Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Growth and Change.....

Well, I knew it was some time since my last blog post, but I did not realize it has almost been two months. It has been an interesting time, it has been a challenging time, it has once again been a time of growth. And, as I have learned, growth does not come easily.

In my last blog post I spoke about going to the congress in Kelowna. I was sent by F.O.R.C.E.  and it, like the organization was amazing! Do look at their website for some amazing mental health resources.

It was unreal to be sitting in a room with 300 other people who felt like I do, that we need to start talking about mental illness, to bring it out of the shadows and into the spot light. As I had not been to a congress/conference in 18 years it was  a great workout for my brain, and there was a couple of times that I wondered what I was doing there, -( which means self-doubt)- but they went away quickly. I met some amazing people, learned lots, and am inspired to carry on what I am doing.

The rest of October was busy, and things seemed to take more energy. Nothing spectacular happened, just life, family issues, commitments etc. As I said before, I am learning to deal with the day to day things. Sometimes its fine, sometimes it’s really hard, and sometimes I feel like I am walking through mud. Sometimes I can feel all the above on the same day!!!

As I look at my calendar, I see I had also seen the dentist. The last time I had been to the dentist was 20 years ago. So, as you can imagine, going to the dentist it a huge issue for me, and not a good issue.  But I was very proactive, and things worked out, and after one glitch, it all went well.

Then my shoulder started acting up. I have Bicep tendentious, and rotator cuff issues. I have had issues with this before, in both shoulders, but this time round it was unbearable, I could not believe how much pain I was in. I did go to see my Dr. and he ordered an x-ray and an ultra sound. Two days later I was back in his office to get something for the pain as it was so bad I could hardly breathe, and nothing I was taking or doing was helping. So, with some prescription pain killers, rest and Physiotherapy, it has settled down some. I still have to be careful and not overdo it. I can play Ringette now, but I still cannot paddle in the dragon boat. The dragon boat team is now done for the season, and we start up again in the spring, so we will see how the shoulders are doing then.

The month of November rolls around, and I am glad to say this month has not been as busy. Being my birthday month, I have been spoiled by family and friends. It’s been great, I am now 55, and some days I am amazed I have made it this far. I am grateful to the people, past and present who have helped me get where I am. I even entered two writing contests. Now I don’t imagine I will win, but it’s not about the winning, it’s about taking my writing more seriously, and taking back a piece of myself. I was surprised at how much fun I had writing the stories.

My son and I went down to Victoria for a few days to see the Viking exhibit at the museum, and spend a couple of days together. It was fun, and when I got back I got sent to bed with a flu bug. I was disappointed I had to cancel some plans, It took its time, but I am better now.  I have attended two workshops that were presented by The F.O.R.C.E.  and look forward to working with them in the future.  I have had lunch with friends, and enjoyed some quiet down time.

Yesterday I was out with my best friend and mentioned how quickly Christmas seems to be coming up, and how because October was so busy I feel like I lost that month somewhere. Her reply was “Last October you were starting your crash and burn – (I ended up in the hospital in February) - you made it through without crashing and burning this time.” And that was just what I needed to hear!!!

We all go through developmental stages throughout our life. Some are small, some are huge, their difficulty varies, but each one is growth of some kind. Some we notice as it happens, sometimes, it is not until well after the fact that we realize it.

For those of us with D.I.D. or other mental health challenges, it can be even harder and take more time and energy. But, it is just as important and it is always a positive move forward, even if we do not feel like it at the time.

I was talking to my Dr’s medical student last week. I told her that I had stopped dissociating and became “integrated” last spring, and of the challenges of trying to live in the here and now without dissociating. It’s positive, but at times its hard work. I told her, I feel like a snake that is shedding its skin. I have been shedding this one since last March. It’s hard work, and at times I just feel like giving up, but I know that if I stop before I am finished, the old skin will get smaller and smaller and eventually choke me off. As the old skin is shed, the new skin is tender and I have to do lots of self-care until it has toughened up some. Yes it’s a lot of work, and yes, I have and will continue to pull in my supports while I go through this stage.  But, it is a move forward, and I am looking forward to what is underneath.

Those are my thoughts for today, I wish you all well in your journeys and discovering what you find as you move forward.

Cheers and be well

Friday, 26 September 2014

We Hope You Have Enjoyed Your Flight

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog. I am back from my “unscheduled flight.” It was an interesting flight, a little bumpy here and there, a bunch of turbulence, but we have made it, and are back.

And, I am glad to be back.  Like always, it will take time for me to get back into the swing of things, but, I am use to that, have been here before and know that self-care and self-compassion are just as important now, as when I was waiting for the flight out of “The Land of Discombobulating.”
It was a bit of a rough landing. Putting it mildly, learning to live in my new skin without dissociating is a challenge.  It’s a skill, that will take time, and I know I will have up’s and downs along this journey.

In the past if I got irritated, the room was too loud, or I was angry etc., all I would have to do is look to the left and I would be gone. I would zone out, dissociate and another persona would come forward and deal with that situation.  While this was a great coping mechanism to help deal with overwhelming circumstances, it was interfering with my quality of life. In time I learned to notice the switching, and now I am at a point where I am no longer dissociating. This is a new chapter in my life, and with each new chapter, comes a huge learning curve and new challenges.

I am now learning to deal with irritability, grumpiness, anxiety, noise etc. As I told my family Dr. “I assume when you were 4 years old and having emotions you started to learn to deal with them, and the ups and downs and challenges of daily life. Well, you’re 52 years ahead of me on this, as I am just starting to learn to do that now”.

As I have said before, the only analogy I can think of is someone who has been using drugs/alcohol to numb themselves for 50 years. And, now for the 1st time in their life, they are no longer using these substances and the world is so much louder, harsher etc. It’s not that the world has changed, it’s that I am no longer numbing the world out. For the first time in 52 years there are no barriers between me and the rest of the world. And while I find it challenging I find it fascinating. 

A few weeks ago, we had one of the very few days of rain here. I went for my morning walk in the rain and I loved it. It was not cold out, and I could feel the rain hitting my skin. I have felt this before, but not to this extent. I could feel the rain on my skin like never before, because I was fully present, without numbing and there were no barriers between me and the world. It was amazing. I could feel when the rain hit my skin, feel it run down my skin and change temperature as it did so. This was being truly and fully in the present. It was lovely. I now notice that each bird has a different song, that there are many shades of grey, in the grey sky, the many shades of green in the garden, etc. It is like a whole new world that I am discovering.

