upgraded to 'working on marital problems and interpersonal skills.' Also this week someone made a reply on my comment at another blog that we laugh about things or go crazy.  It hit a nerve.  I went crazy to survive.  I laughed about it and no one knew I was crying on the inside.  I worked so hard to become healthy.  Now that I have come so far I still struggle with thinking of my self as healthy.  I still have so many questions.  Today I mentioned that I could wear my Tshirts at my new job.  "Well of course you won't wear your crazy shirts."  This is in reference to my collection of t-shirts that refer to my craziness, for example, "Gone to find myself, if I get back before I return keep me here," or "Out of my mind, please, leave a message."  I joked and laughed my way to accepting that to survive I became crazy.  Craziness was my form of adjustment.  I am not ashamed of what I did.  I made the first choice when I was 5 years old when I didn't have a lot of survival skills but a very big problem.  Dr. Banks was a psychiatrist that gave a speech on "Mental Hygiene." He shared ideas on how to stay sane.  I nearly memorized that tape.  (Yup, that is giving away my age; it was a cassette tape.)  He talked about insanity being a form of adjustment.  He also taught me an interesting perspective on mental health.  
As you wander on through life, brother,
     Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the donut,
     And not upon the hole.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sharing from InnerKiddies



Dear Friends,
For as long as I have been teaching and writing to my beloved SHE community there is a message I have been compelled to pass on.  You are loved just as you are, before you scrub one floor, vacuum one carpet, dust or shine a sink.  The fact that you are alive is testimony that you are loved by your Creator. 

Living has become such an overlooked and unappreciated experience that we often get sidetracked looking for something other than life to do.  But your first and foremost reason for being here is simply to live and love who you are right now in this time and place.  Each and every one of you is sacred and holy.  You, just by living here and now complete a grand scheme.  Without You Life would be missing an incremental piece to the great mystery of Being.

I am thankful for you.  Your joy uplifts me.  Your love is heartfelt.  Your desire to have a cozy, clean and happy home gives me hope.  The fruits of your efforts give me a desire to continue my writing.  When I close my eyes I see you beaming with a smile that tells me you are loving yourself.  Thank you.
Love,
Pam  
--------
Please visit our websites at www.innerkiddies.com, www.thegetoutofdebtbook.org, or www.happinessfile.com

InnerKiddies is one of my email messengers that remind me daily that somebody out there has walked through tough times and found a path.  She wrote about and said, "Hey come along.  YOU CAN DO IT."  I read her and her sister's book Sidetrack Home Executive almost 20 years ago.  I didn't keep up following her suggestions but her encouragement stayed ever on my mind.  When she started a web page sharing more ideas on how to nurture and love yourself I keep listening and slowly I am becoming a believer.  I still have plenty of mess in my house but I recognize now my progress.  InnerKiddies send quotes and ideas that help me heading in the direction of loving myself.  Her web page is listed on the Web Resource page.  I attribute reading S.H.E. from Pig Pen to Paradise as my first step up the road of self acceptance.  Thanks Pam for sharing your struggles and victories so I started to believe I could too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

LOOOONG Day

Do you ever have a day that is so incredibly long but you didn't want to leave anything out?  Today I started back to work after not working for a year and a half.  I was very busy during this sabbatical.  One year of the time I spent finishing my degree.  Today it felt good to be helping people with photography again.  After a busy day trying to remember everything I forgot and a trip in rush hour.  I was ready to put my feet up and relax.  Instead, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed back out the door to help with a photography assignment where Murphy's law was in full force.  People for the line not showing up and batteries that were "fresh" weren't.  Thank goodness for a near by Target, fresh batteries, and everyone finally arrived.  I am feeling a bit more sympathy for frustrated brides tonight and photographers that would rather yell than pleasantly say, "Cheeze."  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weekly Scripture

I was trying to decide to how to introduce the weekly scripture perfectly.  I commented on someone else delaying something on their blog because they wanted to do it perfectly.  I understand now that my rude comment to them was more addressed to myself.  I was really angry with myself that I kept putting off adding a scripture because I couldn't figure out how to do it perfectly.  I did apologize to the other person because they didn't need my negative judgment.  So very imperfectly, I just added my first scripture of the week.  I thought about a daily scripture but I think things through very slowly sometimes.  Plus, I like to explore all the different angles.  I don't do that easily in a day.  I figured a week would give me time to think and contemplate why each particular scripture seems so important.  Another thing to note is I will usually use the King James Version.  I will also check out other versions because sometimes another perspective is helpful in understanding scriptural writing.  I have a special place in my heart for the KJV.  When I was around 10 years old my parents took me to a monster, used book sale held in a huge barn at the Fair Grounds.  I could buy one book.  I bought an old dilapidated Bible for ten cents.  I was so proud of my purchase.  I still have the old book tucked away on my book shelves.  I hated reading but I actually read the New Testament before I was 12 years old.  Somewhere amidst my worse years, I clung to these words when very few words of encouragement were tossed my way.  Usually, there was name calling and bully teasing.  At age 12 I didn't understand all that I read but there was no mistake about Jesus wept.  He cried for someone else not himself.  He felt great emotion for others who were grieving for Lazarus.  Jesus knew he could raise Lazarus from the dead.  He didn't cry for Himself.  He cried for the anguish that others were feeling.  I would sometimes imagine that Christ would weep for me.  I did finally believe that He does.  He sees me hurting and Jesus wept.         

John 11:35   Jesus wept. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What and How?

