Friday, August 31, 2012

The "Crazy" Guy In The Garage...Part II

We wrote about him months ago, before our trip to England with James.

Right before we left this person, this "crazy guy" in the garage,  was admitted to a mental hospital

A few months later, upon our return, we got to find out how he has progressed with his medications.

The Stepdad said "crazy guy" had gone off his medications, because of the cost involved. Even though this man makes plenty of money at his job, he still could not see the benefit of medication he needed,  because, among other things, he is not mentally well.

He started substituting alcohol for his medications, which can sometimes feel better, but doesn't do the same job as medications. Even though we are usually against medications, in the case of diagnosed schizophrenia we are supportive of such medications.

This last couple of weeks this young man got admitted, again, not by The Stepdad and The Mother,  this time by his family (because it is hard to admit a person in the United States if you are not family) to a mental facility.

He has since been released.

He is here every day again. Literally. This house is his second home.

Tonight James worked several hours with him. All the while this man, on medication for schizophrenia, and other disorders, was drinking heavily.

"He can't drink on those! He shouldn't be driving" we told James, after inquiring as to the whereabouts of The Mother and The Stepfather, and finding out they had went to follow him home, just to make sure he would be safe.

James can tell this man is not taking his medication. When a person is schizophrenic you can tell. This young man (he is probably near our age), for whatever reason, has decided to not take his meds. Again. Less than a week after being released from a mental health facility.

It doesn't help he has a bit of a learning disability.

Yes, he works. A surprising amount of people who suffer from schizophrenia work. It's a common misconception that people with "severe" mental illness can't/don't work.

When we were diagnosed with the same disorder, over ten year ago, we were monitored by the hospital/medical professionals. The same should be done for this man.

We only write this tonight to help us, if anybody, realize the lack of care that has developed in the United States in regard to mental health; an almost revolving door response to mental health care, as medications grow increasingly popular...and real care decreases.

This man, a nice young man, with a smile on his face, is mentally ill. The people around him can tell. He has been admitted to mental hospitals twice in less than a year, yet no professional seems to be monitoring him. He has to depend on people who care about him, some times reluctantly, and tirelessly, to make sure he is safe.

It's just another thing that makes us sad.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

In Response...

We are pretty active on Facebook. Despite family member following us there, just like they do on Twitter, we see no reason to hide who we are, how we feel, what we think...

In an open comment (we make some of our stuff private, accessible to different layers/groups of people we trust on Facebook) we stated the following; and we thought it worth putting here, considering our most recent blog post; and because this is our journal, our notebook, the tracking of our life. It is what it is, as always, read it, or don't...you are a free person.

"We Are Totally Spazzing Out.

We were never taught to NOT care about people.
We were raised never caring about money. We were raised poor.

All of a sudden it feels like the people who taught us that are wrong, because they don't care about people, now that they have money, and the people aren't the same as them.

It feels confusing.

Sorry if we are wrong, we are being honest about how we feel. And we are sad."

A friend responded to our post, expressing his ill feeling, and so we replied with what is probably a little too impassioned response, but it is true, honest, and ours:

"We feel...like this is not the country we grew up in, it is not the country we had pride in...the last time we felt really proud of this country was in 2004..that was the last time. Everything since then has been so greed ridden, and self-interest motivated, and nobody [is] willing to change their ignorant stances. This is an ugly election year, filled with ugly. It's dragging us in. It's seducing us. We can not keep our mouth shut when confronted with blatant lies and misinformation. Greed. Hatred of people. Cloaked in what is supposed to be accepting and loving principles. It's disturbing the shreds of our soul, it makes our heart ache, our stomach queasy, our body ache with fear.

Seriously. It's disgusting us to the very core of our being. Who do people think they are, to tell others who they are, what they should do with their body, how they should live their life.

This is no longer the America of our youth, it's not America at all. It's some warped Hell created by people who think THEY are God."


Image Source
We didn't watch the Republican National Convention Tonight, the rhetoric from the first drawn-out night was enough. We know their stance, and while some of us may vary on opinions, at the core we know what is right, what is wrong, and the lies.

While we may be confronted with more lies, the night we flip the channel to the Democratic National Convention, we know the people there have more compassion for people, for society, for American standards, for the ideals this country was founded on and has progressed towards, and so the pill will be easier to swallow...the lies a bit more soft... the Devil we know, a little more accommodating than the one with Red in his eyes, and his trident on the pocketbook of the middle and lower class.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Political Debate: The Sins of Another

We made the mistake of watching the Republican National Convention last night, like a train wreck we couldn't turn away.

One doesn't really need to watch it to know the flavour of Kool-Aid they are touting, but one does have to have the ability of critical thinking and an open mind to see through their misleading propaganda.

The biggest problem we personally have with the GOP (Republicans) is the basic principles they say they stand for, versus the principles they express is reality. The misleading messages and lies they cloak themselves in to hide their self-interest. While up there on the podium, preaching "their word", Chris Christi, (R) Governor of New Jersey, banged on, not saying much of true value in our opinion, dropping words like Freedom and Truth, like many of the speakers preceding him that night.

They pick and choose Freedoms others are allowed to exercise while using Christian religion as the basis of judging people, based on their fear of the world, backing them with lies about wanting equality for everyone. They mean their own freedoms, and their own equality, among people who are like them.
24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. - Mathew 19:24 (New Testament)
Just like the many reasons we left Christianity, these are similar reasons we chose not to be a Republican any longer. False alignment.

A political party who says, or insinuates, that they are based on Christian principles, but uses it as a means of controlling the personal decisions of people in the country; you need only listen to how many times they mention God in their speeches to infer their intended message; are not to be trusted. They do not adhere to the principles of Christianity, it is not the underlying responsibility of a human to judge another human for what they conceive as sins.

For all intent and purpose the world views Republicans as the "Christian" party. While their new president elect, and VP are not Christian - Mormonism and Roman Catholicism are not Christian Religions, as a matter of fact in our teens we took a several week course about cults in our Baptist Church, and Mormonism was a topic for one Sunday's class. Eighteen years ago our paster talked about Mormonism in terms of it being a cult. To be fair, organized religion, by definition, is a cult, no matter who their figure head may be. The Republicans would be hard pressed to mention any of it, however, lest they upset their voter base, which is primarily Christian.

But we're not really concerned about the religious choice of our president, or president elect. Religion is not the end-all and be-all to being a good person. Far from it, as we see it.

The Bible actually teaches forgiveness, tolerance, unconditional love. Teaches people should be more like Jesus was. That people will be judged in heaven for your "sins". It is not up to flesh and blood people on earth to judge each other for what they deem sins. No sin is held higher than any other. All sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord.

