This journey that we are on is about survival. The ways we survived in the past stopped being effective more than three years ago That has left us exposed, vulnerable, without skin. We have spent our time nursing our wounds and making new skin. And we are attempting to remake ourself, not just heal what … Continue reading Liberation into Now
We had our initial intake for a new therapist today. This therapist's specialty is Somatic Experiencing. Our goal in adding this fourth therapist to our lineup is to extend the mind-body connecting we started in the hospital last fall. Since fall, we tried contacting five other therapists with some sort of specialty in movement, mind-body, … Continue reading New Therapist (Intake Part I)
We let ourselves be swallowed up this weekend. Swallowed up by the space between sessions. The silence from them. The desperation from us. We forget they are still there and still want us. And now, with new boundaries, we cannot confirm they are still out there--living their lives and still connected to us. "We are … Continue reading
What is alive in us right now is fear and shame and hope. Fear that the relationship with Therapists is broken or that we won't heal it. That we will focus on the clouds instead of the silver linings. It is so easy for us to find the fault lines and use them as excuses … Continue reading Clouds or silver linings?
Three people we are close to have set new or renewed boundaries with us in the past few weeks, including one today. We have some self-judgments (harsh) regarding what this says about us. Therapist today, who set boundaries (for the second time in a week), says we are simply trying to get our needs met. … Continue reading Boundaries
Do you get bogged down in the details of your story? In the telling and retelling? We do! In life, we feel an emotion, such as anger or fear, with the shock and force of a paper cut, and we are off on a trail of actions/events that almost always lead back to a major … Continue reading What is alive in us now?
Everyone and everything and all experiences are teachers if and when we are receptive to the lessons. We spent much of our working career in a college, which means we spent most of our life at school. This was by choice because we like learning and teaching. Here is what Nonviolent Communication (NVC) teaches about … Continue reading Empathy for those who piss us off
Please be honest about how you think/feel. Gauging our perception is useful. Also, we can handle being wrong and can respect opinions/perceptions that do not mirror our own. Younger Child's school sent out a mass email that reads: We want to remind you of State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines to use when determining if … Continue reading Is this email factual, ambiguous, or not factual?
"...take your time. Those three words give you the power to come from a spirituality of your own choosing, not the one you were programmed for... It's critical for me to be able to slow down, take my time, to come from an energy I choose, the one I believe that we were meant to … Continue reading Take your time
We are practicing in therapy sitting with and surviving distressing emotions. Five days. Five therapy appointments. Four consecutive days of distress. (Mondays are usually just committing up the weekend.) Change feels like getting ill. Like influenza. People often recover from influenza. We have. DID Trauma therapist says, "What if more resourced parts of you give … Continue reading What change feels like
In quantum physics, it is our understanding that a particle can theoretically be in two places at the same time. Maybe it has to be in both places at once. However, when the phenomenon is observed (ie measured), the particle is in only one position. Does the perceiving spoil the reality? Can we only be … Continue reading Always falling into both
There are many ways to self-harm and many reasons why. Scary: Right now, it seems as though Punisher wants to hit our head a lot and some of us want him to do it. Why? We think because we want him to show us he still cares enough to hurt us, to show us love … Continue reading Try? Or guarantee our own failure?
Little ones still get confused sometimes when breathing. When we were young, we used to think our tummy should go inward on the in breath and balloon out on the out breath because you breathe in and exhale out. We could not quite understand the synchronicity of the breath, until a few months ago, when … Continue reading Breath work is work
In a remarkable turn of events reminiscent of the Moon Landing and the first circumnavigations of the globe by sea and air, local college student Older Child reportedly washed a pile of dirty laundry last night for the first time since beginning college more than four months ago. "Well, yah, I was running pretty low … Continue reading Live Updates: College Student Washes Clothes
It's OCD. Every decision is an attempt at optimization, perfection, economy. Don't crack the egg for the pancake batter until the pan for the fried eggs is heated or you'll have to wash hands twice and crack eggs twice. Who cares? They're fucking eggs! You can't use another knife to make this meal. You already … Continue reading Perfectionism is using up life energy
Does early childhood trauma make someone more prone to subsequent trauma? Maybe. If not, we were simply unlucky. For sure, our traumas have had a cumulative effect on us. PTSD. At 12 or 13, we were the victim of what today they might call a hate crime. The police acted quickly and told us the … Continue reading Who has our back?
