Monday, January 30, 2012

It Spins Madly

The following life story is the next in the series of our life we have been writing. If you  haven't read the previous ones you can locate them here:

At the start of 2010 things we’re already beginning to feel off for The Other Girl, she couldn’t put her finger on it.

She went about her duties, trying to keep her catering business afloat, taking care of the house,   and planning a trip to the Bahamas, during the week of Valentine's Day, with Significant Other and some friends; including TNB (The Non-Bestie), The Other Girl's best friend, and her then-boyfriend. The Other Girl and TNB knew a local musician, an acquaintance of The Other Girl’s ex, Talented Boyfriend. The musician owned a house on one of the islands in the Bahamas and was giving us a great deal on a week and a half rental, so the trip would be a little more affordable. Funds were beginning to become tight at home because of the catering business, so The Other Girl got us a temporary job handing out samples in various grocery stores for a promotions company, the couple weeks leading up to our trip.

Since The Other Girls vehicle had quit working in October of the previous year, after driving it hard as a messenger/courier, we had no desire to fix it. She rented vans for catering jobs, and hardly left the house other than that, so we were getting rides or borrowing Significant Others vehicle when needed.

His job had decreased his hours to only four a day, which was part of the reason for getting a job outside the house, to make extra money for the vacation, to supplement the decrease in his income.  It seemed to work out because Significant Other got off work so early some days that she didn’t have to wait for him to pick her up, he’d come to the grocery store and wander around until the shift was over, and help pack up the sample stand. He always preferring to drop her off and pick her up. A couple of days she asked if she could drop him off at work instead, and borrow the car. He seemed unusually leery to do so, we thought it odd, but then shrugged it off when he agreed.

Before we knew it we were in the Bahamas, it was the second day and was a late night on the balcony of the house we had rented, hanging out and having a few drinks with TNB and her boyfriend. They got into a bit of an argument, which they were prone to do, and Significant Other and The Other Girl resigned to their bedroom.

They lay awake in the small double bed, starring at the ceiling, trying to ignore the argument. The night was quit on the island, and sounds traveled easily through the cool air. They lay and talked, mostly about what was going on outside.

“I have something to tell you” Significant Other whispered to The Other Girl.

Right away we were on high alert. The first thought was that he had cheated, had an affair, it seemed the natural conclusion, but then, he loved her, he loved us. The Other Girl was his first girlfriend, he was crazy about her. The thought he had cheated didn't last long.

“What.” she said, after a few moments, with breath bated, mind still trying to solve the mystery.

“You know the last couple of weeks, when I’ve been going to work?” he asked, pausing. She could tell it was hard for him to say whatever he wanted to tell her. “I haven’t been going to work." He paused. "I was fired. Two weeks ago.”

The activity in the brain at that point was on several tracks. How do you react to that? He had been telling her he was going to work every day for two weeks. Where had he been going? Why was he fired? How should we handle this? And, bills. Don’t yell.

“Why were you fired?” she asked calmly, all the while thinking about him having to try to find another job, not being able to pay his part of the bills again. Thinking about the over six months he had lived in her house rent free, while finishing culinary school, working, yet saving no money, spending it all on cigarettes, pot and beer. His lying to her.

He went on to tell the story of how a patron of the restaurant where he worked had been behind the building (it was in a park, so it was not uncommon for people to be walking all around it) and had seen a couple of the employees smoking pot. The patrons wrote a letter to the manager to express their disgust. When the manager brought all the suspects in for questioning, individually, despite not knowing if it was him for sure, but knowing that he has indeed smoked pot behind the building, he took the rap for it.

He was fired on the spot. The manager had not wanted to do it, the staff was saddened, he was a good employee, but the higher ups had the last say in this manner; even though he had been honest. Of the three employees the patron claimed to have seen, Significant Other had been the only one to admit to the deed.

The days The Other Girl had dropped him off at work he would go in the back door, wait for her to leave the parking lot, and then catch a bus, riding it around the city for the duration of his shift. Some days he would go to a local diner and sit and stare out the window, trying to figure out how he would tell The Other Girl what had happened.

We told him we were not angry, we weren’t. We told him we were disappointed. We were. We asked him how we were supposed to trust him if it took him this long to admit something fairly small to us. She told him if he ever got fired for drug use again, it was over. The whole thing was unacceptable. She did not yell.

A fault line was created in the relationship.

The next morning we were comatose, stunned…numb. It was visible to our female friends. The reality had set in, the lying, the sneakiness, we still were not angry. We were sad.
In the end telling us on the second day of our vacation, was probably not the best course of action. It would have been better to tell her right away, obviously. The Other Girl was not prepared financially to pay for us, and him, when going out to eat or partaking in activities. The deep sea fishing we had been so excited to take part in, was forgotten in lieu of splitting the money between two people, instead of just us; while our friends went out to restaurants on the island, we hung back at the house and made low-cost meals.

The trip itself was okay, the weather was colder than it had been since the 1970’s, so we spent a lot of time in our favourite hoodie and sweatpants, enjoying the ocean as much as we could, other times it sprayed sand like a sandblaster and we were unable to enjoy it. We had time to read what has become the book that inspired us to write about our lives, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wall. We took beautiful photos of the island, and had some fun times with friends; but going back home meant going back to some tight times, with a man we felt untrustworthy.

Around this time Standby had broken up with his girlfriend, a woman The Other Girl had pushed him to keep dating after he talked with her about the woman's alcohol abuse and some mental health problems, we had encouraged him to be open about it with her, and they had dated for almost two year, but in the end the relationship ended badly, and then later even worse.

