Monday, February 27, 2012

"I Thought I Was Better"

That's a quote from second season Tara and the thought running crazily through my head last night.
The difference is I know the Crew didn't just go away and it isn't a switch that set off the panic.
It was just a black out. A brief blank in my day when something I should, and usually, would have remembered is instead a black hole.
I was in a fog of exhaustion Saturday. I've clearly been stressed to the limits. I often have moments when I don't recall a conversation. In almost every such case, I was doing something like writing during the conversation and my attention was divided.  When I'm writing, I can't just snap away from my train of thought and by the time I do, the person has already spoken several sentences. This is common. This, I'm used to happening.
Saturday, one of Rachel's school mates from Coker came to the restaurant. Someone I've met before. We spoke. I identified myself as Feathers Mom. I served her order.
I remember nothing of this.
Usually, there is some spark of recognition. Some sense that yes, this happened but slipped my mind.
Not this time. I got nothing. Zip, zilch, nada.
It's too much like being filled in after a switch.
Charlie said not to worry. His words were enough to stem last night's mounting panic... and it doesn't seem so huge a thing after a night of sleep... but I thought I was past completely blacking out. Why something so harmless as a conversation?
It scares me. I don't have the time or energy to even explore why it scares me so... but it's a deep, almost unconscious fear.
I've grown used to owning each minute of the day. Good or bad, I'm present for each one. I don't have to send in the troops to manage the daily stresses of life or a surprising tide of emotion. Those moments are mine to experience. I fought hard to get here.
I can't let life's circumstances take that away again. But the what ifs have got me...
Dear God, enough already. Please let me rest.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This Looks Like More Than I Can Do

You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own


In 3 weeks time: Charlie was hospitalized with A-fib so bad they wanted to shock his heart to get it back to normal sinus.

The Lexus died, yet again. Despite it not being in his best interest health-wise, Charlie fixed it... costing $200 more than we had to spend.

We broke down and called my septuagenarian parents to ask for a loan to buy a long overdue second car.

Daniel made a mistake, leaving a knife in his pocket at school. He was caught with it and arrested on weapons charge. At 17, he’s considered an adult and this is a charge that will certainly get him expelled and possibly send him to jail. This the same week that his girlfriend confessed she’s being treated for DID and today ended their nearly 3 year relationship.

Charlie has a cardio cath scheduled for Tuesday. The same day we have to be there for Daniel’s expulsion hearing. A day I have to work due to switching days with the other driver. Plans can’t be adjusted. Unless we have the second car by then, we’re toast. I’ve missed 4 days of work this month, kicking us back more than $400 and making getting to the end of the month a real challenge.

Oh, and we need money for the public defender. $40 non-refundable ‘assessment’ charge.

I don’t know who my oldest child is anymore but I know I don’t get to spend time with my granddaughter and what I do see of my daughter… is hard to like.

Becka’s ex got mixed up with human traffickers who are blowing up her phone with demands for money for Noeli’s life and threatening to kill him. Even if she had money, she wouldn’t pay coyotes. Noeli shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place. But she lives every day wondering if the father of her child is ever going to even get the chance to get his butt home to Cancun and survive to know his daughter.

John is in need of some intervention again. Not as drastic as last year but he’s asked for counseling. This is the closest thing to good news I can even see right now.

I find myself fantasizing about swallowing a bottle of klonopin or buying a pack of single edge blades… I haven’t and won’t but the thoughts are fucking exhausting.

My physical health has so deteriorated that I can now do for 1/2 an hour what I could do all day last year... and it takes most of my 3 days off to recover from 4 days of work... meaning sometimes NOTHING gets done... and it's all on me to do.

I took a nap this afternoon and dreamed I not only split again but completely fell apart. Given the sobbing in my dream, it’s a wonder I wasn’t crying physically… and I’m to the point of hoping that little bit of dreamed emotional release will be enough to keep me from snapping.

The people in my everyday life (church folks) are wonderful for prayer purposes but not people who could hear any of this without platitudes. Last time I told my pastor I was fighting off depression, he reminded me that singing praise helps. Yeah, because I don’t already sing my guts out every moment I’m in the car because it’s helping me stay from teetering on the edge… but damn, it’d be nice to be taken seriously for frikkin once. Answers like that make it hard to care that I haven’t been since my job made getting to service a nightmare. They can accept others so ill they can’t function but I guess I’m held to a higher standard.

I’m scared for my family. I’m scared for my mental health. I’m at my limit. I’m done trying to be strong. Stop fucking expecting it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Decompression. Need Some

I love the way things sometimes coincide. Over in The Crew diary, a friend is visiting from Vermont for the first time. There, you'll read his name is Harley. Over the years we've also called him by his middle name of Eli. These days we're back to his first name of Jonas.

Jonas lives nearby and after a heartbreaking separation of a few years, the brother/sister relationship we've enjoyed for over a decade is going strong.

Like me, Jonas is a recent singleton. He lives with Krys and Steve. Krys, as an avid Tara fan and the one who introduced me to the series, recently sat Jonas down for his introduction to Tara.

"That is a hard show to watch!" You'll get no argument from me there.

"Did we really look that crazy?" No matter who he asks, the answer is some variation on "Oh, yeah."

Now we've both seen the series, it seems perfectly natural to talk about our "many" days in a way we really haven't before.

I didn't realize until we talked how much I needed to sound off with someone who understands it from the inside. I can discuss it ad nauseam with family and friends who knew us then but talking with Jonas offers a validation that is needed but can't get from anyone else.

More than validation, there are stories from that time that weren't blogged. Having someone else to remind us helps to solidify memories. Then there are the stories neither of us really remember but we can glimpse through the eyes of family who was there.

Krys' favorite memory of Jonas and me was on the day he first arrived for his visit with us. Based on details from Charlie, Amelia (then 6) had brought Jonas' little Sam (5 1/2) up to the bedroom to play.

It's unclear which of the two started it... but I think Amelia took offense to a comment about her "girly" toys. She responded by telling Sam that boys have cooties. This started an "Uh-uh!" "Yah-huh!" back and forth that gradually grew in volume.

Picture two full grown adults, sitting on a floor, surrounded by toys,  having this exchange. That's what Krys walked into.

I don't know how long it went on or who finally intervened... though I have a vague sense Charlie tried a dad maneuver. To be perfectly honest I don't think even my vague memory is actual memory. It's more likely the pictures pieced together from hearing about it.

The argument did end and Sam and Amelia eventually came to a peace with each other, despite the very, important and serious gender difference.

Its this kind of story that makes me want to really explore what life was like then... beyond the never-ending work of treatment... the day to day living. It's nice to know Jonas wants that too. Our couple of back in the day talks this week have offered not only some wonderful laughter but some needed stress relief.

Jonas suggested we take at least one day a month to just hang out for several hours. No kids or babies... just us and a chance to rehash our multiple days and piece together enough of those times to remember the good and the not so good in balance.

Maybe he can offer some insight on the Tara entries too.

Whatever... I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath Part 2

"Oh please, it's all you."
Charmaine's attitude drives me nuts... but it really is the dismissive attitude of those who can't be bothered to educate themselves about DID.

The husband of a freind used to refuse to acknowledge Reese and Stephanie. They found this hugely offensive and would intentionally bait him to get him to react. It caused stress for his wife which I felt bad about later. She didn't need to get stuck in the middle of that power struggle.

To this man's credit, while he didn't acknowledge the others by name, he didn't do it to be disrespectful. To him, the best way to help was to treat us all with the same love and care he had for me, Marisa. By not differentiating between us, his hope was the acceptance for all of us would eventually translate through the system and encourage oneness. Not a bad thought. Just not one we were the least interested in at the time.

“Maybe the kids are responding to trauma.”
“What trauma?”
“You know, your Schizophrenia situation.”
And again with the ignorance. I love Tara's simple but accurate explanation of the difference between the two.

--

Awkward moments with acquaintances who have seen a switch but don’t really understand what’s going on. The patronizing attitudes of the ignorant. It’s interesting that despite the crap she gives Tara, Charmaine sticks up for her to others.

You get to see here how being emotionally overwhelmed opens the door for another to come forward. I thin I need to do an entry apart from the USoT entries discussing the emotional compartmentalization that occurs here and is displayed by the switching. Tara couldn't deal so the calmer Alice stepped in.

I had a lot of these situations with acquaintances, especially with neighbors. Some were supportive and others were like the bitches from the school. One went so far as to go out of her way to bring up my mental illness every time a conversation didn't go as planned. It's like she needed to feel superior at all times. Stephanie eventually had a conversation with her that effectively ended any future contact with the woman. Thank God and Stephanie.

“You’re so co-dependant!”
“It’s called love, Bro!”
 Okay, I'll admit there's some co-dependence working between Max and Tara. Fact is, MOST marriages have some aspects of co-dependence. The difference between a marriage relationship and unhealthy co-dependent relationships is that one can function and work and the others is destined to explode. I just wish I could articulate exactly where the line exists.

The dainty music with the rock undercurrent while Alice is baking. I love it! The accompaniment music for each alter is so fitting. As is the music at the end of every episode. Diablo Cody and her minions did and amazing job there… from indie to classic rock to everything in between to fit the mood of each individual episode. It would have been kind of nice to have a soundtrack playing to my life. Might have made things a little less confusing for the family. Oh, it's shit fit music. Best keep a distance.

I never really had to deal much with The Crew introducing themselves by name to people outside our closest circle of friends. Part of the function of DID is to keep the chaos hidden and that includes not letting on there are many in one. It defeats the purpose. That habit of Tara’s alters is one of the details that irritated me in the first season.

Alice putting the bitches in their place though. Can't say I disapprove.

“It’s time to start loving Oral.” LOVE, LOVE Max’s face after that line.
Psychological dressing down.
Stephanie did something similar to a school psychologist about 10 years ago. The arrogant woman went out of her way to talk to all the school people involved in the IEP but literally turned her back on me. She discussed all the plans of how to help Daniel while only occasionally tossing a comment over her shoulder about "the mother".
Eventually Stephanie stepped in. She stood up and moved to sit where the psychologist could no longer avoid her. She then proceeded to remind the bitch who the mother was and that whatever her opinion, it would take teamwork between family and school to give Daniel his best shot. She very clearly and very... courteously made it clear who was calling the shots with regard to Daniel. After she'd had her say, the entire air of the meeting changed.

It was awesome.

“Tara’s not equipped to manage to manage this family at the moment. Now, we’ve all come to a consensus, and I think you need me right now.”
I call Bullshit. My guess is Alice took advantage of Tara being overwhelmed and decided to make a coup.

While Alice had no real business taking the matter into her own hands, I have to admit, I don’t blame her one bit for washing out Kate’s mouth. Also, the graceless ingrate comment is probably something Tara would have liked to say herself.

Max comforting Tara instead of Kate. At least Kate had Marshall.
That's a scene played out all too often in our house and I regret it. No, can't change it and one day I'll fully forgive myself... but too many times Charlie put his effort into comforting me when the kids needed him as much or more. It's that damn squeaky wheel... and kind of explains why Kate was so impulsive and destructive in her choices. She had a lot of competition for some attention at home.

“You know, someday, if everything goes the way I’m hoping, I’ll be here all the time. Won’t that be fun?”
Mutiny, mutiny, mutiny. I had some who tried at times... but as their desire to take over had zero to do with what was best for family, we all fought it hard.

Max trying to smooth things over and pick up the pieces. He’s good at it. Must be all the years of practice.

Alice and Radcliffe.
Stephanie had her own history too. Stephanie was born of short stories I wrote in my early teens. It's actually pretty common for alters to have an entire history separate from the host. It's a way of denying they are part of one person... and often the 'history' gives a clue as to their function, abilities and world view. Real or not, knowing an alter's history is a valuable part of getting to know them.

I'll finish this entry with what, again, is an incredibly poignant moment... when Max meets Alice's eyes. Searching.
“What?”
“Nothing, just looking for someone.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Update


Charlie is much better. I'm still a bit worried about what we'll hear from the cardiologist on the 22nd... but for the first time since his diabetes diagnosis 10 years ago, Charlie has gotten his glucose under control. I can't put into words how proud I am of him.

Things are very weird these days. I can remember thinking that at some point on the future, DID would not in any way be a part of my daily life. The way things are right now, it will be part of our lives for a very long time. That didn't come out right... but I'm too mentally and physically exhausted to explain it so it doesn't sound like I'm complaining. It's not a negative thing. I'm simply dealing with it coming from a new direction.

One of the projects is getting the house under control I'm happy to report it is actually progressing. We may not end up on an episode of Hoarders after all!

Building a pen this week so we can have more ducks and chickens. Decided it's worth the money to order ducks I know are female... so maybe next fall/winter we'll have ducklings. Also, wondering if it would be possible to convince the neighbors a pair of miniature sheep are just weird looking poodles...

The kids are all doing well. The grand babies are growing too fast and 3 days off simply doesn't seem enough to catch up on all the family time I want.

I've found that reading through old writing as I post to The Crew diary is mentally draining enough to kill inspiration for current writing. So tonight, I'm scheduling entries for the other diary and tomorrow, I plan to kick butt on some Tara entries.

For now... sleep.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Busy Making Other Plans


You'll have to go here my facebook page to read the latest entry. It's public.

It's not bad news. Blogger is just being a douche.




Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath Pt. 1

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath


“Having Multiple Personalities is like hosting a kegger in your brain only you’re passed out cold while everyone else is just trashing the joint.”
Reese was always too concerned with “being in the way” to leave a mess. Stephanie would scour the house when she was pissed. For me it was less hosting a kegger than an endless sleepover for a bunch of elementary school girls.  We had Stacy and her Barbies (which she learned quickly not to leave out because my daughters would play with them and lose stuff), Amelia and her crayons and paints and any of the other littles with their precious things... Over the years, they each were given a few belongings of their own. From the Braille tablet and stylus for Laura to the mind-numbing amount of stuffed animals the youngest of the young adored. Oh yeah, I could tell who had been out by what had been moved around or left out in the open.

It was never quite as bad as Tara deals with. I think part of the reason for that is my Crew was expected to behave as part of an already large family with 5 young kids. There was an almost built in sense of protecting their belongings from “sisters” or “brothers” that would get their hands on them and leave them in less than good condition. I vaguely remember a couple of tantrums from Amelia and Stacy about “those other kids” borrowing their things without permission.

No, it wasn’t so much a kegger for me as it was the Dugger family, without the sense of order and discipline.

Family Meetings-
Oh sure. We tried. When the kids were younger it was easier. They loved talking about and to anyone in the Crew who happened to be around. They had grown up with it, had their own favorites and knew Mom needed the details afterward. They also got a kick out of sharing stories about the others. We’ve always been a story-telling family and filling me on the actions of the Crew was an opportunity to tell a story.

As they grew older, the meetings became more difficult. Trying to keep everyone’s attention (including the Crew’s) for more than 10 minutes was an exercise in frustration. We also fell into the habit of only really holding family meetings when the kids were in enough trouble they all needed to hear the same thing at the same time. It’s no wonder resentment built towards such gatherings in my house.

I homed in on the detail that T smokes menthol. In the first episode we see Buck smokes reds. It was kind of a head shaker for me because for the first year or so after diagnosis, I caved and let Stephanie and Reese have their own cigarettes. I was buying full flavor, lights and ultra lights. I eventually begged both girls to please just deal with one flavor. I didn’t care if they cut or took off the filters… it just made no sense to keep buying something different for each of us.

“It’s that’s really good we can discuss this as a family. It doesn’t have to be weird.”
“It’s weird.”
Kate pisses me off SO much. If I’m honest about it, I think Kate hits all the guilt buttons. Looking at her I see al the anger and resentment my own kids, especially my oldest, never felt they could express. All those “I’m fucking up my family” feelings rise up and try to choke me when I see Tara and Kate together.

“Look, we knew when you went off the meds the whole gang would resurface.”
“Yeah, Multiple Personality Reunion Tour.”
… “Anyway, I can’t… we can’t begin to understand why you need them unless we let them show themselves”
Meds and DID- It bothers me how often DID is treated with anti-psychotics. The doctor treating me when I was diagnosed had no experience with DID. His immediate answer was Risperdol, a medication then used to treat Schozophrenia. If I hadn’t had such severe side-effects, there’s no telling how long I’d have taken it. The side-effects were a blessing in disguise because I’d already locked the Crew behind a wall for 7 years. It would have been damned cruel to medicate them into silence just as we were coming to know them.

Some medications can help in treating DID. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and even some of the older anti-psychs… but it’s a crapshoot and not an answer. Meds should aid in treatment, not be the treatment. The idea of doping up a patient to make them easier to deal with sets my teeth on edge. But then, before the Wall fell, I’d already had plenty of experience in being medication into oblivion for the sake of making me easier to deal with rather than better… so my perception here may be skewed.

When it comes down to it, DID might exist in tandem with depression and a whole host of other problems but the DID itself is a trauma response and not a biological illness. You can use a medication the way we use Advil, to ease pain… but if you aren’t dealing with the source of the pain, what’s the fucking point? You can’t deal with the source using a drug as the main tool. Not with trauma disorders.

“Last thing you need is to worry about my stupid school stuff.”
It sounds like Marshall is being helpful in trying not to add stress to Mom’s life... Let’s not even go into the issue of kids feeling the need to protect their own parents or be the parents… but when I first saw this episode, my immediate sense was Marshall either didn’t trust his mom to follow through in a helpful way or didn’t trust she could do it without switching.

Tara trying to talk to Kate about sex- Ugh… More guilt. Seeing it from the outside, I realize my efforts to be cool mom probably made me look even more an idiot to my kids. I know much of that is normal parent/teenager stuff but like Tara, I have a hard time truly believing it’s not me failing in some way.

“Evil fucking Bratz Doll.”
I can’t think of a better way to describe an angry, teenage daughter. I’m still worried things are too screwed up for the “adult daughter” with children friendship thing… but there’s hope.

“And tomorrow, I’m gonna talk to Marshy’s teacher and we’re gonna get that straightened out as well.”
Oops. Cat’s out of the bag. Marshall doesn’t want Mom talking to his teacher. What a horrible, horrible feeling… and all too familiar. It’s that stupid guilt thing again.

“It’s like they don’t even want me around when I’m me.”
“Please, it’s all you.”
Forgetting for a moment Charmaine’s comment… It’s been how many integrated years now and I still feel that way. Like I’m not good enough as I am… or I’ve screwed things up so badly there is no healing or forgiveness. There’s also the fear they simply liked the others enough that I’m… I don’t know… boring and 2 dimensional in comparison.

Thing is, it’s STILL not the kid’s job to reassure me there. At some point, I have to get over myself and move on. Most of my kids are adults now. It’s time to let them think and feel what they choose and to let them accept the consequences for their choices without looking at it through my useless guilt filter.


And again, less than halfway through an episode and I’m pretty sure this entry is as long as it needs to be. Perhaps it would ease some worry to accept that, for now, there’s enough to comment on in each episode that it’ll take more than one entry to cover it all. Ease off on the self-imposed pressure and deadlines and give myself a break…

Yeah, I crack myself up.



In That Order








Really Blogger? I type in a perfectly good, snark entry and you EAT it again?
It's time for you to go on a diet.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just Sayin

I will not allow typos in previous entries to stop me continuing to write. Typos can be fixed LATER at my LEISURE. I will not allow the lack of punctuation and capitalization in the Crew entries to stop me posting them. Just do it.

Rinse, lather, repeat.