When we went in-patient for the first time almost five years ago, we wanted goals. Context (short version): We were drowning in shame from childhood trauma memories. Being productive while away from home for five weeks seemed important. Maybe from authors we read and therapists we had, we got the idea that we must love … Continue reading We don’t have to love ourself?
Spouse rode along with us to get our second vaccine dose. We recognize that the privileges of technology access, mobility, and family support allowed us to schedule this appointment and drive an hour to a rural pharmacy. Spouse has been reporting vaccine openings on a Facebook group in order to maximize people’s access to information. … Continue reading Updates on life events
We have unmet need for Safety. We are always looking for risks, dangers. Is there a way to look for evidence we are safe? The one person we’re not feeling safe about is us: we are worried our behavior will turn violent or will embarrass us or humiliate us. In that case, another unmet need … Continue reading Anchors to humanity
If we do not attempt to meet our needs, who will? If we wait to be rescued, we are putting our agency on hold, staking our life’s fulfillment on others. If they are well-adjusted, they know they cannot be responsible for our existence or even our contentment. Thus, we will wait in anger. We can … Continue reading Responsibility as a goal
Both children are in distress. Older Child has reached the point of 100% stress, 100% of the time. This is the point Younger Child reached last Fall. We are beside ourself with worry for them. We are recommending that Older Child consider mental health support. Spouse wonders if Older Child might move back home (classes … Continue reading Pandemic: prolonged mental health crises
(We use plural pronouns) We are working with New T on sitting with powerful emotions. Feeling hopeless and despair is uncomfortable. We normally dissociate instead of ride it out. New T had us use bilateral stimulation to activate both sides of brain. Having T with us allowed us to just be in pain for a … Continue reading In Now we must trust
There is so much uncertainty regarding Younger Child’s mental health, especially since this child has shut us out. Because our tolerance of uncertainty is low, we risk guaranteeing the worst outcome in our relationship—withdrawing, getting angry, using power-over—just to meet our need for order. Finally got to see New-T after T’s two-week holiday. T did … Continue reading Churning mind, tired Us
Trigger warning: we are feeling oppressed and want to say painful things that may trigger those with ptsd We sense that the childhood sexual abuse ruined life for us. Spoiled us like freshly killed meat left to rot. We learned too much, felt sensations too overwhelming for our precious Little selves. It was overload right … Continue reading Be gentle and survive
On a walk with Spouse today, we stopped suddenly. Spouse is used to this: do you need to hold on to me? No, we said. Where are we? We were one block over, about a 3-minute walk from home. We just couldn’t understand what we were seeing. We had no previous perception of this angle … Continue reading Time travel, map travel
Super depressed. Younger Child’s health struggles are hitting us hard. We are paralyzed with resisting and craving. We continue to feel responsible for most things that happen—especially everything others in our life find unpleasant As Younger Child struggles, our cognitive distortion’s mount: YC will be unhappy forever. We can’t live like this. We have to … Continue reading Disorders, thought distortions, and new therapists
T-2 is committed to helping us stay alive. We told T-2 if we can make it to Thanksgiving, we can make it until the end of the year because we have something that will uplift us for those 6 weeks. T-2 offered to call a prospective T we found through calling, calling, and calling. This … Continue reading Thank you, T-2, for trying
Trigger warning: self-harm, blood, anger, despair We reached out to 3 mental health clinics and 3 individual therapists this week requesting in-person therapy. Five responses: no. We have not heard from one clinic. No one has referred us to anyone who is seeing clients in person. We are amazed people return our emails. We always … Continue reading We don’t quit
All people do their best. Since we are people, we will hurt other people, succumb to base urges, like greed, and experience pain. Rolling with life is a challenge for us. The pain we are experiencing is acute, and we have so many voices in our head! Crying Littles. Judgments. Advice for how to act. … Continue reading Early Winter
Since we started weaning off meds, we have been dizzy and nauseous hourly. No abatement. Hunger—even a little—exacerbates the sickness. Now that we know that, we are trying to nip it in the bud as it intensifies. Eat as healthfully as we can. We used to have this level of vertigo, before our DID diagnosis. … Continue reading Learning to live with DID— again
