Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Few Hours With The Father And Baby Brother

We're just...a little sad for now. We're sure we'll pull out of it in a bit. Writing helps us get through everything. Usually once we write about something we feel much better; maybe because we don't have to hold on to the things we end up writing about, it clears our head for other stuff we like the think about and have to think about - like learning to work together. Plus we can can process our day and leave it for each other to come back to.

Today The Father and Baby Brother came to visit. We haven't seen them since last August, about 9 months ago. We've never really spent much time with our family since we were 18 years old, we've probably only seen them on average of a couple times a year, hardly ever on Holidays. From my memory we've only spent one Christmas with The Father in the last 7 or more years, the Christmas right before our car accident - and as far as other times, it mostly been random. Since Grandpa died, our favourite one, The Fathers father, back in December of 2009, we had seen family a lot more, but that seeing them extra lasted less than a year.

They arrived a little later than we thought they would this morning, which was fine because it gave us time to feed a little of our biggest addiction: Twitter.

This was the first time we've seen The Father (and The Brother) since they've become aware of our blog, and all of the issues in it; since we've talked with The Father about DID/MPD. They both have been reading information on their own, things regarding Multiple Personality Disorder, to better understand us and to learn about it.  To say that we felt a little nervous about this first meeting would be correct, but surprisingly, not an understatement. Like we've said, it really does take a lot to make us feel awkward, and what is there to feel awkward about, really.

The Father is concerned about our drinking and our weight. He commented on it a couple of times over the day, telling us we should eat more food, asking us if we've given up on cooking, and commenting on the empty wine bottles that have accumulated next to our recycling bin. All day we note looks of concern, mixed into conversation. Later in the day Baby Brother says, "You're not to skinny, but don't lose any more weight, I don't want you to become anorexic", which is something we hear from a lot of people lately.

We have no idea, most of the time, why we have such a strange diet, or why we continue to lose weight. We do eat...but maybe not enough, which given our University studies of Human Nutritional Science, makes no sense. One of us has the information on how to stay nutritionally healthy, but the rest of us refuse to follow it.

There's not much to say about spending time with The Father and Baby Brother - they are hilarious and if we could have Tweeted things they say, everyone would have loved it; but the first thing The Father said when we pulled out our BlackBerry was "Hey, you're shutting that thing off, I hope". So dutifully we did...the whole time wishing we could at least Tweet ever 10 minutes because the build up of bullshit in our head was overwhelming.

We went to breakfast where we stuffed ourself with a bunch of French toast smothered in butter and syrups, because it's my day and today that was the treat I get to have. Later we'll go look at, and take pictures of food at the grocery store, and think about the yummy French toast we had for lunch.

We took a walk around our neighbourhood, The Father and Baby Brother had never been to this area of The City, us having just moved to our new apartment in October. We pointed out the 3-4 block stretch where we usually go drinking, which The Father clearly was not impressed about hearing - that we drink outdoors in public. We explained that we don't really like to go to bars/pubs but we need to get out of the house sometimes at night. Plus, we are not afraid to be honest with people, even him, about who we are or what we do. We are not ashamed that we have bad habits; some of our bad habits we have quite, like smoking pot and cigarettes - we just choose different ones to help us survive the weekends. "Everyone's something", or in our case, everyone has something...that they use to cope, and who says theirs are better than ours, or worse?

We talked about going to the zoo but Baby Brother didn't seem up for it, and it just didn't feel like the right thing to do today, for some reason; so we suggested going to WalMart, which most of us hate, each for their own reason, depending on who is around; but another feels it necessary when we have a need for something, and when we have an opportunity, because we are on a budget.  We needed bathroom tissue and paper towels...and juice; two things that are a bit expensive at the local grocery store and pharamcy.

So we walked around WalMart, and The Father tried to keep us calm, because being in that place and not being able to tweet makes us angry. The people there make us angry sometimes. Sometimes all people make us angry; but sometimes they do not. One of us has a problem with people.

When we got back to the apartment The Father made us sit on the sofa next to him, probably because our standing around seemed strange, plus we were almost ready to start pacing, which is what happens sometimes when people are at our apartment. We get restless. This was the first time we've sat on the sofa in months. We only sit in one spot in our apartment; at our dining room table.

Conversation turned to family things and we had a talk with him about Grandma, his mother, who is our last surviving grandparent, the widow of our favourite Grandfather.

The things about the mental health of both of our sets of Grandparents are at least two entries in themselves, for now we'll just say that the current issue is Grandmas mental health, in her old age.

A few weeks ago we had a chat with The Father about Grandmother, and some of the newer "quirks" she had developed, and her physical deterioration. She has, and has had, quiet a few illness over the past few years.

"Dad, when you see her next....tell her I love her. I don't think we're going to be well enough to see her ...before...before she passes away" we said tearfully as we layed in bed talking on the phone that night. We feel awful that we're never going to get to see her again, it seems likely. We have no way to get to where she lives and it involves a considerable amount of help from The Mother...and knowing someone with a vehicle.

Grandmother developed some strange issues, normal "accidents" that old people have, but she is dealing with it in a different way. It's too embarrassing to write about what is happening with her, and not our place; but when we heard the information we became concerened.

She has also gotten quite paranoid about identity theft, and has developed very strange habits of shredding ENTIRE magazines just to destroy her mailing address; and has had to have her stove disconnected, having nearly set the retirement home on fire, causing it to be vacated; she has developed the idea that despite all of these, and other things, that somehow she can be independent, start to jog, all the while talking about living in a tree.

"Dad, Grandma has always been...a little eccentric." we said. And it's true. "how do we really know there wasn't something wrong with her all along?"

