Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wrapping up

Last month of school is testing and wrapping up final big projects.  We are told not to teach to the test but the students and teachers are penalized for not doing well on the test created by the State.  People, this type of high stakes testing is useless....truly.  The only ones getting an advantage out of it are the ones creating the test and charging the schools.  The standardized test actually make more money if students fail so it is in the test makers best interest to write the test in such away that more students fail.  Then the students are labeled as failures and kept from scholarships, university and other opportunities because they were set up to fail on the high stakes test.  I struggle this time of year seeing how ridiculous it is yet knowing the students need to do well on the tests.  I also watch students struggling through the exams knowing then won't do well.  Thanks to "no student left behind" other options are no long open for students that need a different path.  I get frustrated and discouraged watching the ridiculous things students and teachers are expected to do to appease people that could care less then complain that schools are failing.  It is a vicious downward circle that every once in a while we fight back and win.  A student catches the vision that their dream is possible.  One year we had a couple of students show me their business license.  Two high school young ladies starting their own business is my goal not passing some manipulated test. 

Shout out to my friends in Canada that were kind enough to send us some of their cold weather.  I am not ready for triple digit weather.  Thanks, much cooler tonight.  :)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sharing Laughter

Pecans in the cemetery...

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

'One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,' said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery, so he slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, 'One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me...'

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

'Come here quick,' said the boy, 'you won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!'

The man said, 'Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk. When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, 'One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.'

The old man whispered, 'Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can see the Lord!

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, 'One for you, one for me. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done...'

They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him.

Have a wonderful and blessed Sunday!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Process vs Product

One of the interesting concepts I explored while working with early childhood teachers is the difference between process and product art. 

Now I am learning pour painting which produce a product over which other than choosing colors I have very little control.  I mix the paints with glue, combine them into a cup then using different methods pour them onto the canvas.  I am at the beginning experimentation stage.  I listened to multiple videos before starting but then it was applying the basics to the materials I had.  The thing that fascinates me is I am limited in control, I let go of expectations and enjoy the process of mixing and pouring.  Often the final results are not visible until the next day when it is totally dried. 

The interesting thing to me is the concept that one of the struggles of counseling and treatment of PTSD is they treat people like a product to produce particular results.  People will then become.... __________, ________________, _______________.  People are treated like products to be pushed shoved and manipulated into a particular behavior. 

Fortunately for me, my first counselor taught me the process of living.  He first helped me to see the damage caused by how I was raised.  Tough going for anyone that experienced the ugly unveiling of lies distorting belief system from childhood.  He then cautioned me that my past did not define who I am now.  I looked at him utterly and completely confused.  I was a product of my past, or so I believed.  He reassured me that all that happened in my past was part of the process of my individual journey.  I have the opportunity every morning to get up and decide will my past be my present or will I take the lessons I learned a create something totally different than what I was told would happen.

People aren't products.  Treating them like you pour in one cup of this and two cups of that and a pinch of the other will create the same thing withe everyone doesn't make sense.  Yet, many of the 'treatments' for PTSD and CPTSD try to do exactly that.  As long as I look for a secret recipe to change my life, I will be disappointed.  However, when I learn the process of traveling through life, my adventure and explore avenues and try new things I am growing and thriving.  My difficult stumbling blocks from my past can be re-purposed into stepping stones. Occasionally, I will look back at a bridge I crossed, give a little smile and burn that bridge, never to go back to that place again.  I am signing up for the process of living instead of being a product produced by my past.

   Process art with photography.....painting with light. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Here but grumpy

I'm here but feeling grumpy so I'm going to share some pictures and post tomorrow.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Building confidence

Something I am learning watching at school and my own experience, confidence like happiness in and inside job.  Students all given a trophy do not have confidence.  Compliments from my counselor and others does not build my confidence.  All winning with the easy button does not build confidence.  When I look for outside praise to build my confidence, like a house of cards it all falls down.  So how do I build confidence?

I was praying for an answer to this question.  I read an article on one of the military web pages about using martial arts to build confidence.  I scoffed that is great for military people but what about me? The next time I prayed about building confidence, the answer to my prayer, "I gave you an answer and you didn't listen, why should I give you another answer until you are willing to try what is given?"  Made me think. 

When my children were teenagers they were involved with city park and recreation judo program.  I couldn't sit in the same room as the classes.  I took my kids then sat outside the door waiting for it to end.  I felt like a terrible mother that couldn't support her children by watching them succeed.  Thinking about taking any martial arts class made my stomach heave.  I decided one-on-one lessons first.  I started with basic self defense.  I didn't pass out.  I didn't like it either.  However, I did prove to myself I could do it.  When the teacher made excuses not to meet with me (yes, I was paying him) I went looking for somewhere else to go.  I look at several web pages that bragged about how face their people earned belts and the competitions they one, I wasn't interested.  I decided to join the city parks and recreation karate class. 

I was terrified the first day.  I was worried I would be the oldest one there....I wasn't.  I was worried that my physical limitations would stop me....they slow me down but I can do things now I couldn't do as a teenager.  Tonight, I found out that building confidence is recognizing that I worked through and over came difficult challenges.  I tested tonight at karate and earned a stripe on my belt.  It is not another belt, a stripe on the belt.  I feel so good.  I worked hard.  I experienced difficult challenges and it took me over 2 years to meet my goal.  I did it.  I highly recommend martial arts to people interested in building confidence.  However, I also suggest you do your home work that the place you are learning is more interested in building character than a trophy case.  Nothing wrong with earning trophies as long as they are a side result of the character building. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Coloring books

Adults  are rediscovering the joy of coloring books

Coloring books for adults Enjoy

One of the interesting ways of coping that came out when I was in counseling long before the idea was popular.  When I started counseling, I would get so stressed I could barely talk to the counselor.  He had coloring books in his waiting room.  I randomly started coloring before each session.  It slowed down my racing thoughts.  I liked the rhythm of moving the crayon back and forth across the paper.  I felt guilty for using up the pages the were obviously for children.  So I brought another coloring book.  When he changed offices the coloring books disappeared.  It was bad enough that offices were changed but to lose the coloring books was too much so I brought some more crayons and coloring books.  I would come 30 to 40 minutes early so I could spend time coloring each day.  Now I have lots of coloring books for the grandkids but I noticed that I am not coloring.  I wonder about this some times.  I'm not sure why I am hesitant to use a known help for when I am feeling stressed.  I'll need to think about this.  I am glad that I can buy them at the dollar store so I don't feel guilty having a stack of them. 

Connecting with childhood activities that I enjoyed is one way to connect past and present peacefully.  Going to the zoo was another place I loved to go.  I still love taking grandkids to the zoo.  I discovered that I feel guilty if I go to the zoo by myself.  I'm still trying to figure that one out. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Handling frustration

A few years ago, a day like today would leave me totally stressed out and looking for another job declaring I'm useless.  My day did not start out well.  The email sent out by my supervisor was a detailed explanation of what I was supposed to do today.  I didn't get it.  Really.  I forgot that the type of message she sent the information is removed at the desktop.  In order for me to see the complete message I have to log on to the district email. Pickles.  Then I misunderstood an email so I really was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong assignment.  Heavy sigh.  I was 2/3 way through the day before I started sorting out my mess.  Fortunately, now I know what needs to be done and I can correct the other mistakes of the day.  Not thrilled with the situation but I am able to cope and recognize that I made a mistake.  No need for a melt down.  I can make a mistake and fix it later most of the time.  Occasionally life throws a situation with no edit undo.  However, today's snafus are all fixable.  Tomorrow I will correct my mistakes and hopefully have a better day.

I coped.

Yup, I need to recognize and congratulate myself for coping through a series of mistakes that did not put me at my best.  I made it through the day.  I will go back tomorrow ready to straighten things out.  What has changed?  I recognized I made a mistake.  I also recognized it wasn't the end of the world.  I didn't come home and collapse from the stress.  I felt frustrated but not angry.  OOOOOoooooo Progress.  I remember when I started counseling, early on I made a slight mistake.  I was trembling and on the verge of tears....a few years later, I messed up what time I was supposed to be at a counseling session, I was sobbing because I made a mistake.  Yes, living my life terrified of the slightest mistake is very wearing.  I worked hard at learning to accept that I can make mistakes.  I also take responsibility for those mistakes.  I fix the ones I can and ask for help on the ones I can't.  Over all, I had a fairly good day when I balance out sewing this afternoon and making delicious brownies tonight.

A bad moment does not make a bad day.
A bad day does not make a bad life.

Seeing past my mistakes to solutions is fairly new for me.  I like it.

Pictures taken about 10 minutes apart.  A lot can change in 10 minutes.  


Sunday, April 1, 2018

It was Empty

My favorite Easter story took on new depth this week when I laid an empty egg on my granddaughter's grave.  I believe that I will see her grow up some day and get to know her.  I feel deep sorrow surrounded with sure hope that we will live again, just like Jesus. 

The Empty Egg

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12, was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day she called his parents and asked them to come for a consultation. As the Foresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a 'special' school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students."

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "There is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Foresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction.

Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares.

Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically, all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment?

Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk.

After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants
peek through the ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arm.
"That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, "Daddy helped me," he beamed. Then Doris opened the fourth egg.

She gasped. The egg was empty. Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too." Time stopped.

When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was killed and put in there then his Father raised Him up." The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the schoolyard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What I wish families and friends knew....

I am continuing with the questions I was asked by a young man writing a report about DID.  My story is one of complexity and triumph but there were many difficult days that were made harder because family and friends didn't understand how complex my life was and still is. 

What do you think spouses, friends, and/or supportive family members should know about DID?

Fast answer: I'm not lying.  The different personalities have different perspectives and different pieces of information.  For me, no one of my parts had all the information.  So I could say things that were contradictory because each was true from a certain perspective. 

Thought about it:

Please listen to all of me.  For most of my life I didn’t know what was happening.  My sister shared with me that she would tell me the same thing over and over and I would act like it was new information.  What neither one of us realized, it was new information to the one she was talking to.  Imagine for a moment that you lived in a house with multiple rooms with no door ways or windows.  I would pop into a room and have that set of information and nothing else.  Things that caused switches for me were going from work to home or my parents house or church or it could be an event or a reaction.  Counseling helped me to first put windows so I could see into one room while still being in another.  Then I eventually put in door ways and I could navigate through all of me any time I wanted.  The house with rooms is a good metaphor for how everybody functions because each person does behave differently at work, school, with some friends, family and many other situations.  The key is that a person is aware they behave differently in each place.  I didn’t know.  The biggest change I felt since integrating is now I do know, like everyone else.  I also remember what it was like not to know. 

I’m not going to hurt anyone if I can possible help it.  In the light of recent events with shootings and marches this is important.  There is enough suffering in this World without adding to it.  I am not going to grab a gun and start shooting people up.  Sadly, media will claim a person is mentally ill when they go on a shooting spree but they don’t have actual documentation this is true.  Seems like no one wants to accept that sane people do evil things.