Withdrawal spiked yesterday and we were crying and inviting death. Spouse was attentive. That really helped us to survive. Spouse kept saying this is not permanent. It will pass. That is one fear: that it is permanent and won’t pass. We slept a lot during the day. Nausea and dizziness walloped us. We tried to … Continue reading Planting seeds in life’s autumn
The meds that helped us get off xanax are themselves leaving our system. We have chosen no meds. Why? We don’t remember what we know and do not know. We know we are low on skills. But we don’t know what we need Now. We used to have energy. We used to have a fire … Continue reading Wait at the intersection
Is “try harder” possible? We are feeling trapped. OCD might play av party because we like rules. Breaking rules—or seeing with fresh eyes—helps get new ideas. Energetically, we cannot seem to keep boundaries. We feel other’s feelings. We aren’t sure how not to. That is why we like being alone. To recharge. Practice. Be free. … Continue reading Eyes closed until the ride stops
These are forecasted to be the final warm days of the year here. Autumn has often been a melancholy time for us. Suicidal ideation often spikes as the leaves fall. We think the trigger was the annual return to school as a child, which augured suffering because we could not sleep at night. Summer allowed … Continue reading We want to slow it down
We usually write when we have something to say or if we want support. This post does not fulfill either of those. We are just writing so that people know what is going on in case they are interested. Older Child will return to college in a few weeks. All classes are online. So why … Continue reading What’s going on with us
Tried another new therapist. Stopped after two sessions. Not a suitable fit. We received an ultimatum in the second appointment, and that did not meet our needs for Autonomy and safety. Going to try to drive the 37 minutes each way to see T-3 this week in addition to seeing T-2. Back to the basics. … Continue reading What now ?
We have lost much ground in: Being in our bodyMeditating Feeling any contentment Physical strength Therapeutic relationshipsHealing our traumas Cooperating internally Having friendships Expressing our gender We have gained ground in: Being compassionate to Younger ChildGetting off benzosAdjusting to new normals Things may not go back to the old normal. There is no knowing. Even … Continue reading Start (resume) where you are
Bodily functions warning ⚠️ Have been tapering down Xanax for more than a month. Stepped down to zero last night. This was not the plan. We were having withdrawal symptoms already. We needed several more days at current dosage. We didn’t crave it as much and thought we’d just get it over with. Slept very … Continue reading Medication withdrawal
We have been in COVID long enough for Younger Child to exclaim last week, “I just got upset because the people on the show [“The Office—US version] weren’t social distancing!” We all had a laugh and we were all a little fearful. In about 90 days, Younger Child has an adapted worldview that now recognizes … Continue reading If social distancing ends
Have brain zaps. Am so hypervigilant that doors opening and closing in our house are sending us up a wall. Tried to nap. No luck. It might be Xanax withdrawal. We are poor at tapering meds. We have apparently been on it too long. Years. Dangerous. New meds still has us sleepy. Not as much. … Continue reading Electrifried brain: meds
Dr. Colin Ross* uses a triangle to show the roles that trauma survivors tend to replay in their lives. At each point of the triangle is one of these roles: VictimRescuerPerpetrator Sometimes, we were a victim in real life, as with abuse. Sometimes, we suffer a medical emergency that is no one’s “fault,” and still … Continue reading Stop waiting for the rescuer
We see some of our thought patterns, we think. We think that the content may change and the thought patterns persist. In other words, we could complain about missing T-1, that Ts in general are harder to get help from, that a Child or Spouse is or is not doing X or Y. It is … Continue reading Rewiring a brain: 16.5
Some of our needs for therapy session needs are starting to get met. When shelter-in-place began, we had four therapists whom we were seeing 4-5 days per week total. We terminated our relationship with T-4 after one teletherapy session (we saw T-4 at least twice in person after other therapists stopped meeting in-person, so the … Continue reading Update on needs: therapy and meds
“These are days you'll rememberNever before and never sinceI promise... ...When May is rushing over you with desireTo be part of the miracles you see in every hourYou'll know it's true that you are blessed and luckyIt's true that you Are touched by something That will grow and bloom in you” “These are days” —10,000 … Continue reading May is rushing
Are there any therapists out there who aren’t too scared to help heal the long suffering? Are there any therapists who connect at the human needs level and are able to use love as a guide post instead of fear? Is there a therapist out there who, when times get tough like now, won’t retreat … Continue reading The therapists are gone
