For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Nov 29, 2008

Do littles grow up?

Much confusion surrounds alters and healing. One question often heard is whether littles (young alters) grow up. Several circumstances may happen for a little in the realm of healing.

A little might always remain a little, which is fine. The objective for any little is for him/her to heal. You want to know a transformation has happened from traumatized little to content, playful, or happy little. The reality is some may remain scared especially around certain triggers, but they know they are safe now. By using magazine images, I could clearly see when a little healed. Others can see clearly in their minds when an alter has any change in appearance or mannerism. My first preteen client used to draw how her alters looked after they were healed to acknowledge them.

It is possible for the same alter to appear as several ages. It's unlikely you will find all at once. Finding another alter with the same name is a good clue. And they will know inside they are connected. I have Lucy as the little girl in my first art blog, as a young woman, and as a woman in her 30s. I don't know why Lucy seems to have ceased to exist at what seemed to be age 5-7 until late teens or early 20s. Possibly perps called her back out when the body was older. Although different ages of alters don't necessary correlate to the age of the body.

Soon I will do several images of an "older" female protector who I realize now was only an infant/toddler, an introject (?) of my little sister who had no hair until she was about 3 years old. My alter was always shown as bald. Many of my youngest memories included the "bald" female protector.

I suppose it is possible for all alters representing the same person to decide to blend or merge or whatever word you want to use. As far as I know, that did not happen with me. The different ages had their own stories. Little Lucy reintegrated with Audrey when they healed (the two were originally one).

I did have a little who grew up. There was an exponentially faster rate of growing up internally than in the real world. The little 5-year-old integrated in a very emotional letting go for both of us. She turned up about a year later as an adult protector providing me with much information. I was thrilled to see her back. Don't ask how I knew it was her. Messages happen.

Whatever happens when a survivor heals is right for that survivor. No rules apply. The transformation of healing can take on many variations. Usually amazing things happen for a survivor during the healing of an alter who was active as a victim of much abuse.

Littles missed out on being loved and cherished and protected unconditionally. They missed out on safe play and safe touch and having anything of their own. Healed littles, I believe, become the basis for what singletons know as their inner child. Even in ego state therapy with those who have never experienced trauma, the child ego state is complex and incudes several child parts. I believe I have one integral...main...inner child and most of the others healed into her. I seem to have about three littles who make up the entirety of my inner child.

Perhaps readers know of the movie Fight Club. The first rule of fight club is not to talk about fight club. We have a DID "club" here. The first rule of DID club is that there are no rules to each survivor's healing process. You can't compare what happens for you to any other survivor. As long as you are moving toward healing, you're doing well.

Nov 28, 2008

New blog features art healing journey

Today another spoke was added to my wheel of blogs: The Art Journey of Grace. In going through one of my many boxes of images and collections of images and completed collages, I decided I'd like to share some of my images and collages with readers to explain how my system communicated much information to me.

Unless I'm specifically asked, I plan to stay away from anything that is too graphical. Of course any survivor art is conveying trauma, although there is also a poignancy to the healing of dissociated selves, the internal nurturing and cooperation, and the resolution of those final missing pieces to a memory.

I've also added my turtle blog to my list of related blogs, now called Blogs by Grace. Hopefully it will be a fun place to visit for a change in mood after the intensity of healing from DID. And also a happy place for the littles to visit with links to fun turtle and Pleo videos.

My first blog entry to Art Journey is the first image of a little, Lucy. Coincidentally, my most recent post in the turtle blog features my tortoise Lucy. There is no connection of which I'm aware. In fact, my SO named her to go with our Pleos Linus and Schroeder. Guess it was time for me to crossover to my first blogging love, Nemo the Unturtle.

Nov 27, 2008

How can we know the truth?

Much of this blog has been focused on how confusing memories are to piece together, the tricks used by perps regarding the surroundings, a double language and double binds used on us as children. So how is it that we can know for sure who was an abuser?

Links are provided in the sidebar to some of the best in the field regarding trauma memory and how it is stored differently. I've used examples before but, as a reminder, those who recall the assassination of John F. Kennedy know where they were at the moment they heard, the feelings of the moment. Some remember smells, others great detail of the location...a kind of surreal experience to recall. If you've ever been in an automobile accident, you might recall the event in slow motion, what song was playing on the radio. If it had been raining during the accident, it's possible rainy days still cause some distress to your driving experience. The most recent moment in our history that was traumatic for the nation was on 9/11. The trauma of knowing, seeing, hearing...for many, feeling loss of a loved one. All sensory experience is frozen in that moment or moments of trauma.

In spite of the trauma memory being locked in from several perspectives by different aged alters with intentional confusion and attempts at making us believe that what happened never happened, we remember. And, over the course of time, the abusers remain constant (in or out of costume) for some period of life. Some alters and/or protectors remember very clearly. It has been proven time and again through drawings and descriptions through journals of survivors that incidents were recalled with remarkable accuracy, locations were internally recorded with uncanny details, and faces and voices were remembered. What comes out as a survivor's story is for the survivor to heal. The objective is healing, not suing abuser(s). What we come to know with great clarity as names, locations, faces, and sometimes dates are conveyed to us by those inside who remembered with clear "mind" and stored the information for later release.

In my personal experience, names rarely surfaced, but faces did. In doing collages, I'd find myself cutting out pictures of people. Over time, I consciously noticed that many images looked like the same person and I'd make collages for that one person. At the time I wouldn't know if it was an outside person or an inside person...very strange concept to grasp, I would imagine, for anyone who has not had inside people. Most of my collages were done in the first two years of my healing. Also in those first two years, abusers in my world at the time I was a child became known to me through researching, in documentaries, in magazines. I knew because the images cut from magazines so starkly resembled the perp collage and something about the perp's history matched my own history. This process is, of course, not admissable in court, but is sufficient validation to heal. It doesn't matter what others believe. We know without a doubt when we receive internal and external validation simultaneously and have our drawings and/or collages and journals to back it up. It's usually accompanied by a hugely triggered response to matching the name with the person or vice-versa.

I guess it boils down to that the alters can use whatever skills they have "backwards" to help in the healing process. Amnesia is a strange state of mind. Those who suffer from or who have even healed from DID still don't know what it's like to have a mind that functions for someone who grew up in a loving family without trauma. We know it gets better at a certain point in healing. We can tell when there has a been a shift in the way our brains process information after healing takes place. That happened for me after any merger, blending, integration of parts. I have used a gearshift as a metaphor for how it feels when parts integrate. I used to drive stick shift. Have no other metaphor that seems to fit. While there is a sharing of consciousness after an integration that wasn't there before, there is not a smooth transition from one alter to the other. There is still a feeling of separateness but in a different way. Over time it becomes more of a smoother process and feeling of togetherness.

