Thursday, April 24, 2008

busy, busy, busy

we're very, very busy and we've got a lot to do,
and we really don't have time to explain it all to you....

w is on vacation, and we've got a seder this weekend, so we're really insanely busy this week. i'll hopefully get a chance soon for various of us to post about what's been going on, but for now, enjoy the song linked at the bottom of this post! ;)

Busy Busy Busy - Kevin Kline by Sandra Boynton

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

sometimes i get tired of the pity party

this is going to be a fairly non-specific post, because i want to make it clear i'm not speaking about any one person or group of people.

but sometimes i get REALLY tired of the whole "pity party" that tends to happen when people are coping with having a history of abuse. sometimes, it feels like there's a culture of saying "oh, woe is me, these bad things happen and there is NOTHING i can do to change this, and now another bad thing has happened, and ANOTHER.... oh, woe is me. oh, i can't do anything to change this."

and then you look at the situation, and it really seems from the outside that there ARE things that person could do, but if you suggest those things, then you are being unsupportive and cruel and not validating how difficult things are.

i guess maybe part of this, on my end, is a reaction to my older sisters.

here's my usual example of the kind of thing i mean (no triggers, unless you get really freaked out by a lack of sympathy on my end, or by financial stuff):

my older sister has trouble with her finances. she tends to spend impulsively, and she doesn't budget. she is well into adulthood--she has spent more of her life over the age of 18 than under it. and she would keep having services shut off, and wound up having her house foreclosed, because of financial mismanagement on her end.

her response? to be upset that our mother hadn't taught her to budget when she was growing up. so it's not my *sister's* fault she had money trouble, because it was our *mother's* job to teach her to budget.

and i often see people (to my knowledge, not people who comment on this blog, in case you're wondering) who do the same thing with their abuse histories. they are like, "oh, i wasn't treated right when i was a baby, so now i am forever scarred, so feel sorry for me."

well, ok, yeah. we do get scarred. it totally sucks. but there are things we can do to change that. particularly once we reach adulthood, we have a LOT of options.

it's not like we can make things perfect, because we can't. yes, there are a lot of things that are hard. and there are days when i can't bear the thought of going on trying to cope and heal.

what i'm objecting to is the people who really do seem to be refusing to move beyond acknowledging the pain. the ones who spend a whole lot of time talking about how everything is so hard, and don't spend time taking responsibility for their own lives. with people online, i try not to say much, because i know that only a tiny part of who they are shows up, and it's entirely possible that they *are* doing a lot of things to improve their lives.

but sometimes, people online remind me so strongly of people in my non-computer life. the ones who, rather than sitting down and learning to budget for themselves, spend twenty or thirty years bemoaning the fact that they weren't taught to budget in childhood. the ones who refuse to take action on their own behalf, because they are still waiting for someone to come and save them.

and, yeah, i'm speaking from a place of privilege. i managed to figure out how to go to college, and because my parents weren't paying for it, that meant that when i left for college, they no longer had any concrete way of controlling me.

i was fortunate enough to not get into an intimate relationship until i'd done enough healing work to be aware of what a healthy relationship looked like.

i have been amazingly lucky in my friends. while we all have our issues, we do seem to be more likely to encourage people towards healthy rather than unhealthy behaviors.

i have also been fortunate in the therapists i've worked with (barring the idiots right after i was in the hospital, but that was two months out of my life, and i was able to see that they weren't doing me any good).

it's not that my life is perfect, or that i don't have hard days. and i don't know, maybe there are people who look at me and my life, and see that same pity party going on. i mean, i'm not working, because of the fact that between fibromyalgia and DID, it's just a struggle to get more than three or four "good days" in a row. and i'm sure there are people who look at me and think "well, if she would just ______ then she could be doing so much better."

so i do try to be sympathetic, and generally, i hold my tongue when people seem focused on having a pity party. sometimes, i even type words of support, trying to be compassionate and respond to their pain.

but then i get frustrated, and just kind of back off. because there are some people who seem to focus so much more on how other people mistreated them, and how they are wounded, than on figuring out how they can take control of their own lives, and change things for the better.

just had to get this off my chest. and apologies to anyone i might have offended by writing this.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Things that bug me

one thing i really can't understand is why people think it's reasonable to ride the train wearing enough perfume to make people sick. you'd think they would have more courtesy.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

For once, I remembered this before the month was over. (Oh, just checked, and realized I wrote about it last year, too. But it's a subject that could be written about far more often, so I'll do it again.

Here is a page with statistics about child abuse. There are also links at the bottom with a lot of other information.

Child abuse is altogether too common. Even if the statistics on abuse are inflated, the odds are, you know someone who has been abused (ok, if you know me, you do know someone who was abused as a child). And odds are, you know someone who has occasionally or routinely behaved abusively towards their children.

Abuse isn't always obvious. Families where the parents are abusive don't necessarily look any different on the outside. Abused kids don't always show signs of it. Abusive families can go to the zoo or the amusement park. The parents can treat their children well, particularly when someone is observing them.

Abusive parents might not even recognize that their behaviors are abusive. My guess is that more than 90% of abusive parents had no intention of abusing their children before it happened. There are a lot of reasons they might have wound up being abusive, but I think it's pretty rare for someone to say, "Hm, let me have a child in order to make their life a living hell."

And, speaking from my own experience, I'd also say that parents who are sometimes abusive also genuinely do love their children, and want the best for them. At the same time, whether they are over-stressed, or lack appropriate skills, or were abused themselves and are unable to recognize that what they are doing isn't okay... there are parents who do abuse their children.

I guess my point is, be aware that this happens. Try not to think of abuse as something that is rare, because sadly, it isn't. Try to recognize that even someone you like, even someone who seems like a really excellent parent, can also be abusive some of the time.

And let's try to do what we can to end the cycle of violence. It's not something anyone should have to experience.

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I admit I didn't get very excited by seeing the bulbs coming up or even by the days getting longer. But today for the first time this year I was able to leave the house without a jacket and THAT has me grinning. :)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

There was a cool street musician tonight

Here is the video. We can't figure out how to make it show up on here without uploading it somewhere else, so I'm just putting a link. I think it starts to play as soon as the link loads. I don't know if everyone's computer will show the video, but I hope you can hear it. It was pretty cool. I bet you'll know the song. It was a surprise to hear that song tonight! It made us smile.

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Car alarm birds

It's that time of year again. Over the past few days, I've been hearing the mockingbirds in our neighborhood singing one of their favorite "songs": the "car alarm" song.

The first time I heard this, about 8 years ago, I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. But it was that distinctive car alarm sound (WHEE-oop, WHEE-oop, WHEE-oop, breep, breep, breep, breep, BRAWK, BRAWK, BRAWK, BRAWK, oooEE, oooEE, oooEE). Ok, so maybe I didn't make it really clear in my description of the sound, but I think you know the one I'm talking about.

There are at least two, probably more, mockingbirds near my house who have been going through this song lately. I maintain hope that I'll be able to catch one of them in the act, and record it for posterity, and for the amusement of those who don't live near a car alarm bird. Maybe it would be even better to get it on video, but the birds are just shy enough that they always wind up flying away before I can get the camera ready.

On an only marginally related note, Brooklyn has not only mockingbirds that sing the car alarm song, but also a colony of parrots that live in the (urban) wild.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

I am writing a story!

Hi. This is Amanda. I'm 11.

One of the things I really like to do is to read books about normal kids doing normal things. Like The Penderwicks, which is a really good book about just ordinary kids one summer. But sometimes I want a book about a kid who is more like me, but I haven't found any. So instead, I'm writing a book like that myself.

Here is a link to the pages. Maybe you would like to read my story, and tell me what you think. You can leave a comment there, or here, if you want to! Thanks!

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Changing the World

A little bit at a time.

Maybe it started with the ninjas.

Living in cities, I've gotten used to seeing homeless people, sitting on the sidewalk, with a sign propped up next to them. The sign is generally written with sharpie or crayon, on cardboard. Usually, the signs are pretty much the same: homeless, need food, please help. Last December, I was walking through a craft fair, and saw a picture of a homeless guy with his cardboard sign. My eye began to slide past, but then I noticed what the sign said: "Ninjas killed my family. Need $$ for kung-fu lessons." I saw the actual guy yesterday, and gave him some of my pocket change. Why? Because his sign has made me smile for months. And because, using the same resources any other panhandler can access, he did something that created some change in the world.

But I know I was thinking about change before I saw that sign.

Probably it goes back to feeling really lonely last fall. One of the things many of the younger parts in my system want is to have friends who are their own age. It wasn't seeming possible. The in-person support group I attend didn't seem to lend itself to much contact outside of the group, and the people on the online support group I'm a member of are either located far away, or aren't interested in meeting in person. So I was thinking about ways of meeting other multiples, so that my younger parts could make friends with their younger parts. One of the things that came out of that was the new DID/MPD/Dissociative awareness ribbon. And I noticed how easy it was, when I just went ahead and got the ball rolling.

And so I've been remembering how all it takes is someone to get the ball rolling, and change can happen. It's not quite that simple. There is a lot of brainstorming and trial and error involved. It helps to have other people to help bounce the ideas around, and to share the excitement of the possibilities.

So yesterday, for a lot of different reasons, I started yet another bulletin board (see what happens when I get pretty much unlimited space online? And my current sites are only taking up a small portion of my available bandwidth, too, so the possibilities are pretty much endless!)

The bulletin board is It's a space for people to talk about what they want in their lives, and in the world, and then to come up with strategies for how to get there.

I think that for many of us, the process of healing from abuse, or coping with our own particular brand of crazy, can be really isolating. We begin to focus on small things, to spend more time looking towards the past. And there is a place for that. But I think it's also important to make sure we look forward, and take the steps to make our future lives the kind of places we want to be.

What's more, I look at my life, and realize that I didn't start off with especially many resources. I don't have especially many resources now, or at least, not more than many other people I know. So when I think about the way I'm able to have things in my life, I believe that it's possible for others as well. Maybe we all starting out with cardboard and a sharpie, but we do have some choice about what we do with them.

So if you're interested, please check it out. And if you know of some people who have ideas, but don't know how to implement them, please let them know about the site. I think it can be a lot of fun.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

sometimes i feel like a fraud

not about the DID. that, clearly, is really going on.

but... here's the thing. i have been working on pages for coping in crazyville. and i try to write things that are useful, helpful, optimistic there. i do the same a lot of the time when i post to a mind's journey.

i write things that, at some level, i know are true. i offer suggestions, support, advice.

and then i turn away from the computer, and there i am. severely depressed, or hurting. unable to find my way out of my own problems.

who am i to be talking about possibilities for change, ways of coping with feeling suicidal? it's not like i routinely get through days without feeling bad, it's not like i don't have times when the only way to cope seems to be that i just need to be dead.

and yet, when i'm able to read that information myself, it helps me, too. so i know it's good information. when i'm able to follow it, it does work.

but i feel like a fraud. it's like i'm saying things, but just faking it. i do kind of realize that it's not faking... that's part of having DID, i guess. that i will watch what other parts are doing, and it doesn't feel real for me. i mean, there are parts who really do genuinely seem to enjoy life.

sometimes i feel like maybe i should just hide, never make anyone have to deal with me. what is good about *me*? all i bring to this equation is a lot of pain and upset, anger, unhappiness. and it feels disingenuous when i am here, watching my body write these other things, these things that are focused on being more proactive. i don't feel proactive. i am not able to follow the advice i see *someone* in my body handing out.

and if i can't follow it, then why do i bother putting it online at all?

yesterday, someone wrote a page about the difference between help and rescue. but at the same time, there i was, just wanting someone to solve my problems. there are pages on the website about how it's important to choose life, and how other concerns don't matter as much when it comes down to a choice between those and being alive. but here i am... i get to a point where i can't cope, and it really does seem like the best choice is to just be dead, because i can't see any other way out.

so i feel like a fraud, offering the advice i don't really believe.

(um, i really don't want the sympathetic "everyone deserves to be alive, you're not a fraud" kind of comments, please. or the kind that say "you are SUCH a fraud, you're a horrible person, etc." for that matter. not sure what kind of comments i *do* want, but i know it's neither of those.)

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