Not Doing Art

I’ve been reviewing what other personalities have posted, and I came across one about art. I realized I haven’t done any expressive art in months. In a way that’s not surprising, since I’m not a super artsy person; but I am able to keep doing other things that other personalities do so I don’t know why not the art. Like, I’ve been doing knitting – a skill others have and I have been accessing. I follow my feet successfully in other things, so why hasn’t it occurred to me that I’m missing the art link. Maybe I need to attend to that.

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It’s still me

I’ve been out for a couple months. I’ve learned a LOT, and I’m tired. I’ve made friends with people that others have known a long time, including my husband. I’ve made huge shifts in my thinking about myself and life and loved ones. Surely my time out must be coming to a close. I don’t know what more I am supposed to do. Don’t have more to say, but Lori says I should just write what I am experiencing, so this is it.

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Catching Up

It’s hard to imagine just how long it has been since I last posted. It doesn’t feel like it has been that many months; but I guess it has. I am someone “new” out. I’ve been trying to stay undetected by friends and family. I don’t want to have to answer questions. I’m doing my work with therapists and private journaling. I don’t communicate much at all with other personalities, so there has been many things I have had to learn from reading what others have written and from therapists. I was aware that others were doing good hard work and making progress, but not aware of what that entailed. Now, as I start to see and understand some of the things others have already embraced, I am on the edge – not totally where they are mentally, and not ready to take the leap of joining them, yet I am starting to comprehend why they have made the choices they have and how it has brought about healing.

When I first came out some months ago, I was very resistant to the idea of getting closer to the others. I was full of my own shame on several levels. In some ways I wanted to have nothing to do with the others. I felt they had been too trusting of others and had been badly hurt. I had stayed safe by keeping my distance, and I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of risking that self-protection. Most of all I was very determined not to have a name or anything that identified me as a specific personality.

Therapists were good and patient with me. They helped me understand some of the foundational breakthroughs that others have had – things like seeing multiplicity as a blessing instead of a curse, and gift from God, and an asset for life. I’ve learned the importance of anger as well as many other concepts relating to anger. I’ve learned about the Lotus of Control concept, and how that has played out in my/our life. (That was a very hard lesson, since I would not alter my high esteem of my parents easily. In fact, I still struggle with it.)

For a long time I wasn’t willing to write at all. I was afraid that if I did, someone might be able to identify me through my writing. But the inner compulsion to write finally won me over. There are still things I won’t write about, and I still don’t want a name or way to be identified separate from the others, but I’ve come a long way.

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Not Bad; But Broken

So much is still unsettled. Setting the rest aside for the moment, my therapist suggested that maybe instead of thinking of my parents as good or bad or both, I should think of them as broken. That is far easier to embrace. It’s not hard to see them as broken. And if someone has a broken leg, you don’t expect them to run a race, even if other people their age and abilities can run.

As I was contemplating all the angles of this while I should have been sleeping, I interjected the concept of being flawed. Everyone is flawed, in so far as to say we are all less than perfect. No one takes a pass on that one. But not everyone is broken, as in a hand thrown pot of clay is not perfectly shaped, and a good many have their share of cracks here and there; but not everyone is impaired by their cracks, leaking what is inside to the outside.

It gets confusing when you think of someone like my parents. Being less than perfect isn’t really the issue nor can it be compared with something that is actually broken. Both of my parents were broken, yet they did try to do a good job of parenting while they also ministered to numerous other broken people. They let me down, but it wasn’t like they didn’t care. They didn’t invite the elephant into the middle of the room. Their limitations prevented them from seeing that it was there.

So in the world there are people who are cracked or broken in addition to being flawed. Some of those people get mad at God or the world or whatever, feel like they got a bum wrap, and are careless or even intentional about harming others. Their life philosophy is,” If I have to be broken I’m going to make sure I’m not the only one.”; and they go about intentionally doing harm to others. My first husband falls into this group.
Then there are other people who are broken and use their brokenness as an excuse to do nothing. Still other broken people let their own brokenness motivate them and instruct them to bring healing and health to other broken people. My parents fall into this category. But there were really big reasons why they just couldn’t acknowledge how broken I was, nor my siblings either.