This week was an amazing week.  I happily accepted a job.   (Unemployed for over a year.) Later that night the happy bubble popped when I thought, "How much do I have to tell them about my counseling?" 

A previous job labeled me Emotionally Disabled.  I have also been labeled mentally ill.  I am an integrated multiple which to some people is very scary because they have no idea what I mean.  (Hollywood doesn't help with their portrayal of almost all multiples as killers or idiots.  Sybil was an exception.  I never watched the Three Faces of Eve.)  Before I got myself into a complete tizz, I decided to check in with KavinCoach. 

KavinCoach gave me a new definition.  I am working on marital problems and interpersonal skills.  Cool.  That sounds so "normal."  Not perfect but not scary.  I feel very good thinking of myself that way.  The old commercial words come to mind, "You've come a long way baby."  Someone else was talking to me today and asked me how I did it.  Then she tried to sum it up as my faith in Christ.  Why do people want one answer for a complex question?  If you go with the perspective that I prayed for answers, I guess you could say yes, but I believe that I did not do this alone.  I have a team.

I do have a deep faith in Christ and His healing power.  I pray daily to God in Christ's name.  

My medical doctor has me on medication for thyroid.  Without this I would have little hope of getting very far with anything else.  If I fluff taking the medication correctly the chemical imbalance has a side effect of, you guessed it, DEPRESSION.  So one aspect of my solution is taking care of my physical health.

Next piece getting competent counseling.  I chose the words deliberately.  Years before meeting KavinCoach I encountered another psychiatrist that did not work for me.  She told me that she would fix me and that all my problems would be resolved.  I know enough about healing emotionally to know that would not work.  I do not believe anybody can fix any body else emotionally.  I finally went for marriage counseling since the hardest relationship is marriage and it shows the greatest amount of problems when the people involved are not healthy.  I decided for myself that my problem was I couldn't communicate.  Now I strongly suspect that anyone looking in from the outside would understand that diagnosing yourself emotionally is almost impossible.   Diagnosing somebody else takes years of training and that can still be a guessing game if most the information is missing.  Some might say that it was coincidence that KavinCoach was on the list of people for me to consider.  In my opinion, if Heavenly Father interfered with anything it would be connecting my husband and I with KavinCoach.

KavinCoach had his work cut out for him since I never mentioned anything about my childhood at first.  I was very earnest and determined to learn how to communicate better.  I do admire his patience in getting me to talk about anything else.  I did have a commitment to getting better.  (I figured it would be a summer project and that everything would be hunky-dory by September when school started.  I took a couple of years to really grasp how wrong I was.)  I just didn't know what better meant or what it would look like when I got there. KavinCoach had knowledge I needed to change my life.  He was willing to work with me and use his knowledge to teach me a knew way of living.  I believe Albert Einstein when he said, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."  I needed to change my thinking and KavinCoach had information on how to do that.   

I also had some family support in varying degrees.  When people close to me learned that I functioned in a unique way, by splitting off different personalities to be able to function, some were very accepting.  Others were reluctant to believe me.  I was blessed with friends that were willing to talk to me and encourage me during the very trying times that came after starting counseling.  (Anybody says that counseling is for sissies has never been through counseling.  I would describe it as being turned inside out then right side in again and hope that you are still functioning when you're done.)  I also experienced those that found out about my diagnosis then no longer wanted anything to do with me.  A few were brutal in their rejection.

The other factor was me.  I had to be willing to face my demons, accept that my childhood sucked, recognize the harm I did to my family by how I behaved (I didn't intend to harm anyone but living with and being raised by a multiple is not an ideal childhood for my children,) totally revamp how I functioned and continue to interact with people, go to school, and work full time.  I studied for hours, did homework assigned by KavinCoach, remembered some of my nightmares, read books in addition to the books assigned by KavinCoach.  (Some of the books are listed in the resources.)  I accepted that there is no magic bullet that fixes life tragedies instead there is faith, hard work, commitment to change, and a willingness to trust my counselor.   Probably the hardest task of all. The pay off: I can feel, I can connect, I can thrive.      

Connecting Online

Deena inspired me to connect her poem with my picture.
Thanks Deena for making a difference.  http://deenar116.wordpress.com/collaborations/  


I am venturing out online a little more each day.  I am finding a ton of connections on line to other people that are turning to the internet to connect.  Two places I have been are: Daily Kindness and Deena Remiel's Place

At Daily Kindness I have found links to U-Tube videos that I class as some of my favorite.  I like this version of throwing back starfish into the ocean.  Each act of kindness to family, friends, or strangers makes a difference to that one.
http://www.dailykindness.com/why-you-should-find-a-starfish-today

Deena is an author that writes beautiful poetry, Brethren...Beginnings, and shared the information about human trafficking.  I feel she is one of the people making a difference.  This is her link that inspired my post 'Prisoner of my mind.'    
http://deenar116.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/where-had-true-humanity-gone-long-time-passing/

I like sharing what I find because I know I don't have all the answers and connecting to others helps strengthen me.  When I am feeling more frustrated or depressed with life I tend to draw back and connect less.  Connecting with people that care and want to make a positive difference help me to move forward with greater courage.  Do you have a link to a site that helps you go forward?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My past does not define me!

My past is carved in stone.  
I can not change my past.
I was chained to my past -
Now I am free. 
My past does not define me!







