************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Riding Again

Hopelessness – a pervasive presence
Both fragile and resilient
Inside this box
Relentless Despair
Silent intensity and dissonance

Flat line – a subway locomotive
Gradually moves back
To the sky-scraping heights
And unforgivable depths
Of the roller coaster track

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Black an Blue Soul

Black and Blue Soul
by Shen

I have become a black hole
Everything pours in but there is no way out
The endless energy that is trapped here in my body
Searches for a reason to continue in this state
Compressed into a tiny lightless sphere

Lonely blue spirit
Worries, is there peace in the next dimension?
If I give in to the desperation
Will it ruin what I can become?
Will it leave me with this emptiness forever?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Panick Attacks

I've had panic attacks since I was about nine years old. They left me full of guilt and shame, because I had no idea what was happening. I was sure this not supposed to happen, and somehow I must have brought it on myself.

But a panic attack is simply a physical experience. Your body floods with chemicals that induce a “fight or flight” response that we are genetically programmed to have when we feel threatened in some way. The fact that there is no real threat doesn't change the way we feel. People have all kinds of real, physical symptoms during a panic attack, everything from tunnel vision, nausea and shortness of breath, to palpitations, numbness and chills.

No one can predict who will have one or when it might occur. The Mayo Clinic website lists genetics, stress and changes in the way parts of the brain function because of stress as primary causes. Web MD lists these three causes: Family History, Abnormalities of the brain, and Substance Abuse. Wikipedia says they can be caused by: obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperthyroidism, Wilson’s disease, mitral valve prolapse, inner ear disturbances, vitamin B deficiency, significant personal loss (like the death of a partner), life transitions, caffeine, nicotine, and marijuana, and other things.

There are medications that can help,and I've relied on these when I found no other option.

Dealing with childhood wounds - delving into my past and allowing myself to feel all the feelings I was not able to express a a child - is a more permanent solution. My panic attacks continue to become less frequent and less severe.

If you suffer from panic attacks, there is hope. Above all else, don't blame yourself. It isn't any flaw in you, any fault, any lack. It is a physiological thing that happens without your consent, which you could compare to having food poisoning. You are going to react, and you can't control it. It will have to run its course.

But in order to prevent them in the future, you need to get to the source of the poison and make sure it doesn't get into your body again. Removing decades of stored emotions is a wonderful way to get those toxins out of your life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Off the Shelf

Off the Shelf

When I woke up this morning I wasn't myself.
I found what I used to be up on the shelf.

It was crumpled and brown, a naked persona.
I had stripped it away like a pealed banana.

For a moment I thought I should wear it again;
I thought of my loved ones, my family and friends;

But I turned my back to it, and outside I flew,
Seeing the old world as somebody new.

As strange as this was, it was more odd to see
That nobody noticed. They thought I was me.

Did nobody know her -- That girl on the shelf?
I suppose that they didn't, not even myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

River of Life

You find yourself in a river. You don’t know how you got there. The river is racing rapidly, bubbling around bends, at its own pace. This river will bring you everywhere you need to be, for your entire life.

But you don’t know this.

You swim fiercely, frantically, against the current, towards destinations you think are important. You grab sticks and rocks that pop up along the way and hang on for dear life. You drag your feet and fight currents that swirl all around you... when all you have to do is let go.

Let the river carry you. Float, and enjoy the feeling of the water as it takes you where you need to be.
Life doesn't have to be so hard.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Relishing the Depths

Relishing the depths
by Shen

What must it be like to look only at the surface of things
and not dive head first into every thought.

On the surface is only your own reflection.
In the depths lies all creation in constant cataclysmic detail.

On the surface you can lift your head and take a breath
instead of drowning in the intricacies of eternity.

Sometimes I envy those people who skip over the water
walking like a savior with their heads up, unknowing.

But in the moments when all the universe seems to come together just for me,
I look up from the bottom through the many faceted images
and I despair for those who will never know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dissociation and Fear of Integration

From what I've seen and heard, the word "integration" is often feared by those with dissociative disorders. I understand. The first time I read about the concept of integration, I was terrified. I feared two things:
what I would remember and what I would forget.

But like so many things I've feared in my life, it was unnecessary. I've recently begun integrating those lost pieces of myself and I have NOT lost and part of myself. I have found myself.

I hope you do, too.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Am I Going to Die?

When my son was six years old, I was tucking him into bed one night when he asked, “Mommy, are Grandma and Grandpa gonna’ die some day?”

I told him that, yes, one day they would, but he shouldn’t worry about it. When it was time, they would be ready.

He seemed to accept that, but the following night, he had tears in his eyes. When I asked him why he asked me, “Are you and Daddy going to die some day?”

I again tried to reassure him, but told him the truth. "Yes, one day, but that day is a long way off and you don’t need to worry about it. By that time you will be all grown up and taking care of yourself and you will be able to handle it."

The next night, again, I was sitting on his bed, pushing his hair out of his face. He started to cry.

“Honey, what’s the matter, don’t you feel good?”

After a long pause, he sobbed, “Am I going to die one day?”

My heart ached for him. How I wished I could deny it! I hugged him and told him the truth. "Yes honey, everybody has to die. One day even you will die. But that is only one day in your whole, long life. Are you going to spend all the rest of the days worrying about it?

It isn't the end of everything. Only the end of what you know, now. One day, you'll understand this, and when the time comes, you'll be ready. For now, just work on being the best you you can be."

Sleepily, he nodded his head.

I wonder if he even remembers those conversation. I wonder if somewhere, inside him, there is a sense of peace because his question was answered.... I wonder how different my life might have been if I'd been able to ask questions like this when I was six years old.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pasting on a Smile

Pasting on a Smile
by Shen

She Pastes On the Smile As She Rides
She smiles as she straps herself in
She waves to the people on the side
She sits on the edge of her seat
And the car begins to click up the hill.
It's a high one;
The top is out of view and she has no control, but
She pastes on the smile as she rides

As the train climbs she dares to look back for a moment.
All the other cars are empty;
the seat belts blow in the gathering winds.
She is already so far above the ground.
Something feels wrong;
Like the moment you know a dream is turning dark.
But even now,
She pastes on the smile as she rides

The train gathers speed.
The motion makes it hard to lift her arms.
Gradually she gets her hands to her face.
She feels the smile there but it isn't adhering.
Under her thumb she feels a corner lifting.
It begins to peal off just as she realizes
She is at the top of the hill.
The car comes over the precipice.
It pauses for a moment
The promise of a view of all the world crosses her mind,
but then the descent begins.

Gathering speed, her hands reach forward,
hanging on to the front of the car,
The smile slips out of her hands
It is falling
Has fallen
Will fall
To the ground
She screams
The rush is intense but the tears come too,
Washing over the blankness
Which shows through the missing smile.

Panic! Soon she will be at the bottom.
The train will round a bend
And her car will come into view of all those waiting.
She must fix this blankness!
She can't let them see the truth.
Frantically she begins to build the smile again
Working with both hands with her being with her soul

She remakes the fake, plastic thing
And pastes it over her face just in the last moment
As the train pauses.

She is right where she started again
and, wow, that's good, no one can tell.
No one seems to wonder why
She pastes on the smile as she rides.

Nobody else gets on the train.
She has a moment to wave before the nightmare begins again
She is climbing high into a blackening sky, but still,
She pastes on the smile as she rides.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Realizing I Couldn't Do It Alone

In the past, it often seemed Mother's Day should be called "Grandmother's Day". I have four children, but it was a rare moment when the spotlight shone on me. The why of that is something I've gradually come to understand, but in 2007, I had no idea.

I have three siblings, and one lives quite close, but I always felt holidays were my responsibility. My children gave me cards and wished me a happy day, and I was and am grateful for all of them. Still, I spent Mother's Day and the days leading up to it cleaning, worrying, and waiting for it to be over. I made reservations for brunch, and invited my parents, mother-in-law and my brother's family to my house, afterwards. I had snacks and dessert. I had a nice, mushy card for my mom, as well as a small gift.

My parents like to play cards. It's not my favorite activity, but that's what we did because it's what my parents expect and it was Mom's day, after all. My father was cranky because he prefers to choose which game we play, and my parents rarely agree on one. But Mom picked and we went through the day on a decades-old script that none of us knew how to stray from.

Except, my kids don’t follow a script. Between card games, my fourteen-year-old son announced that he was thinking about getting a summer job. He was looking for input as to what kind of job he could get and how he would get back and forth.

My mother looked to me and asked, "Isn't he too young to get a job?"
I said, "I had a job when I was fourteen."
Dismissively, my mother said, "Oh, you had babysitting jobs."
I started babysitting when I was eleven, but at fourteen I found a "real" job, working at a low-budget department store.

"Oh you did not. I don't think it's even legal for children that young to work."

I said, "Well, I had one. I worked in the summer, and also after school and weekends all through high school."

We went on to play more cards. When they were heading out the door I hugged my mom and told her Happy Mother's Day again. After everyone left, I cleaned up the kitchen, got my youngest to bed, and finally began to relax a little myself.

The next morning, after I took the kids to school, I checked my email. I found one from my mom, and opened it, assuming it would be some kind of thank you. In all honesty, I probably rolled my eyes because I felt resentful that I "had no choice" in what I did for holiday.

But this email had not been sent to thank me. Instead, the short and angry note informed me that I had "ruined" her Mother's Day. It took several back-and-forth emails and phone calls to discover that she was angry because, by saying I had a job at fourteen, I had implied that they were bad parents. That rather insignificant conversation was the only thing Mom remembered from a day spent in her honor.

How strange that of all the things that have happened in my life, this is the event that pushed me to finally look around and see if anyone else had answers I didn't. I'd been running in circles to do everything my parents wanted me to do for more than forty years, and it was simply not working. I constantly felt pressured and unhappy, and I was much too focused on finding the correct answer, the one action or response that would make my parents love me, and consequently, make me feel whole.

It took a couple of days to get the nerve to tell my husband that I was going to seek professional help. I was afraid he'd be angry, or disappointed, or would reject me. This is unjustified because my husband has always been my biggest cheerleader, but I projected my own anxiety and my parents' attitudes onto him.

His response surprised me.
He cried.
I am still not sure, why. At first I thought it was because I was failing. It felt like failure to me. After all, I was supposed to come up with the answers myself, right?

The next day, I started looking for a therapist. I had no idea what to look for. I researched online for hours, but ended up randomly picking one and emailing him to ask for an appointment. The following week, the world began to unfold in new and unexpected ways.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's Wrong with Me?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is the current name for what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder. Under any name, this disorder has been sensationalized in books, movies, and on TV. The idea seems to fascinate some, while others become staunch disbelievers.

Since May 2007, I've been searching for answers. I have "lost time" for as long as I can remember. I would "wake up" in places and have no memory of how I got there, with hours missing from my life.

These gaps in time were a problem. I wasn't supposed to have them. I had to adapt by learning how to cover up my missing time, unexpected absences and sudden appearances. At a moment's notice, I could come up with a story to explain why I had not returned home from school at the expected time, or where I had been when I was sent to the corner store with five dollars to pick up milk and returned hours later without the milk or the money.

It was a mystery to me where those hours went, but it was just part of my life and one more thing that seemed to be wrong with me, to be ashamed of, and to hide from the world.

I hope that my journey will be a guide to others who struggle with mood swings and depression, find it difficult to find closeness in their relationships, are beginning to admit to themselves that they live a multiple life, or are simply suddenly aware of an emptiness within that just can't be right. There are ways to put your life back together. I know, because I have.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.