I've heard from other survivors and have read in authoritative psychology books by those who have never been dissociative that true integration means *I* will have ownership of the memories. My life before my current medical difficulties was good. I hear I was a good therapist. Yet I still feel as if I've been told my story by others inside and *know* enough to understand my fragmentation and healing process. It does not feel as if it happened to me. Maybe my *complete* healing is still down the road. Or maybe sometimes what the books say should happen, doesn't happen for all.

Regardless of our individual truths, we all simply want to feel in control of our lives again. To feel that we have our lives back internally and externally. Others can stand back and judge the content of memories or watch the person blossom and grow and heal from processing their trauma. The truth that we do know about the abusers and the locations, in spite of being sometimes 30 to 40 years after the fact, can be used, if others would hear, to find the places that continue their lacivious activities to this day...where no one has ever bothered to look...or locations that have been so protected by community leaders involved in the charade that the secrecy is assured.

We, the survivors, want to be heard. We want to help future generations from experiencing our pain of having been born into an incestuous family or similar circumstances. Collaborating the truths of survivors recalling the same locations can be the blueprint for planning a new strategy to stop the madness. Why is that so unreasonable...or unbelievable?

My wish and goal is for this change to come to our nation...for people of good hearts and minds to stand back and find what is ask questions of those who have been denying our truth for help the children stuck in that world and honor and help those who have survived.

Self care day

Most trauma survivors, especially of sophisticated abuse, dread holidays. Time to self-care. If going to another's home, put a security object in bag for the littles. Bring a grounding object like a small stone or charm you can hold in hand. Take breathers in a room by yourself or go outside for a break.

Don't worry about what others might think. If you start to feel dizzy, woozy, triggered, move away from wherever you are. "Excuse me, I'll be back soon." "Yes, I'm fine, I just need to be alone for a bit." Unless you have a support person with you, in which case you can ask that person to accompany you if you like.

Breathe. Remember calming, grounding, and containment skills. You will be okay.

Find a different meaning for the day that is special for you, if you can. My SO's niece has a new baby and her son is adorable. I like just being around them and other SO family members regardless of date.

Nov 25, 2008

The mind-boggling realization

The Blooming Lotus addressed this topic yesterday. It reminded me of how earth-shattering my realization was...and how it resulted in a breakdown before I was able to accept the truth and what it meant to my life. I was about a year into my healing before this moment of clarity so those who are not at least that far along in healing, be forewarned.

The level of abuse beginning in infancy ensures shattering of the mind. Not all who have DID have the birth child (a/k/a "the core") go into hiding. If the abuse becomes so constant and overwhelming, however, the core goes into hiding and lets the alters take over the life. Part of adult healing is for the core to resurface and participate in the current life in whatever form is right for the individual. That means the person who is healing from the abuse is an alter. One alter of however many were created by the abuse intentionally and unintentionally. My personal belief is that several of my protectors created their own system for healing one day. If not, it means abusers created alters that had their own wills and did what they wanted inside instead of following out of fear and intimidation.

A child whose perpetrators have sophisticated knowledge of deliberately inducing dissociation (and there is documentation that this was being done), will have far more dissociated selves than a child who splits from extreme abuse by one or two maniacal parents. Numbers are irrelevant and no one should be judged on how many were created. What matters is that healing can happen regardless of numbers. The point is that one of that sizeable number is the conscious child. *I* have the conscious memory of my life. All formerly dissociated parts know the rest of the story or part of the rest of the story. And alters throughout the life of the victim/survivor take over for moments, or minutes, or hours, or days to block the conscious child from knowing what is dangerous to know.

Yesterday's post about facial and name recognition goes with this. During abuse, the alters are constantly threatened with revealing identities. I do know at least one survivor who recalls not being allowed to look at the faces of abusers. She could remember anyone's shoes though. I have many pictures of men's shoes in my collages. I could logically state they might be there for that reason but I don't have my own answer. Another survivor commented on yesterday's post that she sees through people or sees a blur or blob. That is likely an alter whose job it is to make sure she doesn't remember people. If a survivor has current safety, the alter causing that to happen can be acknowledged and offered healing or a new job of possibly helping the conscious self to remember.

In terms of being the conscious self of a dissociated entity, the realization is that the survivor's world has been controlled all along--what is seen, heard, remembered, known. My mind was trained to control me, for fear something awful would happen to them or me if they did not do their assigned jobs.

Being dissociative is weird, to say the least. Until I was 44, I had no clue as to any dissociation on my part. Everything was linked together in a way that I had absolutely no "leakage" of what went on in any dissociative state. I had several instances during my healing where conscious me had the experience of having been dissociative. In other words, I realized I had missed time, or had done something out of my awareness. My most recent experience was the highway hypnosis that had me "waking up" driving in an unknown area calling for the helicopter lift out of there. (That would be my SO.)

The strangest dissociative experience I had was a few years ago during a phone call with my SO. I usually monopolize the conversation and had been talking for several minutes. When I stopped, he said something totally irrelevant to what I had just asked. After some great confusion I realized I was seemingly talking (consciously hearing my own conversation), but another alter was having a different conversation with him. Obviously, a brain works very differently.

I don't recall the statistic, but humans usually use only a small percentage of their brain. Obviously sophisticated perps know how to tap into all that unused space. The mind is capable of amazing things. Too bad it is being used to hurt people. Why isn't that same knowledge available to help people with greater functioning?

Because of my healing, I no longer feel the disconnection of being an alter with no true choices or willpower. I feel empowered and connected although I still struggle with ongoing healing at a much slowed down pace...usually. Even when no longer DID, there is some dissociation.

One of my first collages shows a child lying in the grass...hidden alone. The words beneath the baby: A Strategic Alteration of Reality. Ain't that the truth.

Nov 24, 2008

Remember to forget

Survivors with DID have a tough time remembering...current life. Dissociated life can't be known until a memory surfaces. I don't have a scientific explanation. I do have a personal explanation. As memory surfaces and breaks through a wall of amnesia, chunks of amnesia are released into the brain. Those chunks sort of float around gobbling up current memory or erasing what you just had on your mind.

In addition to the amnesia phenomenon of DID, since early childhood, we have been literally brainwashed with messages about not telling; about forgetting what we saw or heard; and not remembering people's names or faces. I am certain the name and facial recognition is probably obliterated in a more focused manner, and I don't think I want to know how that was done. I hope I never have to be an eye witness.