Conversely, it also teaches hatred, intolerance, and revenge. It teaches whatever you want it to teach. It's rife with loopholes, scripts that contradict each other, even within the same Testament.

We discussed politics and religion when visiting Baby Brother a couple weeks ago. As a young Christian the things he sees, which is the destruction of the public opinion of his religion through politics, angers him.

For example: In a church he attended, before he decided he did not need church to be a good person and live a good life, he told of a family. The adult son and daughter of a family where members of the church (you actually have to go through a process to be considered a member, showing up isn't usually enough). The daughter came out as a lesbian, and the church stripped her of her church membership; meanwhile, the unmarried son was living with a woman with whom he was in a sexual relationship. Both of these things are sins. They are equal sins. But the church turned their eye to the sons indiscretion.

In churches across the country men and women judge others, meanwhile they commit sins of adultly, child abuse, lust, sloth and gluttony (obesity), they support wrath with a toothy vengeance (war), envy those who have more, all the while being proud of being a Christian (pride is a sin). Who are they to judge. Who are they to make laws on their judgement.
1 Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why behold you the speck that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?
4 Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the speck out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? - Mathew 7: 1-4 (New Testament)
Yes, all people are sinners. Churches are FULL of sinners, just like the entire world. Nobody is morally better than anybody else, so equally there is no favour, there is only love and acceptance, humble guidance.
If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement. - James 2:3-12 (New Testament)
Back to the givers and takers of freedom.
Back to the sayers of false truth.
Back to the Christian Republican Right, in all their judging glory.

Okay, that may seem like a harsh generalization, and we're not judging. There are probably some Christian Republican Right Wingers who are decent people. There are, actually, Our Father is one; and while we may not agree on many issues, and we think he may be going into this next election thinking he is voting for someone who is not who he thinks he is, the same can be said for anyone voting. All politician are prone to lying, what they are lying about is the important bit; and all politicians play politics, they are politicians, their job is to play politics. Their job is not to lie, nor is it to judge, their job is to protect the people of this country, protect their rights and freedom, protect the way of life. Their responsibility is to truth, and justice. Not finger pointing and name calling.

They preach Freedom, they preach Truth. Certainly their idea of truth is skewed, you need only read official government documents, watch interviews, read history books, review statistics, use common sense, educate yourself, learn how the government works, to conclude how incorrect their accusations against the opposition generally are; because they are.

Furthermore, when people say America has so much freedom, what freedoms are they talking about, and what are they comparing it to? The freedom of other developed countries match, if not occasionally exceed that of The United States.

Which freedoms?

- Freedom of Speech? You mean where you can be detained if you say the wrong factual thing in opposition to your government (most popular in the Bush era), but lying is not illegal if you have enough money to support your lies, or your lies benefit someone of high power. Freedom of speech, if you can afford it.
- Freedom of Religion? Means you are not persecuted for having different religious beliefs, or having none. It means in this country, The United States of America, there should be no "official" religion, neither should there be a requirement to be religious; people who live a life not aligned with the morals of someone else's religious belief should not be persecuted, given that one's way of life should not impede on the personal freedom, safety and rights of others.
- Freedom of a woman to make her personal reproductive decisions regarding her body? They don't support it. They put something that is hers, that does not fully exist, before her.
- Freedom of exercising inalienable rights, like the right to marry another consenting adult, no matter their sex. They don't support that Freedom either.
- Freedom to fair and affordable healthcare coverage? They don't support that either.

One simple example:
They don't support the rights of a woman to make choices with her body, that are hers to make. Rather they alienate her rights by forcing her into a decision based on their religious beliefs, because they say an unborn fetus has rights, and abortion is a sin.
UNTIL the child is born and the mother can't afford to care for it properly, can't afford proper housing, healthcare, healthy food, a safe environment and needs to be on public assistance; a system they do not fully support in the first place.
UNTIL that child grows up and is gay, and then the child, now an adult, doesn't have the freedom to marry another consenting adult who they love, if they are the same sex. In many states they can't even adopt (same-sex partner adoption is permitted in 10 of the lower 48 sates*, and the District of Columbia) because they are not deemed worthy enough to care for a child that somebody was forced to give birth to, and did not want. There are millions of children to be adopted in the world.
Rights, UNTIL they are a woman who made a mistake, and got pregnant and doesn't want to, or isn't ready to be a mother, or maybe got raped. Then that child, who is now an adult, has no rights.

They don't support things that help you live a happy healthy way of life the way you want to live it. They don't support your personal interests. So, how again, is that protection of equal rights and freedom?

We know what you're thinking. We mention women's rights, her right to choose, our support of abortion a lot when it comes to politics, and freedom. We must be trying to defend ourselves somehow for a choice we made, because otherwise why would we care about it. No, we have never had an abortion. We have never been pregnant. Honestly, abortion is a choice we would never make for us. We simply don't believe it is our responsibility to tell people what they can or can't do with their body if their decision is not harming the public. We are pro-choice, because we are pro-freedom.

I digress. Women's rights are a hot button issue this election season, and being a women who feel like their uterus is going to be the property of someone else, it makes me scared for the future of woman.

Back to the point.

The decisions that some politicians are trying to make for the public are taking away their civil rights, the inalienable rights of free-will. The rights this country was founded on. (No, it was not founded on religion, in part it was founded on religious rights, the rights to choose  which religion to follow, and the right to choose none.

The United State is a developed country, is supposed to be. The things that set developed countries apart from undeveloped countries, aside from economy and technological advancements, is the civil rights policies.

You remember Civil Rights? We've only been fighting for them in the USA since before the 1850's; with the Declaration of Sentiment (for women's rights) penned by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848; less than 100 years (72 years as a matter of fact) after we became The United States of America [July 4th, 1776] after fighting the Revolutionary War; a war fought for political freedom, and that had nothing to do with forcing your religious values on other people; a war that followed what is called American Enlightenment and had everything to do with a movement towards people being (supposedly) being tolerant, equal and accepted.

Other things that set apart third-world countries from developed ones is good government regulation when it comes to practices that affect it's citizen, not less government in your pocketbook and more in your bedroom. If someone lives a gay lifestyle, that does not harm YOU. If a woman makes a choice with her body, it does not harm YOU. If someone wants to exercise their opinion through free speech, it does not harm YOU. If someone want's to live a life free of religious rule, that does not harm YOU.

Making rules about how people choose to live their life is not American, it is not an example of Freedom, it is not equal rights. Supporting people who want to take away the very ideals that this country was based on, wants to strip it of it's humanitarian advancements.
That's not Christian.
That's not American.
That's not even human.

~ Frank et al
-------------------------------------------
Notes and Resources
Note: We use the term "sin" to illustrate our point. As a non-believer we do not believe in sin as a Christian, that doesn't mean we don't grasp the concept. We believe there is being a good person, or not being a good person. To us a good person involves certain levels of tolerance, freedom, mercy and kindness. We use the bible as illustration. It is a historical book, and to us no more, or less, important than any other history book that details the common thought and practice of a certain era.

*California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • American Enlightenment Thought, Shane J. Ralston, Pennsylvania Stat University, IEP, November 1, 2011 http://www.iep.utm.edu/amer-enl/
  • Religious Freedom: The Other Revolution, Carl L Becker, Archiving Early America, Summer/Fall 2003,  http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/2003_summer_fall/religious_freedom.htm
  • Jailed For Their Words: When Freespeech Died in Wartime America, Videohttp://www.seditionproject.net/jailed.html
  • The United States Myths...and their facts, Rey Barry, http://www.freewarehof.org/speech.htm

    As always, read, research, cross-reference, study. We're not always right, nobody is. Read! Not just the internet, read books, magazines, newspapers.
    Our blog posts that cover current events, politics, religion, opinion...almost anything that isn't about our personal life, are jumping off points for your own intellectual inquiry, and are our attempt at growing a better understanding of our views and opinions.
Other Religious and Political Jumping Points By Us:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Want: A Poem

Do you want lyrical music,
Maybe paintings and art,
or pornographic images of food.

Do you want letters typed out,
one by one, simple, straightforward
and from the heart.

Do you want smiles, giggles.
raw bloody honesty;
Maybe you want smarts.

Knowing is a start.

---------------------------
Just random off the cuff poetry. For fun. Words for our friends.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Busy Body

The good news is the house remains on the market.

The bad news is we still have at least two weeks to wait until we can put an offer on.

In the meantime, amidst a giant community garage sale, we will be canning MORE tomatoes...in case you wondered about our general lack of blog entries, and sanity.

Canning has been taxing on our back, but it's been a good test of our ability to withstand it next year, with our own garden and farm.

We could use a injection of some sort of foam between our vertebra, to make up for all the degenerating and desiccated disks. And a new set of shoulders/shoulder blades. And a new neck. And a tight strap around our skull.
Or affordable health insurance for our pre-existing condition, and some tranquillizer pain killers.

What's a body to do.

Push on, through the pain. it's all that life really is, in some way or another.

Now, back to the canning!

Update, 6:31pm:
Four hours of picking, washing, blanching, peeling, cooking, and canning...
- 4 quarts canned whole tomatoes
- 5 quarts tomato sauce with fresh basil
- 3 pints tomato sauce with fresh basil

The spoils of the day:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Slipping Away

Slipping from our grasp is our dream property (Weeping Willow).
Disappointment is hard to mask, it's been coming in waves as we try to discuss with James the positive sides to the property in second running.

We won't get into too much detail, but we have news today about it...and we wait to hear more, but it is not promising.

Once we tried to explain to The Mother what it was like, why we keep waiting for this particular property, because there is another property we could be fairly happy with, not three miles from the one we have been waiting months for, and we are sure she wonders why we just don't put an offer on that one (even though it is half the acreage, and the house is half the square footage, and the property itself, half as enchanting). We still wanted to wait for the Weeping Willow property, because love.

"Imagine you are in love with a man, and for some reason you can't have him, you can't be with him, so you compromise and you date a guy who is by all means amazing, and you know you could be perfectly happy with him forever.
Imagine you'd still have to see the man you love every week, or be near him, everyday.
That's why we haven't given up on the Weeping Willow property."

While it may not be the best analogy, it's how we feel when we think about giving up on the property too soon. That's what we think about when we think of throwing all our chips in and going with the "second best" property immediately, before it too is gone. The one we always loved, all along, will be right there...and what if we jump too soon, and the pending offer on the property falls through, and we have to know...if we had just waited.

This is one of those times when life will force the hand, however. As far as we can tell the house is off the market as of today, sale pending. While this happened to the property we have in second running, and it ended up back on the market, we almost can't afford to be that hopeful...but until the ink is dry and we get word of it, we will still wait, like a desperate lover waiting for their soul mate.

So, in the meantime, we fret. There has been tears, and not just from us. A missive disappointment...but for the next few days we hold onto the hope, even as it slips away.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Weekend

We had an amazing weekend. Saturday we drove to Baby Brother's place, five hours away, where we spent two nights.

During our visit we were amazed, over and over, about the man he has become. He is a rational mix of everything that we hoped he would become. He is amazing to us. Concious, sensitive and rational about of social issues, yet his same Christian self. Clearly a great husband to his beautiful Christian wife. He has become an example of everything that people should be. Even if we ourselves do not follow the same spiritual path, a history in it makes us appreciate and respect that part of him.
The Father should be proud of the independent Christian man he has raised.

Sunday we met The Father in the town/city near where we, and James, have been looking at property to buy...the future home of our farm. We viewed the three properties which we will be putting offers on in under three weeks. The future is so close.

Sunday night we spent the last night at Baby Brother's house, an hour south of the place we hope to settle. Though we are different in many aspects, we are so much the same. We are proud of who he is.

Tonight Angry Brother, his wife, and his step-son are in house. Family canning at The Mother's has begun. During the day we process the vegetables we can while she is at work, but tonight there is help. The garden is exploding with goodness, and for the next two week we will barely be able to keep up.

We are in a strange place, mentally, right now. Happy...yet yearning for freedom, independence...and our future.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Core Suppression In DID

Note: This entry is specifically for a reader who e-mailed us this weekend seeking advice, (we'll call her "M") but is, of course, for anybody to read.

Whenever we get e-mailed questions (about religion, DID, other mental health issues, etc.) that require a very long answer, we generally choose to respond by writing a blog post. The reasoning is if someone out in the wide world of the internet has a specific question, so might others; rather than answer many e-mails, we choose to cover the topic in a post. For some of us e-mails are growing just as dreadful as phone calls. (That doesn't mean you should stop sending them, of course)

In addition, then, by posting an entry all people get the same information from the one(s) of us who choose to answer the question. It helps with consistency of information in the case that one of us may not be as articulate (we have varying abilities), or may not even bother to answer an e-mail in a desire to not help people - some of us are not helpful, do not like people, would prefer other people would figure stuff out on their own, like we did (in short, selfish brats) - so rather than writing the same information over and over, we provide the answers here for ease and consistency.

If you are not familiar with the ins and outs of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) the content of this entry, as well as some of this blog, may seem unusual to you. If you want to learn more we have provided a set of links, as well as a list of terminology, at the end of this entry (though you can easily locate them all over the blog).

We've been asked, by an alter* of a system* who lives their life with acknowledged DID, advice on suppressing thier core*, specifically theirs. The reason this reader has asked for our advice is that we have written a lot, while not in detail (yet), about eliminating (not just suppressing or integrating) our core, which took place in the Fall of 2010 through early Spring of 2011.

In this entry we will use "suppress" to mean restrain, as opposed to put an end to, which in my vocabulary is "eliminate".


First, I want to state right away that it is not advisable to attempt these types of things without the help of an exterior support system of some kind (such as trusted family/friends), and perhaps a mental health professional (highly recommended). Also, this information, while based on personal experience, is not to be used to take place of any recommendations/instructions from any mental health professional. That's my attempt at legal ass covering. There's more of a disclaimer at the end of this entry.

Second, while elimination of our core , The Other Girl, as we have referred to her throughout this blog, was done by us, with some mental health support of a good friends (Fabulous Person) and little else; we do not recommend trying it, or any variations of it, on your own. The results of dismantling the core of your system can be very dangerous, can cause additional mental and psychological harm, confusion and chaos among alters, and may even result in self-harm by some alters leading to things like suicide and permanent physical damage.

When someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder talks about their core, if they are able to (core/alter awareness varies among systems), they are talking about the one who makes many of the decisions for the system. The core is in control much of the time, is the "first born" of the system (as far is understood by the system), is born into the body inhabited by all the alters (the system) is often who the outside world knows the system to be in a singular sense. Also, since many, if not all of the alters share a legal identity, the core is therefore the one who bears the brunt of most of the bad decisions made, that includes employment and legal matters, financial issues, and all relationships and social issues - particularly if they have not "come out" to people in their life. It is not unusual for alters to go missing for any stretch of time after they have done something displeasing in the eyes of the core while in executive* position.

There are some benefits to suppressing, or even integrating, a core if it's required/needed. We don't recommend elimination, except in cases of severe system distress.

Times when it may be/feel necessary, especially in the eyes of strong independent alters, are on when the core exerts too much pressure on the other personalities; may be overly controlling; may not let them be acknowledged either by each other, or in general; may not be allowing them to live in a healthy cooperatively constructive manor; may be damaging to the system in some way or another, such as in the way they live, make money, form relationships. In some cases the core may be trying to eliminate members of the system, which is scary stuff to those alters who feel like they will be pushed out, or "die". Just as any person may fear death, each individual of the system has the same fears.

Three Forms of Core (or Alter) Control


Suppression - we have very little experience with suppressing a core/alter, as most of us were the ones being suppressed. What we can suggest is communication among the alters and core to find common ground and maybe a better understanding or balance.
Integration - integration of a core/alter is where other alters absorb memories of the core, and often inherit traits, skills and other positive aspects (if done correctly), while removing the negative aspects. Essentially the core/alter removed will no longer exist as them, rather be part of another alter.
Elimination - the destruction and removal of a core/alter, sometimes many memories, and commonly traits, skills, and some bases of knowledge may be eliminated along with the core. The core/alter will no longer exist, and no part of them remains with the system.

There is speculation, even among some professionals, that none of these methods are 100% effective and that there is no true way to eliminate, or integrate, cores or alters. 

If there are no huge cooperation issues within the system, if there are no negative aspects that need to be dealt with, or any major difficulties living life productively and a system can work well together, there is never any real reason to suppress, integrate or eliminate anybody from the system. Not to mention you must always have a replacement for your core, someone who is willing to make important decisions. Preferably an adult alter.

Cooperative systems in Dissociative Identity Disorder can be a very healthy way of living, as after many years they have become a system of support. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a coping mechanism, a function created by the brain out of childhood trauma (read more here: Treating and Curing Dissociative Identity Disorder); but again, some professionals say it's not healthy, some say it is.

We've talked to mental health professionals who have worked with patience seeking assistance and therapy for DID, or have colleagues who have - it is not uncommon for one, or several, alters to have "other" mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, personality disorders, etc. - that say that there are other DID systems who have eliminated their core, as we have, in order to lead a happier more productive life. We also know of integrated systems. There are also cooperative systems who make lives of many, in the body of one, work for them.

So, some may wonder...how. How does one go about elimination of a core? (or perhaps, an alter)

I do plan on getting us to write in detail the story and events which took place that ultimately allowed us to overpower our core and eliminate her. As there are no same two ways to achieve integration or elimination of a core/alter - we've asked some who have experience with it professionally, as well as personally, and each process was done differently - we are not sharing all the details here today. Our process was a very sensitive, sexually graphic, sometimes violent, embarrassing, and emotionally raw story, and for some of us a painful and mentally draining final chapter to the story of our past. We have been trying to work our way towards it, and I promise, we will write about it one day.


Image Source
In general detail the elimination of our core involved systematic system/alter-initiated and system/alter-inflicted mental, physical, emotional abuse to our core by our own doing; as well as the implementation of the help of another person, a man who we wrote about often in this blog (commonly known as Fuck Face) during that time. He, of course, had no idea what role he was playing at the time, but it was a very important one. Without his help, would have been nearly impossible.

In short, two of our strongest (and oldest) alters, Frank [myself] and Emmie, spearheaded a torture campaign for several months to mentally break down our core. She was a very proud woman who, not surprisingly, was also very weak, and so we did things that resulted in her destruction.

In the end she died riddled with emotional pain and sadness, the loud screaming of her soul echoing off the walls as she lay curled on the kitchen floor sobbing, in the city we previously called home.

While we didn't all come out of it unscathed, it was the price we paid to gain the freedom we all desired. We would do it again.

So, "M" (and anyone else who thinks to garner tips/advice from this post),
We DO NOT recommend doing any of the things we did. Please do not torture your core, or any of your alters. The only safe way to achieve your goal is to think of peaceful ways, mentally and physically, in which you can rid yourself of the issue.
Looking back on it, while we do not regret any of it, looking at it from the completed process we see where many things could have went terribly wrong (more wrong than already did!) and could have lead to another mental hospital, or even death. Or even worse things.
We wish you luck, however, in the event you are successful be aware that it may cause chaos, further discontent, job lose, lose of friendships and important relationships, and unforeseen problems, in your life.

~ Frank (et al)
--------------------------------------------------------
*Dissociative Identity Disorder Terminology
Personality Specifics
Alter: alter states, selves, parts (a subjective term); distinct personalities; fragments alternate personality, personality state, ego state or identity with its own unique perspectives, abilities, memories or other traits that differ from the Host or Executive personality.
The Core: The original birth personality.
Host: is the alter personality who dominates the control of the body most of the time and is often unaware of the other personalities. The host is usually the alter personality who will initiate after experiencing symptoms of mental distress, such as, anxiety, triggers or recovered memories.
Executive: When a personality (alter ego) has control of the body.
Switch: To switch from one personality to another. The process of an alter coming out from the subconscious mind into the consciousness mind while the other alter (who was already in the consciousness mind) slips back into the subconscious mind.
Who's out? A common question used to determine which personality is executive or host.
Co-conscious(ness): A state of being aware of what the other personalities are doing and saying.

Other Terms:
Acquired: Anything that is not present at birth but develops some time later. In medicine, the word "acquired" implies "new" or "added." An acquired condition is "new" in the sense that it is not genetic (inherited) and "added" in the sense that was not present at birth.
Triggers: Conversion symptoms or body memories. Physical phenomenon such as pain, smells, tastes, etc.; reaction to stimuli; sometimes causing a re-experience.
Dissociation: In psychology and psychiatry, a perceived detachment of the mind from the emotional state or even from the body. Dissociation is characterized by a sense of the world as a dreamlike or unreal place and may be accompanied by poor memory of the specific events, which in severe form is known as dissociative amnesia.
Re-live: A total memory recall (includes visual, emotional, physical and all other senses).
Losing Time: Also known as a Dissociative Fugue, is the period of which an alter personality is in the subconscious mind and has no recollection of the time that is being utilized by the alter personality who is occupying the conscious mind. Therefore when the alter switches into the conscious mind they realize that minutes, hours, days, or even months and years have passed since they were last aware of time.
System: is the structure of relationships between the alter personalities who live within the internal world of a survivor with D.I.D.! Every system is created and operates in it's own unique way, just like every family living in their own homes run their households different from the next door neighbor.
Inner (Self) Helper: is usually the alter personality who has a good understanding of the system and how it works. The I.S.H. is also among the typical group of helpers or protector personalities.
Grounding: is the process of disrupting a dissociative episode and is accomplished by tugging on an earlobe, rubbing the hands together, or shuffling the feet back and forth. This type of physical stimuli can bring the survivors mind back to awareness of their surroundings, and helps to make them feel less animated.

Recommended For Further Understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder - written by many of us:


--------------------------------------------------------
This website and its contents are for educational (and sometimes entertainment) purposes, advocacy, writing therapy, and the journalling of our personal life only. The information provided on this website should not be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating a medical/psychiatric illness. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a mental health problem, you should consult a mental health professional.

Dissociative Disorder Information Recommended Online Resources:
· DSMIV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition) http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevision/Pages/DissociativeDisorders.aspx
· NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Dissociative_Disorders.htm
· All Psych

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pain Locus

A busy and happy productive day.
But now.
The Pain.

It ebbs and flows in most of our days (some of us have higher pain thresholds and don't feel it as much), but when it finds it's mark, it strikes and sinks it's teeth in.

It becomes a locus of misery stretching from skull to tail-bone.

Pain that knocks us on our ass, bring tears to our eyes as our head yearns for the tabletop, and the struggle to cope invades our mind.

Pain medications rarely cure.

There must be a new weather system approaching. Fall approaches.

Uggg.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Busy Times and Backaches

Warning: this post contains a swear word *feigns shock*
Busy day.

We actually got up by alarm clock today. It's been awhile for that. It's been almost a year (come October), from my recollection.

James had a government appointment (they wanted his fingerprints), and we ran errands. Once he is finally cleared to stay in the United States we'll be sharing with everyone the steps it takes to be a resident (not a citizen) of the United States. There's a lot. We'd (probably) never do a similar deed. But, well...we suck; but people who look down on permanent residents (people here, legally, from foreign countries) - well, they suck even more.
People actually PAY crazy money (more than $5,000 to do it right the first time) and go through tons of hoops and paperwork to be in this country. As far as we can tell, despite this being our home country, and therefore it is HOME, it is not any better than other developed countries we have lived in. You should respect immigrants.

In addition to the two and a half hour round-trip, for a 5 minute appointment, we ran errands locally, picked stuff from one of The Mother's gardens - she has two, one is offsite (not at the house), they total 3,600 sq feet - and canned a bunch of produce that has been backing up.
But who wants to read an entry about gardening and food, right? (fuck you)

Tomorrow's agenda is more canning: beets, more green tomato mincemeat, and another first, Mango Chutney. James' favourite sandwich from a shop back home is Melted Brie and Bacon, and it has Mango Chutney spread on it, so we're going to learn to make it, one of a few things we'll be learning to make over the next year to help chase his homesick blues away.

We'll keep you posted on our recipe creations where that is concerned. It makes us feel like our culinary arts education is not going to waste.

We tried a new recipe today, we'll save sharing for another day.

This weekend we'll be going to see Baby Brother, and then The Father, who will hopefully help us look at our newest property find....we won't jinx it with too many details yet.

Busy times.

We've had a mid-back backache for nearly 24 hours now, we never should have started in the kitchen this afternoon when we got home from errands with the nagging pain already present, now it's growing worse, and we're getting (more) irritable...so it's time for a Gin break.

Cheers to Thursday.

~ Frank (et al)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yesterdays

All that is needed to know about yesterday (we had a tough relationship day yesterday) is the stress of our living conditions sometimes has an effect on James. Not that he dislikes living with The Mother - but he's a 36 year old adult man, and is living in the United States because he loves us, and wants to be with us, not because he desired at any point to move to the United States. Quite the contrary, actually. Plus all the other factors, like he's not allowed to work (yet). He's so far away from the home he knows and loves (England), even though he's here now, and we will build a home together, it doesn't yet feel like home for him.

There are also thing about being in a relationship with someone who has DID that aren't always easy - according to him...*shrugs*....we don't always understand, because we think we're as normal as females are, generally speaking.
We're written about some of the issues before (we're pretty sure), and so has he, when he used to blog.

We still don't think we're worth it, and some of us know we aren't.

It can be very lonely for him here, he had gone off Twitter about eight months ago for various reasons, much to our displeasure, because being in a fairly remote area of the United States Twitter is a real form of socializing for us, and him. Not to mention all the people he knows are either in England, or on Twitter.

Last night James (The Boyfriend) decided to come back to Twitter again, for a few reasons. We hope he stays this time, but he's got short patience for people on the site, especially in regards to how they interact with us, but hopefully being back with his own group of friends there will overshadow the bad parts.

Meanwhile, we're taking a road trip again this weekend to look at a new piece of real estate that hit the market today. We can't stop looking just because we're waiting on the one we have had our eye on, that needs to reduce in price a bit more...it's been two months since something has come on the market in our specifications range, so we have to try and keep our mind open to the possibilities that are presented. We're still hopeful for the Weeping Willow property, but we have to stay realistic...and we only have about another month or so before we have to move out of The Mother's house. So there's that.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Recap

After messing up our toe running through the yard late-afternoon Saturday, we didn't feel very computer friendly for the entirety of yesterday. More achy, tired and upset than being social or creative.

We were trying to go help The Stepdad, The Mother, Angry Brother and James lift a framed wall on the shed being built in the yard, we rammed our middle toe into a concrete foundation screw trying to rush, and ripped it up. We weren't wearing shoes, so obviously it was our dumb fault. It could have been worse, we could have stepped ON the screw we didn't see poking out...any number of them, really.

So we didn't accomplish anything after that, except sitting around.

We did makes some Salsa that finished in the canner right before our foot accident.


We named it 'Bite You In The Ass Gently' Salsa. Our own (new) recipe using roasted mole peppers, jalapeños, green peppers, garlic, onions, lemon juice, vinegar, a dash of cumin, and dehydrated shredded carrots (for a little sweetness)...and of course lots of garden fresh concassé* tomatoes.

We imagine, after a healthy downpour yesterday, that the tomatoes will be pooping with blood red juiciness at astounding rates, and we'll be doing a lot more canning of them this week to keep up - otherwise they go bad on the vine, or the fruit flies in the house will multiply, driving us crazy.
--------------------------------------------------

*Concassé, a method we learned in culinary school, is the process of dipping tomatoes in hot water to remove the skin and seeds. We tend to leave the pips (seeds), to add a little more fiber to what we are making - unless it's better to remove them for a visual reasons.

We found this really straight forward video, if you want to see how it's done.



Friday, August 10, 2012

Productive Day

It's Friday. Have a drink. Listen to some music. It's summer...kick back.

We've been canning yummy food all day, pickled banana peppers, garden fresh tomato sauce, green tomato mincemeat. Green tomato mincemeat is a great use for tomatoes from a plant inflicted by blight, which is a fungal infection that becomes a problem as the tomato turns red and looks like this:


There are a couple of plants, of the many dozen, that have been producing tomatoes like this, so we figured we cut them to the quick, pick them green and make a mincemeat - a mixture of (sometimes, green tomatoes) raisins, apples, spices, lemon and orange zest, sugar, and vinegar. Mincemeat is commonly used in pies and pastries (it grew out of fashion some time ago, but is popular in Europe, and likely in the south). Also, we learned tonight, it's GREAT with plain, unsweetened, yogurt.

So...it's been a productive day:

4 pints pickled banana peppers
2 pints experimental cucumber pickles (we're developing some canning recipes)
5 pints garden fresh tomato sauce
6 pints green tomato mincemeat

Some of the production! Our tomato sauce!
Now, we kick back, listen to some Van Morrison (and many other artists) and enjoy a refreshment, or two...or three.



The point is, relax, it's summer...and it's coming to an end. We saw Halloween displays being set up at Menards (a local building/home improvement store) yesterday. Talk about scary.

Happy Friday, world.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Extended Sentence

The sentence of living with The Mother has been extended a month more, at least (calling it a sentence is not nice).

The property price was decreased this week, but it needs to decrease one more time, by roughly the same amount, before we can put our final offer on it, and then, if they say no, we'll have to kiss our dream goodbye (or nip and tuck it to recreate it in a different place). We've been waiting two months now. Two LONG months.

We've been a little down about it. Okay. A LOT down about it. Laying in bed and trying not to cry. Staring at the wall and trying to disappear. Eating our emotions. Drinking too much.

It hasn't been all bad, but it's getting more and more difficult. Being dissociative helps, helps spread it out. In an hour, a day, a week, we won't be bothered by it...until one of us is bothered by it.

It's not that living with The Mother, again, is wholly unpleasant, but we can tell they (her and the Stepdad) wish we'd find a place, though they also support us waiting for the property to decrease in price...because it's the ONE, and it's just going to take patience...it would be nice to start our life with James on adult terms soon.

And that's all we have for today. That and this huge bottle of gin.

~ Frankie (et al)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lyrical Honey To Our Ears

Image Source
While trying to come up with something to post today, we received a notice that our favourite band, British folk band, Mumford & Sons, had just posted a new video on their YouTube channel. Hurriedly we clicked over to behold their newest song/video, part of the the to-be-released CD 'Babel', coming out September 24, 2012. And here we present it to you.

Though nowhere NEAR as captivating as The Cave, or Dustbowl Dance, both from their first CD 'Sign No More', songs that literally comforted us in times of sheer desperation and personal struggle, I Will Wait is nonetheless lyrical honey to our ears. Lead singer-songwriter to Mumford & Sons, Ben Lovett, has a smooth inviting, yet rough and folksy voice, that when mixed with compelling and emotional lyrics paints a picture that can transfix and sooth a soul.

Check out their new song I Will Wait. 



You can also check out more Mumford & Sons on their website:
http://www.mumfordandsons.com/home
on their MySpace channel: http://www.myspace.com/mumfordandsons
on Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/music/Mumford+&+Sons
on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mumfordandsons
and, of course...
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/MumfordOfficial

Monday, August 6, 2012

Zucchini Coming Out Our Ears

The Mother's garden is beginning to explode with produce, despite the dry and hot conditions the Midwest has been experiencing this summer, her gardens are starting to pump out tomatoes, eggplant (or, as they are called Europe, aubergine), zucchini (courgettes, in Europe), cucumbers, peppers, beans, peas...if you ask us there is far too many vegetables, we can barely eat and preserve them fast enough.

Yesterday, confronted with a giant bowl of shredded zucchini, we decided to do a little baking. We ended up with half a large bowl of shredded carrots too, leftover from last years gardening, that had been kept over the many months in a cool dark refrigerator and periodically repackaged in order to remove ones that had gone bad, preventing them from compromising the others. Add some over ripe bananas (the BEST kind for banana bread, hands down) and we had a palate of ingredients we could turn into works of tasty art.

So we set to work baking, and in the middle researched pickled zucchini recipes because low and behold, after shredding the eight large zucchini, four more appeared in the kitchen...

We found a few zucchini recipes, and tailoried one to meet our ingredient needs, thereby creating our very own zucchini and carrot bread recipe...which you can locate below. It's super low in fat, as there is no oil or butter in the recipe, simply two eggs, a very healthy fat.

The oven filled with large, and mini, loaves of our creations













(we also made a zucchini-raisin, and a carrot-banana bread, all of them tastier than the next)

Zucchini (courgettes) is a squash that is ready in the summer, as opposed to others like pumpkin and acorn, which are typically ready in the fall. Zucchini it generally better when smaller in size, about 7" or less in length, and are great simply sliced and fried in butter with some garlic, as well as added to many other dishes (vegetable lasagne for instance). Sometimes they grow fast, and before you know it they can be GIANT. Some can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length, and while you can still fry them, and use them in other dishes, at that point they tend to be a bit more fibrous, which affect the texture after they are fried/cooked, and start to produce large seeds inside, which makes them great for scooping, cutting into chunks and shredding, but to the picky eater, no longer has the desired firmer texture of a young zucchini.

Alternatively you could also scoop out the halves, stuff them with different mixtures and bake them.
Or slice them and dehydrate them to use as snacks, or for storing and rehydrate for using in winter soups and stews. There is just so much you can do...and we'll be finding more creative uses for them, because we can't eat that many baked goods...and they are coming out our ears.

In addition there is a growing number of other produce waiting to be processed, dried, pickled, canned, frozen and otherwise preserved.

For instance, today we canned some green beans, a recipe we may share after we taste them in three weeks. Hint. They don't have dill, but instead basil in the ingredient list. Canned pickled vegetables are best after a couple of weeks. 

Next week we will start on canning whole tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, and making green tomato mincemeat (great in pie!).

Anyway, if we aren't writing much these coming days it's because we're creating again...this time foodstuff. Distractions such as these are good, they make us feel balanced and healthy.

The following is our Zucchini Carrot Bread Recipe, most of these types of recipes call for a half, or more, cup of oil or butter, this one has neither, making it low in fat. This recipe is also light on processed sugar, and is therefore not as sweet as one might expect.

If you want to fancy up your creation and make a special breakfast or dessert, after it is cooled slice it and treat it like plain bread by make a super special French toast! Dip the about four slices in a mix of 3 eggs, 1/4 milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and fry both sides until browned to desired doneness.
Serve with butter, real maple syrup, and a bit of whipped cream. Maybe some chocolate shavings.
There. Now we've made it unhealthy for you.
Want it a little healthier? Omit the butter and use yogurt, instead of whipped cream for a tangy sweet treat.
Make enough for two, and eat in bed for breakfast with someone special. They'll come back for more of all you have to offer.
We made some in muffin form too.
They cook in half the time.
We'd like to say you'll eat less by making them this way...but you won't.

Frankie’s Zucchini Carrot Bread
3.5 c flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
2 eggs
12 oz evaporated milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ c brown sugar
1 c zucchini, shredded
1 c carrots, shredded

- Preheat oven to 350° Celsius
- Grease an 8 x 4 (or similar size) loaf pan. (pan spray works well, especially if you want to reduce the calories even more)
- Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
- Whisk together all wet ingredients.
- Quickly fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.*
- Place mixed ingredients into the greased loaf pan. The mix will be a little dryer than most quick bread mixes, but it still should easily come out of the bowl, and into the loaf pan, with relative ease.
- Bake in preheated oven for about an hour, start checking with a large toothpick or knife after about 45 minutes by inserting it into the top of the center of the loaf. It should come out relatively clean, with dry, not wet, crumbs, if any, adhering to the knife.

*Note: when making quick bread it's important not to overwork the mix, so try to incorporate the ingredients without too much stirring. Stirring activated the gluten in the mix and will make for a more dense, less delicate, crumb. If you like it to be a bit more chewy (we don't mind it sometimes) then it's not a big deal.

We wish we could send you some.

Hope you enjoy! If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We Get Graphic II

Oh, us?

We've been working on t-shirt designs the last few days, it's a good distraction from drinking and stressing out, and dissipates some of our anxiety (if only temporarily), especially since it's been hard to find a comfortable enough place to paint...until the pain from sitting intently at the computer complies with the regular, and we open a bottle of wine.

We've done five new designs over the last couple of days, plus this one with 5 variations.


This one is our favourite new one:

We've also sold our VERY FIRST item from the store (to a social media friend from California)! Three shot glasses with the 'Be Heard' graphic.

It's just a fun way to spend time while we wait for the property we are waiting on to drop in price again.

You can find our complete collection, just about 30 designs, at: http://www.cafepress.com/justcallmefrank

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Letting Go


Sometimes you have to let go of people, not because they have wronged you, or because they have died, not because you don't care about them, but because they refuse to acknowledge the present, and keep a hold onto the past, a past you feel is unhealthy to hang on to, because they cannot deal with a "variation" of you, that do not include the person they once knew you to be.

Our birthday (though not acknowledged by the majority of us) was Tuesday. We got a Facebook message from an old friend wishing us Happy Birthday. A friend we hadn't seen, or even spoken to her, since LAST JUNE, when she was in town for a visit, so imagine our surprise a year later...

We read the message, twice, put it out of our mind (while it sat and intermittently nagged in the background all day) and then promptly forgot about it when we retired to the basement to eat cupcakes James had made us, while we watched a movie ('Jeff, Who Lives At Home', not a bad movie for those who like more independent type films) we had put it out of our mind, eerily easy for us to do for long periods of time...until we opened our e-mail yesterday and received the following message:

"I miss you! I miss you more than words can possibly express.... I want to wish you, [TOG] a Happy Birthday. I still believe with all my soul that you are here. I LOVE you." ...the message said.

Sweet, right? Beautiful, right?

Except the message wasn't for any of us, it was for TOG...long gone TOG.

We tried to figure out how we could possibly explain the feeling we had, what could we use to describe this...thing...

Aside from paranoia, we also felt sadness...

Imagine, for a minute, you decided to change your life.
Say you were...an alcoholic, and so were all of your friends.
Or a drug user, as was everyone you knew.
A Christian, but now you are a non-believer.
Sane/"normal"...but now...not so much.
(obviously there are a number of other examples)

Imagine you have taken the steps to remove the elements from your life that caused you harm, pain, unhappiness, problems...you did everything, maybe you didn't do it right, but you did the things you needed to do to create closure within, to right the things wrong that had happened.

For all intent and purpose, that part of you that the people you knew: the alcoholic, drug user, Christian, "normal"...that part, is gone. Dead. No more. In fact, you can never have another drink, be near a drug, suspend disbelief, deny who you are...

Yet, those from your past refuse to acknowledge the change in you, or in our case... acknowledge any of us.

Like a slap in the face, you don't exist.

We know it sounds extreme, but are we going to sugar coat our feelings, come up with false ways to describe the feelings? Of course not.

Despite it not being most of ours' birthday (lets not discuss that odd detail...today), and maybe she didn't create the message to hurt any of us, but the feeling it inspired was dejection.

She may very well be reading this. The chances are likely, as almost every person who knew TOG knows how to find our blog/e-mail/Facebook account...everything...many even know where to find us offline.

If you are reading, we're sorry for sharing your e-mail message here (but also, this is why things are anonymous with many of the people we write about here).
And if you are reading, Partner In Crime.
May of us do miss you. We're also ashamed of the things we did to you, and we're uncomfortable with being called TOG's name, and we're...so many different people, and the one you love, the one you can't let go of? She's gone. Even if somewhere in the recesses she exists, she's not welcome here, in our new life.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Guest Blogger Writes About Anger


We are infinitely lucky that when we just don`t have the words in us for a decent blog entry (for days), we have a guest blogger who has had our back over the last year.

Most people who have been reading this blog awhile are familiar with the guest blogging of Kerry Stott, who works for the NHS in the field of mental health (England's National Health Service), and is a published author, friend, and so much more. (check out her website: http://kerrystott.com/)

We deal with a lot of anger in our day-to-day life (some days more than others), much of it is released on pages of empty Word documents, filtered into poetry and other literary genres, and released in the form of art (painting, drawing, graphic design), on days we can manage; like with many of our emotions.

We own our anger as much as we can, at least on the days we understand where it is coming from (not always the case)...we think; and, like Kerry, we understand it to be a healthy emotion if used constructively.

In any case, we'll let Kerry cover the rest... 
Anger


I am angry.  I am an angry woman.  I think I was born this way.  I feel my rage course through my veins like acid, and like acid it corrodes all good feelings and erodes all the kind words that I have inside me.  I try to keep a lid on it, I try to suppress this angry demon that rules my head, heart and thoughts but sometimes it is uncontrollable and it rips its way out of me through my words and actions, leaving me feeling shame faced afterwards.

I rediscovered that I was an angry person 5 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I had spent many years deliberately making my short fuse longer and longer until people, even those who knew me well, didn't know I had a foul temper.  Anyone who is placed under enough stress will revert back to type - be that angry, needy, shy; whatever type.  Since that time, I have been able to control my temper but not to the same extent that I was able to pre-cancer.  Is this a bad thing?  Is being angry so terrible?

Letting people know that I am angry certainly helps me get my point across at work.  When I am in big meetings I am able to channel it and focus it to a positive end.  Letting my family know that I am feeling angry (preferably before I explode) allows them to give me a wide birth.  Personally treating me with kid gloves when I have a stomp on is not a good idea because it then gives me the message that this type of behaviour is ok, which it is not.  We have come up with a system of me letting them know when I am angry and then going and working out, normally kick boxing, until the anger subsides, that is how I control it.  It may work for some but not for others.

Why do we get angry and what purpose does it serve?

I was taught that anger is a secondary emotion.  We are always angry because of something.  This might be fear, shame (a very powerful emotion), worry, humiliation, someone having a different moral stance to your own.  All of these, and other reasons perpetuate and propel an angry emotional response.  I spent the first 2 years of my nursing career working in prison and there were a lot of angry men there.  The type of anger that they displayed was destructive and would eat them up, consume them without them realising that they were throwing away family, friends, and opportunities because of the anger.  We ran an anger management course and there was a thinking skills program within the prison but I found that none of this worked.  Both programs used a cognitive behavioural approach.  Some of the mental health team felt that the anger management did not work because the prisoners' personality was already set and that by that stage there was nothing that could be done. I felt that this was a rather doom and gloom perspective.  I do not think that anything is hopeless or beyond help but perhaps I am just an optimist.  On the other hand, what was the motivation to join and participate in the group?  Generally they would go on these courses so that they could tick off a box for their probation officer, so I guess that their motivation to change was not as strong as it could be.

So if a cognitive behavioural therapy apparently has limited success, what does work?  Well, the first thing that has to happen and this is a given no matter what approach you try, is that you would have to want to change.  You have to want to change, to not want life to carry on how it is.  Once you get to this stage, then, and only then are you open to ideas.

"When we are upset, it's easy to blame others. However, the true cause of our feelings is within us. For example, imagine yourself as a glass of water. Now imagine past negative experiences as sediment at the bottom of your glass. Next, think of others as spoons. When one stirs, the sediment clouds your water. It may appear that the spoon caused the water to cloud - but if there were no sediment, the water would remain clear no matter what. The key, then, is to identify our sediment and actively work to remove it." - Josei Toda

Since starting to write this piece I have asked my twitter followers on whether they think that it is acceptable to be 'that' angry.  I have been very interested in their responses.  Some people have described the type of anger that I have written about above.  The all consuming rage that destroys people.  Others have described anger that motivates and pulls people out of a situation.  One person described about having the best rugby games when they were angry as it propelled him to play a greater game.  Another described that greats act of heroism on the battle field are a mixture of fear and anger.  I know that when a family member was not receiving the level of care in A and E I thought that they should be getting, I (very politely) went off at the deep end and then they got the care that they needed. So anger can be a useful tool.

This leads me to wonder when it is appropriate to be angry and how that can be shown in public?  It is socially acceptable for a mother to be angry and aggressive when her children are in danger.  Father's are allowed to be angry if their family or home is threatened.  Violence is often tolerated or at least not frowned upon in these circumstances.  Where the line is between being angry when it is acceptable and when it is not is very situational and differs greatly from person to person. 

As a group we make judgements based on ‘gut’ reactions, on what feels right; generally without exploring it further.  Mostly these ‘gut’ reactions are layers of morals and norms that we have been taught as being ‘right’ over the course of our lifetimes.  Whether these are right or not is subject to introspection and reflection.  I suspect that a country’s laws are a good guide for what is acceptable. However, this blog is, by its nature, too brief to fully explore societal norms for ager as they differ from culture to culture and from one country to another. 

If, as an individual, you suddenly find that friends avoid you, that people don't want to hang out with you or point out that you are a foul tempered grumpy old bastard, I would think that this is a rule of thumb that you may need to do something about your anger. Having supportive family and friends is great but when it comes to anger...sometimes I think honesty is the best policy as most angry people that I have met don't know how their anger affects others around them. There are anger management programs out there, plenty, but like I said before, you have to want to stop being that angry person.

Kerry x (@kerrystott)

Useful websites:

Other guest entries by Kerry...