Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

How can You Be Tired, You’re the Youngest One Of The Group…..?

If I here this one more time I am going to scream…..

I know that the people that say this to me do not mean me any harm; I know they are not being mean to me, but I also know they do not get my illness and the daily struggles of living with this condition. Now that I write this I also realize it’s from people that don’t know me really well, or understand my condition or how it affects me.

Also, these folks did not know me at the beginning of my diagnoses. The beginning when I could hardly function and thought I was losing my mind, and could not remember what I did 2 hours ago, let alone the day before. They did not know me when every muscle in my body ached, when every night I was treated to nightmares and terrors, waking up in a sweat and trembling. They did not know me when I could not function enough to read, or write, follow a recipe or hold a conversation. A time when getting out of bed and having a shower and getting dressed was called a victory.  That seems like another life time ago and shows me how far I have come.

Tomorrow I am going with two friends over to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I am looking forward to this; it will be a long day as we have to drive down to Nanaimo to get the ferry over to the Vancouver. I feel very comfortable with these friends because they understand and accept me for who I am. I will enjoy myself with them and am looking forward to seeing the exhibitions. I will also remember the entire trip, which is like magic to me. I have had conscious linear memory for a couple of years now, but it’s still feels magical.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures, it will be a long day, but it will be fun and I’m sure I will learn a lot. I know I will be tired the next day, and I know the friends I am going with, and those that are in my life will understand why I am tired, and accept it, as they accept me, with love and understanding. I am very fortunate to have these people in my life. Yes, I have come a long way and as my psychiatrist would tell me " things are unfolding as they should."
Those are my thoughts for the day…
Happy adventures
Cheers and be well

Monday, 17 September 2012

This Is Your Life...

Back in the early 1950’s there was a TV show called This Is Your Life. An unsuspecting guest would be tricked to come to a location near the studio and would be surprised to learn that they would be the featured guest of this show. They would then be brought into the studio where significant people in this person’s life would come on stage to tell the audience stories about the guest. At the end all the people would gather around the guest and the guest would receive a gift, which was always a scrapbook of memories and a 16mm projector and camera.

Last week I was talking to my son about how I had misplaced my watched. “Your Mickey Mouse watch?” was his reply. I said I never had a Mickey Mouse watch and he said, “Yes you did mom, you use to give it to the kids in the daycare to look at while you changed their diapers.” I have no recollection of any of that.

A few days later I mentioned this to my friend and she said- yes, you had a Mickey Mouse watch. So I guess I must have, but cannot recall any of this. This evening my husband and I were out having dinner for our anniversary (which I did remember)-and we got talking about coverage when you rent a car. He talked about the time I rented a car and the dealer said I had scraped one of the rims of the car. I have a very, very vague memory of that, but not why we had rented the car, what time of year it was, what kind etc. And its not like we rent a car all the time. He also talked about  a restaurant by the marina in a town we lived in, I had to ask him where the marina was, he told me, I cannot picture it and have no memory of that either.

 These are just a very few of the things I don’t remember, others do, but I don’t and yes I could write a whole book on times like this. It does impact my life, my family and friends and the people I care about.

 These are once more examples of how D.I.D. has affected my life. I can only imagine what it must have been like for my son.  When I talked to him one time for the C.B.C. radio piece I did on this disorder he told me, “Mom, I thought you lied a lot because you would say you would do one thing, like help me with my homework, or we would go to the beach etc., but it never happened so I learned  young not to trust or count on anything you said.”

 I guess you can say I am frustrated with this impaired memory. It is getting better as I now have conscious linear memory. I can now remember how I played some of the holes during my gold games, on good days I can remember all of them, on bad days I have trouble remembering them as I play them. People in my life understand this and know if I forget, it’s not because I am ignoring them or have found something more important to do, and for that I am very fortunate.

So, the last few days I have been reminded once again "This is Your Life," I just wish someone would give me a scrapbook of memories to fill in the years of blank.

Those are my thoughts for today

Happy memories
Cheers and be well


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Something I wrote on a mental health blog....more of a rant..

Something I wrote on a mental health blog....more of a rant..

Mental illness is NOT a character flaw!!!!

I have had issues with depression and anxiety and have complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID - formally known as multiple personality disorder). The stigma from having the depression and PTSD was bad enough but put in DID and it's a whole new ball game!

To say it has been a challenge is an understatement but I have never felt better.

One of the best days of my life was in 2003 - even though it did not feel like it at the time - when I was correctly diagnosed. I have been very fortunate to have knowledgeable, caring professionals and supportive family and friends who have traveled with me on this journey. I also know that not everyone is so fortunate.

As everyone knows, having the right diagnosis for any medical condition is a must. It allows us to understand and treat the ailment in the best way possible that allows the patient to have the best chance in having a quality life.

Having the correct diagnosis in mental health is no different!

So what's stopping people form having the correct diagnoses?

The stigma and belief that it's a character flaw, and if they had a mental health issue that meant they were crazy. That if they tried harder, pulled their socks up, were smarter, were not lazy, dumb or stupid the issue would go away. It doesn't; I know this from personal experience.

My illness became so debilitating I could no longer work. Our family lost our home and were very close to being homeless. My husband's pension was $50 more than we would get on social assistance and worse, none of us knew what was wrong with me. I knew I had issues with my past, the depression and anxiety and PTSD, but there was something else. I thought I was crazy. I have since learned I am far from it.

Like other medical issues, being correctly diagnosed for a mental illness - the operative word being illness - can save one's life. I'm sure it has for me. And like any "medical" issue, the correct diagnosis not only helps the person with it, but their family and friends, as they can learn more about it and how to best support their loved one.

I look back now and realize that my father had an undiagnosed mental illness, and he, as well as his wife and every one of his kids paid the price. I think of how much damage this has caused all of the family and what it has cost society in terms of health care and lost potential.

As I said, I have had knowledgeable and caring professionals and I feel very fortunate for that, as I know not everyone is this fortunate. My family and friends (for the most part) have stuck by me during the ups and downs and the times "I am not feeling myself today."

That is why I advocate and educate about mental illness and DID. I have this condition but it is not who I am. As I tell my friends at the golf course, "the quality of my golf game is not indicative to who I am as a person". Meaning I have good game and bad games, but it's not who I am. Just like I have good days and bad days, but once again it's not indicative to who I am as a person.

The people in my life know I have this condition, it is no secret.
I am captain of my dragon boat team, play golf and ringette and am working on my memoirs. I volunteer in various organizations and am a much loved member of my community. I have spent the last few years advocating and educating others about DID and mental health. I meet regularly with my family doctor’s medical/practicum students and let them know what this condition is all about and how best they can help their future patients. I have done presentations at the local high school and college. I have a blog about living successfully with DID ( and a Facebook page (Building Awareness About DID), and this summer I am having an article published in "Insights to Clinical Counselling" (the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors journal).

It's been a long and sometimes very painful journey, but I am thankful for it as life has never been better.
I may have a mental illness, but it does not have me, and it is not who I am, or is indicative to who I am as a person.

Cheer and be well and I wish you all well on your journeys.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012


When I have gone into the hospital I have often said to the staff, “I would love to have access to a MIR machine because I would love to know what my brain image would look like, I would love to see what it looks like when I come in, and what it looks like when I am ready to go home, as I feel a shift has happened and things in the brain have been busy.

The brain is an amazing thing and we still don’t know a lot about it. Sure we know more than we did 100 years ago; even 50 years ago, but we are still just scratching the surface. With the help of the MIR/CT  machines we are learning more.

We know for example that people with ADD/ADHD have less blood flow in the frontal cortex of the brain, the area that controls impulse, memory, concentration etc. And this knowledge had helped with understanding and treating of this condition.  We now know and have proof that people with ADD/ADHD are not lazy, dumb or just “don’t want to do the work.” There is a physiological difference in the brain and we can now see that.

Studies have also had DID folks and non-D.I.D-( actors) people  have had their brain scans, the non-DID people got into their roles and  pretended to be someone else and their brain image did not change However  the brain images of those with DID  showed their neuronal patters changed with the different persona. (I will post the info to the studies when I am feeling better

So where does this leave me, and others?  Hopefully with a better understanding of this condition and that it’s not something “put on, or something I am doing to get attention” It also helps me understand that there is stuff going on in my brain and this is not a character flaw. I have known that, but when I get in funks like this it reminds me that I will get through this, that I am tired because my brain is working away like crazy and there is a good reason I am tired. 

So, I am taking it easy, have pulled away from some much loved activities to take care of my mental health. It’s sad that I need to do this, but it’s what I need to do to take care of myself. It’s also a reminder that I am not “normal”, and can’t expect to be able to be like non D.I.D. people. As much as I love doing things and being part of life, I still have to be very careful of my energy output, and have to have respect for my limitations.Some days it’s easier to accept then others. I guess this is part of learning to be gentle with myself

I guess that’s it for now,
Until next time, be gentle with yourself
Cheers and be well