We don't think we amount to much. We are on government assistance, do not work, we complain a lot, feel persecuted, have many mental diagnoses, live in fear. We went to dinner with Spouse last night. This is brave for us. Our food was awful. Really bad. We couldn't eat it. We didn't complain so … Continue reading Be incredible for our time
Until we were a young adult, we could not solve the mystery of realistic paintings hanging in art museums. People would stand in front of a painting that depicted throngs of people frozen in time, and the observers would study the painting and talk about details in specific, knowing ways, as though they were watching … Continue reading Our original stories
Older Child returned to college this week. This house is filled with people grieving. When our body and mind experience pain, Punisher--one of our protectors--begins a long-establishes process of self-harm. Punisher ranges from a newborn to age 3. Punisher often initiates chaos and then becomes an infant, with whom you cannot plead, bargain, reason. Punisher's … Continue reading Changing Established Patterns of Behavior
We are working through the book _The Transformation _ by James Gordon. His Mind-Body solutions to healing trauma were the basis of the last hospitalization program we had in the fall. We learned that we need our body in order to heal. Dissociation is disembodiment. It's a leaving, an abandonment of self. While that saved … Continue reading Transformation
It can be healthy to set goals for a new year. It can be unhealthy, too. To make it healthy, make small, sustainable changes. For example, if you want to start meditating, revive a meditation practice, or extend a meditation practice, try what feels achievable and realistic. Five minutes twice a day is a useful … Continue reading Small steps are most effective for making changes
Negative thoughts are setting us up for a negative outlook. If we think, "We didn't do a good enough job," then we feel like a failure. We don't want to replace the negative with a positive, though, which might sound counterintuitive. Positive would probably help our outlook more than negative. And what would help the … Continue reading Reframing thoughts without judgment
We are alone by choice. Spouse and Children are with Spouse's family for holiday celebrations. This is not for us right now. The problem is that we are slipping further and further into dissociation and delusion in general. We are living in conflict in our head much of the time. Punisher invents scenarios, dramas, delusions … Continue reading Agency
So many hard things are going on. We are suffering. Hope is low. Primary therapist told us to really dive into any joy that we experience, and use it as motivation to know it can happen again. This is dangerously close to resisting what is and clinging to what we don't have, and we can … Continue reading Joys to notice and share
We have to write this blog post somewhat frequently because we lose our grip on "real" vs. "not real" and--as importantly--why it matters. Sorry if you have read this type of thing before. This processing feels useful. We keep getting confused about what "real" really means. When we have a dream, as we did last … Continue reading Is this the same world?
Have you read _Nonviolent Communication_ by Marshall Rosenberg? The concept of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is not at all transparent. The reason NVC works as a mediation tool is because there is no compromise required: everyone gets their needs met. No one has to give up what they want because, when human beings truly listen to … Continue reading No compromise.
You’re not doing it wrong. It takes practice. When you find yourself in the same thoughts, circling the same carcass like a Turkey Vulture, look at the carcass—study it. What can you call that pile of roadkill? If you're worry is, "Will I succeed or fail?", that sounds like "attachment to outcomes.” Outcomes are what … Continue reading If you’re stressed about outcomes
We have a person we want to be friends with. Person replied positively to our text asking if we could be friends. And our few follow-up texts were replied to briefly and with an intention for lengthier connection in the future. After a week of hearing nothing, we are anxious. And uncertainty is a gift. … Continue reading Liberation in love
If we didn't have trauma, how hard would it be to have Older Child gone at college? Spouse is still crying on and off, mostly because Older Child came home for the weekend and has returned to college. We were mostly dissociated while Older Child was home. We wanted Older Child to ourself, like all … Continue reading How much can you take?
One of our therapists said the "middle way" is felt, not thought. You can't rationalize your way there. You have to dwell in the land of feelings to know. We acted out of accordance with our values. Spouse called it a choice. That may or may not be accurate. She views it as a choice. … Continue reading Choosing to respond versus reacting
Seeking pleasure ignores whatever is happening now. If we do experience pleasure, we try to cling to it. It ends anyway, and then we mourn it. Avoiding pain ignores whatever is happening now, especially when it's pain. Avoiding what is actually happening causes suffering because we want pleasure and have its opposite. We crave pleasure. … Continue reading What is the “Middle Way”?
We started a partial hospitalization program (PHP) at a local hospital that accepts DID patients. Why have we not known about this program before? Each time we come home from in-patients/residential, insurance sends us a letter, "Hi, I'm a free health coach. I'll call you soon to see how I can help you!" They call … Continue reading Started PHP
If we could accept our emotions and experiences in the present, or even when we reflect on them, our load would be lighter. Yesterday was spent with Older Child, who leaves for college in a few days! We're not sure who among us was present with him, and we worry, "Are we doing it right … Continue reading Acceptance for Tin Man
We wrote 26 different intentions/affirmations on scrap paper and put them in a brown lunch sack. Each morning, at breakfast, each present member of the family picks an intention. Then, at dinner, we discuss how we did. If we followed through or tried, we praise. If we didn't try, we still have time before bed … Continue reading Intentions project
I have so much to say. Our inside people have so much to say. We're trying to prepare to speak to each other. Right now, we're experimenting with a new inside place. Many thanks to KenKen and Naomi and therapists for inspiration. We have magic. We're not spending much time exploring or developing it. We … Continue reading So much to say
This post is an update on us. We went in-patient for trauma for 14 days. It was a somewhat helpful stay to stabilize us. We were not eating enough and had begun a spiral of pushing away people close to us. We went to the ER twice for IV fluids due to lack of sustenance, … Continue reading Back from in-patient trauma hospital
When we are Little people, many people think our parents can and will protect us from anything. And if we survive, that view is confirmed. It is made into fact: we are alive because our parents protected us. The truth may be more complicated, though. Your parents may have provided support for your survival, and … Continue reading all or none
"I feel like I need to wake up," she said, and smiled at me. "But I don't know what from. Or to." --Wildlife by Richard Ford We put a new sign on the dishwasher. One side says Clean and the other says Dirty. A magnet from a floor drain/sewer servicer holds the page-day-calendar sized paper, … Continue reading Wake up and notice
We sprang off our bed and ran foot-first into the edge of the bedroom door. Pain. Blood. Lots of both. This happened on July 4. Yesterday, it became clear that we might not need medical attention. The wound is still weeping, and we kept it clean enough that it could start to heal. Luckily, we … Continue reading Another injury, another lesson
"To strip yourself of pretense is to overthrow a hard master, the fear of giving yourself away" --Tobias Wolff Old School No routine right now. Summer brings children and spouse co-occupying this house. We are lucky to have spouse, to have children, to have a home, to have therapists invested in our healing. We are … Continue reading Give your truth
The traumas themselves are over, and the Punishing part of our mind is making us travel through time and space. We are young, we are scared, we are victims, they are coming to get us. Sick feeling in tummy. Dizzy feeling in head. When we try to remind us of the year, we say, "It's … Continue reading Soft voice, nice words
So much of our thinking is flavored by these plotlines. Our mind does not appreciate uncertainty, and so these familiar stories help us write the rest of an unfolding or prolonged situation to its bitter conclusion.
The stress feels productive. It feels like we're doing something, like we're taking steps to remedy this forgetting about the road closure and the one-minute buffer to get to the haircut.
About three minutes after we sat down, a man approached us. We recognized him from our years of visiting this property. He is employed by the property manager. He is probably an inch or two below six-feet tall, has a shaved head, wears all black, and is very muscular to the point that we presume he is a serious weight-lifter.
Moods pass like clouds in the sky. One minute you are stressed about a new stain on the couch and 15 minutes later you are cracking up at a text conversation with your friend. You are both of those people: the regretful person and the laughing person. Or, if you take a Buddhist approach, there … Continue reading Moods, peanuts, and no self
3-day weekends are hard for us. Lots of time around other people. We and our children are much less effective at night: decision-making poorer, emotional brain overwhelms rational brain. Consequently, at night, little problems seem bigger. For us, that often leads to nightmares, and then we wake up disoriented. We finally have some alone time, … Continue reading Practice, patience, and repetition
Pay attention to young people! They may be carrying unspeakable burdens of shame inflicted upon them by others. Your kind word--just speaking their name--may make them feel welcome in a world that may have no rules for them.
A poem with art to support us
We injured ourselves again via inattention. Walked home from mental health therapy without being grounded in our body. A child operating a heavy machine. Twist. Foot ligaments damaged again. This is our most common injury: twisting foot ligaments. Two years ago we injured the left foot at least 5 times. We strengthened both feet's ligaments … Continue reading The practice is to be human
We're studying consciousness and trying to notice our states of being as they arise (someday we might notice when they pass, too). Paying some attention to how our emotions and sensations affect our particular moment-to-moment consciousness has yielded some strange mind thoughts, too. For instance, why does the name of every Canadian city with a … Continue reading Reflections on Consciousness
A poem with photographs
If control over gray wolves (aka timber wolves) is returned to the states that don't currently control them--namely, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin--these states can implement trophy hunting of wolves. Please don't kill wolves. They have delicate social structures so that killing an alpha is like killing the sole income-provider of a large family. The family will … Continue reading Please don’t kill wolves
A poem about always investing in yourself
You practice a fire drill when there is no fire. The goal is to know what to do in case of a fire. So it goes with mental health coping skills and crisis planning: practice when you are relatively calm so that you know what to do when you are panicked. We are panicked. We … Continue reading This is why we practice
We react differently to mistakes we make when we are alone versus when other people witness our errors.
