Tuesday, December 25, 2007


One advantage of external kids would be that, most likely, they would be willing to go amuse themselves with their stocking, and then I could keep sleeping while they did that.

Instead, the internal kids woke me up at seven this morning, bouncing with excitement because they were SURE they heard Santa last night, and wanted to go see what was in the stocking. There is nothing that so confirms I have other people in my head than the way that I kept trying to shut my eyes to get some more sleep, and the littles kept opening them and bouncing to get out of bed.

I hope W. appreciates the fact that I have done everything I can to keep them occupied and distracted this morning, so that at least one of us will get the chance to sleep until a more reasonable hour.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa Claus!!

You can find where santa claus is!

Santa claus is going around the world only it is magic or somthing caues we cannot really see him and mostly what santa does is helps people to remember to be nice to someone.

like i was a santa caues we gave presents for the kids who do not have money. we gave a big huge kite and also a book about space and also the super fort. the super fort is a very good present caues it is a fort you can bild any different way. we gave those things to the poor children and then they get them and they will smile when they open their presents caues they are not garbidge presents they are good presents and probly their mommy or daddy will smile to caues they will be happy if they can give a nice present.

that is why i was a santa claus. also i will be a santa claus and fill up w's stocking with good presents. maby we will make a lot more presents for her to. for hanuka, you give presents to but it is just people giving presents and not someone magic except in one or two stories there is something magic and also when the oil lasted for 8 nights insted of one, that was magic or a miracle. a miracle is when god does magic.

santa came to our house already i think but maby he will come again and eat some cookies and fill up our stockings that will be nice. santa is a person who lives at the magic north pole. that is the one you cannot get to unless you are an elf or santa or something. maby tonight we can watch a movie about santa. i would like that very much.

also they have movies about santa. the movies show where he is right now. michelle and mandy and kara and me and everyone are very much excited about christmas. ellis is probly tired or something but she is helping us to make a good present and then we will make another present to but i will not say what they are caues they are suprises.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


One of the main things I (Ellis) have been working on in therapy is accepting that there are times when I need to stop working, and be okay with not doing everything I feel ought to be done.

I know this is particularly one of my issues, because coping with too much to be done is why I came to be.

Nineteen years ago, I was fourteen years old. My foot was in a cast, because I had sprained it in gym. I was responsible for babysitting my younger siblings every day after school, while my mother took night classes. I was in charge of making sure they did their homework, got fed, took care of chores (or at least making sure the chores got done, which often enough meant that I was the one doing them), and got into bed on time. I was also responsible for keeping up with my own schoolwork, and doing well in school. (This last, at least, held a personal motivation, because I understood that if I did well in school for four more years, the reward was that I could have an all-expenses paid ticket *out* of my home.)

I was fourteen years old.

None of this was considered too difficult for me. If I couldn't manage to do all of that well, it was because I was lazy.

All my life, growing up, I was taught that I was lazy. In the face of all evidence, I believed I was lazy. Because, lots of times, I really wished I could be responsible for less. I wished I could just curl up somewhere and do absolutely nothing for a little bit.

I believed I was lazy because sometimes, the last thing I wanted to do was get dragged out of bed to hear about how I hadn't done enough that day.

I believed the problem was my laziness.

So, fast forward to my adult life. How can I possibly see anything I do now as difficult, if I was taught to believe that what I coped with at fourteen wasn't difficult?

I think part of my struggle with learning how to stop pushing myself is that it makes me feel like I'm being lazy, self-indulgent, selfish... it makes me feel like I'm weak. It also makes me feel disloyal to my mother, because she taught me that what I coped with at fourteen wasn't too hard for a fourteen year old to cope with.

And it also makes me scared. Because if I really am lazy, maybe if I don't push myself, I won't get anything done. And then I will be a failure, someone who waits for the world to solve all of my problems for me.

Intellectually, I know I do plenty. But emotionally, not so much. I'm working on this. Perhaps, a day hasn't been wasted if I don't spend eighteen hours pushing myself to get things done. Perhaps, it's enough to do just what I can, and to stop when I start to feel panicky. At least, I can consider this possibility.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

DID/MPD/Dissociative Awareness

The conclusion!

So, the voting has ended, and here are the winning designs. I'm pretty proud, since the image on the left is the one I designed.

And, since it's the one I designed, and I had a nice, clean, large version of it on my hard drive, I went ahead and made a Café Press store with a couple of items. I'll probably add more products soon, as I get the chance to spend the time doing it. I can only hope that the process will get easier the more I do it.

So that's the good thing for today.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tomorrow is the last day to vote!

Help choose a ribbon and/or icon for DID/MPD/Dissociative Awareness!

Vote at this page.

Admittedly, my preferred ribbon is the current frontrunner, but I wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to help decide got a chance to vote. So if you read this blog, and you haven't already heard about this poll, and you want to vote, please do so by December 12 (which is Wednesday, or tomorrow).

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Monday, December 03, 2007

i ought to know better

i can't think why i did this. i found one of the lists of "incest aftereffects" and printed it out. then i marked down which ones i or my sisters have. not sure about all of them, because we don't talk about this stuff too much, but of the things i know, between us, we've got all but one of the 35 aftereffects listed.

probably means there was some incest going on.

hard to believe that. i mean, i know i have tons of symptoms. i know i have flashbacks that most likely point to having survived incest. i know there are things that trigger me that, again, most likely point to incest.

but i still can't really grasp that it happened. it's so hard to accept that something like that could happen, and no one would talk about it, and i wouldn't remember. i mean, i may not remember many specific incidents of abuse, but i was always aware that it was going on.

maybe it's that incest is more secretive. more hidden. happened to us separately, and not in front of each other. (well, not the physical side. the emotional incest was right out there in the open. or maybe lots of kids go on dates with their parents....)

i guess a lot of it is protective. it is easier for me to get through a lot of life by not remembering. but then, why do i keep on getting confronted with evidence?

i would say, "something would have shown when we were growing up." but then i look back, and realize the danger signs were loud and clear for anyone who might have been looking for them. but it's still hard to accept.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Addition to the DID/MPD/Dissociative Awareness poll

Hello, all. Yup, the voting is still going on. But it occurs to me that I didn't make a request of the dozen or so people who read this blog, that you pass on the link to the website for voting. We'd like as many people as possible to have a say in what the image is, because that way, hopefully people will be aware of it, and will want to wear the icon.

Here's the link: http://www.copingincrazyville.com/iconvoting.php

Oh, yeah, and singletons can vote, but preferably will only vote once!

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looking at the pieces

it's easier when i can believe things didn't really happen. or at least i guess that's why i approach it that way. i can accept the individual pieces of the puzzle, to a greater or lesser degree. i can look, and say, "well, okay, yeah, *that* happened. and also *that*." but somehow, my mind shies away from putting the pieces together and dealing with the whole picture.

i can collect all of the pieces, and know that they add up to abuse, but it's so hard to accept that they do. i can look at my siblings and recognize that things probably were "that bad" because they certainly show signs of having gone through abuse; so why is it so hard to accept that perhaps i have DID because of abuse? mostly because i just can't deal with the enormity of what happened, i guess.

some pieces:

i know that my mother believed in spanking babies beginning around when they're six months old.

i know that my mother was more likely to spank, and to spank harder, when she was under stress.

i know that my mother got divorced from my father, and also had an abortion, when i was about six months old.

my mother says i was a "good baby" who could be put into my crib for hours at a time, and i wouldn't cry or fuss, even though i also didn't nap.

i know that my mother (at least some of the time, more when she was stressed) considered crying and fussing to be willfulness on the part of a baby, and would punish them for it.

my mother says that i "didn't like to be cuddled" when i was a baby, and would just hold myself stiff and unresponsive when she tried to cuddle with me.

i know my next-older sister, who was in grade school when i was born, resented me being born. i know her response to resentment was often physical violence.

i have all of those pieces, and yet, my mind shies away from acknowledging that anything bad happened. i can't really bring myself to put together the picture, even though i have some strong suspicions about what it means. and there are different parts of this puzzle. pieces that point to ongoing sexual abuse. pieces that suggest i was more physically abused than i remember.

at the same time, i can't imagine how i would live my life if i had to cope with the enormity of what happened. how could i go through each day, or talk to the people i talk to, or any of that, if i accept that my past was traumatic?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DID/MPD/Dissociative Awareness

We've gathered all the submissions, and chosen eleven of them for the final round of voting.

So tell your friends to come and vote. Here is a link to the page where you can register your opinions.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

This isn't up to my usual standard of quality, but we really enjoyed the movie, and wanted to share. We saw Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium last week on Friday and it was a very good movie. The kids liked it because it was in a toy shop and there was lots of cool stuff happening, and nothing scary happened except one little bit that was only a tiny bit scary. No, two little bits, I guess, because two littles are telling me about two different parts they thought were scary, but they weren't scared of the same part.

