The Life You Save May Be Your Own

DID, knitting, sci-fi, and strong opinions

ED: Triggers, Anger, Responsibility March 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 3:33 am
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Housemate was on the phone for an hour and a half today, talking on and on in great detail about this cleanse diet she and her friend want to do.  She’s basically cutting out everything but raw vegetables.

My first mental reaction was a strong compulsion to grab her phone and smash it repeatedly with a hammer.  My second thought was to bring it up with Nurse or Team Leader so they could tell her to STFU.

I was just so angry.  And, to be honest, I still am.  But now I’m questioning that reaction.  Why am I so angry?

I mean, obviously I can’t spend my whole life running around like River Song shouting “Spoilers!” every time somebody talks about dieting, since god knows women talking about weight loss/dieting is so ingrained in our culture.  Ultimately, no one can make me struggle or relapse with my ED.  Sure, things other people say or do can trigger certain memories or emotional states.  But what I do with that is my own choice and my own responsibility.  I accept this.

So why am I still SO FUCKING ANGRY that I want to throw things at Housemate every time she mentions it?  Why do I want to get all factual-snarky and tell her that all these fad “cleanse” diets are a load of crap and cutting out a whole bunch of food groups is not healthy and doesn’t produce lasting weight loss?  Why do I want to lash out at her?  Why do I want to tell her to STFU, or get someone else to tell her to STFU?

I really don’t understand it.  It’s obviously bringing up a whole lot of intense feelings, but I don’t understand why.  Usually feelings this intense are, for me, linked to a specific memory or memories, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with this.  I do notice my PTSD symptoms are on higher alert than usual, though I’m not sure whether that’s the result of being angry with Housemate or the cause of it.

I’m really frustrated that I don’t have a therapist I can talk to about this.  There’s definitely something going on that needs to be worked through, but I haven’t been able to figure it out on my own.  I need outside insight.  (LOL THAT SENTENCE)  I mean, there’s Pseudo-Therapist, but she kinda, uhm, lacks insight.  The range of her responses seem to be limited to “That’s helpful for me to know” and “I can’t relate to that.”  Plus, I don’t feel comfortable bringing it up with people on my Windhorse team because everyone’s so meshed together that I feel like it would get back to Housemate, and it would be a whole big thing where she gets upset like what happened when she rearranged all the furniture.

I need someone to help me figure this out and work through it.  I need a therapist yesterday!


Hello, Birmingham March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 5:59 pm
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with thanks to Ani di Franco


Hello, Birmingham.  It’s Northampton.  Heard you had some trouble down there again.  Just calling to let you know I don’t understand.


I grew up in Alabama.  As much as I may make fun of it, I love it.  Being able to run around barefoot for most of the year, bitching with everyone about the clusterfuck that is Highway 280, the Highland Booksmith where I was on a first-name basis with the owner, Vulcan guarding the Magic City, the theme song to Rick and Bubba’s morning radio show, the Cahaba River, Mardi Gras in Mobile, Chilton County peaches so big and ripe the juice runs down to your elbows when you eat them.  I’ve lived in Massachusetts for nearly 4 years now, but I still usually think of Alabama as “home.”


But now I’m ashamed of you, ashamed to call this state home.


It’s HB-56.  This bill makes me sick, it makes me disgusted, it makes me angry–but most of all, it makes me sad.  You should know better, Alabama,


You shouldn’t be bragging about how it’s the strictest immigration bill in the country, stricter than Arizona’s SB-1070.  This isn’t something you should be proud of, Alabama.  It’s racism, pure and simple.  I bet there are no white people are being forced to prove their immigration/citizenship status because police have “reasonable suspicion” that they’re in the country illegally.  Canada has close to three times the population of Mexico, but I don’t hear any politicians flapping their jaws about illegal immigration from Canada.  You’re attacking immigrants who aren’t white, and you should know better.


Have you forgotten the Civil Rights Movement?  Have you forgotten the four little girls who were killed in a KKK bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church?  They had names: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair.  Have you forgotten the Selma march?  The Montgomery bus boycott?  Bull Connor and his henchmen turning fire hoses and police dogs on protesters?  Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”?  Have you forgotten all of this?  Did you learn nothing, Alabama?  You’ve just gone from persecuting black people to persecuting brown people, and you should know better.


I’m 25, so I wasn’t around during the Civil Rights Movement.  But I do remember learning about it in school.  I remember pictures in history textbooks of people being attacked by German shepherds, encouraged by their police handlers.  I’ve seen Rosa Parks’ bus.  My high school was three blocks from the Birmingham jail where Martin Luther King wrote his famous letter.  I skipped class to go to a protest when the KKK marched through downtown Birmingham like they had every right to be racist.


Learn from your mistakes, Alabama.  What you’re doing isn’t okay.


Outside my city is bracing for the next killing thing, standing by the bridge and praying for the next Dr. Martin Luther King.


Maybe Yarn Is Better Than Therapy March 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 11:17 pm
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Well, nuts.


New Therapist is not coming back to work in the foreseeable future.  She had another hospitalization and is going to Columbia’s oncology center.  So now I have to recommence The Grueling Therapist Search.  I’m SO FRUSTRATED.  It shouldn’t be this hard to find help.  And now that the depression is gone, I’m noticing the PTSD symptoms more.  Today while I was out walking, I literally ducked and covered when I heard what I thought was a gunshot.  Turns out it was just roofers across the street with a nail gun or something, and luckily I don’t think they noticed me cowering behind a telephone pole.


In good news, though, I went to Webs today.  It is very dangerous to my bank account to live 5 minutes from the biggest yarn store on the continent.  I went in just to get Addi Lace needles for the shawl I’m working on.  I came out with the needles…and 10 skeins of Royal Llama Linen in the color all the way on the right (though it’s more teal than that photo looks) for a summer top, and 2 skeins of Alpaca Sox in Bordeaux for a shawl.  I’m on a shawl kick the last two weeks or so.  I’d been knitting tons of socks for the last year and a half, and now suddenly I want to do shawls.  I am odd, but I don’t think that’s news to anyone who’s talked to me for more than about 10 seconds.


Playing Tag (and other things)

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 2:21 am
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I got tagged by Angel over at The Mirth of Despair.  I’m too lazy to repost the rules or tag anyone.  I am le tired.  But here are her questions.


1) What is your favorite mini-series?

Battlestar Galactica!  And any of the BBC historical miniseries.


2) What song is currently stuck in your head?

This probably doesn’t count as a song, per se, but I’ve got the drum beat from the first kung fu form in my head.  It’s kind of cool; I’d never seen a martial arts style where you do the katas to a drum beat.  (Half-note, dotted quarter-note, three eighth-notes, three quarter-notes; hell if I know what time signature that’s in.)


3) If you’re a girl, who would you pick as your girl-crush? Or if you’re a guy, who would you pick as your guy-crush? You have to choose at least one. Although I guess this question has a heteronormative bias. Whoops. Well, if you identify as homosexual, choose someone of the opposite sex as your answer.

I’m asexual.  Forget smashing heteronormativity; I’m smashing sex-normativity.


4) If you got to choose any occupation you wanted and money wasn’t an issue, what would you choose and why?

I want to practice Constitutional and civil rights law, especially pertaining to violations of right that are rampant in mental health treatment.  I like to argue with people, I was that nerd in high school who carried around a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution and read case briefs for fun, and I have way too much firsthand experience with the violations of rights, civil liberties, and basic human treatment that all too often go hand-in-hand with psychiatric treatment.


5) When you’re using numbers to make a list, do you put periods, parentheses, or something else (if so, what), after the numbers? Why do you think you have this preference?

Periods.  I think I must have been taught to do it that way.


6) What sorts of books do you like to read, and why?

I will read pretty much any genre as long as it has compelling, dynamic, three-dimensional characters who I can either identify with or find interesting.  I’ve also been reading a lot of contemporary poetry, particularly by female writers.


7) You’re driving for at least four hours by yourself. You don’t have a CD player, and you can’t hook up your mp3 player or smartphone to your stereo. How do you occupy yourself?

I actually don’t get bored driving.  Especially in Massachusetts, because people drive like they’re homicidal.  There’s a reason they’re called Massholes.


8) Do you believe in anything supernatural? If so, what?

I believe in the possibility.  I used to believe strongly in god.  No dramatic falling out happened; I just became less sure.  I also really hope we find intelligent extraterrestrial life.  I’ve even got SETI@home on my computer, always running in the background.


9) Why do you visit my blog? (How’s that for a nosy self-promoting question? No, you don’t need to answer this second question. It’s rhetorical.)

It’s well-written and a subject I can relate to.


10) If you have a smartphone, which 5 apps do you use the most? If you don’t have a smartphone, why not?

I don’t even have a dumb cell phone–mine broke, and I haven’t been able to afford to fix it.  But I should be getting a back payment from Social Security next week, and I’m strongly considering blowing the money on an iPhone.


11) What is the most important principle for you to live your life by, and why?

Never to hurt anyone intentionally.  I was forced to be complicit in my father’s abuse of my sisters, and I have never forgiven myself for it.  This rule actually gets in my way sometimes, though.  Not wanting to hurt anyone else ever means I sometimes let people walk all over me because I’m afraid saying no might hurt them.  Let’s not even get into the massive piles of guilt I’ve accumulated.




I’ve been making an effort to take care of myself.


This afternoon I went to CVS to pick up a refill, and on the way home, I stopped on a whim at the yarn store and bought a gorgeous skein of laceweight merino in pretty fall colors.  Tonight at kung fu, my back was hurting while doing some jump kicks, so I took a break and stretched.


They sound like such little things, but they’re hard for me.


When I studied Yoshukai, our kiyai was “osu.”  I was told that it translates to “Push on and never give up,” though I have my doubts about that translation since it’s such a short word.  But that’s always been my approach to life.  Just keep going.  Another thing one of my sensei said: “If it hurts, just kiyai louder!  Osu!”  He was joking, but that’s the way I’ve always been.  I wasn’t allowed to have wants, let alone needs.  It doesn’t matter how much it hurts, you just keep going and don’t show anyone you’re in pain.


It’s wicked hard to unlearn this.  So even the little things count.


Master of Self-Destruction March 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 7:03 pm

*big sigh*

I’ve been trying to cut out calories to go with my new ability to exercise for the first time in forever and a week.  I want to lose weight.  I am, according to BMI standards, significantly overweight, just short of obese.


I have a history of both anorexia and bulimia, with multiple hospitalizations.

I generally eat a healthy diet, but I’ve developed this tendency to eat compulsively all day long.  Most of what I’m eating isn’t unhealthy, but I’m taking in way too many calories.

So I cut back, drastically, over the past week or two.  I’ve been obsessing about calories, and bad foods, temptation to purge when I eat “too much,” etc.  Plus, my nurse wants me to try cutting out dairy to deal with a bad eczema flare-up, so that seems like even more of an excuse to cut out foods.

My tendency is to say I’m just dieting because in the past when I’ve been in a restrictive mode, it’s been extreme, mostly fasting or under 500 calories per day.  What I’ve been doing is not that bad, but I think I’ve been coming in under 1000 calories per day.  Some part of me says that’s not enough food…but another part says it can’t be too little because I’m not losing weight.

I don’t know why I’m even doing this.  Things have been going great!  Am I so afraid of happiness that I have to destroy myself?  Or am I really just trying to get healthy?  I need to get my head sorted out, but I don’t have anywhere else to turn right now.


Blame-Apologies March 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 1:53 am
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“I’m sorry if I offended you.”


Seems like an innocuous statement, right?  Perhaps even kind, understanding.  But it’s one sentence that automatically makes me want to punch something.


When you look closer, you realize it’s not an apology at all.  There are two letters that ruin the entire sentence and its sentiment: if.  “I’m sorry if I offended you” is not an apology; it’s a blame statement.  It makes the person saying it seem like a decent human being while subtly implying that the listener was offended by something that shouldn’t be offensive to them.  It’s a complete invalidation of the listener’s experience, and it’s a tidy way for the speaker to avoid taking responsibility for being offensive.


When I hear this sentence, it makes me feel absolutely certain that the speaker is not sorry at all.  If you’re actually sorry, apologize without conditions: “I’m sorry I offended you.”  If you’re not sorry, don’t apologize.


I think it’s a hot-button issue for me because my mother was (and probably still is) the master of gaslighting backward blame-apologies.  She always had some perfect reason to justify her behavior as fair/reasonable/in my best interest/otherwise acceptable, and she was extremely adept at making me feel crazy for being upset.  She loved to tell me I was only upset because I had “distorted perceptions of reality,” an excuse she really latched onto after I was [mis]diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  My mother justified and fake-apologized for everything from secretly reading my journals for most of my life to leaving me with my abusive father to kicking me out of the house to live in my car in a Wal-Mart parking lot.


But today’s rant grows out of an incident yesterday in which a woman on a pro-treatment mental health forum posted bout how DID is not real, just iatrogenically created by therapists.  This particular woman is rabidly anti-psych and has previously posted such things as “No one on psych meds should be allowed to live.”  If I were a mod there, I’d take great pleasure in slamming her with the banhammer, but since I don’t have that power, I argued with her.  (Well, mostly it was Kate arguing with her.)


This woman decided DID was always iatrogenic because she read a book claiming that Sybil and her therapist were frauds.  She has no experience of living with or being diagnosed with DID, nor does she know anyone with DID.  In fact, when I questioned what right she had to question the veracity of something she has no experience with, she told me I didn’t have the ability or insight to judge my own experience because I bought into the myth of DID.


There were enough holes in her logic to drive a galaxy-class starship through.


First of all, just because you read a book about something, that doesn’t mean it’s true.  Even if it calls itself nonfiction.  I read a book claiming that the moon landing was fake, but I didn’t blindly accept that as truth because some conspiracy theorist with a typewriter said so.  I applied this amazing new invention called Critical Thinking ™, and it told me that the book probably wasn’t accurate because there was much more credible evidence to support the hypothesis that we had landed men on the moon.


And given the choice, I’d prefer the moon landing conspiracy theorists to the DID conspiracy theorists: at least moon landing conspiracy theorists aren’t telling thousands of people that their experiences aren’t real.  (Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins might disagree with me on this, though.)


Then you get into the argument about who is qualified to judge the existence of DID.  True, it is a subjective experience.  There’s no definitive diagnostic test to prove someone has it, but neither are there definitive tests for depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and ADHD.  No one seems to be arguing that those problems don’t exist.  However, there is a body of medical evidence that strongly suggests DID does exist.  There are documented cases where vital signs have changed based on which alter is fronting in a single body.  There have been studies with fMRI and PET scans that show differences in brain activity depending on which alter is out.  A therapist can’t teach the patient to fake that.


Yes, we could have theoretical discussions questioning whether my concept of “two or more distinct identities” matches your concept of it, but those arguments get nowhere.  If we can’t create a consensual reality, all meaning and communication utterly break down, and the discussion becomes meaningless.  How can we even prove that my perception of “green” is the same as yours?


When I made these points to this woman, she tried to say that she wasn’t trying to invalidate anyone, she just wanted to have a theoretical discussion about whether therapists create/increase disorder rather than decreasing it.  Sounds reasonable…except that she chose to start this discussion by claiming she KNEW that the experience of thousands of people was made up.  If you want to have a conceptual discussion, there are ways of framing it that don’t invalidate people.  She chose not to do that.


Finally, I gave up on trying to argue logic with her and told her that a pro-treatment forum was not the proper venue for that discussion, at least not in the terms she framed it.  I told her, “No matter what logical mobius loops you manage to twist your argument into, it’s still an entirely inappropriate place for it.  This forum is pro-treatment, whether that treatment involves meds, therapy, or both.  I agree with some of your ideas, and I support informed critical psych.  But it’s not okay to run around here telling people they made up their diagnosis.  When you say someone’s diagnosis isn’t real, you are implying that they don’t need or deserve treatment because their pain and struggles aren’t real.  This is categoricall unacceptable.”


Then she posted her huffy, “Well, I’m sorry if offended you” thing.  When I called her on that being a cop-out, she said she “wasn’t sure [I] was offended.”  Really?  In what quadrant of the galaxy is invalidating someone’s experiences and their concept of self/selves NOT offensive?


I’m not Peter Pan March 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 2:05 am
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When am I gonna realize that I’m not a gymnast anymore and I’m not 15 anymore?  I grew up.  (Okay, if you wanna get technical about it, I know of at least one alter who’s 15, but I’m talking about chronological body age here.)  I haven’t been either of those things for 10 years, but I keep using my body like I’m still a 15-year-old gymnast.

As a result, I’m sitting here with an ice pack on my shoulder.  At kung fu tonight, we were doing this combo where you do a tiger roll (basically a log roll), come up into a deep lunge, and jump up and land on the pad on one knee and elbow.  The third time I did it, I guess I landed funny on my elbow and jammed my shoulder into the socket.  I’m not sure exactly what I did, but I rolled off the pad and lay on my back trying not to cry or pass out or both.  After 10 or 15 minutes, I was able to get back up and do stuff that didn’t involve moving the right shoulder.

When I got home, I called my nurse.  She wanted me to go to the ER, but that’s something I try to avoid as long as I’m not dying.  So I took an NSAID, and I’m icing it.  Pretty sure she’ll want me to see my doctor or go to urgent care if it’s still hurting tomorrow.

On the good news front, though, I heard back from New Therapist, and she’s coming back to work.  We’re playing phone tag about scheduling an appointment, but I’m happy she’s back.  Saves me from continuing the infuriating therapist search

Also, my kung fu instructor is a nerd!  I made a Battlestar Galactica reference, and he got it.  Awesome!  And I had a nice conversation after class with one of the guys–he’s also new to the area, and we were comparing notes on Northampton.  That was nice–I can be social with normal people.  And the depression is still miraculously gone.  Emotionally, I’m still feeling fucking awesome.


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