I also notice more noise, and those pesky emotions. This is a challenge for me. To feel and stay with the complexities of not just feeling these emotions but feeling more than one at the same time. At times, I very much feel like a toddler trying to deal with the complexities of the world, and yes, at times I feel like having my very own, personal temper tantrum!

So, as you can see, living without dissociating is a challenge, but it has its many rewards. This journey, like life, has its up’s and downs, good and not so good. And, I need to remember that yes, believe it or not, I am human, and I have made, and will make mistakes. But, it can be a good life.

When I returned from my “unscheduled flight” from “The Land of Discombobulating” there was a surprise waiting for me. An e-mail from an organization called F.O.R.C.E.  looking for parents who might be interested in attending the “Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Congress.” I didn’t know if I was the type of person they were looking for, but thought, “all they can do is say no thanks.” So I applied and am thrilled that I will be attending.  The congress is in Kelowna, which means another unscheduled flight, but I am thrilled about this one. I leave here on Sunday morning and get back Wednesday night. I am looking forward to connecting with others who believe we need to talk and educate about mental illness, to learn more and be inspired.

And, as always, I am amazed at what the universe has placed at my door step.

As I sit here writing at my favorite coffee shop, The Rocky Mountain Cafe, I think back on this journey of mine, the hard work, dark times, journeys to the depths of my soul and all the loving and supportive people in my life. And once again, am amazed at how you never know what is around the corner. I am glad I never gave up, and look forward to this next chapter of my life.

It’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be interesting, and I have a feeling, it is going to be anything but boring.

Those are my thoughts for today. I wish you all well in your journeys, and encourage you to keep on going, because, like me, you never know what is around the corner.

Cheers and be well


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Welcome to The Land of Discombobulating…

It has been on the horizon for about a week now, the flight plan was diverted, without my approval, and I have landed right smack dab in the middle of The Land of Discombobulating.

There are no flashy tourist brochures with pictures of happy, smiling people enjoying the sunshine and having a grand time here. There is no website where one can book their all-inclusive vacation in a luxurious suite with an ocean view and 5 star dining!

Nope, The Land of Discombobulating is a very cold, grey, barren, windswept, lonely place, where, much like altitude sickness, ones senses go askew and the simple process of thinking is harder to do.

 As I said, I have felt this coming for about a week, and no matter what adjustments I made, I could not change the flight plan and this came upon me like a mountain top poking out of the fog at 6000 feet.

The good news is that I have landed safely, I have my survival gear with me and I know what to expect.

I hate being here, and get frustrated every time I visit. Life will be running along smoothly and then for no reason that I can gather, I am back here again. I am frustrated, angry, sad, irritated, tired and generally pissed off! However, I have to accept it, take care of myself and wait for this to pass.

The advantage I now have, is that I know what to expect, how best to get through this and how to set up my camp for the duration.

I know that I will need quiet, tons of self-care, and that I will not be able to function at the level I normally do. I know plans may need to be cancelled, and I will need more sleep.

And I need to remind myself this is not a character flaw!

This is one of the biggest issues I have had to work through. Because I do not fit the mold of a “working” person, or because I take time to care for myself, society sees me somewhat of lesser value and dare we say it..even “selfish”

But, I know this is what is best for me. And, what is best for me, is best for my family, friends and society.

In the past, I would fight these moments, keep pushing myself and run around like crazy, and push myself to exhaustion. I would do whatever I could to stay ahead of the emotions, memories, sensations or whatever my brain wanted to work on. I would keep going until I “crash landed” and I would pay dearly for not taking time for myself and it would take so much longer to get back into the swing of things.

I have no idea why my flight plans have been diverted. It may be the time of year, a trigger, the change of seasons or that my brain is just not working well at the moment. This may last a day, a week or more. Time will tell, but I do know what I can do to help it along.

I do know that being loving, kind and gentle with myself will help speed the process. I know I have resources that I can pull in to help me through this time, and that by staying in the moment, being authentic and not trying to “busy myself up” this too shall pass.

Soon, I will once again be laughing, feel joy and be fully and happily participating in life.

Until then, I am going to set up camp, hunker down in The Land of Discombobulating, do what I need to do and look forward to my flight out of here.

I wish you all well in your travels and remember to be kind and gentle with yourselves.
Cheers and be well


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Youth and Mental Health

Doing it a bit different this time round..this is a letter I have sent to some newspapers on Monday, hoping the editors will print it. Please help spread the word about the need for open and respectful dialogue around mental health.

Mental Health and Youth

As the summer months fly by, we start to notice that the nights are becoming shorter, mornings are cooler and shadows are getting longer. Things start to shift and all too soon the summer that will be, becomes the summer that was. Many of us start to set our eyes on new goals and directions.

For some, this means sending our children off to High school and Post-secondary education. As parents we do our best to prepare our children for this stage of their life.

This can be an exciting time in their lives with dreams and goals.  A time of exploring and belief that all things are possible. It may also be a time of trepidation's. 

And for some, it will be a time of encountering mental health issues for the first time in their life.

When they were younger, we taught them about road safety, strangers, and to wear a helmet while riding their bikes. Never to get in a car with a drunk driver and to always wear a seat belt.

As we buy them supplies, clothes and assorted various other items to put in their care packages, we need to add one more thing along with our love.

We need to send them off with the correct information on mental health.

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada “1 in 4 youth will experience a mental health issue. The great majority of mental health issues occurs during adolescence and 70 % of young adults living with a mental illness report having symptoms before age 18. Youth 18-24 are most likely to suffer from mood disorders, substance abuse and more likely to commit suicide”

But there is good news. There is help and the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.

For the last 2 years I have been educating and advocating to various youth groups about mental health. They are bright, intelligent and articulate. They are our future, and some of them are struggling! After each presentation there are always some students that come up and talk to me of their struggles and fears around the mental health of themselves, a friend or family member. For some, this is the first time they have ever spoken about it.
Sure it may be scary to talk to our children about mental health issues.  But by creating an open and respectful dialogue we give them another very important tool to help and support them for the rest of their lives. With the right information and understanding we can help them reach their dreams and work towards making all things possible. Like wearing the bicycle helmet, it does not mean they will fall off their bike and bang their head, but it is there to protect them if they do.

Having a mental illness is not a character flaw, and with the correct diagnoses and treatment one can have a very fulfilling life. I am proof of that.  Undiagnosed mental issues cost the individual and society at large. We all pay the price.  Let’s educate this up and coming generation so that they don’t have to pay the price. If we don’t, some will pay with their life.

For more information visit

Monday, 4 August 2014

One Giant Step For Suzy Kind…..

This last week I met a very interesting young women. Her name is Siobhan Brannign. She is a multimedia student from Ryerson University. She is working on her thesis for her Masters in Multimedia, and is interviewing people for her “From a Negative to a Positive “project.