Mostly, it's just really great. It has a very good message, which is that wonder and magic have to come from you believing you can make them, and you can make friends and make the world a cooler place if you believe in yourself. Plus, there wasn't any stupid love stuff in the movie (even we older parts appreciate it when they don't tack on a romantic subplot just to have one, and this movie stood up without it).

And we weren't the only ones who really enjoyed the movie. We saw it the night it came out, in a theater filled with kids (age range: looked like 3 to about 12). The kids were totally focused on the movie the whole way through. All the adults in the theater seemed to really enjoy the movie too (except one, who was the kind of adult who doesn't turn off their cell phone ringer, and then takes FOUR CALLS while sitting in a movie theater).

One of the things I enjoyed was that they didn't bother to water down the vocabulary, so lots of the characters used big words, and that was nice in a kids' movie, that they didn't expect just because you're a kid, that you're stupid. But at the same time, they also seemed to know which things kids were likely to understand (or, you know, grown ups) so at the credits, which I missed most of, I saw that instead of just putting the Hollywood names for different parts of the crew, they described what they did (like, "People who pointed the cameras at other people" or something).

It was a really good movie, and I'm hoping I can get to see it again sometime very soon, in the theater and everything.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007


I am feeling accomplished. I spent some time this morning tweaking my search terms, and finally managed to generate a *useful* list of therapists on the Psychology Today therapist locator thing. So I emailed the first sixteen on the list, figuring that I can move on to later ones if none of those people works out for us. I'm talking useful as in, I narrowed it down to people who do couples' therapy, and have some experience with trauma. One of the two who have already called me back even has experience working both with ADD and with people with dissociative disorders.

I can only hope that at least one of the people on this list works out well as a couples' therapist for me and W.

And I can only hope that by setting up multiple appointments, W and I will be able to keep clear heads, and decide on a therapist based on whether or not she's a good match, and not just on our willingess to give her a month of our lives as we try to decide.

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Several things going on. Lots of parts are very depressed because of a lot of different things (mostly boiling down to being lonely and not having good prospects of getting friends our own age, and also that there are some things in day-to-day life that can be really discouraging and frustrating to deal with. Oh, yeah, and all that "childhood trauma" stuff that we so often discount as a cause.)

And for a few days last week, a severely suicidal part was out; the main problem with that is, she's not sufficiently self-aware to recognize that she's a separate part... so she thinks she's one (or several) of the other parts. It's all very confusing. It would help if we could get her to start to recognize herself, and that she's separate from the rest of us, because then it would be easier for us to help her. Also, it would be easier to convince her that the rest of us are NOT as severely depressed as she is, and we'd rather not have her acting on her suicidal urges, thank you. Even if she does experience the rest of us as just being her, "faking being happy." It's a real downer, let me tell you.

On a somewhat related note, in the sense that I remain convinced that there is SOMETHING we can do to ease a lot of the pain and frustration we're experiencing, I've realized a couple of the reasons I find it so difficult to access the ideas in books like "Getting Through the Day" by Nancy Napier. One is that they are totally focused on dealing with trauma, and don't actually give good strategies for figuring out day-to-day life stuff. You know, like how to you work through a system meeting, if you can't figure out how to get everyone to come to the same spot and speak one at a time? Or how do you figure out a schedule that will actually meet everyone's needs? I swear, as soon as I come up with some good ways of doing this, I am going to put them up on a website, because I cannot be the only person who needs this.

Also, I desperately wish I could find some simple worksheets, with short fill-in-the-blanks kinds of questions, just for parts to practice communicating (I mean, things like, "My name is _________ and my favorite flavor of ice cream is ________." I can't be the only person who experiences immediate chaos if I push certain parts to talk about why they exist, but who also needs to figure out how to get to know them. And we're all better at responding to questions than at coming up with something useful by journaling to a blank page.)

But the other thing I've realized is that most of the books, at least all that I've read so far, are written as though there is a singular "you" who happens to have some parts. And I think that's why I have such a hard time translating how to work within my own system. There just isn't one part who is consistently present. Some parts may be out more than others, but none of us feels like, or is accepted by the others as, the "main one" or the "host" or even the "shell." It's kind of like people who live in a house together, presuming they moved into the house at the same time. No one really has seniority, and they all share the house equally (more or less... some people monopolize different parts of the house, just like some housemates take over the phone and no one else gets a chance to make a call. That doesn't make it their phone!) (And now I'm thinking of youth in this cell phone age wondering why people don't just use their own phones. I'm talking about land lines here, folks.)

So anyhow, even the stuff written for multiples doesn't seem to take into account that there isn't a singular "you" who is the one in therapy, and the one who can coordinate everything. And I haven't seen anything explaining how to figure out who is coordinating things, or in charge, or how to have a consensus based organization inside your own head.

Sorry this is so totally scattered. On top of my own brain being wonky today, I've been getting phone calls and text messages off and on while I'm writing this, so my attention keeps wandering away from the point.

Not quite sure who this is. I'm not the same part as the last one who used the "who?" label, but I figure the label is there, and "who?" is not a name.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

friends and support group

the problem with not being able to find what you want, or feel like you need, is that you start to think maybe you shouldn't have it. maybe it's wrong to want something, if the world seems designed to keep you from having it, if people you meet act like it's not something healthy.

it's not that the people who actually know me say this. my friends, my therapist: they all say the things i want are perfectly reasonable.

what am i talking about? i, ellis, want to have friends my own age. mandy wants this. jamie wants this. teller wants this. probably the others do too.

i, and lots of the adults in the system, want a really good support group, where we can talk with other people with DID/dissociative disorders about practical, day-to-day coping skills. where we can learn how to manage communication, learn tips for negotiating each of our needs, figure out how to cope.

on friends: we accept that it's totally creepy for someone in an adult body to be hanging out with kids our own ages, so that's not really an option. the ideal thing would be to know other people who are multiple, and be able to have time hanging out with them as friends, so that the younger parts can spend time with people their own ages. finding other multiples is part of why i wanted to go to a support group.

so why am i thinking about this today?

i went to my DID support group, and once again, it was really frustrating and annoying.

i understand that the guidelines they have are meant to make people safe. the problem is, the guidelines do more, in my mind, to keep people from being able to connect with each other, which i guess is a kind of safety, in the way that locking yourself into a cave millions of miles away from everyone else is a kind of safety.

the guidelines that i have a problem with are the ones that say you're not allowed to comment on what others say, and that you're not allowed to offer advice (which implies you're not allowed to ask for advice). they're very explicit about how you're not required to speak, or to answer questions... this is good, except it comes across in a way that makes me feel like it's not okay to *ask* personal questions, or to have any level of contact outside of the group.

and then there's the fact that people come from all kinds of different perspectives. and several of the people, particularly one who often leads off the talking, really are more focused on their "parts" being separate from them. as though *they* are real, but their parts are just these fragments they (the "real person") have to "absorb" so they can be whole.

this means i wind up feeling really uncomfortable bringing my own experience, of being a bunch of different people sharing a body, into discussion. like i'm deluded, or not focused on the "right" method of healing, or something like that.

the one thing that all of the parts in my body agree on is that there IS no single right way to do things. yeah, even the ones who are bossy know-it-alls can accept that. we all recognize that just because something works for one person doesn't mean it works for everyone. kinda like religion--even the christian ones inside here don't think it's the only way to live. they think there are all kinds of ways to approach the divine, and christianity is only one path (i'm hearing a great deal of shrieking from my childhood church services about how clearly this is evidence that i'm listening to the devil or something. i don't care. even michelle, who is probably the most goody-two-shoes, following all the rules, among us... even she sees there isn't just one path!)

and i think lots of people see therapy or healing from abuse the way other people see religion. as though, if something works for one person, then everyone else has to do things exactly their way, or else they're not doing it right. sinning against the therapy gods or something.

i am lucky that my therapist isn't like that, and my friends aren't like that. but it's still hard when it feels like the rest of the world thinks we're wrong.

like, in trying to find friends. there's a lot of stuff out there, kinda the therapy doctrine for DID, that says parts SHOULDN'T have friends of their own. that multiples SHOULDN'T get together for play-dates. they say it's dangerous. they say it's going to stop us from healing. they say that if parts feel something, that just means the host (the "real person") is denying their feelings, and that if the host ("real person") gets *their* needs met, then the parts will be satisfied.

i think that is a load of hooey. i don't think i, or any of the adults, have a frustrated desire to be lady garbagemen. i think mandy is a little kid who likes the idea of hanging off the back of a truck. i don't think the adult parts are just denying that they enjoy candy corn. i think they genuinely don't like eating it.