Treasured pieces

Forgotten past
Lost in the recesses of a suppressed mind.
The facade cracks – the filth of my past oozes into my consciousness.
In this filthy river are bits and pieces of treasured moments.
Collect them Polish them 
Store them where they are safe.
Bring them out and remember. 
Life can be good. 
Moments can be precious. 
Savor the good that exists.
I can not change my past. 
I can decide my future 
Do I spread the ooze or 
Create moments to be treasured?
Only I decide.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prisoner of My Mind



This week a friend addressed a blog entry calling for freeing of slaves today.  Yes, human trafficking is alive and twisted as ever.  A link talked about freeing a woman from the bonds of her master.  My concern is a slave isn't free until the bonds in their mind are released. 

I created the picture above at the beginning of my photographic career titled: "Prisoner of My Mind."  I tried to depict how circumstances can change but your own mind can keep you chained to the past.  An example I can share is how elephants are trained.  When an elephant is very young the trainer chains the small elephant to a heavy post or wall.  No matter how hard the little elephant pulls it can not break free.  This is done over a long period of time.  If the baby elephant never breaks free as an adult elephant it will stand calmly when a strap with a small rope is placed around the leg.  In the elephants mind the pressure on the leg means that escape is impossible.  Prisoners in concentration camps were terrified when their cells were first opened.  The hell within they understood.  Outside the cell was an unpredictable world.  Some probably suspected a new kind of tortuous trick.  Acceptance to the change of circumstances came slowly. 

I remember during my first year of counseling several different times questioning KavinCoach about having a choice.  He would ask me why I did something that I didn't like.  My answer was usually, I had to.  He then asked if somebody was holding a gun to my head.  NO.  But in my mind, conditioning from my childhood, I believed I had to do what I was told to do by someone I thought in authority.  The event that caught my attention was the one that happened during the first year of counseling.  I became a member of group that helped women regain a feeling of trust in the world.  It didn't go well for me since I hadn't told much at the beginning about my life experiences.  In one of the tasks they blinded folded me.  (Mistake number 1, I can't stand being blind folded.)  Then I was supposed to walk across the room listening to someone give me instructions.  (Mistake number 2, I have a hard time hearing and I didn't have hearing aides yet, so I couldn't hear the instructions very well.)  While I was walking, one of the moderators of the group stood in front of me calling counter commands.  (Mistake number 3,  I would totally freak out if given two different commands.)  I stood totally still trying to control the terror that was taking over my mind.  Then I grabbed the person in front of me and shoved her aside so I could complete the task.  I was shaking with suppressed rage and anxiety when I was finished.  At my next session with KavinCoach I told him about the horrible ordeal.  KavinCoach calmly asked, "Why didn't you take off the blind fold and say you can't do this?"  I stared at him, probably with my mouth dropped open.  I retorted that I couldn't do that because they had told me I had to do it.  I felt confused and startled at an option I never considered to be possible.  I still struggle with the concept that I can choose now that I am an adult.  I was conditioned as a child to follow orders.  I still struggle with the idea that just because someone tells me to do something doesn't mean I have to do it.  KavinCoach is teaching me how to walk out of the prison in my mind.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Depressed and NOT know it


After 5 days in hospital testing for epilepsy the doctor told me I was depressed and didn’t know it.  Mind you they had kept me awake for most of those 5 days.  I had about 10 hours of sleep total.  I was miserable and hated what I was going through and angry because I went in knowing I didn’t have epilepsy.  (BIG communication break down between me and the doctor.)  This was the only time in my adult life I remember having a full blown screaming temper tantrum.  And it was video taped as part of the test.  Looking back 15 years I really should apologize.  You see he was right when he said I was depressed and didn’t know it.  There were several break downs in understanding.  #1 I defined depression as suicidal, loss of interest, sad feelings, crying which if you check any web page are some of the symptoms of depression.  Take note here - SOME of the symptoms.  I didn’t have them.  Before counseling I could count on one hand how many times I had cried in 30 years and exactly why I was crying each time.  I am intensely curious about anything and everything.  (You could read this as annoyingly so.)  I felt happy a good share of the time.  How could anyone be depressed and not know it?

Missing information on my part, I never heard of dissociation or what it meant.  From Wikipedia you get this fairly harmless sounding description:
Dissociative disorders[1] are defined as conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity and/or perception.  
From reading this description I don’t feel any more informed.  I finally went to counseling when I was suicidal and I did recognize the symptoms of depression.  But that was 7 years after the hospital test.  So what happened?  Why didn’t I know I was depressed before?  Well, I did have disruptions in my memory.  Those disruptions were large enough that I could fit days, weeks, and occasionally months or years into those gaps.  When I started counseling, I didn’t mention the tests run at the hospital or that what I did remember about my childhood wasn’t very pleasant.  I skipped all of that and told the KavinCoach I didn’t know how to communicate.  Another thing you can dissociate from is your emotions.  I could switch to a state of mind where I felt nothing at all, no sadness, no anger, no frustration, no fear, no pain, no happiness, no love, no joy.  We are talking zip, zero, nada.  I did not know that this was unusual.  I honestly thought anybody and everybody could simply set all feelings and emotions aside.  KavinCoach explained that dissociative behavior like many behaviors function on a continuum.  Most people in a state of severe crisis can set aside emotions to deal with an emergency, then when the emergency was over they fall apart and feel everything they put off.  For me, I was rated as dissociation at a severe level.  I was so far down the continuum that I could completely and totally suppress all emotions at any time.  