The Other Girl had started hanging out with Standby a little bit more, again, since he had bought a house over the course of the previous year near our neighbourhood, a ten minute bike ride, and she had missed his friendship. On one occasion in late spring she started feeling tempted by old feelings forhim, and he for her, but she refused to let anything happen because she/we cared about Significant Other, and we did not want to betray him be having an affair.

Continuing to hold hope that the catering business would take off, The Other Girl spent time researching some volunteer opportunities in the city and contacted a local non-profit to inquire about kitchen positions. They were looking for a volunteer a couple of hours a week for a nutrition based children’s program, The Other Girl liked kids, and we had studied nutrition in University (2004-2005). She went to observe the program and at the end of the hour she agreed she would take the position. The next week she went back, at the end of the program the Director informed her that they were going to be hiring someone for the job, a paying position, and asked if she would be interested in submitting her resume. The next day she had an interview and within 24 hours we were hired. We had never done this kind ofwork before, and The Other Girl was excited to be working for a non-profit organization. We had studied the sector in University several years before (2003-2004). On our first day of the job we were introduced to the General Manager of the organization, later known in our blog writing by many nicknames, the most well know, Fuck Face.

Two weeks following getting hired they added another day of work, they liked our work ethic, and they liked how The Other Girl worked with the people. We were now in charge of “food shelf” duties. Paid work two days a week, it wasn’t much, but it was enough. It was just enough to make ends meet, our house being paid off, we were splitting meagre expenses with Significant Other who had gotten a job serving at a local chain restaurant.

We decided to close down our catering businesses shortly after, and about a week later they gave us four days of work, they wanted to give us five, but The Other Girl knew we were already pushing it, re-entering the work force, dealing with people, too fast. In June 2010 we started writing our blog, slowly at first, and not about anything in particular in the front end, mostly opinion pieces about current events the Gulf oil spill, a paper on the dangerof high fructose corn syrup, importing some old University papers, and writing some random fun stuffdipping our toes in the pool of blogging, so to speak. We’d never tried it before. The Other Girl wrote more personal stuff on a page she called her journal, accessible by readers, but never promoted, a place where she unraveled, tried to make sense of what was going on. Not many people read it, even though everyone she knew had the blog address, and she was okay with that.

A month later our job at work was now a variety of duties, including cooking, the staff member in their previously was going on maternity leave. A month after that The Other Girl and Fuck Face interviewed, and hired, a permanent cook, so that we could be food services manager, and run other programs. In the end we hired an amazing, brilliant and eccentric woman who most of our readers know as Fabulous Person.

TNB and her Boyfriend broke up that summer, they had been together around two years; everyone knew it was coming, so it was not shocking. The Other Girl was roused from sleep one morning, TNB needed help moving out, and she needed help NOW. We were there immediately. It was turbulent, he wasn’t a nice man, prone to violent outbursts, and he hated us (as have many boyfriends of female friends in the past), and so it was a stressful weekend. After that we started spending a lot more time with TNB, it had already gotten to the point where if one was at event without the other, it was commented on. She was The Other Girls’ best friend, she loved her dearly. Would have done anything for  her.

For our 31st birthday we took our second trip to Vegas, going for the weekend with TNB, and The Other Non-Bestie (TONB) our best male friend, and another female friend. After a weekend of continuous drinking, 8 hours of sleep and a days worth of meals spread over three and a half days, strung out on red bull and vodka, we arrived back to the city to work for two days before we left to TONB’s lake cabin, where we spent the next three days drinking, celebrating our birthday with friends, and wandering on a dirt road, the night of our birthday, staring up at the giant mood, high on shrooms. Not being prone to feeling the effects of drugs very much, all we experienced was a strong desire to be outdoors, under the sky, and be nowhere near the cabin full of people. It was the start of a downward spiral.

Because Significant Other had to work so much he very rarely made it out to party with The Other Girl, and her friends. She was fine with this; we had been growing apart from him ever since that trip to the Bahamas. We partied through the summer like we were in our 20’s, every weekend drinking with our friends, away from the relationship, now that we no longer had to be his designated driver all of time like in the past.

The Other Girl had time to think, about Significant Other, about us and her, she was hearing from Frank that she needed to start on a path, she fought it – she fought it for what ended up being many many months. We found his inability to manage his money, his inability to hold his drink, the sheer immaturity, he was 5 years younger, was too much; he got fired for drug use, after having promised us he wouldn't do it at work anymore; he was too much work, emotionally and mentally.

In August, after celebrating her 31st birthday, The Other Girl broke up with Significant Other. It took three times telling him it was over before he understood what was going on. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do, we didn't all agree with the decision 100%, but it was what was best, for us. We cared about him. Finally at the end of August he understood fully and moved out, moving in with his mother.

Over the next month we would talk occasionally with Significant Other, now our ex, he was always trying to find a way to get back together with us. He’d come over and smoke pot, and play Mario Kart with us, have dinner. He started trying to take better care of his appearance; he told us he was trying to quit smoking. One day we heard a knock on the door and when we opened it he was leaning against his car holding a boombox, playing Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes, from his car stereo (because his boom box was broken) in the style of John Cusack from a film he knew The Other Girl had always loved, ‘Say Anything’. It was touching. It was also too late. It became awkward trying to stay friends, and we had to end our communication with him.

September we also decided that the house we owned was too large, and too much work, to stay in ourselves through the winter, even though we had done most of the caretaking in the first place. We really needed a change. The Other Girl decided to rent it out and move into a small apartment in an area of the city that she had always wanted to live in, which was only about a fifteen minute walk to and from work. We loved it.

We called on our friends to help us move, but they were all busy, so we rented a van and took several trips moving our belonging from our house to our new small apartment on our own. The Other Girl had started to feel even more off, weaker, fragile; we had spent weeks cleaning and packing and looking for an apartment that would accept us – not being a resident of the country where we lived made it hard. We were stressed, we were sore, on the brink of a breakdown. Pulling some boxes out of the van in the alley of the building, a container of poker chips tumbled out of the van and scattered onto the pavement. On her knees she bent to collect them and started to weep, on all fours she picked up all the poker chips, tears spilling out on the concrete. Stressed.  Feeling alone with all of us.

Sometime in October The Other Girl signed us up for online dating on Plenty of Fish, we wrote about some of the men we met and went on dates with in the blog during that time. It was a strange adventure. We were not looking for a relationship, merely dating. We couldn’t stomach the idea of ending up having to share our space, and have The Other Girl force us to take care of someone else. We did what we never did before, and just dated for the sake of dating. With the constant alone time we desired, and nobody to take care of. Three weeks into living on our own and we were hooked on the idea of staying single as long as possible.

Significant Other still tried to win us back, showing up where we were on weekend. One time he showed up at the house while we were there working with The Plumber that The Other Girl had hired to fix some things before we rented it out; The Plumber who later asked us on a date after our first meeting, and who we wrote about several times in our blog. Significant Other put two-and-two together one day when he showed up at the house while we were working on it, after seeing the plumber’s van parked outside of our apartment. He spewed anger and pain at us, insinuating how we were paying the plumber for services, even though in reality we had kept the business separate from "the rest".

Immediately following the altercation he started calling us constantly, for the entire day he would call, yell at us and hanging up, threatening us, calling us names, leaving voice messages when we wouldn’t pick up the phone. He parked outside our new apartment building and honked his horn at the building, stalked us. He showed up at friends houses, people who were not his friends any longer, and cried to them, talked to them. We finally threatened to call the police, and contacted his father and brother to get him to leave us alone. 
He was being totally uncharacteristic. We were the first woman to break his heart. He had lost his mind. 

October we partied hard, and started using different street drugs, it was an escape plan for The Other Girl. We were still smoking load of pot each day, to ease back pain and stop our brain from running full-tilt  – we had not yet began drinking daily - and on the weekend we added to it tabs of Ecstasy/MDMA and loads of alcohol.

While the effects of these drugs were pretty mild to us, as most drugs are, we enjoyed the happy feeling they gave us. Our experimentation with them was short lived. The weekends that had included them, mixed with drinking and smoking pot, led to some very unwise behaviour; strange encounters with foreign men picked up in downtown bars, leading to hotel rooms and being lost in our own city; sexual encounters with male friends that eroded our relationships with them, and others; lots of lost jewelry and memories. In later months we would apologize to a female friend who we had pushed to take the drugs with us one night, knowing that she had a bad drug-related past. We became our worst nightmare. The Other Girl was trying to kill us.
 It turned us into bad people in our own eyes, desperate, a ghost of ourselves. We started losing even more weight; we started to withdraw from our friendships...and our drinking picked up.

At work we found a haven, we got promoted as Social Media Manager and Food Service Coordinator, most of us felt normal much of the time we were there, The Other Girl loved our job. We developed a friendship with Fuck Face, our General Manager, and Fabulous Person and her daughter (known in writing, as a pair, as Fabulous People). 

One of us started to develop feelings for Fuck Face, our friendship with him growing. We started going out for drinks with him after work, chatting over glasses of wine and beer. He found him fascinatingly bitter. He took an interest in our life, in our dating stories from the weekends, he got a kick out of our attitude towards men, and he started reading our blog, though we didn’t know it at the time. (when we started writing this blog the name that appears on our legal ID’s was used to register it, and it was attached to a Facebook account with the same name…not hard for people to find)

We started to have sexual dreams about him and we would hint to him about it, grinning slyly. After a couple weeks he would say he had dreams about us too. We began to flirt heavily, enjoying each other’s friendship and company, the tension escalated for months, leading into December. But that’s for another portion of writing, not for this one.

Even as one of us developed feelings for Fuck Face, and we were going out on dates (we did not sleep with every man we went on a date with, just so we are being clear here), The Other Girl was developing a relationship with Standby. She disliked Fuck Face, even though we were drawn to him.

During the end of 2010 there was, and is, a lot of confusion, since most of what was ending up on this blog was about dating and men, and very little about what was going on in our head, much of The Other Girls memories, much of what she was feeling eludes us, she stopped writing in the journal part of the blog on a regular basis, and so we have no way to know.

What we do know is that due to some blood work that had concerned her, that had caused her to call The Mother and cry, and due to some things she was finding increasingly strange, about herself, she took consol with a woman we worked with, EB. 

The Other Girl sat in an office with EB one day and poured out to her/our history of mental health problems, the concerns about some blood work that was requiring re-testing, blood work that would have shown a protein that, if showed the second time, would indicate a problem in her brain that would eventually cause dementia. She also shared her concerns about what had been going on with her the last couple of months, her inability to feel she had control things that she said, and some of the things she did, that she felt were uncharacteristic of her, which would later cause her to sit at home for hours and berate herself, and question what the hell was going on, while trying to replay the day’s events. Her inability to remember as much as she used to. She was scared.

She talked to Standby about it and he didn't seem concerned. She talked to TNB about it before going out to dinner on New Years Ever - they were double dating, her with her new boyfriend, and us with Standby - and was met with casual disinterest, not surprising because the friendship had become strained over the months, also a story for another day.

At the beginning of 2011 the results of the blood panel came back and the results were fine, but everything else about The Other Girls life was about to spin madly out of control.
------------------------------------Added January 31, 2012:
What was omitted in the entry about 2010 was the decision to go off of our antidepressant  (Welbutrin) medication in June, 2010, which we had been on for nearly ten years, after several previous attempts. We have now been completely medication free for over a year and a half.
Also not mentioned was the creation of our Twitter account, linked to this blog, which at the time were both attached to the name that appears on our birth certificate, in October 2010.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Face Full Of Emotion: A Journal Entry

We're not sure what our face is expressing at any given moment (how could we, really? And we're not prone to looking into mirrors often), but today James asked us a question while at the library, and we looked up to him, intent to listen. He became dejected.

He claimed we were looking at him with an expression of contempt, that we were looking at him as though we were angry (there were other descriptors that have faded from memory over the last couple of hours). We were merely looking at him to listen, with nothing strange, that we were aware of, passing through our mind at that particular moment, or the ones preceding it. This is not an uncommon problem in our relationship.

This is disconcerting, not only because of the effect it has on James, but because of the amount of people that look intently at our face, until we lock eyes with them, when we are out in public.
What are they seeing? What are we portraying? And how do we control it. Should we control it? Why do we seem to be so... disconnected from it sometimes?

Is it a matter of the lack of a smile on our face simply indicating to people that we are angry, or displeased? That seems unfair because most people do not walk around with a smile on their face. Or is there anger in our eyes?

James has told us on more than one occasion that we can nearly cut a man down with just a look. It's not intentional 98% of the time.

We know we have never been able to hide what we are feeling with much success, and have been told that the air around us, the look on our face, no matter how much we try to hide or mask it, gives away more than we ever want. Many of us have been told this by countless people throughout our life. Is this happening without us being aware, at the moment? Is our face more in tune with our emotions than we are? Is that even possible?

This entry really turned into a butt-load of questions, but it's something we need to work on, we suppose. At least for the sake of our relationship.

Overall today ended up feeling like falling into a deep hole...with anger and sadness at the bottom.

~et al

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hot Dogs In A Jar? [link]

Hot Dogs In A Jar?

We ended the day to sore and pissed off to deal with writing two entries, so our post today resides on our travelogue blog, Our Frank Adventures, and is indeed about hot dogs in a jar, and we're not talking little canned cocktail wieners you get in North America (Vienna sausages) that are often in BBQ, or tomato sauce...

The Link:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Multiple Personality Disorder In The Movies

*may contain spoilers*

'United States of Tara', 'Fight Club, Me, Myself & Irene', 'Sybil', 'Frankie and Alice*', 'The Ward', 'Primal Fear', 'Psycho' (to a degree**), 'Three Faces of Eve', 'Secret Window', 'Raising Cain, Becker', 'Heros'. All these have something in common. They are films (and some television programs) that portray, or in one episode of more, Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder. There are indeed more to list, ones we have never even heard of let alone watched, but we've chosen some that we've at least heard of to list here.

We get questions from followers on Twitter about some of the films/programs that have characters with DID/MPD, primarily United States of Tara. We know they ask because they want to know what it's like to live with it or what it looks like on the outside, and if the portrayal is accurate. Of the list provided we have only seen five of them (the ones in bold). We didn't hear about 'United States of Tara' until after we had met Marisa (of @IAmTheCrew) on Twitter this past Spring (2011). Given our experiences (complete breakdowns after a couple entries) with reading bits of the couple of blogs of people we believe have the same disorder we have, including Marisa's old one (which she still maintains at:, and watching 'The Ward', we don't think it's a good idea to watch 'United States of Tara'...yet. Marisa would agree; and actually, if you want a perspective on the show from a [mostly] recovered Multiple check out her recent blog entries: [look for her January 24th & 25th entries to start] she has written a couple entries about her opinion on the show.

As far as the films we
have seen?

We've seen '
Fight Club' countless times, though had never put together that he was dealing with multiple personalities. Strange, we know. Once we realized it this last year we felt pretty dumb. We love the movie though, always have. Maybe because of the way it was portrayed, and our own experiences, we didn't really put it together. Or maybe we were protecting ourselves (not uncommon for mental blocks like that). Yes, having out of body experiences is not uncommon for people with DID/MPD, but it's not quite the same as what we saw in the film. Not sure how to put our finger on it really.

Me, Myself and Irene', not one of Jim Carrey's best films, also it wasn't very realistic, obviously, being a comedy and all. It's just a silly movie, not trying to be serious at all. We've only seen it a couple of times, it's not on our list of top films starring Carrey in the very least.

The Ward', we wrote a review on that one the night we watched it, a few months ago. Let's just say the film got us emotionally charged, and while it was a great horror film, well...we had personal issues with it.

Primal Fear' (Warning: this portion contains a spoiler) is a brilliant film starring Edward Norton, who is an amazing actor. Norton's character achieved the best portrayal of the disorder we have ever seen in film (as far as a "switch" can sometimes go), unfortunate since it turned out in the end that his character was faking, but it is stands as a testament to his amazing acting ability.

Psycho**', was a strange one we found in a list, and we didn't really get the DID/MPD link without a prompt from Wikipedia touching on Norman Bates' dissociation and internalization of the character of his mother. A little odd, but not completely out of the ball park - as far as the dissociation goes, not necessarily the violent psychopathic personality of Norman's character. Psychopathy is a separate disorder of it's own.

The thing we liked best about 'The Ward' was that it broke the stereotypical portray of the disorder as two sides of a coin, one good/one evil, or one side prudish/one side whorish, or one shy/one outgoing, the stereotype that DID, for a lack of a better word, is expressed in polar opposites. That's not necessarily how Dissocitive Disorder expresses itself. Each personality is it's own entity, able to express a wide array of emotions, sometimes contradicting, with their own memory and memory patterns.

For instance, with us when it comes to emotional traits (putting aside all the other various traits), Cassandra is more prone to sadness, this does not mean she is always sad, or "down"; Frank is more serious, but that does not mean she is not sometimes light hearted or funny; Catherine is more paranoid than the rest, but that does not mean she is always scared, or distrusts everybody; Each of us are our own person, with fully developed personalities and identities. It is similar with many people who have DID/MPD. The only one of our "others" that is more or less a fragment, not completely developed, is Emmie - mostly because she is never given much chance to fulfill her potential, last time James (The Boyfriend) spent time with her he told her he wanted to get to know her more, and her only response had been "What's to know?" and she shrugged it off, nobody has ever really been interested in her, except for sex; James had started to help her before we left to move in with The Mother the end of last year, but she's disappeared for awhile. We could go on of what we know of the other of our et al, but this blog entry is not the place.  

From the few films we have seen and synopsis of films regarding the portrayal of Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder, they seem to be stuck in the flipping of a coin version, when in reality it's a bag full of coins, all with their own characteristics. What they portray in films seems to be more of a portrayal of most normal people, but an exaggeration, one way or another. |For example, you have your work self, and your home self, and perhaps your social self, all of them are slightly different but at the core you have the same belief system, the same morals, the same level of learning, the same level of knowledge, the same memories - which is not the case with advanced dissociative disorders. Your alter ego may be a slut, but "she" and "you" likely share the same views/memories/feelings, you just hide that small part of you when necessary, and can control it (hopefully).

Our biggest gripe in film, at the end of the day, is that they don't manage to
 portray the mentally ill in a positive light (from all the films we've seen*) - the woman who drowned her children/kills her husband always has manic depression/bipolar disorder ('Shutter Island', for example), the killer who is nice part of the time is always a maniac, with multiple personality disorder/dissociative identity disorders, or some mood disorder that they feel compelled to mention in the film, as if it lends clarity and meaning to the mindless acts...there are countless examples. People don't need to be "mentally ill" to be angry, bad, violent people, though some may argue that in itself qualifies some sort of mental illness, we think it qualifies being human. Everyone is different (that doesn't make hurting others okay though, some of us would argue).

So, DID/MPD in the movies, our view.

We won't get into books, mostly because, to my knowledge, we've never read a single one that dealt with the subject of 
multiple personaluty disorder. James has been reading a couple, but he finds them really hard to get through (emotionally, and also because the writing is sometimes not the best).

~ et al

*it was humorous to us (and pissed at least one of us off) that there was a movie about a woman who had DID and her name was Frankie in it (
Frankie & Alice), and it was. We didn't read the synopsis until today, but the film is apparently based on a true story. We will surely be watching this film in the future. If anyone reading our blog has seen this, or any of the other more serious films/programs, please comment with your opinion in the section below, we would love to hear what people think about the films. Prepare us -please no spoilers.

Notable links on this blog about symptoms of DID/MPD:
'Personality Vs. Dissociative Disorders
'The "D" in Dissociation there is shit tons to read on here...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jet Lagged

A "re-print" from today's blog post on Our Frank Adventures.
Last time we taveled to Europe, a couple of years ago we had no jet lag, that we can remember. It's not even possible for us to have had it as we left from roughly the same time zone, and we arrived at roughly the same time into Amsterdam, rented a car, and drove to Germany, sure we were tired, we got lost looking for the hotel so it was even longer before we could sleep, then we got up early and hit the road - on THAT trip we had a schedule to keep - and the rest of the trip was getting up early in the morning, being busy all day, and then to bed at a "decent" hour.

Now we find ourselves alternating between not being able to sleep at all (like the night before), and not falling asleep until after 1am - not unusual when we were back in America, but that was 1am American/home time, which is roughly 7pm - and sleeping about 14-16 hours a day. Meaning we're getting up at 2:30pm local (8:30am American/home). It's like we're sleeping in a swing-shift pattern. Not convenient if you want to get things done, or feel particularly healthy, and much of the area closes around 5 or 6 pm. 

Granted it's damn cold, we can still see our breath as we travel through the living room to the kitchen, and that drives us to want to remain beneath the pile of warm blankets, but come on.

Other signs of jet lag, besides sleep disruption all relate to digestion (we will spare you details), hunger, and other body functions. It's hard to tell if always being cold is because we are a woman, or if it's because it's so chilly in the flat. James seems to be fairly comfortable most of the time. Jumping when we touch him with our icicle-like hands.

We've been making sure to get exercise when we are awake though, it's about a 3 mile trip, round trip, into the city center where we have been going each day (yesterday we did it twice), and when we don't do that it's another 3+ mile round trip to most other places. That should be helping us, but it's hard to kick that excessive sleeping.

We've only been here 5 or 6 days though, so maybe that will change? We really didn't think jet lang lasted this long.

James got work today, it may be only one day of it, but he might be offered a month, and it's pretty great pay, so that means we'll get a little more than two hours of heat a day! We're really excited he got a job, for so many reasons, because it'll be good for him to be away from us a few hours a day (and we him) but also we can now take some trips into London, and further North into England (and Scotland), to see the sights, learn some more history (by the way, who needs a travel guide when you have a mobile phone with wireless!) take photos to share will you, our readers, try local foods and restaurants and visit some friends in England!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here We Are, Yeah?

So. Here we are. In England, eh? Hey? Yeah?
Canada, United States, England...all proper ways to end a sentence, respectively, of course.

The language is funny here in England, where we have landed for the time being, in an interesting way, and we love words, so it's probably more interesting than it ought to be, and we're learning a wack of new ones, and new terminology/slang - though one of us has read our fair share of British chick-lit
(the best kind of chick-lit, if you're into that sort of crap), so we're "hip" to some of the words we're encountering.

Last night we layed in bed, unable to sleep, tons of things going on in our head, like a three-ring circus. One of us thinks she can speak with an English accent quite well...even though we refused to let it travel across our lips. James of course, being aware we were tossing and turning from all the "stuff in the head", inquired as to what the sentence was.

You wanna know?

Sure ya don't...but we'll tell you anyway!

"Bloody 'ell, yer a proper wanker, ain't ya" (American Translation: "Holy fuck, you're a perfect jerk-off, aren't you?")
Fun, right? Yeah, not when it's being repeated in your head until 5am followed by "See, I can speak with an English accent"...sadly, when
I try to say it out loud (I did, once, okay...), it doesn't work. Clearly I can't speak with an English accent.

Anyway. We've been occupying ourselves nicely...last night we had so much going on,  like a small child running around in our brain, touching everything and saying "Oh, this, this is cool!" *runs in another direction* "This, this is fun!" *runs in another direction*...ricocheting off of ideas, trying to chat. A six year old with ADD lives in our head (okay,she probably doesn't have ADD, she's just a normal 6 year old...) and when she is awake, she is hard to "send to bed".

I was unable to harness her, but it was entertaining...just wish it hadn't been between the hours of 1am and 5am. Dissociative Identity Disorder isn't always torture (only when it is), just ask
@IAmTheCrew and @Elrobso, two of our longtime followers, and "sufferers" of Dissociative Identity Disorder, one recovered, one loving life with his others (we, in Frankland, hate the word sufferers, it makes us, and disadvantaged, or something) learn to make the best of what is best, and deal with the rest.

We're never bored at least, there's always that. Even if we didn't have each other for company it's hard to understand people being bored anyway, though; but
we've written about that before, the silliness of the concept of boredom. There's too much to learn, to try, to explore, on the internet alone...for anyone to be bored.

On the whole "mental illness" front (we don't think of it as an illness, more of an issue), and travel, we're doing pretty well, all things considered. Only one time on the plane did one of experience a surreal, "How did I get
here?!" moment, which passed quickly with the touch of James' hand. 

We had a bout of homesickness yesterday (yesterday?), which isn't abnormal for normal human beings, and of course Cass (I call her that) was all pissy pants the other day (as per her ugly angry blog rant), the only thing that comes to mind is The Girl That Kicks The Hornets Nest, when I think of that entry...the title, not the book itself. We haven't read that yet. We did watch the original Swedish film, based on the first of that series, called 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' [2009] a couple of weeks ago - it's a great film, but it's subtitles (or dubbed) so, it's not for everyone.

Ramble ramble ramble. Off track. I do that. Oopsie.

Anyway. Day 6. What more can we say? Not much, so far. Yes, we're in England. No, it's
not a vacation (anymore than being unemployed in North American is), we are just living in England, for about four months (until April). We haven't got a fridge in the flat...yet, so that sucks. Once we do you'll be reading all about cooking adventures in our little converted kitchen, until we have to move (the flat sale could go through any day really) We wrote about food in England today - which is way better than expected, the food, not the writing - namely sausages, on our you can probably check that out.


Fucked Up Layout

Currently something is wrong with the layout on this's shoved all of our sidebars to the bottom, even though there is adequate space. We've fiddled with's not working. We'll have to contact Blogger, which is a process, because they operate in a forum capacity only (hard to find an e-mail address to a tech support).

We're having general problems with it today. Might look into a real website soon.


Until then...until we can fix the layout, no new posts.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An Angry Angry Rant

*Please note, a separate entry was made on our travelogue today: Worth The Weight In Pounds?

An unexamined life is not worth living for a human being. ~ Socrates.

Right off. I cussed a lot in this entry. I, me, Cassandra usually don't like to cuss much. But..well...this is just a filthy angry entry.
I had a great post about anger running through my head this morning, mostly because the pain in my neck, back and hips was making me see red and I could not sleep after a few hours of laying in bed, so all I had was time to lay and think, words running through my head, rolling and repeating in waves, trying to stick so that later, when I could get to a laptop and type without freezing my fingers, they could travel onto the page smoothly. Didn't happen. We wandered around the city this morning with James, our third day here, before heading to the library to write, and I just ended up getting pissed off at the lack of spatial awareness people have, and lost most of our entry into the cloudy English sky. And the rest dissipated with increasing anger trying to suppress our rage at loud and rude people in the library.
I'm feeling quite angry today. It shows on our face, according to James. We hope he realizes it doesn't have much to do with him. I adore him a lot, and don't like when he thinks I am upset at him when I am not.

Anger is viewed as a negative, generally...especially when people don't really understand it. (American Psychological Association: Anger Other Girl spent almost her entire life trying to control as much of our anger as possible, keeping it in, absorbing it...not surprisingly, since she is now gone, it's managed to seep out, the damn broke a little over a year ago, and now it's roll in and learn about. We are not thrilled, as a whole. It's spreading across our personalities, for some of us it is an uncomfortable feeling, a foreign emotion, and it makes us uneasy.
Anger. It can bubble up to the surface, it can come from physical and mental ailments, from displeasure with ones situation in life, from 
atrocities done to, and by others, whether they be in close relationships, in ones own country, or the world in general...or it can come from dealing with just plain ignorant fucking people.
It's not uncommon for people to cause anger in others just by being themselves 
(you only need to read Twitter to get a glimpse of that reality). In our opinion, the people who get angered by others view the public, those people they are angry at, at best, as sheep...and the very best...lemmings. Why lemmings at the very best? Mostly because lemmings will follow all the rest over a cliff, and sheep, well, sheep will stand there and let you herd them, no questions asked. And who wouldn't love to watch a cascade of lemmings over the edge of a cliff.
The irony, of course...
In both of these examples, sheep, lemmings, are living beings, lets call them humans, who walk around in a state of bliss, not paying attention to anything, doing as they are told, or whatever the status quo of normal is, believing everything they are told; and while they may be self absorbed, they do not have any inquiry into life, or themselves....they are only concerned with their superficial well being as it pertains to a very immediate surface, they do not try to search for reason. For example, they do not encounter an angry person and think "Gee, they must have something bad going on in their life to be so angry. I wonder if they are okay."...rather they think "Why is he angry at me?!" Like it's all about them. People usually don't give a fuck unless they think it has something to do with them, or will affect them negatively, and why should they? Really. But they shouldn't be surprised about the anger of people who do give a fuck about a lot of things, or have a lot of personal reasons to feel anger. It's a natural emotion of a healthy human being.

Some people, of course, go about life being angry for no reason. They are not in pain, physically or mentally (
other than the anger itself), they have had a relatively normal, easy life, are not angered about the happenings of the world (because they don't even know what is going on) are economically comfortable as far as most people in the world would conclude and are probably just a self-entitled brat. 
I are not here to rage on the spoiled. Some would definitely consider us spoiled, and we would be a boob to disagree 100%, we can afford travel...mostly because we try not to spend money on things we do not need (excess clothing, drugs, alcohol, restaurants, entertainment) - it doesn't always work, this time it did, but the mere fact that we had a choice on what to spend our money on, that makes us a bit spoiled.

Anyway, people who are angry for absolutely no reason are generally assholes (
and yes, sometimes we are an asshole) and should probably do some work on trying to figure out why they are a miserable sod. That was the eventual point to all of what was rolling around in the hurricane of a brain system this morning. Every day can't be coherent.

Yeah. This entry did not go exactly where I wanted it to. Fuck. Perhaps I am just agitated because it feels like someone had a punching war with our back, the pain radiating into our knees, up into our neck. I don't deal well with pain, and it's always worse in the cold. 
Perhaps I am just ranting spoiled angry girl rants - I am not usually the angry one, I don't like being angry - because I miss our bed, our beautiful pillow top king sized bed we were luckily enough to purchase a few years ago, a splurge by The Other Girl, because people spend a third of their life in bed (some more than others, of course), and a good bed is paramount to good health, and because our chronic pain already sucks the life out of us some days, a good bed does wonders for our mental health. I'm not meaning to sound ungrateful for the bed James has provided us at his flat (a ten year old queen sized, no box spring...I swear at least one spring is broken on my side), we are grateful we are with him here in the UK in the first place. These are just matters of fact. 
I'm whiny. I'm more whiny than the rest of us. There's another fact. Sorry. Probably. For being me.
My head feels all fucked up.

We'll have internet soon at the flat...a great rate too. That's what we wrote about in the entry we mentioned at the top of this one...
Worth The Weight In Pounds? 

~A very disgruntled Cassandra (& et al)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

When we desire an adventure, we get an adventure, apparently.

We arrived in a town of North Essex, an area of southern England, south east of London, after being awake for nearly 24 hours. We lucked out on both flights, the first flight arrived an hour early to Chicago -O`Hare Airport after catching a mad tailwind, and the second arrived well over 30 minutes before it's scheduled arrival time to London-Heathrow.  Roughly an hour and a half after meeting a friend of the family for ride, we were dropped off at James flat, a split-level structure; a condo which is what is called a flat in England (same goes for apartments).

A chilly rain had set in, and as we got into the flat James realized there was no heat and no electric, so despite not having slept in a over a day, we walked into town, a roughly 25 minute walk one way, where we put money on the gas card. It's not uncommon for gas service to be prepaid and activated with a card in England, money being deposited on a card the size of a credit card, which is then slid into the meter when gas is needed.

We walked around town, despite the drizzle, James pointing out all the little shops that are his favourite, buying some apples, bananas, instant coffee, eggs, bread and a butter "spread", and about four hours later we arrived back at the flat. As James made several attempts to get the pilot lit on the boiler, to get the heat started, I set out about the flat finding candles to bring to the bedroom, since not only would the candles provide some light, particularly after I set them in front of a mirror I had found in the bathroom, but with the door closed to the bedroom the candles would put off at least a bit of heat for the night, handy since it looked like we not going to have heat for the night.

It wasn't particularly cold outside, but the flat had been sat empty for nearly four months now, and so it was frigid and damp. I crawled under the available blankets we had placed on the mattress that had been left on the floor of the bedroom, my legs and back aching from the usual physical problems, travel and the cold; while James continued to work on the pilot light, watching my breath hang in the air, a fog backlit by candle light. It reminded me of childhood. 

Our home until we were thirteen year old, growing up on a farm outside a small town in the northern part of the United States, was heated in the winter primarily by a wood cook stove, not having enough family income to use fuel all winter long. At night the fire was sometimes left to burn out, and the house, poorly insulated, would become a deep freeze. Literally. We can recall on several occasion waking up to a frozen glass of water on the night stand, after falling asleep wearing a winter jacket, mittens and knitted cap to bed to stay warm. Who knew that such a thing would have prepared us for a trip to Europe over 20 years later.

We are lucky to being with though, having a place to stay at all right now.

James flat had been for sale for months, and he had finally gotten a buyer the weeks leading up to joining us in North America in September. The foreign buyer had told him he could leave things in the flat as-is and he would clean it up after the sale, but the lawyer has been lazy completing the paperwork, and four months later the flat sale still has not been completed; so at least we have a place to stay, with a bed, a stove, running water, and a small amount of house wares, in the meantime, that is free (aside from the heat and electric, once it is in working order) and private.

James managed to get the stove top lit, but was not able to find the key for the electric. In England the electricity is activated by using a key provided by the electric company, a key that James no longer had wince the box had been changed after he moved out. Electricity, by the way, is what powers the boiler, so there was no heat for the first night and morning at all, meaning no hot water either. 

The flat was short on blankets last night, it was hard to locate the heaviest one in the near darkness, but luckily James had the smarts to bring a hot water bottle in his luggage, and he actually enjoys cuddling (even when we don't), so he was not at all upset later when we had to lay close to share body heat.

While we snuggled with the hot water bottle, and tried to warm up James side of the bed a little with it, the blankets pulled up over our nose, James set out to find some of the food he had remaining in the flat. I had found a jar of red sauce earlier and he remembered a large bag of pasta somewhere in the kitchen, and so he made a bit of dinner.

As we huddled on the bed next to James, sharing a bowl of spiral pasta  with a light Bolognese sauce, we joked with him how we were lucky we had allowed Cassandra to gain us 10-15 pounds over the last few months because had we been the weight we were last year this time, we would have been far worse off in trying to get our body to create and maintain any sort of body heat. 

James, of course, was, and is, upset. He wanted us to have a great first day. We tried to make light of the situation, both because we didn't want him to feel bad, and also because we're tough, and sure it was uncomfortable, but most of us are not a princess.

"At least it will be memorable" I beamed at him, poking him in the face with my finger lovingly.

We went to sleep fairly early, and awoke around midnight. James had just woken up and he was worried and fretting, holding him tightly I said reassuring things to him in attempt to calm him. Not really that tired he grabbed a nearby candle and picked up where he had left off reading to us on the plane from a book called The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

We managed to get sleepy after a couple of chapters and fell asleep wrapped in James arms. Waking this morning mostly refreshed from sleep but not at all anxious to crawl from beneath the blankets, warm with a night of body heat, we felt slightly less optimistic, but resolved to a good mood.

Finally after an hour we managed to crawl out of bed, sponge wash with a cloth and water boiled on the stove, and for breakfast instant coffee and an apple we had purchased last night from an outdoor market. Outdoor markets are an occurrence in many towns, nearly three times a week you can buy any number of types of goods from small stalls set up along the street; the fruit and vegetable rival grocery store produce prices.

We walked into town today, passing swans bathing in a stream, and an old Roman castle, the sun made a brief appearance lighting up the splendid Europe architecture and the green all over the town. Its winter in England, which means the leaves have all fallen from the trees, but the grass remains vibrant, and many of the tree trunks are covered in thin layer of moss. As soon as we are settled a bit more we plan to spend several days photographing the city.

We went to the library, passing several types of shops on the old cobbled roads of the inner town. The bakeries smell intoxicating, the restaurants beckon. It will be several weeks before we can afford to allow ourselves a treat, but we have already started a wish-list. There are no malls here; no giant box stores; though there is a Staples store and a McDonalds along the “big drag” which is a heavily used roadway only one lane wide (wide being an exaggeration in Europe when talking about a street or road of any sort in a town or city) in each direction, most other chain restaurants and stores are few and small, and wedged between locally owned specialty stores each unique in it's own right. 

We came to the library today because we were not able to write at the flat, the electricity should be turned on this evening so we can write from our laptop, and we may have internet access via tethering from a cell phone later, but who can be sure.

We could just keep writing. There's so much to say, about the beauty of this place, the 
interesting sights, the expensive prices, the worry we have looking at the next four months here,  particularly after the flat sale is final, and the fears we have if James doesn't find a job fast enough, but there is plenty of time for that, and we're anxious to go see if the electricity will work, there's no 100% guarantee.

Meanwhile, the British seem to have a poor concept of whispering, at least at this library, it’s pissing us off nicely - James said we are free to tell them to shut up, but we're not ready to let everyone know we're not "one of them", though you can tell just by looking at us. Something about the way the English look is very..."English". They also pay little attention to the people around them when they walk, which honestly is not uncommon of most American either - lacking awareness of their surrounds. 

Observing the locals, and listening to them interact with each other, is great; they all have thicker "more British" accents than James, and it's like being in a British film. We are constantly giggle silently to ourselves. Now where is Simon Peg?

~ Frank & et al

Please note, for the time being our travel entries will be written here, and copied to our other blog, Our Frank Adventures, where eventually all of the entries regarding our travel adventures for the next 12 or more months will be solely be entered.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bon Voyage! the time you read this we'll be on a plane to England.
See you later, USA...

(Never mind the irony John Denver died in a plane crash)

For the rest of you, readers, we'll be back online (writing here, and on Twitter, Facebook and Google+) as soon as we get some wireless service in England. We hope it's no more than 24-48 hours.

This gives you plenty of time to catch up on a crap load of our entries.

~Frank et al

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Censored. The More You Know.

We can't help but be passionate about this...
Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on
The petition:

Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on

sorry about the advertisement before the CNN report :-s

Read: 'Wikipedia, other websites go dark in anti-piracy bill protest'

More Information:
'H.R.3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act'

Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on
The petition:

The only other country where this sort of legislation has passed is Communist China. STOP Republican CONGRESS.
Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on

The petition:

If we don't start stop them from taking away our rights soon, they'll never stop.

Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on

From the White House, they do not support the bills in their entirety:
While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet. Source, read it all here:
There's no vote date in place, after being put on delay last Friday.

Stop this from happening. Read. Learn. Sign. Pass it on
The petition: