The Passover Lamb

This is a picture of a stained glass ornament that was made by my sister, Greta Hanesworth. It is hanging in front of the window in my office where I do my writing. Jesus face looks like he has tears in his eyes, which was an accident that occurred when it was fired in the kiln. The glass was soldered together first and then the face was painted on. The final step was firing it in the kiln.

The Face of Jesus

This particular “Face of Jesus” was never used in the full window, which took almost a year to make and was installed in a church in southeastern Ohio. The face sat around alone in the art studio for about a year and then I  asked Greta if I could have it. She never said anything until my birthday last year, when she gave me the face with the pretty round frame. It is beautiful and the face of Jesus is very special to me and inspires me often.

I wish everyone a Blessed Easter and I hope this picture adds joy and inspiration to your day.

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The First Day of Spring…or Bip?

Is anyone else glad the spring is coming in two days? I am.

My sister and her husband live next door and they have a beautiful male cat. Surprisingly, the cat was named for a sound he makes …. “bip.” Yes, this pretty gray and white cat makes a sound like he swallowed a clock. He makes this sound when he is happy, and if you listen very closely you can hear him bipping. Kind of like purring, but not.

All during the summer months, Bip loves to be outside. His favorite thing to do is walk around the pond and make his way to the edge of the woods. He will sit with his face to the woods for very long periods of time, watching for small critters to come into the yard. I’m sorry to say that he likes to play around with these little creatures until he kills them. It’s not very nice, and I have tried to tell him, but he just doesn’t listen.

During the winter months I missed seeing Bip on his rounds. Day after day, it was freezing cold and snowy, and Bip doesn’t like to get cold feet, excuse me, cold paws. He hasn’t walked around the edge of the woods for months, and who could blame him.

However, today I saw him sitting with his nose toward the woods. That is a good sign that spring is actually coming. Plus, he only missed the First Day of Spring by two days. It is Thursday March 20th. So I am nominating Bip as the new harbinger of spring. Move over Punxsutawney Phil, even though you are a very famous groundhog, you only tell us if there are going to be six more weeks of winter.

Make room for a timely cat to signal The First Day of Spring.

Wait until next year if you must. When spring comes to southeast Ohio, if you can find our house, you will see a gray and white cat sitting with his nose to the woods in our backyard. Plus, if you’re really quiet, you can hear him bip.

HAPPY SPRING!

PS. Please forgive me for not blogging for so long. I was waiting for my fingers to thaw.

Today is Multiple Personality Day

March 5th is National Multiple Personality Day. Here’s a suggestion for having a good day:

Tell someone you trust about your diagnosis. The first time I told a dear friend, I was really worried she would freak out and never speak to me again, but I was wrong. She listened intently, wanting to know all about it. Of course I also had to tell her about the child abuse that caused me to invent my alters, but I didn’t dwell on the dirty details.

Once I had told her, it cleared the way for me to enjoy a wonderful close relationship with her. Since then I’ve told another friend and another and now I’ve written a book about my abuse and my alters.

I encourage all of my internet multiple friends not to be afraid to tell someone. The worst thing they can do is say:

“You’re crazy,” which you already know.

The best thing they can say is:

“I’m sorry to hear it. How did you find out?” Believe me they will be very curious to learn about it, and most close friends will be supportive.

What happened to you when you told the first person about being a multiple?

Are Multiples Confused, Conflicted or Both?

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and I have multiple personalities. I was violently sexually abused at the age of four, which is the main cause of my disorder. I became confused about who I was, and I have a theory about how child abuse causes a person to become a multiple.

The original definition of the word confuse means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to Multiple Personality Disorder, one of the major effects of child abuse, especially sexual abuse.

During the abuse, I couldn’t stand to be present, so I pretended I was someone else. I allowed confusion to help me pretend I was also somewhere else, doing something besides being abused. All this confusion helped me avoid the feelings of shame and anguish and forget that it happened. I developed five childhood personalities or alters.

I was creative enough to form alternate personalities, but not mindful enough to push them aside when I was not being abused. I developed a proclivity for inventing alters, which carried into my teens and adulthood. During high school, my friends would wave their hands in front of my face, trying to get my attention when I was dissociating, and wanting me to tune into reality as they saw it. I became conflicted. My alters wanted to come out, but people didn’t recognize them.

If all this is true, I am now conflicted and confused. My personalities don’t always agree about things and they argue with one another and get angry at each other. In a way I am fighting a battle inside me. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder.

Most of you who are multiples are probably aware of these theories and I encourage you to speak out on March 5th, which is MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY. Recognize it. Acknowledge it and celebrate it. It’s good to have so many survivors of child abuse.

Did you Find your Blogarithim Today?

I’ve decided that after two years of clogging blogging, I have enough experience to write a blog about how to bluff  blog.

Misspellings aside, I have noticed there is a certain rhythm to a good clog blog. If you have a blogger in the family, you may have noticed they make strange rhythmic sounds or moans during a prolonged process of writing. These are blogarithms. Friends and relatives of a blogger need to encourage quiet, so these sounds can be heard clearly throughout the house or office. No attempt should be made to stifle, muffle or mute a blogarithm.

Blogarithms are as necessary to the blogger as biorhythms are to the body. If the blogger has trouble writing his/her blog and find themselves with a bad case of no-writus (neuritis of the brain), it is possible at that time to create a bio-mathematical blogarithm.

Stand near or by the blogger and try to resuscitate his blogarithms. If he/she has already written a few words (up to three lines of a blog) begin to speak these words to him/her in a rhythmic cadence. Try to get a good rhythm going and hopefully this will restore the bloggers blogarithm and he will be able to continue. This is especially important for people who are paid to blog, (all twelve of them) but also necessary for us amateurs.

Sometimes bloggers make an unsuccessful attempt to write a blog. Words become glue, then turn into wordglue, thus giving birth to the word clog. See www.wordglue.com. (This link is ficticious). Bloggers also need plenty of fresh air. Stuffy air (smog) is not helpful to bloggers, who need fresh air to get fresh ideas. Their minds are often in a FOG, and when they are in this state of mind they are cloggers, not to be mistaken for those who dance a clog.

In my case, I am a multi-linguistic blogger – A multiple who studies weird words, and then blogs them in no particular order.

Auld Lang Syne

Since I was a little girl in the forties, I have wondered what this song meant.  My parents sang it often, not just on New Year’s Eve. I thought it was a German song, because they were both German, but I just found out it is Scottish.

Sir Robert Ayton (1590 – 1638) is credited for writing the words, which were later copied by Robert Burns in a Scots poem. This is the way the song now translates:

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never thought upon,

The flames of love extinguished,

And freely past and gone?

 

Is thy kind heart now grown so cold,

In that loving breast of thine,

That thou canst never once reflect

On old-long-syne?

 

This precious old song always brings tears to my eyes, because it refers to people we have loved in the past and perhaps are not with us anymore.

One of the lines my parents sang was “I’ll take a cup of kindness yet, to the days of auld lang syne.”

Mother told me ‘auld land syne’ meant remember your old friends, and that has been confirmed on the Internet to mean ‘the good old days’. I miss you Mom.

Credit to http://www.journalnow.com

Give Gifts to your Alters

We often talk about feeling like a kid at Christmas, but few of us are blessed to be able to become one when we want to. People with multiple personalities usually have a few alters who are still children. When they were abused they hid and are still available for fun and games in the right situations. Unfortunately, they can’t let their inner children come out in front of normal adults because the adults think they’re crazy. Imagine that!

I have several children inside me who love Christmas. Around the holidays I start to see ads for wonderful toys and these inner children want them. I cut out a few pictures of the things my little girls want. One personality, New Nancy, wants a Barbie Malibu Dream House.

Doll House

I also have an alter named Allen, a nine-year-old boy. He likes to play Indian so perhaps I could find a headdress for him. He also likes guns, airplanes and magic.

I think the best present to give a child alter is Play-Doh. This toy is inexpensive and can be used in most games as anything from play food to small sculpted objects.

Play-Doh

If you have an alter who is still a child, try buying them an inexpensive toy this Christmas. I bet they’ll like it, and all of you will feel better. Please let me know how this plan works for you.

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‘Thank You’ is a Supernatural Phrase

Tomorrow most of us will be sitting down at the Thanksgiving table. How many of us will thank God for the things he has done? And what about the rest of the year? How many of us take time to thank others for the things they do?

 ‘Thank you’ is a supernatural phrase when used sincerely. If it is said with a thankful heart, it can unlock God’s blessings and men’s confidence.

 When you say ‘thank you’ and mean it, you take the focus off yourself and give it to the person you are thanking. You are saying ‘I acknowledge you,’ and ‘I appreciate you.’ It blesses another person, it blesses God, and it blesses you.

 When you say ‘thank you’ to God you are honoring him and he will bless you. The words are like supernatural keys that unlock God’s desire to give you more, and they work the same way with other people. When someone thanks you for something you have done for them, doesn’t it make you feel good? And doesn’t it make you feel like you would be happy to help them again, if the opportunity presents itself?

 Sometimes it is difficult to remember to say ‘thank you’, but it is crucial to a successful life. I first learned it in the seventies when I was married to a heroin addict. My husband stole things from our home to sell for money for his habit. He even went around to our friends and neighbors and told them we had no food and no money and they gave him money. Of course he spent it on heroin. I was truly mortified when they told me.

Finally it came to the point where we were going to lose our home. My Christian girlfriend Marilyn suggested I read “Prison to Praise”, a book by Merlin Carothers. In the book Merlin explains how he decided to thank the Lord for being imprisioned and when he said ‘thank you’ things started changing in his life.

 So I decided to thank God for my drug-addicted husband and losing our home and SUDDENLY there were answers. My husband went into rehab. Our landlord kicked me and my children out, but we found a little cottage to stay in for nothing. Someone even gave us a car! Our church arranged for us to get free dinners until we were able to get on welfare and relocate to a HUD townhouse.

 This was a wonderful lesson in saying ‘thanks’! I have used that lesson many times to get through the thick and thin in life. Sometimes I thank God for the good things and sometimes for the bad. Try it, you’ll like it.

 Can we teach our children to say ‘thank you’, instead of ‘gimme’?

 

Betty Crocker – The Early Years

When I first got married in 1964, I didn’t have a clue about how to be a housewife. I was still in my last semester of college, and all I knew was what a knife and fork looked like and which appliance was the refrigerator. I did have experience at the sink, washing my hands and getting a drink of water, but as a teenager I had studiously avoided Mom’s kitchen. It really was a studied avoidance, because after dinner, I often gave my mother the excuse that I had to study, so I couldn’t help with the dishes. Unfortunately, it was true. I always had so much homework my eyes fell out every night at 10:00.

But I’m getting behind myself. My husband and I managed to eat out for the first few nights. My mom had given me her Betty Crocker Cookbook and after several days of screw-ups, mishaps, and culinary disasters, I decided to make chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. At least I knew about the three food groups: easy, difficult, and impossible.

Betty’s Cookbook  informed me how to bake the chicken, which turned out to be blackened but edible. It was the mashed potatoes that proved impossible. The recipe said to put the potatoes in a pan with ½ inch of water. Betty forgot to mention that the water needed to cover the potatoes and have an extra ½ inch on top of them.

Anyway, I burned the potatoes. I did cook the canned peas in a small saucepan with water and they turned out fine (1964 was during the pre-microwave period in culinary history). I think my husband was still hungry after dinner, but he didn’t say anything. The next night we went to “Big Boy” for hamburgers and fries.

My history of not-so-good dinners finally changed when I had children and was forced to stay home all day and take care of them. I began to care about cooking. Really, I began to care about eating, and I was serving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every other night, so I needed to study up on making nutritious, edible and tasty dinners.

A neighbor taught me how to make a delicious pot roast. I’m getting hungry just talking about it. I had finally conquered baked chicken and I understood every step of making creamy mashed potatoes. My girlfriend found a great recipe for spaghetti sauce and I learned how to make that. At that point I was able to boil noodles.

“Mom, I learned to make spaghetti sauce from scratch.”

“Really?” Mother was astounded.

“Yes, it’s delicious.”

“Better than Chef Boy-ar-Dee?” Mom looked incredulous.

“Yes, Mom, even better than Chef Boy-ar-dee.” I remember laughing to myself because Mom thought sauce that came in a can would be better than homemade sauce.

So finally, as National Feast Day comes around again, I think back to Betty Crocker and Chef Boy-ar-dee, and although their food was not nutritious the way we insist our food be now, it was fairly good and kept us from going hungry when Mom was busy.

Chef Boy-ar-dee is a real man from Piacenza, Italy whose name was spelled Hector Boiardi. He had a famous restaurant in NYC and was one of the first chefs to package his ingredients together in a box for sale to the public. People ate it up!

Unfortunately, Betty Crocker is a crock. Yes, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but Betty isn’t a real person. She was started by the Washburn Crosby Company in Minneapolis in 1921, invented to give a personal touch to thousands of requests they received about baking. Here are some pictures of Betty during her early years.

Betty Crocker

Mental Health Care gets a Shot in the Arm

The Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act initiated by President Obama has been changed recently to make mental health care more accessible to Americans who need psychiatric treatment. Unfortunately, I had such a hard time understanding the difference between the original plan for mental health care and the present one, that I nearly went “bonkers,” so I have copied much of the info about it from psychcentral.com, a blog by John M. Grohol, psychiatrist.

People will no longer be denied coverage based upon their pre-existing condition, such as ADHD, anxiety, depression or Bipolar Disorder.

Prior to this rule, changing employers or insurance providers often meant having to pretend that a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis didn’t exist. The new law says that you can’t discriminate against a person because of a pre-existing condition. This means that more people will get the mental health care they need and have it covered by their insurance plan. It also means an insurance plan can’t cancel your coverage for a pre-existing condition, something that was problematic for many in the past.

While the Affordable Care Act includes coverage for the treatment of both mental and substance abuse disorders at equal levels to treatment for physical concerns, limits can and still are placed on such treatments. The limits are more lax than they were perhaps under the older system, but people still do not have access to “unlimited” psychotherapy treatments. Insurance companies still require therapists to obtain authorization for additional treatments after a certain number of sessions has been reached (which varies from insurance company to company).

So, in a nutshell, we will want to make the most of each visit to the shrink of our choice.

The Greatest Home Run Ever

With my husband in the next room watching the Boston Red Sox play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, my mind goes to back to the day I heard the greatest home run ever,

It was in 1960, and I was an art student at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I was working on one of my projects on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building, and I had my radio on, listening to the World Series. The interesting part was that the seventh game was being played less than 1/8 of a mile from the University at Forbes Field. The Pirates were playing the Yankees.  Since it was a nice day, the window was open and I could hear the crowd cheering when things went well for the Pirates.

The series was three games to three and the score was 9 – 9 and it was the bottom of the ninth inning.

Roberto Clemente was my favorite player (God rest his soul), but Bill Mazeroski was at bat. The bases were loaded and the count was one ball and no strikes. I was listening, hoping Mazeroski would get a hit and WHAM he hit a home run over the left field wall, winning the series. The crowd went wild, and I was thrilled to hear the cheering from the radio and the stadium at the same time. I will never forget the joy and exhilaration I felt during those moments. I feel like I was especially blessed to hear the cheers for the greatest home run ever played.

If you watch the ball go over the fence you can see the buildings of Carnegie-Mellon in the background.

Confusion can be an effect of Child Abuse

How well I remember the embarrassing situations of high school. I was often called crazy, scatter-brained and flighty, although I didn’t really think I was any of those things. It was not until I was fifty years old and diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID, (originally known as Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD) that I realized I surely did deserve these descriptions of myself. I was not only confused, I was thirteen times more confused than normal people, because I had thirteen personalities.

During my therapy, I found that confusion was at the root of creating my alternate  personalities.

The original definition of the word ‘confuse’ means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to multiple personality, one of the major effects of child abuse. If a child is being abused, the confusion can help him/her to believe they are someone else, doing something else, in another place. The confusion becomes an ally for the child so they won’t have to feel the shame, pain, nausea or anguish of the abuse.

Having sex with a child degrades the child to such an extent that the child may create an alternate personality to deal with it. That way he or she can imagine themselves as someone who is not being abused. They can also imagine that their secondary personality is somewhere else, doing something relaxing and fun. The stronger their imagination is, the greater the chance that they will create another personality, or even several, to take the abuse. Their confusion becomes a way out. It is one of the ways I dealt with sexual abuse when I was four years old.

If my mind can jump around from one idea to another, it is not hard to believe I can jump from one personality to another. I’m not sure if sexual abuse causes children to become more creative or if creativity comes to their rescue by inventing an “alter.” What do you think? Have you been abused? Have you been diagnosed with DID?

From my heart

My husband’s cancer is gone and he is fighting his way through six months of strong chemo-therapy. It is so hard on him. His body is hurting and he is nauseated most of the time, but he’s very strong and I have no doubt he will pull through. He’s a fighter.

As much as it hurts to see him in this condition, I am excited because I’ve decided to go out into the world and speak about child abuse. Having been sexually abused as a child gives me a unique ability to discuss abuse. I am happy to say I have a date to speak to a church women’s group in November. The topic will be “Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse.”

I was very happy being a writer and I think I could write all the time and still love it. However, every time I read the submission guidelines for a proposal to an agent about MULTIPLE, the agents want a list of my speaking engagements.

“What speaking engagements?” I ask. I spent weeks trying to figure out how writing a memoire would enable me to speak in public. Who would want me to come talk for an hour about me?

So I did what I usually do in confusing situations, I prayed. Sure enough, over the last few months the Lord showed me what I can speak about – child abuse. As I thought about it, I realized there is a market for this information in our society right now. Mothers are scared their children will somehow be abused and they won’t know about it. So I am going to help them by telling them the signs of child abuse. They will find out how to recognize child abuse and how to talk to their kids about it.

I feel so good. I actually have something to say! It was just a matter of looking at it from a different point of view. Thank you Jesus!

I would like to continue blogging, sometimes being silly and sometimes being serious. I’d like to keep writing and I’m hoping you will keep reading. And if you’re a believer, please pray for me. I also want to thank Jane Friedman for her guidance about blogging.

Know Someone at Risk for Suicide?

Last week I attended an eye-opening lecture on suicide prevention. Besides learning the awful statistics that there are 104 suicides/day and 18 veterans a day kill themselves, I learned how to talk to someone who may be at risk.

Darcy and Paul Granello, from The Ohio State University Counselor Education Department, gave the program. They very vividly described the pain that a person feels when they are thinking of ending their lives, and point out ways to give that person hope by referring them to a counselor who will listen to their problems and/or a doctor who can prescribe medication. Darcy and Paul have found that once a person gets help for suicidal thoughts, they never talk about it again. They learn to value themselves.

The Granellos talked mainly about teenagers and college age people, since their work is at the college level.

The most important thing I learned was how to talk to someone who may be thinking about killing themselves. First you need to know the signs, such as hearing statements like:

“You’d be better off without me.”

“Maybe I won’t be around.”

“Nothing matters!”

“There’s no end to this pain I feel.”

“It’s no use.”

“Doesn’t it ever get better?”

IF SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO YOU, THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY IS NOTHING. The Granello’s have discovered that if people are thinking of suicide, if they tell someone about their thoughts and that person doesn’t respond at all, SILENCE TELLS THE VICTIM THAT NO ONE CARES. It reinforces the idea that killing themselves is a valid solution to their pain. However, most people find these statements uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, so the Granellos’s suggested the following possibilities:

LISTEN – be open and willing to hear what the person has to say. Questions that show interest may help move the conversation along, but avoid giving advice, making judgments, and offering your solution for the problem. Many times, young people need to be convinced that an adult’s concern is genuine before they’ll open up and talk about their feelings. Listen for feelings behind the words. This works for peers as well.

If you determine that a teen could be at risk, ask directly, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” THIS WILL NOT PUT THE IDEA INTO THE TEEN’S HEAD. The signals that caught your attention were already there. Asking this difficult question will open the door for a dialogue about what is going on and give you a chance to help.

If the teen admits to having thoughts of suicide, it is critical that you stay calm. Hear them out, treat his or her feelings with genuine concern, and take them seriously. Be sure to contact others to help with the problems. Don’t try to handle it alone. Involve parents, counselors, and community resources as needed.

Darcy and Paul’s main point is that suicide is not about death – it is about finding an end to the pain! The Granello’s know that the pain doesn’t end when someone kills themself. It just passes to someone else. The Granello’s son killed himself, and his pain became their pain, and opened the door for years of study on the subject. It was a very inspiring lecture. For more info try:

http://www.siblingsurvivors.com/index.htm

http://www.friendsandfamiliesofsuicide.com/

http://www.parentsofsuicide.com/

Pulling Myselves Together

A few days ago my friend, Christy-Marie and I went to lunch. We try to meet once a month, but we always seem to be too busy, so we end up meeting every three months instead.  We are always happy to see each other and we have a close bond because we are both multiples. We both have Multiple Personality Disorder.

Oddly enough, we both have the same diagnosis; Dissociative Identity Disorder. The psychiatric community (the doctors, not the crazy people) doesn’t like to call us multiples anymore, even though that’s what we are. Apparently soon after the publication of Sybil, by Flora Schreiber, in 1973, hundreds of cases of multiple personality surfaced in psychiatric sessions; an epidemic, if you will. Some doctors even coached their patients into believing they had multiple personalities, which later proved to be untrue.

Doctors decided that they needed to slim down the number of cases reported because many of them were imagined by the patients and in retrospect were considered “daydreaming”. The result was the new diagnosis, Dissociative Identity Disorder, which allowed doctors to include real multiples as well as imagined multiples. This is a tricky procedure because all multiple personalities are imagined.

My question is this: if doctors were having trouble differentiating between diagnoses, why lump them all together? It seems as though it would be more reasonable to separate them even further with stricter guidelines. Any thoughts about this?

When Christy Marie and I arrive at the restaurant the hostess always asks us, “how many?” Should we tell the truth on a psychological level and say “30,” (13 for me and 17 for Christy Marie)? Or should we just tell the number of bodies, “two?” It’s a conundrum.

My therapist always suggests that I have conferences between my personalities. When I do, I form a circle of 13 chairs, one for each personality. Then I write everyone’s name on a sheet of paper and place each one on a chair. My managing personality, Control, takes over the meeting and allows each personality to speak. Sometimes we get into a squabble because two personalities disagree, but most often we feel overwhelmed by the number of us. We sit around in a state of bewilderment, listening to each other voice their feelings. I don’t like it. I want to be normal like everyone else most people.

I wish that I didn’t have to take a poll in order to know how I feel. It is discouraging to realize there are twelve other people inside me with minds of their own.  It’s like trying to control twelve unruly children. I wish I was normal, but having a conference is about as normal as I can be right now, until I have complete integration.

The goal of therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder is integration of all personalities. I need to pull myself together!

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Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them