We all have magic. The way to find yours is to spend time noticing. Avoidance of self and inner-experience is a barrier to being. Running to the next distraction. Running from the crying child inside your mind. This culture has all the augmented reality and not-you experiences needed to live a life that is devoid … Continue reading The only True You
Saturated fat from the fruit of the Doofo Tree will harden your arteries faster than an Alberta Clipper freezes a puddle!
Want to make the biggest difference in the universe starting today? Follow Salty’s take on limiting suffering, and start with yourself. We will keep trying the practice.
Everything rots. This is the sunny insight that starts us off on the Path.
Ya don’t have to start there, but it helps. It keeps us focused and motivated. It also keeps us from being surprised by the sudden calamities we come across in life.
This was the insight that kept me away from Buddhism when I first stumbled on it. I wasn’t ready to hear such pessimistic shit at the time. Then, well, the next five years were hell, and it started to make more sense.
There’s nothing sacred here. Circumstances provide us with everything, and then take it all away—including our bodies and minds. When we toss self-interest and self-concepts into that merry-go-round, the cosmos seems like an unfathomably cruel place.
We lose our youth, our health, our vitality; we lose our friends, loved ones, and possessions. A few months ago, I noticed hair growing out of my…
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Just concluded the most challenging week outside a hospital. We chose to show up. We were vulnerable in public. Still showed up. Scared. Shaking. Staving off tears with strangers in a closed room. Stayed there. We didn't want all that blood drawn and the pain from the shot. Still showed up and did it. We … Continue reading We showed up
I don’t usually get to write this blog!
We may not share disorders in common, and we may share feelings of low self-worth.
Have you ever heard of "off-label" use? We don't do this with medication. We do this with books. Let me explain.
The time we spend together as a family--Spouse, Younger Child, Older Child, and Us--in nature is literally the only time we feel truly rich. No phones, no politics, no materialism. Just us and trees or prairies or mountains or snow--and animals, almost always birds.
[This blog may use we/us and I/me pronouns interchangeably] We used to write fiction for fun. We wrote a humorous novel. It took us, like, twelve years to finish it. Maybe longer. We worked diligently on it for the last five or six years. It was among our primary hobbies and consumed many a weekend. … Continue reading Your hobby or your life?
Wow, we are making this shit up as we go; and it sounds like we might be onto something, doesn't it?
We are considering some sort of morning video or ritual to remind us the crucial rules, the ones people tell us are real, such as these 12 "rules"
The field of Positive Psychology says people pursue happiness in 3 different ways
I was getting annoyed that family member was starting to re-ask the same questions and was getting stuck in "analysis paralysis." I tried to look inside myselves to see how I could survive this
A somatic therapist with decades of experience encouraged me two years ago to replace "but" with "and" when I spoke to her, because so many things can be true at once. I was using "but" to refute, negate, and isolate myself. Once I started trying to replace "but" with "and," I noticed how reliant my … Continue reading No buts
I'm in a challenging spot. I'm low on energy and my therapist says I'm low on resources because I've pushed away the parts of me that know how to cope in new, healthy ways. So we're using old ways: OCD, anger and self-punishment. OCD sees the out-of-control world (our spouse is sick and we're stepping … Continue reading Back to basics
Every other Monday I set my phone to remind me of specific events in my life that I consider miracles. I'm not religious, and I'm very spiritual. Many of the miracles were signs delivered by nature, some by people, some by what could otherwise be considered unbelievable coincidence. Some saved my life. Some saved the … Continue reading Miracle Monday
Now it's time to parent myself. To provide my many Littles with the love, understanding, and safety they never received.
Are health insurance company interests influencing your mental health treatment?
You probably want to be free of suffering. I want to be free of suffering. Deep down, we're probably all compassionate beings.
A shaking leg A quivering voice These are Sure signs Of bravery Below are the steps to make this project, followed by a short video link that documents its creation: 1. Wrote an original poem in permanent marker on a ceramic salad plate 2. Put the plate in a gallon-size zipper bag 3. Dropped the … Continue reading Poetry Art: smash and assemble (with instructions)
Small changes can add up. For example, say you want to have more money (ideally to pay down debt, save for retirement, or go on a vacation). If you switched to a cash-back credit card, brought home lunch and beverage to work/school every day or every other day, and made a few other tweaks, the … Continue reading Go big or go home? Or make little changes?
The air turns toothy and gnaws memories back to plasticity like two-day-old gum. The past stretches and bends and lacks the flavor of then. It absorbs ambient tastes. Feeds on dying leaves and burning wood. Instead of withering, I lose 30 years in a train whistle blasting through porous trees. I am dying of youth.