I used to have what one would call photographic memory for my conscious life. That completely dissolved since memories began. I can barely hold a thought until I write it down on a note. As mentioned in yesterday's post and confirmed by a comment, those who grew up with DID tend to not see their environment. We can write notes to ourselves and even have a special place to put notes, but it doesn't take long before what is there becomes "invisible". Each survivor needs to develop their own system of remembering important dates, times, appointments. Even with an elaborate system, it is still possible to completely forget an important appointment. It is stunning to realize we have forgotten those times when we made an extra effort to remember.

How was this used growing up? Any sibling's absence was not known by the other siblings or the mother. "Remember to forget your sister." "This never happened." "You were just dreaming." "You're lying." "You must have seen that on a movie." Of course the perps didn't want to be remembered. I have zero facial recognition and vague name recognition. Even with close friends and new family, there is a slow brain process of connecting the person to the name. For annual events, I still need to be prompted about names of people even though I might remember the face since it has been several years.

I use the term "dropping off the radar" when I forget about people close to me. When my best friend, who lives in another state, goes on vacation or away for a few days, I must keep one of her emails in my inbox to remind me she exists. With all of my friends, after a few days of no contact, I forget. Eventually I remember, especially if they write to check on me. They know this happens. It's very frustrating.

In a separate life trauma, I have had anesthesia nine times since May 2007. Since my memory seems to have gotten even worse for short term thoughts ("I need to go do 'x'"), I tend to think that much anesthesia in my head might be wreaking some havoc. Although I also know some survivors with the same problem. An example I often experience in the kitchen: "I need to get a new bottle of vitamins from the pantry." I'll turn around and the next thing I know I'm staring into the refrigerator wondering what I'm looking for. Or the object will be in another room and I'll get to the room but stand in the center clueless without a trail back in my mind to the purpose. Usually I'll remember if I go back to my original spot and realize what it is I needed. It's not always handy to jot down a note to carry to the next room.

Someone needs to invent a wristband "Post-It" note dispenser and a way to always have a pen on hand. I try to keep pens near everywhere I tend to linger, however they often get lost or my note pad has run out. Obviously this is not the greatest challenge those with DID face, but it does impact much of our lives. In my role as psychotherapist, I was in a space with my client where I had very focused attention for the client. Memory seems to work differently with that intensity of focus. I did need to take notes or write notes immediately afterwards for record keeping.

I am hopeful that my brain may, some day, have enough new connections to operate like a defragmented brain. Would be nice to run "defrag", huh? Part of this forgetfulness is still viewed as a protective device. It was protective in childhood. It's rather disruptive as adults with life responsibilities. I wish I could say, "This too shall pass."

Nov 23, 2008

Going into the sadness

Sometimes I'm unsure where to post. If I think it will be helpful particularly to healing survivors, I post here. If it's a vent or opinion, it goes to Grace Uncensored. It's not always clearcut, especially where my own healing journey is involved. I decided my experience today might benefit those in the healing process.

I've been very stuck in a deep depression which didn't lift even when I experienced reintegration of three parts who surfaced to give me trauma details of a memory. Because I'm trained in EMDR, I sometimes have done self-EMDR. Mostly, I forget that I can do that. When I had my office, the EMDR buzzers were always there. Now that I am temporarily disabled, the buzzers are home with me. I've been napping each day which also goes with depression. Having been so miserable yesterday and not feeling relieved today, I remembered to grab the EMDR at naptime.

I was a little reluctant because I really didn't want to have to deal with further trauma details on my own. And I hadn't noticed the "pocket of sadness" behind my left lower rib cage that became palpable during my therapy session about two weeks ago. Yet when I began the alternating buzzers and focused on my sadness, I felt a smaller pocket that remained. My thinking process was that all that was sad did not reintegrate. My sense was that one of the two littles had stayed behind believing it was her job to always feel the pain. I was able to provide the reassuring messages that it was very okay for her to not feel the pain any longer and there were other littles waiting for her to join them.

The physical sensation followed the path of the others and moved up around the area of my heart. I remained relaxed and fell asleep. Since my nap, I don't feel as depressed so have provided much needed relief. I have vowed to do that each day until I see my therapist again to better manage the depression.

While most are not able to do EMDR on their own, my point is that usually there is a reason if we are feeling THAT badly. And when we feel THAT badly, it's difficult to think clearly. I thought the parts had healed. After today, I can say that I healed more but am not certain all has healed. It's always good to ask, "What else could this be?" You don't need EMDR to get answers. You can get answers with talk therapy. Realizing that you are experiencing something beyond what is "normal" is always a good target for therapy.

It is uncanny how whatever a survivor begins to talk about in therapy, whether it seems related or not, is exactly what needs to be discussed. I had clients who have had cold hands, or a ringing in the ear, or an itchy nose when asked what was most on their mind. And that symptom was usually an alter needing to be heard or represented an issue that needed attention.

We survivors easily forget...everything. Maybe a fun bulletin board of reminder messages to stare at when we are at wits end? I know...then we forget about the bulletin board until we see it again... It's worth a try though.

Nov 22, 2008

Post memory backlash a/k/a healing

Lately I've been rambling about the big memory I've been processing for quite some time. I ranted about it yesterday on Grace Uncensored. Now that I'm back in a familiar emotional place, which is not at all comfortable, I thought it might be worth sharing.

While each survivor will find their own rhythm or sequence of the mind providing answers, it will become familiar. Processing horror can actually become "same old routine". We process so much we become desensitized to our own sh*t. Sort of like watching yuck on CSI or Ducky on NCIS. I prefer to change the channel and usually do. But when it's the main presentation in the mind, there's no changing the channel.

Because the details are being relayed by a previously dissociated self, it feels second hand. "This is what happened to you. I saw it." It is not experienced as first person even though we may have some crossover of body memory and/or emotions. For me, first there is the shock or surprise of knowing (the silent gasp) followed by any emotions or words that need to be immediately released. Once knowing the emotional/physical pain or piece of knowledge is out, there is the acknowledgment and healing of the parts involved in revealing the previously unknown.

I have often experienced a specific sensation or knowing in my mind or body that the healing happened. Sometimes a bit more processes over the next hours or days before I know the healing of the alter(s) has completed. Then comes confirmation of the healing process--the brain making new connections. Some call this an integration headache if parts tend to merge or integrate post healing. Whatever you call it, the brain DOES make new neural connections. It has been proven in research conducted in the Netherlands by Ellert Neijenhuis, et al. using PET scans on clients with DID pre-healing and following them through to post-healing. Before I knew of the studies, I described the headache as feeling as if my brain were making new connections. Hmmm.

Within a day or two of processing my recent chunk of trauma, new information continued to flow related to the newly disclosed information. I would describe it as information that was unable to be relayed until the healing and the new connections. It feels different. It's more like thoughts landing suddenly in my brain.