but the therapeutic doctrine implies that there's this slippery slope. that if you start acting like parts are real, then
you're going to do all kinds of stupid things. i may rant further about this article at some other point. i just haven't gotten around to it yet.

so the point is, i end up feeling like maybe i shouldn't want the things i want--friends, support. i feel like there's something wrong with me, that i want to hang out with people who AREN'T inside my body (and, let's face it... the other teenage parts are more like siblings than anything else. would YOU want to spend all of your time hanging out with your siblings? when the only thing that connects you is living in the same house--or body, as the case may be.)

yeah. so i'm feeling discouraged, and also a little angry.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

no title

mandy has been really sad today because she realized we're really not getting a dog.
me, i don't know what the problem is. maybe it's just that if the body is feeling really sad, then my mind puts my own words to the sadness.

or maybe it's that the reason mandy wanted a dog so much was that she is lonely, and i'm just as lonely as she is. and neither of us really has any hope of things getting better, so it's looking at this long bleak life, spent pretty much alone.

i guess it's mean to say that, since we do have w. and friends, although they're not the same as getting to hang out with people our own age, and that's never really going to happen. when the body is with people our ages, then someone older comes out, or whoever is out has to pretend to be someone older.

and the adults aren't back and i'm starting to think they probably aren't coming back, because no one outside can figure out any benefit the ones who are blocking them would gain from having them back.

so i'm stuck being the responsible one.

okay, so i know it's not exactly like when i was growing up. there's no one abusing me. but the situation still sucks, even without the abuse. i'm isolated, like i was then. i'm stuck being responsible for adult things, like i was then. i don't have friends my own age, like i didn't then. i'm stuck dealing with a lot of needy little kids who have all of their own issues, like i was then. (yes, these ones are inside. but it means i can't even go off by myself, at all, ever, since they're in my f***ing BODY with me.)

and even though w is pretty clear that she doesn't expect me to act as her partner... there's a lot of guilt around that. i mean, if i can't figure out how to get the adults back, then how long is this situation going to work? w is bound to get tired of it and want an adult partner, sooner or later.
just feels like nothing's worth the trouble it takes to do it. nothing is going to get better.

this isn't being pessimistic. it's making a realistic prediction based on the evidence at hand.

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My Puppy

by Mandy.

I bet my puppy is born now! I bet this caues if Santa will bring me a puppy on Crismus, then it will have to be liek 7 or 8 weeks old then and it is 7 or 8 weeks till Crismus. That is why my puppy probly is born alredy!

W and Ellis say I am not getting a puppy for Crismus or any tiem but they do not understand about Santa or maybe they want the puppy to be a suprize so they just SAY I will not get my puppy but I WILL caues I have ben VERY good and Santa will bring me my best present a PUPPY.

It is a black puppy with curly black ears and it is cuddely. A puppy is better then a cat caues it will play with you and go for walks. And just caues we are not sposed to have a puppy in our house, I bet that guy who says that will not NOTICE caues we have two black cats already and he does not think it is two he thinks it is only ONE but we told him it is two but he forgets. He will forget about the puppy also if it is littel and black liek the cats.

I am very good at takeing care of a puppy. You take it on a walk and you feed it food and water. And you pet it. And then it is your frind and you will sleep with it in your bed.

I bet it is going to be a suprize puppy. That is why they say I can not have one so when I wake up and there is my puppy in its littel basket with its red bow and cuddley curley wiggley body then I will jump up and down and say O! I am sooo happy about my suprize puppy!!!! I will smiel every single day!!!

And no one insied will be scard of a PUPPY. O no! They are only scard of BIG dogs who are noisy or stuff. They will LOVE the puppy when it coems and they will be frinds and have fun and smiel. That is why a puppy is good. My suprize puppy will be very quiet. That is the kind of puppy I want. Santa will find that for me.I will keep telling W and Ellis about how GOOD a puppy is and then I will get my suprize puppy and when Santa brings the puppy they will let me keep it.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Author love

Oh, I knew there was a reason I liked Tamora Pierce!

I mean, first, she's a good writer. If her writing were food, it would be something like chicken divan--not especially fancy or highfalutin', but good, solid, wholesome, comforting food. Food you would bring to a family potluck. Food the other people in your house will also gobble up. (Can you tell what I made for dinner tonight? ;P )

Second, she wrote good solid female characters back before it was common to do that. I mean, back when the covers of "Sword and Sorceress" (a fairly ground-breaking series of short story anthologies in which the main characters were female) looked like this*:

she wrote a series with a female lead who was a person and not a sex object. And somehow, she managed to get a cover for the books that looked like this:

Plus, she has lesbian characters in her books without making a huge thing of it. You know, just like we're normal people who would live in the world or something. ;P

THIRD, not only does she have ONE public livejournal where she writes about the writing process and stuff like that, but she ALSO has a SECOND public livejournal where she writes about POLITICS and stuff.

What's even better? From what I've read thus far, her politics are really good (that is, if you're a wacky feminist like I am).

Now, I've just got to get over my shyness, and post a comment one of these days. I keep reminding myself that if she has them public, it's because she's writing stuff that she doesn't mind having read by people who have been reading her books for, oh, the last 22 years. She would not have put a link to her ljs on her main website if she didn't want people to look at them. She responds thoughtfully to the comments that people make to her posts.

But... but... I guess it's that worry that she will be annoyed by my comments or something. Or that it's stalker-like to read her blogs. But come to think of it, it's probably LESS stalker like to read and comment than to just read. Yeah. Let's see whether that inspires me to comment.

*And yes, I'm aware that the stories INSIDE "Sword and Sorceress" weren't nearly as offensive as the covers would imply, and that there were other ground-breaking writers of sci-fi/fantasy both before and after Tamora Pierce. And I like lots of them, too, and have some serious author-love for a lot of other writers. So no need to educate me on the vast array of feminist sf/f available in the mid-eighties. (Or now, for that matter, since two or three decades has really seen some progress on that front.)

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What do the adults do?

need some ideas here. in therapy, we were talking about how i think probably parts are blocking the adult parts from coming out, and we were talking about why that's probably going on. like, the adult parts tend not to pay attention to what the rest of us need, and it's harder to get help when they're around because they act like everything's okay, and stuff like that.

but my therapist was talking about how maybe if the other parts could see that the adults help, and do things that are useful, then maybe they'd be willing to give it a try.

the problem is, i think i'm the only part who would benefit from the adults coming back, because i'm the one who gets stuck dealing with all the adult-type stuff, like paying bills and organizing housework and stuff like that. so it would be a good break for me, and that's mostly why i want them back.

but they don't really do anything for the other parts that i can't also do, like, i can drive the car, and i can make sure the bills get paid, and i can make sure the laundry gets done and groceries get bought. so the other parts keep saying, "what do we need the adults for anyways?"

and the only things i can think of are about outside people, like they give w. some adult time, and they can take care of people, or make things (like sewing stuff) and things like that. the rest of it, i can do an okay job with. and it's not like i'm going to stop doing it just because it is hard, so i don't know what to do.

what are things adult parts do for the ones inside? i mean, what is something that would be better for everyone if the adult parts were back? i need some ideas. thanks.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

spaced out

I'm never sure what to think. There is evidence that I exist, so it shouldn't be this hard. Not sure who I am. All I know is, it doesn't feel like I lose time, until I start to realize that I'm just, I don't know, vague about specifics. But it's not just about not being aware of what the others experience. It's like I lose time even when I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who is present.

And it's hard for me to really believe the others exist. Or that I really have DID. I mean, I can look at journals, and see writing that clearly isn't mine. I can see evidence of things that were most likely done by someone in this body, but which I have no idea how to do. But I guess I'm used to that vagueness.

I remember being in school, kind of. I mean, I can remember walking in the halls and stuff. And I know I'd have no idea what was going on, but then, in the classes, I knew what to talk about. I guess that just seemed like what was normal for me. Maybe not for everyone, but not so out of the ordinary.

I don't really remember much. I know how to get home, if I don't think about it. Put into any city where I've lived, I could probably figure out how to get to where my house was, figure out where the key was, get to my room.

Time doesn't seem real, honestly. It's strange. I'll look around me, and nothing seems unfamiliar, but it doesn't seem familiar, either. It's like things only half exist.

I suppose I should have a name. My therapist asked for one, the last time I was in the office, a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to know how old I am. How can I tell her, when I'm not really sure. I don't really have a name. I'm not entirely sure I exist.

I can tell from the handwriting that I'm not one of the others. But that's a weird way to know you exist, that you have different handwriting. I mean, shouldn't there be something more?

Maybe I'm just a placeholder, but then why am I here, wondering who I am?

