Thursday, May 31, 2012

There's a word for that?

Word of the Day from Toastmasters
gloze (glohz):verb/noun
verb tr.: To minimize or to explain away.
verb intr.: 1. To use flattery.  2. To make an explanation. 3. To shine brightly.
noun:  1. A comment. 2. Flattery. 3. A pretense.
When the criminal (Narcissistic) was  exposed, there were some who tried to gloze his conduct.

gloze [gləʊz] Archaic
1. (tr; often foll by over) to explain away; minimize the effect or importance of
2. to make explanatory notes or glosses on (a text)
3. to use flattery (on)
1. flattery or deceit
2. an explanatory note or gloss
3. specious or deceptive talk or action
[from Old French glosser to comment; see gloss2]

I read several posts this week all referring to the way that conflict is simply ignored by many narcissistic.  If the issue is not out right ignored then gloze is an excellent description of what they do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another type of fire....

Yesterday I wrote how to use anger to fuel a change in your life. 

I am not going to do that again...

I had enough...

No More, they will not do that to me again...

Are all 'start your engine' type of moments. 

Tonight I was reminded of another type of fire.  I spent my evening at Zumba followed up by stretch it real good exercise classes.  Afterwards I grabbed a bite to eat, then picked up my DIL and took her to an hour of night photography.  We had a blast.  It was so fun showing a willing student the ins and outs of how to take photographs at night.  Twelve years ago photography became a hobby that changed my major at college to a Bachelor of Fine Arts ~ Photography.  I love photography.  I love sharing how to take photographs.  A burning passion for photography burns brightly in my soul.  This is the picture that I depict this type of fire. 

One of the gifts of counseling was unleashing the passion for creating beautiful pictures.  The really amazing pictures I created came from the places in my soul that I buried as a child.  I thank my counselors for helping me to release the emotions that bring out the this kind of fire. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Start your Engines

3 steps how to live with anger.

1. Observe it.
2. Express it.
3. Own it.
I would like to add one more aspect. Sometimes you can use anger to get yourself out of self neglect rut. I recommend to not just endure anger, use it to fire up your engine to making the world a better place.
Think about a combustion engine.  The gas is injected into the cylinder, a spark causes an explosion, which pushes the piston down turning the shaft which turns the wheel.  The entire engine would be useless with out the driving force of the explosion.  However, the explosion would be useless without the control and planning of the engine.  I believe that extinguishing all anger is a great disservice that leaves most people without the motivation they need to change.  Anger erupting uncontrolled damages relationships, sometimes beyond repair.  Anger used to fuel determination add constructive planning and controlled actions, provides the power to make changes happen.

I suggest adding a fourth to the trio.

1. Observe it.
2. Express it.
3. Own it.
4. Creatively and constructively use it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last thought

Last thought on Memorial Day. 

In the United States, each May we recognize and remember those that have given their lives for freedom.  The millions of men and women who have fought for their belief in freedom.  I recognize from my own experience there are people that will only be stopped by violence.  They leave no other option.  People that would like peace can not comprehend their hell bent desire to oppress others and take what is not theirs.  Those that fought in the military forces to protect freedom and country deserve our respect.  There are a group of unsung heroes that rarely get the lime light.  These valiant heroes didn't wear a uniform.  Most people will never know their names.  They are those civilians that fight for freedom, too.  People like Corrie Ten Boom's father.  He chose to die in a concentration camp rather than stop helping Jews to freedom.  He wasn't a Jew himself.  He simply told the Nazi's that he would not stop helping those in need.  His decision cost him his life.  Irena's children will always know her as the person that smuggled them out of Warsaw.  There are stories brought back by soldiers of brave individuals that helped them, hid them, or gave them food.  Underground movements that fought back.  Nameless, faceless people that are buried in every country seeking freedom.  Each choosing to protect the innocent and freedom.  Many paying with their lives.  I wish at the end of this Memorial Day to express my gratitude to every man or woman that chooses freedom over comfort and liberty over safety.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


A few weeks ago someone mentioned that the Hulk was a multiple personality (well, dual personality since there are only two.)  Tonight DH took me to see the Avengers.  I enjoy a great action flick and this was excellent.  Conflict and aliens are always a good combination for a shoot-em-up, blow-em-up movie. Since I recently read an article about 'The Hulk' being a multiple personality, I paid special attention to how Hollywood handled the character.  Sure enough they played up the two personalities.  Dr. Banner, the calm side, even called the Hulk the 'other guy.'  Of course, there were glaring differences, Hulk turns green and big when he switches personalities.  Several aspects were fairly accurate to my experience.  The lack of shared memory between the two.  I learned in counseling that one of the deciding symptoms of DID is black outs or loss of time.  If time is continuance either you are compartmentalized to a high degree or integrated.  It is one of the deciding factors of the diagnosis.  Another thing is my alters were not stronger but some were just as angry.  I don't think it is a spoiler so I will share one line.  When Dr. Banner was asked if he could become the big guy he says, "The secret is that I am always angry."  If I could give a high five to a character in a movie this would be the time to do that.  I joke that if it weren't for depression I would be in anger management.  In my book, I share one of KavinCoach's assignments for me to throw clay pigeons at the back fence.  He assigned one box.  I enjoyed smashing the first box of 90 so much, I went out and bought a second box.  I kept a box on hand for a long time.  Unfortunately, the back fence was painted and the clay pigeons do make a bit of mess.  I found another location where people go shooting that I may take another box and let those pigeons fly. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

I love Einstein

‎10 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn from Albert Einstein:

1. Follow your curiosity

2. Perseverance is priceless

3. Focus on the present

4. The imagination is powerful

5. Make mistakes

6. Live in the moment

7. Create Value

8. Don't expect different results

9. Knowledge comes from experience

10. Learn the rules and then play better

I follow Einsteins quotes.  I fell in love when I found
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
listed at 

I loved reading fairy tales to my children.