I want what every one wants to be accepted for who I am.  I am a bit quirky, OK some people will say a lot quirky. I really am a nice person.  I want to help others.  I care about people being happy.  I feel sad when they feel sad.  I can’t always show what I feel, please, accept that if I don’t respond in the way you expect me to doesn’t mean I don’t feel an emotional response.  I just don’t always have the words to share or the ability to connect with another person. 

My theme song as I healed is from Westside Story...

There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us

Book I found helpful that helped me understand more:
Multiple Personality Disorder from the Inside Out, Barry M. Cohen; Esther Giller; Lynn W. (Editor), The Sidran Press, Lutherville, MD, 1991. ISBN: 0-9629164-0-4 
If I read only this book, it would give me more information than all the other books combined. I felt this book, written by multiples for multiples and their families, was key to my understanding how many challenges I face everyday, and a variety of suggestions to make life better.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What I wish counselors knew.....

Occasionally, I'll write a post that is needed in both of my blogs.  If you read both, yes, this is on both of them. 

What would you like therapists to know about the experience of DID? Most of this applies to PTSD too.  

Fast answer: All of us are real.  Telling me that some of myself is not real pushes me to not believe myself.  I am real, all of me and me and me.  I separated out to work like a tag team specializing in coping with one specific area.

Thought about it:
There is so much I wish counselors knew. I was blessed that my first counselor’s experience was extensive and varied. I wasn’t the first Dissosiative Identity Disorder client he worked with. I wasn’t his last either. He preferred family counseling, I had a whole family in me. I wrote an interim post about how awesome my first counselor was. He was a tough act to follow for the counselors after him. I had 3 more. One I fired. There is so much I wish the entire medical field knew about DID, CPTSD, PTSD and many other mental and emotional conditions experienced by people.

Here is a shopping list of wishes...I may add to this as I go along.

I wish the medical field in general knew we were real. Yup, read more than one article or book claiming that separate personalities is a fake. Sadly, some believe this to be true since one of the aspects of DID is people pleasing. If they believe they will be accepted by saying that their alters don’t exist, they will say it. It is sad that outside pressure is how DIDs are created and to survive saying we don’t exist happens. I was allowed to be real by my first counselor.

The counselor I fired didn’t believe my experience was real. I was livid, only lasted two visits. However, the experience underlined how little is actually taught to therapist about DID or PTSD and CPTSD is still trying to be fully recognized.

I wish counselors understood how terrified I was. I practiced over and over what I would say, not to rehearse a lie but to get past the conditioning I experienced to never tell on the threat of death. A child believes those threats are real possibilities. Opening up and telling the truth takes tremendous courage and energy, please, do not belittle those efforts because I practice to say what I need to say.

I realized I could write and write a whole shopping list of what counselors should know and do. However, reality reminds me therapists are human with their own prejudices, styles, histories, and short comings. At some point, every counselor will mess up and say something hurtful or wrong for a client.

This is what I learned from my counselor:

1. My counselor is NOT my friend.

2. If I am not there to work on the hard stuff, don’t waste his time.

3. He has boundaries. I actually learned a lot about healthy boundaries because I kept running into his.

4. He can have an ‘off’ day and say all the wrong things for me.

5. He tries not to, but occasionally he will mix me up with another client. Called me the wrong name a couple of times.

6. He will not fix me. His job is to teach me how to fix myself.

7. His job is to work himself out of a job. This means he will teach me to function independently and the process of working out my own emotional problems.

8. He literally told me, “You are too messed up for me to completely help you work through all your problems.” He was right. He taught me the process which is the name of my PTSD blog: Accepting, Coping, Thriving.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Change of lens

The first counselor I worked with was so extraordinary. He understood me in ways that I didn't understand about myself.  He led me to answers, allowing me to find out about me and my life.  But he wanted something more for me.  Early in my counseling he stated, "I don't want you to just survive, I want you to thrive."

The following week I came back and my first question, "What is thriving?"  I didn't know.  I didn't know what it looked like, felt like, what it was - a complete unknown.  He explained it was different from anything I knew because I was raised in a fear-based environment.  It was all I knew.  Fear, threats, do it or else and I knew else was bad. KavinCoach went far beyond teaching me how to survive, he changed the lens of my life. 

The Ted talk below puts into words and pictures what my first counselor did for me.
I challenge each of you to take the time to watch this all the way to the end.  Less than 20 minutes of your time, with the possibility of changing you for life.  Power comes with passion and celebration.
I wish every counselor knew how to change the lens of our lives.  How to change fear, cringing, depression, terror, and all the evil and cruelty we've seen to viewing what is good, kind, loving, compassionate to celebrate the power of celebrating what is right.

KavinCoach taught me this.  He changed my life.  He always tells me I did all the work but he had the vision of things I hoped for but didn't believe actually existed.  He showed me thriving was real and possible for me, a broken soul. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Research Questions

About a month ago, the son of my friend, a fellow DID (dissociative identity disorder) wrote to me asking several questions for a research paper he is writing.  I gave him short answers then decided to wait and think about longer answers.  A LOT happened this past month.  Major life changes but I didn't forget about the questions.  I will share the short answer and the longer one over the next several posts.  Looking back is sometimes easier to evaluate what I did.  In the moment, all I thought about was putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up.  

What did you wish you knew about DID when you were first diagnosed?
Fast answer: I wish I had known that it was actually a complex protection from horrible events and experiences.  It was not intended for long term use but I didn't know anything else.  

Thought about it: Looking back in life is a different perspective than in the moment.  