A new thought occurred to me as I waited for morning to come. Many times my mother said to my older brothers and me, “Don’t get [a girl] pregnant! Your father would have to give up the ministry if you did and that would destroy him.”
Nothing new about that; but the new realization to me was, if that was such a huge deal that could destroy my father, then what would it have done to him/them if they were to acknowledge the incest. It would have been unthinkably worse. They didn’t just intentionally turn their backs on it, as if it didn’t matter. In fact, it mattered too much. So, as one therapist put it, I was sacrificed for the sake of my father’s ministry. That’s oversimplified, and deeply painful; but undoubtedly true.

I’m not sure this is coming out clear. I wouldn’t mind some feedback. I’m still processing these things and I’m at a point right now where I need to stop writing.

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I haven’t forgotten

I know I left you hanging with the last post, and I will get back to finish it when things calm down a bit. So much significant things have been happening all a once that it’s hard to write about. Hopefully soon, very soon.

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Good? Bad? Both?

It’s a deeply perplexing problem for us. We have attempted to answer it for a life time. Were my parents good? Were they evil or deceptive or tricky or just plain wrong? Were they good for other people but not good for me/us? Were they good for us, and we just didn’t respond correctly to them? My mind goes around and around.

From an outside perspective my parents were practically perfect. They very rarely disagreed with each other and never said an unkind word about each other. Surely at a bare minimum they were good with and for each other – a great example of what a marriage should be.

They blew it sometimes when it came to parenting, not just me but for my siblings as well. But no parent is perfect. We all make decisions that seem right to us in the moment but the fall-out aftereffects prove that the judgement was off the mark. But I can’t let my parents off the hook that easily. There were too many times when I intentionally didn’t parent the same way as I was parented because of the harm I experienced. Too many big ticket items where they just didn’t see my need. Even though I am tempted to accredit that to my own account, I don’t think I would have missed the significance of the pain my child was feeling in the same way that they did.

I have to finish this later. Sorry about that. The med changes I wrote about last time are still unsettled and they are impacting me now. ) :

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Feeling Dangerously Good

It’s quickly approaching Christmas time and we are very busy making things and buying things for loved ones and friends. Most likely I won’t post again until after Christmas, but time will tell.

Usually this time of year is a huge struggle for me. The S.A.D.(Season Affect Disorder) makes my heart heavy, and memories of my mother’s final days with us at this same time of the year still linger with acute grief. I absolutely love giving gifts, especially ones I make, so the challenges I feel during the days leading up to Christmas are tempered with the joy of giving; but as soon as Christmas is over my emotions plummet. I really should say “we” instead of “I” because I don’t know of any of me who is not affected by conflicting emotions this time of year.

But the last couple days have been amazingly upbeat. I’ve been having severe migraines almost every day for several months now, but over the past week or two I have had 2-3 days without a migraine. That could be contributing to my improved sense of well-being. I started a new psych med just over a week ago, so that might be contributing as well. Two days ago I had a big break through with my therapy and I was elated (I still am), so that might be contributing as well.

So, you might ask, what is so dangerously good? Well….I’m having trouble with sleep. My internal clock seems to be out-of-sink. Some days I don’t get to bed until early morning hours and don’t get up until late afternoon the next day. Some nights I lay awake with my mind playing old familiar songs over and over again, or just thinking non-stop. Sometimes lately I have been up all night (or almost all night) and then continued active through the next day as if I had not lost any sleep the night before. Earlier today a migraine was in full swing so I took my meds and went to bed. But instead of resting my mind fixated on designing a dog sweater for a friend’s little dog. Even now my fingers are flying across the keys, much faster than my normal. My hands are trembling – not a lot but definitely noticeable. Maybe that’s because I’ve been decreasing the amount of codeine I take for my migraine headaches. Maybe, just maybe, these things can all be explained away very logically. However (you just knew there had to be an “However” coming), these are all things that happen when I am starting a season of manic. I haven’t been manic for a very long time. It’s been years. For me the swings from manic to depression to both at the same time can be very intermittent, and they can last for days or months or years. The fact that I can list all the reasons why being manic is a good thing is a very bad sign.

So it is with trepidation and hesitancy that I say I’m feeling dangerously good. We will just have to wait and see what the days ahead hold. God promises to be with me no matter the season; and He tells me to take one day at a time. (He even says each day has enough troubles of it’s own.) I am trying to do that no matter how I feel.

