I like Fridays.....Thursday was a good day, and no, I didn't lose it.....I just was busy the entire day so didn't have any energy left to write. 

I did have my T appointment, which was very productive and brought forward a lot of new thoughts. I really just needed to sit down last night and think these over. Really great thoughts, and ones that leave you thinking about them for a long time afterwards. Honestly, I didn't think I'd connect with this therapist, but she has the training and background that suits my requirements, and was highly recommended. It just took some time for my protective insiders to "check her out" and let me actually attend the sessions. She (the therapist) was rather nonplussed about the whole process, and just gave a "been here, done this" look the whole time. Me? I was more than little peeved to be paying for sessions I was not attending. But, it worked out as usual. 

The therapist pointed out a few things that I had neglected to realize (and why seeing a therapist regularly is a really great idea). For instance: I had put cold chicken into a skillet with hot oil. I was slightly aware that when it splashed, I ended up with a burn on the edge of my lip. Ouch....but not bad, so I went on preparing dinner. It wasn't until the next day, that I looked in the mirror and saw that as I was wearing a tank top, my entire chest had been badly burned. No clue.....didn't even connect that I was injured, until I "saw" all the blisters. I wasn't just burnt, I had burned badly. Oooops........my therapist cringes just at the appearance of them now....shoot, they're healing. And why the cringe? It didn't hurt. 

Then I wonder why I'm having multiple  flashbacks....one right after another, the what I call: "rolling kind".....okay, so my regular dose of Klonopin will take care of these, but I'm so tired afterwards from the medication. Hmmmmm, my therapist is still looking at me. Nothing to say? Okay, I'll continue.......

I mention that it's strange: I can look in the mirror and put makeup on, do my hair, what have you....but I don't recognize who is in the mirror, and have simply learned to stop caring about it. Every day, for my entire life, I don't recognize who is in the mirror. I hate having pictures taken, as people will say: "That's a great picture of you!!" and for all intents and purposes, it might as well be a picture off of a magazine. I don't "know" or recognize that person. I hate picture taking.....it feels as blank as looking in a mirror. Hmmmmm, my therapist is still looking at me, but I see the spark of thoughts starting to brew. She'll say something when she's ready. 

I tell her about the whole water/mess scenario in our apartment, and how once I speak Spanish, I can't switch back to English...which makes me wonder how many times I switch and don't realize it? As obviously at some point in time I finally got out of the insider land of Spanish, and returned to English. But still, without even realizing it, I'm talking to the boys in Spanish at the local McD's.....they adjust, or will simply ask: "What are you saying?" Okay, so they will end up tri-lingual as the same thing happens when I switch to signing. 

I also mentioned that at one of the forums I participate in, many of my DID peers refer to their "littles" or young insiders coming out at WalMart, or in public.Frankly, (I told the therapist), she would have to meet with me for at least a year before I'd let them out. I don't know her well enough, even husband had to wait years before he even saw glimpses of the young ones. That's why they are locked away.....the world is not safe, so they are exactly where they need to be. It takes a long term therapist for me to be comfortable with letting them out, and with so many protective "bigs" in my system, I'm not the only one holding them back. They have thoughts, they talk, but no: you're not getting near them. 

Geesh, I've been tired this week......and that's when the therapist finally responds. She actually makes me laugh, she sits there all tidy with perfect posture, just listening. Then she'll adjust her seat, usually move her jacket a little, and will reply. Okay, kind of have her figured out now. 

She asked me about the cutting?  Do I "feel" the body then? Well, yes, but only once it starts to bleed, and then the rush of finally feeling something. Husband is disgusted by it, just as he reacted to the burn and she did too....but I don't feel anything so it's "no big deal" to me. I wonder why there's such a strong difference in opinions? She asked if I can taste food? Nope.....food reminds me of mom, and if I allow the thoughts to go there, then I get sick. So, food is on the "have to" list, and I just try to get it done, at least once daily, something has to go into my stomach. Better make it healthy, because this is not an enjoyable experience. She asked what can I "feel"? 

Well, I've been practicing, and I can now feel the warmth of the sun on my legs, or arms, and it's wonderful. I can feel the warmth of a bath, and the sensation of floating, which is very relaxing. BUT, that's required a lot of time and patience to achieve. My body is simply a shell that holds all of us....but we're in the head. 

That's when she reminds me that to separate from the body was a very effective survival action, one that kept the overwhelming physical abuse at a level of tolerance. Almost defiant in a way: "You can do what you want, but I don't feel it." The same thing with not recognizing myself in the mirror, (she mentions on the side that it's very common with DID).....I have found a way to completely detach from the physical person, and live within the safety of the mind. True......I knew this, but didn't really "see" how much it pervaded my own life. 

But, she reminds me that I "am no longer in danger.....so why the continuation of this protective measure?" No kidding.....and a very good point. Integration is not always about the insiders connecting and merging, but can also be about the body finally becoming connected to the mind. 

It's then I realize that one of the flashbacks that kept hitting me was when I was about 5 and I ended up being burnt on the chest with scalding water. Mom was absent, and I made a large can of spinach for dinner. It was all I could find, and would feed the boys and I. But, I lifted the pan off the stove and tried to step down from the stool I had made with an old milk crate, and all the water of course rolled right out and onto me. I knew enough to get my shirt off, but the rest is a blur. I had already figured out how to separate the mind from the body. 

My therapist reminded me that flashbacks will continue, until you can accept them completely, and that means all the bodily memories as well. To be numb in one area blocks acceptance, and until one can process the entire flashback, it will continue to come. It's an infection, an old wound that is begging to be treated. I've already realized that to not address these old wounds leads to a gangrene of the soul, and a very dangerous place to be. 

And then the "ah ha" moment hits.....why I've been so tired. That's a lot of switching and fighting flashbacks for one week. Several other events had happened over the week as well, dealing with my family of birth (yeah, they climbed out of the woodwork), and now that my book has been released, I receive letters from people with many questions, some of them triggering. She reminded me of boundaries, and why I'm not in Social Work anymore. Yeup, got that answer down, but it doesn't change the fact that I wish I could save the world.....

or save my "little" brothers. Well, can't go back and undo that part of history. But, I can work on today. For almost 30 years I tolerated and survived, and when the therapist and I discussed this it became apparent to me that it will take a long time to undo a practiced way of existing. I'm strong, that I know, and I can do it. But, it's going to take lots of little steps, still, as it took many, many events to create the person I am today. 

So, those are my thoughts for the day. See? I told you that yesterday's session was the type that keeps you thinking and making connections long after the session is officially completed. 

The boys are doing great......Aramis just gets "bad feelings" now in the evening. They almost seem residual in nature, like the old delusions are still in his memory bank, so as night falls he begins to recall them. Last night is was again: "how long are you going to live?", and "will something bad happen?". Well, deary, I'm 40 and still have a long way to go. Oooops, he thought I was 20, so for a few minutes that answer definitely didn't work, as I aged quite a bit in his mind. (Actually the look on both the boys faces was one to cherish.....they honestly thought I was 20.......some people need to review math for certain!) I had to remind him that 40 is NOT nearly dead. There is still plenty of time. Next question? "Will I be picked on when I'm grown up?" Hmmmm, where'd that one come from? I don't think so buddy, you've got your family around you, and you're a wonderfully generous person. (On top of that you're built like a tank......if you continue to take after Dad , I don't think anyone is going to "pick on you"...but for now, let's not add any more ideas to the already worried state.) 

Dante found four new pimples yesterday.....yeup, you're becoming a teenager. He was mortified, but frankly, they're small and nothing like he may see in the future. Right now? I'd like to quickly pass through the phase of forgetfulness. It seems like every teenager I've worked with has entered the same phase. One day, they know that the lid goes on the milk carton, and it is promptly returned to the refrigerator. The next? Goodness knows how long the milk will sit there....and with a reminder, the milk will be in the fridge, but the cap is still on the counter. I know it will pass......and I'll keep gently reminding. There's no reason to criticize.....after all, he's just now entering the teens. He will eventually get his head back in place, but until then: a lot is happening to that body of his. 

He actually asked me last night: "What if the girl I want to marry doesn't want to do any housework at all or work outside at a job? If I like her, I should just say okay and do both jobs huh?" Uh, no honey.....run, and run fast. No one is cute enough to get by with that much laziness. 

One thing is for certain: my home is filled with interesting questions from all corners. Some actually make me laugh in private.......no darling, don't marry anyone who expects you to do all the work. But remember, he also says that: girls are gross, and he's not getting married. What can I say? It's the pre-teens. 

Have a wonderful Friday everyone.....we're hitting 92 degrees today!!!!

"Yeeehaaaaw" from Texas......


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 


    June 2012
    May 2012
    April 2012