My recent memory began several months ago but became quite intense around Halloween. The next round happened surrounding my birth date earlier this week. I felt the healing acknowledgment during my nap following the therapy session. The next day was headache day. I'm still getting tidbits here and there and being led to information that doesn't make sense to me yet. But the main content of the trauma was processed. This was my first big memory processed since beginning the blog. It may have been my first this year. Since my last major healing event, processing has slowed down greatly, thank goodness.

The big unknown is whether this memory still has unprocessed aspects that I will need to know one day. This particular memory has come up several times over the past 10 years because of the intensity and the different messages. I've shared before that I have had several major integrations. This last healing felt like three previously integrated parts coming back to give me the new pieces.

The backlash, as I call it, is that the emotional distress that I had been feeling in the background as depression is now surging through my body as "mine" and it feels awful. I wonder how I survived knowing most of me has always been THAT depressed and THAT terrified. I can barely stand it when three are sad and/or scared. And that's where I am today. Caught in that place of wanting to die just because it would be easier and knowing I could have a better rest of my life if I ride out the discomfort.

When all settles down, one day I will realize that "today is a good day" and the worst will be over...for now. We survived our horrors because our innate will to survive triumphed over the trauma.I personally believe we all survived for a reason. What if we don't allow ourselves to live to know that reason? Maybe the reason is giving DID a strong voice so we can change the world on this issue. And that means we need every survivor joining together to be heard.

Our time is coming. Changes are being made slowly in our country. Massachusetts has already figured this out. Maybe they will be the nation's role model. The Obama Administration promises resources toward protecting the children. Grassroots efforts will finally have as much weight as the formerly big lobbyists. There will be a way we can finally be heard.

Nov 20, 2008

Undoing a known trigger

One of my most intrusive PTSD symptoms is dropping something or almost dropping something. The trigger is feeling the loss of control in my hand as opposed to any value of the object. Yesterday I started working on undoing the very loud startle scream that ensues. I wasn't sure it would work in a controlled setting. But it worked enough.

My recent memory processing has involved three previously integrated alters who were connected to each other. One of the three had the dropping trigger. The therapist spoke through to the little. I was completely co-conscious but felt the little's control in my hand. We worked with small objects of different textures. I was supposed to just let the first object fall out of my hand but my fingers weren't about to let go. T held something in her hand while talking and suddenly let it fall. She heard the scream. lol. At least it was okay there.

I managed to let several things fall to the ground but felt my chest tighten up each time it hit. Every time the object fell, t would say "That's okay". The little spoke a few times and I just let her be out. I was exhausted at the end of the session.

When I returned home, it wasn't five minutes before I knocked something over. BB (my SO) quickly came over to pick it up. "It's okay," said the little. I swear she was practicing knocking things over. Within about ten minutes, she had told BB, "That's okay" in the same sweet little girl voice. For now, I would much rather have a little girl voice for a few seconds than the startle scream. Something good happened. And that was only within a few hours of working on the trigger.

Next trigger to work on (when the opportunity arises) will be the startle scream that comes when I'm a passenger in a car and the driver suddenly goes to hit the brakes. I don't even have to have my eyes open; I can be looking out the side window. Somehow I sense when the foot leaves the gas pedal to hit the brake. Heaven only knows where the PTSD came from. The feeling is "I'm going to die!" Often it is just BB slowing down to avoid something up ahead. The internal screen showed me a car sitting still with a screen in front of it (similar to how they made "moving car" scenes in old movies. Am guessing from that bit of information that either in a terror state and/or slightly drugged state, I thought we were moving and when the driver hit the brake, it looked like a truck or car was going to crash right into me. Guess it doesn't matter what happened. I can undo it. That will be a little tricky. Will need to go with BB to empty parking lot. Not sure who inside goes with that though.

Nov 16, 2008

More on EMDR

I'd like to respond to two comments made on my previous post regarding EMDR. Working with EMDR and DID requires additional steps than the typical protocol which can quickly resolve current or past distress. The example given in the comment was a child with a great fear of shots and surrounding triggers such as the smell of alcohol. EMDR can be used to reduce and/or eliminate anxiety for phobias, among other issues, quite effectively.

If the therapist does not have the proper training which first teaches grounding skills to the survivor and is certain sufficient grounding skills exist to attempt EMDR, and other symptoms are controllable, only then should EMDR be tried. What was described in the comment sounds like an untrained therapist. Being certified in EMDR is not sufficient. It would be good to ask if the therapist is specifically trained to use EMDR with dissociation...and possibly how many other clients with DID has the therapist worked with using EMDR and the outcome. Understanding that some therapists may overstate their skill, the best thing to do is to stop the EMDR if it feels uncomfortable. You know best what is right for you. I know it is very difficult for survivors to be assertive. But you must assertive about what is being done to you and your body. If you are uncomfortable, you have the right to say so. You also have the right to say you will try it and see what it is like for you.

My suggestion is, as long as you have faith in the person leading you through it, allow for a complete session which gets to a resolution or a calming place to stop for later work. You don't want to stop when you are feeling distressed because EMDR is like a wave you ride. It begins with intense emotions and/or images in a controlled environment and takes you to a place of calm. If it feels too overwhelming to continue, say "Stop". The therapist should ask you to do a grounding exercise to take you back to a good place before continuing.

I was asked to describe what EMDR was like for me. Let's see if I can give a description. Each survivor is going to process information differently, so please hear this as my personal experience only. I was initially afraid of EMDR "doing something to my brain". But after my experience with drumming, that was no longer an issue. I understood it was a good thing. Engaging both sides of the brain is a good thing under normal circumstances.

I will first describe a conscious trauma I had that was resolved during my EMDR training--because we practiced on each other. Not knowing whether anything I chose might lead to the DID trauma, I was rather cautious but made the trainer aware of my concerns just in case. I had taken my own EMDR buzzers (tactile stimulation) with me since I don't like the eye movements. The incident I chose was something that had happened when I was 12 years old. Recalling the incident brought up huge feelings of embarrassment and betrayal and shame. I had been in the girls room where several other girls had gathered. I did not know my skirt was tucked up inside my undies. No one told me. I entered the school library and had walked halfway through when the librarian came up and helped me get everything in order. We all have those kinds of things in our past. Even singletons ;-O

Part of the protocol is to identify the most distressing moment of the event and to focus on that moment. Initially the emotions welled up as tears and streamed down my face. Following the direction of the therapist, I refocused as suggested until, in bringing up that most distressing moment, I no longer felt any distress. And it has remained that way since that one "practice session" during training. That's how simple EMDR can be.

