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'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
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
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.
[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'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.
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)
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.
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.
Shame doesn't have to be permanent. There is a "cure":
Though it won't stick, today's winter preview is beautiful to me. Heavy, wet snow clumping on everything. I think of the baby birds now on their own and seeing snow for the first time--and so early! This experience may make first-year animals more cautious with food caching. Survival imperatives kicking in. Something I am learning … Continue reading First Snow
One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm
Feel your power!
I just spent 20 days as a patient in a trauma hospital. Patients were from all walks of life. No one complained about material deprivations in their lives, no one wished for more stuff or money, and plenty of patients were financially bereft. I pointed out that winning the lottery wouldn't help anyone here have … Continue reading Experiencing Life
Collage on construction paper mounted on poster board
Note: This blog's author often uses plural pronouns for self-reference. Most of what dictates how we are supposed to act (in public, at school, at work, etc.) is made up by people. We're not saying there is a committee actively making social norms for others to follow, though Ms. Manners and other champions of etiquette … Continue reading Breaking social expectations that violate your values
The dreaded days of fireworks. With PTSD, fireworks are gunshots, bombs, danger.
Last night, we dreamed of zombies. In it, our spouse was straying from our side amid a nighttime zombie attack. We couldn't keep spouse close to us, which increased panic. We saw a fallen body and instinctively moved toward it to help. Before we could get within 50 feet, the body was dragged away legs … Continue reading Turning stress into joy
These are hard faults to admit. And they are true.
As we aged, we transformed the rich experience of surviving the tornado into a static data point to prove our misfortune. Our therapist shows us how to add it back.
Practicing presence, after using dissociative states to survive for the past forty years, feels the same as if a doctor told us, "You've been living wrong all these years. Breathing air is harmful. You're supposed to be holding your breath forever, not breathing." That is how automatic dissociating has become.
Are you re-enacting the victim-perpetrator-rescuer triangle? If so, you are in good company (we do it). Here is why and how to stop.
Nature is teeming with messages for us if we tune in.
Maybe if we honk our horns less and talk to our neighbors more, we will all feel better.
When contrasted with the seasons, the events of our lives seem unpredictable. In reality, we probably exert some control over these seemingly less predictable circumstances.
Our goals in this blog post are to encourage you to obtain disability insurance or supplement your existing coverage, to warn you of the pitfalls of the disability insurance system, and to convince ourselves and you that we are not our financial status or our diagnoses.
We can find and fix the living nightmare that is so life-draining it has become invisible to you.
Five non-medication, fast and easy interventions for traumatic flashbacks.
The past is remembering Now a prior Now. The future is a fantasy. Practice being Now.
We keep reading in self-help books that "feelings are natural" and "judgments are dangerous." Wait, what's the difference between a feeling and a judgment? Can you have one without the other? We had to have it explained to us repeatedly, and we think we understand! If our boss says in front of coworkers, "I received … Continue reading Are You Intensifying Unpleasant Feelings with “The Layer”?
We can’t have a week of success at a new task without one day of success. Here’s how to start...