KavinCoach tried an experiment with me.  He purposely tried to get me angry by things that he was saying to me.  He watched as I became more agitated then watched as I totally shut off the anger.  He stopped mid conversation and asked, “Where did it go?”
Puzzled I replied, “Where did what go?”
“You were getting angry,” he continued, “but now you are not.”
“Yeah.”  If I was inclined to rudeness I would probably have said “Duh” right about now.  
KC “What did you do with it?”
Me “I don’t know.”  
This was the first time anyone had ever pointed out to me that my ability to shut off emotion was not the way most people reacted.  Several years of counseling I finally found where I had shut all those emotions away.  They were perfectly preserved waiting to be felt. I could honestly and truly be depressed and have no idea.  After a lot of work I now have my list of clues when I am depressed.  Angry enough to want to yell but I suppress it. (Depressing emotion.)  Sleeping less than 5 hours of sleep per night.  Agitated but nothing I can specifically attribute the feeling or I could be too calm almost vegatative.  Inability to concentrate on a task.  Jump from task to task not completing any of them.  You won’t find many of these on your average depression list.  But I am not average when it comes to depressing my emotions.  I can depress emotions so completely I don’t know I am feeling them.  I can be depressed and NOT know it.  I still owe that doctor an apology.  
    

Putting things off

Sometimes when I am over whelmed I start putting things off.  I put off doing the dishes, I put off putting away my clothes, I put off cleaning the house and then I put off anything that may stress me the tiniest bit.  I am like an over loaded camel that knows one last straw everything will break.  How do I know?  Because I have been down that road so many times.  Before Integration I could switch to a different personality that could deal with what ever was driving me buggy.  Switching is no longer an option.  I don't have very many tools to help me cope.  KavinCoach is working on catching me up on what I didn't learn as a child.  But still there are times when I feel so overwhelmed and so ashamed that I can't just cope with whatever curve ball was thrown my way.  Sometimes when I am like this, I am counseled to stop doing some things.  The things that are suggested are the very things that keep me going.  I took over 700 pictures today.  That will translate into a whole lot of work.  The photography takes me to a peaceful place that helps me feel like I have value and worth.  I know that I need to learn that value and worth is part of who I am and not outside myself.  Unfortunately, I am not there yet.  Photography works better than a tranquilizer for me.  I focus in and for a little while I am in a place that I feel confident and capable.  Then I stop and I am back to uncertainty and ditzy.  I guess photography is a gateway to a magic kingdom where I am strong and capable.  
Magical places.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Comics

Sometimes comics and other sources of humor hit on some interesting points that others don't dare to address. 


Designzzz.com Stupid Fox Comic- Super Cute and Funny comics



Posted: 12 Sep 2010 02:33 PM PDT


SilentReaper from deviant made these comics about a "stupid" yet to cute fox. The comics are funny and really entertaining.

Visit The Site For More...

Click on the Stupid Fox comic - when you arrive at the page scroll down to number 8.  I never thought of nightmares as a way to looking forward to waking up.  New perspective.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inspirational

Sometimes I read something so outstanding that I go back and read it again and again.  I think about it for awhile and then read the message again.  One such message is from NikonSniper, an awesome photographer and a wonderful messenger.  


http://nikonsniper.blogspot.com/2010/06/god-wants-something-from-you.html


Enjoy 

Sometimes finding out is no fun

I was sent an awesome picture of a Kayak in a whales mouth only to find out from Hoax-Slayer that the photographer is very good at using photoshop.  But it is still a great visual of "It could always be worse."

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/kayak-mouth-whale.shtml

Photographer Tim Shobe web page
http://www.shobestudios.com/

 I think life is like this too.  We think we know something only to find out we have been tricked.  The photo trick is harmless, even if the email swears that it is real.  As a child I was told many "facts" that now that I am an adult, I have to review those "facts" and relabel them as someone's opinion or in some cases out right lies used to manipulate me as a child.  But I am an adult now.  I can look at my past and review information from an adult perspective.  I enjoy creating photoshop tricks myself but I still feel offended when someone tries to pass off a trick as the truth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Blog


Ami connected me with another blog that addresses different forms of abuse, depression, grief, surviving, illness, parenting and more.  Their idea is to have a place where people can Band Back Together to share their stories.  http://www.bandbacktogether.com/ I explored what is available so far.  I am impressed by the scope of the writing.  This would be a place that you could share your story, if you chose.  Sometimes hearing from someone else that is facing similar challenges help to feel less alone.  Sharing, connecting, validating are all evident in this blog.  I will add this to the resource page.  I will continue to focus on depression, PTSD, DID and the challenges I faced.  I am a great believer that more resources and more perspectives allow me to learn more about a situation.  

Potato, egg, coffee

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.  She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.  Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.  He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter.  The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.


After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.


Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”
“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.
He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.


“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it
became soft and weak.  The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.
However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.


“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “
In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.
Which one are you?


I first read this in an email sent to me years ago.  I tried finding the source but all I did was find multiple copies on different blogs and lots of recipes.  (I Googled potato, egg, coffee)  When I tell the story I change the coffee to hot chocolate since they both work the same and I like drinking hot chocolate.  If anyone knows the author I would appreciate being able to give credit to the person that wrote it first.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Making new connections

One of the interesting things I am learning about finally talking about my problems with depression, PTSD and DID is connecting with people that share some of my experiences.  The cool thing about other people, their perspectives are different from mine.  Hurray for differences in perspectives.


Ami shared with me her experience when her mother had a bone marrow transplant.  I am sharing her link with permission. Life changing events can leave a life long imprint on people's minds and hearts. 

Check out her story at: 
http://ilikesparklyobjects.blogspot.com/2010/08/ptsd.html


Thanks Ami for sharing.      

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whew....

Yesterday was emotionally draining, so taking a break today.  I hope you all had a beautiful Sunday.  Shared a Rainbow with my dad today.  There is something nice about sharing a rainbow instead of seeing it by myself.  Learning to connect more often.  

Nine Years After 9/11

The morning of 9/11 I remember exactly where I was.  I worked in a computer lab.  With in minutes after the first plane hit their target, there were scenes of the disaster on every computer.  All work ground to a halt.  I looked at the carnage over and over from every conceivable angle.  Pentagon, Philadelphia, New York Twin Towers.  Shock, horror, disbelief.  I felt nothing.  I looked at the screens and thought how sad but I felt nothing.  I realized there was something wrong with me that I could look on and feel nothing at all.  The week before I had been told that I had cancer.  I encapsulated myself in numbness.  I felt no grief for the victims.  I felt no anger at the perpetrators.  I knew this was not an appropriate reaction.  I looked at the faces of those around me.  Their faces reflecting their horror.  I knew I was missing something.  I pondered the fear I felt the week before when I was diagnosed with cancer in the early stages.  I was told that I had a 98% chance of survival.  I went home to my family.  I realized all those people would not be going home to their families that night.  When People Magazine published their magazine of the tragedy, I cried all the way through every page.  I felt their grief.  I felt outraged.  I felt all that anyone could feel, a week later.  Dissociation works that way.  I was so out of touch with how I felt that I took a week to wrap my mind around the fact that I felt deep grief for the thousands of strangers that didn't go home from work that night.

The community where I live filled a park with a Healing Field with flags for every person that died that day.  Flags were everywhere.  Yellow ribbons for armed servicemen and women.  Teddy bears for children that died in the plane crashes.  I learned that I can shoot pictures while crying.  That auto-focus helped me shoot several hundred pictures.  I cried and expressed my deep sorrow nine years after that tragic day.  Like Pearl Harbor, may we always remember these thousands of people that died because of the choices of others.  May I live more connected, more concerned for those around me, more aware of world events, more thankful to be on Earth, and closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.




 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Encouragement

I get several emails a day and gadgets that encourage me daily.  One of these is Inner kiddies.  Today's quote from Innerkiddies: "There are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile.  Unknown" This reference to Christ suggestion that when someone demands we help them out that we do more than requested.  I also received an email from my brother.  All it said was keep it up.  From my reaction that meant a lot to me.  One of the things I could continue to do when I was sickest was pick up the phone and call someone I knew that could use some encouragement.  Sometimes when I am feeling really down the hardest thing to do is something for somebody else.  Strangely one of the most paradoxical of behaviors is to help somebody else.  Unfortunately, when a depressed person hears, "You should do service," there is an intense desire to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over.  Consider this as a possibility.  The sermon on connection called Christ an Emotional Revolutionary.  He suggested do things differently than they have always been done.  Try your own mini experiment.  (Please remember when I mean mini I mean 5 minutes or less per day)  Every day for seven days take 5 minutes to do something for someone else.  If you share your home with somebody else make their bed for them.  (Preferably not with them in it.)  Let the person standing behind you that only has a few items to purchase go in front of you at the cashier.  Smile at the cashier and thank them for serving you.  Write an email to a friend or family member that hasn't heard from you in a while.  At the end of the day write down what you did.  This is a homework assignment given to me by KavinCoach.  I was curious by the human science that 5 minutes of kindness to someone else helps me feel brighter.  In light of the sermon on connect I think I know now why it works.  Connect sermon: http://www.thegroveaz.org/sermons/connect/ 

Zig Zigler shared by Simple Truths:
After a speech one day, Zig Ziglar was approached by someone in the audience who said:
"Zig, it was a great speech, but...motivation doesn't last."

Zig said, "Bathing doesn't either. That's why I recommend it daily!"     


I know during my darkest depression motivation didn't last 5 minutes.  So I surrounded myself with posters, emails and people that encourage me.  If I can give back some of that encouragement, it lifts me even further.  Cool principle.  Simple Truths is one of my newsletter emails that encourage me.  They are trying to sell books and other products which I don't buy but the emails have links to some short movies and quotes that can really help.  I also can delete it without opening it if I am feeling overwhelmed.  I will add Simple Truths to the resource list since for some people they may be helpful.  If you don't want some one daily encouraging you don't subscribe.  I learned there is real power in saying NO.  
Another way to peak in on Simple Truths without them bugging you in your inbox is to check out their blog on your terms.  Simple Truths Blog 

Gadgets are cool things in iGoogle they hang out on your homepage and send stuff you want.  One that I added rotates out different Success Posters.   I actually looked up inspirational quotes under gadgets and pick and choose what I like.  If they don't turn out the way I like DELETE.  I think DELETE is almost as powerful as NO.  
Success Posters http://www.google.com/ig/directory?url=googlegadgetworld.com%2Fmotivation%2FSuccessposters.xml
Reminder from God http://www.google.com/ig/directory?url=hosting.gmodules.com%2Fig%2Fgadgets%2Ffile%2F107853874984776220955%2FremindersFromGod.xml
Daily Inspirational Quotes http://www.google.com/ig/directory?url=scripts.tropicalpcsolutions.com%2Fhtml%2Fgadgets%2Finspirational-quotes%2Finspirational-quotes.xml