My counselor knew before I did that my behavior was a bit complex.  He later shared with me that he listened to my husband describe me as irresponsible, forgetful, and unreliable then compared it to his view of over responsible, time gaps, and very caring.  He felt like he was hearing about two different people.  He recognized the behavior as two different people wrapped into one.  Later we learned I was 5 different people functioning together.  Rather than telling me I had PTSD, DID, or CPTSD he let me explore things on my own.  I started counseling in May.  In September he assigned me to watch the movie Sybil.  First he asked me if I had ever seen the movie or the 3 Faces of Eve. I had never seen either movie.  I couldn’t get a copy of Sybil any where except ASU.  I could not check it out so they asked me to use a viewing room.  Half way through I started to cry.  I was watching an outward expression of my inner life.  My life tilted and suddenly things that didn’t make any sense made sense.  My confusion of going to sleep on Monday and waking up on Wednesday and wondering what happened to Tuesday and why am I in trouble for doing or not doing something.  There was a reason behind it.  A number of events in my life became clarified when put into this scenario of different personalities being forward and other parts receding back to deal with different situations.  

I am glad I didn’t know from the beginning how difficult the journey would be to integration.  Sometimes not knowing how hard a task will be, allows me to keep moving forward because I did not think I could stop.  In some ways, I wish I knew sooner but I did the research of over 30 years of writing about DID and PTSD.  Bottom line, sooner diagnosis could have been hazardous to my health.  Early treatment included dangerous medications, institutionalizing in mental hospitals unequipped to address my challenges, and shock therapy.  More trauma heaped on those that are already traumatized.  There are still many who don’t believe it is real.  I lived it.  I now understand I created an elaborate protection system that allowed me to do things that a sane person would never do.  I survived extreme trauma; I did it using multiple personalities.  I tagged teamed myself to cope with varying extreme expectations and difficult experiences.  I wish I was kinder to myself through this process of integration and learning better life skills.  

To learn more about DID I recommend several books on my resources page.  The book that I felt was most accurate:

Multiple Personality Disorder from the Inside Out, Barry M. Cohen; Esther Giller; Lynn W. (Editor), The Sidran Press, Lutherville, MD, 1991. ISBN: 0-9629164-0-4 
If I read only this book, it would give me more information than all the other books combined. I felt this book, written by multiples for multiples and their families, was key to my understanding how many challenges I face everyday, and a variety of suggestions to make life better.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Our internet is reconnected.  I felt silly without internet and longing to pop on to say hello in facebook, look up a question, or my children's address.  All of my stuff is online more than I thought.  I didn't think I was that invested until I was without it due to faulty equipment.  I am happily reconnected and struggling with what I want to do first.  A bit of Lumosity, a game or two, comments on blogs and general reconnecting with everything I do online.  I'm on vacation so avoided work today.  However tomorrow I will make sure the links work for training for my job.  I like my job and continually look for ways to improve.  Internet has a bunch of training online plus the school pays for some of it.  I try to get as much benefit as possible.  I also like animal, grandkids, and art videos...especially how they do it.  Amazing stuff online.  I'm thankful to be reconnected and bless my computer every night.  :)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Stop Adapting

My counselor took a while figuring out where I was at emotionally and what needed to be done.  Not his fault.  I had no memories to tell about my childhood.  The ones I did have I didn't share because I held to the 'past is the past let's get on with living.'  So he asked.  I didn't know.  Once the stories started coming out and my total lack of shock or surprise at man's inhumanity to man he carefully explained that I was not a weird little girl growing up to having all these problems.  I was a "normal" little girl raised in insanity and I learned to adapt.  Stop adapting.  Huh What???? Adapting is what I do best.  I can morph into anything that someone else wants me to be.  One of the movies he had me watch was Run Away Bride.  He told me to watch the bride.  The bride adapted her likes and wishes to every prospective fiance.  When asked what kind of eggs she liked, she didn't know.  She adapted her tastes to everyone else's.  To stop adapting I need to establish that I have basic human rights.  Then I  need an opinion.  That is right.  I did not have an opinion.

My counselor was fishing for an answer...what do you like?  What do you do that makes you happy?  What brings you joy?  I refused to answer every question.  He watched me carefully and was fully aware of me deepening distrust with every question he asked.  He decided to put off the discussion and wait for a bit until I was more willing to share my opinions.   I was rattled and upset by his wanting to know about what I liked, my preferences, what brings me joy.  I looked around the sporting department and found the biggest fishing hook I could find.  The hook measured about 3 inches long (over 7 cm).  I then bought an Almond Joy candy bar.  I carefully skewered the fish hook through the word joy on the candy bar.  I brought it with me the following week counseling session.  One look at the 3 D visual aid he knew I was not telling him anything about my preferences any time soon.  I associated very bad things happening if people knew what I liked.  My preferences, wishes and desires were twisted and manipulated to control me.  If I had no likes, they had no way of getting their hooks in me.  Very disturbing scary stuff and my counselor knew it.  He let that rest and focused on my Bill of Rights.   I highly recommend this activity.  I am reminding myself that I need to revisit what my rights are as a human being.  I shared one of my lists over on my other blog.....

I give a link to the book I read that had the information.  After writing my bill of rights I learned that I have preferences within those rights. 

For example one of my basic rights is I have the right to have extra food in the house.

For a person that was often expected to go hungry so someone else could have seconds this was a critical need.  However, what those food items are indicate my preferences.  Yes, I have extra soy free chocolate bars in my refrigerator.  I also have an extra apple.  I have some food on the shelf for years, I don't always eat the extra food I have the right to have it if I choose to.  It is amazing.  That I can do this now.  

So why am I writing all this now.  I posted my human rights list over 3 years ago, I wrote them long before that.  Why now?  My World changed abruptly with several major things hitting at the same time.  Other people are expecting me to adapt to these huge changes.  I am reminding myself, "NO I DON'T."  I am not the one that needs to throw out all my progress to be me so they are comfortable.  NO.  First, I need to reestablish in my own mind what am I protecting, what are my preferences and what do I like.  I'm in a situation I don't like right now, the recipe for misery is for me to adapt.  I'm good at it but I know it leads me down a dark horrible hole that I don't want to go back to...I must stop adapting.   

Sometimes you just have to turn around, give a little smile, throw the match and burn that bridge.
Awesome picture at

New one I found in my search for the source of this quote, "May the bridges I burn light your way."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Weaknesses become strengths

I never understood this when I read it in scriptures.  I just figured weaknesses caused problems.  I could not wrap my mind around how they could become a strength. 

In 7th grade, my teacher gave me a mercy grade of a D, instead of the F I earned.  She also gave me a bad spellers dictionary.  The dictionary put psychology in the S section.  Fast forward a bunch of years when I went back to college in my late 30's.  The first class I took was English 102, research processes.  I figured if I couldn't pass that required class there was no use wasting my time with the rest.  During those years computers progressed to MS Word with spell check.  That magical mystical thing that put squiggles under misspelled words.  The cool thing about computers it corrected me over and over again without pointing out how many times it corrected me.  I was learning to spell thanks to my computer.  I was very proud the first time I wrote an essay with no squiggles to correct.  I also learned to read voraciously.  I read not a few books but hundreds and thousands of books.  Put these two things together, I learned to take my awful spelling and poor grammar to become an editor for my sister.  I expanded this to helping students at school to editor their papers.  One student heard about my editing and asked me to help with his paper and he wasn't in any of my classes I helped in.  My miserable failing grade is now a strength. 

I am editing one of my sister's short stories.  These are my favorites; they share about love and old fashion courting and surviving and finding love and all read in a few hours.  I sometimes chuckle when she talks to me about a character in her books not behaving well and what could be done to help them find God and Love.  I wonder if people over hearing us think we are talking about a real place to visit. It is such a joy for me to share my weakness that is now a strength.  I feel blessed and can bless others.  I now understand it didn't happen because it suddenly magically changed.  I set goals to improve and a persevered and computers corrected my spelling over and over without complaint.  I understand the differences between there, their, and they're.  I look up things I am still not sure about.  Surprised to realize how really weird the English language is and how amazing it is to find a word that describes an idea.  Thanks Laurel Hawkes for including me in your adventurers.


Friday, March 2, 2018

There's a Place for Us

Our symphony is playing West Side Story.  I saw the movie as a teenager.  I thought it was sad.  When I was in counseling and my World as I knew it blew a part the lyrics often ran through my head,

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us....

Only I was the only one singing it.  I chose to integrate but before that I felt the sting of repeated rejections because of how I functioned.  I didn't go out and decide I would use multiple personalities to survive, I was a terrified little girl in a crazy World that the more I tried to make sense of it the weirder it got.  More than once I felt like I fell down Alice's rabbit hole but there was no friendly creatures, kind of a White Rabbit gets Axed murdered by Stephen King. 

Again I was reminded of my feeling of isolation on the PTSD group on Facebook when a post asked are there others that use MPD. I answered yes, but chose to integrate.  Strangely now I don't fit either place.  I am no longer a multiple personality but I don't have the same thinking patterns of a singleton either.  I feel there is no place for me.  I feel isolated and struggle feeling connected.  Then I remind myself that almost every person I ever encounter also feels like they are not accepted.  Fully accepting someone else that is totally different from your self takes a willingness to be vulnerable and feel that difference.  Humans are hard wired to be attracted to those similar to themselves and bond in communities, neighborhoods, and groups of friends.  Outsiders are ridiculed and shunned as not being part of a group.  Stories, movies, songs and the news all attest of tragic results of not feeling accepted.  Then I come across a story that shows how people do connect, people that are different from each other helping each other.  I cry reading these stories.

I am different.  I knew as a teenager that I responded differently.  I didn't know why.  Finding out how I functioned was a shocker for me and my family.  I was rejected by people that I thought were friends.  Disbelief and fear were two reactions I became familiar with.  However, I did not integrate to become accepted by others.  I became a multiple to be able to appease my different abusers.  I didn't have just one.  I know how some of my personalities were brought into service.  My counselor once, and I mean once, made the mistake of asking me which one of us real.  He wanted to get me angry to get me to open up.  What he didn't expect was my towering rage at his question and my total shut down.  Took a while for him to get me on a more stable place.  He realized that I harbored deep anger, slightly miscalculated how fierce I can be.

My friend asked me about depression and how long before worrying about someone else that showed signs of depression.  I jokingly commented, "Without depression, I would be a raging bitch."  In jest, I spoke a powerful truth.  I use depression as a means of controlling the feelings of hurt and pain for suffering unjustly at the hands of those that should have protected me.  Most of the time I keep my feelings in check but every so often a reminder comes out that I lived through some of the worse that humans do.  I chose to survive against unfair odds.  I used creative ways of doing this.  Now, society condemns my methods.  I'm not sorry I was a multiple.  I am thankful I integrated and no longer lose days and weeks of time.  I learned many things along the way.  I believe the most important for me is my faith in Jesus Christ the healer of the World and there is nothing I experience that He does not understand.  With Christ, I always have a place.   

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Stages of grief

I believe I'm about to gain a better understanding of these up close and personal.  I'm angry.  Surprisingly the thing that I am angry about is people throwing away opportunities to grow.  I understand where my thoughts are coming from but the emotion is still there and very powerful.  I know one of the stages is anger.  Great, I arrived.  Not so great, I arrived.  Interesting thing is when I looked it up, the psychologist are not agreeing on stages of grief.  Some say 5 and some say 7 while others mention only 3.  I believe the one thing they all agree on is every person proceeds through the process of grieving differently.  I am not surprised that I proceeded to anger very quickly.  It is my go to reaction to stuff I don't understand.  Rather than outwardly chastising the entire World for not doing what I think they should do.  I am examining my own choice being in line with what I am feeling.  Am I taking the opportunities presented to me to improve my life.  Am I making healthy choices on how to address and feel my grief.  Today, I chose to stay home.  I tried going out and realized I am not in the state of mind conducive to being kind and tolerant of others or myself.  I took a long nap.  I feel more at peace now. 

My daughter shared this on Facebook and I am thinking a lot about what is in me when I get shook up. 

Anger is a part that is showing up right now.  Stayed home to protect those around me.  I need to go to school tomorrow.  Heavy sigh.  I will work at parking my unreasonable expectations out with my car when I go inside. 

One of the articles I read when I looked up the stages of grief gave a perspective that fits with my opinion.  I like finding someone that agrees with me:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Emotional overload

Yesterday we buried our beautiful tiny granddaughter.  My sadness is deep.  Today I stayed home.  Tomorrow is a national holiday so I am going to go listen to my favorite musician, Cast In Bronze.  I am allowing myself time to feel what I feel.  Accept how I feel and give that feeling my utmost attention.  This is a life changing experience.  How do I want it to change me?  In what direction will I go?

I contemplated briefly anger and bitterness; I realized that those emotions have no place in my life.  Yes, things went not as planned for several things.  Yes, I felt hurt by some events but those things were side issues.  I foolishly thought when I reconnected with emotions they would walk on stage one at a time.  I had no idea that sometimes there is a symphony with a counterpoint and occasional crashing cymbals.  I experienced emotional flooding when I first started feeling again.  This feels similar in that I feel battered and worn.  No room for any more and certainly not wanting to explain to anyone why I feel what I am feeling.

I snuggled in a blanket, read a book, and played a few computer games, not to numb myself but to give my mind time to process so much.  Tomorrow, music and time to contemplate.  In today's fast pace World, people are expected to bounce back and behave like nothing is wrong.  It is like the whole World wants everyone to be numb and in denial.  Interesting for so long I worked at achieving such a state.  After counseling and reconnecting, I never want to go back to that bleak monotone state of not feeling anything.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pain filled by Peace

For the last several months I knew that our newest little granddaughter was facing horrible odds.  Our doctor son let us know that her chances of living a day were slim to none.  He was right.  Our sweet tiny granddaughter lived less than an hour.  The weekend before I thought I came to terms with her brief stay on Earth.  Knowing what was coming my heart still shattered.  Unlike past experiences, I felt the pain.  I was devastated by the overwhelming effort to keep going with one foot in front of the other.  Allowing myself to mourn was part of my plan.  I cried.  Deep in mourning I felt the Comforter promised in the scriptures.  I felt the sweet whispering of peace while I felt the heartache of loss.  I ached for the sorrow of our son and daughter-in-law.  I had no words that could comfort.  I felt comforted but I don't know how to share that comfort.  I pray for them.  I weep at odd moments like finding a layette pattern for knitting baby out fits with a pink fluffy dress on the cover.  I put it away.  Again the peace promised by Christ soothed my aching heart.  I learned that peace does not deaden or numb the pain like disassociation does.  Instead it makes the pain bearable.  I am deeply thankful to those that offer support and prayers during our time of grief.  I am totally amazed the impact of one tiny life that lived less than one hour. 


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Wanna' Be a Bear

Years ago I saw a cute meme explaining why I wanna' be a bear.  Sleep all winter, people expect you to be grumpy when you wake up, don't need to shave, and when I wake up I can eat as much as I want because I need to get fat for next winter's sleep.  Works for me.  

Hearts break

and the heart keeps beating.  Lives shatter and the pieces are all about.  When do you put things all together and then everything falls apart again.  Its called living.  Living loud and clear and hurting and growing.  I lived a twilight life.  I prefer to be totally alive, pain mingled with joy. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Different perspecitves

Every once in a while I am directed to videos that I feel come close to how I feel about emotions.  This time there were 2. 

Ideas about emotion. The gift and power of emotional courage.  
I did a search and ordered her book.  Emotional Agility, I'm looking forward to it coming later this month.   

This video followed the other one.  I enjoyed it too.

Both videos touched on ideas that I feel connected to.  Spending most of my life without a connection to my emotions, makes emotions so much more precious to me. 

I learned that when I worry, I plan ahead.  If no one was worried why would the need to plan ahead or prepare for the future?

Without fear, there is no need for courage.  It is only in the darkness of fear that courage shines so brightly. 

Without discomfort people would settle and stay right where they are with little or no growth.  An uncomfortable person is looking for something different and is more open to invention and change. 

All those pesky emotions become the germinators for positive things in life, if I let them.

Wall I painted when there wasn't enough of any one color. I loved doing this at work. 

Monday, January 29, 2018


Editing to do....

My sister is an author of Christian romance.  I get the privilege of helping with editing.  A new book came tonight.  Chapter 3 I am loving the story.  I feel such joy that her talent is shared. 
Laurel Hawkes is her pen name. I love that she shares her stories with me.  Sometimes we talk about her characters while walking at the park on Saturdays.  I wonder what people over hearing us think we are talking about people in an actual place besides the stories in her mind.

I get to photograph her covers for the self published books.  One of mine:

Sunday, January 28, 2018


I was having an awesome day.  I started the morning baking a birthday cake for our granddaughter.  I was on a roll, dishes were done, blog was written, then off to church.  Great meeting, I went to another meeting about 40 minutes in my body felt overheated and lousy....I tried to push through, my body betrayed me.  My mind shrieked I had 3-5 minutes to get home.  Fortunately church is less than 5 minutes from home which is a good thing.  I walked in the door, I didn't have time to take off my glasses or take out my hearing aides and my body collapsed and I was asleep in a kind of nap that feels like I am drugged.  Crumbs.  Such plans, tossed out the window.  I was so disappointed.  I was barely moving by the time family arrived for dinner.  Thankful our son helped finish things up and the meal was ready.  My body does this on a regular basis.  It is so frustrating for me.  I want to love my body but I hate the constant feeling of betrayal.  I've known since I was 15 that my body and I were not friends.  My goal is to make peace with my body and today was a big disappointment.  Heavy sigh.  Tomorrow is another day. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Morphing again

I am on my 8th year of blogging on this space.  8 years since I graduated from college. 8 years since I changed counselors.  8 years since I started working at the high school.  So much has happened in these 8 years.  I was noticing many of my post were centered on PTSD which was the main issue and the way I coped was using multiple personalities.  I survived but thriving wasn't happening because I became my own worse enemy.  Facing my past, remembering and healing was a long slow painful process.  I integrated over 10 years ago.  With all the different stresses in the past years, I stayed integrated.  I still struggle with the symptoms of PTSD, low self-esteem, insomnia, intense levels of shame, flickers (tiny flashbacks that last only for seconds, no less annoying but not devastating), poor self-care habits, and the list can go on and on because PTSD touches almost every aspect of my life.  Some days it really kicks my butt all around the room and leaves me a crumpled lump on the couch shivering and exhausted.  So I kicked that stuff over to my other page.

Now I am feeling like I am neglecting this page.  I gave this a lot of thought.  I thought about dropping this one like I did my picture blog.  I thought about mirroring my other blog but that seems a bit redundant.  This week I tried something new called pour painting. I am experimenting with paints.  A couple of years ago I reignited crocheting as a thing to do while I watch TV or need to keep my hands busy.  I am exploring other areas in my life that have nothing to do with PTSD.  I am Thriving.  I am interested and excited about stuff I would like to share.  I also struggle with attitudes of myself and other people on all sorts of ideas. I am thinking of sharing these new activities and ideas here.  Sometimes they will overlap with my PTSD page but lots of times this is about me growing and changing.  One of the things that I finally figured out that living with multiple personalities was a powerful survival tool, it left little time or energy for relationships, friendship, creativity, exploring, experiments, just about everything was focused on survival instead of living.  I am glad I integrated.  I made the choice and did everything I knew how to do to move towards that goal.  Then I arrived and was so disappointed that so many problems were still there dissociating, forgetfulness, confusion, disjointed time, and other struggles were freaking still there. I wasn't impressed.  Now, I learned so many different tools that I am for the most part really happy.  I enjoy my family, friends and job.  I feel like I can accomplish what I put my mind to do.  I didn't know life could be so awesome.  I still have problems, I didn't find an easy button.  I discovered the joy I feel is in the challenge of living.  I don't know what this morphing will look like, no more than a caterpillar understand that he is the butterfly.  I hope you will join me in the journey of exploration.  I already follow some of your blogs.  If you are writing a blog and would like to share it here leave a comment with a link. 

My art work is speaking for me:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Easy Button

was stepped on by a dinosaur. 

Lately I am a bit irritated with people complaining that life is hard.  In my opinion, they are on the wrong planet.  We are on a molten rock covered mostly by water whirling through space at a tremendous speed around a burning ball of fire that a flare up at the wrong moment we could be a blackened ball hurtling through space at a tremendous speed.  I am a believer that we are sent here to Earth as a testing ground not a country club.  However, I also have an understanding of those that are hurt, frustrated and angry when people say we chose our lives of hell.  I remember when I had cancer someone told me that I had cancer because I hated myself.  Really.  Wow.  Not only did I have a serious illness that causes the loss of body parts it is my fault for hating myself.  I took this in and thought for a moment then replied, "Do you plan to tell a parent of a baby with cancer that the reason their baby has cancer is because the child hates himself?" (By the way, 16 years cancer free.) 

I do believe that we came to Earth on purpose.  I also kind of figure that Heavenly Father told the spirits waiting to come to Earth that He had a seriously messed up mother that needed some special children and my kids volunteered.  My kids have stood by me through a lot of really tough times.  They encourage me, delight me, and love me.  It was painfully humbling to understand that in some ways I am the worse thing that happened in my children's childhood.  I was inconsistent, sometimes distance, sickly, and exhausted.  They learned to fix their own bowl of cereal by the time they were 3 years old.  They knew that I might take them somewhere and drop them off and not remember where they were. I would promise to do things then not have the energy to carry out my promise.  I didn't talk about my childhood.  I didn't share memories.  I kept them as far away from my family as I possibly could for as long as possible.  They took on responsibilities far beyond their years because my broken body couldn't do what needed to be done.  My children grew up and moved out before I found out that I had PTSD.  I don't believe any of us, my children, myself, or anyone else could possibly grasp the pain and suffering that the body is capable of living through.  I like the quote, "We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings have human experiences."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Or Just plain stubborn.

I watched my granddaughter move a tire that was as big as she was across a field.  She determinedly balanced the tire and inched her way across.  I was so proud watching her determination.  Her mother commented on how stubborn she was.  My thought for the day, determination is the positive side of stubborn.  To continue that chain of thought is passionate is the positive side of anger.  Courage is the positive side of fear.  If you felt no fear, there would be no courage.  Planning ahead and problem solving is the positive twist to worrying.  If you never worried about the future there would be no need to plan ahead.  My research on the uses and functions of emotions is an on going project I started in counseling.  I am discovering more and more how we rob ourselves of living fully refusing to use the 'so-called' negative emotions.  Perhaps my living without emotions gave me a different view and appreciation of the power of emotions.  Or it may be that I was raised by a mother that purposefully used emotions to manipulate others.  Intentionally and on purpose she thought about the best way to emotionally manipulate me.  This is a very person research on how this all works.  To protect myself I went no contact with my mother.  I wish that I did not need to do this to stay healthy.  I wish I could have a healthy relationship.  The last conversation I had with her was her talking down to me with intense contempt that I was so stupid that I believed her threats of suicide.  She told me she only said it to control me.  The fascinating side of dementia, all filters are off and a person says things that they would normally never say.  I realized then that was how she controlled me all through my teenage years.  Everyday coming home I would work to take care of mother and do my homework, never realizing at the time her threats of suicides were that of a master manipulator and not a suffering mother.  Her admission released me from every wanting to interact with her again.  This is why I continue to research and investigate what emotions are, how do we use them and how can they be beneficial instead of wrecking havoc in my life. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mosaic heart

On the Facebook PTSD group there are several members lamenting their brokeness and trying to make sense of senseless suffering.  They see themselves as ugly and defective just like I have for years.  Recently I am pondering on how the Japanese mend their broken bowls with gold.  I am taking this a step further in the my art challenge.....

Shattered tiny pieces make up a mosaic picture.  Bits of glass create a stain glassed window. 

If you are interested in exploring the 30 day challenge go to this link.....

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winds of change

Let's go Fly a Kite. 

I was introduced to winds of change in Mary Poppins movie.  As a child I was sad that Mary Poppins left when things changed.  As an adult I was sad when my counselor left.  Before he did, I felt the winds of change.  I couldn't put my finger on what was different but I felt the change.  I was devastated when he told me he was leaving but I wasn't surprised either.  I know with hind site that for me to move forward he needed to let me go because like a frightened child that I was I clung to him.  Now I want to go fly a kite, up to the highest height.....Oh let's go Fly a Kite.

I am pondering and sorting through the changes that are happening.  To me, I am feeling positive changes.  My perspective of myself is changing.  My belief in what is to come is with wonder and excitement.  This is a different kind of feeling than I believe I experienced before because I don't feel an underlying base of fear that I won't meet the challenge.  I look at the future and accept I will have problems but I will face them and tackle them even if they come in dozens.  I am challenged in ways I didn't believe I could do and I feel I am meeting those challenges.  I don't know the future but I am ready to say, "Bring it ON!" 

My life is underconstruction

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Last week of Vacation

For school, I have two weeks of Winter Break.  This past week I tackled a job that I have put off for years.  I didn't make a huge dent in the project but I do see progress for the first time.  This is not a New Year resolution.  Far more important it is a change I am instigating in my behalf.  I deserve a place to create my art work.  As long as I can't move around my sewing room except by small path ways it does not help me to be the best I can be.  Sewing the costumes for the play I learned 2 things.  Organizing my time carefully I have more time than I ever dreamed.  I love sewing again.  I fell out of love with sewing when I made it my job.  The year I sewed for 9 plays in one year, my family nearly divorced me.  I was so focused on producing what someone else wanted I didn't have time for my own family.  Staying away from sewing for years was easy when my legs swell up to painful proportions.  Four months ago I started cleaning soy out of my diet.  During my costume time, I sewed for hours with only minimal swelling that by taking frequent breaks almost completely disappeared.  I am changing my diet because without soy I am feeling better.  I am changing my environment because I deserve a place to grow and create.  I am changing my perspective because that is a fairly predictable occurrence when I change how I view myself.  I deserve better than what I am giving myself.  The only way to make my space and life better is to change how I treat myself.  Change will occur, because I am setting in motion the behaviors that create that change.  I love the meme going around online that congratulates everyone on 2018 and asks what they predict for the year.  The other character says 2018 will have flowers, because they are planting seeds.  I predict that I will see positive changes this year because I am setting them in motion for my benefit.  I am enjoying creating art.  I want to continue.  I need a space and my materials available.  I need to change my space to fulfill what I need with my life.  I am embracing change. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Into the New Year

Hello Everyone I hope your first day of the New Year was filled with something that you enjoy.  I did something I usually don't do.  I bought fabric to make a blouse for myself without looking at the price and agonizing over how much I paid for it.  (Yes, it was on sale but even if it wasn't I have a coupon.)  I have a love/hate relationship with clothes.  I design exotic and beautiful things that I would never have anywhere to go that would be appropriate for what I design.  I don't know why I felt so....giddy just because I didn't compromise or talk myself into something that was good enough but much cheaper.  I also did things like wash dishes, cook dinner and normal adult things.  I spent sometime watching football with DH (darling husband) and about an hour exploring pouring acrylics art technique.  It is fascinating to me to see all the ways people use paint.  I also joined a group that are art journals and sharing in a group online.  One of the art journaling page that I did recently.  It is free to join if you are interested:

So far, day 3, I am enjoying this.  I am doing some drawing, photography and plan to explore other ways to create art.  Trying hard not to limit myself to what I already know.  This page is from Day 2: