May 13, 2012
Mother’s Day 2012.
It’s Mother’s Day.
A difficult topic.
A difficult day.
Often a day of loss and grieving.
A day that many dissociative survivors don’t want to think about.
If only…. If only, if only…..
I’ve been thinking about these things all week, knowing I would / should write something about mothers. Hmmmmm…. I wasn’t sure which angle to talk about….
Then I thought about something that has been happening around here each day.
I’ve been watching some birds again. For several weeks now, I’ve been able to see a very dedicated momma lark and a equally dedicated daddy lark tenderly care for their little three baby birds. This little bird family has sparked great interest, curiosity, and hours of entertainment.
This little fearthery family tucked their home deep within some very leafy trees across the street from me. I just had to go over there to see if I could find it! Their nest, not at all visible unless you meander directly under their tree with the grouping of many of trees, was cleverly built where it stayed the most protected from the cold blowing winds, where it would stay dry during the drenching rain storms, and where it would stay shaded from the heat of the day. I was impressed! The little babies, while having to brave the uncomfortable changes in weather, were clearly as protected as little birdie babies could be. Well done, momma bird!
To my delight, I have been able to see and admire their very busy lives. All day long, the parent birds have been flying all over the neighborhood, searching for food to bring back to their babies. All day long, the baby birds have been running around in the grass, chasing their parents around, looking for tasty treats to eat. And when I say all day long, I literally mean, all day long. From sun up to sun down, someone in this little lark family was searching for food for the babies.
And noisy! These young babies are loud little sqawkers! I was just sure all that racket was coming from a big ol’ crow, or some other big bird, but when I paid closer attention, to my complete surprise, that noise was coming from those little baby birds. My goodness! Noisy little flappers! They are the loudest larks I’ve ever heard!
For the longest time, the baby birds just ran around like little speedy zingers in the grass – ding ding ding ding zing zing zing – running really fast, but just running. Last week, I saw them actually fly up towards their favorite trees. That was exciting. The babies could fly!
I could still see the momma and the daddy bird fly back and forth, searching for food for their babies, delivering it back to them. Once I realized the lark parents were feeding a family, I started leaving more food out for them. I love my maggies, of course, but now I tried, in particular, to be sure the Larks had food to take to their babies any time they happened to show up on my front door.
These birds were smart. If I tossed out a piece of cheese to the momma, she would immediately pick it up, grab it in her beak however she could, fly across the street to the babies, and disperse it to her little ones from there. Then she would fly right back to my side of the street – to the exact same spot where she got her cheese – and wait there for me to toss another one down. And the routine continued. It seems like hundreds of hunks of cheese have been flown over my street. Along with bits of bread, little tiny pieces of meat, and whatever seeds she selected from the bird seed pile. Clever momma!
Feeding these babies has been a lot of work! Their momma has been so dedicated to them. She hasn’t rested one little bit.
Then another milestone happened. This past week, the little baby birds were actually allowed to fly across the street too! Momma and Daddy Lark have been trying to show the babies where to find their own food, Instead of feeding them beak to beak, they have been encouraging the babies to pick the food up from the ground themselves.
You would think this would be an obvious thing for the babies to figure out. But no. Not at all. Those three silly baby birds still run around behind their momma just squawking and screeching, wanting their momma to beak-feed them. Bless her heart. She’s showing them how to pick up their food. She knows they need to learn these skills for their survival. They can’t live on home-delivery forever!
On top of that, Momma Lark had to show her babies how to find their food, how to keep their food, and how to eat it safely away from the other birds that would fight them for that same exact bite of food.
I have to admit, my maggies have not been very nice to these little baby larks! My maggies are just sure they are the most important birds around here, and they are the only ones deserving of food from this house. They have not been very keen on sharing, that’s for sure! I have to make sure the maggies have plenty of food too (and they do, believe me!). The timing of feeding the little lark babies is becoming a fine art.
And those huge crows! They are the worst. They’ll steal food from anyone, even chasing and terrorizing the small birds in the air, following them around and around through the trees until they steal the food right from their beaks, or until the smaller birds drop the food for the crows to pick up. Those mean crows. I don’t like them very much.
Momma Lark has a lot to teach her little ones. It’s been tense, and scary on several occasions. Those little babies were clearly going to have to learn how to fight for their own survival. After several days of these “how to safely pick up your own food with your own beak” lessons, I think maybe, just maybe, a few of them are starting to catch on. Slowly.
Momma Lark must be exhausted by now!
