I asked MichaeLynn to let me present this most recent Flickr post as
a special feature and they agreed.
Nights in Paris
perhaps we were too young, two trying to become one, to disappear into shadows along the quay, the Pont Neuf, ripples of light the water became, last two pigeons that watched us vanish, hand in hand where the path ahead lay dark, where city sounds, night sounds, everything stopped.
Michael Borich (c) All rights reserved
Michael’s Book of Poems, Black Hawk Songs is available on Amazon:
Psychiatry defines reality testing as follows: Any means by which an individual is able to clearly asses his or her limitations as they relate to biological, physiological, social or environmental realities, or the objective evaluation of sensoryimpressions, thus allowing the person to distinguish between the internal and external worldand between fantasyandreality.
I cannot say this with authority but I suspect that all severe mental illnesses affect the ability to correctly assess ones interactions with others.
My reality testing is compromised in two areas.
Though I rarely say this outright; I believe that my alternates are real.
I have to force myself to think of myself as ‘I’ and I only say “I” when discussing myself as separate from the people we call our ‘alternates’.
When I am “the self” I initially have vague memories of what happened before
I took over but they quickly fade
My compromised reality testing also compromises my ability to protect myself from exploitation.
This is this excerpt from an interview with Kim Noble.
Kim Noble is a British artist and Mother who has over 20 distinct personalities. This is an interview with an alternate that is a 21 Year old Gay Man. On the couch next to Kim is her daughter. The alternate thinks that the daughter is the daughter of a friend.
Some alternates communicate autonomously with each other and though
there are boundaries between alternates these boundaries can be permeable.
“Dissociative identities exist in a third reality, an inner world that is visualized, heard, felt and experienced as real. This third reality is often characterized by trance logic. In trance logic, ideas and relationships of ideas about things are not subject to the rules of normal logic. Because (the alternates) are kept in separate compartments (of the brain), contradictory beliefs and ideas can exist together; they do not have to make sense. In the way, the internal world has many alternate selves that experience themselves as separate people. There is a pseudo delusional sense of separateness and independence.”
From Trauma and Dissociation
I don’t experience the inner world of my dissociative system as vividly
as the alternates that use Second Life do.
What is life like for someone who lives with and loves a man who is symptomatic with severe Dissociative Identity Disorder? (ICD 9 code 300.14, 300.15)?
My partner and I had a frank conversation about the stress of living with me after a joint session with my therapist.
Kaiser’s refusal to provide a treatment protocol based on the accepted paradigms for the treatment of DID that any layman will find by doing a casual search with Google has made his life with me more difficult and frightening than it has to be.
My lack of memory and the fear provoked by descriptions of incidents I can’t remember is “triggering ” and causes a switch.
I cannot describe what I cannot remember.
Were Kaiser doing its job my partner would receive a weekly call from my case manager so she could understand the true scope of the illness and make more accurate safety assessments.
The online Merk manual describes Dissociative Identity Disorder as follows:
“…chronic and potentially disabling or fatal, although many people function very well and lead creative and productive lives.”
With proper treatment, many people do go on to lead creative and productive lives.
I intend to be one of them.
For reasons that are entirely cynical, Kaiser has offered to give me an alternative therapist for the two times a year that my therapist goes on vacation.
Very cheap; and ineffective.
I need a treatment team that includes an intensive case manager who understands the importance of sustaining my family system.
When I told my partner to call my Kaiser case manager when concerned the response was, “Why? They do nothing. They blame me!”
I know that I need to file a grievance, if for no other reason than to spare my partner this pain, but I can’t.
It is one of my symptoms.
I cannot file the grievance until all of me understands why it must be filed.
There is a part of me that strongly believes that Kaiser will do what is right when it “understands” what has to happen.
It blocks any attempt I make to file a direct complaint.
Were I a more suspicious man, I would think that Kaiser knows this and is banking on it.
This is a list of points that my partner and I agreed to about his relationship to my DID:
He cannot cure the disorder, but he can take part in the healing.
Getting better sometimes means more symptoms.
When he feel resentment, take a break.
Denial is normal but destructive.
Everyone changes when a family member is engaged in psychotherapy.
Love the person, even as you hate the symptom.
Discrimination against the mentally ill is real — it only seems invisible because it is accepted.
He may find it empowering to become more activist.
He always has the right to say no.
Mental health professionals have varied degrees of competence, integrity, and commitment
He is not responsible for enabling the failures of the Nation’s Behavioral Health System
I am a patient, not a consumer. There is a difference. Never forget that.
It is OK to be angry when it makes you effective.
You and your family member’s case manager should be in weekly contact, especially during a crisis.
It is important to have boundaries and set expectations when speaking with care providers.
The current suicide rate of 20% among people with PTSD related psychiatric illness is based on what’s happening to real people.
A mandated hospitalization is NOT the worst thing that can happen to someone with a mental illness. It’s not the cheapest either.
When it comes to safety, don’t take no for an answer.
Never let your family member go to the hospital alone. Patients receive better care when the staff knows that someone is looking.
Your family members illness is also an emotional trauma for you. If you decide to stay and take part in the treatment, you will need your own supports.
I needed a good public domain photo of John Kennedy and ran a search. One of the returns was the 1960 Debate between Kennedy and Nixon.
This was the first televised Presidential debate
An estimated 70 million citizens watched this debate.
I watched the opening and marveled at the complex questions and answers.
Kennedy’s task was to convince his fellow citizens that he understood the separation of church and State and that he would follow the rule of law. Kennedy stated:
“…because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured — perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again — not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.“
I had a moment of cognitive dissonance when I read that Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz paid a visit to a “religious liberty conference” where he was introduced by a pastor who openly calls for the state to execute gays.
There’s a poison in our Nation and its killing our Democracy.
Here is a portion of Kennedy’s opening statement in 1960:
“I don’t want the talents of any American to go to waste. I know that there are those who want to turn everything over to the government. I don’t at all. I want the individuals to meet their responsibilities. And I want the states to meet their responsibilities. But I think there is also a national responsibility. The argument has been used against every piece of social legislation in the last twenty-five years. The people of the United States individually could not have developed the Tennessee Valley; collectively they could have. A cotton farmer in Georgia or a peanut farmer or a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and Minnesota, he cannot protect himself against the forces of supply and demand in the market place; but working together in effective governmental programs he can do so. Seventeen million Americans, who live over sixty-five on an average Social Security check of about seventy-eight dollars a month, they’re not able to sustain themselves individually, but they can sustain themselves through the social security system. I don’t believe in big government, but I believe in effective governmental action.” John Kennedy 1960
Listen to all of it. Hear the sound of reason and intellect.
King Arthur: Proposition. Right or wrong. They have the might. So, right or wrong. They’re always right. That’s wrong. Right?
Juxtapose the minds on display at the Kennedy/Nixon debates with this commentary from our contemporary right-wing basket of deplorables:
“Jesus Christ is the king of the president of the United States, whether he admits it or not!”
My mentor asked me what I thought the crucifix meant.
I replied that it symbolized the best of human nature, tortured and executed by the worst of human nature: “The crucifix is a symbol of the struggle to transcend the beast, which is not an external force, but a force within each of us. It causes a spiritual death that God wants us to transcend by following the commandment to treat other people as we would want to be treated under their circumstances. It’s not as simple as giving to charity. We must ask ourselves how we want other people to treat us if we are hungry, lonely, grieving or a prisoner. We must love the other as we love ourselves.”
This story of how God chose to incarnate is the central point of the Gospel, the Good News.
The good news is this: God loves all of His Creation regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or class; His Creation belongs to His Creation, all of it.
“God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9). The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor. Salvation came to us from the “yes” uttered by a lowly maiden from a small town on the fringes of a great empire. The Saviour was born in a manger, in the midst of animals, like children of poor families; he was presented at the Temple along with two turtledoves, the offering made by those who could not afford a lamb (cf. Lk 2:24; Lev 5:7); he was raised in a home of ordinary workers and worked with his own hands to earn his bread.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 197)
“In this context we can understand Jesus’ command to his disciples: “You yourselves give them something to eat!” (Mk 6:37): it means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter. The word “solidarity” is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 187)
Let no one consider themselves to be the “armour” of God while planning and carrying out acts of violence and oppression! May no one use religion as a pretext for actions against human dignity and against the fundamental rights of every man and woman, above all, the right to life and the right of everyone to religious freedom!
My solution is to fully fund mental health, restore the option for long-term in-patient
treatment to the mental health system, and revise commitment laws to make it easier
for families to get their loved ones into treatment.
Jim Lazarus went on to say that The City should, “put people into shelter by our standards of humane treatment and not the standards that the homeless people may want us to abide by.” San Francisco Examiner
I don’t know what to make of that statement, I’ll let you decide.
The term Soul Murder describes the effects of child abuse.
I define Soul Murder as the willful hurting of people who are helpless and
Soul Murder is always an abuse of power.
It’s all too easy to imagine that the Third Reich was a bizarre aberration, a kind of mass insanity instigated by a small group of deranged ideologues who conspired to seize political power and bend a nation to their will. Alternatively, it’s tempting to imagine that the Germans were (or are) a uniquely cruel and bloodthirsty people. But these diagnoses are dangerously wrong. What’s most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It’s that they were ordinary human beings.Less Than Human, The Psychology of Cruelty
Our Featured Blogger for the last weeks of February is Lisa Amaya from Life of an El Paso
Woman. Thank you for agreeing to the interview.
Tell us a little about your history, where you were born, and your dreams as a child.
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. El Paso is a desert border town 45 minutes away from Ciudad Juarez, Mexicoand Las Cruces, New Mexico. It’s the sixth largest city in Texas. I’ve wanted to write since I was 6 years old. I won a school writing contest in first grade. This inspired me to keep writing throughout the years. Since then, I’ve written stories, poetry, newspaper and magazine stories. Right now, I’m a freelance writer and blogger who works in media sales. I thought I wanted to quit writing for good in 2010. It turned out I just needed a break. I found out writing is my passion in 2015 so here I am!
How do you define your blog’s purpose?
At first, my blog’s purpose was to only write about things that interest me like movies, music, books, art, etc. I also wanted to start a blog to practice my writing skills and get freelance writing projects. I enjoy using my blog to educate others about the people and places in El Paso and the Hispanic culture. I also like to know what other bloggers are doing with their blog and life so…on Saturdays I feature a different blogger in an interview. I call this the
What other blogs do you write for and how did you find them?
Before starting Life of an El Paso Woman, I wrote for my childhood friend’s (Ryan Loera) blog for a couple of months. He asked me if I wanted start writing in his blog and I said yes. I’ve done guest posts for Roberta Pimentel and Tracy’s A Joyful Process. Roberta featured a Be My Guest guest post project. I asked her if I could take part and she said yes. I ended up participating in it twice. Tracy asked me if I would like to do a post for his blog earlier this year and I said yes.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start? I started my blog on February 25, 2015 so I’ve blogged for about a year and a half now. I started the blog to practice on my writing skills and get freelance writing projects.
How often do you post? Every day except for Thursdays. Things sometimes come up so I’m unable to post on certain days.
What are your top 3-blogging tips for other bloggers? Write about whichever topics you want, don’t ever be someone you’re not and leave sincere comments in other blogs you like. Also, if someone leaves a comment in your blog, at least thank him or her for it or like his or her comment. It’s always a nice gesture when someone takes time out of their day to read your stuff and leave a comment. Why not give them a couple of minutes of your time in return?
Today, in honor the memories of those we lost on 9/11 and the men and women
who gave so much of themselves in the days and weeks after the attack I celebrate
the small victories in our lives and the people who make them possible.
I celebrate the mental health and chronic illness bloggers and abuse survivors,
doctors and mental health professionals who use the internet as a force for good
and who blog to comfort and inform people who suffer in silence:
It takes a long time to learn how to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
It took three years of therapy for me to get well enough to blog.
Two primary symptoms of my DID are Depersonalization and Identity Alteration.
Depersonalization is a term used to describe the feeling of being outside of one’s own body. This experience is the act of being depersonalized from oneself hence the term: depersonalization. People experiencing depersonalization may describe their experience as an “out of body” experience in which they are not in control of their own body and in extreme cases they may not even recognize themselves in the mirror. Depersonalization can be a very scary experience for those who undergo it.
Identity alteration is much more noticeable in that it is outwardly visible in signs from the affected individual. Someone experiencing identity alteration may use different facial expressions, a different type of language, a different accent, or a different tone of voice. People who experience identity alteration may be able to identify that they have experienced identity alteration but this is not always the case. When an individual with a severe form of identity alteration or dissociative identity disorder, experiences an alteration in their identity, they are often completely unaware of what has taken place and are just as confused as those watching the event take place. Frequently identity alteration and identity confusion are paired together when being discussed as to their role and observance in dissociative personality disorder.