Step by Step version # 2794...

Step by Step version # 2794...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I’m Doing Research…..

Yesterday was a lovely fall day, a crisp cool morning and a clear warm day. It was a beautiful day for a walk, so I took two. The first walk was one and a half hours long by myself, and the second one was a shorter one in the afternoon with a friend. They were both lovely.

After the afternoon walk we stopped at our local coffee shop, ordered our coffees and sat outside chatting. It was great to spend time with her and catch up.

I told her that I have been waking up in the middle of the night wondering what I was going to do with my life. 

As we all know, things are always worse in the middle of the night. There are no distractions and you have ample time to “Go to Rome” as one of my past therapist would say. Meaning, that your thoughts take off in a panic and go on a trip all their own,  ending  up who knows where..usually in  a worse case scenarios with  lots of assumptions..usually wrong ones at that!!!!

I know this, but I am still waking in the night with that question going on in my head. I am trying to find out where this is coming from and what’s really behind this question.

As with each time I go through this, and I do have to remember “I have been here before,” I get frustrated with my limits because of this illness. I cannot do as much as other people do, and they seem to do it so effortlessly.  I know there is a reason I am like this, but that does not take away the frustration of the situation.

I get frustrated with being able to do something one day, and not being able to do it the next. As I have mentioned before, this tends to screw up for planning ahead. I can hope to do something, but that does not mean I will be able to carry it out.

 I know I do stuff with my life. I guess it just does not look like the “normal things” people do with their life, which really means have a career and be successful at what they do. But I guess success looks different to each individual.

I don’t always feel like this, but I guess this is my “flavor of the week.” 

As I am talking to my friend, the topic turns to my writing. 

I enjoy writing, I feel better when I write, and I think I am not too bad at it. I remember as a 7 year old, writing for a class assignment – (Grade 3)-and feeling the muse, even though I did not know what it was at the time. The story seemed to pour out of me and it seemed to come with no effort.  The teacher was impressed and read it to the whole class, my mother’s friend wanted to publish it. But as with anything I did as a kid, it got squashed and was never encouraged.  That part of me that wanted to write never wrote again and hid away inside, until these last  few years. 

As I’m talking of this I realize that the “what am I going to do with my life?” really means, what am I going to do with my writing? Where am I going to go with it? What am I going to write? And what makes a successful writer? I guess the last question is the one I have been hung up on.

I know some successful writers. Now these writers have been published and their books are doing well. Some write whenever they get the chance, and some have a schedule they stick to ever day to write. I don’t, and I can’t, I have tried and it just does not work for me. 

So, I guess I have to find out what works for me. And, with me I know this is a work in progress. 

Then as I’m talking it hits me.

I found a piece of myself on my Outward Bound trip; I had many great discoveries and came back a much more whole person. Taking this course has changed me, it has been life altering and it has been a gift. Then I realize it’s kind of like when I come out of the hospital.

When I come out of the hospital I have recovered a lost part of myself and it takes time to “get back on track”, and this is no different.

And, like every time I recover a lost piece of myself, I am elated, and I want to get on with my life. And like every time, I need to process what has happened and its re wiring the brain, this also takes time and energy.

And, like every time, I learn that I am not as patient with myself as I would like to be.

I am once again finding out who I really am, and until that is done I cannot focus on my writing like I would like to.

I tell this to my friend and she says “You are doing research. You are learning who you are, that’s research. You are thinking about your writing and what to write, that is research. It may not look like what we think research is, but you are doing it”.

I liked that and told her I am going to borrow it.

So, like any good writer, I guess I am doing research. This sounds much nicer then “Why the hell aren’t your writing more?” And it does help me  take the pressure off of myself.

 I ask myself and my friend…Am I going to write a book, what am I going to write, who is going to read my writing, will there be lots of readers, or will I be a quiet writer and have   just be a few people who read what I write? 

Where I am going to go with my writing?

Then I realized I am not going to go anywhere with my writing, it is going to take me and go where it is supposed to go! 

Just like the time when I was in therapy shortly after I was correctly diagnosed. I was wondering where I was going to go from there. I was trying to plan my future. What do I have to do, maybe I have to go back to school, find another job, what am I going to do with my life?  Then my guardian angel lovingly hit me across the side of my head with a very padded 2x4 and told me to “stop reaching for the brass ring. Stop trying to find the glove to fit you, it will be there when the time is right, but for now you need to do your work and be formed for that glove so you are ready when the time comes.
So I sat back, relaxed and opened myself and my trust to the universe and knew that I would do what I am meant to do, and it would be all right.

I guess I have to do the same thing with my writing. I have to sit back, be open to the universe,do the research, and believe it will work out as it is supposed to. 

I received many wonderful, amazing and heartfelt gifts on my Outward Bound Course; I have grown and changed for the better.  I need to do the research and process all that happened to me, all that I gained and all of me that came back.

It will take time and I need to be gentle and patient with myself. And I do know that my writing, like my life, will be much richer for it. For that I am grateful. 

I wish you all well in your discoveries and research.

Those are my thoughts for today
Cheers and be well


  1. HI Sharon
    I received your comment this morning. Thanks so much for the questions. I did not know if you wanted your post published so I have chosen to post some of it and the questions you had. You had mentioned " Right now, my brain is slowing down, I battle to get sentences out, I’m fatigued, dissociated, I can’t focus on anything for too long, I’m weepy and just trying to keep the panic down."

    I will answer this is two sections as I can only do 4079 characters…

    You my friend are not alone. I also have complex P.T.S.D. and I have experienced what you described so well. It is not a lot of fun but it IS progress. I use to think I would be like that for the rest of my life, it sure felt like it. I would spend what seemed like months as you describe. I always felt bad about it, like I should be doing better.

    My psychiatrist assured me that " things are progressing as they should". he also mentioned that re wiring the brain- which is what therapy is, learning new ways and understanding- takes a whole hell of a lot of energy. For me, my symptoms and ways of dealing with things had been hardwired in my brain, it was my default system.

    So I had to learn new ways. I once described it as a wagon rut in the mud. The wagon had gone the same way so many times there was a huge rut in the mud, it was there if the earth was wet or dry. Learning new ways was like trying to get the wheel out of that was not easy, seemed impossible at times but each time I did it was a success. This may have only lasted a split second, but over time it got to be a longer space of time, and it got easier to get out, until the healthy way was the bigger rut.

    If you can imagine, the wagon rut will be there for time to come, but once that pathway is no longer used it fills in with grass, dirt etc. Visualizing this did help me. And of course it could never happen fast enough for me. But, it did take a lot of work, thus the symptoms you are experiencing.

    Also, for me, processing the past events also took it out of me, it was and still is hard work but it is worth it. It is exhausting work and many people have no idea the amount of energy it takes to do this work.

    I too would have issues with panic, especially if emotions were coming up and flashbacks. What helped me was to ease up on commitments and spend time on me. If days were really bad I would stay in bed and do what my friend would call "bed island." I would have things around me that helped me feel safe, be it a certain movie, pictures of loved ones, stuffed toy, aromatherapy, crafts etc...just to give myself some much needed down time and much needed time to remind myself that I was safe and the events are from the past, even though they felt like they were happening in the present. I learned a lot of grounding techniques and had even done up a safety plan - when I was doing better- to allow my supports to know what they could do to help me through this time. It was not easy, exhausting but well worth it.

    I had support of friends who would call to check in on me, even if it was to say hi and that they were thinking of me.

    You mentioned that you know how long your downtime is, that is progress.

    As you can see by some of my posts I have not always been good with being gentle with myself during my down times. I would tell myself to get on with it, what’s the issue, why are you weak and many more not so helpful things.

    It did take time for me to learn to be gentle with myself. Now when I feel one of those times coming I pull away from commitments, stay off the coffee/caffeine. Do what is soothing to me, be it a bath, going for a walk, listening to music or resting in bed. What is most important to me is listening to my body. If I am tired and need a nap, then that's what I do.

    As I said, I had not always been like this to myself. Find what soothes you, what makes you feel safe and what is right for you.

  2. Knowing that this is a much needed process in my healing has helped me not fight these down times. I know, it’s easier said than done and even now I sometimes need to remind myself to be kind and gentle to myself.

    What would often help me was asking myself, what would you do for a friend if they were going through this..then do it for myself.

    Each time I got through one of these down times, I realized that I can make it, it is worth it and it does get better. I also found that keeping a journal helps as there were times I thought I was feeling like crap for a week, but it had only been a day and a bit. This also helped me because I dissociated, and it helped me keep track of the days and how I was doing.

    In time I did find a pattern to my process.

    Support from the right people is also very important to me. In the beginning when I started to focus on myself and get better I had some friends who could not deal with this as they wanted me to keep living in the chaos or just did not understand,. In time, I drifted away from them and gained new friends. I am very fortunate as I have an amazing support circle and people would help me anytime I asked, I know that.

    There was a time I could not imagine having the life I now have. There were times I could not get out of my PJ's or go outside as it took way to much effort. But, it can get better. As for my family, they sort of had on the job training. :)

    They now know that it’s a process and when I am done processing and working on what needs to be worked on I will be back. They, like my Dr also trust that I know what I need and if I need hospitalization that's where I go.

    I do get through it, it may not be gracefully, but I do come through the other end a much better and stronger person.

    I am glad that this blog is helping you. If you ever need to copy anything to try to explain it to someone please do. I am starting to realize that you do not have to have DID for my blog to speak to you. Anyone with a mental health issue, or any issue may benefit from it.

    I wish you well on your journey and if you ave any more questions please do not hesitate to ask. Be gentle on yourself and remember it takes a lot of energy and effort to retrain a muscle, and that's what the brain is.

    cheers and be well

  3. Thanks Suzy,

    I am hearing you say what I already know to be true but can't help push against; non-resistant being. It is difficult to do. I want to do more, be more, accomplish more ... basically, I want to be the person I was before cPTSD hit. I can't be that person again and I can't help mourn the loss of her. It is difficult being nowhere, accomplishing nothing, wanting to do so much more, not being able to fulfill dreams, not knowing yourself from day to day and having no idea what tomorrow will be like. I hear you; no planning ahead, just living in this moment and allowing this moment to be whatever it needs to be. I don't feel up to the challenge, I battle with guilt; I should be doing more, there should be a visible outcome for all this time, six years now, it feels like wasted time. I can't be sure anything is actually happening in this brain of mine and I don't feel like I come out the other side with anything more than I went into it with. Do you feel guilty about not being able to do enough?

    Feeling despondent right now, I know it will pass. Thank you for explaining your process. It is comforting to hear another person talk it through. It makes it feel OK for me knowing someone else has pyjama days and bed weeks. You are so strong and you inspire me.

    PS please feel free to post up my questions

    1. I am sorry you are in this spot. yes, it is a tough place to be and mourning the loss of who I was before the illness hit me was all part of my process.I do however know, for me, I am a much happier, healthier and whole person then I was before my "crash and burn"

      As for guilt, yes, I spent years feeling guilty about not be able to do what I thought I should be able to do. One day this came up in therapy and my therapist asked me if I would deny anyone in the military who have come back from war zones of their benefits or tell them they are weak because they have P.T.S.D., cant do what they use to do and because they have other issues because of where they were and what they experienced. Of course I said no. She then replied.."How many tours of duty have you had "- meaning I have been through my own war zones. This helped allow more compassion and understanding for myself as we always seem to be harder on ourselves then others.

      Hang in there and I wish you well, and I know lots of people who have PJ days and bed weeks, and I know way more who wish they could.

      hang in there and yes, no matter what people say you are not alone, I don't know where you live but here in Canada 500,000 Canadians miss work each day because of mental illness and even more can not work because of it, so you are not alone...

      Hang in there and take good care and be gentle with yourself..

      Cheers and be well


    2. Thanks Suzy, you have been of immeasurable comfort to me the last few days. Bless you. By the way I live in South Africa and I too know of a lot of people who wish they could spend week days in bed :)


  4. Sharon..I'm glad I could well and gentle with yourself....
    cheers and be well


  5. Hmm, she's not accepting my view of her as Wonder Woman ... ahh, but she's very modest! Your work keeps showing up on my screen (do searches for Multiples) but out of watching like 140 blogs ... yours is the one that shows up in Google searches and for that we're very grateful. I read a lot of things about Multiplicity and I still consider this space your building to be very special, down to Earth, encouraging, and more than beneficial as to a different more refined version of life with Multiplicity.

    I don't want you to object to any of that ... it's our thoughts. By refined, I mean that you work very hard on living your life well, considering Multiplicity, or maybe especially because of the celebration. It's not out there as often as you would think. You've taken your life and made the most out of it (refined) and that is always going to be a work in progress.

    I can't help but be more than enthused about your prospects for writing. You write well, it is clear, and you can paint very nice scenes that live within you, or in front of you. It's a joy to read. We write a blog too. We've been writing for ten years, and the first year 2003-2004, we self-published as a book. Whatever direction you decide to come at the writing ... you are going to do well because you speak out loud so clearly and honestly. We enjoy reading you.

    Always our best,

  6. Iam dissociative identity disorder petient. I need your help

  7. HI Shalbi, I am not a professional, but I can offer support...

  8. HI Shalbi- to answer your question, yes you can learn to trust, you can be happy and you can have a good life. I have been where you are many times, and wondered if it would get better, it does. There are sunnier days ahead. I found what helped me is to find someone- professional- to talk to and help me with my journey, be gentle with myself, and realize you are not your condition.
    I also found doing research and understanding more about my condition helped.
    Here is the link to the magazine article I wrote,I think it starts on page 28
    hopefully it will help you realize you are not alone.

    Also, as hard as it was, when I realized I needed help and went and sought it out, and at times I needed to be in the hospital.

    I know this can't solve your problems, but hopefully it will give you some hope.

    hang in there