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So Much for “Tomorrow”

Okay, I admit it. I’ve been stalling – avoiding what I knew I needed to do. The fact is, I started out several times to address what I knew I needed to do, only to be sidetracked in a different direction. Actually starting this post is a big step forward. Maybe now I will be able to make some progress.

My tasks include ditching the shame/blame on me for Houston. It’s forgiven. Now I absolutely must forgive myself. All of myselves. I need to overcome or override the subtle messages that I am being punished by God so that once again I can embrace all He wants for and from me. His grace has been sufficient for much tougher challenges, and it will be enough for this one too.

I also need to do some significant writing for the book about my years married to first husband. Perhaps I feel guilty for that as well. It plays the old “I’m worthless” tune and I run away from it as fast as I can, The fact is, I’m an awesome complex creation of the almighty God – not bragging…I know very well that God did a masterpiece in everything and everyone He created. No exceptions.

Now I’ve done my self pep talk. It’s time to end this post and get on with writing for the book.

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A Foretaste Continued…

This time I will copy/paste the journal entry I started to write about last night. So here it is, and then I will write about it –
Bullet Points:
. Counseling w/ Larry – don’t try to be creative. Just let yourself feel it and write what you feel (not word for word but that idea)
Not feeling depressed. Depression is the absence of feeling anything. What I am experiencing is legitimate grief/sorrow/loss. Instead of increasing the antidepressants I’m taking, I need to increase the anti-ADHD medicine to help me focus on my sorrow at times when I can express it and set it aside when I need to. Giving expression (words and/or pictures)to the things I am grieving will make it possible for me to experience it and then let it go so that it doesn’t need to be pressing in on me all the time.
Let yourself experience the grief and sorrow instead of trying to write about it. Just write whatever comes to mind in the midst of it – a word, phrase, or image; and you will discover that what flows out of you brings relief.
Those words hit me like a blow to the gut –that’s what we used to do before Houston. If experiences could be portrayed as weather, Houston would be a cyclone, hurricane, and tornado all mixed together. Many times we have attempted to describe the overwhelming torment that we experienced there but over time we have come to sum up the totality of it in one word – Houston….
– We have been trying to heal from a deep depression for a few years now. Our healing journey began many years earlier than that, but this depression was so intense that it merits focused effort on its own.. We have made tremendous progress – much healing has occurred. Now I feel the desire, even a need, to write it down; but I find what I write to fall far short of a true representation of what we have experienced. This struggle was the focus of our most recent counseling session.
– Even what I’m writing now is insufficient. It’s all much more complex than that. To be more accurate, others of me have made tremendous progress while I have remained almost entirely in the background, overridden with guilt and shame. Houston was really my fault. My people have shared the burden of healing. Each one has faithfully taken turns expressing the torment that the memories of Houston bring. (emphasis added to refer back to)
– – Complex trauma experiences didn’t begin with Houston. For me and my people, attempting to make sense out of life began at about 11 years of age. The reasons we came about, and the reasons we started out from the beginning as a plural, are deep and complex. In fact, in the earlier years of our healing journey we acquired the nick name of “Plex” because life for me/us and with me/us was best summed up as complex.
– -(back to the focus of the counseling session) It’s been nearly a year since my healing journey came to a bend in the road. Over the years we have struggled with sleep patterns, but for the past year or so we have required excessive amounts of sleep. Some days we just spent hours laying immobile but conscious, but most days we actually slept soundly both day and night. My psychiatrist and therapists have theorized about why this has been the case, and we have attempted to use both psychotherapy and medications to alter my experience with some success but still I sleep excessively for days on end and attempts to force myself to do otherwise were either unproductive or decidedly undesirable. For the most part I am being encouraged to take each day as it comes and not be overly concerned about the reasons for extra need for sleep. Over recent months it has varied between being awake but immobile interspersed with sound sleeping throughout the day or alternatively being awake long enough for a quick meal and taking medications and the rest of the time sleeping soundly.
[Getting way off track – back to bullet points]
Counseling advice/suggestion to express thoughts and feelings (grief/sorrow) through poetry or art. “Just let it flow out of my hands” write down descriptions/illustrations that come to mind.

Others have done healing work and I feel the benefit of it but still I struggle – like logs being jammed up as they attempt to float down the river.
Been trying to write about my origins and my memories of life from the times I was much more active and “out” – before Houston. That’s what have been jammed up. Trying to write for the book. So much to write and feel inadequate for the task.

– Today –so discouraging to get to church and then have to come back home without worship. Cliff brought back bulletin and the focus was on the blessing of being one body and worshiping together.
– Tonight Cliff was off for his weekly movie night with a friend and I was left alone and feeling lonely and sad. Picked up Guide Post and read, “True Stories of Hope & Inspiration”. First article that caught my attention was about a woman saying goodbye to her beloved cat. It had a picture of a woman’s legs crossed at the ankle. The shadow was a silhouette of a cat. I was reminded again of the experiences we had prior to Houston of writing or drawing and having it just flow out of my hands as if someone else was in control of them. Only after completing the thoughts or images were on the paper did I notice the hidden impressions – the protective ribs that kept the small bird safe in the midst of the storm or the cupped hands hidden in the rocks just below the place where the Shepherd was carrying the feeble lamb up a sharp and dangerous precipice. I felt the pang of sharp longing as I reflected back on those days of years ago. As I dwelled on these memories for a while. I let myself scan through more pages of the Guide Post, and another story caught my eye. This one was entitled, “More Than a Hunch” by a man who found a missing 3-year-old boy after he prayed and asked God to guide him. The article ended this way, “I’ve learned how to listen to God wherever I can, in the forest, at work, in my car. And I’ve seen how he always hears. His answer can be a whisper in your ear, an urge to change direction, a nudge of guidance. And it can help you see what you should have seen, what plenty of others missed, what was right there in broad daylight.”
As I read these words I was reminded of times many years before Houston when I was driving home after taking care of young children in the nursery of a church. I was singing faith songs to myself – something I used to do frequently, when I felt a nudge to take a turn down a road away from home. I asked God if He was prompting me to make that turn and felt more than heard the answer. I kept praying as I drove down one road, then turned down another one. I had no idea where I was going but I kept following the promptings until I pulled up in front of a small store. I got out of the car and went into the store, still clueless as to what I was looking for or why I was there. I browsed until my eyes landed on them –real butterfly wings with paper bodies. They were more perfect than anything I could have thought of. I was engaged to a man I thought would be my forever love, and butterflies held a special meaning for us in our blossoming relationship, so we wanted to use them as a theme for our wedding. I needed to make the invitations and these butterflies were the absolute perfect thing to put on them. At the time it was a powerful reassurance from my Heavenly Father that He was guiding me and watching care over me, even attending to the tiny details of our wedding plans. Reflecting back on those days I realized God had been leading and guiding us in those dark and grief-filled days, too. I contemplated how God was using the Guide Post articles to speak to me even in these moments. The lesson for me in this story was to see through the mist and rugged terrain that had hid the boy from the view of the people searching for him- in my life it was my sorrow and grief that obstructed my view, preventing me from feeling God’s guiding nudges and hearing His prompting whispers. God had not been silenced by Houston, and He would not be far from me even now in my recovery. This new realization blanketed me with cozy comforting reassurances.
[end of copy/paste]

Tomorrow I will start dissecting the emphasized parts. Enough for tonight.

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A Foretaste of Things to Come…Almost

It’s early morning hours and I am finally finding myself able to focus on…me. I’ve been dodging it now for days, not wanting to get back into the mode of healing again. It hurts so hard. I kept it under control while in session with Lori when I saw her a few weeks ago – at least I think it was that long ago. Now I am coming up on another session and realizing I have really squandered the time and opportunities, avoiding getting back into that space I need to be in. I feel like Dr. Do Little’s push-me-pull-you: drawing near to the healing I need to do and fleeing from it at the same time. I left Lori’s office feeling determined to do the work. Every time I approached the computer I detoured to playing games. Then I just avoided the computer all together. Now, finally, here I am…and, yup, it still hurts.
Tonight, when I finally got focused on picking up the pieces and moving forward, I stumbled upon an unfinished journal entry that I wrote the last time I was out. It was years ago chronologically, but for me it catapulted me right back to where I was back then. I couldn’t face what I needed to do toward healing at the time, so others have again done their healing work and once again I am remaining so very, very broken. I wonder what it will take to give me the courage to face what I have to face, do what I have to do, so life can move forward.
When I started typing this it was supposed to be a brief introduction to the journal entry with the intention of pasting it in to this post. It has turned into a full post of it’s own; so I guess I will just post this much for tonight and leave the rest for another day when I am brave enough to finish it.

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