She is driving across the country meeting and interviewing people she has connected with for her project. I must tell you, it does my heart good to see the younger generation talking about mental illness.
I met with her on Wednesday afternoon, she is a very bright, articulate, brave and beautiful young women. 

She asked me questions about my condition, how I got into public speaking about mental health issues, what I did to help me through it and other questions. When that portion was done we went down to the dock where my teams’ dragon boat is moored and she took some pictures of the boat and myself with my paddle.
For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know I have been working hard around the “camera issue”

As I was standing on the dock next to the 48 foot, red dragon boat, I was calm, somewhat relaxed and leaning on my paddle, staying in the present moment.
It was interesting for me to stay in the present and not dissociate when my picture was taken, I am glad I did all that hard work.

Of course, once she left I thought of a million things I could have said, or showed her more things  that helped me through those rough times…and will in the future.

The next day I received a message for Siobhan- she was staying in Victoria. She asked if she had left her tripod at my house, she did, so we arranged to meet at a half-way point in Nanaimo- at the Chapters book store. Because I just hate book stores wink wink…

My son and I drove down and had time to look around the book store, and believe it or not, I actually looked at photography books, and low and behold bought a photography magazine.

Now this may not be a big deal to folks, but for me it’s a huge issue. It’s a giant step for me…in the past as much as I wanted to learn and discover, I would be pulled away from the photography world…

Later that evening I made a tea and skimmed through the magazine/journal. It is all about macro photography- of course there are terms and things I have no idea what the hell they are talking about, and I was a little overwhelmed with information, so I put it down for a bit.

But I did lean things. I also remember what I read in the magazine, and look forward to learning more.

If I had not faced and worked on my camera issue, I would not have been able to remember the look or to pick up the magazine. To learn and move forward…to discover and look forward to being creative with the camera.

As I am packing to go back up to Sointula for a few more days, I will pack my camera gear and once again take some more pictures and see where my journey goes.

It is amazing where one can go when you deal with your fears and issues. As I continue I will keep you posted on where my journey takes me.

This may be a tiny step for mankind, but a GIANT step for me.
Those are my thoughts for the day

I wish you all safety and wellbeing on your journeys.

Cheers and be well

PS- here is some more info on Siobhan from her Facebook page
This is an ongoing documentary photo based project by Siobhan Brannigan. It focuses on coping with mental illness and creating an open place for discussion
To create a safe space to present people's journeys with mental illness through the use of photography and interviews. To create an opportunity for open discussion, to give and receive advice on coping strategies, and to discuss potential solutions to any problems.
This project A Positive From A Negative started off as a thesis for my undergrad in photography. It has now evolved to become my thesis project for my masters degree in Documentary Media at Ryerson University.

In this project I am dealing with the issue mental health. With the subject finally becoming a big topic of discussion in various forms of media it is time to try and bring a new approach on the subject. My ultimate goal is to create a website. One that individuals can go to and view different approaches and journeys people have had. I also want a space that people can discuss their own issues or offer supportive advice. To do this I need to create a large body of work and that is what this next step is to do.

Mental health and illness awareness is a topic that is just beginning to gain a profile in our society. The statistics that show the number of people who struggle and the number of people who do not understand how to approach the situation is staggering. Mental health is often considered pejoratively, as a stigma, yet many do not realize that many people are able to live a successful, and positive life while facing these ‘negative’ struggles. Due to personal experience with mental health issues and having openly discussed this with the people around me, I have realized that mental health is a topic that rarely has any positive aspects attributed to it and in turn people are not always comfortable discussing their situation. This is an unfortunate circumstance, as through interaction and discussion with others many people can learn better coping strategies and approaches in their daily life.

With my series, A Positive from a Negative, I wish to contribute to a vital discussion about mental health. I wish to create a space for people to observe, to listen, and to talk about their experience with mental health, particularly those leading a positive life. I want to create a safe space for people to learn and for people to teach. There is a lot of information available about mental health but many people do not take the time and make the initiative to seek it out. People should take that time because every person who lives without mental illness has, in fact, several interactions daily between themselves and someone with a mental illness even if they are not aware of it. As well, it is important to be aware that every individual has a different experience, whether or not they share similar mental illnesses.

In this project I record an interview with the participants (audio only), followed by photographing a few things. I want to photograph a place of comfort; one that has been an influence on your mindset or just a place where you have dealt with your struggles, or a place that is a safe haven. I also want to photograph the person; just a detail of oneself that does not give away your identity, unless you so choose. Lastly, I want to photograph a detail of an object that directly relates to how you cope/are learning to cope. (You can view the photographs from the interviews I have already conducted on my tumblr under the photography heading or visit my website

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Living In Two Worlds At The Same Time….

On my last trip up to Malcolm Island, I was once again pushing myself to use my camera.  There were a few challenging moments like when I went to change the lens. My hand was trembling, my mind went blank, and I could not remember how to do it. But my friend was with me, and was patient and supportive of me, as she has always been, these past 19 years. I took a deep breath and she took me through the steps of how to do it. Soon after I was changing lenses with no problem.

I spent parts of the next few days taking pictures of, old boats, old houses, old boat houses etc. As  I took  a picture of an old decrepit boat, I would notice the newer ones behind it. As I was taking these pictures I was thinking if these items could only talk, what stories would be told.

I came across 4 small boats. A 12 foot aluminum one, 2 wooden canoes, one red, one green and a small blue wood row boat, all together, turned upside down, leaning on each other just above the tide line. The colours had faded, the gunnels had rotted off the canoes, and they were buckled in the middle. Grass had grown up through and around them all. How long had they been here? When the people put them like that, did they know it would be for the last time? Did they have any idea they would sit here for so long?  Why had they not been used in such a long time?

 If these old boats and buildings could talk. The storms they had seen, both by Mother Nature and economics, and what lives had been lost because of these?  What dreams were started and ended, and what secrets were whispered within their presence.

As I was taking pictures of these, and noticing the newer boats and buildings I felt like I was seeing two worlds at the same time, then in time I realized, I was living in two worlds at the same time. 

This is progress. It may not sound like it, but it really is.

An example is what happened to me with my camera. Sure, I was triggered and trembling, and I forgot how to change the lens when my mind went blank. But, and this is very important, I did not dissociate, disconnect from myself, my friend, or my surroundings.

In the past I would have done all of the above, and put my camera gear away and forget that I even had it, and have no memory of the event, or the trip.

Now, I am triggered, but I am able to stay in the moment, and not only that. I pushed on ahead with the camera and got some amazing shots. It was wonderful, as I was able to stay in the present, and take pictures. This, may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me.