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More DID/MPD awareness

just an update on that: i think the gallery is set up so people can leave comments and rate the images now. if you would like to submit an idea for consideration, please email it to me.

plus, there are new dates, with a little more time for people to get involved. at this point, we're taking submissions of ideas from now until Nov. 17, and then voting on the most popular ideas from Nov. 18-Dec. 3. if you'd like more time, please comment here, or at the gallery, and we'll probably be willing to accommodate you.

here is a link to the gallery.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

free rice dot com

my friend k. told me about this website yesterday. it is truly delightful. you go to the page, and get to test your vocabulary, and for every question you get right, the companies advertising on the site donate ten grains of rice to the united nations food fund (or something like that).

now, it's not that ten grains is a lot, because it isn't. i checked online, and there's something like 29,000 grains in a pound of long-grain rice. however, the game is a delightful way to build your vocabulary, and there are worse things to result from hours of playing online than having a few cups of rice (2,000 or so grains in a cup) donated to feed hungry people.

of course, k. will probably say i have an unfair advantage in this game, because several parts are participating at the same time, and between us, we've got a really broad vocabulary. on the other hand, it's not like singletons couldn't do the same thing; they'd just be more likely to remember why they know the meaning of the words!

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play-doh addiction

it started a few weeks ago. i was feeling really stressed out, and kind of rummaging through some stuff on a table next to the couch. i pulled out a can of play-doh, and just started squeezing it and squishing it in my hands. it was soothing.

i played some more. it continued to be soothing. the play-doh started to get stiff and dry out. i bought more play-doh. i continued to squeeze and squish.

before long, i found myself reaching for the play-doh even when i wasn't feeling especially stressed out. i wanted to hold it when i was talking to someone, or just sitting and thinking.

i went to therapy, and realized i had forgotten to grab a can of play-doh. this couldn't work. i went and bought more play-doh, and asked my therapist to keep some of it in her office, so that it would be available even if i forgot to bring some with me.

but now i have to admit i have a problem. i went to a party the other night, and had to take out my play-doh halfway through. i have found that i can't go more than a few hours without playing with play-doh. i need to play with play-doh when i get up in the morning, and before i can fall asleep at night. in fact, the other night when i couldn't fall asleep, i had to get up and get the play-doh to squeeze as i was trying to relax.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

DID/MPD awareness, continued

Please spread the news around about this.

I posted to A Mind's Journey, asking whether there is a widely recognized symbol/ribbon for DID/MPD/dissociative awareness, and aside from the one website that sells ribbons for every possible issue, no one really knew of one. So people got excited, and started coming up with designs, both for a symbol and for a ribbon representing these issues.

But if we're coming up with something to represent these issues beyond just people on that bulletin board, we figured it would be a good idea to start spreading the word further out.

I suggested that we take people's submissions until Nov. 3 (people were calling for a vote on which symbol to use already, and I was trying to slow things down... I mean, I only posted the initial question five days ago!!). You can send them to my email address (jigsaw.analogy@gmail.com) or post them on your own blog and let me know where they are. I am posting all of the submissions I've received thus far at this site.

Between Nov. 3 and Nov. 17, we'll vote on the submissions that have received the most comments.

I'm going to try to get up a ribbon template for the less artistically-inclined, so you can just color something in. Take a picture with your camera, or whatever. Preferably, give the pictures to me as .jpg files so they're easier for me to post.

So, yeah. Spread the news, and send in your ideas. I guess this is how things get decided. Someone asks a question, and people run with it.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DID/MPD awareness part 2

the great people at the bulletin board i go to (A Mind's Journey) responded very enthusiastically to my question about whether there is already a symbol to represent DID/MPD. i put up a gallery at my nascent website (because, you know, i don't have enough of a web presence as it is....). anyhow, here is the ongoing gallery of suggestions people have come up with. if you have an idea, email me or send me a link to your idea.

so far as i'm concerned, there can be as many different symbols as people like, but i think there are others (not in my system) who want there to just be a couple.

personally, i'm not loving the whole black-and-teal thing, but some website that sells "personalized awareness ribbon pins" has decided that teal is the color for dissociative disorders (along with SEVENTEEN other things), and so people seem very attached to that. i'd insist on just coming up with something new, but i'm not motivated enough to do that.

but some of the designs people have come up with are really striking and clearly represent dissociative disorders (at least to me). so i guess it's all good.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

DID/MPD symbols

Also, woo-hoo! This is apparently my 100th post! (Possibly that includes ones I never got around to finishing and actually posting, but it's number 100 nevertheless.)

So, I've been wishing I had friends who were multiple (this being the best solution, I think, to us finding friends our own ages, since it is just too creepy for an apparent adult to be hanging out with actual kids, without also behaving as an adult).

And one of the things that I think might make that easier would be some kind of symbols that people with DID/MPD or other dissociative disorders could wear.

I haven't seen anything that seems to be broadly accepted, but it's something I'm thinking about. I mentioned it on a bulletin board I go to, and there does seem to be a lot of interest. I might post a few pictures of ideas I've had, or if someone else comes up with a really good one first, then I'll just post a link to where *theirs* is.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

metaphorical manifestations

so Teller keeps saying she is going to tell if i don't, so i may as well admit it. i do believe there are monsters inside. i mean, yeah, they're really just metaphorical manifestations of, i don't know, internalized abusers or something. but the fact is, as we experience it inside, they are monsters.

not sure why it is supposed to help to admit it, but the kids inside insist that i should admit i believe in them. and i bet the adults do too, even though they are also embarrassed about it.

feels stupid to say that i believe in monsters. i mean, they're baby stuff, really.

so what are these monsters? the one that has been causing the most acute trouble lately is the shadow dragon. if you were to visualize it, i guess it would be like a dragon skeleton, with those black gauzy things draped around it. no way to really convey what it's like. it's insidious. sneaks into your thoughts, so you think that what it's saying is something you're thinking on your own. that's actually true of most of the monsters, and why it's so hard to fight them, because they're really insubstantial, and creep in through the least little crack

the shadow dragon is the one that makes you want to kill yourself. it makes you hopeless and tired and unable to keep going. and everyone in here that i can hear says it ate at least one of the parts, because she let down her guard and gave in to it. that's the part that's been causing so much trouble by coming into the safe place inside, because the kids are absolutely terrified that if they come out of hiding, then they will get eaten too.

but i guess that part inside is still alive, because she's been communicating. we're just not sure how she can get out of there. and no one wants the monsters inside of the safe place.

there are other monsters. some of them, we're getting better at fending off. like it turns out that the one that comes and shuts our mouths so we can't say things we're not supposed to, well if we resist hard enough, then we can usually break through. or if we try different ways of communicating, then we can get around it, and once we've communicated something in another way, it's harder for that monster to keep us from talking. that monster is like... not sure what it's like. it comes and smothers you almost, so it's hard to breathe or get words out. feels like you're choking.

then there are the ogres and goblins. they have different things they will punish you for. the ogres are huge, and some of them have claws, and they will throw you around, or push you into the ground, or pound on you relentlessly until you stop doing the thing they are in charge of keeping you from doing, like talking about things or thinking about things.... the goblins are little, and they just whisper away until you're really doubting and afraid, or worried, or guilty.

mostly we cope by blocking them out of our minds, shutting them away from the safe places. but they are in the thorny maze that surrounds the safe places, just waiting for someone to be a little careless when they're moving around. and then they grab you and try to follow you back in.

yeah. so i guess that's one of the things going on in here. not sure what to do about it. and it's hard to think of how this was supposed to help.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

hard to believe

i guess i have a hard time believing there ever were any adults in the first place. it just doesn't seem real. like maybe it's always been me? i don't know. been reading over old journals and stuff and there is really a lot of stuff i feel like i didn't write, but then i guess if someone inside this body wrote it it was technically me, so i guess i did write it.

thinking also about the whole thing with DID and how one of the symptoms is "Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness."

what does that mean? i guess i don't really fail to recall important personal information, like i can generally remember things like my phone number and legal name and ssn and date of birth and stuff. and if i make sure to let the body be in charge of things, instead of me, like do them automatically, i can do my legal signature.

and i have the story for my life, you know? i can say more or less where i lived, and who was likely to be in the house. i guess some things i don't remember, but either i was young or it was at a chaotic time.

how clear are memories supposed to be? am i supposed to remember things clearly if they happened 20 years ago? that seems like a long time to remember something. or even ten or five years ago.

but maybe it counts if i remember what happened, and can say it happened, without actually, you know, remembering it. i don't know if it's the same to "remember that" as to just plain old "remember." and maybe it's just that i have a bad memory? i just don't know. i don't like to think about this too much because then it starts to feel like my life just keeps slipping out of my mind, and that gets a little scary.

i really wish the adults would come back. i will pretend to be them while people are mad, if they will promise to come back really soon. i hope i didn't just imagine them and then forget how to keep imagining them.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

one positive thing, and some worries

yesterday my therapist called to let me know that under New York's new mental health parity law, DID counts as a "biologically-based mental illness," which means my health insurance plan is required to cover unlimited sessions. so that's good. it's very good. it means that i don't have to worry about paying for therapy, no matter how much i need (since under the new law, our co-pay went down to zero, since that's the co-pay for "regular" medical things with our insurance).

here's what i'm worried about:

i'm really worried that the adults are never going to come back. i mean, if they ever did exist, which probably they did... but maybe they are just totally gone? i don't know. i never really had a good way of getting in touch with them.

also, i'm worried that they will decide they're not coming back at all because now people are mad at them for going away in the first place. i mean, outside people. and they never really dealt with people being mad at them anyhow. they just left one of us (well, i feel like they always left dealing with people being mad to me, but that might just be my perception). so if they come back and then people are mad at them, then they will just go away again.

i don't know what to do. i mean, i just can't think of a solution. i don't know how to find them if they even exist. and they don't have names, which just makes things harder. i guess cleo does, but she's not really great for anyone inside anyhow, since her whole thing is making it look like everything is ok, you know?

and why would they come back anyways? what good would it do? they only ever really took care of outside people anyways, so it's not like they'd do much for the younger ones inside. i mean, sure, they did get stuff for us and things like that, but mostly that's because they liked to believe they were all perfect or something and we were the ones with all the problems. like they don't have anything wrong with them except they're stuck with these annoying parts inside who are just making their lives miserable or something, and if we'd just go away, then everything would be fine or something.

i don't know. it feels like that.

i mean, what do they do for us? they pretend we're not here, or they ignore us when we do come out. they certainly don't help me to deal with things like the suicidal part or the upset parts or the panicky parts or anything like that. they don't even take the stupid memories.

it used to be that if someone outside the body needed them, then they'd show up and help that person, and sometimes one of us inside could get some benefit from it. but they're not even doing that any more. nothing. they don't do anything.

okay, i guess that isn't 100% fair, since i do think the mama has the baby and maybe one of the other really young littles with her. i know i haven't noticed them around and they're not in any of the hiding places anyone knows about. but it's not like we can contact them, either. and what are we going to do, have them get stuck with the rest of us, and all of the adults still be away?

i mean, i don't know. k. said it was like they had gone on vacation and left a teenager to deal with everything. maybe it's not a vacation. maybe they're taking care of something important. i doubt it. but i don't know what they are doing. and i'm scared that maybe they have integrated, and this is as much as i'm ever going to get of the adult parts. and i don't know how to grow up. maybe i will grow up though, and then i'll be able to deal with stuff? i guess it won't take too long, since i'm fifteen, and that means it would just be a few more years.

but i thought integration meant that you got all the abilities of the parts who integrated. also, that would mean i'm the host, and i'm pretty sure i wasn't around until the body was fourteen or so. or maybe i am the host. i've been the only one out for a while now.

i really don't like this. i am so scared the adults are never going to come back, and then w. will get really tired of being stuck with a partner who doesn't have any adult parts and she won't want to keep doing that, and then... i don't know. i guess i'll have to just cope on my own. that's really scary.

maybe i'm not really a teenager? maybe i'm an adult part and i just don't know it?

i hate everything being so confusing.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

some thinking

so, w. and i were talking last night. i've been having a hard time lately. some of it is that a very suicidal part has been close to the surface, and has been in the "magic house" for a while, which has made all the little kids go into hiding, and who knows where the adults have been.

but also, i've been really triggered. i realized last night that some of the being triggered was about my own stuff, and not just the proximity of the suicidal part. because i do get really triggered from being in the position of being someone's partner. and last night, the stuff really came up for me. don't feel like going into the details right now, but i was even crying about it, and i don't usually cry.

i was finally able (i think) to explain to w. that it's not even really about sex. it's about being in a relationship. and she suggested that we try something to help build a little more clarity in our relationship. that thing is, i'll start sleeping in my own room more of the time (i think mostly when the part who is out is not an adult part, but i don't really want to make that choice for the others).

on the one hand, i felt really guilty about that. because, yeah, it feels selfish to say that i shouldn't have to be in the role of an adult in this relationship (individual i, not collective i). and it's a little scary to think i have that right, because of all the things that brings up.... but i also felt guilty because it was just such a RELIEF to decide that. so today went way better than my days have been going lately. i was productive and everything. didn't spend much time sitting playing games online just trying to make it through the day.

okay, so there's all of that. but i was also thinking about how maybe i add to some of the confusion others (especially w) have about whether i should be treated as a teenager or as an adult.

because, here's the thing. in a lot of ways, i really resent the adult responsibilities. it's triggering and overwhelming and all of that. but on the other hand, there are a lot of adult privileges i really don't want to give up.

i mean, what teenager has pretty much total control over the household budget? part of why i am in charge of the bills is that it helps me to not worry so much about whether or not we can pay the bills; part of it is that w. gets really upset and anxious when she has to try to deal with things like bills, so it's less stressful for me (collective me) to do it. but part of the reason i haven't encouraged her to take charge of the bills is that then i wouldn't get to just decide how the money gets spent. i'd have to check with her or have an allowance or something, and that would be a real pain. i mean, it's not like i spend money inappropriately, exactly, it's just that the only limit on my spending is whether or not we have the money. kind of cool, so far as i'm concerned. but me being in charge of the household budget is probably one of those things that contributes to it being really unclear that i'm not a real adult.

another one is smoking. i mean, my body is fully adult, so my legal id shows that i am old enough to get cigarettes (and alcohol for that matter). and there are a lot of reasons i smoke, so it's a hard thing to just say, "oh, i'm going to quit because it's bad for me." especially because the reason i started smoking was as a form of self-harm. there are now more reasons i keep doing it, but the starting reason is still there. so health arguments don't really help.

or there's driving the car. i am the main one who drives (w. is still a nervous and reluctant driver). and even though we'd had a rule for a while that no one under 16 was allowed to drive the car, it really eroded over the summer, and hasn't been back in place. it's another hard one to deal with, since among other things, the car has to be moved every week for alternate side parking (where one side of the street or the other becomes a no parking zone for a couple hours in the middle of the day so they can clean the streets). but there's also the fact that i really like the freedom of just getting in the car and going somewhere when i feel like it.

or lots of other stuff. but i'm starting to wonder whether it's really a good idea for me to have all of the freedoms of being an adult, since maybe it would be better for me to have neither the freedoms nor the responsibilities. i just don't know.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

and another thing

this is a stupid one, i guess, but it keeps coming up.

i wish i had friends my own age. i guess it would be ok to have friends my body's age instead, at least kind of, but i really wish i had friends my own age.

it's even harder, because once i stupidly allowed myself to think that out loud, the little kids caught on, and most of THEM want friends their own ages, too.

and there's just no practical way to do it. i mean, can't go out with this adult body and act like a kid with people our actual ages. because that would be creepy. and i don't know what else to do.

i think things would be better if there were someone irl who i could hang out with and do things with. plus, then i'd have somewhere to go when i needed to go out of the house, so i wouldn't be wandering around aimlessly.

i know i have friends. i just don't have any friends my age, and sometimes that sucks.

and the kids are still upset that even if they do get to have their birthday party one of these days, it will only be with grown ups.

i suppose it would be easier if this system had a host who was all embarrassed about having younger parts. then we'd kind of get to accept that we can't be out, ever, or something. but this system, so far as anyone can tell, doesn't HAVE a host. so that's not happening. and even if it did, i think the adults have built their identities around being okay with "kid stuff" on its own merits. but even so, i haven't figured out a way that we could have friends our own ages irl. sigh.

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therapy and ??

sorry not to be using capitals. just not feeling like bothering today.

this is ellis. it's been pretty much all ellis, all the time, for what feels like forever. i'm pretty sure it's been at least a month now, probably more.

not feeling really equipped to be an adult, either. i'm scared i don't have a choice. i'm scared the adults are never going to come back. maybe i'd wind up growing up, but i don't know. hard to say.

my therapist says that she knows the adults are still in there somewhere. but i think she's going with what she's supposed to say, because she also thinks that when they come back and there's more cooperation, the adults are going to help to provide the structure i need.

right. not so much. they've never done it before.

i'm really angry at them. i mean, what business do they have, leaving me in charge of everything? like i'm supposed to know how to take care of the little kids, or cope with outside life, or anything?

but i also feel guilty, because i'm usually the one who copes, and gets things done, and somehow, i can't figure out how to do it any more.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

The cat(s) came back...

Okay, so I drove in the car to go get them. But they are back, which must mean that life is supposed to be settling back down into the pre-summer routine.

I was surprised that our crotchety older cat actually didn't yowl at all on the ride home. And the younger one just objected to being in the cat carrier, or else wanted to discuss everything about the ride with me (she would mew and wait until I mewed in response before mewing again).

There's more I should be writing about, but, well, I'm not right now. Maybe later.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

not good right now

i've been describing the problem as being like a panic attack that's externalized in my internal world: it doesn't seem to be coming from any part, but it's affecting all of us. or else as a tornado everywhere inside. overwhelming, chaotic. really making it difficult to manage to do anything.

the little kids say it's not a tornado, it's exploding monsters. and the monsters are exploding all the time and making a big mess and breaking things and stuff, and if you hide very still and quiet they will not come close to you or get you. but if you move or something, then the monsters will find you and they will hurt you or explode or something and you will get hurt when that happens to.

it's like an internal natural disaster, although i guess that the real world doesn't have to cope with exploding monsters (can you imagine the ads for that insurance, though?).

no one inside is really able to trust anyone or anything right now, so not much communication, because we're all focused on surviving.

i just want it to be done and over with. can't figure out how to make that happen.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Still not in a writing space

But I thought I would mention that I went through and replied to a bunch of comments, so if you commented on something over the past couple of months, and you're interested in a reply from me about it, you can scan through and see.

Not sure why writing is so hard now. Probably just readjusting to being back at home. Lots of disruption and trying to get back together and stuff; also, over the summer, I really got out of the habit of writing, and it seems like it's taking some time to gear up again.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back again

There's a lot to blog about, and perhaps we'll get to it, or perhaps we won't. I don't know. Lots of parts, the littles especially, were worried about blogging while on the road, so we didn't do much of it.

But now we're back, so maybe we'll get some writing done.

One thing that came about from this trip is that the visit with family was actually a good thing. For some people, this would mean, "not triggering" or something like that. And, honestly, nothing was so out of my experience and preparation that I couldn't cope with it.

But, really, what was helpful was this: my family was just like they were when I was growing up. And with many different parts observing, what became most clear is that they were both abusive and loving in this weird mixture where you can't really separate the good and the bad. So, in the end, we came to an agreement in our system here. We each should decide for ourselves how to interact with family. Those who don't want to don't have to, but those who want to can keep up a relationship.

Because it's really absolutely mixed together, and it's also really clear that the kinds of things I automatically do to protect myself around them keep me insulated from the worst of things.... So I'm not especially in emotional danger, and certainly not in physical danger. Thus, whatever relationship a part wants to have, that will work for that part, but there's no all or nothing solution.

I don't know if I'm making sense. I've been thinking about this for a while. Mostly, it's that those who doubted the abuse could tell that it had really happened (my siblings talking about it, my mother denying and minimizing things that, even at the level she admitted to, were just plain messed up; lack of body boundaries and weird interactions between people). And those who doubted the love could tell that was also there (harder to quantify, but it was there).

So mostly what I got out of that part of the visit was confirmation that the decisions I/we have made about coping with the family were the right ones. And we don't need to push for confrontation, because those responsible for stuff will deny it up and down--watched a couple of siblings going down that path.

I guess that's about it for right now.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pioneer Girls

I can't make the pictures work quite right, but the first one is of Laura's dugout site, the second one is of the homesteading house outside of De Smet, SD, and the third one is of Caddie Woodlawn's house. Caddie's house is the real house where she lived, and the homesteading house is made just the same as the one Laura's Pa built. You can read more about this in this post.

We have been traveling across the country, and we got to see lots of places where pioneer girls lived. One pioneer girl was Caddie Woodlawn. Her real name was Caroline Woodhouse, but they called her Caddie. When she was a girl, she lived in Wisconsin on the frontier, because this was back in the 1860s. Kind of when Laura was born in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. The place where her family lived is a park now. They have their real house, and also a pump where you can pump water, and some other things. There is no one who works there, so you just look around and have a picnic.

The other pioneer girl whose places we went to was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have loved those books almost forever. First we went to Pepin, Wisconsin, where she was born. They built a log cabin that is like the one her Pa made. They also had souvenir shops.

Then we went to Walnut Grove. That is where Plum Creek is, where they lived in a dugout, which is a house dug into the side of a creek bed or something, and also their house, but their house wasn't there any more. There was a lot of stuff in the museum about the TV show of Little House on the Prairie, because that was where the TV show was.

We went to a pageant, which is a play that people put on about something like history or something they care about. This one was about Walnut Grove when the Ingalls family lived there. It was very fun.

Then we went to De Smet. That is where her family stayed for the longest. They have a very good museum there, and other things too. This was the place with the best things to look at and buy. The people there knew a lot about the books, and also what happened to the family after the books were done.
Then the best thing happened!

We went to the Loftus store, which is still there, and the man who worked there asked if we were staying in a covered wagon at the Ingalls Homestead. We didn't know about those! So we went and asked, and we got to stay in a covered wagon (even though it was more like a tinker's wagon or something, and not a prairie schooner). We also got to see the really wonderful museum the people made there. And we made a corn cob doll, and a button toy. We cooked our dinner in a dutch oven with legs, like what they called a spider in the books. (This was ours, so if you go, you should bring your own.)

What is really cool is this is the real place where Pa homesteaded. That is where people used to be able to get land from the government for almost no money (they just had to pay for a certificate or something). Pa did this, and the family lived there. We made our fire with branches and twigs that fell to the ground from the actual cottonwood trees Pa planted. We got to ride a covered wagon to a school built at just the same time as the Perry School where Laura taught for a term. And they had lots of pioneer crafts to do, and I got to do them even though I'm not really a little kid, but it was okay to do them at this museum. That was great.

If you like Laura Ingalls Wilder, you should definitely go to De Smet. The people we met there also really like her, and they make things at the museums as much like when she was alive there as they can. They have really good things.
Oh! Also, when we were getting souvenirs, one of them was a CD with a recording of Laura's ACTUAL VOICE. That is so cool! We will be traveling more, and other parts have lots they want to say, but I am taking my turn now, and they can write their own things later. This is Michelle.

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The Land We Belong to is Grand

Okay, so we haven't been to Oklahoma, and we're not likely to go there on this trip, but the statement still holds.

This is likely to be a rather scattered post, for a few reasons. First, because it's late, and we've been traveling all day. Second, because I haven't had the time to really stop and think for a while. Third, because W. is in the same room, and likely to be talking, which distracts me. But mostly, because lots of different parts have things they want to have mentioned, and they're all being noisy trying to get their own words in.

We've been seeing a lot of the country, but like any kind of knowledge, what I'm realizing more and more is how little of the country we're actually managing to see. It's been amazing nevertheless.

Getting off the main roads makes the traveling all the more interesting. We have only gone to two nation-wide eateries so far. Other than that, it's been all of those little local chains, or independent places. This means we're never quite sure what to expect with food, but also that we've had some really great experiences.

One of the good things about the trip so far is that there's been something for everyone. We've seen lots of animals, and gotten lots of chances to look at the stars. We've met all kinds of different people, and gotten to know more about the US (and a bit of Canada). We've visited historical sites, which has been especially neat since it's lots of places we've read about for years, and now we get to see what the land around them is like, and to learn more things about all of it.

I think we will get more chances to write next week, since we'll be more settled for a couple of weeks (visiting my home town), but who knows? Hopefully, we will still remember what has been happening and how to describe it when there's more of a chance to post.

The best thing is that pretty much all of the parts who have been out have been enjoying themselves and the trip has been relatively trouble-free so far (knock wood).

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our trip

We started our trip on June 30, by going to a family thing and then visiting a friend. Then we started driving. I will write more about it later when we have more time and stuff, but things are going pretty well. W. is doing some of the driving, which helps. It also helps that we're making sure to have fun, and we're getting along and things like that.

Don't feel like I've got much time for posting, so that's all I will say for right now.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I am my mother's daughter

I see so much of her in me. Whether it was just the genetic luck of the draw, or whether I learned my behaviors from her, I don't know. I do know that none of my seven siblings has these particular traits, and she raised them as well.

What are the traits? I dismiss my pain; my first level of defense is to ignore it; second is to take an aspirin (or Aleve, usually). And then to ignore it. I take on more than I can handle, and then proceed to get it done (this ability has disintegrated over time, much to my dismay). I set high standards for myself, and don't really grasp the notion that doing less than my best is sometimes acceptable. I also don't grasp the notion that sometimes my best is less than perfection. I attribute my failures to not having worked hard enough, or long enough.

By themselves, I don't know that these traits would necessarily even be that bad. The problem is, there are more, less pleasant traits.

I get frustrated with other people's "laziness," and since I am a workaholic, anything less seems like sloth. I am more inclined to intellectualize than to empathize. I tend to think critique is better than praise (as in, taking the time to analyze how something was done, and figure out how it could be done better, rather than just saying, "Oh, good job."). And, given my high expectations for myself, I suppose it makes sense that it's incredibly difficult for me to ask for, or to accept help (but, because I'm only human, when I get overwhelmed, I need help. So then I feel angry and resentful that people aren't helping me.)

Worse, I notice more and more often how not just I, but quite a few of the other parts as well, am really classist. How I could have picked up that level of classism while growing up as poor as we were, I don't know. Well, okay, logic says that internalized oppressions tend to be more intense anyhow. But for all my knowledge of how class works, and all my beliefs, overall, that classism is bad, I still have a visceral dislike of people who display the behaviors associated with a particular class bracket (it cuts across race and gender).

Some people can look at an abusive parent and say, "I would NEVER do that. I COULD never do that." I look at my mother, and think, "I can see how she did that. I can see the factors that would put me into the position where I might do the same things."

I'm not saying she did the right things. Heck, even when I was a teenager, I didn't say that. One time, she asked me whether I thought she was a good mother. I responded that I thought she was a good person but not necessarily a good mother. Obviously, this was not the right answer.

And, honestly, I can see almost as many good things in her parenting as bad.

I sometimes wonder whether my ability to see where her behavior came from means I wasn't "really" abused. But you know what? Just because I can explain what happened, and because I can see she was not evil or malicious, doesn't mean I didn't get hurt.

Why was she physically abusive? First, there was the fact that she believed physical discipline was an appropriate tool. Ironically, for all her vociferous support of it, when she was parenting with enough resources, she didn't tend to use physical discipline. But she could justify its use, because she did believe it was okay.

She was abusive because she got overwhelmed. She had taken on too much, and didn't have appropriate sources of support. She lashed out because she had no other outlets. And what's even worse was, I know she looked for support. When I was a kid, her apparent choices for a partner were either my abusive, alcoholic stepfather, or no one at all. When she went to her church for advice, or her family, they told her she should find a way to support him so he didn't "have to" drink. When she went to a therapist, after leaving him, the therapist's response to hearing her lay out her situation was, "I have no idea how you can handle all of that." And left it at that.

So she had no support. She was overwhelmed. And so she would reach her boiling point and, inevitably, one of us kids would push her over the edge. She didn't know how to take care of her own emotional needs. She didn't know how to step back, or insist on receiving support. But she knew how to erupt.

I can even see how my mother could be emotionally incestuous with each oldest child in turn. She was lonely, overwhelmed, had no one to turn to. And then, here is this person who can listen, offer support, stand in for a partner.

I'm not saying it was right. I'm saying I can empathize.

But, I am my mother's daughter, and not my mother. I did not have my first child when I was eighteen. I did not have eight children by the time I was thirty-eight (given that I'm almost 33, with no children as yet, I think I can say this with confidence).

Instead of having babies, I went to college. Instead of being married three times, I spent years in therapy working through my childhood. Instead of behaving as though what I experienced wasn't abuse, I have accepted that people I love, and who love me, could do horrible things at the same time. I have worked on healing, and I have taken time to learn new ways to live. I may not be perfect, but I am a work in progress.

So I'll close with this quotation from an old Nike ad:

You do not have to be
your mother unless she is
who you want to be. You do not have
to be your mother's mother, or your
mother's mother's mother, or even
your grandmother's mother on your
father's side. You may inherit their
chins or their hips or their eyes, but
you are not destined to become the
women who came before you, you are
not destined to live their lives. So if
you inherit something, inherit their
strength. If you inherit something,
inherit their resilience. Because the only
person you are destined to become is
the person you decide to be.

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summer vacation

This is Teller and Mandy. We are writing about our trip this summer. We are going on a very long trip this summer like 8 weeks long. We are going to ride in the car all the way from New York to Portland and then we will come back.

These are some good things about the trip. One is we will see lots of animals and stars. We will eat marshmallows maybe every singel day. Michelle is happy and Amanda too cause we will get to see stuff about pioneers and they will like that super much. And Jamie is happy about the binoculars. And Ellis will take pictures with the camera.

But Mandy is sad cause we will not go to Disney land because it is too far and maybe we will get to go on zero roller coasters the whole summer. She is sad about that. Maybe we will get to go on some.

We are worried cause we will not have things like our very own room instead we will be in a tent or somewhere, and then we will not get to go somewhere safe maybe. And we will not get to see susan, she is the nice lady we talk to. I talked to her today and we played a game it was with cards where you match them together and she almost won but then on my last turn i matched all the rest of the cards so I won. This is Mandy.

one good thing is W got her driving thing i cannot spell it and i do NOT want a grown up to help it is her lisens so i will spell it and you will know what i said. it is ok to do that i don't care if someone else does not like that way.

W will drive the car sometimes so i do not have to be big all day long i can be little. and i can ride in the front seat even though i am littel cause my body is big and that is why i can ride in the front seat. plus the back seat will probably be all filled up with things so there will be not one bit of room to ride back there.

we will live in a tent but that does not mean we do not have a home to go to just that we are on a trip cause we will go back home after the trip is over.

one other bad thing about the trip is we will see someone who we do not want to see. he will be there and he will probably say things like he loves J who is the one who is the body. but he does not. we do not have to be his frend but probably we will have to say something to him. but we do not have to hug him or something like that.

but mostly i think we will not see him, just one time or two times.

another thing bad about the trip is i cannot bring every singel toy i have. i have to only take some. i will take the paper dolls caues we can share those. and Horatio he is my tiger he is cuddely. i sleep with him and he will ride in the car with us. but i do not know what other toys i will take and maybe they will get lost if i bring too many.

i am also worried about this. we will see lots of people but they do not know i am there they think i am a grown up all the time and maybe they will not like to see a little kid.

also maybe susan will not like me any more when i come back. they say inside that she will but maybe they are wrong. i am worried about that.

this is one important thing. just caues we are going to see people like the family it does not mean that nothing bad happened. even if we pretend like nothing bad happened when we are there it does not mean that we are lieing it means that we are making a safe choice it is ok to do that. we did not make up bad things, those things happened, but also some good things happened. we can see peopel and that is ok and we do not have to say about the bad things to them caues they will not be nice. those people will not hit us or do soemthing like that but they will say mean things if we say about the bad stuff. that is why we will not say about it. it does not mean we are telling lies. everybody inside knows that. we made a plan that we will not tell about that stuff when we are there. but it is ok and it does not mean we made up the bad stuff. that is all.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Long time, no post

It's been a while since I posted. Lots, this is because some part doesn't really seem to want me to write. Some, because I've been busy with lots of stuff. And some... okay, it goes back to parts not agreeing on what to write, or what to write first.

So I'm just gonna say what I want to. This is Jamie. I got a pair of binoculars, partly cause I've been wanting some, and partly right now because we're about to go on cross country road trip this summer, and I'll get a good chance to look at the stars (which is why I wanted binoculars in the first place).

I tested them out tonight, and they are really, really cool. I looked at Jupiter, off of our front porch. Given that we live in Brooklyn, with a lot of light pollution, the fact that I saw this:

is really neat. I was just kind of looking, and then I realized I could see Jupiter's moons, or at least I thought that was what I saw. So I checked it out online, and found that set of images, which is pretty much what I saw!

So that's cool.

There's more stuff going on, but no one wants to write about it right now. The trip is exciting and good, but it's also got some parts worried, for different reasons. And there's a lot to be done before then. I'm happy about the road trip part, and I figure it won't be too bad with my family, since we won't actually be spending a ton of time with them. Maybe someone else will write more about all of that later.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Coney Island

We gotta go to the coney island yesterday. it is a place at the beach with food and games and rides and stuff. here is what we did. this is us and our friend k. she is nice sometimes but she likes teenagers better than littel kids but she likes me too. i am mandy.

we got food. it was a hamburger and fries. we ate those. then we went to the beach and we flew the pirate kite. it is a pirate ship and it is very big. it flies very good. but then it would not go back in its box. then k went to look for shells caues that is her favorite thing to get shells. then we went back to the car and put our kite away.

we went to the arcade place. we played skee ball where you rol the balls and you get tickets to buy prizes. then my thing ran out of tickets and the guy said to try this other game. at the other game, i got FIVE HUNDRED tickets. that is a lot caues usually you just get five or ten tickets for a gam. five hundred is way more then that.

then we played skee ball more. then we had ice cream. then k. bought a prize she likes very much, caues i gave her my tickets caues it was her birthday and that was a present. she got a dolphin. it is glas. she named it hungerdunger caues that is what i said the captain of the pirate ship was nammed and she liked that name that i made she knew i made that name and she liked it.

we had a lot of fun. it was good. lots of us inside went. it was me and teller and jamie and ellis a little bit and hip chyck. and then rynn was also there a littel bit too. we like to be with people where lots of us can go and spend time. it is more fun that way.

i am not gonna fix the spelling caues it is easy to read it it does not have to be perfect. i am a good writer. this is mandy.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

trying to cope

It's one of the annoying things I've had to deal with in the past year and more. I try to do basic things, and find myself overwhelmed with panic. I'm not talking about trying to do things that are that difficult, like say, sorting out my finances or writing the dissertation. I'm talking about things like basic, ordinary household chores. I put away half a dozen dishes, and find my vision going dim and my heart pounding.

So I'm admitting I have a problem, and I actually forced myself to put up some ads looking for some help getting the apartment organized. It's frustrating for me, because none of these things is actually that difficult. I used to be able to do them with ease. I used to be able to do so many things with ease; or, at least, I could just work through the panic attacks, rather than getting wiped out by them.

But between the fibro, which makes me so easily fatigued, and the issues so many of my parts have with me being a "grown up" or working too hard or whatever reasons they have for wanting me to be doing less.... Between all of that, I am finding myself falling further and further behind.

Some of it doesn't really matter, at least in the short term. I'm keeping up with the absolutely necessary bills; we generally have basic groceries in the house; I'm eating and sleeping and bathing (at least occasionally).

But W. and I are leaving for the summer, and paying the bills will be far easier if we can get someone to sublet our share of the apartment. This requires that the apartment be clean, and that we actually look seriously for someone to take the space. The summer trip requires deciding where we're going, and making reservations at least for the first week of it. It also requires getting the car set up for a long trip (getting everything checked, getting a full-size spare, getting a tire gauge). And it requires getting ourselves organized in terms of setting up how the car is packed so it's not constantly descending into chaos.

Oh, yeah, and I need to get my system to a point of enough stability that I can cope with travelling for eight weeks without seeing my therapist or checking in with online sources of support that often.

One of the problems is that when I start to try to cope with any one part of what I need to cope with, I get flooded with all of the other things that need to be dealt with as well; it's like those tasks have their own voices, and if I walk into the space in my head where "tasks" live, then they all wake up and start shouting. Another part of the problem is that if I start a task, it feels like I have to do it "properly," or I get even more stressed out about it.

I miss how things used to be. Sometimes, I'm not entirely convinced that it wasn't worth those occasional descents into really suicidal behavior, just to have the other times when I was able to cope with far more than most people try to do. I miss being really good at lots of things. I miss being able to ignore my discomfort and get lots of work done. I miss getting things done so much it sometimes makes me want to scream.

I know that it was the right choice to stop putting up the "walls" around my parts, and to give myself the room to heal. I do know that. But I didn't expect it to take so long to get stable, and I didn't realize I was going to lose so much more of my capacity to cope.

I guess it's just kind of whining, but what they hey, this is my blog, I'll whine if I want to.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Camping and general update

I haven't been writing for a few days, it seems. In part, it's because we were away for the weekend. We went camping with friends, and it was good. In part, that is because camping is fun (at least for some of us parts!). Jamie and Ellis both got to make fires, which they enjoy. Mandy and Teller got to play with a dog and get attention from a bunch of different people. And since W. was doing a lot of the driving (she needs to practice for her driver's exam), it meant the adults got a good break.

But the thing that made this weekend really special was that the friends we were camping with all knew about me having DID, and were very happy to meet and interact with my different parts. It was pretty casual--not so much formal introductions as different parts coming in and out, and all of them being welcome to be there. So that was quite nice. It really makes me appreciate my friends even more.

Then, after coming back, I spent several days wiped out, either by allergies or by a cold (it can be difficult to tell the difference). So Tuesday and yesterday were both spent pretty much napping and wiped out in bed. Today is a little better, but only because I've been able to breathe through my nose 90% of the time.

I (Cleo) had today's therapy session almost entirely to myself. I think Rynn was there in the beginning, but that's just a guess. We were talking mostly about the difficulties the adult parts (perhaps me in particular, but I think I'm not the only one of the adult parts who has trouble with this) have in identifying ourselves, and being self-aware.

There are a lot of things that go into it. For one, it's just that we're not really in the habit of thinking, "Hm. Who am I?" So we operate within the general framework, as though we are interchangeable. This would be fine if we were interchangeable, but it doesn't quite work that way. It's become more of a problem lately (as in, over the past three years or so) because the things that used to trigger a switch to the "right" part for a job aren't there so much any more. So without deadlines or other pressures, things are a little more chaotic. But I guess that without deadlines or other pressures, we might never have noticed the DID in the first place, so I can't exactly say I regret that.

Another problem is that we don't like to have to acknowledge we're different parts. At least, I don't. And since the other parts are less inclined to be self-aware, and don't even really have names they can be called as though they were people, I think it's a pretty general issue.

Tied into that is the fact that we (I) feel guilty for not being able to do things that the other parts can do. The Mama can cook, clean, sew, do all the things that make a house into a really pleasant place. She lives in my body and shares my brain, so it seems like I should be able to do these things as easily as she can. The Smart One is, well, smart. She can answer questions and has a lot of factual information; she is good at being academic; she is pretty social (within academic settings, anyhow). So I should be able to do all of that, too. And so on, through the parts.

Add to that the fact that the teenagers don't have the fatigue, or even a lot of the pain of fibromyalgia, and that they have a great deal of stamina. So I should be able to do that, and not spend all of this time sitting around feeling exhausted and aching.

It's frustrating enough for me when other people (outside) don't put as much importance on being efficient and orderly as I do. It's incredibly aggravating for me that there are people inside of me who also don't place as much importance on this as I do. I like to be efficient, organized, responsible. I like to take care of things, to get things done. And I have parts who are not allowing it to happen.

Okay, so my therapist thinks it's okay to not be efficient and responsible. So W. thinks this, too. So do most of my friends. It still drives me crazy. I feel guilty about all of the things I'm not doing. I feel guilty about not being responsible, not having a job, not getting my dissertation written.

And yet, I also am realizing that I, the part, am not the one who is really able to do most of these things. I guess I'm mostly the one who keeps on top of other parts to get the things done. Or something like that. I can kind of accept that this is a long process, and I'm only at the beginning of it. But it's annoying that, given that I know what should be happening, that I can't just decide it's going to happen, when I want it to, as quickly as I would like it to happen.

One example is co-consciousness and all of the parts working together. Using a little bit of insight, I can see that some of the resistance is coming because, deep down, I don't want to really listen to what the other parts have to say. I want them to do things my way, because I feel like I know what's best. Certainly, my way would get more things done, and make me happier. But I guess that isn't what the other parts want.

And if it's hard to accept that other people won't do that, just imagine how difficult it is to cope with the fact that other parts can take over my body and keep things from happening on my terms.

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Friday, May 25, 2007


I've been realizing lately how often parts switch in and out, without announcing who they are. Most specifically, this would be an issue in therapy. On Tuesday, after therapy, I realized that the person who had been "out" at the beginning was Rynn, who is 17. I don't really remember the session too clearly, so I can't really say what she talked about, or whether it was a problem for her to be the one in front, but it's something to keep track of.

Mandy also went, for the last bit. Don't much remember what she talked about, either, but I know she took the monster puppet, so I assume there was some talking about that.

I've been frustrated lately by the fact that I do have to behave as though there are other people inside the head with me. I mean, sure, it's all well and good if they're showing up in therapy, but to have to compromise with such a group of people over things like what we're going to do over the course of the day, or what we're going to do with our life. That's hard, because most of them just aren't as focused and driven as I am.

I was in therapy yesterday. We talked about that, among other things. S. (the therapist) asked what feelings I have. I had said mostly frustration or calm. I guess the frustration gets tied in with guilt, and the guilt is tied in with fear. I'm afraid of being exposed as not worthy of any of the positive things I've got in my life. I'm afraid of losing out on the good things I want to get. I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of being insulted. Lots of fear.

I can remember feeling very overwhelmed when I was still a teenager. I would walk to and from school, just feeling overwhelmed with all the things I was trying to cope with at the same time. I would be frustrated with myself for not managing my time better, for not getting things done far enough in advance. Now I realize that a big problem there was that the parts who did things like schoolwork really only showed up at the last minute, when the deadline was right on top of me. At the time, it just seemed like I was being bizarrely irresponsible.

The clearest visual I had from that time was of trying to build a really large building, but without a foundation, and without knowing what the plans were. I could only hold it together by maintaining absolute focus, and not letting any part of what I was trying to do slip. It was exhausting.

Seems like I'm not one of the better typists in here, and my head is very achey, so I'll end this for now. I'm getting really tired of using the delete key.

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