With DID, there needs to be a very specific behavior or trigger that the survivor wishes to understand or change. The entire system can't be the target or it will wreak havoc as described in the one reader's comment. I had all my grounding skills and trusted my therapist to handle whatever response I might have. Later in my healing, when processing yuck memories became "same old, same old", I was able to say that I had a memory brewing that was interfering with my life and wanted EMDR to get the answers and get it over with. A neat thing about EMDR is you can be as comfortable as you want. My typical therapy session is lounging on the sofa with several pillows behind me and a quilt on me. I can hold the buzzers in my hands under or on top of the quilt.

Sometimes I only had a physical sensation like an aching in my gut or a twitch that I knew went with an alter. Whatever was "active" in the therapy session is what I knew was to be the starting place. So I would focus on the aching in my gut and my therapist would start the buzzers which give a short buzz in one hand and then the other, alternately at a regular speed and intensity of my choosing. While the protocol is for the therapist to ask questions of what is happening, someone with dissociation can have messages or images come out of nowhere. I usually just started describing what I was seeing, hearing, feeling, sometimes smelling. Fear almost always was/is the first emotion to rise and my therapist always knows what to say to alleviate fear of current safety and reassure the alter(s) having the memory that it was okay now to yell or scream or talk or move the body to allow my body to do whatever was needed.

My suggestion to my clients and what I did for me was internally to watch on the screen in the projector room (see earlier post). Sometimes there were very quick flashes of some trauma while other times it was if I were watching a scene from a movie. Often I was coached to fastforward through the yuck. The resolution, for me, was when I would get to the needed detail of yuck that the alter was holding so s/he could heal. Or to the message (lie) that the alter was still holding onto as the belief so my therapist could guide me through undoing it. EMDR wears me out. It wore my clients out whether they were dissociative or not. Engaging both sides of the mind apparently is exhausting. I had no ill effects except that I felt like an airhead for several hours after the session and learned not to go shopping when the brain was on EMDR. There was no balance of logic to counter emotional spending. lol.

Emotions come up and can be intense but also process quickly. The effectiveness really lies with the training and experience of the therapist. I had a great role model before I went to my own training. I hope this answered the issues addressed in the comments. Great questions!

Nov 15, 2008

EMDR for healing?

Apparently many survivors are aware of EMDR these days. The initials don't really reflect what it's about but you can read more if you like on the process. The main thing to know is it can be an effective adjunct to talk therapy. The premise is that the technique allows you to engage both sides of your brain to process distress. Typically, people use only one half of their brain at a time to process information (logic vs. emotional). Several techniques can be used with EMDR to facilitate the thinking process which can help get through distressing memories more quickly.

Holding simple buzzing oval shaped objects in your hands is one way and my preferred way. You designate the comfortable speed and intensity. The latter part of my healing was greatly helped by EMDR. As a therapist, the first training I got was in EMDR. I learned quickly that children like the buzzers to be at the highest setting...which just makes a stronger feeling in the hand. It is not electroshock! Think of holding a tiny ball that vibrates very gently up to something that feels like your whole hand is vibrating. It's only vibration.

Another choice is a headset where both ears are engaged in hearing sound. New devices allow for you to be listening to a favorite CD during the process as opposed to tones. The original method is for your eyes to follow the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth in front of the eyes. A light bar is used by some therapists so your eyes just follow the bar instead of a hand.

The preference as to technique will differ by what the therapist offers and what feels most comfortable to you. I personally only offered the hand buzzers because I believe that most with DID would find lights triggering; and my doing the hand movements felt like I was too much in my clients' space. We have those trust issues, you know...

I had several clients who preferred I tap alternately on the backs of their hands rather than use the buzzers. I had children who stuck each buzzer in the side of their shoes :-) EMDR has been approved to treat PTSD in veterans. It is excellent for processing distressing events in a person's past and/or PTSD.

For someone with DID, EMDR can be a little tricky. I have had a client's specific alter engage in EMDR or I ask the host client to have a particular alter join with them to process a specific distressing trigger. EMDR has the potential of causing memories to surface. As long as the client is informed and makes his/her own choices for proceeding, it is safe, when the therapist is well trained to deal with any unexpected trauma that might surface during the process. That never happened for me or for any client where we targeted a specific memory or trigger. In other words, what was targeted was the focus of the work.

However, I did have a client greatly distressed by a recurring dream. She appeared very well adjusted otherwise. After advising her that, even though she stated she had no childhood trauma, if, in fact, there had been trauma unknown to her, it might surface. She was confident and trusted me to guide her through it but vehemently denied that was in her past. Less than 10 minutes into our first session of EMDR, a child self remembered being molested by an uncle. Actually, during my client's entire memory processing, only the one child aspect came forward. She was dissociated for her abuse but not DID. It also doesn't matter. Treatment is the same.

Because of my abuse memories, I feared EMDR. It looked too much like something scary. When I was finally ready to try, I chose the buzzers. The first time I used it, it helped a memory to surface quickly and be processed quickly. I didn't want to process anything brewing without EMDR from that point on. I'm now at a place where I will request EMDR for some sensations or emerging details of memories. Other times I prefer to be talked into a state of relaxation and check inside.

It is not really known why engaging both sides of the brain (called entrainment) helps to process, but it does. Before knowing of EMDR, I sought out ways to induce a state of calm. I was led to drumming. Any drumming would work but I chose African drums, specifically the djembe. That led me to a world of drumming circles and amazing energy as well as drumming at home. I purchased a book relative to healing through drumming. It explained the phenomena of people in drumming circles eventually going into a calmed trance-like state because of the entrainment of the brain surrounding the vibrations and other sounds. It is very much like self-EMDR in that using both hands alternately establishes the mind to be at peace. Aside from helping to process specific thoughts through a specific protocol with a trained therapist in EMDR, entrainment of the mind is beneficial for calming of the senses.

Entrainment can also be accomplished with some calming music. I have a CD for Relaxation and one for Sleep that has music designed to engage both sides of the brain and enhance the brain waves that promote calm. More than anything else, survivors need every possible technique at their disposal to allow the mind to be calm.

Nov 13, 2008

A world of clues

I mentioned "clue talk" in my last post. My experience with my inner wisdom synchronizing with my external world to prepare me for a memory is the awesome part of the healing journey. It's a lesson in how we can do things subconsciously while wide awake and have idea what we are doing. When the moment of realization sets in, it's an incredible scary but good thrill. An OMG OMG moment.

In my life before knowing of the amnesia, I surrounded myself with certain objects and art. Some items went through years of relocating. My writing was also something, in retrospect, that became a profound validation to my memories.

Something I know that has happened for others, especially with the internet, is, that in typing, you begin to use a certain word repeatedly. A few weeks ago I was using "arsenal". An arsenal of coping skills, an arsenal of tools. The memory that came up was when we lived at a military base which was called an arsenal. Just be mindful of when that happens. Another way a clue can eek out is that you consistently mistype a word. You know how to type it but it keeps coming out another way. That is likely another part of you wanting you to know something. The meaning at the time is not important. It's the noticing...awareness...that is key.

I shared in my last post about the secret meaning of bunnies. I have had rabbit or bunnies in some form throughout my pets, statues, stuffed animals. One of my first memories was of a bunny meeting a tragic end, of course because of my the age of 3. I also received my "reminder object" bear when I was 3. hmmm. Oops, this is about helping you!

Some alters seemed to go with certain objects which later had meaning. My little who went with skeletons and bunnies had no sense of self and knew only pain. But recently bunnies re-entered my life, first as an image in one of my videos, then as an icon, then "spontaneously" having to buy a brown bunny. I actually went to my favorite Boyd's BEAR store to look for a bunny the other day. Boyd's does have bunnies but not the bunny I "needed". My favorite book has always been The Velveteen Rabbit, a story about a stuffed animal bunny who becomes real after he is loved by a human. Strong identification with finding all that abandonment and loneliness attached to a bunny. One symbol has had many meanings.

One of the creepiest clues I had was when another little went with hearts. I probably had five heart necklaces and dishes in the shape of hearts. I didn't realize how many hearts I did have around me until I met the little. The magnitude of the collection had been completely out of my awareness. The trauma memory that went with the little was her remembering she had to hold a heart in her hand but dropped it. Horrid things happened to her for not holding onto the heart. This was the beginning of my memories and wasn't believing what I was seeing or hearing from inside although it was well documented in the collages that came to life after her giving me the memory. It was about this stage that I was heavily researching abuse with ceremonies and rituals looking for answers.

Several days after the memory, I was walking from a store to my car thinking about the heart message. That had been so traumatic for me. It had to be some made up story. It was then I began feeling the car keys in the palm of my hand. I looked down and my key chain had a large red jelly-like heart from a pet store. I'd had it for so long it had become invisible to me. When I saw that heart sitting in my palm, I needed an airlift out of the parking lot. Honestly, it was that huge. It also explains my "dropping PTSD". If anything even feels like it is slipping out of my hand, a blood curdling startle scream emanates from me. It's one of my last really bad PTSD triggers. It doesn't matter what the object could have no value whatsoever. The PTSD goes with the feeling that something is coming out of my grasp. That kind of trigger remaining so entrenched goes with something falling out of my hand.

Possibly that's my only validation for the memory, but having the traumatic reaction to seeing that red heart in my hand was validation enough for me that something happened with a heart. It could have been a prop heart for like a movie, but it was real to me at the age of the memory--likely age 5.

I've probably mentioned before, but opening yourself to being given clues from the outside world will help insiders give you information that will help you make sense of an upcoming memory or give you pieces to a memory that would not otherwise surface as easily. I've had clues come at me from billboards (an image or words appearing very large). I used to have someone inside download itunes while *I* was browsing that would show up on my playlist. Clues can come from songs. They can come from anywhere if you let them.

The more ways your alters can communicate with you, the more they are able to ameliorate the process of memory. It can be quick and trauma minimized. Or it can be long and agonizing, especially if you tend to fight knowing or hearing. For me, there has always been a reason to know. I think the only reason I really needed to get to my recent memory is that I was going to watch Dexter and that memory would have been triggered in an awful way.

Sixth sense is very much a part of people with DID. Through sensory deprivation and constantly being in a state of fear, all of our senses were heightened. It can work very much in your favor when it is time to heal. Protectors know what is coming up for you. I don't know how; they just do.

Embrace the knowledge your alters hold and the wisdom inside to present you with information as it is needed. Healing will go faster. You still have to rip the bandaid off, but it's a fast ouch. And that's far better than a long agonizingly slow pull.

Nov 12, 2008

Going into the pain

I have no specific advice or lesson for this entry. Just thought I'd share some of what's going on with me to help survivors see how confusing and emotionally raw things stay stuck long after reaching the point of having your life back. "Life" meaning you can function day to day and maybe have a career or have a job or get to know joy and happy and calm.

After releasing the long ongoing memory relating to Halloween and other things, I did not feel a whoosh of relief or change in clarity as often happens after something that huge is processed. In fact, I have been hovering just above a very sad and dark place. I guess thankfully I can't work now so that I can have therapy more frequently during this crap. So of course, at my session today, I went inside and a deep ache was felt just under the left side of my ribcage kind of down and to the left of the heart.

This aching "feels like death". Very sad tormented fragment. There really wasn't a voice to it. I was getting messages in my head about it. The message of this feeling of death was "I have to be dead to live." Well, there's a classic doublebind perp message. My therapist is very good at speaking to what is going on and unraveling the un-logic of the message. She also led me through what I recently blogged about--the dreaded self-nurturing. As she spoke of releasing the grief and sadness, I let out a sob. Possibly some of you can relate to the experience of hearing others inside--patterns of speech, age clues, body sensations, tone of voice. It's odd and interesting to me. Interesting from being a therapist and trying to process both as a client and as someone who might use the knowledge of the moment to help another.

The sob and subsequent crying sounds were that of a preverbal child...a baby. I had recalled that "feeling so tired I wish I would die" sadness since high school. Apparently it's been there since before I could talk. It was about feeling abandoned and unloved and afraid and wanting to just go away. That's how bad it is for all survivors of DID. It was THAT bad. I have words accompanying one of my collages that say something like "A child sees and recognizes long before she has words to express". I recognize this fragment as part of an adult alter who desperately wanted to die several years ago. Living was just too painful for her. I guess she left behind this fragment. The baby is now rescued and I hope will join with the rest of her who has integrated into my inner wisdom so she doesn't have to be "in" the body.

Following the therapy session, my mind tends to keep processing. And I realized there was another very f**ked up childhood story that went with this part of me. Is Brer Rabbit still a story read to children? My wounded adult alter was first called Tar Baby until I learned her name. One of the children's stories is about Brer Rabbit and Tar Baby. I don't remember the plot. The confusion was wrapped around Brer and my pronouncing it Bare. Bares were bunnies or rabbits and bears were bears. That's what I was taught. So hearing the words, I learned bunnies (bares) and bears were the same thing. Interestingly, on Twitter, I use a bunny icon with a background of teddy bears. I just went through a bunch of teddy bear stuff lately too...after I blogged about "the reminder object", which for me was a teddy bear.

This is how the puzzle of past keeps building on itself. I call it "clue talk". Here goes. The message was that the teddy bear went with boys. Back to the male/female split in my system that overshadowed all other confusions. Yesterday I decided I needed a stuffed animal brown bunny. I found the one I wanted online and put in my request. This morning I got the rest of that message. Bunnies go with girls. Bares are girls and bears are boys. Did that just give you a headache? My very sad death part is a bunny. She was rescued today. I will have a representation of her to hug and nurture next week.

I accomplished much of my "self-nurturing" by having littles who related to certain animals. My stuffed animal collection is rather extensive. But I managed to do a lot of healing hugging stuffed animals since I was not so good with internally nurturing of wounded selves. It works and I often taught self-nurturing to others by suggesting they adopt a doll or stuffie (owned, borrowed, or purchased) and designate it as "little me" to become bonded to their inner child. That's how it would work for a singleton.

Hares, bares, bears. Confusing language. Fractured fairytales. Such was the stuff of my life. It took a lot of planning to do this to me, which is why sophisticated levels of organized pedophilia rarely change the formula. I think there a variety of fractured fairytales to choose from as diversion. Who could make this up? I can't think complicated. But what I unravel is this confusing. It's answers coming one at a time over a long period of time. It's been 11 years for me. But I needed all the pieces to make sense to me up to this point before I could possibly understand the meaning of the hurt little bunny. My dedication to healing and integrating was my promise to one of my first littles who went with sad bunny pictures. Her job was to hold my pain. I vowed to integrate so she could know good feelings too.

Every survivor has their own story and own system and own way of unraveling the mystery that was their life. And we all start with a single thread that is given to us the day we "wake up" from the amnesia. I have no idea if this answer is the last big answer I'll get. It was worth these weeks of depression to find that long hidden feeling of death. I would dearly love not to live the rest of my life fighting that deeply sad message of wanting to die.

Nov 11, 2008

The blessing & creepiness of inner wisdom

I have blogged about struggling with a memory that recently surfaced. When the magnitude of the yuck surfaced at my therapy session, I said "I KNOW this memory came up now because something is going to happen in the near future that this will have needed to happen." Well, it happened.

I'm a diehard (no pun intended) Dexter fan. If you don't know about Dexter, I won't tell you. lol. You can look it up. It's a series on Showtime. I can't deal with CSI or NCIS but I'm riveted to Dexter. He gets the bad guys. Anyway, I was riveted from the very beginning to the last Dexter (which was the first Dexter after processing my memory) and realized all the elements of my memory were in the opening scene except one. And THAT was new keyword for the show. Surely if I had not processed my memory the previous week, all those elements together would have triggered me so badly. After all, the memory was just under the surface waiting to happen.

But because I heeded the necessity to "go in" and get the yuck to process, I was only freaked out that my inner wisdom once again led me down the path of least emotional harm. With my therapist, I was in a controlled environment with the support I needed. If it had come up as being triggered by the television show, I would have been overtaken by screaming littles with an emergency call to the therapist to "talk me down", for lack of a better term.

This has been a repeat theme of my healing and a much honored aspect of my being. I used to have a system. Now I have several beings who are all wiser and stronger than me...and a few littles who are the inner child encompassing those raw emotions. I think even they like Dexter though. One week he got a pedophile. Yayyyyy!!!

Sometimes a little can be the inner wisdom. When the time is right, you will know which part of you connects to the universal consciousness as well as your heart and soul. Your life will never be the same again--in an extraordinarily good way.

Nov 9, 2008

The dreaded self-nurturing

Healing from those devastating messages and inflicted trauma that cause a child to skip developmental stages and cause them to view their bodies as a betrayal to their very existence is an extraordinary ordeal. This is the part of healing that, to me, sucks the most. While, as adults, we do not need to directly go through a safe, caring, loving childhood, the wounded littles do. What we didn't receive from protective primary care givers when we were children, we are able to give to ourselves.

This sounds logical and doable and it is. But for the survivors, it's a huge "That's Not Fair!" We were entitled to protective caring parents but were denied. Now, as adults, we still inherently want to unconditional love due to a child but feels vastly unfair that we have to do it for our own littles. Granted there are usually internal protectors and gentle caretakers whose job is to "reparent" littles. That does not fulfill that need of always wanting to have been loved. It is different for all, but I tended to be a cuddly person always loving holding hands and curling up and being held--oblivious to my doing so to "to do it the right way".

I didn't have too much of a problem allowing this reparenting to happen internally. I was rarely a direct part in it. I was busy holding myself together without worrying about fulfilling nuturing and safety needs for the littles. But I still never had the loving parents I see in movies and in real life. With a supportive significant other, it is possible for the adult self to ask to be held and hugged with safe touching as a little or an adult. SO's who are supportive and take the time to understanding at least on a basic level what is going on with their multiple spouse are open to such requests and often know the littles by voice and behaviors soon after their appearance.

Having an SO or friend dictate several children's stories onto a tape is another good reparenting technique. Depending on sex of main abuser(s), you may have a preference as to male or female voice. And the voice is known to the littles and is a secure feeling.

Taking special time to do something just for the littles can be a fun activity. Your going for icecream, for example, can be a littles outing by allowing some kind of voting process inside for the final order. In fact, a means for internal cooperation is for littles to promise to stay inside during a certain event in exchange for a fun outing later. My littles loved to go to the Disney store.

This doesn't erase the abuse that happened. It allows for the littles to go through a normal developmental process in their own healing. Some littles stay littles, others grow to be another age. So many variables. Also, the internal healing is a much faster rate than externally. A little who has moved into a healing place inside is terrified and not wanting to be around others may show up again in a few weeks curious about playing with other littles. It's amazing to watch them heal.

Does that ache of never having had a loving, protective, mother or father ever go away? I don't know. It hasn't for me. But I'm past wanting to change my birth parental units into the good guys. My wish would be to have been born to a loving family. In my internal world, I am loved and nurtured and accepted no matter what. I wouldn't change that.

The world I want to change and that needs to change is the one that allows so many pedophiles to go on unchallenged in this world.

It's not okay to be a baby

My friend Faith (the Blooming Lotus blog) has been discussing unmet child needs of a child born into abuse. I'm addressing this very intense topic here because all born into the organized world of pedophilia are subjected to a "formula". Getting back to sophisticated pedophile basics: a child is not human; a child has no rights; the only purpose of this birth is to add to perverse pleasures while also providing a source of vast income. Child exploitation is a huge business.

Part of the formula to create a dissociated baby is to use the baby's body as it's own source of trauma and torture. The word neglect cannot be used because neglect is to not do something that is right or to otherwise do something that is hurtful. Harm inflicted on babies born into pedophilia is intentional. It's not neglect. Neglect implies some level of caring at some point.

Babies are hungry. Keeping a baby in various stages of starvation or forced overfeeding creates a fear of food. That becomes a source of extreme fear and resistance when an individual genuinely tries to care for the baby. Random fear makes it worse. The baby doesn't know when it will be fed without trauma or with a trauma element. Ability to speak is not a requirement for a baby to experience sufficient trauma to dissociate. Even though there is no vocabulary for the baby, there is definitely emotional response.