Then I pushed myself even one more step and asked my friend to take some pictures of me throughout this trip, so that I would have pictures of me, safe and in the present, to start replacing the ones from my past.

In the past, when I did take pictures I dissociated and therefore was numb. But this time round, I was in the present and it was an amazing feeling. I got lost in the art of photography for the first time. I started seeing the world differently and it was pretty amazing.

The only way I can explain this, is if all your life you could not taste any of the food you were eating. Then one morning, you wake up and find that you can taste everything. Everything would be new, and amazing. You would find tastes you like, some you don’t, strong flavours or a very subtle something that lingers for just a moment before it is gone. It would open a whole new world to you.

This is what it is like for me with my photography. I look at the pictures I have taken, and am amazed at some of the shots, disappointed with others, but the muse is finally allowed to be here and now in the present, and I can’t wait to get out there and take some more pictures, make some new discoveries.

And all the time I am taking pictures, my past will be right there with me, and that’s ok. Because, while my past is there beside me, I am not in my past. That is the difference!

Sure, I may have moments of anxiety and forgetfulness, but I will be able to stay in the present. After everything I have been through, I think that’s a pretty good place to be.

It has been an unbelievable amount of work to get where I am now. And, somewhere along the way, I learned that I needed to honor my past and everything I have been through. I know this is easier said than done, but it is worth it. And unlike those old boats and buildings, I will be able to tell my story.

I also know, that the next time I take my camera out I will most likely have some anxiety around it, and that my past will be visiting me. But, I also know, that in time, because I honor the memories and my past, there will come a time where they are only memories.

Yes, it’s been hard and very painful work, but so worth it.

I have a couple of the pictures my friend took of me, and it’s amazing. Unlike the ones from my childhood, these pictures are full of life and laughter. I was in awe as I looked at them, my eyes are full of light, laughter, hope and all things possible.

Yep, I sure have come a long way, and yep, it sure is worth it!

These are my thoughts for today.
I wish you all light, love and laughter on your journey.
Cheers and be well


Monday, 9 June 2014

New Beginnings.....

As I stated at the end of my last blog post, I was about to take my camera on my walk and see if I can set some more triggers free.

It was interesting…

I was still on Malcom Island, and there are photographic opportunities all over the island. I was a little nervous as I loaded my camera and myself into the car and embarked on the journey.

I have always loved photography, as far back as I can remember. I remember getting my very own camera for Christmas one year when I was around 6 or 7 years old.  I was amazed and intrigued, and would always tremble with excitement as  my small fingers loaded the 127 film into the camera body, peeling away the yellow sticker to thread the film into the spool that would pull the film across the lens. Possibilities were endless with every fresh roll of film.

 I would hunt around the yard and neighborhood hunting for the next great shot. Having my camera in hand and focusing on something helped me escape the craziness of my life, if only for a little while. When I was in senior high school, I was in the yearbook club and loved taking pictures and developing them. The schools camera was a friendly companion and I would often skip class to go take pictures.

And, once again, when I was doing this I would dissociate and switch, and it was the photographer who was out taking the pictures and developing them, and I would have very little memory of doing any of this.

As an young adult of 21 years old, I got my own camera gear and loved taking pictures of animals, landscape and then I really started to enjoy focusing on the small things, designs and patterns in nature, flowers etc. I was really into this for a few months and then one morning I woke up, and had no memory of the time I spent taking pictures, or that I even had the camera gear.

It was not until 18 months later that I came across them, all covered in dust, at the very back corner of my closet that I realized I had all this gear.

As much as I loved photography, it was also a trigger, and when it became too much, I would totally disconnect and become the "photographer” persona, and not even remember I had done any of it. And then, when even the photographer was triggered, that persona, and the camera gear, would be put away in the back corners and I would have no memory of either.

This past Christmas I asked for a new digital SLR camera, and I got one, is lovely, its new, it takes great pictures, and once again it’s a trigger as I knew it would be.

 Now I could have put the camera away, but I was tired of my past interfering with my present, and this was one of the issues I had been “dragging” around. I also knew I needed to face this part of my past. So, I pulled in my resources, upped my counselling sessions, and visits to my family doctor, and in the end I needed to go into the hospital to be supported while I processed these memories. As you read in my February 22nd blog post, it was hard, painful, but much needed work to move forward in my life.

So, back on Malcom Island, I am sitting crossed leg on a mixed gravel and rocky beach, overlooking the Broughton Strait. It’s a foggy morning, waters are calm and all is quiet, all except for the Kildeer, as it flys in circles 30 feet above my head. 

I sit back, lean against a dry old weathered log that a past storm had brought in and feel the coolness of the fogs moisture on my face and hands.  With the camera on my lap, I take a deep breath, light up the sage bundle I had brought with me and do a smudge. I cleanse the camera, as well as the little kid I was. I feel the contrast of warmth from the tears against my cool face, as they silently flow. I remind myself that I am now in the present that this is my camera, I am in control of this camera and what pictures are to be taken. And I am going to take pictures of beautiful and amazing things.

As I smudge and smell the burning sage, I know this is a new beginning.  I honor my past, all who have helped me on my journey, all of those I now have in my life, and to those who are yet to come.

After the smudge, I hold the still burning sage bundle close to my chest, I can feel the heat from the burning end on my face.  I sit and ponder, watch as the waves gentle arrive on the shore, and reflect. I reflect on where my life was, where I am now, and once again I am in awe when I think about the amazing creativity I had, as a very young child.  To dissociate and create personas to deal with overwhelming circumstances, not only deal with these circumstances, but survive them.

And I am once again reminded that I am not my past!

As the sage burns to the end, I gently lay it on the gravel and allow it to burn itself out, as I thank it for helping me on my journey.

Slowly standing up, I pick up my camera and in a very contemplative mood, listen to my feet crunch the gravel beneath as I walk to the car.

Putting the key in the ignition, I take a deep breath and drive to a part of the island I want to take pictures.

I spent the next hour taking pictures of many different things. Old and new building, old derelict cars, bees in flowers, bicycles with mini gardens made in the front baskets, Salmon berries that are so ripe they are about to fall off, while new still green berries grow on the same  clump, and their blossoms that are still blooming right beside them.

Was I nervous taking the pictures? You bet. My hands were trembling, my heart was beating and every once in a while it would skip a beat and it would  be off rhythm for about 4 beats, but it always got back into the right rhythm. My hands would get sweaty against the body of the camera, and I would be short of breath.

 But, I also knew that this anxiety was from the past, and to honor it and be able to move on, I needed to acknowledge it and allow it to flow through my body, so that it can dissipate, so that I was no longer holding onto that energy.

It was not easy, but it was a needed process and the good news is that I did not dissociate!
 I can remember taking the pictures and how I felt at the time and write about it two weeks later. 

For me, this is a pretty amazing thing. 

 New beginnings can come at any time, some planned some not. Try to be open to them, you will be amazed at what you discover.

I wish you all well and safety in your journeys, discoveries and new beginnings.

Those are my thoughts for today
Until next time, Cheers and be well

Monday, 2 June 2014

Dragging The Past Behind Me……

 Here I sit, with a view, looking at the fog and ocean, and I am dragging my past behind me…

I am in the village of Sointula, on Malcolm Island. Malcolm Island is one of the northern Gulf Islands, off of Vancouver Island. It’s about a 3 ½ hour drive north from where I live, and then a 25 minute ferry ride.

Earlier this year while in my stained glass class, I mentioned that I was looking at renting a cottage for a week up here in August, to get away and do some writing. My neighbor is also in the class and she mentioned to me that her mom still owns a house up here, so she talked to her brothers and in the end, I get to use this lovely house, with an amazing view to come up and relax and write.

My son and I arrived here on Friday afternoon. It was sunny and cool and beautiful. We unpacked, settled in, and looked forward to our adventure and R&R, and of course writing. Last time we were here 3 years in August, we were camping and it was cold, and wet. Luckily the thrift store was open so that we could buy some sweaters and mitts and toques. This time round there are no tents, we have a lovely house with an amazing view instead.

Yesterday morning at 5:20AM I was woken up by the good morning song of the Robin, and the sunshine. I did get back to sleep and eventually got up and did some writing, had a bite to eat, and then got dressed. My son- who is 29- and I then went down to the local bakery and had some coffee and their to die for crème cheese and smoked salmon croissant. Oh my, what an amazing combination, not overpowering, but subtle and lovely and the croissants are so light and crispy in just the right spot, and they melt in your mouth. We had another coffee as we lollygagged and my son tried out the cinnamon rolls, and said they were lovely.

We then went to the resource center to access the internet, to let my husband and friends know we arrived safely, and to get a tide guide. There is a lighthouse I want to go look at, it’s a 10 minute walk from the start of the path and then walk along the beach. Last time we were here we went there, but the tide was coming in, so I had to cut the visit a bit short, I didn't want a wet walk back to the path. The tide guide gives me an idea when the tides will be out and when it’s coming back in again. Yesterday would have been a perfect day for that walk..but it never happened.

Shortly after that I started to feel anxious, irritated and not myself. I do get this for the first couple of days when we are camping, but we are not camping this time round.   It took most of the day of noticing and acknowledging, but it was during a drive last night that the dots started to connect and I understood why I was feeling like that. And, yes, I did get frustrated because here I was, on a lovely island, looking forward to some relaxing and writing, and after all the work I have done in therapy, I am still dragging my past behind me, and its firmly attached! With that, I went to bed with feelings of sadness.

This morning I was once again woken by the Robins morning song, and the screech of Bald Eagles, but no sunshine. It is a foggy day and I can hardly see the outline of Vancouver Island.  I got up, made some tea and started to write. While I was writing, I thought, and wrote more about what happened yesterday, what the triggers were, where they are coming from, and why I am having them.  Through this process, I can understand more, and understand myself better, and reminded myself, that when I first started therapy, there was no way I could look at an issue like this while I was away from home, let alone on a small Gulf Island with very little cell phone coverage or internet.  I would have needed the support of my therapist and work one on one through this.

Does having that realization take away my feeling of frustration? Somewhat, but I still get frustrated that my past is still affecting my present, as I am still dragging my past behind me, but then I had this visual.

I think back to the beginning of therapy, when I had what I call my “crash and burn.” Because I had not dealt with any of my issues, I was doing the best I could but I was at a point where I really needed to do some work on it, I could no longer run from it. Yes, I was dragging my past behind me, everywhere I went, and it was hard to drag because it was huge. I visualize this giant sized burlap bag, that is heavy, and awkward, and laden down with my life and all that happened to me. This burlap bag was so big and heavy I could not pull it through doorways, or anywhere else. I was stuck. But through lots of hard work, that bag became smaller and lighter.

I still have that bag, but it’s no longer this huge, heavy, cumbersome burlap bag. I now visualize it as a lovely 4x6 inch, beautifully and lovingly hand-woven silken bag, kind of like a small book bag. I carry it close to me where ever I go and I honor its contents and stories. And every once in a while it will poke and prod at me, and its then that I  need to stop, have a look, spend time, rearrange its contents, sometimes take something out and set it free, and then close it back up and carry on.

I have spent the last 16 hours re arranging some of the contents, and maybe in time, I will set it free also.

 I know I am not my story, meaning, I am not what happened to me, I am not my past. As a friend said to me the other day “Your past is not you identity.”  Its part of who I am, but it is not the whole me.

With that note, it is time for me to clean up, get dressed and go for a walk. I am going to take my camara with me, and see, if I can set some more triggers free.

I will let you know how it goes.

Until next time, these are my thoughts for this foggy morning and I wish you all well in your journeys.

Cheers and be well


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Life, Grief and Gardening of a Different Kind….

As you can see, it has been awhile since my last blog post. All I can say is that life has been happening, the good, the bad and everything in between.

I will not kid you, it has been a struggle, and one of the biggest struggles has been dealing with the grief. Grieving, of any kind, takes a lot of work and unfortunately there are no support groups here for my type of grief. It’s hard to explain the enormity of the grieving I am going through, when there is no “tangible loss.” People can’t see what I have lost, because what I am grieving is what happened to me as a kid and caused me to dissociate, and what I grew up with. This realization can be at times overwhelming.  Along with that comes the realization of what ‘could have” and “should have” and the understanding of how it still affects me to this day.

I looked for books to help me through this grief process, but could find very little. I did however find something in the book “The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization” ( Onno van der Hart,Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, Kathy Steele (2006, p. 342-343 ) A section titled “Adaptive Grieving” does speak about this. …..” Immersion in normal life often brings heightened joy and excitement with each new gain and positive experience. But simultaneously there occurs profound grief about missing out on normal life for so long. Both the joy and sadness are related to the realization of the new gains as well as having missed them so long”…..”Grief is hard; it is a task for the emotionally hardy and takes tremendous and sustained mental energy and efficiency. It can be overwhelming at times, and has a strong physical component that mimics sensations of traumatization: anxiety, anger, restlessness, dread, suspense, despair, loneliness, guilt, shame. As C.S Lewis noted in his essay on grief following the death of his wife, “ No one ever told me grief felt like fear” (1961, p.7)

Of course, when it “mimics” those sensations, it takes me time and energy to help the body to understand this is grief and we do not need to go into the fight or flight or re-enactment of past traumatization. As you can see, it’s very complex, - (like everything D.I.D.)-but I do have a great therapist and Dr., friends and family, and I have pulled them all in to help me through this process. Some understand it, some do not, but they have all been wonderful in supporting me the best they can. I have come to realize that as hard as it is, grieving fully, allows me to live and feel life more fully. Instead of running from this grief, I have chosen to honor it, spend time with it, fully embrace and let it unfold as it is meant to. Yes, it is hard and painful work, but it is also liberating.

Because this has taken so much energy, I have once again backed away from my normal activities, dragon boating, golf, socializing etc. I am now happy to say, that I am slowly getting back into the swing of things, but I am still cautious and self-care is my priority.

Last week I went and spent some time out in my much neglected garden. The winter has been great for the weeds and grass to grow throughout, and I must admit that it has been somewhat neglected these last 8 months while I have been working through my stuff and processing. And, as before, once I start working in the garden my mood lifts and I think how therapy is like gardening. The weeds and grass get in the way or block and smother the plants/flowers I want to grow. The weeds can be tiny and easy to pull out, some are bigger and stuck in there, and  last year there was some kind of prickle that  I had to take a shovel to and try to get down deep to pull it out- I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to return this year.

And like therapy, some things are easy and quick to deal with, and some like that one prickle, take a lot of digging and hard work to get to the root of it. And every once in a while, I am pleasantly surprised when I pull up some big weed, to find that a seed has geminated and against all odds was growing underneath. 

As I was working in my garden I realized I have a lot of work to do before I can plant some more seeds, and once again I will be amazed when the seeds sprout and grow into plants. It then occurred to me that I am also planting another kind of seed, in another kind of garden.

This last week I have had 3 talks/discussions with small groups of high school students. As always these students are amazing, smart, resourceful and dealing with stuff that most people have no idea about. I love talking to youth, hearing what they have to say and answering their amazing questions. I always come away inspired and in awe, hoping I have helped in some way. Later this month I am presenting to two, grade 12 psychology classes, and I know once again I will be amazed by these students. A friend told me I do think you are doing such good work for the younger members of society who will benefit from your experience.  That is quite a legacy.

I guess I never really thought of it like that, but I like that idea. So, while I was gardening the other day, I looked at what I do with the youth as planting seeds. Seeds of hope, resiliency, strength, understanding and compassion, to name just a few. And I know, that seeds can last for years and years and when the conditions are right, these seeds will take hold and grow into some amazing, beautiful flowers.

I can live with that!

Those are my thoughts for today.
With much gratitude


Friday, 11 April 2014

Singing is Good For The Soul….

As I have mentioned in some past posts- I have always enjoyed music, either playing or singing. No matter how bad life got, music always made me feel better. Sure, my life circumstances would not change, but for those moments I was taken away from the craziness, danger and chaos that was my life.

I have not sung in a group since high school. Fast forward 33 years. I know, it shocks me that much time has passed!

In my community there is a choir called the Letz Sing ( This choir is part of the Ubuntu Choirs network (  whose philosophy is “that the joy of singing is a universal birthright.” I had heard about the Letz Sing choir many years ago and had thought about joining. There are no auditions, everyone is welcome, and just over a year ago I took the plunge and joined, there has been no looking back!

I have always loved singing, but had been told by various people throughout my life that I could not sing. So when I did sing, it was very quietly. Even when I was in the school choirs, I just stood in the back, not wanting to be noticed and sung quietly. But I always felt better for doing it.

 I was very nervous the first day I walked into the hall to sing with the Letz Sing choir. All the flashbacks of past insults of being lousy, not being able to sing, sounding like a “cat dying etc. came flooding back to me in full Technicolor, but I was determined I was going to stay at least for this one session. I am so glad I did.

There is no reading music, this is all call and response, meaning the leader will sing a line to us, then we sing it back to her. My, oh my, did my brain get a work out. We sing a lot of world music, meaning songs from around the world in other languages, there are no Broadway musical hits here. Trying to get my tongue and brain around some of these words was a challenge, but with the encouragement from the leader and the people around me, I hung in there, and now these are some of my favorite songs.

When I started, as per my norm, I sung just above a whisper, and ever so slowly and cautiously I started to sing a bit louder each time and I was amazed one day when I heard this voice singing, and realized it was actually mine!! I had never heard myself sing above a whisper before, it was an amazing feeling. At first I looked around to see if I was getting any glares from anyone, but all I received was smiles and encouragement.

This really is an amazing group of people. The choir has a banner that says “Letz Sing a Choir Community” and it really is a community. From the moment I walked in there, perfect strangers welcomed me with open arms, and I now look forward to seeing them all. When I am not there, they notice it, and when I am back they ask me how I am doing. This is an amazing varied collection of people that get together each week to sing. Some are very seasoned singers, and some are singing for the first time in their life. There are singers of varying ability, ages and personalities. And for that 1 and ½ hours we come together as a group and enjoy singing as it should be, without criticism, put downs or comparisons. We sing for the sheer joy of singing and it is not just amazing, it is magical!

The choir meets 3 times a week. Monday night in Courtenay, Tuesday morning in Comox, and Wednesday night in Merville. You can come to one session a week or all three. This year I have been going Monday night and Tuesday morning. At the end of each term, all 3 choirs get together and have a “Big Sing” which is an afternoon of singing and laughter.  Last December was the first time my schedule would allow me to go to the Big Sing. It was amazing to hear all 3 groups singing together and there was lots of magic happening.

With the support and encouragement from this group, I have found “my voice”, this is something that was taken away from me long ago. I still have moments of amazement when I hear myself signing. I no longer hide quietly in the back, but belt it out with my heart and soul, this is an amazing feeling. And I always feel better for it.

This has been another amazing leg of my healing journey. When I was in the hospital in February, I had a pass and I went to the Tuesday morning singing. I was in really rough shape, and I did cry when we sang one of the songs, but that’s OK because it means it touched my soul. I am not the only one in this group who has cried while singing. Songs touch our souls, and for me, singing them allows access to those parts of me that have been in the shadows for many years.

Singing with this group has given me confidence, and this confidence carries on into other areas of my life. I have made some good friends and met amazing people of all ages.

This evening, we got together and were being recorded for a CD. We sang in an old church and the acoustics were amazing, the sound was amazing, and yes, the experience was amazing. Are we a group that hits the perfect note and perfect pitch every time? No, I don’t imagine we are, but like the very diverse group that we are, our sound is rich, multilayered, and full of resonance. It is full of life, and love, and soul. This is what happens when you get a group singing together for the sheer joy of singing.I wouldn't want it any other way.

 This safe, accepting and supportive group has helped me more than any of them will ever know and I feel as if I am part of this choir community. With hard work and finding my voice I notice that my life is rich, multilayered and full of resonance. Singing has once again helped with my life and touched my soul.

I am fortunate to be part of this community. If you are not as fortunate, sing along with the radio, in the shower or as you drive down the road. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.Give it a try.

These are my thoughts for today.
Cheers and be well
PS- A very interesting study on heart beat synchronization and singing 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I Will Never Look At Books The Same Way Again!

Well, 12 days later, I am still slogging through the mud, and my past, but I have also discovered something else amazing.

I have always loved books. I have always thought it would be a great to live in a library. I love library’s, I love the wonderful smell that greats me when I walk into a book store. I always thought that if you could bottle the smell , it would sell well. Books were my friends when I had none, and when I didn’t know if I could deal with my world, books took me away. 

In my last post I told you about the book “SHE: Understanding Feminine Psychology by Robert A Johnson. It is about the Goddess Psyche going down into the underworld.

A few days after reading the book, I met my son for coffee.  I was telling him about the Goddess, and the Myth. Ten minutes later, I realized that I actually remembered 98% of the story. I have never been able to do this. In the past, I would have had to read the book 5 times, write notes and bring the notes with me so that I could explain the myth to my son.  I have never been able to remember this much before.
School would have been so much easier!

Needless to say this has come as a pleasant surprise to me. I did not know it could be like this.

Since then I have read Sylvia Taylor “The Fisher Queen A deckhand’s tale of the BC coast.” It’s a great read and it is amazing that I can remember most of the book, and sometimes my mind wanders back to that book and its great stories. This is new to me.

In the past, I would read a book, then later know I may have read that book, remember a couple of the main characters, maybe a bit of the story line, but that would be it.

Now it is so different. As I told my Dr. this morning “I never knew reading could be this wonderful, this rich, this easy. It amazes me.”

Yes, school would have been so much easier. I look back now and think of the energy it took to make it through school, and then later in life, college, at the age of 30, as a single parent. School and college is tough enough, but put in being D.I.D. and it is amazing I made it.

Actually, it’s amazing I survived at all. But that’s another blog for another day.

In the last couple of days I have noticed a calm about me. There is no anxiety/fear, of any level waiting in the wings, waiting to jump out at me when I least expect. There is no anxiety beneath everything I do. The panic and anxiety used to be there even when I was “staying in the moment.”

Last weekend I went to my stained glass class. I am making a stained glass piece for friends of mine. This is the first design I have ever made, and its free hand design.  It is also only the 4th piece I have ever made. This last weekend while I was working on it, I realized adjustments are going to have to be made to the design, and that’s ok. I also realized as I was cutting and grinding some of the glass that I was much more relaxed about the whole process. There was no underlying panic/anxiety underlying my work.  My creativity was flowing freely, it was a wonderful feeling. And yes, this is also new.

Some of my friends have mentioned that I seem calmer, am more relaxed and my eyes are brighter.

Do I still have moments where it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other- you bet, that’s most of my day. But I am noticing these glittering moments within that darkness. These last few months have been amazingly painful.  The work I had to do has been god awful and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. But, I also know it was a much needed process and step in my work.

I knew it had to be done and I pulled in my supports to help me. My life as I know it has been “put on hold.” Like the Goddess Psyche I needed to go down into the underworld and retrieve what I needed, and in my case I retrieved lost parts of me. But, not only did I retrieve the lost parts of me, I retrieved all their richness and gifts that make up who they are. As one friend put it “Maybe they were never lost, maybe they were just waiting for when you were ready to find them.” I guess I was ready.

In a previous post I wrote an excerpt from my journal “It’s interesting how- it’s not usually some huge monumental thing that that is an indication I am getting better-it’s the small everyday things that people take for granted- but when your down in the deep dark bowels of your soul, doing your work- doing the everyday things are just too much….”

I did not realize that doing the everyday things also included being able to remember a piece of music, what I read, and not having anxiety/fear underline everything I do.

Yes, this recovery is a very slow process, and I need to be very careful and make sure I don’t surface from the underworld to soon. What this  means is that I need to be gentle with myself and slowly get back into the swing of life. For the time being I need to focus on my recovery, and that means, for now, part of my life is on hold. But I also know that when I am ready, life will be waiting for me.

Until then, I am going to sit back, relax and enjoy my books, like never before.

Those are my thoughts for today
Cheers and be well


Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Sound Of Music...Revised

It only been 19 days since my last post, but it feels more like three months. It has been a tough and hard slog through this stage of my journey, and there have been many surprises along the way. Some good, some not so good, but it is all growth, and it all adds up to having a better life. But like it or not, I am still in recovery mode!

I am surprised how much this trip into the underworld has taken out of me. I shouldn't be, but I am all the same. Then it came to me last night, I am still on my journey. Just because I am out of the hospital does not mean my journey or work is finished. Needless to say this came as a bit of a surprise to me.

I have recovered what I needed to from the underworld, I am now surfacing and as I said in my last post..."I have to do it slowly so I don't get the bends or burst my eardrums." But it is very slow, and this morning I came to the realization that I need to be just as careful coming up as I was going down.

This is hard to do when you realize something amazing has happened!!!

I have always liked music, and it has always spoken to me. This past year I have joined a community choir and am enjoying it.  After high school graduation I earned a living playing on weekends in a 4 piece band.

When I was involved in music, I could hear it at the time, the nuances, instrumentation etc. But what I could not do was recall any of this at will. Even just before I started playing it, I could not hear the whole arrangement in my head. I could sort of hear the main tune, but not the whole piece. I remember being up on stage getting ready to play a song, I would know how it was going to be played- meaning the timing, the tune etc., but I could not hear in my head the whole arrangement with the whole band. I could not pull it up from my memory-even though I played the song a hundred times. Once we started playing I could hear all the parts, but again, once the song was over, I could not pull any of that up in my memory. 

I could only pull up the memory of the music in fragmented parts, because it was a fragmented part of self who played the music.