We met with T-2 in cars yesterday. T-2 is holding face-to-face sessions in clinic wearing masks, and we are too afraid and uncomfortable to do that. We pulled our cars next to each other, and T-2 wanted us to talk on the phone, so we did that. There is a lag in the phone so … Continue reading Seeking resources, not quitting yet
T-2 is going to start seeing clients again. Therapist and client have to wear a mask at all times and stay six feet apart. Our Littles do not want to do it. They are too scared of the masks. Scared of being contagious. Of being feared. Of being afraid. Afraid of being afraid is common … Continue reading Internal meeting
We are pausing our therapeutic relationship with T-1. This is scary. T-1 has been one of our strongest tethers. Will we ever see each other again? If not, thank you for trying to help us. We learned many lessons. T-2 will know this week if T-2 can begin seeing us in person in some capacity. … Continue reading Practicing love
T-1 agreed to our first socially distanced mental health therapy appointment. We have had two such sessions with T-3. T-1 had many concerns and objections that were voiced to us. Spouse was not thrilled with this level of sharing. Spouse worried about how much T-1’s objections were stressing us out. We accepted the specific objections … Continue reading Socially distanced mental health therapy
Love gets confused. We forget how Older Child is related to us. Some of our me’s see Older Child as our parent, some see Older Child as our sibling, some as our friend, some as our offspring This awareness is itself startling and dispiriting. If we can notice and not judge, maybe we will have … Continue reading creative vs delusional
It’s getting close to our worst right now We tried to help Younger Child. We see the suffering. And Younger Child thinks that fulfillment lies outside us This is what society teaches Young People: Your value is assigned by teachers as grades, by the number of followers and likes Do what adults say to you, … Continue reading Liberate us while we are young, or now
If we cultivate compassion within us, we can learn that our contentment is accessible anywhere and even under difficult circumstances For this to be true, we must practice states of mind that allow compassion Honestly, this feels almost impossible for us. Almost. Little wants compassion. So we seek it. Our cup has been empty for … Continue reading We must get to compassion
Somebody left our body and noticed we were lost in delusion. They came back in and invited us into the actual world. The actual world scares us. So we make other worlds. In these other worlds, we are usually being hurt. Usually emotionally. The premises are: Predictability is bestWe should suffer These are easy and … Continue reading End punishment
We keep writing and deleting drafts. Family gave us space for about 45 minutes last night. Littles came out❤️. They colored. Then we did Shaking and Dancing. Then we meditated on our family. When they came home, we crashed back to this new, high baseline of hypervigilance. Felt awful. Feel awful So is experiencing anything … Continue reading Another try at blogging
Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves
When we were Littles, we listened at night for danger. We stayed awake as long as we could. We were afeared, in terror. We do not know if we were afraid of real things, unreal things, real things that seemed unreal, or some combination. Maybe there are other reasons. We listened so hard that we … Continue reading Whisper people, trauma, thunder
We self-harmed physically yesterday. We do not do that often. We do not yet have the skills to fill the emotional void that wet intend to fill with self-love. The emotional pain was long in duration and deep in intensity. It’s the pain of Trauma from abuse and neglect. It’s pain of not yet understanding … Continue reading Being with pain
Up for more than two hours between 2-4:00AM. Since we couldn't sleep, even with a dose of prescribed chill pills, we got up after 1.5 hours. Tried some self-soothing, ate, did some Crossword Puzzle. It was fun to see the puzzle again this morning, after we slept some more and were more coherent. We had … Continue reading Healing hobbies (real “mind games”)
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)
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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?
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?
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
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
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
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.
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 react differently to mistakes we make when we are alone versus when other people witness our errors.
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.
[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"
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.
I don't recognize anyone in my system who is quintessentially "me." I have a birth name, and no one inside my brain identifies as that person. Not as the birth me and not as a host for the other parts.