Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh the irony...

I was reading my DID book... Dann wanted to talk...
"Well... sometimes... you get so angry, and its like another person takes over. That person is just so CRUEL, and I know its not you, and I don't know how to handle that person."
I looked down at the book I was reading, looked back up at him, and I laughed. I couldn't help it. Apparently, this book is exactly what I need right now...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

so THAT'S why

In the DID book, the author is talking about somatic flashbacks (body memories). She explains that our conscious memory is termed explicit memory. It is the kind of memory we use for recalling facts and events or any information from the past that is consciously available.
Implicit memory, however, is the memory in which you know something but do not remember how you know.
"...behaviors and attitudes that have simply become "a part of you." Because implicit memory is thought to be involved in the processing of strong emotions, it is understandable why some traumatic memory might be experienced primarily as emotion or physical sensations rather than as concrete vocabulary."
That is what happens EVERYDAY. My body experiences a lot that I don't fully understand. I feel sensations and pain and... Then I feel emotions... fear, anger, panic, disgust at myself, homesick, etc.
"As we make sense of our lives, we fill in the blanks of our memories and create an ever-changing narrative of who we are in the midst of our life experiences. It appears, however, that traumatic memory does not change significantly over time, which is one reason flashbacks and unexplainable bodily sensations can create such a sense of panic as they begin to emerge."
Yep!!That's it. It so confusing to FEEL all that while I am in the present, but not... but...
I wish I could explain this better...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

If he says so...

On Paul's suggestion, I'm diving in to "The Dissociative Identity Sourcebook."


In the first chapter it talks about what DID really looks like as compared to what the media portrays it:
"The major indicators of DID generally include such characteristics as inner voices, nightmares, panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, body memories, loss of time, handwriting differences, differences in appearance, and severe headaches..."
Is there any one of those things that I don't have??
DID is about survival.
"It allows strong, and often conflicting, emotions to be kept in separate compartments in the mind."
I knew that. I think everyone does it to a small degree. Although it is possible to feel both happy and sad at the same time, many people don't. To most, its a matter of "focusing on the positive," and therefore only feeling the positive. Our society pushes people to DID...

Friday, November 27, 2009

The answer is... Slippers?

I'm not sure what prompted me, but I wore slippers to the horses. I brought my boots too, and I normally would have put them on before going to get Sunny. I just didn't feel like it.

As I walked up to his stall, I quickly realized that I could not walk in AT ALL to get him. There was too much crap (haha... literally) on the ground, and I wasn't going to go in with my slippers. Next thing I knew, Sunny had walked to the gate and put his head out of it by the time I had opened it. I didn't have to set a single foot in.

I didn't think much about it at the moment, but then...

Normally Sunny is slow to come to me, if he does at all. Often, I stand there feeling rejected, sad, and desperate. I NEED him to come to me. I don't understand why I can't just walk up to him. Why do I expect him to walk to me? I SHOULD go to him. But I can't, because that's not right, and I need to do it right, I need to be strong, and hold my boundaries, but why should I be so demanding... I feel so much doubt and confusion when I walk up to his stall.

Today, there was no confusion. I just wasn't going to walk up to him, and it was like he knew that, and he responded to it. And I wish I knew how to repeat it... without wearing slippers...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lesson learned... again...

I wanted to go riding on Saturday. Generally, I try to reserve Saturdays for Dann... so, I (very tentatively) asked him what he thought.
"That sounds fine to me. I am up for you going riding any time!I love how happy you get when you go and how much it helps you... so anytime... and I mean that!"
Thank you. Are you sure? I don't want you to feel upset, or unloved, or forgotten, or lonely, or... You are important to me, and I want you to feel that. I'm not home a lot, and when I am...
"No worries. I know all of that, and when you get home, you always make me feel special. I will let you know when I don't like it...remember I don't have that little voice in my head stopping me from sharing??"
Oh yeah... Just because I have a hard time asking for what I need, and I wait until I am about ready to explode before I say anything... Just because I am hurting and I keep it to myself... Just because I have a filter in my head that tells me I shouldn't say ANYTHING out loud... That doesn't mean other people do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My definition has changed.

I've been thinking about the ten years in between "eating disorders". I used to tell myself and everyone else, I was recovered. I wasn't.

I was in Compliance. I did everything everyone wanted me to, because everyone wanted me to do it. I just stopped listening to everything inside of me, because everything inside of me was too crazy to listen to. I couldn't trust anything that came from me.

That wasn't good enough. I wasn't happy living like that, so one day, I did it differently. Unfortunately, the only thing I knew that was different was the eating disorder.