Baby Brother starts to talk about how Grandpa had been her rock, and that he took care of her; all the time we agree with what he is saying. What we are thinking is Grandma was mentally ill, and that's why Grandpa had been so furiously protective of her, and took such good care of her. One must never forget, that even in ones only family, mental illness thrives beneath the surface, because so many people are afraid to talk about it, to admit they have problems; especially those from certain generations.

The story of my grandparents marriage is amazing to us, and since he has passed away she has not been dealing with it, at all. We, The Family, are slowly realizing things about her.

When we where young she used to tell us she wanted to be a gypsy, and travel around. She was constantly doing things that raised eyebrows of everyone in the family, and In her over 85 years of life she had never taken a bath or a shower, choosing sponge baths as the only method of staying clean. She has raised 8 children, been grandmother to over 16, buried one son who died from colon cancer, one grandson who died in a car accident, and a husband who died quite suddenly of pancreatic cancer. She grew up in a time when life was hard, on a farm, in a rural town in the Northern United States.

When we were young she always encouraged us with our writing, and used to love getting letters from us as we traveled around the United States in our early adult years. She was fascinated by drawings we did of structural layouts when we were 9 and 10; she always made good food, frying everything in bacon grease - the smell of bacon and black coffee are smells burned in our brain that we immediately associate with Grandma.

We are sad to hear how her mind is deteriorating from old age, and her body has been no better over the years. Physical damage from an entire life of hard farm labor, and birthing eight children, she has had hip replacements and all sorts of health issues; but some of the stories we are being told about her recent "eccentricities" are not regular old age things. Things she says, things she does....

'She's depressed", The Father says, and we tell him the strange things he has just told us that she is doing is not because of depression. We know depression.

Baby Brother agrees.

Conversation gradually shifted away from unpleasant conversations when The Father attempted what we thought was humour, and made a joke about at some point calling the regional health authorities to come take care of us. And then other jokes about one day having to change our diapers again. Ha, ha, ha. Dad.

We had a good talk this afternoon, about the validity of friends on social networking, Baby Bother fought our side saying that The Father generation is never going to accept the way that Our generation communicates and forms relationships, that at some point in every generation, the previous one refused to accept the change. There was much talk about when the world started going bad, and The Father blames television, of course.

This is all random. These are all just things we wanted to document for the day. If none of that interested you, well, too late, you already read this far. You might as well finish.

When they left this afternoon, roughly five hours later, we got lots of hugs, and trying to fight back the tears on our last hug with Baby Brother he said "I love you. Don't forget, if you need anything, you're family. You are always welcome at my house." Such a sweetheart, he has always been.

And when they stood at the elevator, with tears in our eyes, we leaned out the door and said "Are you going to use your GPS to try to find your way out of the building?" Just for that last laugh, before we closed the door to do what we do, week after week; sit at our computer and wait for the end.

For the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we will be posting this at he bottom of each of our entries, to help provide additional information about us, and about Dissociative Identiry Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder.

10 Things You Should Know About US That MIGHT Surprise YOU:
  1. We used to be a Baptist missionary (yeah, can you fucking believe that shit?!) [we are NOT religious]
  2. We were once married (didn’t last long) [one of our stories talks about him]
  3. We have had nearly 30 physical addresses in 30 years, mostly as an adult (nothing could contain us in the early days) [we actually own a house, but choose not to live in it]
  4. We’ve lived in 2 countries: 1 province and 6-7 different states (running much)
  5. We have lost 120 pounds since the age of 24 (100 of it when we were 24) [and it's close to 140 pounds now)
  6. We have a full time job (well, now it's 32 hours a week - but they actually let us work around the other humans!) [it get's harder everyday, and this is the longest we've ever had a single job since we were 17. We've been there almost a year]
  7. We deal with social anxiety type symptoms every day (and these days we choose not to leave home much, but for going to work) [there are about three people we feel comfortable with being in public with and sometimes we have to be out there alone]
  8. We have multiple “mental illness” diagnoses (doesn't everybody?) [p.s. all misdiagnosed]
  9. We have two beautiful cats, who piss us off every day (but they are special, because they put up with us) [though one of us hates them beyond belief]
  10. We have struggled to survive, over and over, defeating the odds thrown against us (read our stories) [seriously, how are we not dead yet?]
We've copied the stories written here that are specifically about our past (mostly abuse) and moved them to our other blog, called:

Addressing The Issue of Frank: The Origins, History and Life Story of Frank, from "Just Call Me Frank: One Womans Endeavour At Being Frank"  
(this blog also contains our artwork/photography - the following links will take you to that blog)
Some of our writing on this blog we like to promote (consider them highlights), these are those entries since mid-January 2011. There are bits of writing in this blog that we do not actually promote due to embarrassment over things that some have written - they are here for our own tracking - they are angry, mean, scary things. If you feel like it you can find them on your own (they are in the What We've Been Up To over on the left). Here are the highlights of what we have written so far this year:

The Mental Health Entries:
Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder
Humour/Random Fun:
If you have any questions for us we are very open and will answer to our best ability - this is totally the month to ask us questions. You can either ask us on Twitter, in the comment section of a blog entry here, or e-mail us at justcallmefrank2010 (at)

Resources for You - facts, figures and personal stories of other people can be found on these sites:
National Institute of Mental Health:
American Psychological Association:
Canadian Mental Health Association:
Mental Health Europe:
World Psychiatric Association:

1 comment:

  1. *hugs* When I'm with my family (more rarely than you because of distance) we carefully avoid the topic of my mental illnesses. on the rare occasions they bring it up, there is the inevitable tap dance to carefully acknowledge, offer support yet change the subject as soon as humanly possible. *sighs* but talking about it is why i have friends.