Wednesday, February 29, 2012

and the downward slide picks up speed

08/09/2002

 well, the whole three musketeers experiment is proving to be, ummm, interesting to say the least. a little more difficult than we remember from the last time, for whatever reason. last time it was more of a natural slide into it because we'd almost accidentally found a way to have fun with it. this time it's been for a more serious purpose and maybe just the stress of trying to keep inner defenses up so we don't blow our cork is making it harder. throwing our talents together in some light hearted black comedy (is that an oxymoron?) was nothing more than a time filler.

***pause for a moment of mock screaming and hair pulling***

okie dokie... we know there is a fifteen year old lurking inside with a temper that rivals stephanie's earlier days. What kicked her into action originally seems to have been feeling trapped. what brought her out last year and what has her coming out now is what's uncertain, and as usual, samantha seems to be letting us figure this out for ourselves.

so let's play the free association game... or an unreasonable facsimile... sooooo, trapped. when or where have we felt trapped? well, home with mum and dad qualifies. there was a definite sense of being trapped when dad played his little game to ensure we went to NC last month. we cut that morning to try and help keep together before we left. we didn't feel trapped while there tho we felt uneasy about being in any place where family had any control. we've felt trapped this summer. as much as those kids are loved, 24/7 except for t appointments gets very very draining after 3 months. we haven't had any real break. kris is good with the kids but anytime we leave her in charge, there's always the concern that the younger ones will overload her because they know they can. so we're always on guard unless there is an outside (the family) sitter. reese was feeling trapped. trapped and ignored. trapped like, what? stuck in a rut or really trapped like with no way out? no way out of what? and what would trigger the violent 'if i'm going down i'm going in flames' behavior of this one.

the cutting started again, in part, from feeling disconnected from friends, family... pigeon-holed into certain roles. online we had been the supportive friend who always had an encouraging word, but never any need. even trying to break free from that role only isolated us further. at church we're the incredibly gifted singer who happens to be screwed up in a way no one can understand and since we went thru a fairly anti-social time about 3 years ago, no one seems to have seen how far we've come, only that we once pushed them away. so we've become untouchable. people would only speak to us at church if we'd performed a song that morning. it was too much an echo of the performance based acceptance we tried so hard to receive growing up. that not quite reachable place of being good enough. and dammit, we were mad. mad at being invisible unless we stood on a stage. tired of people looking thru us and not even seeing the person standing in front of them. not very different from working as KCL, where people made up a person in their mind to go with that voice on the air and they would never quite see YOU, but that imaginary person who visited via radio. trapped in the control room of that station giving more than we could afford to give for a man who just happened to be my ideal father figure. a controlling prick with an angry repressed wife who was only happy when people did exactly as he liked without question. oh don't even get me started on bro. carl. that was during the years when the girls were still behind the wall and it got LONELY dealing with all that crap alone. people still ask when we'll go back on the air and it's been more than 5 years! we are not that person, no matter how much we loved it or how good at it we might be, we can't ever go back to that pseudo-celebrity thing. it is hard enough to stay real when you don't know who you are, let alone trying to be real when total strangers have their own ideas of who you are that they try to project onto you. it's better to remain in the shadows tho we never have.

is this even getting anywhere? two memories rolling around that don't quite seem to fit, but we were definitely trapped. locked out or locked in, it didn't matter. we were stuck in a hell we helped make and saw no way to escape...

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what a way to start the day, eh?

08/08/2002
well, we've determined that:
1: we won't actually get any sleep unless Daddy (the lils call charlie, daddy) is there to keep us safe from eight legged freaks (we couldn't even watch the commercial for that stupid movie!).

2: no one wants to be in the kitchen in the daylight... let alone after dark, and forget opening cabinets by hand. just hand over a four foot dowel rod and get ready to jump. this should make trying to get dinner interesting.

3: amelia has no fear whatsoever of venomous snakes and was quite disappointed we didn't choose to simply ignore it and go on with the shark tooth hunt. okay, so maybe if we'd been alone, but this is the CHILDREN we're talking about and dammit, one close fucking call in a lifetime is enough and all my kids did that before 5 years old. they should be set. (nice logic, huh?) if amelia or anyone else inside wants to play crocodile hunter meets super brownie scout, we'll have to do it without the 3D kids. we're thoroughly confident in our ability to take care of ourselves (like we do already? HA!) but not so confident we're all that great at protecting our children.

4: crap like this brings up the 'you should have known better' tapes that go round and round while bringing up all the other times we *think* we were careless with the kids.... walking out of a bathroom with kids in the tub, for example. so guilt and shame are firing away at the moment.
and last but not least...

5: our collective coping skills are either really poor or we got caught major off guard, but not being able to just 'shake it off' is the worst part of this whole thing. the expectation to suck it up and go is something mum ingrained in us... and reminded us frequently how miserable we were for not just doing it. well, gee, that just starts a whole domino effect of crap flying around inside.

keep wondering if we can't find someone inside who can play supermom and listen to the girls run down their first day of school while preparing a spectacular meal and getting everyone to bed on time... cuz the rest of us haven't had a good cry yet and we're due.

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Yeah, Well I Don't Feel Strong

08/08/2002

okay, first the exterminator squashes (guess the chemicals aren't his only tool) a spider the size of my hand in the kitchen... the level of arachnophobia varies from minor to paralyzing depending on who's out. fortunately we didn't crumble. just lost all the coffee we'd had for breakfast. so, then (only too happy to get out of the house before the paranoia took over) we go to take the boys hunting for shark teeth and fossils in a stream behind our old subdivision. we've done this several times before without the least concern. today was different.

we got to the edge of the woods and kicked off the sandals and prepared to help the boys down into the stream... when we reached back to get john we saw the 2 1/2 foot copperhead stretched out fully between the boys. its body was actually brushing up against daniel's sandals. tried to reach daniel to push him back and yelled for him to move while at the same time grabbing john by the wrist and swinging him back behind us. we backed up and waited for it to slither into the woods so we could grab our pair of sandals and get the hell out. to top it off, we ran barefoot thru a fire ant pile on the way to the van. all in all a fairly shitty 45 minutes.

so we're safe if you don't count the welts on the right foot from the damn ants. we squelched stephanie's idea of seeing if the tire iron was in the back of the van, as well as the harebrained impulse to grab the snake and smash it against a tree... so why won't the shaking stop yet? it's been more than an hour. we stopped at mickey d's and the boys relaxed almost immediately, while we have just finished puking up our happy meal. granted, daniel doesn't want to go back again, but beyond that, both boys seem to have let it slide off.

even knowing that we couldn't quite reach daniel to move him, yet he swears someone grabbed his wrist and moved him, isn't comforting at the moment.

charlie's suggestion that we stick to feeding the ducks at the pond in sangaree may earn him a good smack when he gets home.

right now a tranquilizer and and a nap sounds like the best idea, that is if we can get the ones afraid of a spider getting on the bed to settle down.

hope the girl's first day of school (fifth grade for rachel, first day in middle school for becca and first day in highschool for kristy) is better than ours.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

damn damn damn damn damn damn damn

08/07/2002

damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn!!!!!!!

wow. that word just kind of flows off your fingers to the keyboard. LMAO.

the whole entry we tried to write was mostly just laughing about how stiff and formal and goofy the meeting came off sounding. samantha pretty much got it verbatim but it still sounded weird. the whole thing is pretty casual and we just kinda slouch around in one room and talk. no hand raising or shit like that and it's not like the lils just sit all quiet and still either. they get bored and start to fidget and stuff and levia has to try and keep them from squirming. it's pretty funny really but the way it looks in print is just kinda stupid, but guess it pretty much covers what went on.

the three of us (reese, stephanie, and marisa) did this whole co-consciousness thing awhile back and it was ok. the shit hit the fan back in like, april or so and we stopped. that was when we quit going to church but that's a whole long story. nobody did anything wrong. just that all the stuff from growing up seemed like it was echoed in church. the whole, can't do anything right, performance based acceptance shit. it was mostly just the way we were seeing it but still we had to get away til we could put some of this old crap to rest.

so a little while ago we talked about SI (keeping it to a minimum), going to the doc for bloodwork, sleeping and actually resting at the same time. we talked to charlie and told him what's really going on. he's going to try to let us know when he's getting really frustrated and we'll get the lils out of earshot so they don't get all triggered if he has to correct the kids or raises his voice or something. we're gonna talk some more in a minute.

it's weird how when it's all three of us charlie says we walk, talk, and look different than when it's just one of us at a time. charlie asked what it's like. geez, how do you explain it to a monomind? stephanie told him to just picture 3 people who usually live pretty separate lives in the same house suddenly being joined at the hip. that's how it feels in a way. yeah, we can do a bunch of stuff better together but still, it doesn't *feel* normal and takes getting used to and it's just WEIRD! ppppbbttthhhh.... time for bed. feels like we have a pretzel for a brain.

Community Meeting

Community Meeting 8/7/2002

Meeting of The Crew: Present are Marisa, Stephanie, Reese, Levia, Samantha, Cameo, Laura, Stacy, Amelia, and Suzie. Hannah is sleeping. Nancy is exempt from this meeting and will round up anyone wandering around and bring them to the nursery to stay until the meeting is finished.
1:53 pm

To be discussed: Co-consciousness, noise level inside and out, home and family, grievances.

Stephanie:I have talked with Charlie. He will ensure that the body will be able to rest over the weekend as much as needed. He understands that co-consciousness is physically and mentally taxing because it is not a natural occurrence for us. The subject of intimacy with Marisa was brought up. I assured him that Reese and I are more than happy to disappear so they can be alone. Give us a hint and we will beat feet.
Marisa: Stephanie, I need you to dial your temper down a notch. Your OCD too. I can't keep up with you and there are better things to do than scrub the corners of the floor with a toothbrush.
Stephanie: (Laughs) Bite me!
Reese: What do I do? Besides feeling like shit, and don't say laundry.
Marisa: You're good at organizing things. You're better at making things fun with the kids and you need to ease up off yourself. Also, you're better at expressing things, so even if we do cry, please help me talk to Charlie so he knows what's going on. I really didn't mean to keep him in the dark.
Reese: Poor Little Mushroom.
Stephanie: Anything else about this?
Marisa: We need a nap and then dinner has to be started so if there is anything else the three of us can talk later. I'd like to talk about the noise level. We can set limits with the kids and help there but Charlie is watching t.v. long past time for us to sleep and it's keeping me up. I hate telling him it's bothering me so poke me if I don't mention it later. I don't know what to do about the inside noise.
Levia: The children just emerging from their rooms are confused and very upset. Ignoring them only makes this worse. Is is possible to arrange time for them to express themselves? If only a time to draw, it will be of some help. Stephanie's writing is both bringing them out and stirring the upset. However, the memories need to be addressed and that will only happen as the children share them. Marisa, if the noise becomes overwhelming, please speak to me and I will take them further in until they can have their time.
Stephanie: And another brick comes crashing down!
Marisa: (To Stephanie) Bite me. (To Levia) Sorry. I'll try to tell you before it gets too much.
Stephanie: (To Levia) You have to tell me if the writing is stirring things up too much. You know I'll back off or slow down if you ask. Can we talk about the house and chores? I'll do those cards so the kids will know what they need to do, but no promises on not being anal about the cleaning.
Marisa: I'll be honest with Charlie about what I can and can't do physically and let him make the judgements on how much of that we can let slide and how much the kids need to help with. We really need a nap before it's too late. Can we start to wrap this up and talk more tonight? Amelia and everyone, you know there is a lock on the closet door now. Tomorrow while the kids are at school we will move everyone's stuff in there so that the kids can't get into your belongings without your permission anymore. Is that okay?
Amelia: John lost pieces for my game. I don't want to share anymore with him.
Marisa: You don't have to unless you're out or you want to. I promise not to let them play with your stuff without asking and you need to help make sure your things are in the closet when you're done. Then they can't find them and take off with them, okay?
Amelia: When can we play?
Suzie: Me play
Reese: I'd like to work on the cross stitch?
Stacy: Can I use the new colored pencils and shrinky dinks?
Laura: *signed* The new computer doesn't have the sign letters.
Marisa: Tonight after kids go to bed y'all can do whatever you like. Do you want to ask Daddy to find the sign font Laura? (Laura shakes her head, no) Okay, then I'll ask. He can probably do that tonight. Before we quit, please keep the nail biting to the left hand. I kinda like having some nails. Are we done for now?
Suzie: Eeyore!
Cameo: Can we wash eeyore?
Marisa: Yup. Before bed he'll be done. Anything else?
Stephanie: I want a gavel for these meetings.
(Reese laughs)
Marisa: *&$% you.

End of meeting.

Monday, February 27, 2012

so maybe i do need bricks dropped on my head

08/07/2002

spent the entire drive to and from dr. c's office getting a minor ass chewing from stephanie. i'm not telling charlie enough of the details of what's going on inside, not asking her and reese for help with the day to day chores, letting the kids run me over, leaving kris to watch them too often, and generally shutting everyone out too much. one of the things that i got nailed on (yes, i admit, i'm guilty) is that i don't talk to the girls enough. see, and this is unusual i guess because dr. c was surprised, whoever is 'out' has to speak out loud for the insiders to hear. this can get embarrassing in public and tho the kids are used to it, i've gotten out of the habit of talking so the girls know what's going on. i guess it is a bit strange that we don't collectively read minds. after all, we share one. hey, that's just the way it is.

so, stephanie, reese: points taken. message received. we discussed this on the drive home and i still think it's the best idea... we need to give co-consciousness another shot. it's exhausting and hard but we lose less time and can pool our different skills to get the shit together at home. who knows, it might help things inside too.

i know that when i'm co-conscious with you, stephanie, that i can set and maintain limits with the kids better. when reese is co-conscious, we can have the balance of strict without being mean and still have the warm fuzzy supermom thing going.

as far as communicating with charlie... i din't realize i'd gone back to generalizing everything. telling him things are 'bad' isn't specific enough and he's feeling totally in the dark. you're right that there's no point in getting mad at him for now understanding when things are feeling out of control, if i don't tell him. thank you for cluing him in last night.

okay, ass chewing over. thank you, i obviously needed it. now can we discuss the plan of action?

Lost in frenzied frustration

08/05/2002

it's frustrating having so many thoughts flying around just beyond your grasp. there are so many things going on inside at one time it's sometimes amazing anything gets done on the outside. then there are the times of so much going on outside that the inside gets lost in the frenzy of activity. somewhere there has to be a balance, but at the moment, that too seems just beyond our grasp.

lyn finally confronted us about not having the iron and crit levels checked. yes, it needs to be done but no one was volunteering. so we've now promised to call dr. l and go in for blood work. well, if we can squelch the aprehension long enough to actually go. dr. l promised that if we needed transfusing again she'd set it up to be done outpatient, but the two times before, the levels were so low that it took 18 hours or more to get the levels up enough. so there is a strong possibility of having to be inpatient anyway and that thought alone is enough to keep us from finding out. *mumble*groan*sigh* the most frustrating part of all this is having such an understanding of the need to take care of ourself physically while at the same time having to battle to do so. it's so much easier to continue destroying our body in an effort to stem the tide of pain still locked inside.

will we ever reach the end of the memories and emotions? will there ever be a time when there will be no more to uncover and we can become me? the answer, of course, is yes. it is just so hard to see at times when it seems so far off.

we've come SO unbelievably far in 3 1/2 years. so very far from the co-dependant, self-desructive, living from crisis to crisis hell we were in. still, even looking back to the beginning of this journey to find all of us inside, the end of that road still seems so far.

God and i had a talk today. i told him we'd keep going and fighting and trying to balance the battle to heal with the life of wife and family... all He has to do is let us/me sleep the first thousand years in heaven, 'cuz we're sure not going to get enough here.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bill Of Rights

Bill of Rights for People Who Self-Harm - 7/22/2002 *disclaimer from The Crew*: we do NOT advocate self-injury. having battled this ourselves for most of our life, we understand the prejudice and often, abuse that people who SI encounter in both the medical field and from family or friends. we did not write this bill but believe it to be a valuable tool for those who SI as a validation of their struggles and the right to be treated with compassion and dignity. the link to this bill is on the front page of the secret shame web site under what to expect in the emergency room. http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/ take gentle care, The Crew

Preamble An estimated one percent of Americans use physical self-harm as a way of coping with stress; the rate of self-injury in other industrial nations is probably similar. Still, self-injury remains a taboo subject, a behavior that is considered freakish or outlandish and is highly stigmatized by medical professionals and the lay public alike. Self-harm, also called self-injury, self-inflicted violence, or self-mutilation, can be defined as self-inflicted physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage or leave visible marks that do not fade within a few hours. Acts done for purposes of suicide or for ritual, sexual, or ornamentation purposes are not considered self-injury. This document refers to what is commonly known as moderate or superficial self-injury, particularly repetitive SI; these guidelines do not hold for cases of major self-mutilation (i.e., castration, eye enucleation, or amputation). Because of the stigma and lack of readily available information about self-harm, people who resort to this method of coping often receive treatment from physicians (particularly in emergency rooms) and mental-health professionals that can actually make their lives worse instead of better. Based on hundreds of negative experiences reported by people who self-harm, the following Bill of Rights is an attempt to provide information to medical and mental-health personnel. The goal of this project is to enable them to more clearly understand the emotions that underlie self-injury and to respond to self-injurious behavior in a way that protects the patient as well as the practitioner.

The Bill of Rights for Those who Self-Harm
The right to caring, humane medical treatment. Self-injurers should receive the same level and quality of care that a person presenting with an identical but accidental injury would receive. Procedures should be done as gently as they would be for others. If stitches are required, local anesthesia should be used. Treatment of accidental injury and self-inflicted injury should be identical.

The right to participate fully in decisions about emergency psychiatric treatment (so long as no one's life is in immediate danger.
When a person presents at the emergency room with a self-inflicted injury, his or her opinion about the need for a psychological assessment should be considered. If the person is not in obvious distress and is not suicidal, he or she should not be subjected to an arduous psych evaluation. Doctors should be trained to assess suicidality/homicidality and should realize that although referral for outpatient follow-up may be advisable, hospitalization for self-injurious behavior alone is rarely warranted.

The right to body privacy.
Visual examinations to determine the extent and frequency of self-inflicted injury should be performed only when absolutely necessary and done in a way that maintains the patient's dignity. Many who SI have been abused; the humiliation of a strip-search is likely to increase the amount and intensity of future self-injury while making the person subject to the searches look for better ways to hide the marks.

The right to have the feelings behind the SI validated.
Self-injury doesn't occur in a vacuum. The person who self-injures usually does so in response to distressing feelings, and those feelings should be recognized and validated. Although the care provider might not understand why a particular situation is extremely upsetting, she or he can at least understand that it *is* distressing and respect the self-injurer's right to be upset about it.

The right to disclose to whom they choose only what they choose.
No care provider should disclose to others that injuries are self-inflicted without obtaining the permission of the person involved. Exceptions can be made in the case of team-based hospital treatment or other medical care providers when the information that the injuries were self-inflicted is essential knowledge for proper medical care. Patients should be notified when others are told about their SI and as always, gossiping about any patient is unprofessional.

The right to choose what coping mechanisms they will use.
No person should be forced to choose between self-injury and treatment. Outpatient therapists should never demand that clients sign a no-harm contract; instead, client and provider should develop a plan for dealing with self-injurious impulses and acts during the treatment. No client should feel they must lie about SI or be kicked out of outpatient therapy. Exceptions to this may be made in hospital or ER treatment, when a contract may be required by hospital legal policies.

The right to have care providers who do not allow their feelings about SI to distort the therapy.
Those who work with clients who self-injure should keep their own fear, revulsion, anger, and anxiety out of the therapeutic setting. This is crucial for basic medical care of self-inflicted wounds but holds for therapists as well. A person who is struggling with self-injury has enough baggage without taking on the prejudices and biases of their care providers.

The right to have the role SI has played as a coping mechanism validated.
No one should be shamed, admonished, or chastised for having self-injured. Self-injury works as a coping mechanism, sometimes for people who have no other way to cope. They may use SI as a last-ditch effort to avoid suicide. The self-injurer should be taught to honor the positive things that self-injury has done for him/her as well as to recognize that the negatives of SI far outweigh those positives and that it is possible to learn methods of coping that aren't as destructive and life-interfering.

The right not to be automatically considered a dangerous person simply because of self-inflicted injury.
No one should be put in restraints or locked in a treatment room in an emergency room solely because his or her injuries are self-inflicted. No one should ever be involuntarily committed simply because of SI; physicians should make the decision to commit based on the presence of psychosis, suicidality, or homicidality.

The right to have self-injury regarded as an attempt to communicate, not manipulate.
Most people who hurt themselves are trying to express things they can say in no other way. Although sometimes these attempts to communicate seem manipulative, treating them as manipulation only makes the situation worse. Providers should respect the communicative function of SI and assume it is not manipulative behavior until there is clear evidence to the contrary.

© 1998-2001 Deb Martinson. Reprint permission granted with proper credit to author.

Memories


8/6/2002

cleaning out the closet last night, we gave a bunch of nail art stickers to the kids. rachel doesn't do anything so girly as nail art *giggle* so she is using them as mini tattoos. what a neat idea. so now i have a small red rosebud on my wrist over the place where you can feel the pulse. it's on top of one of the old scars. maybe having it there and being able to look at the red will help not to cut. have to tell charlie so he doesn't freak if he sees it. he'll think we cut and i don't want him to worry.

we skipped the EMDR with lyn yesterday. she didn't think we were physically strong enough cuz i guess you can just see how worn and tired we are. s'ok that we didn't do it. i didn't really want to. stephanie's writing about where we were going to start and maybe if she can finish the writing it'll be easier to go back there.
it's weird tho. almost stupid that it's caused so much fucking hurt but i guess, if i were like, john's age, it would be a huge thing.

see, the kindergarten teacher gave us a dollar cuz she felt sorry for us that we didn't have any spending money. she told us not to tell anyone so when the best friend asked where the bracelet came from marisa told her she found the money in the monkey house. the friend claimed she lost a dollar in the monkey house and so a fight started with the friend telling marisa she stole the money from her. well one thing led to another and then karen's dad called mum and mum told dad and that's when the shit really hit the fan. beatings with a belt and screaming while dad demanded that there be a confession of the theft. she stuck to her story of finding the money for the first hour or so and then tried to tell the truth. well, that went over like a lead balloon. finally after what must have been a couple of hours he threatened to call the teacher. when he picked up the phone and pretended to dial, she broke and admitted she stole from her friend. after that she had to give the bracelet to karen and apologize to karen in front of karen's parents and admit to the theft again. we didn't want the teacher to know we had told what was supposed to be a secret. would prolly have broken her heart to know how her act of sincere kindness ended up... all because of one white lie, "i found it in the monkey house", she was forever branded ( we all were in a way cuz we've all known we were 'bad') a liar and thief. it's weird too that trying to be what they wanted was impossible, but becoming what they thought we were was the only thing we could do.

so from then on, we lied, we stole. we shoplifted all the christmas presents for the family when the campfire girls troop had their shopping trip one year. 11 years old maybe? yeah, it was 11, cuz the year before was the year we had to make all our gifts. g*d, that's a whole other story. not even gonna go there right now.
nothing was ever enough.

the toddler who loved to sing demanded too much attention. the kid who could do cartwheels by 3 was a show-off. had her nose rubbed in a wet diaper in front of the whole family while opening presents on her 4th birthday because she still wet the bed. not feminine enough for mum but not tough enough to keep up with her 5 older brothers. called ugly by everyone whose opinion mattered. tho the first one in the class to read in first grade, she was lazy. everyone assumed that because she had an imagination and told tall tales of fantasy that everything was a lie. so when she told her teacher her dad's b-day was dec. 25, the teacher asked in front of the class if her father was nailed to a cross too? never knew when to keep her mouth shut. had none of the british stoicism required by mum. loved to entertain and steal the spotlight. selfish little show-off. when other people praised her for her charm or talent she was torn down in private and punished with isolation. the little girl who was terrified in the night had no one to comfort her because she needed to stop being afraid of silly things. the little girl who thrived on hugs was untouchable to the mother who never volunteered a loving touch until long afte rthe child was grown and married. everyone saw she was daddy's favorite but her. all she knew was she was the only girl in the family ever to encounter dad's fist. how could others see a love that was translated to her in nothing but broken promises and nightmares about his violent temper? no one ever said this, as she was always reminded she was 'chosen', but she was a bastard child and she'd always known it. the girl who cried when she didn't win a game at her 6th birthday party was punished by never having another celebration. from 5 she knew she spoiled everything. when the mother of two down the street hung herself, the girl watched as the body was taken from the house and idly wondered how to do the same. it scared her to think of death and it would remain her terror even when years later the desire to die would consume her every thought.

fuck. i'm thinking too much.

reese


Saturday, February 25, 2012

please don't let the tears fall

8/6/2002



who will stop the tears
of the humiliated child
as she stands before those
to whom she belongs
the people who love to tell
the story of her choosing
now smugly calling the others
to join in the game of her punishment
calling the rest of the family
to watch the crying child
to stand around her jeering
at the sound of her heart
as it shatters
playing at casting lots
one is sent for the tool of their game
a tablespoon gleaming in the light
now held at the cheek of the child
they would sit and cheer
shout and laugh as they watched
to see the humiliation
of filling the spoon with her tears
the game would only end
if she stood and performed
or joined in their laughter
at the stupidity of her tears
can you still hear her crying
as she hides in the darkeness
hidden deep in the shadows
of her own wounded heart


reese

just sort of an FYI...


8/2/2002

you can fit a hundred or more people in a minivan if you have multiples as passengers.

last night driving a friend home there was this brief moment of watching without being connected and what i saw was hysterical. all three of us (harley, pony, and us) were literally falling over ourselves talking. if one person so much as paused to take a breath, another would jump in to tell their experiences with whatever subject was at hand. in a 1/2 hour drive we had to have covered what most people would take a 3 hour visit to talk about. the sound was not unlike a recording of pigeons played at high speed.

we took harley to tasty freeze. their childhood was so incredibly deprived that most of their littles have no experience with play, toys, treats, anything. so when we pulled up to a drive-in menu with dozens of choices for ice cream, you could almost see and hear the gears in their brain lock up. eyes wide and mouth hanging open they just STARED at the menu for a full minute before making a sound. now, i don't even remember why it was we were already laughing, but at that point we began to just roar laughing. stephanie, being the typical smart ass says "Oh fuck! We have to make a decision!" which had peanut (harley's protector alter) threaten to backhand us, while they laughed to the point of tears just pouring down their cheeks.

the poor boy at the drive thru window was damn near frightened of us by the time we pulled up to pay.

between ordering and paying harley gave us a play by play of what was going on in their head. all the little girls were dumbstruck, some of the others wanted to jump out of the car and run, they saw another menu that mentioned waffle cones and that created a revolt among the ones who now wanted to change the order. they couldn't tho because to get exactly what they wanted would require combining two menu options, creating something totally different. well harley and system are major OCD and the idea of asking for something NOT on the menu in the way they were hoping was totally unacceptable. we had finally (in between fits of belly laughing that was so intense we had an asthma attack!) convinced them it was OKAY to order exactly what they wanted when we pulled up to the window to see the kid at the window putting the finishing touches on their ice cream. well, of course now that it's been made, we can't change our minds...

the boy comes over and starts handing us our stuff and stephanie looks him dead in the eye and with a totally straight face announces it's dangerous and stupid to send 2 indecisive people out to accomplish something. then harley asks if it would be possible to get a bowl since their ice cream was already threatening to come off the cone. this kid gets the deer in the headlights look and and says they can't give out bowls, but we can have a cup. by that time ANYTHING was funny so we just burst into more laughter which i swear scared the crap out of this young man. he couldn't have been more than 16. he brought the cup, hurriedly took our money and handed back change. as we were pulling out, he remembered his drive-thru ettiquite training and mumbled to us to 'have a night'.

okay, so maybe you had to be there, but i love those moments when you get caught up in uncontrolable laughter. aside from just being fun, there is something totally gratifying about the strange looks you get from other people. just knowing they aren't in on the joke makes it all the more funny.

well, harley is headed out this evening and we still have a ton of stuff to do. really looking forward to catching up on everyone's diaries, but am so glad we invited them down. wouldn't have missed this for the world.




Friday, February 24, 2012

Hanging In There


8/1/2002



Charlie, in his 'good morning' time with the girls, went out of his way to speak to the sleeping children. It was somewhat funny because they were responding to him in various non-verbal ways while I was snoring away, still very asleep. What he told them was it was safe and encouraged that they begin to come forward if they choose....

Not too different from opening Pandora’s Box.

You would think he'd know by now to be careful.

So now there are no less than six 'new' ones (we only say new because they have never identified themselves) who are jostling for position up front to see what is going on. It’s kind of like being in line with everyone pushing to get through a doorway so narrow only one person can get through at a time. While in that doorway, and even while in the room they are in, I can hear every word spoken. Once they get through the doorway, either I am pushed out or we share the space of 'consciousness', meaning we are both aware of the world outside our mind.

This can get rather confusing. Especially when it's not the time or place for anyone but bigs to be out. (bigs= alters over the age of 16...teens= alters between 13-15...middles= alters from 8-12...littles= anyone 7 or younger) Since all of the sleeping children that we're becoming aware of range in age from 4-15, it's not exactly possible to let them out at their whim. There are too many responsible mommy things to be done right now.

It will be okay. It is just tiring and frustrating. It’s also comical if I can step back and see some of the silly things I’ve done in my confusion over the last couple of days. My kids have taken to identifying themselves because I can't remember their names. Thankfully, they think it's funny. Yesterday I made John his Ovaltine, then tried to give the sippy cup to Harley. Why? I don't know! But it was funny. I am also finding myself with a severe case of aphasia. I’ll substitute a word like bathroom when what I mean is refrigerator. It’s happening no less that 30 times a day, so I am pretty certain I sound like a babbling idiot when I try to give one of the kids directions. 'Rachel, I need you to go put all the clean laundry in the trash.' At least we can still find the moments of humor here.

Taking everyone to a petting zoo today. Between my kids, Harley, another DID friend who lives 1/2 hour from us, and me... this should be interesting. Kristen will probably expect hazard pay if everyone's littles are out at the same time!

Marisa


Killing Time


7/31/2002

Need to get kids registered this morning but don't need to leave for another hour or so. Trying to fill up enough time that I only have time for a quick shower. Someone was actually up and around last night and would have cut if there were an opportunity. Definitely going to talk to Dr C about that today.

Sometimes drives me nuts when things on the outside can be going so well but things on the inside are crumbling. I do understand it. The Crew needs to be able to express themselves and be heard. It’s better that the falling apart happen when things in life are going well. We’ve had more than enough times when things were going badly and we were falling apart. That is not a good situation.

It seems that the sleeping children are threatened by Laura being out and communicating. Don’t think it's so much that they are afraid of the secrets she may tell, but more that if she could be drawn out, so can they. They’ve lived so long hidden in the shadows, that's all they know. I certainly know how it feels to know where you are is a bad place but it's familiar, which can translate to safer. I can remember Stephanie telling someone once that it was better to tell everyone to fuck off and not let anyone get close rather than to take the chance and get fucked anyway. I think that's how it is with the sleeping children. It’s better to stay hidden in the dark rather than take a chance of coming out and have worse things happen. We’re hoping that between Laura and the other girls, that we can show a safe enough environment for them to feel they can come forward.

I do know that the one wanting to cut is one of those still hiding in the shadows. I’m assuming she is split from Stephanie, and has a rage I haven't seen or felt in a long time. The hard part about it is that she's a cutter like Reese but has this uncontrollable rage like Stephanie once had. The combination is bad because this alter is seeking to intentionally 'punish' us for drawing the sleeping children out. This is not something we need with the physical state we're in right now. I hate to think we might need to take a few days in the hospital to remain safe. I’ll go if necessary but, I hope we don't have to. There is not one place in this state able to deal with DID and the one hospital our ins. approves of is just awful. They are simply not equipped to handle anything but babysitting people with clinical depression.

Well, I have passed enough time to be safe. Better go before the crowd of parents and kids gets so big we wind up waiting forever.

Marisa


Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Words









Meltdown

7/30/2002

I am rapidly approaching a total meltdown. Ever since Laura came forward we've been fighting the need to dissolve into a mass of crying goo. The good news is we now know why.

Yesterday we got up from a nap in a state of complete confusion. One of Charlie’s friends/employees was here. Ashley has been a friend of the family so long he's like a brother. As I wandered into the kitchen, he jumped in front of us to pretend beg for something to drink. Usually I will tease him or say something in response, but this time it triggered me. It just terrified Laura who was right there near the front. Immediately realizing he'd stepped into a bad situation, he started backpedaling, which had the unfortunate result of pissing off Stephanie. She told him (in front of most of my kids and Harley) "Don't fuck with my mind."

Ashley has some major emotional problems himself. Being the kind of person he is, he can't comprehend how anything bad happening in his presence isn't somehow his fault. (Oh, how familiar) We were hanging to reality by a thread long before we ran into him. It had nothing to do with him. Instead of assuming I was just having a bad day, he decided he'd gotten in the way and was not welcome. When Charlie came down to work on the computer they are fixing, Ashley made some lame excuse and left.

That’s where it really hit the fan. Because of the experiences Laura has taken on, this one hit like a load of bricks. All she could see was that she made Charlie’s friend leave.

Now to back up 18 years or so... in addition to the number of things Laura was blamed for causing by the parents and siblings, she was also there with a situation involving Charlie when I was 15. No wonder she is terrified Charlie is going to hate her.

Charlie and I met through a mutual friend. I met Jim in AA. It wasn’t long before he and his wife opened their home. I became their regular babysitter. Their house was a safe haven from home. I would show up on a Friday evening and stay until Sunday. Charlie was a co-worker of Jim’s and would come over occasionally to hang out. That's how we met.

On this one particular night, we were in rare form. Stephanie was spitting nails after some huge blow out with my mom. I was in a lousy mood when we got to Jim’s house. Charlie was his normal joking self and trying to get me to smile. She/I wasn't going for it and at one point told him to stop being such an asshole and leave me alone. That justifiably pissed off Charlie. Rather than be rude or say something he'd regret, he left.
That’s where Laura came in. This was a repeat of things from years before and all she could see was that she made him leave. Jim, who spent two solid hours telling me what garbage I was for making his friend leave, helped none of this.

This may seem like a small thing, but for Laura who is only eight, it's huge. It was a repeat of the event that brought her into existence years ago. Even though Charlie and I have obviously gotten past that little event at Jim’s house, Laura has not. For the three weeks since she's come forward the whole system has been walking on eggshells, jumping at the slightest hint of displeasure from Charlie. Samantha finally clued me in while Laura was crying and freaking over the thing with Ashley. Poor Laura has been terrified all this time Charlie would find out *she* was involved in that argument years ago and he would reject her.

He has spent a lot of time since yesterday, letting her know it was not her fault and Jim should not have reacted the way he did. He told her Ashley leaving was his choice and she was not to blame for that either.
Still, something else Laura is carrying is pushing like a team of elephants, threatening to put us in a quivering ball of panic. Trying to hold on in front of kids and company is stealing every scrap of energy we have. We see Dr. C tomorrow and we're set up for an EMDR session with Lyn on Monday. Here’s hoping that whatever it is can be processed in the safety of a therapist's office and not here at home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Too Cute


7/28/2002

John asked Harley the other day, “Which one of you is your name?" For not quite 5 years old, he has an amazing understanding of DID! I love it. He is so cute!
I so love my kids.

Marisa


no sleep is bad

7-28-02

okay, so we see the reumatologist (sp?) on the 9th. IF we're still walking at that point, i'll be shocked. the back is really bad. i mean so bad that even when i come out, we can't move better and i DON'T FEEL PAIN! if you don't feel pain and you still walk like a 90 yo woman with brittle bones, you've got a problem. marisa's current big goal is to be able to get off the floor without the grunt-whimper-growl combination. we can't take bubble baths for the littles because we can't get out of the tub by ourselves. this just totally sucks.


this is really weird, but even tho the body sleeps, sometimes as much as 10 hours a day or whatever, we haven't gotten any rest or real sleep in like 3 weeks. ever since laura came out (no, it's NOT your fault laura) the sleeping kids are totally on the go the whole time the body sleeps. so even if the body sleeps, the mind doesn't so we're so wiped out that we feel stoned all the friggin time now.

it's not even like memories either. i mean maybe emotional memories, but the dreams have nothing to do with anything like reality. usually we get lots of hospital type dreams. you know, getting committed, then trying to escape and stuff. but not now. last night it was about the dad all night long. stuff about how he was like this hero to everyone who knew him, but we knew what he was really like. and about broken promises and it was just really weird.

i know i'm rambling, but who cares.


i love having harley and them here but i'll be so ready for alone time when they go back to vermont. it's weird always having somebody around. it's like having the inside on the outside if that makes any sense. a lot of times the best thing about being out is not feeling so crowded like when i'm inside. with somebody visiting there's the crowd on the outside too.. weird.

well gotta go. rachel's 10th b-day is tomorrow and we're getting ready to go shopping.

miss being able to just sit on the computer and hang out too. will be glad when we can again.

reese



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Idle Thoughs


7/25/2002



Obsessive-Compulsive Procrastination! As much as I totally hate labels, that one is hysterical.

I talked to Dr. C yesterday about how and why it is things often don't get done around the house. We have a 3x5-card file system for all the things that need doing. We haven't used it since we moved into this house so we needed to redo it. I have managed to get the jobs listed and broken down to daily/weekly/monthly, etc. I have the cards ready to go. Why hasn't it been finished so we can put it back into use? Because my hands have been too shaky to write neatly. I can't have something we're going to have to look at several times a day be imperfect! What’s the point in having a fancy, color-coded system if the writing looks like chicken scratch? So, the cards sit there waiting on the unforeseeable day when they can be completed to perfection and be used. That’s Obsessive-Compulsive Procrastination. And here I thought it was just regular old everyday procrastination.

Totally ridiculous sounding, isn't it? But that's the way the mind works when OCD type behaviors are there.
Having Harley here is like having a mirror up to the different little quirks we have about things. I didn't realize just how very obsessive we were until we heard someone else describing the same thing. You mean not everybody steams clean the whole house every 2-3 months? Not everyone strips the kitchen floor to apply new acrylic every couple of months? Not everyone sanitizes every minute surface of his or her home at least once a week? There are people who don't hyperventilate over the idea that someone might see dust in their house? hmm

Not that we do that now. I did, up until I lost the ability to arthritis. The lack of obsessive cleanliness isn't because we've gotten better about it but because we lost the ability. Here all these last few years, I thought I had just learned to relax about that stuff. Turns out, we just did what we've always done with anything overwhelming. We dissociated it. Well, i did anyway. So while I learned to 'relax' about the house, others were taking on the worry and stress of keeping perfection.

Does this mean we still have to actually deal with it? Get to the root of it and change the thinking? Dissect the need to have control over every little detail and learn to let go? Bummer. I was hoping to get out of that.
Sometimes self discovery is a pain in the butt.



Anonymous Question


7/24/2002

Someone asked how does it feel for me when I switch?

First, a quick explanation of dissociation; at some point in time, everyone does it to some degree. Have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered the drive? That is dissociation. What happens to people with the many different dissociative disorders (MPD is only one of many) is that at some point, usually before age 8, dissociation became the primary coping tool. If you are raised in a home where crying is not allowed, dissociation may be used to shut off the emotions that would bring tears and protecting the person from punishment or whatever the consequence might be.

About the question of how it feels to switch… first, I feel the emotions being triggered. Because they are so overwhelming, the switch is almost an autonomic response. It just happens. I have to separate myself from the emotions/memories that are surfacing. I don't really know how to describe it. Physically, I know I have not 'left' my body but I no longer feel a part of it. It is almost like being numb. Several in the system have described it as being like watching a movie of your life. You are watching it unfold but are not a part and have no control.
When I lose time what often happens just prior, is a sort of tunnel vision with a loss of sensation as well. My hearing fades as my vision reduces to a pinpoint. At other times, things get blurry and surreal looking.
It’s the best description I can give at the moment. I don’t know if it makes sense.

Marisa


Monday, February 20, 2012

Insight or Insane Rambling? Take Your Pick


7/24/2002

After 30+ hours on a bus, our friend arrived this afternoon. We talked a lot, watched a couple of movies, and pretty much caught up. I think this will be a nice visit.

Realizing that things like my total paranoia about the house are reminders that my little obsessive compulsions aren't so much gone as they are slave to my physical inability to do enough to silence them. Laura's nearness to the front seems to amplify it because of the 'never do anything right' line so ingrained in her and Reese. I cannot so much as glance to one side without feeling the need to get up and clean or 'make something better'.

All Charlie has to do is hint that something isn't (to my mind) exactly as it should be, and I panic. Twice today alone, I have spiraled into that place of not being able to control my thoughts or the dissociation. I have fought so hard to control the switching that when something triggers someone forward and I can't stop it, it's like adding fuel to the fire. Someone is triggered, they panic, I try to stop it but can't and it makes the panic just soar to heights I can't describe.

We stood in the closet freaking out and mumbling earlier because I couldn't find something that was needed and the consuming belief was that if we didn't find it, we'd be in trouble up to our eyeballs. We just knew that Charlie was mad, it was our fault, and we couldn't ever do anything right. When I spin off into a panic, Charlie doesn't know what to say or do to help and it only makes things worse. I snarled at him to stop STARING at me earlier. He was scrambling, trying to figure out if there were any words that wouldn't make it worse, and had no idea he was staring. He’s learned to sit and wait it out. If he leaves, we collapse in abandonment. If he tries to take back whatever he said, even if he doesn't know why it was triggering, we either become angry or read even more condemnation into it. He’s having a really hard time trying not to take it personally that Laura is terrified of him. I don't blame him really. It’s not him though. It’s years of abuse that has her afraid and confused. She’s going to have to be allowed some time to learn he can be trusted to protect, not hurt.

I want to dance around in frustration because I can see this. I know everyone over the age of 10 in the system can see it, but we're stuck on how to correct it, heal it, process it, forget it, whatever... without actually having to feel it.

It comes down to this; DID or not, when you've been raised to believe that your perceptions and emotions are WRONG, no matter what the situation, trying to lock those feelings and perceptions away becomes automatic. It just happens without thought. after a time, not only do you not realize you're locking something away when you should be paying attention to it, you have no awareness that your automatic response is making things worse. You aren't even aware of the response, let alone anything piled up behind it.
Finding out that the only coping skill you've ever had up to now is actually making things worse is a nightmare. Trying to unlearn it is even harder. It’s not the alters who are making this worse. My instinct to deny them voice does not help things at all.

I don't want to stop when a triggered little comes forward and have to feel her feelings or look to find the root of the trigger. I don't want to remember what they know, or feel the depth of pain. I don't want to have to stop in the middle of taking care of my responsibility as a mom and wife to relive something from 25 years ago. Knowing that once it's out we can begin to heal from it, just doesn't seem reassuring at all when we're in the middle of it.

For now we should just keep reminding ourselves... it's getting better... it's getting better... can't always see it, but it's getting better...

can't we just go back to sleep?

from a fortune cookie... he who never makes mistakes never did anything worthy.
like that. helps put things in perspective when you feel like all you do is make mistakes.

have gotten lots done today but am so shaky from the physical activity (damn the cutting) that it's gotten too difficult to work. all we really need to do now is tidy kid's rooms and vacuum. the kids are taking care of the laundry so we should be set. if harley gets here early enough, we might go to the beach for the day since we have t on wednesday.

since charlie is home today, we might get to nap and going to see if he can get one of the photos he took from My Fair Lady on a web page so we can put it in the diary. we were in a local production back in may. first time we ever auditioned for anything and it was awesome! anyway, there's a pic from the last scene with alfie doolittle where we're center stage and it's a really good pic. it'd be cool to have it at the bottom of the contents page.

amelia did some shrinky dinks this morning. she's making charms to put on a bracelet we're getting becca for her b-day.

 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

And We Got Out Of Bed Today Why?


7/21/2002

A thunderstorm right on top of us is scaring the hell out of Amelia and Suzie. Those two are practically joined at the hip. Amelia is very serious about being Suzie’s ‘big sister’. Going out is not much of an option until the weather clears or we get the girls settled. I have a major case of cabin fever from sitting at the computer so much the last few days. I should have taken a pill and stayed in bed.

I’m very shaky and anxious but don't know exactly why. It's partly the time of year. All three daughters have birthdays in the next few weeks and school starts soon. I get very stressed by birthdays, and don't even get us started on school. It doesn't help that in this district, you have to register each and every year because people are constantly trying to get their kids into this district's schools without living here. I hate dealing with schools in anything. It is terrifying for me.

Still, this isn't all about that. Not sure what it is. If we nap, the kids will wreak havoc on the house and we are not up to taking them out in this weather.

I really think we just want to go shopping. That’s a sure cure for the blues. I wish.


Days Like This

7/20/2002
It's a total ADD day. Can't stay focused on anything for more than a few minutes. Flitting around the house like a hummingbird... start one chore, get distracted by something else, go there, get started, repeat...

Did manage to get the lawn mowed but forgot to take into account the probably 8 point drop in my iron level. That combined with temps in the mid-high 90's... thought my heart was going to burst from my chest after 5 minutes. So, did a section, went inside, sat at the computer and goofed around until I caught my breath, worked on the downstairs rooms (see first paragraph) then went back outside. Managed to get the whole yard watered even... so add to that moving the sprinkler every hour or whenever someone remembered. The drought is so bad here that some of the grass just looked baked and even where it was green, was crunchy underfoot.

Shouldn't complain too much. i got a lot done. I just hate being so antsy. Charlie's had to work all day. He just called and announced that in the middle of dinner with the guys working for him, he got a call from the port and the systems are down yet again. Just as we were saying our 'I love yous' I said, see you tomorrow.He almost didn't catch the teasing about not even making it home tonight. I HOPE he's not there all night!

  A good friend of ours from a DID chat room is coming Tuesday morning to stay for about 10 days. We have not seen them in 11 months. It will be interesting to see how my sweetie does with two of us in the house! I might as well buy the pack of name tags now.

  My only concern about the visit is that our friend's body is female and every host alter since forever is a male... how to explain this to the kids? In addition, there is the whole gay issue. No problem here, but the friend borders on militant and our kids are admittedly sheltered about such things. I have prepared the girls so they are not too much of a concern. The boys on the other hand...my friend behaves and sounds totally male but you don't have to look hard to realize they aren't.

Now that John has reached an age of awareness about the differences between girls and boys, I am just praying that John doesn't say anything that will make us want to shrivel up and disappear. Kids have a way of doing that, you know.

Daniel, being not quite eight is also at the magical age between becoming observant about things and learning when not to speak. My oldest once yanked up my shirt in a grocery store to tell the clerk “Mommy feeds my baby sister with her boobs just like a bottle!” Kids can embarrass you better than anyone can.

Being in panic clean mode in preparation for this visit reminds me, Mum tells a story about when they were trying to adopt me. The woman from catholic charities called to announce the home visit and so mum had my five older brothers and my older sister scrambling around the house picking things up and hiding them behind closed doors. When the woman arrived, they had tea and small talk then she told Mum she wanted to tour the house. Mum started to take her around but the woman asked the kids to do it... they opened every door and drawer for this woman to see. Mum was mortified and certain they would never allow her to adopt. She was not sure she would not lose the kids she had. For all the crap that happened over the years, i have to admit they agonized and jumped thru hoops to adopt me. No matter what may have occurred in later years, one thing is (thank god for hindsight) I was wanted. It is hard to remember that sometimes, but the truth is still there.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monday


7/19/2002

Sometimes it's just a little weird to me that i can have so much trouble remembering something only 4 days ago. I wanted to get this written down the day it happened. Oh well, it will come as I write.

7 days since we cut last. I know my iron levels are low. I get winded going up and down the stairs, my skin is scaly on my hands, and my vision is blurred a bit. It is not enough to affect my driving or anything, but enough to be a pain in the ass. It will take a couple of months at least to get it back to where it should be. I need to remember this when I get mad about having no energy. It’s not as if I don't know why.

On to Monday... need to go slow with this because things will get missed. I was counting on quiet time but John is up and watching ‘Jimmy Neutron’ for the umpteenth time.

We sat on the couch with Lyn on the day bed to my left. She already had the chair she would sit in placed about three feet in front of me, I think so that we could get used to the distance. Even though the whole aversion to being touched is almost entirely gone, she knows when stuff gets stirred up, it's almost impossible for me to even stand someone trying to comfort me. Even holding my hand can be too much.

Lyn asked about everyone inside. How were they? They were tense, the littles were scared, and I could sense someone about 4 years old who was afraid of the belt. As Lyn asked if we could assure the littles they were safe, I could see Levia already gathering them in the nursery with Nancy. Levia closed the door of the nursery so that no one would have to be aware of the process we were about to begin.

We talked about where to start with the session. We had decided to start with the most vivid memory of the hospital bills on the hall table. I spoke about it in some detail. I think. It gets fuzzy from here out. Lyn asked what the negative messages that the scene created/reinforced were. Things like "You're a burden." came rushing to me. Worthless, undeserving. I remember wondering why they even adopted me. Why didn't they just send me back? Was keeping me repentance for their mistake? I screw everything up. Everything is my fault. I can't do anything right.

Lyn asked me to rate the intensity of those messages on a scale of 1-10. I’m pretty sure we said 10, which is the worst. She asked me to do a body scan, which is just being aware of your body. Where is the tension, knots in the stomach, that kind of thing? My shoulders, my upper chest, front and back were rock hard tense. My stomach was hurting almost to the point of nausea. Pain was creeping up the back of my neck and head.

Lyn asked what positive messages we could use to counter the negative. It's not my fault? I'm not a liar? There were a few others but I don't remember. They were not very creative perhaps but nothing else was coming to mind. When asked to rate the truth of those statements on a scale of 1-7, with seven being very true, I said that I knew the truth in my head, but it was a very different matter emotionally. I said it had a rating of two, at best.
We began our first set of eye movements, going back to that time and place. I had just gotten off the bus and come inside through the sewing room. Only strangers used the front door. After coming through the kitchen, I was going to my room. Mum was sitting at the dining room table and pretending not to watch me. I noticed there was something on the table outside my bedroom door. That was where mum put my mail. With some excitement, because mail was rare, I looked closer. It wasn't in an envelope. I saw my name on it and realized it was a bill for my nearly 3-month stay at Dominion. The total at the bottom was more than $10,000.
Instantly my mind was reeling. Why? It was clearly there for me to see. Why? What could I do about it? Was this just another 'rubbing my nose in my mess' incident? I felt an overwhelming mixture of shock and disbelief that mum would do that and at the same time, the intended slam hit its mark full force. I felt crushed.

We stopped the set and Lyn checked in with the emotions and negative messages that were coming. I was just feeling like complete worthless shit. I felt like nothing and worth nothing. Somewhere in all this I told about the nights when I slept on the floor because I didn't feel worth the bed.

I’m sure we'd done more than one set when Lyn asked if there was anyone who could be in this scene to help counter what I was hearing and feeling. To my great surprise, Jesus came to mind. It has been a very long time since I’ve even been able to picture Him, much less see Him with me. Lyn asked where He was. He was behind my right shoulder watching as I tried to comprehend the situation with the medical bill.
We began another set of eye movements and the dam burst.

”I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I don't mean to be so bad. I want to be what you want. Why am I not enough? Why don't you love me? I just want to be what YOU want.”

Lyn asked me to tell this to Jesus. Okay, hokey sounding I know, but hey. If it works, go for it. I could see myself standing there in my faded blue jeans and badass attire, with my face buried in His robe and crying my heart out.

End another set, talk a bit, do another body scan, (my left leg was restless and it was hard not to start bouncing it.) start again. Lyn asked me to listen and see if Jesus said anything. I could hear him say it was not my fault. I was not bad. It was my parent's job to care for me, regardless of the expense. They were not doing their job as they should and tried to deal with their guilt by giving it to me. The only crystal clear memory of Monday is the phrase, “It's not your debt to pay.”

I cannot begin to describe how far reaching that phrase was. Like roots growing from a bulb, little shoots of this phrase began to grow in all directions, touching everyone inside and countless memories. It’s not my debt to pay. IT'S NOT MY DEBT TO PAY! Jesus took the bill and folded it back up so that the print would not be visible, then placed it back on the table. I think we began to smile as we stopped that set and talked.

Stephanie had something to say. I braced myself as we started another set, preparing for the enraged part of me railing against the injustice of it all. I don't give Stephanie enough credit. Very calmly she said that what Mum had done was wrong. It was cruel and unjustified. She couldn't accept that we needed what was never available to her. If she didn't have help and support and love in her childhood, she could not allow us to receive it. She spoke of how damaged Mum's thinking and actions were. She looked at Mum in the dining room doing her letter writing. Picking up the bill, I walked with Stephanie as she went to the dining room and without saying a word, placed the bill next to Mum and walked away.

It’s not my debt to pay. Stephanie took that thing, that piece of paper that has caused us such pain all these years, and gave it back to the one to whom it belonged. There were several other times when bills were found outside the room, but it is as if we are now immune to the effect of that intentional cruelty. It just slides off, in this issue and others as well.

When we visited Mum and Dad four years ago, Dad insisted on paying $600 to pay for my van repairs after it broke down on I95. They even drove to Richmond to rescue us. It was bad enough having to rely on them to get us up to Manassas, but to have Dad pay such a large bill was crushing. When would I ever be free of feeling indebted to them?

The trip to North Carolina this month was the same. It was so hard to accept with grace Dad and Michelle paying our way. When we went to the chalet in Tennessee nine years ago, I remember Ben wanting to know why we had not paid our share of the week's rental. No one else mentioned it. Everyone knew we were recovering from Charlie being out of work for 6 months. They knew he had been working out of state and that we were living in a shit hole of a trailer. They knew we had lost everything to a fire only a year before. We asked Michelle what we owed and she said it was on her. We countered that everyone else had paid his or her share. We should too. For the rest of the trip, rather than being grateful for her generosity, and her willingness to ensure we could join the family on this vacation, I felt small and worthless for the rest of the trip. Charlie too, felt pitied and small. He grew up in poverty and anything resembling 'charity' was hard as hell to accept.

Now, however, all of that has just slid off our back. There is no guilt, feelings of smallness or of worthlessness. It’s not my debt to pay. Michelle knows the hardships Mum and Dad went through to raise 9 kids on an Air Force Captain's salary. They weren't bad people. They just had bad moments, but they tried hard. Michelle and her husband are very well off, and Michelle has promised herself (this was something she told me when I confronted her years ago for treating us like poor relations.) that their 'surplus' would go toward providing as many blessings for her parents and her family as she could. She counted it a blessing to be able to share it with us.

All that guilt and indebtedness has lifted. Yes, there are still things connected with money that will need addressing. I had expected the session to go in a whole other direction than it did.

I can't explain why something so seemingly simple could work so well. Something in the guided eye movement triggers the brain's natural ability to process things. Whatever it is, it does work and I won't question it. I look forward now to working through these other things and laying them to rest as well.

Marisa