Fortunately, this time, I am in recovery. I am learning to trust me. I am learning to do what needs to be done because I want to. I am learning to love myself completely. I am learning to really listen... to others and to me. I am finding healing. And this time, its for reals.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Its complicated... and apparently... complex

I met with Espra. It was so good to see her again. She makes me smile. She is so... herself... which just feels good to be around. I also missed the way she makes me laugh at myself and at the crazy life I live. There are not many people in the world that can make me feel loved, show me the crap I have been through is really crappy, and have me laughing all at the same time. She did it.

As for EMDR, her training is for simple trauma only. Apparently, I have experienced complex trauma. My question to her, "What the hell does that MEAN?" Simple trauma is a single event. Complex trauma was ongoing for months or years, and/or several different events. Unfortunately, that describes my life.

She wasn't sure EMDR could be used to help complex trauma at all, but she gave me the name and number of a guy in Salt Lake. He has been using EMDR in treating trauma for the past eight years. I'm not sure I can do that kind of therapy with a dude, and especially one I have never met. I was excited at the prospect of working with someone I know and trust. Bummer...

My first reaction was, "I am too damn screwed up. No one can help me. There is no hope," but that didn't last long. Its still disappointing, but okay... I'm not sure what I'm going to try next. Call the dude? Stick with Paul? Try DBT again? Possibly EAP?? I need a minute to breath before I make any decisions.

The worst part of today? She reminded me that my life is abnormal... Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child, sexual assault as a teenager, sexual, physical and emotional abuse as an adult... and all of that is very... complex.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The single most important thing

Visiting Katie. She went to snack. I sat on the couch on the unit. There was a dad of another patient there. We talked, he asked if I came to visit a lot (because all of the care techs and staff seemed to be so friendly with me). I told him I tried to come every week, but the real reason they knew me was because I was a patient there before.

He asked how I was doing. I told him it was still really hard sometimes, and I was doing pretty good. He then asked what was the most important thing I got from CFC.

The MOST important? The friends. The people I met. The amazing women who learned everything about me, and still loved me. The strong women that shared their secrets and their lives with me. Feeling completely accepted for the first time in my entire life. Knowing that I didn't hold anything back, even when it was impossibly hard to tell them about myself. And they loved me.

But really, there is so much that I am grateful for. All of the different therapies were helpful. Every single group, every single day, there was something amazing that I learned about myself or the world around me. I am grateful for every little part.

He then asked how I felt about Intuitive Eating. I laughed and told him it was life-changing. I didn't go into details about my eating disorder before, but I did tell him that I never thought I could trust myself to make my own food choices. It feels SO GOOD to know that I can.

It was strange sitting there and answering his questions. Probably because I was sitting on THAT couch in THAT place, I was completely open. I answered all of his questions without thinking through my answers... which might be really good, or might not be. It felt good to be completely open. I am not that way very often. It is a little strange that the most important thing in treatment, is the thing that is still the hardest for me in the "real world".


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things Not to Say to a Survivor

There are things that will “trigger” or upset a survivor. Most people don’t have a clue what to say or do. I am still me. I am just hurt. These things are not hard to avoid, and yet I have heard many of them. Please...
  • Don't ask if I liked it. No one likes being physically overpowered.
  • Don't tell me how I could have avoided it. Believe me, if I could have prevented it, I would have. I made the best choices I could. It’s not my fault. Please help me learn to realize that.
  • Don’t blame me for what happened.
  • Don't tell me it would never happen to you and why. I didn’t think I would become a statistic either.
  • God isn’t punishing me for some misdeed by allowing this to happen.
  • Don’t tell me it was "God’s will" I was raped. It IS God’s will I survived!
  • Don’t tell me that survivors make up tales for attention. According to The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, false rape reports only happen 2% of the time. That’s a 98% chance that no matter how strange it sounds to you, the rape isn’t being fabricated.
  • Don’t tell me not to talk about it. Yes, it upsets me to talk about it, but that is the only way I can sort through it.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to me when I'm upset. Knowing you are there is sometimes just what I need.
  • Don’t say “other people have it worse off than you”. I’m not “other people”. I’m me.
  • Don’t feel you need to retaliate against my attacker. I know he is capable of violence. Please don’t make me worry about you getting hurt. I’ll feel more secure knowing you’ll remain in one piece.
  • Don’t tell me to “get over it”. I would if I could. I am trying my best.
  • Don’t tell me to "put what happened out of my mind". It’s not that simple.
  • Don’t tell me “it’s no big deal”. Rape is an enormous challenge to heal from. It haunts me.
  • If we disagree about safety issues in the future, please realize that what may sound strange to you helps me feel safe.
  • Don’t tell me I am weak because it impacts my life. I am stronger than words can describe.
  • Don’t ask me what you're supposed to do to get past what happened to us. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
  • Don’t ask me if I did this on purpose. I didn’t do anything except survive.
  • Don’t tell me that it’s not rape because I knew him. Numerous studies say that perpetrators are more likely to be known than unknown.
  • If you give me a hug and I pull away, please, know that I'm not rejecting you. Please don’t get mad. Tell me you care. Chances are you’ll get that hug after all!
  • If we’re together and I have a flashback, try not to be mad. I hate the darned things too! Flashbacks are always rough. It’s difficult to know what to do. It has to be difficult to watch. Anger should go to the one who caused the rape.
  • If I become suicidal, please don’t take that as a sign of weakness. Take that as a sign I'm overwhelmed, trying to cope, and need help.
  • Don’t get the idea rape just happens to “those” kinds of people. This crime happens to as many as 1 woman in 4 crossing ethnic, racial, economic and social boundaries.
(Taken from

