Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflection on 2010

Each day I recieve an email from The Daily Love - its a few quotes, usually to a theme and an inspirational message from the founder, Mastin Kipp. I have always enjoyed quotes, small snipets of wisdom from others. I find the email a nice positive thing to recieve each day. On the 28th December the message from Mastin Kipp included questions to help with reflecting on the year past and creating resolutions for the new year. I know alot of people dont take new years resolutions very seriously but I think it is important to have goals and new years is a good time to re-assess goals, make adjustments and new goals.

Anyway, here is what Mastin had to say:
While I was attending Tony Robbins seminar, Date With Destiny, he asked us three questions to consider as we move into a new year and a new decade.

They are wonderful questions that I have been asking myself and I want to pass them on to you to consider for yourself.

The questions are:

1. What are you MOST happy with about 2010? What good things happened? What are you proud of most and why?

2. What sucked about last year and why? What mistakes did you make? What would you do differently? What would you never want to do again? (This isn't to beat yourself up, it's to get an honest assessment of the last year).

3. What new rituals are you wiling to commit to in 2011 to get the results you want? What new habits will you form to take your life to the next level?

Be honest with yourself. Celebrate your successes in 2010, be truthful about the failures and then COMMIT to new habits and rituals in 2011 that will take your life to the next level.

Your time is now! Make your move!
I think these questions are really worthwhile and while I have an idea of what I want to work on in the new year its rather muddled and I think goals are more achieveable if they are concrete. These questions though dont seem so much about setting goals but making changes in a person's life, trying to learn from mistakes and grow. I think this questions are a great tool to help with reflection. So here we go...

1. What are you MOST happy with about 2010? What good things happened? What are you proud of most and why?

I am proud of starting this blog and my new journal - even if I took a break from writing here for a while I still think it has been a wonderful tool of sharing and healing.

Last Christmas Eve (2009) I moved into my own home and have been living by myself for the first time ever. I think it has helped me become more confident in my own ability to stand on my own two feet.  I feel I have grown stronger this year in myself. I think I have started to be a little more positive in my outlook on life but it still needs work. I think my self esteem is also starting to improve and while I think I have a long way to go I am proud of how much I have grown in myself this year. Still, I am proud of the growth I have achieved.

Getting back to my art and using it as a tool in healing. It was really hard to get back to art as much as I love it because it really did hurt. I think this is a huge step for me and one I am very proud of.

My relationship with my little ones has grown stronger, I trust them more and we are working together as a system more than ever before. This is a huge achievement and something I need to congradulate all of us for more.

2. What sucked about last year and why? What mistakes did you make? What would you do differently? What would you never want to do again? (This isn't to beat yourself up, it's to get an honest assessment of the last year).

Chronic Fatigue & Attitude
Though out of my control, the Chronic Fatigue this year has definitely sucked. I think one of the mistakes I have made in regards to this is for a long time I gave in to it. What i mean by this is that until recently I have felt like I was never going to get better and I was thinking "if I get over this..." rather than "when I get over this..."

Not only this year but the last few years I have been isolating myself and while I was starting to pull myself out of it, the Chronic Fatigue made it alot harder. I think back in 2008 when I first started retreating (following the break in) I really did manage to isolate myself and I think I have lost alot of friends for it. Towards the end of this year I have found myself feeling very much alone. I believe this is my own doing and I think it is a huge mistake I have made. Though I understand why it happened and that I shouldnt beat myself up over it, I think this is something I really need to work on.

Withdrawing from Uni
While this was necessary this year because of the Chronic Fatigue it has definitely been something I see as a negative thing of the year. I have been at Uni now on and off for 4 years - in that time I have successfully completed 4 subjects towards my degree. In otherwords I have taken 8 semesters to complete 1 full-time semester. To me that is unexceptable, I feel I must be not trying hard enough, working hard enough, nthat I must be finding excuses. My mum is disappointed, I know and she does try to be understanding but the comments she makes about it (usually in jest) cut deep - mostly because I agree with her. I know all the "excuses" have been valid reasons, but I find myself getting very frustrated over it all. I should be finished my degree by now and starting an internship - or at least be starting the bridging year. I know other survivors through blogs and forums who manage having families, full time (or at least part time) jobs, who have completed degrees or are currently studying full time. Or doing a mix of these things. Why cant I manage even a little of this?? I feel the same way when it comes to driving - I cannot believe I am 24 years old and still dont know how to drive nor do I have a license.

3. What new rituals are you willing to commit to in 2011 to get the results you want? What new habits will you form to take your life to the next level?

Before I went away Margaret asked me to think about what things I want to be working on with her (short term goals). In the past we have been working on anxiety and for the most part I feel I manage that alot better than I ever used too. I still have my long term goal of co-conciousness but I am not sure what I want to be focusing on as a short term goal. I think I need to work on being more positive and comparing myself to others less and be more focused on my own path. I also want to be sure that I write regularly both in my blog and in my journal - these things I struggle to do at times but I feel good when I do them.

I want to be more displined in my prayer time. When I take the time to sit down and really talk to God I feel great for it and I feel closer to Him, but I struggle in being displined in this. I do pray to God every day but they are 2 minute prayers when things come up or when I think of something, I dont sit down with time set aside simply for prayer.

I want to be more social
I want to make some new friends, and start re-aquienting my self with my old friends. I want to make sure that I get out of the house more. I am thinking of joining a choir to make some new friends and I want to start attending church more. I might take some art classes, or yoga/Tai Chi classes that can help with the Chronic Fatigue too.

I have signed up for 1 class for the first semester, which isnt much but it will be for me with everything else.I am a little nervous about it but I dont want to put uni off any further. However I am trying not to set my expectations too high and if it is too much I am ok with dropping out for a while longer (well I will keep telling myself that in hopes that I might start believing it)

I want to be more active in trying to heal from Chronic Fatigue.
To do this I want to see a naturopath and try and get help in chosing some dietary suppliments. I want to try and start a yoga or Tai Chi class - I need to start doing some gentle exercise and I really want some guidance to make sure I know which stretches to do & which to avoid until I am stronger. I want to set up a sleeping routine and stick to it.

My mum gave me a book at Christmas 'Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia" by Mary J. Shomon. Among other things, it outlines various treatments for Chronic Fatigue, and gives tips on creating a "recovery plan". I havent read all of it but I have been trying to, and I have been able to read more with the treatment Steve has given. One thing Mary Shomon wrote has really stuck with me:
"Keep in mind that putting together a recovery plan is a bit like dividing up a pie, with each slice representing a different technique or approach you can take. In deciding how big each piece will be, you're choosing what amount of time, energy, money and resources you will devote to that particular technique." (pg. 261)
I like this analogy and it make me realise that the more things you try and work on the thinner you have to spread yourself. I think its true with goals and life too - I need to take this idea into consideration when I think about healing from Chronic Faitgue, working on my healing Journey with DID, studying at uni etc.

What I have written here is more a general overview of things I want to work on, there seems alot there and that worries me but I am not sure how to reduce these things any further, they are all important things to be overall well being. For New Years I am going to sit down and write more specific goals. I think I would be less likely to achieve my resolutions/goals if they are fague.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December's Expressive Arts Carnival

Since I came across Paul's blog and Expressive Arts Carnival I have been following it very closely and contributing to the carnival. I believe that the Arts carnival is a really great thing, if you havent already checked it out I suggest you do so.

The December 2010 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival has been released, you can see it here. This month any survivor art was welcome rather than a provided theme/project. I believe this was to make it easier for contributor's during the holidays.

This month's carnival is so full of emotion, when I first looked at it I had to walk away, make a cup of tea before I could come back and comment. There is a lot of hurt, but there is hope there too.

I think each artwork is so special, unique, an honest window into survior's lives and journeys. There were a couple of artworks that I was personally drawn to that I would like to comment on, but I dont want leave any of the other contributors out - they are all such powerful images in their own way. I think every contributor is so strong for sharing.

I really like Jahda's analogy. It's a nice reminder of what we are working towards. The lunar Eclipse was really special this year. I was told by Steve that never before has a lunar eclipse landed on the winter solstice (summer solstice in Australia). It is supposed to symbolise new beginnings.

Castorgirl's artwork was the one I was particularly drawn to, I sat and looked at it for ages.I could so relate to her comment too.I thought I would have more too say about it but honestly I dont think I know how to put it into words, well more than I have already said.

I havent heard about ScribblerToo before - the littles are excited to try it, I am too honestly (I think Nadia will like it as well, but she isnt around currently).

Anyway, check out the Expressive Arts Carnival it is really worth while and I really want to encourage other survivors to contribute.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Parts of me?

When I was talking to Steve about DID he asked me where I felt my little ones came from. I had a lot of trouble answering this and I thinnk Steve recognised that as he then changed the question to where did my psychologist think my parts come from. I told him that Margaret said that they are each a part of me - that my mind created different parts to deal with different things in a difficult situation.

Intellectually I have accepted this but when ever Margaret (my psychologist) or someone else talk about them as part of me I want to argue with them. Its a purely emotional response, I recognise that and generally I stop myself from arguing and just bite my tongue, so to speak. Steve seemed to be of the opinion that they are spirits helping me. But that doesnt feel right either.

I have always felt a sense of togetherness with my little ones, a sense of kinship, similar to the ties to family - a connection to them. I remember Paul describing a circle that encompasses all of us - I could relate to that. I have been considering this for a while and I actually found something written down in our shared journal, I am not sure who inside decided to give their opinion but I liked it and thought I would share:
When we were hurt our soul shattered, breaking into different pieces. As it healed it became a multiple of wholes; all connected but seperate, shared in a body.
I dont know how true that is, but it does show that feeling of togetherness while explaining the sense of seperatness.

I suppose Margaret would say that it is not really productive thinking like this. Margaret has been very good at helping me - she has taught me so many skills in coping, she was the one who diagnosed us, and she has help to empower me in particular in really trying to actively heal. She encouraged me to get back into my art after I took that long break. However Margaret seems to feel the only path to healing leads to intergration.

For those of you who dont know what intergration is, the idea is that all of the parts of a person with DID "intergrate" or join together to become one person again. I have heard of people who have interegrated and it has fallen apart months or even years later. I have heard of people who are currently living "intergrated". I also know of people who have full co-conciousness; in other words that are full aware all the time however who is in control can still vary. Or at least that is how I understand it.

Currently my goal in healing is to reach co-conciousness, to be able to function in the every day world. Intergration just doesnt feel achieveable to me at this point and some of my little ones panic at the idea of integration. I guess I panic a little at losing something that has protected me for so long.

When I first found out I had DID - before I could even hear my littles ones, I thought that it was a disaster, something to be ashamed of, that I was somehow broken. I believed that intergration was the only solution. Then as I started to get to know my little ones, I started to realise it wasnt the end of the world, I started to read as much as I could on DID and began to realise that there were other options. At that point I would have said I would never intergrate - that it was an impossibilitity - too hard and too far out of reach. Now? Now I think its a possibility, I feel more together than I ever have however I still feel a strong sense of seperateness at the same time. The idea of integration creates less anxiety than it used to though there is still some. It is something I will consider in the future - for now co-conciousness seems a good goal.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas at the Beach House

Well it is Boxing Day and Christmas has past. I have been stressed about Christmas - I am staying with my parents and my Mum likes to make a big fuss for the holidays and that is not what I enjoy. However Mum decided to have a quiet Christmas for me - we did presents in the morning and spent the day lounging about reading, eating and playing with our presents. I was really greatful to Mum for that - it is probably the best present she gave me (though I do love my new camera!!)

Sunset on the beach on Christmas Day
Taken with my new camera
The other reason I have been anxious about the holidays is that Mum decided she wanted to have them at the beach house. This is a holiday house that Mum inherited from my grandfather and while it is a beautiful location and a nice house; it holds a lot of bad memories for me, though not as bad as other places. Mum has been good enough to let me sleep in a different room that doesnt hold as many memories however it is still hard being here.

I am actually very torn about being here, I love the beach, Mum always used to call me a water baby - I am usually drawn to it - waterfalls, lakes, creeks, beaches most of all, I love the sea. I find that being surrounded by the smell of the beach, the taste on the breeze, feeling the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves crashing and the cool water my skin, I find all of that to be renewing, refreshing and calming. I feel closer to God here and yet I am surrounded by things that remind me of stuff I really dont want to remember.

If nothing else I think the time at the beach is good for the Chronic Fatigue - as I said before I find the beach and ocean to be renewing and refreshing. Between that, the B12 shots and some other new things I have been trying (I will go into that more in another post) I have been feeling better than I have all year. I have a lot of hope for the New Year.

I hope anyone who is reading this has a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
God Bless

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Entries for the December Expressive Arts Carnival close on the 27th of December. I was going through some of our art to see what I would enter since it is "open" this month and I found a few pieces that I havent posted up here that I have been meaning to. Still not sure what I will enter - there are quite a few I like and would be interesting to share.

This was drawn by Nadia fairly recently - its our "thoughts and emotions". I am really quite taken with this piece, though at the same time it makes me shudder occasionally.

This one I found with a few other water colours done at the same time (in the last month) - I am not sure who did it. I think I would find it scary if it wasnt for the purple. As it is I find it very powerful - full of hurt, anger and sadness but also hope and healing. I think myabe the older 8 year old did and if she did that is very exciting for me - she hasnt shown alot of healing in her art before.

This is an old one - drawn in 2009 by Nadia. I have been meaning to share it for a while because it is such an intersting piece - its also very different to any sort of art I have ever done and yet it is a good example of the art Nadia regularly does. It is actually only a section of  a larger piece of art - the orginal was A3 but my scanner is only A4 so I could only get a section of it.

This is a mask I drew not long after I entered the last Expressive Arts Carnival. It was really eye opening to me because I didnt really think when I drew it - I was just thinking about walls and masks and everything I had been discussing/thinking in relation to the last entry (see here) and was scetching one day and this came out. I really am proud of the cracks in this - however I am also a little scared and excited what this picture could mean to my healing.

So I am thinking I will enter one of these or maybe Natalie's portrait (here). Being at home it is harder to do art though I do have a small sketch book, some pencils and chalk pastels so we might do a little. Even if I dont end up sending one of these I am glad I have an "excuse" to post them here, I have been meaning to share them and havent got around to it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Loss of Routine

So I am staying at my parents place until after the new year and I have been here one night and I am already ready to go home.

Dont get me wrong I love my Mum and step dad, they are good people. And my Mum tries to be supportive as she can of the DID but she doesnt completely get it. But she tries and she has been getting better. But my mum's house if full of clutter - piled high along hallways and in every room. There is no escaping it. I find that makes me stressed, my parents also live in a small country town where unless you drive at least 30mins there is no where to go. I dont have a license so I cant go for a drive and get a way for a while.

I also just cant keep my own routine here, my parents live differently, eat differently and generally their lifestyle choices are rather different. Its hard getting up in the morning and not having my usual choices available for breakfast. Or have all my tea things (sugar, kettle, mug, teaspoons) all set up in the corner ready for me to make my tea in the morning so I can function. These are small things but I find myself more stressed, more tired and just generally more unhappy. I love my parents and I cant explain it to them without upsetting my mum so I just live with it.

Routine and familiarity can be really important in making people feel more safe and less stressed. Our routines are what make things "normal" for us, provide us with a familiar base to work with every day. For me, my routines make functioning in the outside world easier. They help ground me after a bad night, and when I was really struggling with depression they helped me keep going because I didnt have to think I just followed what I knew.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting Over it

I have been posting much lately - I went to Sydney over the weekend and while it was a wonderful trip it wore me out - particularly since I was on "high alert" for much of it. Since then I have just been too tired to post. Today I started catching up on blog posts and considering what I wanted to write about. I came across Paul's post - "The Path of Elizabeth Smart and Me". I can truly relate to where Paul is coming from, the struggling not to compare my journey with that of other survivors - or just my life with my age peers. I can also relate to the "leaving the past in the past" idea.

One of the things that this really reminded me of was something my aunt had said when she found out I was struggling with what had happened (this is before I even learnt of DID). I have a very vivid memory of my aunt pulling me aside and in an anger whisper saying "Stop playing the victim and get over it".

Ever since this has been something that I have struggled with - is she right, even if she could have word it better. Am I some how "playing the victim" trying to get something out of it? I don't think so, though when I have had to withdraw from uni or get an extension for an assessment due to not being able to study (because of losing time or unable to focus because of flashbacks etc) I do question if I am using my past or is it an honest reason? It is hard to doubt myself in this way.

Sometimes I think it be easier to push it all into the background and pretend it doesn't exist, that everything is okay. I could be "normal" and maybe actually get a degree rather than have 4 completed subjects to show for 2 years of actual work. (4 subjects is consider a full time load for 1 semester) - at this rate it will take me at least 8 years to get my degree and I don't want that. I also want to have a relationship where I am not constantly aware of all the "baggage" I bring. I want to have fun like my mother constantly tells me I should be having at my age (24).

 But I have done the whole "putting it behind you" in the past but it was a very downward slope that lead to depression and self harm.  I don't want to go back to that dark place. But when I look at my healing journey even though I know I have come so far, I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel and that scares me because I want to move past this point to where I can function more like a "normal" person (whatever that is).

Paul's description of healing is beautiful and I agree with everything he described it as. But it also made me realise that until recently I believed healing was learning to move on and that isn't what healing is - at least I don't believe so any more. Now I am questioning what is healing and what exactly am I working towards?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shadow's Artwork

Shadow came out and did a drawing with charcoal a while ago, which is unlike him - he doesn't usually get into art. Shadow is a part I know very little about and he scares me a little - probably because of my lack of knowledge, and maybe a little because he is a male part. We have tried to approach him, include him but he always stands back - stays on the outside of our  circle so to speak. Despite that fear I definitely still care for him.

I am not sure what Shadow was meaning to symbolise and he hasn't told us. When I look at it I felt sadness, anger and a little anxious. After having looked at Natalie's portrait (see here) and also reading Paul's comment and his post Blending; I am wondering if this is the other side - this is Shadow's sense of separateness.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Last week I wrote a post entitled "Change"; it really ran off topic and to places I didn't really expect - I hadn't even realised that was where my mind was at. It was a good reminder to myself of how far I have come. There are days when I feel that I am not getting anywhere and that I am at a stand still.

This is particularly true since I have been struggling with Chronic Fatigue. It is so hard to be focused on healing when I don't have the energy for simple tasks - like cooking my own dinner. Yet thinking back on this year I realised that I have started to accept my parts so much more than any point in my life. I fight them less and have come to rely on certain parts - I don't know how I would have got through the last few months with out Stacy to help me. I have grown to love them - even the difficult ones. I see this a huge progress - especially when I think back to 2007 when I started therapy - I wouldn't tell my psychologist about my parts and didn't want to acknowledge their existence in any way. I still struggle to see them as part of me - when people say this to me I have to bite my tongue to stop myself from arguing. They feel like separate individuals to me. But one step at a time.

I think a huge lesson I have learnt since I have had Chronic Fatigue, is that I need to take the time to care of my body and my mind. If I don't then it will fall apart and wont be able to carry me through this life. I often want to put other people, things, work, uni etc. before myself - particularly when it comes to my physical health. However if I don't stop to take care of myself it will effect my ability to do those things in the future - even more so if I don't take care of myself in the now. While this is a lesson I have learnt more in the light of physical health, I realise the truth of it in relation to mental health too.

It is hard to see progress when you look at your own healing journey, particularly in the short term. But as time rolls by and you look back at where you were, you do see how far you have come. I read a few different blogs of survivors, all who are at different places with their healing - some I look at and wonder how I will ever get to the place they are at. Some are just starting their healing journey and may even look at my blog and think where I am at is out of reach. But each path is different and we shouldn't try to compare; as hard as that is at time. However what I want to get at was that we will all get there eventually, if we keep working at it. Even in those times when we feel we are at a stand still we are still making baby steps - steps that may be so small that we don't see the progress now but when we look back later we will see that we have moved forward.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A portrait of Us by Natalie

Natalie decided that she wanted to try out the new pastels and this is the result.

When asked about it she said "that's us". This confused me and I tried to get her to explain but found her explanation completely confusing. However with some help from Elsie and Julia I was able to understand a little better.

As I have mentioned before Natalie is an Empath - at least where the other little ones are concerned. She often feels their emotions - is overwhelmed by them at times. In this picture it's the different emotions of each part. How we often clash and other times agree - how we blend together in body. But each of us is distinct and different - though some parts tend to blend into the background more than others.

I like the idea, though I think some of the colours are too bright and cheerful to describe us. But I am told the actual colours are not important - its the way they come together. Still not sure if I completely agree but it is an interesting idea.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Expressive Arts Carnival

Just a quick post to let people know that the November 2010 edition of the Expressive Arts Carnival has now been posted.

I wrote about my own entry here.

Please check it out - its well worth the time - and I really want to encourage other survivors to consider contributing their own pieces.

I believe next month's carnival is going to have an open theme - so any survivor art will be welcome.