Her work isn’t yet done with these young larks, but she’s well on her way. It’s been truly impressive to see.
The phrase “ A mother’s work is never done” came to mind.
And again, I had to think of my own mother. And the many years of “momma work” she has whole-heartedly given to me, including this year as well. I’ll save the details of that story for another time, but I do have to mention her with my deepest respect. The same goes for my momma-in-law. She’s been an absolute gem to me (and my family) for years and years. These two women have dedicatedly worked from their hearts for their families as hard as any Momma Lark ever has. They are incredible women. Beautiful souls. Tough as nails, but gentle as feathers. I can and do learn a lot from them.
I wish all mothers were as dedicated and hard-working as the Momma Lark I have been watching. The world would truly be a better place if we all had that kind of nurturing and protection throughout our lives.
Ever heard the phrase “as happy as a lark”? Maybe this is why.
To the Momma Larks of the world – I thank you.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
January 6, 2012
Life is full of changes. At least that’s how I have found it to be.
Has your life stayed the same through the years?
Mine hasn’t. Not at all.
And 2011, in particular, was a year full of changes. Lots of changes. Lots of big changes. I don’t know what to expect from 2012 yet, but I do hope this will be a good year. For me, and for you as well.
It’s January 2012. And it’s been nearly a year since I’ve made a post in this blog. Gosh, how time flies! And to my delight and surprise, there have continued to be many site viewers, and thank you for that. Seriously, thank you for that. That’s exciting, and it warms my heart to see that. I do appreciate knowing that this blog has continued to be helpful and useful to people even in my absence. That was a big part of the point of writing these blog articles in the first place – so solid information about dissociative disorders could be available for free, 24/7, no matter what else was going on in life.
Many of you have contacted me throughout the year, asking about more posts. And thank you for that as well. I have been considering that, and it’s a possibility that I’ll start writing again. I liked the blogging community – most of the blogging world has been very kind to me. I really appreciate that. It’s a nice contrast from all the dark coldness that thrives out there in the world.
I know that many of you have always wondered where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, why I stopped writing, etc. IF I ever decide to disclose those details, I will, but until then, I would very much appreciate it if you all could respect my need for privacy with certain things about my life. I understand that many of you have felt a loss, and for that I apologize.
Sometimes life changes in ways that we can’t completely control.
Sometimes life changes require some very difficult decisions.
Sometime life changes are very painful. Sometimes they are very exciting. They can be a drastic combination of loss and adventure. “Tuck” was the first person to teach me about adventure walks. (Thank you, Tuck.) Life is very much an adventure walk, especially in the changes!
I hope you each are finding adventures in your walks.
And speaking of that… may I ask…. What about you? How are you?
What has been happening in your life this past year? How has your life changed?
Is there anything you would like to share about what has been happening for you?
I’ll be glad to hear from each of you as well.
My thoughts are with you all –
July 12, 2010
This article is written for the child parts of the DID survivors that read this blog.
Hey Kids, did you see the news yesterday? Hmmmm…. probably not, because most kids don’t watch the news. And because of that, I wanted to make sure to let you know about something I saw in the news that might interest you.
Look! Look! They found something that looks like a real unicorn!!
If you look here, you will find the video that talks more about it, and shows more pictures of it walking around in its natural forest home. This little unicorn guy was found in Italy, and I think he is being protected and tended to very carefully. That’s good, because there aren’t very many unicorns in the world!
What do you think it is?
Is it a real unicorn?
Is it a deericorn?
Maybe it’s a unideer.
Whatever it is, it is very cool!!!
Do you ever think about unicorns?
Do you have coloring books with unicorns in them?
What would you do if you saw a real unicorn?
And if you don’t like unicorns, what is your favorite animal?
Now I realize this little deer only looks like a unicorn, but so many kid parts talk about like unicorns that I just had to share it for everyone to see.
And for the older parts of the dissociative systems, it really is ok to let your child parts experience some of the positive wonders of the world. It is ok to let your child parts play, and to let them enjoy experiences. Simple pleasures like chocolate shakes, or yo-yo’s, or puzzle games, or teddy bears, or soccer balls can go a long ways in connecting with your child parts.
If you have dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD), your childhood was most likely interrupted by too much pain, grief, loss, trauma, betrayal, neglect, and hurt. As a child, your play times would have been few and far between, and you would have often felt too sad or hurt to play. Dissociative skills, dissociative walls, and dissociative amnesia could have separated some of the effects of the trauma from your awareness, but in all the years I have been working with multiples, I have never yet had any dissociative survivor tell me that she or he had lots of fun and play times as a child.
This is a very sad statement because having carefree playtime is a normal childhood need. It is actually important to proper growth and development. To miss out on playtime as a child means to have unmet needs.
To help meet some of those unmet needs, it is ok, and even therapeutically important to let your child parts have fun. Let them play. Let them enjoy some carefree activities. Let them learn how to have good times.
Even if you are an adult, it is not too late to let your kids have fun. Play is a normal part of growing up, and if this was stolen from you, letting your child parts play in the current day will help with your overall healing and sense of well being.
Giving your child parts the chance to play in the here and now is a corrective emotional experience for them. Corrective emotional experiences are experiences in the current day that help to correct the wrongs and fill the voids that were left after a childhood full of trauma and neglect. Corrective emotional experiences allow for healing, growth, and positive movement.
So go find a unicorn!
Go to a baseball game!
Watch a few cartoons!
Draw in your coloring books!
Play, have fun, and enjoy life for awhile!
Your whole system will feel better for it.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
July 19, 2009
Something about heartbreak totally changes a person.
Changes your life.
I’m not sure I can put words to it yet, but I know it happens.
It consumes your thoughts, your mind, your time.
What hurts the most? Abandonment? Abuse? Neglect? Betrayal? Dishonesty? Physical pain? Sexual trauma? Aloneness?
I suppose there is no way to say what hurts the most. It’s probably different for different people anyway.
When there is heartbreak, the heart breaks.
The sadness lingers.
You breathe it in with every breath. It’s all around you at all times.
It sits with you. Next to you. Beside you. On you. Behind you. In you.
The heart hurts.
You can feel it. It’s a physical pain. It’s an emotional pain.
Sad, slow music can express it oh so very well.
It’s just hard to find the words.
Sometimes heartbreak cannot be soothed. There are no words to comfort or reach or soften the depth of the break.
Sometimes sitting with is helpful.
Sometimes aloneness is all that can be tolerated.
Sometimes someone else’s heart can hear the heartbreak, even without the words.
It’s in the emotion. Or in the feeling of the person.
Or in the feeling around the person.
Real heartbreak is palpable.
Anyone listening or paying attention can see it, and feel it, and sense it – if they will.
Maybe that’s why heartbreak changes life.
It creates profound crossroads in a person’s life.
The road chosen changes after heartbreak.
Life changes after heartbreak.
It’s never the same.
The heart breaks.
Kathy Broady LCSW
April 13, 2009
How many of you have been watching the award-winning HBO Series, “In Treatment” with Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, and John Mahoney? This HBO series is currently near the beginning of its second season, centered around how Dr. Paul Weston (Byrne) conducts therapy sessions with four different clients, and then his own individual therapy process with his own therapist, Dr. Gina Toll (Wiest).
In my opinion, the “In Treatment” series is more accurate about the layered complications of the therapy process than the brief bits of therapy shown in Showtime’s “United States of Tara”. The snippets shown of Tara’s therapy were with an overwhelmed, under-trained, uneducated wimp of a therapist. I suppose it is true that all too many therapists are overwhelmed and unprepared to deal with the healing process for trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Hopefully a referral to a more specialized trauma therapist in season two of Tara will lead to deeper, more meaningful presentations of her therapy process.
With the “In Treatment” series, the clients present with relateable issues, and the therapists become real people – likeable, emotional, genuine, flaws and all.
“In Treatment” shows how therapy is different from person to person. While staying the same, the room “changes” and feels different and unique to each client. The therapists and their rooms are the same from session to session and client to client, and yet they become totally different places as each individual client comes in, exposing his or her own life, pain, feelings, energy, thoughts, and emotion.
It shows how the therapy process challenges therapists to be their best selves at all times, as impossible as that might be.
It shows how much people actually say about themselves when someone is listening closely to what is being said. And it shows how much people do not listen to their own selves, and how they don’t hear the words that come out of their own mouths.
It shows how families speak to each other – or not. And how helpful family members can be to each other – or not. And how loving, kind, supportive, and caring family members can be to each other – or not.
It shows how people wrestle with their emotions, their feelings, their realities, and the denial of those realities. It shows their emotional conflict, turmoil, grief, depression, anxiety, suicidal actions, passive suicidal feelings, anger, panic, fear, dismay, agony, self-harm motives, struggles with life and death.
It shows how the therapy process, while focused around the expression of words and feelings, can be enhanced by paying close attention to the communication from the physical body itself, which sometimes says more than clients can put into words.
It shows how therapists get invested in their clients, and how they build connections and bonds with their clients. The caring can be a real thing.
It shows how important it is for clients to make their own life-decisions, how much people wrestle with their own life decisions, and how quickly therapists get blamed when these decisions do not work out as hoped.
It shows how tender and fragile people can be, even when they outwardly appear to be strong, powerful, and in control.
It shows the importance of being heard, understood, listened to, and recognized as a worthwhile person, first by others, and then by yourself.
These television shows can lead to a lot of personal thinking and reassessment about your own therapy process, your relationship with your therapist, and how your life is changing and progressing. How do you relate to what you are seeing “In Treatment”?
* What is your therapy process like?
* How is your therapy impacting your life?
* Do you see your therapist as human as Dr. Weston presents in “In Treatment”?
* Do you blame your therapist when your life plans do not work out as hoped?
* Is your therapist as central to your life as presented in these series?
* Are you more attached to your therapist or to your therapy process?
* What would you do if you realized how human and flawed your therapist is?
* Do you expect your therapist to be something more than a real person?
Kathy Broady LCSW
March 15, 2009
It is no secret that trauma survivors get depressed, and depression is the most commonly known and experienced mental health disorder.
Typical depression symptoms include:
- Suicidal thoughts, recurring death thoughts, death wishes
- Suicidal behavior and suicide attempts
- Self destructive behavior, self injury, self harm
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, self hatred, or not deserving to live
- Loss of energy, fatigue, excessive sleeping
- Little or no interest or pleasure in anything or anybody
- Inability to think, or to concentrate, or to make decisions
- Significant but unintentional changes in weight loss or weight gain
- Significant but unintentional changes in appetite
- For children, not making normal and expected weight gains and physical growth
For trauma survivors, depression can have layered meanings beyond the typical medical symptoms.
Repeated patterned depressions can be very much related to a specific or recurring trauma, or to a significant loss. For dissociative survivors with DID/MPD, the information detailing the specific loss or trauma may be hidden away or blocked off by dissociative walls. Someone in your system might know why you are feeling depressed, and they might know what the loss is, but the host / front personalities might not have a clue.
Do you have a pattern of depression occurring at the same time of year each year?
Think back through all the years. Do you have any hints that tell you how far back this pattern goes? Do you repeatedly feel the need for hospitalization at the same time each year? Do you find yourself struggling more than usual at the same time each year? Do you find yourself having thoughts of suicide or self-injury more often at a specific time of year? Do you know how long this pattern of depression been happening?
If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, be sure to check inside and to ask your various inside parts what they have noticed as well. Some of your insiders might have a different awareness of patterns and events than you do.
For repeated patterned depressions, it is important to find the original starting point of this depression pattern. Once you do, you will get more clues as to what it is about.
My general approach to repeated depressions that follow a pattern is to “assume” that there is a trauma-based reason for it. Unless you have a better explanation, in terms of a bipolar type depression pattern, or a seasonal depression pattern, then quite possibly it is a trauma-based pattern.
Look around inside, ask around inside, to see if there is anyone that knows the depressed time of year to be a particularly bad time for them. While you are talking with your system, be sure to pay attention to the following ideas:
- Who inside feels the depression the most?
- Do you see anyone inside who is showing the depression in the way that they are sitting, standing, laying, not communicating, not being “their usual self”, etc?
- When you look at your internal system, who is showing / feeling the biggest list of depression symptoms?
- If you can’t automatically see an internal someone who is depressed, take a broader look at your internal world. When you walk around your internal landscape, can you find-feel-sense the center of it?
- Is there a place inside where the depression feels the most intense vs. the generalized depression of everyone (similar to finding the eye of a hurricane).
Other trauma-related questions you can ask your insiders include:
- Were there any significant losses that happened at this time of year?
- Who in your system has experienced these losses? (Do not assume that everyone in your system is aware of the same losses!)
- Did you or anyone inside lose a child /children, or a close friend, or a loved one at this time of year?
- Are your feelings of grief and loss repeatedly surfacing as a type of depression?
- Was anyone inside specifically traumatized or abused at this point in time each year?
- What happened? What do you know about that trauma?
For dissociative trauma survivors, a significant period of depression can be a very important clue that there is an unresolved trauma waiting to be addressed. If you have the room in your life to explore its foundations, and to address how the trauma issues are related to that recurring depression, you will be able to interrupt and resolve the depression itself.
Kathy Broady LCSW