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:

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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