Another favorite: 
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Decompressing this evening.  I will get back reading blogs and answering emails tomorrow.  Have a beautiful day wherever you are.   

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What if...

What if what I thought was falling apart was really falling into place.


Another quote I found at:
Go to search quotes:
When everything seems so wrong, your life isn't falling apart.
God is rebuilding it to make you stronger and wiser.

I pondered both possibilities.  I notice when I finally allow myself to fall apart I find these are opportunities to grow.  I sometimes need to sit back and say, "WAIT!"

Is it my problem?  This week, work at school was being piled on me.  I started stressing then said, "Wait, is this my problem?"  Two big projects immediately dropped to the bottom of my "To Do" list.  I am better able to manage what is left to do.  One more day till summer vacation...WooHoo.

If things are falling apart, how far can they actually fall?  Discovered that several more jobs can wait for a later date.

How much of the problem can I control?  No control over gravity, jumping is only temporary.  So how much of what I believe is falling apart can I control?  My friend saw a bus that was supposed to be parked rolling toward another bus.  Without hesitation he tried to stop it....Folks, he lived but it was not a good out come putting his arm out to stop the bus.  Am I trying to stop a 'bus'?

Do I need to step back and watch things fall apart to see if maybe some pieces need an opportunity to fall into place?  I didn't realize until I integrated that there is a part of me that is a real control freak disguised as someone that likes to fix things.  I think that is what I loved about working in a computer lab for 14 years.  I had total control over those computers.  I could wipe their hard drives.  I could tear them apart into itsy bitsy pieces and put them together again.  My controlling ways were disguised.  Do I need to step back and let life play out a little then step back in when I am ready to let go of those things I can't control?

Am I letting slide things that I should be doing?  Sometimes I let things go that I should do.  Opportunities missed sometimes can not be retrieved.  Other times I am given a second chance.  Interesting....

Any other ideas on things falling apart?

A Part and Together


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Example....

 Talking about fear and examples of fear can be triggering for some people. 

Sometimes an example will help clarify the fear continuum.  There are every day fears that everyone experiences that people laugh about and can control fairly easily.  There is the silly kind, like Chicken little running around screaming the sky is falling after being hit by an acorn.  There is learned fear like after being stung by a bee.  Different people have different fears.  Sometimes you have the one time horrible experience like a car crash or the long term trauma of childhood abuse. Some people wonder what sets apart PTSD from all the other stuff generated about fear.  I think two things set PTSD apart from the rest.  The depth of fear...often life threatening situations involved.  The second is PTSD interferes with everyday living.  Sometimes it can stop you right in your tracks.

About 8 years ago, I found out that I had a significant level of hearing loss.  I remember being sick often as a kid and thought this was a possibility as to the reason for the early hearing loss.  One of the procedures is to create a mold of your ear by pouring warm wax into the ear.  Wait a few minutes for it to cool and dada... a mold of your ear.  This procedure is simple and painless.  No apparent reason for fear.  When I had my first mold taken, the poor audiologist was horrified.  Only thing I remember was the warm wax going into my ear.  The next thing, I was groveling on the floor whimpering that I would be good.  Terrified out of my mind.  In one corner of my mind I knew that my behavior was at the far extreme of bizarre behavior but I could no more stop what was happening as fly around the room.  In that moment in time fear grabbed me by the nape of my neck and threw me to the ground.  I was embarrassed and apologized and fully understood when audiologist recommended that I went to someone else.  The audiologist did nothing wrong.  I still haven't retrieved the memory that this triggers.  What I did do, was desensitize my reaction.  I am not comfortable having it done but I now stay in my chair.  Tonight, I had a victory.  I stayed for a second exercise class where we stretch out our body.  The end of class the teacher goes around the room and massages each students' back.  I have just about flipped out in the past to have a stranger touch me.  I made the choice to stay.  I watched as the teacher worked her way around the room.  My goal was to not flinch.  Not only did I not flinch, I actually started to enjoy the feeling of being touched.  Stiff shoulders appreciated the extra attention.  I far exceeded my goal.  I am looking forward to taking the class again. 

The hardest thing for me was realizing that over the years I had tried to describe how afraid I was.  Unfortunately, my fears were discounted and I was told I was exaggerating.  I needed to just smile and go forward.  I was teased for being a 'baby.'  People laughed at my 'over reaction'.  Learning about PTSD allowed me to understand that my fears were not without basis.  I also learned that I can over come the crippling affects of PTSD.  The healthier I become, the less control it has on my life.   

For Drama:  Follow link :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PTSD Bites

Sometimes it only nibbles but I learned the hard is always there.

My picture widget shared an artists that really spoke to me in his art work.  I felt like emailing him and asking him if he was a multiple.  I can't post his pictures because I don't have permission but this is a link to the page:
The top picture was the first one I saw.  I really had to look carefully to see the girl and just not the pieces.  I noticed that sometimes staring at the pieces I lose the picture of myself.  Sometimes when I stare at myself I still see the pieces.

The Mayo clinic it describes it as "Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event."

