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?
The USA needs compassionate first responders trained to deescalate mental health crises so that a call for help doesn’t become a death sentence, as it can especially for people of color. This is a call for reform to public health so that police trained to incarcerate or enact violence are not deployed in mental health … Continue reading Call to action: petition
Being mentally ill or experiencing a mental health crisis can increase your chances of death by police in the US, especially if you do not have access to supportive crisis resources and particularly if you are non-white. As published on The Hill, according to authors of newly proposed US federal legislation, people with untreated mental … Continue reading Mental health disorders and police reform in the US
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
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
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
COVID is raging in the US. Our local schools reverted to all distance learning this week with no notice. The schools aren’t transmitting infection; the community is. But so many students and staff are getting COVID (from community activities, such as restaurants and social gatherings) that contact tracing is becoming too big a job for … Continue reading Doomsday scenarios
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
We use we/us pronouns. When trying to grasp the concept of white privilege in the United States and Canada, and even anti-racism as we see it, it might help to consider the colonization of the land and genocide against the indigenous inhabitants. So much of colonial perspective is taken for granted by the colonizer, in … Continue reading White privilege: Established by force. End date TBD
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
Trigger warnings: blood, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, etc. When we want control, our go-to is to withhold food from us. While it may not sound ideal to starve children, and it isn’t, please know it’s the children doing the starving of the body. When we get sick from hunger, getting food in us can be … Continue reading Survival soup
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
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
COVID-19 pandemic is not over in our house. We are still social distancing. Some people act like it is over, and we do not want to judge a view as right or wrong. We walked with Spouse this weekend and saw elementary school kids playing organized American football—close contact among players, coaches, and parents with … Continue reading Is the pandemic over or continuing?
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
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
We heard of Juneteenth a year or two ago. This year, it is getting more attention because systemic racism is getting more attention since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police. You can learn about Juneteenth history. We signed a change.org petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday in the USA. Most US states are … Continue reading Celebrating Juneteenth
Friend Eliza wrote about an experience that resonates with us. Her blog is here. She wrote about the need for reassurance from a friend that the friend is still there. We have that kind of urgency with T-1. We would urgently need to text T-1 because we panicked T-1 had forgot us. T-1 told us … Continue reading Gentleness for cravings
We left the house. Someone got killed. A police officer met some of his own needs without meeting George Floyd’s most important needs. Others watched and did not meet their needs to help George even though they feared he was being killed. It happened very close by. And worlds away based on how we are … Continue reading Why we demonstrated
Maybe take in a deep breath Maybe let it out slowly Maybe repeat this a few times. Maybe sigh if it feels like a release Can we have compassion for ourselves to start? For how we were raised, for what we believed, for questions asked and unasked? Now can we have compassion for those we … Continue reading Compassion for change
Through our shared humanity, all lives matter. So why is it important to talk about black lives mattering? All lives should matter equally. That is …Why I Use My Voice to Say Black Lives Matter
[Update: it is morning and we are safe]
A message today to our neighbors, near and online: Some People feel unequal and some are resorting to violence. These are two separate things. We acknowledge feelings of inequality. Remember: Hatred never ends hatred but by love alone is healed. Gandhi learned it, Mandela learned it, MLK learned it. Peace alone doesn’t necessarily increase people’s … Continue reading Love as a guide during civil unrest
At one of Dr. Ross’s hospitals, we had the opportunity to have a public (in front of all patients and staff on the Trauma Ward), one-hour therapy session We had seen this session before starting in 2017. Dr. Ross would fly into town, visit the ward, and hold a public therapy session once per week. … Continue reading Declining teletherapy before it was cool, and now the risks to life
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
Love is probably the best we can do In general We like our thinky brain. We use it. It will help on this journey. And our feeling brain is probably where we need to heal and grow and experience life We live our life in fear. So moving to a point where we can ever … Continue reading Love is the best we can do
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
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
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
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
This is not an easy post to write, because it feels embarrassing and triggering. And we feel isolated around these issues and wonder if other survivors and those with OCD might also share some of these struggles. If not, it was worth a try. Urinating is highly triggering for us because of sexual trauma. There … Continue reading Toileting and hygiene with trauma and OCD
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
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
A Post from a trusted source:People are scared right now, and this fear is making them do stupid, greedy things. The fact of the matter is that everyone gets sicks, sooner or …In Times of Worry: The COVID Scare
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
In therapy earlier this week, we were triggered/moved with very, very deep emotion and instinctively got up to seek a hug from Therapist. T said, "No." And we crumpled to the ground and sobbed. The denial of contact felt like the parents' denial of nurturing every night of our childhood. The recognition of the pain … Continue reading Filling the big void inside
The barrier to healing in therapy for us has been the lack of connection among all these rules of healthy thinking. It's like, here's your brain (pile of goo) and here is a healthy brain (robust head of cauliflower). For us, what we think we are discovering is that we need top-down therapy: we need … Continue reading Truth to sink roots
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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