The baby's body produces waste products. The baby learns quickly to fear his or her own body functions because something awful will follow. This trauma induced with one's own elimination processes, and sometimes a perp's elimination processes, creates phobias and shame of untold proportions. I don't know of a single survivor recalling any element of this early abuse (which continues into verbal years for the child) who has done so without enormous shame. Even though the child is the target of the shame, it is recalled as having been the shamed one. It is very difficult to process these memories where just having been a baby was the crime.

A baby's natural response to cry when in distress is used as a weapon. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that no survivor has gone unscathed by harm that has come from trying to call out for help or simply to survive by expressing a need such a hunger, a wet or dirty diaper, the need for nurturing. One of the first planned giant traumas to ensure dissociation is to have a caretaker who is part of the pedophile organization be the nice person. The baby will come to know this person as "the safe one" who does no harm, who offers nurturing, who is the rescuer after being isolated in scary places. The bond is allowed to build until a certain age of infancy when it becomes the big event for the safe person to horribly betray the bonded child. "Trust no one" becomes one of the earliest lessons of life along with "It is not okay to be me." For years the child tries to make sense of the senseless messages and trauma. However, a young child, lacking any other explanation, will shift the blame onto herself. Something must be inherently wrong with the self and that is why there is so much harm and hatred directed toward the body.

Am thinking "hate crime" is too mild. Pedophilia is too mild. What happens to the unseen children of this underworld is an atrocity. It is on the same level as the holocaust. Unfortunately, few holocaust survivors were able to dissociate their memories.

Numerous times I have read how the wealthy of the world financed both sides of World Wars and that can be proven as well for elements of the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. Thinking in those terms, the wealthy elite have financed and continue to finance the evil of this world. Elements of our country financed the holocaust to include providing the chemicals used to exterminate the Jews in the concentration camps. It sickens me that taking of so many lives from birth to be raised for the hidden world of child exploitation comes from my own country.

I have to hope and believe that President-Elect Obama will help to topple the secret elements of government in his efforts to revise government into something that helps its citizens rather than helps the government to keep its secrets and make more money. Hmmm...somehow I started out with helpless babies and end up with government corruption. On that thought, let's hope for a rebirth of a nation into the arms of hope and no longer into the arms of terror.

Nov 3, 2008

The rest of the year

For survivors of intentional DID, as well as others with sophisticated abusers, October 31st having passed announces the beginning of the rest of the year to get through. It is not a time of joy and excitement now or ever. Some have succeeded in creating new memories and traditions. I don't know if the background "noise" of what used to happen is ever completely resolved. It can be reduced significantly.

Just before this past holiday came to be, the Christmas decorations began to appear in stores. It used to be that didn't happen until Thanksgiving. Survivors have to bear an even longer period of coping. That's what October 31st to January 2nd is for survivors...coping...trying to cope. I personally don't have anything specifically that has come up related to Thanksgiving except that it is a time when expected to be with family. And I know now my family was never safe. Maybe I'll be spared a specific Thanksgiving memory.

Christmas is another matter. I'd be happy never to have presents to open or a tree. Even though I made a new tradition and I love the tree we share (my SO and me), it is overwhelming to think of preparing the tree and taking it down later. It's too sad to take down. Christmas Day is sad. The day after Christmas is depressing. I engage in comforting activities to respect the internal grief.

Organized pedophiles ensure "joy" is killed. Presents (things in boxes with ribbons) become reminders of trauma. I've mentioned before how gift bags were the best invention. I can see there's nothing scary inside. That creates crossover for any holiday with presents. Huge triggers for a box with a ribbon. If you are able to shift into the mindset I've described for a pedophile, you can imagine the horror of Valentine's Day. Is it real or Memorex? It doesn't matter. Whatever was in the box appeared real to a little and that terror and horror became ingrained into our being.

Am having to decide what to do this year. Too tired to put up a tree and the special decorations for the tree. Too tired to think about taking them down. If SO wants to do that, I'm happy to have it in my home. He has made the holidays special for me and also understands the underlying battle. Being safe does make a difference. I can enjoy being around his family and watching them enjoy the holidays. Maybe one day I will feel connected to that joy. I have to say last year was exceptionally special when I was given a pink computer and matching pink mouse. Definitely a good surprise. And the added gift of a camcorder was overwhelming. Those gifts allowed me to create the videos and blogs to share with the world. I pray the world is listening to the harm so many children suffer...the children leaving the womb into a world of terror. No one ever sees. No one wants to see. We need to want to see.

Please vote tomorrow.

Nov 2, 2008

Election results may impact survivors

Some survivors are experiencing messages and fears as the election draws near. Most who have survived organized pedophilia are likely to have messages related to doomsday, the coming of the apocalypse, end of times, end of the world. This is actual self-destruct motivated. If you have such thoughts and fears, know that what you are experiencing happens to many survivors. My one client went through at least four dates during our work together when she was convinced the world was going to end. It's not going to happen.

If you have a therapist and experience strong messages and fear, being in touch or reinforcing a safety plan would be good. If you know how to do your own internal work, you might ask those with the messages and fears to move into a special safe place where they know they don't have to act on the messages and don't have to see what's going on outside in the world. If you see a therapist, the containment on your own until you have a session again would be helpful.

Unfortunately, the only thing that convinces alters that the world is not going to end is seeing the day after that the world is still okay. What happens is the fear can become so overwhelming, you may begin to believe you are better off self-destructing than see what happens on the date or event. Don't let this happen to you.

To be safe, make sure, if you can, a trusted person knows of your whereabouts until after the event. Check in with the friend on a regular basis or, if available, leave voicemails or send emails to your therapist periodically stating you are okay. Understand this is something the abusers wanted you to think and act on. You have choices now.

I wish I could say this will never come up again. For some, there are layers of these kinds of messages meant to trigger with certain world events. The messages are lies meant to hurt you. It doesn't help that television and other media might be giving the same kinds of messages. Change the channel or stop watching. Use safe place, slowed breathing, and comfort objects. Possibly draw or collage the messages to get them out safely.

Some religions use this kind of prophecy...end of times. Even if you are part of such a religious group, you can tell yourself that it does not mean you and it does not mean now. Abusers count on these messages to destroy their once victims as adults. It's called "suiciding". Don't let yourself succumb to what they wanted for you. You have a purpose for having survived their horror.

I went through this on 9/11/2001. It can be quite intense and can be accompanied by spinning and headaches. You have some basic tools to stop the spinning. Be safe. Be gentle with yourselves.