This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Here is their list of symptoms:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include:
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren't there
They are missing some of the more interesting things like can't swallow, can't hear, nausea, and other physical responses.  I get to the point of feeling like I am doing very well then another trigger is hit.  Sometimes I don't even know what set off the problem.  It just shows up as increased nightmares, not being able to eat cause I can't swallow, having my hearing aides in and I still see their lips move but I hear nothing.  I start to feel anxious and sleeping worse I start to look at my life to see what is causing so much upset.  I wish I could figure this stuff out on my own but my mind gets jumbled.  I was lucky and NewCounselor has an opening for me to talk to him.  Maybe talking out all the things that are pressing on my mind will bring the jitters back under control.  If you have PTSD or know someone who does.  Be patient with yourself or them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank you

Thank you to my readers:

You inspire me, encourage me and share your lives and ideas.  Thank you.  Some of you I know personally.  I am related to some of you, too.  Sometimes I write a post with one of you in mind.  Other times, I am just trying to figure out one more piece to my puzzle.  Just when I think I am so clever and healthy and doing great, PTSD stomps on my foot.  I then write here and pour out my frustration and you kindly share your strength with me.  Thank you. 

I must regretfully inform one of you that I messed up your invitation to read your blog.  I spent 14 years fixing computers and they still drive me to exasperation when some cutesy engineer thinks I can read their minds and do it perfectly first time.  Fluffed an invite...Sorry.

Love my pansies but triple digit weather fried them in my garden.  Poor Pansies.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not just any excercise

For Christmas and Mother's Day my children gave me gift certificates for Express MiE.  I love Express MiE.  This is where I take Zumba classes with my daughter/instructor.  One of my sons asked me what I get out of going there.  I leaned over and touched my toes.  He exclaimed, "I can't do that."  I thought it over...I got a lot more than just being able to touch my toes. 

This is the link to Express MiE (Put a little i in ME.)

The rest of this may be triggering for some people... 

For my definition of Sexual abuse you can read what I have already written...

I pondered a lot about what Express MiE has done for me.  I attended my first class about 2 years ago.  I I have gone regularly over a year.  I took Zumba, Bollywood, Awkward dance, and many different dance classes in the Club MiE program.  In Awkward dance, I accepted that I feel really awkward doing many things with my body.  I did not feel comfortable in my own skin.  My daughter reminds her class to honor their bodies.  She means that if you have a previous body injury to not do anything that cause more damage to your injury.  What I took this to the level of I need to honor my body.  Take care of it.  Appreciate how marvelous this body is and accept that my body is sexual.  Sensuality was something I avoid.  I dress mostly in clothes that are very baggy, often a size larger than I need.  I avoid mirrors.  I do not watch MTV.  I am easily embarrassed.  I struggle with talking about sex.  My children were given a book or I talked as little as possible.  I learned from my counselor what I should have said to my daughters but didn't know until after they were already married.  What Express MiE did for me was teach me to be comfortable in my own skin. 

The studio room is wall to wall mirrors.  The classes are women ranging in age from 20s to 50s of every shape and description.  I became very good at finding a spot in the room that I could avoid the mirrors, in the back or along the edges.  I became adept at watching the instructor in the mirror and never looking at myself.  I still wear baggy clothes to class.  I learned moves used on MTV, body rolls, shimmies, and many other dance steps, grape vine is one of my favorites.  In some of the classes, we would take turns dancing across the room.  In line dancing, we start at the edge of the floor and run to our places screaming, that is so fun.  I watched others and they watched me.  When I took the hula hoop class, I discovered that I am still good at it much to the surprise of some of the other students.  I can be horribly tired when I get home from work after spending 45 minutes dancing I feel so much more alive and utterly exhausted.  I am still clumsy at a body roll but a lot of the other stuff I am having a blast.  I just changed my membership so I can take more classes.  I look forward to dance time.  Express MiE did for me? I learned that my body is beautiful and I love having it. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012


One of the challenges of long term counseling is staying positive that good things are around the corner.  I feel a bit like the battleship in the following urban legend.  (It is so funny you wish it were true.)

This is the (fictional) transcript of a radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.
Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a Collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States' Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that's one five degrees north, or countermeasures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.[2]
My counselors are lighthouses along a rocky shore attempting to bring me to safe harbor.

There comes a time when it is my call.  I feel like last weekend I passed a final exam.  I learned that as an integrated person I can cope with high stress, triggers stomped on, and still enjoy myself.  It wasn't just a case of grimly surviving...I really had fun.  A few of the pictures from last Saturday are below.  This is when I wished I had a 500mm lens.  I call this group Deere, Cats, and Elk.   Enjoy.  :)

Oh Deere!

Morning line up

A CAT bigger than an  Elk.

Drive by shootings...They drive by and shoot pictures.


You looking at me?

Lawn ornaments
Hi How are ya'?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Changing your mind or just lying

Mark TwainTruth is more of a stranger than fiction.

A strange dilemma for me.  I pondered over the weekend and struggled with the rapid changes of plans.  This will be the way it is....Wait I have another this idea is better.  Why is this such a problem for me? 

I finally came to the decision that some people really do change their minds that rapidly.  So why do I believe they are lying to me?  I watched people from my childhood purposely set out to deceive by first appearing to give something to someone then take it away.  Children learn by example.  My younger sister was just a toddler.  She was riding next to my Dad, who was driving.  (Before mandatory car seats.  In fact, before car seats were invented...scary thought.) She shoved a sandwich she was munching in front of my Dad and said, "Want it?"  My Dad opened his mouth to take a bite and she pulled it away and ate it herself.  My mother thought this was a hysterically funny story and told it often.  However, I reflected on how many times I was offered something as a reward for a task, but after doing what was required the person 'changed their mind' and the sought for reward was whisked away just like that sandwich.  I believe that my sister was simply repeating what was done to her and to me.  Now, when a plan is made and I 'want it' if the person changes their mind, I am not even close to being reasonable about the situation.  Some people tell me to stop living in the past.  But if I don't learn from my past what is the point of having experiences. 