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Serendipities of treatment

Last week, a friend came to visit me at work. I am often in the office alone, but on that day BJ was there. He says he was trying not to listen to our conversation, but... What he heard, he was amazed at how healthy our conversation was.

That got me thinking about the friends I have. We are not the most healthy people, but when we talk to each other... We are good at validating each other without enabling each other. We talk about anything and everything - abuse, crazy thoughts, silly things, funny stories... life. I don't have any secrets from them. (That doesn't mean I share EVERYTHING with them at EVERY MOMENT, but there is nothing I am intentionally hiding.) That feels good.

I don't feel like I have to take care of them or protect them, and I care deeply about them. I would do almost anything for them, and if at any moment it feels harmful to me to talk to them, I don't. And I know they'll understand. I hope they feel the same about me.

We are watching out for each other in a way I have never experienced before... I don't feel judged, but when I do, I talk to them about it. We can laugh. We can cry (sort of... lol). I can be ME - whoever that is - when I am with them.

Do you know how cool that is?? How many people have one friend like that? I have many.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Even on our bad days, we're still amazing.

A collection of quotes:
Sur-vi-vor: a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardships, or setbacks.

I am worth whatever it costs to heal my life.

I felt pain. I was afraid. I spoke. I cried. I smile. I laugh. Against all odds. I survived.

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself. - Harvey Fierstein

We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sorrow.

Never fear the shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining nearby. -Ruth E. Renkel- SURVIVOR

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what {SURVIVORS} little girls are made of.

"Courage does not always Roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow!'" ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

"Being able to survive it, doesn't mean it was ever okay!"

I was victimized.
I was in a fight that was not fair.
I did not ask for the fight.
I lost.
There is no shame in losing such fights.
I may never forget,
but I need not constantly remember.
I was a victim

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I have spent several days this week visiting the wild horses. These horses have been caught by the Bureau of Land Management, because they determined that the herds are too large for the land to support. There are horses of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors. It was amazing to see!

I thought it would be very tense and upsetting to be around wild horses in captivity. (Similar to the yucky feeling I get at zoos.) It was not that way. Instead, it was... peaceful.

There is one horse that has come up to me and nuzzled me every time I have gone to see him. There are a few others who have been curious, but only the little black two year old has come back every time. I named him Seguro, which means safe haven. He felt safe to me.

All horses give me a sense of safety and healing. It is one of the reasons I love them so much!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Here goes nothing...

I did it. Well, actually, Paul did it.

I told him I wanted to do EMDR therapy... his first response was to tell me he could do that with me if I would trust him. I gave him a look. He said Espra would be good to work with, and if I trust her, that is the direction I need to go. And he set up the appointment.

A week from Monday... Gracious... What have I gotten myself into??

Take that...

Generally speaking, all eating disorders come with weird food rituals. CFC called them food games. The funny thing about "food games" is that its not what I am DOING that matters most, but what's going on in my head. For instance, Pop Tarts... I enjoy eating them, but I really don't like the edges. No fruit filling, dry edges, and no frosting (yes, I like the frosted ones. I spent a long time trying to convince myself I liked the "healthier" non-frosted ones, but I don't. I hate those...)

A few months ago, I decided I didn't have to eat the edges if I didn't like them... So I started breaking them off. Today, I realized, it has changed. Now, it is, "I am not allowed to eat the edges." Something about cutting back on calories, eating less is better, or something else EQUALLY RIDICULOUS.

Today, I am eating the stupid edges, which I still don't like, just to show myself that the eating disorder is WRONG!

...I hate eating disorders!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The wrong way!

The flashbacks and nightmares have been increasing in frequency. I, personally, think this sucks! So000 not cool!!!

Why? I don't know. Could be the time of year. Could be there is more "trying to come up" (as Paul likes to say.) Could be... so many things... I don't really care WHY, except that I would like the frequency to be moving in the OTHER direction...

Here's the plan:
First, I plan on throwing a temper tantrum. Laying on the ground, kicking, screaming, maybe even throwing things... I don't want to go through this...
Then, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with Espra at CFC, possibly EAP (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) with Rachael at Courage Reins, and continued efforts at understanding the blasted flashbacks, body memories, etc.
And probably more tantrums... because... seriously... this sucks!