You will start to notice whenever I share an idea or resource I am quite happy for you to say NO.  KavinCoach worked a looonnnnggggg time trying to teach me that "NO" is a complete sentence.  When you read suggestions and you are already feeling overwhelmed, "Not right now," "Next year," "No," are all available to you the reader.  Sometimes when I was most depressed is when I felt overwhelmed by things I felt I had to do but didn't have the energy to do them.  When I share something that works for me, believe me when I say, "NO is an acceptable answer."  On the other hand if you have a suggestion of something that helps you, please, add a comment and give me homework to do.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Looking backwards

This week I looked back and reviewed the effects of one relationship in my life.  After the discussion, KavinCoach asked me if I felt better.  I didn't know at the time he asked.  Later, I realized, I did. (Earlier blog) 

 Looking backwards doesn't always have this effect.  I know in myself, and I observed in others, that sometimes looking backwards has the same effect as a hamster on a cage wheel.  I exerted a lot of energy and got nowhere.  (If you haven't owned a hamster, gerbil or mouse, do an image search of hamsters on wheels.  There are quite a few images of humans on wheels too.  So my idea is not original.)  Sometimes going back over my past not only had me running in place.  Sometimes it turned into a downward spiral.  So why was this week different?

Hamster Wheel thinking usually has words like, "What if...", "My life would be different if...", "If I had only known..." I started to see a pattern that revolved around IF.  A few years ago, I put myself on a downward spiral about all these IFs and blamed God for not interfering and rescuing me sooner.  I spiraled so far down that I refused to celebrate Christmas.  I didn't trim a tree, sing a carol, or participate in any events that celebrated Christ's birth.  I was angry and I was going to bah humbug my way through Christmas.  Like the story of the Grinch, Christmas happened any way.  (Yes, I am having a blast mixing metaphors and stories.) KavinCoach taught me that there are NO IFs about my past.  What happened was carved in stone.  There was no Edit>Undo.  No do overs. No rewriting history to suit myself and what I wanted.  He challenged me, "Could I accept my story exactly as it was written?" KavinCoach was not referring to my present or future.  This was a question about my past.  

Could I accept my own past? Before counseling, I had no problem accepting my past.  I also didn't remember 99% of it before high school. I listened to KavinCoach and pondered ideas.  What would it take for me to accept my own past?  How did I need to alter my perspective to look at my past with out thinking about IF? KavinCoach suggested I consider tapestry rugs.  On the loom, if you look at them from the reverse side they look terrible with threads ending and beginning with no apparent beauty or pattern.  Some how I found that visual lacking.  My past was done.  Completed.  I can't go back and change any of it.  I pondered the rug itself.  










Was mine just shrouded in darkness?






 
 Or was I so focused on the dark parts I didn't see any light?


Was I willing to look at the whole of my past and recognize that the beauty of tapestry is in the contrast between the dark and the light yarns?  All light yarn would not have the richness and beauty of the darks and lights together.  I am still working on the concept. 

Why was this week different?  When I reviewed this one relationship. It was like following a single thread that wove its way through my life.  I accepted the place this thread had in my past.  Only I could decide where that thread goes next.  The past I can not change.  It is finished.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Connect Podcast

Thank you to another reader that shared the link to the podcast for the Connect sermon: http://www.thegroveaz.org/sermons/connect/
After arriving at the web page click on the triangle on the right hand side of the light colored box with the title Connect.  This is a beautiful sermon that I think each person that takes the time to listen will be enriched.  I believe that since we each come with our own set of experiences that we will key in on different parts of what he shared.  The entire sermon takes about 40 minutes to listen to it.  I think I am going to revisit this sermon again.  I know from reading Awesome Reader's summary of the sermon she brought away different points than what seemed to resonate with me.  I encourage anyone that has the time to listen to the entire sermon, perhaps 10 minutes at a time, if your schedule doesn't permit listening all at once.  


I was particularly struck by his description of what happens when you disconnect.  Part of my diagnosis is severe dissociation or sometimes called Dissociative Identity Disorder.  If you Google these words, you will find psychological definitions that can boggle your mind.  I think how the minister described disconnect and its consequences is very similar to how I felt.  I one time explained that I felt like I was locked outside a candy store and everybody else is inside enjoying treats but I can not get in.  So I watch outside the store feeling disconnected to the society of others.  I know what it means to be alone in a crowded room.  Wikipeda describes it this way: "Dissociative disorders[1] are defined as conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity and/or perception." I started out in the severe range.  I had black outs in memory so large I could drop weeks or years into these black voids.  A sibling teased me, "The lights are on but nobody's home."  I would be totally unreachable.  My lack of awareness of the world created a barrier far more impenetrable then any prison wall.  My perceptions were distorted and identities, we were five.  I lived this way since I was 5 years old until I was 50.  I didn't know another way to live.  So the sermon talking about disconnectedness, he brought to simpler terms what I felt.  I will agree disconnectedness is bad for any person.  Learning to connect was one of my greatest struggles.  KavinCoach spent many hours teaching me the value, the challenges, and how I could connect.  I had disconnected so long ago that I had no skills of my own.  Change came when I learned new ways of living and put them into practice.  I am looking forward to listening to the sermon again as my feelings of connecting to others increase.  I also agree that when connectedness is broken at an early age there is a life time of struggles but not impossible.  Depression, dissociation, and disconnected three deadly D's that kept me from feeling alive.  I wasn't dead but I didn't live either.  

Connect

I wanted a photo to go with this blog but couldn't think of one I had taken that would convey the feeling I get from awesome reader.  I opened my iGoogle with 'Picture a day' widget and there was the picture.  It is not mine so I am posting the link:
http://www.artistaday.com/?p=7085
You can use the back arrow to come back to this web page.   


One of my awesome readers shared her experience and OK'd me passing it on.  



The main commitment I had made was to run the graphics at my church. That means I attended all 3 services on the very topic that I constantly struggle with. Connecting. How does God always seem to know just what I need when I need it? It is like he has a plan or something. Anywho, after I listened to it 3 times and took ample notes (see below) I was sadly happy that I had chosen to stay. I needed this sermon...all 3 times.

The title of the sermon was Connect: How Relationships Become the Power Supply of Spiritual Growth.

Here are some key points that really stuck out to me.
One of the great causes of all our personal and emotional struggles is the lack of togetherness. 
God uses ordinary people to change other people's lives. 
The most important reason to connect is not that it solves loneliness or makes us physically healthy. The great value of connecting is that it is the place where God meets us. 
People (read: me) sometimes act like they don't need to connect but deep inside we all long for it. God has put a relational hole in our heart that NOTHING else can fill. 
I can't keep doing it to myself. You know...the disappearing and not calling people back thing. Or the not do anything with anyone for weeks at a time. That is when I get farther and farther away from God. I changed my tune on Sunday afternoon. I cancelled some plans I had with people that were not REALLY important to me and spent most of the evening at MUM's place with my family and then spent the rest of the night at D&G's so full of excitement I could hardly stand it. I really am the most lucky person in the world!

The moral of this story is don't allow yourself to get separated from those you love and care about. The reality is that they need you just as much as you need them. You never know when you are the one person that will help them with something that you, if you wouldn't have made the time, would never had known about. It might just be the time you spend together just being together. So, as my pastor ended his sermon with, pour yourself into connecting and connect deep.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Looking back...

Tonight I spent my time talking to KavinCoach by looking back.  Interesting thing about looking back is some times I need to, so I can move forward.  I reviewed a subject I have discussed many times but this time I actually organized my thoughts in a time line that covered over 40 years.  A thread ran through those years that warped and twisted my thinking.  I now have a new perspective on a lingering relationship that probably will not terminate any time soon.  I didn't think that just saying how I am influenced could alter how I view myself or past events.  KavinCoach asked me at the end if I felt better.  I didn't know.  But after thinking about this evening.  I think I can say yes.  I do.  Nothing was solved.  No plan of action made.  For me, it seems that in stating what I remember, I am accepting events that I chose to bury.  In the process of burying my feelings they didn't allow me to move forward. Looking back sometimes allows you to move forward.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Innerkiddies

Years ago I read a book called "Pigpen to Paradise."  I was searching for a solution to a messy house.  I learned a card system that worked a whole 6 months.  It was a great idea but child number 4 threw me for a loop and I never got back on the bandwagon.  Fast forward 25 years.  I am still battling a messy house and through FLYLADY http://www.flylady.org/ I get reacquainted with one of the authors of "Pigpen to Paradise" Pam (aka Nelly) Young <neenerneener@innerkiddies.com>  in new daily emails of encouragement.  This is today's message:

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize (i.e., to make something appear greater) the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.
Barbara Bloom

I love the idea that the places I feel broken should not be something I am ashamed of but instead I am proud of how I have mended my broken places. Or sometimes I am struggling with mending all the different places.  I sometimes feel like one of those old china plates in a thrift store with more cracks than image.  The filled cracks would look like a golden spider web.  

Are you proud of your mended broken places? 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

From Nikon Sniper

Head on over to Nikon Sniper for an amazing picture of Christ washing an apostle's feet.

He descended below them all

Christ understands my pain.  In Isaiah 53 describes Christ life.
 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 
From this description I know that Christ was not a person that we would covet his life or good looks.  One of the things I had wondered is if I had looked different, had more money, or lived in different circumstances I would not suffer from depression.  Interesting thing happened as I read and studied depression.  Depression affects all walks of life.  Depression seems to be one of those human conditions that everyone experiences to some degree. 
 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not
He felt sorrow.  He knew grief.  He did not come in His glory but in humble circumstances.  He understood being hated. And many in the world both durning His time and today do not value Christ.  During different times in my life, I have been ridiculed becuase of my faith in Christ being my Redeemer. From a young age I held a conviction that Christ is the cornerstone of my life.
  4 ¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

  5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
These verses, to me, show that because Christ knows and understands suffering; He can heal me of my suffering.  I was once asked, "Why did Christ suffer so much?"  I answered with conviction.  "So He would know where to find me in this deep pit of despair."  There is no where so dark or so undesirable a place that Christ does not know where to find me and bring me to the light.  I do believe that he gently leads me out of darkness because if I was suddenly surrounded by His light I would be afraid or overwhelmed.  Each morning the dawn slowly pushes away the darkness.  In the same sense for me the depression in my life slowly recedes.  Some days I do better than others.  I recognize now how far I have come out of darkness.  My Savior has guided me along the way.  I know that Christ lives and understands my every fear, depression, my broken heart, or any other negative feeling I have.  He heals me in His time and way.  I don't always understand but I know He is with me.  Foot Prints In The Sand is one of my favorite poems that describes so beautifully what I feel.     

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day by Day

Sometimes I had someone that would try to encourage me by saying, "Just live one day at a time." 
I joked, "If I tried to do that, I would have committed suicide a long time ago."

Dark depression is often, but not always, combined with suicidal thoughts.  I tried a variety of methods to keep these death thoughts under control.  I broke time down into increments of 5 minutes.  I could do anything 5 minutes at a time.  I had to have a root canal and sure enough 5 minutes at a time worked for that too.  I redirected my thoughts to things outside myself.  I thought about how I need to get the grocery shopping done.  I needed to weed the garden.  This didn't always work.  Sometimes thinking about what I needed to do made things worse.  I would often think about my children.  What would happen to them if I wasn't there or they found me?  Sometimes this would help.  Strangely a powerful deterrent was thinking about the pedophile from my childhood and the fact he told me I was so worthless, I should die.  If I committed suicide I would be doing what my abuser wanted me to do.  I could not let him win.  The most powerful deterrent was my faith in Christ.  I believed that I after I die, I will see my Savior.  How could I explain to Him that life was too hard?  I could not say that He did not know how I felt.  He had been betrayed by his friend, accused unfairly, ridiculed, tortured and finally crucified.  On top of all of this the night before He had taken upon Himself the sins of the world.  How would I explain to Him I couldn't keep living?  He descended below us all.  My faith in Christ helped me to stay alive long enough to give life a chance.  As I become emotionally healthier I am better able to recognize that suicidal thoughts are unhealthy and set them aside.  I will be delighted when I stop having them completely.  In the mean time, I can do anything for 5 minutes. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Resources

I am learning new things every day about how to use this blog.  I added pages....Woohoo!  One of the things KavinCoach encouraged was for me to find out about myself through my own reading.  I get homework.  Really hard homework sometimes.  On the right hand side in the side bar is the little words Pages followed by Home and Resources.  Pages is the heading for the other two.  Home link brings you back to the main part of the blog.  Resources is a page of books, websites, and other sources of inspiration, information, and other resources that help me along my journey in life.  I didn't get where I am today alone.  I like Einstein's quote, We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  So I am passing on resources I used that I found helpful.  I do not agree with every single word printed in the resources.  I do not believe that these are the only resources.  These are a few that helped out of hundreds of books, articles, websites, quotes, scriptures, and anything else I have studied to help me improve myself.  If you don't like a book, take it back to the library.  On the other hand, if you come across something you think is helpful send me the link or the title and I will read it too.  Scriptures I tend to use are the King James Version.  It is the first book I ever bought with my own money.  It cost me 10 cents at a book fair.  I still have it.  I love the scriptures.  I love Christ teachings. I love Christ.   
I also changed the theme because the other theme I couldn't read the new headings very easily.   I tend towards blue because that is my favorite color.  I like all colors but blue has a peacefulness and calm that I like.  Gray makes a great background for pictures.  That is my photographer's thinking coming out.  Gray doesn't change the color of the picture.  If you are curious as to why this works, (most people aren't) you could look up Josef Albers research on color.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Albers

I also added a link to the book I wrote called We Are One.  The preview allows you to read my story of a major change in my life.  The inspiration of why I call my blog We Are One. If you are interested in a paperback version you can click on this link 
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1161440
I called the book revised but it would be more accurate to say resized.  The two books are the same except for the size.  The large book does not come in a paperback version. 

Anyone that reads my blog or gets to know me will learn that I believe knowledge is power.  The more knowledge I have the greater my ability to make choices.  KavinCoach taught me that all knowledge is not created equal.  How the knowledge is used to become a better person is also important.  Some of the books I read talk about abuse in all its forms and disguises.  It is not easy reading.  Some of these books I read a few paragraphs at a time.  I also have a huge library of self-help books.  Some I plan to go back to read now that my perspective has changed.  My life was not in a place I wanted to be when I hit rock bottom.  I used knowledge to change my thinking.  My thinking changed my actions.  My actions altered who I am.  I admire Dave Pelzer, who wrote a Child Called It, he said, “To help yourself, you must be yourself. Be the best that you can be. When you make a mistake, learn from it, pick yourself up and move on.” There is another one I am thinking of that I can't find word for word.  (I'll need to look back through his later books.)  He is a speaker that talks to audiences about surviving abuse and choosing who he is.  He was asked if he wished that his life could be different.  His reply stuck in my head and became my goal.  He said something close to "I like the man I am today and I would not be that man without those experiences."  I feel like I have achieved that goal.  I like who I am today.  I would not be who I am today without all the experiences I have had before. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Perspective


Cloud picture with only black or white.
One of the first lesson KavinCoach taught me was about perspective.  He has a note pad that is yellow with blue stripes on one side and brownish gray on the other.  He holds it up and asks what I see.  Of course our answers are different and both correct.  I understood this a little at a time.  I decided to find this principal through my photography.  These two pictures are taken within 30 seconds of each other.  I stood in the same spot and turned my camera from one part of the sky to another.  I realized that much of my life when I was being told I was wrong was more a matter of perspective.  Many times when I try to tell someone else they are wrong it is still a matter of perspective.  Being raised in a black/white world somebody was always right and somebody was always wrong.  KavinCoach taught me that their are many ways of looking at issues, people, and events.  All of them can be right and all of them can be wrong or any variation of gray in between.  From black/white to shades of gray gives a much wider ground for defining my perspective.  I still have a challenge of sharing my perspective with someone else through communicating my view of the world.  I am learning to be more open to other people perspective and more willing to defend my own perspective.  KavinCoach still reminds me that my perspective is valid and so is his.