The quote by Mark Twain was always quoted to me as "Truth is stranger than fiction."  Fiction had to have feeling of believable where as the truth can be unbelievably weird.  I looked at this quote and think perhaps what he is saying is he tells fiction more often than the truth.  Much of my childhood was lies built on lies.  Some lies were told for no particular reason.  Some were told to twist and manipulate.  I am more familiar with the fictional tale of my childhood than the truth.  The lie I lived for years, "My childhood was great; we went to the park and the zoo."  We did do those things but most of my childhood was all lies.  I watched as a child as adults would intentionally lie.  A child watches and adults sometimes forget the little ears are wide open and comprehending.  I grew up.  I felt I was an honest person.  Teenagers are a harsh mirror for parents.  They call you on your crap.  The fury my daughter felt when she found out the speed limit was the limit and not a suggestion.  Yup, I struggle with obeying the speed limit.  She let me know I wasn't honest with this.  Another teenager pointed out that I lied to people daily when they would ask me how I was and I would lie about that too.  I would say I was fine when the kids knew full well I could barely stand.  I am challenged by my own behavior.  Why is this situation so difficult for me?...because I caught myself so many times rearranging the truth.  Some days the truth was more of a stranger to me than fiction.  People repeatedly reenforce the desire of flattery and telling lies to help them feel good.  The song tells you to lie to your self by whistling a happy tune when you feel afraid.  Now the twist comes...It works.  You can change your outside to influence how you feel inside.  Feelings are not the solid barometers of truth...for some people what they told you 5 minutes ago was the truth at that time and their brain shifted to a new place and a new truth.  Lies, changing your mind, feelings, twists, and truths...sorting out how things fit together is a complex maze that some days I just want to say enough already.  Black and white were twisted to be taught that black was white and white was black.  Counseling taught me there were a whole bunch of gray that swirls around.  Teenagers spend their years learning what truth is for them.  I spent my teenage years perfecting the lie that there was nothing wrong in our family...all was well because my parents said so.  Yup.  I struggle with understanding when a person is lying or just changed their mind. 


and Wide

Hey, check out the big hole.

Some hole.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taking a rest....

When was the last time you sat and watched the sunset with hundreds of other people?

Darkness creeping up through the Grand Canyon

Sun's glow change the white wall to rose.

Sun sinks slowly.

Fading light with a ribbon from the river.

Winds shake the trees softly into the night.   

Good Night.  :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Set me on a course and I can keep going for quite sometime; however, telling me we are going to do one thing and then doing the opposite has a whiplash affect for me.  Once is not fun.  Twice is annoying.  Repeatedly through the day and I am freaking out internally.  What I learned last week is that I can be totally freaked out and nobody knows unless I tell them.  Integrated I still hide my emotions.  I have felt so overexposed like the whole world can see what an emotional mess I am.  It just isn't true.  Several times I felt like the little cat that I either had to "Bitch or Blow up."  Fortunately, a short burst could release enough to keep me looking calm most of the time.  I also learned that I am not the only one that objected to this.  I felt relieved when others shouted, "No," to yet another change in plans.

Thinking it over, I recognize the overall desire of doing as much as possible with the opportunity.  I appreciate the creative thinking...I just really need a bit more planning and breathing space of doing nothing.  I think this will pour over into my posts on introverts and extroverts.  I am doing a bit of research and learning that extroverts need more outside stimulation to have the same reaction as an introvert.  Leaning about this explains why I need to plan things out in advance and allow for down time.  I am willing to modify a plan but abrupt changes really wreck havoc on so many levels.  No time to process emotional all that is happening quickly puts me into overload.  I think this is where functioning as a multiple came in very handy.  As a multiple, an abrupt change in plans usually triggered a switch to the one that could handle the situation.  I also couldn't make plans because of the disruptions in time I didn't know if next week was a month or two days later.  The time continuum simply didn't exist for me.  Now I recognize that I really had to work hard for that trip to be able to adjust to all the changes in a short period of time.  My sister describes this in authors as plotters and pansters.  Plotters lay out the plot carefully in advance then writes to these instructions.  A panster flies by the seat of their pants and swoops and swirls with the wind.  I think I am mostly a plotter but can wing it in a tight spot.  I am going to be thinking about this part for a while because I think it has some answers for me about how I function on a day to day basis.  Challenges can reveal a lot about yourself.
 Just a quick thought.  :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Like any high pressure test there were multiple parts to this week's exam.  The first night that we arrived at the hotel we sat down for dinner and waited.  This was a fancy restaurant, the orders were sent in the day before, and we waited for over an hour for our meals to arrive.  Here is the kicker...mine came last.  Some of the people were finished eating before my food came.  Someone offered some of their bread while I waited for my meal.........Teetering on a vile pit emotionally.

When I was a kid, I used to complain about the food my mother fixed to eat for dinner.  My mother had the philosophy that "He who complains, has too much."  So when I complained about the food I was put on bread and water.  I had to sit at the table with the rest of the family while I was eating bread and water.  After I married, I found out I was extremely allergic to bell peppers which my mother used frequently.  I didn't break out in hives so no one believed me when I said they made me sick.  I was punished for trying to protect my insides.  To this day, bread and water is a huge comfort food.  However, in this particular situation I was teetering on the verge of a complete melt down.

Counseling to the rescue.  Both KavinCoach and NewCounselor taught me different methods of re-framing a situation.  I sat at the table repeating in my mind, "I will get fed.  If my dinner doesn't come, that is ok I have money in my pocket and I can go across the street to the fast food restaurant and order what ever I want."  I kept reviewing my choices until my dinner finally did come.  I ate but ended up not finishing since everyone was leaving the table and the waitress didn't give me the water I needed to be able to swallow my food.  I chose to walk a way.  I also planned to have a water bottle with me at the next meal no matter what the fancy restaurant people thought.  Next time - keep my glass full.  I was the last one eating any way. 

Morning breakfast was a buffet so I didn't have any waiting period.  I ate what I wanted and filled my own glass.  It was a great breakfast.  I tried something new and decided I didn't like it so I didn't make myself finish it.  I took good care of myself for breakfast.

Then at lunch time, again I was one of the last one fed but I felt a lot less anxious.  I enjoyed the club sandwich, took out the parts I didn't want to eat and shared the remaining quarter that I didn't touch with one of the students.  We then traveled to the Grand Canyon.  We didn't get back for dinner until after 9:00 PM at night.  I wisely packed trail mix to keep me munching as desired and plenty of water.  I worked at taking care of myself.  A buffet was ok but that late some of the food was more than a little over done or dried out.  Didn't matter I was able to eat.

Breakfast the next morning was another buffet.  I noticed a huge difference in my anxiety level when I compared waiting to get food and being able to serve myself.  Note to self...skip fancy restaurants that make you wait forever to eat.  Buffets are great.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Final Exams

Each May in schools across the United States students take final exams.  High pressure culmination of everything they learned through the year or semester.  Hoping to pass and go on to other classes or graduate.  That is how I felt for the last 3 days.  I helped chaperone a class of students to the Grand Canyon.  This was the first time since integration that I have been around anyone accept close family for an over night situation.  The week before I had melted down over a mock wedding set up that I removed myself rather than stick through the pressure.  Three days with no way to retreat.  Staying aware and willing to meet the demands of changed plans, uncertain eating, and being with other people 24/7.  Just the walking aspect of getting everyone to view points along the Rim Walk shooting pictures or drawing this stunning landscape was intimidating.  I met challenge after challenge.  I wish I could say I did it with grace but I did do it.  I hit bonus challenge when I was asked to drive the last hundred miles in a vehicle that was difficult to steer. I came home brought my stuff in the house and collapsed to sleep with out eating dinner.  Only one incident carried a tinge of PTSD reaction.  I was frustrated, angry, and upset but no one realized how I felt unless I chose to share what I was feeling.  There were some excellent highlights and frustrating lows.  I learned a lot about myself and other.  I'll share pictures and what I learned.  Overall I felt like I passed my final.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Motherhood - The good, the bad and the ugly

I was tempted to skip mentioning mother's day completely.  On Facebook all the mother's day comments are lumped together and I refuse to look at them.  Please do not threaten me with dire things if I don't show my appreciation to my mother.  Please do not tell me the wonderful things your mother did for you because then I feel guilty.  Please do not tell me how lucky I am for the mother I have.  Please do not assume everyone had the same experience with having or being a mother. 

Stating the obvious.  I would not be alive without my mother.

Years of counseling and I am still addressing the fall out from the choices my mother made.

At age 16, I was terrified of ever having children and repeating the same mistakes on another generation.  

During counseling, I came to the realization of what my children suffered with me for a mother.  PTSD is hard to live with and even harder when they are facing the fallout with no understanding of what was wrong.  Rough time addressing the guilt I felt for the mistakes I made being a mother.

Motherhood is even more difficult because children do not come with instructions stamped on their butt as the best way to handle them.  I was blessed with six amazing kids; what worked for one child was an epic fail for another.

Bottom line having my children was the best thing that ever happened in my life.  I also know that not everyone has that choice.  There are women who can't have children.  There are women that choose not to have children.  There are children that wished their mother didn't have children.

To those that had experiences that leave them wondering if they should have children...I learned this...I DID NOT make the same mistakes with my children.  I made my own mistakes and plenty of them.  Now my children get after me for looking at my short comings.  I also put impossibly high expectations on myself.  People have tried to reassure me that I did the best I could...but what if the best I could, wasn't good enough?  Doubts, fears, guilt, plague me.  I also learned that children are amazing and choose at some point to allow my mistakes to hinder them or become spring board to doing something different.

I learned that saying the words "I love you" to a child isn't enough.  You need to show with your actions even when you are tired and out of sorts yourself or they have grown and left home.  I also know that at some of my lowest times, my children were the ones that put their arms around me and reassured me that going forward was possible.  I cherish those memories.
Motherhood is an awesome and terrifying responsibility - what you do with that responsibility does have long lasting results.  It is worth time, effort, and overcoming challenges.  It is dynamic.  My children leaving home doesn't mean my influence ended it just means they are trying out for themselves what they learned or decided they would never do to their children.  

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to have the children that came to me.  I am doubly blessed by the awesome people they invited to be their partners.  Now, grandchildren are expanding my heart and ability to love.  The greatest joy I feel is watching the loving attention my grandchildren receive from their parents.

Motherhood it can be good, it can be bad, and it can be ugly.  At any point, it can be changed.  It is truly a blessing in a person's life if they can happily say, "Happy Mother's day."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tried something new

I tried something new today by back tracking in my mind as to how long the computer games became so important.  (I don't mind computer games unless they start interfering with eating, work, sleep, living.)  Counted back 6 weeks or so.  Before integration I couldn't map out a time line like this so it was a different process.  About this time is when I landed in the hospital with a medical problem then followed this up with side effects that triggered a major emotional melt down.  One of the worst I had in over a year.  So why did it cause me so much grief.  Since then several more mini melt downs.  I had them before so what is the big deal now.....

Skeletons out of the closet
Before all this mess erupted into my life NewCounselor was talking to me about I am no longer a victim, I am growing pass survivor and moving into thriving, living like a regular person without an abusive past.  Major trigger led to melt down led to painful reminder that PTSD can be controlled but given the right circumstances it will take over my life again.  For years I fought a shadow warrior that now has a name, PTSD.  I better understood the relationship when I unearthed my reminder for my mammogram.  I am cancer free for 10 years but when that reminder comes in the mail I feel absolutely sick to my stomach.  I usually put it off.  This time was worse than usual.  I put it off for 6 months.  I know I am cancer free but I do know how easily the verdict can come back, "I am sorry, you have cancer."  PTSD is cancer of the emotions.  I am thriving, enjoying life and a trigger hits and "I am sorry but PTSD took over your life again."  Childhood abuse a cancer that just keeps on giving.  Last weekend another mini melt down.  I let down one of the teachers at school.  I let PTSD decide for me what my actions would be.  Now this teacher is worried about trusting me to meet my responsibilities as a chaperone on a student field trip.  I agree with her concern.  I am worried myself.  I so want to say that PTSD has no influence on my life.  I would have to lie to say that.  PTSD jolted a reminder that my past is not alone... a challenged shared by other survivors.  I really am not just like everyone else.  I am myself.  I survived cancer.  I survived a brutal childhood.  I am a responsible adult.  I can do what is needed this weekend.  I will be saying prayers daily since I know He is willing to lend a hand when I reach the end of my rope.  

What to do?

George Bernard Shaw
Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.
George Bernard Shaw

Occasionally, I sit down to write a post and I either draw a complete blank or so much is crowding my head I can't write anything.   I looked at my list of drafts, half started posts, and couldn't think what to say today.  I am catching myself playing mindless computer games like my life depends on it.  I am running away.  Today I need to stop and figure out ~ what am I running away from?

I wish I could say I was running to something but I realized today that I don't run to something I always run away.  That is a fear based life.  I believe change my purpose, I will change my heart and mind set.  Sometimes, I wish I could do a hard reboot and straighten out some of my files.  This weekend I will be out of touch of my computer.  I need to reevaluate where I am going...and more importantly...Why?

Monday, May 7, 2012

A nice calm day

If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.

Before integration, there was no such thing as a nice calm day.  My mind went five different directions daily.  Now, sometimes I have a nice calm day.  Not too much going on.  Take time to play a computer game.  Breathe deeply and only breathe calm....BORING.  Before integration, I never felt bored.  If there was a lull one of the other personalities took over cause they wanted a turn or a stressor triggered a change...BORING NEVER.  Even pit stops, were a crazy scramble and race to rearrange everything to keep going.  After integration, KavinCoach asked me about my first shared emotion.  He was expecting anger or happy...He was not expecting me to say that bored was the first shared emotion.  Bored is a horrible feeling.  True after living on a five lane highway for years a brief stop now and again can be really nice but dead stopped bored explains a lot about the deaf sign for bored Last week, I was feeling frustrated in my job because I was so bored.  Well this week started out with a bang, a field trip and tons to do.  I feel much better.  I don't like bored...boring...Give me something to do.  I noticed that when I am dead tired I do things that look boring but in reality I am just this side of unconscious.  I still have trouble sleeping so refusing to sleep I may watch TV or play a computer game.  Vegging, down time, meditating are not boring.  A change of pace is sometimes needed.  I decided that boring occurs when someone else has some claim on my time either through politeness or employment are expecting me to wait.  I learned I am really bad at just waiting around.  This is how I end up late for something.  I find something else to do that takes longer than I expect it to do.  When I had a party going on inside all the time, bored was not an option.  I am learning a few creative ways to reassess how I spend my time.  I talked with the teacher I work with and found several creative projects I can work on when I don't have something else to do.  I don't like the maniac tearing all over the place but I do like a steady flow of things to do.  I really enjoy when I have an opportunity to play with one of the grand kids.  Or help with something like cutting up fruit for a family gathering.  For some people, these activities are boring.  For me, it either allows me to play on the edge of childhood or share in a service that will bring people that I love together.  Boring is viewed differently by people, there are some that will run to the brink of self destruction trying to get away from feeling bored.  I learned I am easily entertained.  Building up blocks for a toddler to knock down could be done for a long time.  Their expressions share a wealth of pleasure.  Pleasure is not boring.  :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Walk Therapy

My sister and I go walking almost every Saturday morning.  We walk around a town man-made lake, well more of a pond.  3 times around equals 2 miles and we talk about everything and anything that comes to mind.  I groused about how I was feeling off kilter and wondering how to cope with out being a multiple.  We chatted back and forth.  She reminded me that I wasn't born a multiple.  We kept walking and talking about all sorts of subjects, her writers conference, government, news stories, family, and anything else we thought of.  Then we headed to her house for breakfast.  We sat out in the drive way chatting.  I thanked my sister for reminding me why I worked so hard to integrate...I wasn't born that way.  In fact, not one single person that is a multiple personality is born that way.  I am really proud of surviving a terrible childhood.  I appreciate being a multiple to survive under extreme conditions.  But I wasn't born that way.  Multiples are made usually in early childhood from extreme trauma.  One part of the person divides off to protect the self.  Another alter takes over and does things that the self would never do.  I learned to love my alters and I didn't want them lost in the process.  Yet, Maria would have handled the mock wedding on Friday with ease.  I turned tail and ran.  NewCounselor suggested that I can use each of the alters strengths to add to mine.  I need to ponder how I can draw on Maria's skills in large crowds and parties.  I don't expect that I will ever prefer large crowds or parties because for me there is too much input.  I want to be able to be comfortable enough at a part or crowd that I can stay and be with people that I enjoy.  I heard a speech at a women's conference that to cope in a situation that is uncomfortable, reframe how you view the situation.  The example he gave was that he was a writer that interviewed people and what they do.  As a writer he is required to do a book signing.  He really dislikes these.  He decided to reframe how he viewed the book signing to being a whole bunch of short mini interviews.  By reframing his book signing he turned it into an event he now loves to do.  I appreciate my sister walking with me yesterday, her encouragement and acceptance helps me over and over again. 

Bloom where you grow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Inner and Outer Chaos

Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.
Henry Miller

This is my opinion and what I am writing may be triggering for someone else.  Proceed with caution.  

Today was one of those days when I am feeling the negative side of integration.  There were two events today involving large crowds and lots of noise.  Before integration, I would switch to that part of my personality that could cope in that situation.  I used to do costumes for plays and other activities with large crowds with ease.  Now I struggle, when possible escape.  Then later this evening, I am moping and I am trying to figure out what is wrong.  I finally realize I am not depressed in the way that I have in the past.  I am grieving the loss of my gift of coping using multiple identities.  It is a powerful tool in high stress situations.  Here's what I understand.  Multiple personalities, DID, is a powerful coping tool under extreme stress.  I could calmly straighten a broken arm for X-rays.  I could enjoy a large party with tons going on and enjoy myself.  Unfortunately, the down side of functioning as a multiple is lost time.  Exhaustion from several sharing the same body.  The body needs to rest but another personality takes over and isn't sleepy.  I believe that in times of low stress the multiple personalities don't know what to do since their functioning was designed for high stress.  The visual illustration I thought of is using multiple personalities to function day to day is like using a 10 lb sledge hammer to pound in a tiny finishing nail.  There is another down side that I have read about and now a friend experienced is the death of an alter.  I know my counselor never understood my deep desire to keep all the alters as part of myself.  I feel the death of an alter is similar to an amputation.  There is grieving.  Relearning how to function with out that part of yourself.  I think in some ways loosing self is worse than loosing time.  I was so happy I integrated and yet I felt a loss.  I experience things that I couldn't before yet I can't cope in some situations that I used to do easily.   The hardest thing is trying to explain to someone else that can not comprehend that a whole chunk of yourself is gone.  Through integration I pulled all my parts together and I became whole.  Yet from time to time, I feel grief for loss of how I used to be.  Now, I am healthier, happier, and calmer than I have ever been.  Sometimes I still feel a sense of loss.   I am still trying to learn to use other coping skills.  My grief is tinged with hope that eventually I will be able to do the same things I did before but do it without time loss.  To feel like I am the one doing all that I can do.  I am hoping my friend that experienced a grievous loss of her alter knows that I feel deeply her sense of loss.  I wish I could find a way to reassure her that going forward is possible, not the same but possible. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Refocus energy

Quote of the day : "When you really BELIEVE in something you become PASSIONATE about that subject inturn YOU INSPIRE others by your WORDS & ACTIONS. Take that concept of FOCUS & aim it towards your own GOALS, you will be surprised at the amount of SUCCESS. You will achieve."

I loved fixing computers in the photography computer labs, known as the digital dark room.  I came in fresh with no preconceived art ideas just a determination to solve computer problems.  I had a love/hate relationship.  I loved them when they work and hate them when they don't.  The rude little monsters helped me to write the best English paper I had ever written and then refused to print it until after the paper was due.  I learned at a Junior high how to fix little SE and Classic Apple computers.  They were small and kind of cute and breaking down often enough to really annoy me.  I focused my energy at getting better and better at fixing them.  After four years in the Junior high trenches I moved to the big leagues of the University.  After the tour of the computers before my interview, I shook my head and asked, "Does somebody hate you?" (The computers weren't much better than the ones at the junior high.) Mind you, the person showing me around was the main person interviewing me 15 minutes later.  I figured I blew the interview before I started.  I relaxed and focused on sharing my passion for fixing computers.  I enthusiastically informed them that I knew very little art but was willing to learn.  Over a month passed, I figured I didn't get the job.  Finally I was called and they wanted me to start the following week.  The end of the school year was only two weeks away so I requested to finish out the school year then start at the end of summer.  I took all the energy that I had and focused it on getting better and better on fixing computers.  Hard work, studying, and prayer paid off.  I became more and more enthusiastic about bridging the gap between artist and their tool, the computer.  I loved my job for several years.  I studied and researched obscure information like why is blue so hard to get right in printing?  Nobody knew, so I did the research myself.  This pattern of obsessively researching and learning new information turned to my camera.  I started out hiding my pictures to finally my pictures being picked for a show.  I took that energy and passion turned it into a show depicting the emotional impact cancer had on my life.  I am now using this same pattern of taking a challenge...learning all I can...take it to a new place that I have never gone before.  The most difficult challenge I have is taking the same approach with depression.  I am starting to realize that I can not stay depressed and passionate at the same time.  The irony to me is encountering the feel good police.  My friends, you know the ones I mean, those glowing smilers with the empty eyes that tell you to smile and everything will be wonderful.  The ones I encountered were first to try to squelch my passion for solving problems.  Their thought seemed to be "Be happy but not excited."  Excitement seemed to be as big a crime as depression.  Multiple personalities allowed me to be both.  One personality has all the fire and excitement.  One of the other personalities dealt with all the depression and suppressed rage.  Integration brought the two together.  Fire in a fog.  I struggle to keep my enthusiasm burning.  I slip back into depression.  Then an event or friend rekindles the flame of excitement and the depression recedes once again.   When I was a multiple dealing with emotions I was like Mary Poppins bouncing through side walk pictures.  Bouncing in and out sometimes at a bewildering rate.  I felt this quote was so timely because today, I refocused on my positive goals...making a difference.  Another quote I saw recently, "Let go of the past so you can grasp what today offers."  I spent a lot of time delving into my past to understand my present.  I carefully cut the lines and hooks from my past that kept dragging me back into the ugliness.  The trick is to bring along the best of what I learned and build on it.  I am a better person today because I looked back, acknowledge my past, set new boundaries, moving forward into a world I didn't know was possible.  I think I need the quote poster size to remind myself everyday to believe in my passion for changing me.  Change myself I change my world. 

Reshaping My World

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Depression grays out emotion

Albert EinsteinYou do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

Albert Einstein

This totally cracked me up.  I spent 14 years trying to explain to other people how to make a computer do what they wanted it to do.  I realized yesterday that I really miss doing that.  I still feel sad that the university that I worked at decided to streamline the work force at the expense of quality of the teaching experience.  I am now helping a few friends but it isn't quite the same of 8 hours a day of can I figure out what went wrong and can I fix it?  Can I explain to the bewildered student that computers are really that dumb?  Can I rescue the file that somehow slipped silently into cyber space and the person sitting at the computer desperately wants it back?  It was challenge after challenge all day long.  I specialized in using the person's own background to bridge the gap of understanding.  The artist the desktop became a work space.  The homemaker the computer was like a kitchen.  Each person I tried to tailor the explanation to their own understanding.  I became so good at it that a student once accused me of not knowing very much about computers.  I asked him why I thought that.  "Well you don't talk like a geek."  By using the language the other person was comfortable translated to I must not know much.  To help the student, I told him in detailed computerese exactly what was happening with the computer when he worked with one of the animation programs.  His eyes quickly glazed over and he asked me to stop talking.  Through computers I learned to speak the other persons language.  I had to understand the computers very well to be able to translate.

A counselors job is to teach each client the skills that are needed to interact with other people successfully.  The amazing thing that both my counselors excel at is they listen to me enough that they use my background and thought patterns as a way to explain concepts that I missed growing up.  I watched as each of them try to explain basic concepts that are not in my experience.  NewCounselor said, "Well you rebelled in some way as a teenager."  Actually, no.  One of my personalities was brutally trained to absolute obedience.  I was reluctant to accept this part of myself.  I had no words to express the feelings of anxiety, tension, nausea, churning inside that described doing anything contrary to authority.  My parents were authority so I was absolutely obedient.  KavinCoach worked hard at trying to find a common ground for helping me understand emotions.  He would try to get me angry and with in seconds I could make it disappear.  The gap in communication about emotions was massive.  Dissociation and PTSD widened the gap.  This month marks completing 9 years of counseling.  I am starting to have words and vocabulary to identify and share how I feel.  I am starting to recognize and identify more and more emotions.  I now understand why depression is considered a gray feeling.  It extinguishes the rainbow of emotions that should be felt until the only feeling identified is depression.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Once and Done

An awesome cleaning product that you do the floors once and you are done.   A magical cleaner that cleans and shines all at one passing.  Wouldn't it be cool if we could do that with our lives too.  Once and done that problem won't return. Once and Done.  I noticed that the same problems keep coming back and back and back.  It almost becomes like an old friend coming back to visit.  But the old friend is not nice.  Last winter I did something different.  The same old problem popped up again.  I decided, "I am done now."  I explained to others the problem and told them, "I am done now."  But almost everyone acted as if I hadn't said anything or denied that what I said was true.  Then I put the "I am done now" into action.   I have felt the burden shrinking and shrinking like the Wicked Witch after Dorthy threw the water on Scare Crow to put out the fire.  The interesting thing about the story was Dorthy had no idea that the Witch could be destroyed with water.  Her intent was to save her friend, Scare Crow.  In the process, she dissolved her problem.  Then here came the real kicker.  She had the solution to her bigger problem all along right at her feet. 

I knew about counseling.  I was proud of my sister for going.  I knew my mother hadn't gone to counseling to the detriment of my teenage years.  It was there all along but I didn't know it would dissolve my problems.  But here is the kicker, the counselor helps me see that I had the solution all along.  The solution was right at my feet.  I just didn't know how to use it.  KavinCoach started the process with me first recognizing the problem.  Then I did the research about the problem.  Then I learned I had rights then I learned about boundaries. Now, I am implementing what I have learned.  I am noticing now that the problem I set down last January is shrinking.  I am noticing the changes.  I am more at peace.  One of my favorite poems I found in many different places.  Also used with AA.  I want to share it with you and a link to the Wikipedia about the author:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.
(There's a Hole in My Sidewalk)
I am learning to choose another street.