Well, last week, I was thinking of a musical CD that I have been listening to lately, and something amazing happened. Not only did I think about it, but I could hear the songs in my head. Now, in the past, I had been able to hear the songs, sort of. Meaning I could hum or remember part of the tune, and then if I sung it, the rest of the tune came to me, but this recall is different!!! This time round, not only could I hear the tune- as opposed to it coming to me- but I could hear the entire song, without singing it, and I could hear the full musical score. I could hear the artist singing the song, and every note, and every nuance that makes him the singer that he is. I could hear the horn section, and the instrumentals for the entire was amazing...I could hear all of this in my head...I had never experience that before.

Last night I woke up with one of my warm flushes, and as I'm going back to sleep one of the songs we sing in the choir came to me. But it was not just one line, I could hear all the sections, soprano, alto, tenor and base, all together at the same time...I have never ever been able to do this, and until last week  did not know it was even possible!

It’s like listening to a small 45 rpm record on an old, cheap portable record player with a worn out needle, and thinking that's what it really sounds like. Then going to Carnegie Hall and listening to a world renowned orchestra live. This is amazing...It’s like having bland food all your life and you thought this was the norm, and then someone cooks it right, adds spices and salt and pepper and the flavors just pop in your mouth!  

I'm assuming this is what explicit memory looks like. To be able to recall all of the event/music, to be able to pull it up when I want to, not just a thread of it, but the whole thing.

Because of the hard work I did at the hospital this time round, -which builds on all the hard work I have done there in the past- as well as all my therapy work-I am able to be more present- meaning the “whole me” is listening to the music, so the “whole me” will be able to recall it, and also I am able to build and access explicit memory. It’s like a switch has been turned on and that part of the brain is now working. 

Is this what it is like to not be fractured?

Needless to say I am very excited about this, I have never experienced this before and I can’t wait to get out there and see what else I can do. But I am not finished my journey and to skip the next critical stage would not be a good thing.

I am experiencing life at a level I never knew existed! What I mean by this I am experience it as a cohesive, non-fractured person. I will try to explain.

Before, I would experience life in fragments, like one slice, then another, and another, but they were never joined, they were never one whole piece. Imagine a slide show where only a small piece of the slide would show, then the next slide, another small piece, but of a completely, non-related subject matter. Then not being able to recall the slide show, let alone remember you were even there.

Now, Imagine being in an IMAX theater. Sitting front and center, and as the movie plays-(experiencing life)-you are getting the 360 degree, surround sound, surround picture experience in all its glory. This is how it is for me now.

I am able to not only remember what I have done, but the event itself. I can remember talking to my family Doctor a couple of days ago. I can also remember the conversation we had, and I can hear his voice, his accent, and the nuances in his speech. The other day I received an e-mail from a friend, and as I’m reading it, I could hear his voice, as if he was there talking to me. This just amazes me!  

Is it no wonder I want to go out and get back into life as fast as I can. But I have more work to do.

As wonderful as it is to experience life in 360 degree IMAX form, I am still in a healing stage, and I need to honor that. If I do not do the healing work, then this has all been for not.

In the past, I have worked on my healing, but it, like my life, was done in fractured states. Now, I need to heal in this new modality. This means that I am healing in 360 degree IMAX form as well. I am experiencing it as “one,” all aspects of me together.

This takes, time and energy and support. I am healing and dealing with my past as I have never done before. I was not able to. But as painful as this is, I know I need to do it.

Some people call this “integration”. I am integrating my past with my present, and it is very painful, exhausting work.

I had once written in a magazine article “I had spent most of my life being numb. For the first time in my life I began working at staying in the moment; not only noticing the switching but feeling the physical and emotional pain from the past. It scared the crap out of me. I think of it as how an addict might feel during recovery. Could I indeed live in the moment and feel life, past and present without dissociating?”- (

So, my present challenge and “task” is to watch my past in full 360 IMAX form, and also grieve it in full IMAX form, meaning not numb it, run or dissociate from it. This is hard and exhausting work. And yes, the thoughts of numbing or running from it come to mind, some days more than others. But I know this work is a much needed step. Grieving is very hard work!!
Because I am not dissociating distracting or running from it, I feel very raw, having nightmares. I am using my energy and focusing on this and I have little energy for anything else. But, for now, that is how it needs to be.
I have looked for literature on the process for “integration” but have found very little, and none of it speaks of the exhausting, painful, gut wrenching, crying, blubbering, snot nosed, I can barely do self-care let alone go grocery shopping, process that it really is. Of the “wishing I never knew this” stage, “why couldn’t I leave well enough alone” and “I wish I didn’t feel anything” stages. And I can clearly understand and respect why some people choose not to take this step.

The closest literature I came to was the process addicts go through when they stop using and deal with their addictions and issues. But, there are no support groups for people with DID, no daily meetings, sponsors, educational classes etc. I personally know of no one who has gone through this process of integration.

So, I am making my own support groups. I see my therapist, I am seeing my family doctor twice a week, and next week will move it up to three times a week. He did tell me I can phone the office anytime and come in at the end of the day. I did tell him it’s like I am back in the beginning, when I first started working on my stuff. If I got up, dressed and out of the house for 30 minutes, it was a successful day.

 I have to focus on self-care, grounding, and bring “intention” into my day like I have not in a long time. I have to be careful of what I watch on tv, and what I read. I have to be super aware of what I am feeling and do body scans- to see where I am holding tension etc- throughout the day. And I need quiet and space.

I am calling on my friends and family to help, cups of tea and quiet walks. I have to remember to focus and be “in the moment” and not worry about what I will or will not be able to do a day, week, or month from now. It will take as long as it takes.

While I was in the hospital I e-mailed a dear friend and asked him who it was – Goddess-that went down into the underworld to retrieve what she needed. He told me it was Psyche, and that he has a booklet about it that I can borrow.

The small, easy to read book is called SHE: Understanding Feminine Psychology by Robert A Johnson. This book came at the right time.

One of the passages that spoke to me was…” The Best way to solve a dilemma is to stand absolutely still, and that is what Psyche does”….".If you have ever been dazzled out of your wits, if you have been knocked totally out of orbit, it Is best to keep still"…."A woman has a profound capacity to be still, perhaps, the most powerful act any human being can make. She is required to go back to a very inner center every time something profound happens to her. This is a highly creative act but must be done correctly. She is to be receptive, not passive”. 

Being able to recall the music in its whole form has “dazzled me out of my wits”. Having all the memories-(they are memories as opposed to flashbacks) - come at me as a 360 degree IMAX surround sound has “knocked me totally out of my orbit”. So, I am standing still, getting the supports I need and doing the work need to do, and grieve.

This will take time, it will take energy, but it is so worth it. I know there will be a time where the memories, are that, memories, and that life will be lived in more vivid colours, sound, and like the music I will experience a richness I never even knew existed.

I will keep you posted

I wish you all well in your journeys
Cheers and be well