Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thank you so much.

Hello all!
This blog is a hard one to write.
Blog #280. Over 3,000 readers and over 40,000 visitors…
I truly can’t believe I had that much to say, to share, to enjoy with each of you.
It’s been wonderful.

I have needed to make the very difficult decision to stop writing the blog for several reasons. The main reason being the amount of time that I dedicate to it. I spent a lot of time each week researching, writing and thinking about this blog. I enjoyed every minute of it but sadly, it is not a source of income for me (or anyone that I know).

Money was not a huge factor until my husbands workplace burned down 6 weeks ago. We are now very strapped for money, finding it difficult to afford even the necessities and while I know that we are still more fortunate than most of the worlds population, something needs to be done.
My husband is looking at leaving the island and getting work somewhere else for at least a few months to help get us on track again and that is obviously a huge move. I also need to focus on earning some money so the burden does not sit on his shoulders alone. Thankfully I can sell my artwork but I need to devote a lot more time and energy to that.

For any of my regular readers that would still like to keep in touch, I run a private/secure/closed support group through Facebook. It is a nice small group and it is totally separate from other posts on Facebook. No one can see what you share. If you’d like to be a part of it, please go to
and ask to join.
Heather’s C-PTSD Facebook Group
Send me a little message so I know who you are okay?

If you’d like to keep in touch via email, please contact me by using this contact form.

To anyone that is disappointing with this decision, I am truly sorry. I have never been a person who feels that money is more important than everything else but when you are at risk of losing your home, things must change drastically.

I hope that you will take a moment to sign up to get emails about my artwork and perhaps even share it with friends. I could really use the little extra boost in traffic.
Heather’s Tangled Art

I want to wish each and every one of you all the very best from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for coming along on my journey for the past 2 years. I’ve learned a lot, appreciated the support, and felt good about being able to share what I was so lucky to have a chance to learn. My intention from the beginning was to take what I learned in hospital and to “pay it forward”. I feel like I have done that and I am proud of that accomplishment. Now it is time to take all the kindness, compassion, and care I have received through each of you in here and pay that forward in a new way.

Many hugs,
Heather and the Helpers
Heather

Interesting Article.

“The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse lasts a lifetime” – Scott Mendelson MD – Huffington Post.

The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse last a lifetime. Abused children may grow up to be adults prone to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders. They are more prone to suicide. However, in recent years we have learned that abuse does more than wound self-esteem and break the spirit. It can damage the very substance of the brain and how it functions.

A major way by which childhood abuse can disrupt normal brain activity is by diminishing its capacity to handle stress. Stress is more than the worry and distress we experience when the circumstances of life push us beyond our limits. The body’s response to stress is a complex biological mechanism. When the brain senses that the body is being taxed beyond its usual capacity, it initiates the stress response by releasing a substance called corticotrophin releasing hormone, or CRH. CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH that, in turn, triggers the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, from the adrenal glands. Cortisol marshals the body’s resources to provide the extra energy and endurance to meet the demands being placed upon it. Once, this might have been escaping an angry mastodon. Today, it would more likely be getting used to a new job, a nasty divorce, or recovering from surgery.

The stress-induced switch into physiological overdrive is designed to be brief. In fact, among the many things that cortisol does in the body, one of the most important is to feed back to the brain and start to shut the stress response down. Cortisol does this by binding to specific receptors in the brain. Cortisol fits the receptor, like a key in a lock, and turns the response off. One of the problems in those that have suffered severe, childhood abuse is that the brain’s turn-off switch for the stress response is disabled

A study published in 2009 in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience revealed part of the reason why adults who were abused as children have abnormal stress responses. The grim details of the study included comparisons of the brains of individuals who had committed suicide vs. those who had died natural deaths. Among those who had committed suicide were some who had suffered severe childhood abuse and others who had not. It was found that among those who had suffered abuse, there were fewer of the special cortisol receptors in the brain that allow cortisol to turn off the stress response. It was further found that the section of DNA responsible for maintaining adequate numbers of these receptors had been methylated. They were no longer in full operation.

When the stress response won’t shut off and cortisol levels remain high in the brain, bad things can happen. Whereas bursts of cortisol help bolster the brain’s supply of glucose and chemical messengers, sustained high levels of cortisol can cause damage. Cortisol diminishes the brain’s response to the chemical messenger, serotonin, while it enhances the response to norepinephrine. Persisting high levels of cortisol also decrease levels of Brain-derived Neurotrophic factor, a substance that is necessary to maintain and replenish neurons in the brain. These and other changes alter mood, disturb sleep, heighten anxiety, and cause irritability. Consequently, the individual becomes more prone to Major Depression, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.

3 Cups

PTSD & STRESS – PTSD Stress Cup Theory

The PTSD Cup Theory

Fullscreen capture 8072015 21703 PM-002

This explains why people with PTSD, cannot cope with the same amount of (brain) stress, as people without PTSD.

‘Brain Stress’ is anything the brain has to do for us to function.

This will include all we do unconsciously, like our internal organs working, breathing, moving, food digestion etc.

It also includes good and bad stress we deal with daily. Good stress, being anything the brain processes not causing negative emotions – eg taking a shower. Bad stress being anything that does cause negative emotions, like naughty children, noise (big PTSD stressors).

Cup/Diagram 1.

This shows the daily good stress, everyone’s brains deal with daily.

Cup/Diagram 2.

This shows the added bad stress, everyone deals with daily. As you can see, there is still room left for added good or bad stress, before the cup ‘overflows’.

The cup ‘overflowing’ – will be when the person can’t cope emotionally and becomes irritable, angry, tearful etc.

Cup/Diagram 3.

This shows the added PTSD brain ‘stress’ – a PTSD brain is dealing with – added to all the normal good and bad stress everyone has.

There is very little room left for any added good or bad stress, to occur.

Which is why people with PTSD don’t cope well, with added stress and can get very irritable, fast and quickly over minor things.

This is described a being when the ‘cup overflows’. In order to reduce this overflowing, no stress can be occurring, so the ‘cup empties’ a little, back to having room for daily stress again.

I know when my cup is overflowing, as I start to become irritable, and I know my coping capacity, reduces, quickly and stressors like noise, irritate me more than normal.

I have learned to reduce my daily activities, have relaxing time, and not plan too many things in one day.

I have learned to have relaxation time before anything anxiety/stress raising, and have relax time afterwards.

Along with all the breathing, mindfulness strategies, this is how I have learned to manage my ‘cup overflowing’.

I have to do this, because if my ‘cup overflows’ continually, my mood lowers, my emotions increase and all my complex PTSD symptoms then increase as a result, which results in complete incapacity, to cope and can become life threatening. PTSD – is a life threatening disorder, when severe.

It is why I always say, you will not learn to manage your PTSD well, if you have a busy, stressful daily life. Which cannot always be avoided, I understand, but it is essential for PTSD management, to have the least stressful life possible. Especially if the PTSD symptoms are severe, and while first learning to manage them.

Sorry.

Hello everyone!
I am sorry I did not post on Monday and won’t be able to do a post today either. I am having a very trying time and dealing with a lot of triggers. I will be back on Friday after some much needed self care.
All the best!
Heather

Dissociative Identity Disorder

I thought it might be wise to go back to a topic I covered almost 2 years ago. The basics of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I have a lot more readers now (YAY!) and new friends whom don’t really understand DID. No criticism here at all. Before I was diagnosed with it, I knew as close to nothing as one could get.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is portrayed in the media as some sort of wacky, wild, really cool to watch phenomenon. If that isn’t their angle? They are usually discussing the controversy of the diagnoses. I hope that if I share what it means to me, it will take some of the confusion out of it and hopefully inspire some understanding.

Everyone has multiple personalities/identities. Even you.
If you stop to think about it, you are not really the same person when you are out with your friends as you would be if you were out with your children. You are different with your spouse than you would be with your parents. You can become the professional at work then transform to a carefree spirit when you go out for an evening with your best buddy. Even your pets get a different side of you.

If you think of your own life thus far, I am sure that who you were as a child is quite different from who you became as a teenager and then that teen became a young adult. Eventually you grew past the age of being a young adult and perhaps started making some more adult decisions like getting married or having children. You continue even now to mature and change with each passing year. Ask someone who’s in their 60’s and they will tell you that they are very different from who they were at 30 and few 50 somethings that I know are still acting as though they are 20.

The difference between you and all your sides/personalities are that they know each other. Each part knows what the other was up to and went through. Who you are right now knows what you have done good or bad over the course of your lifetime. Not perfect memories of every little thing but you have the big picture. At 40, you can recall being a teenager especially as your own teenagers are now giving you the same hassles you once gave to your parents. There is an easy flow of communication between these parts of you.

When you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, this ability to easily communicate is severed or severely affected. It is like growing up and the 4-year-old you doesn’t know the 5-year-old you. Each one is compartmentalized in a separate box and each box is locked. Usually this is caused when there is trauma so severe and so constant that the host could not have survived psychologically without creating a very handy coping tool. Rather than being totally overwhelmed by what is going on and absorbing all that trauma by oneself, some children unknowingly begin to dissociate. This is a very clever secret door that a traumatized mind is able to create to help survive the fear and pain.

Sadly, if dissociations happen regularly and a total “split” occurs, the child will have very few memories of this age. Good or bad. If the trauma continues for many years, these splits can happen over and over. The biggest difference between a dissociative mind and one that has not needed to develop this skill to survive is the ability to recall life in an orderly fashion.

This issue of segregated memories is used to help diagnose cases of DID. When I am asked to give a family history or a history of even my past week, it can be very confusing for me. I don’t always recall who came in to our lives or who went and and when. I have years of missing time scattered throughout my life so I can occasionally recall moving to a new home but not recall leaving it or I could suddenly be in a new home and not recall leaving the last one. People with DID need to constantly juggle what they know with what they can’t recall.

People with DID, myself included often have very large chunks of their life missing. One dissociative part of me from when I was 4 might not even know about me or any other parts. For 43 years I did not consciously know about any of my other parts but most of them knew me. They did not all know about each other though. Some did, some didn’t, some parts formed groups, some stayed isolated, some even thought that they were the only one. They seemed to not even realize that there was me.

These parts and pieces of my life have a very chaotic order to them and they almost all are still the ages that they were when they came to being. This is where it gets really hard for me. That silent 3-year-old that needs to be held and hugged is always 3 and always needs to be held and hugged long after it is “appropriate” to want this from those around her. I can and I do try to take time to fill those needs if I can but I have a LOT of Helpers and taking care of each one would be 3 full-time jobs at this point.

I really like this graphic as a way to explain what I am trying to share here.Excellent

For me this happened 34 times. For a long time I only heard 3 but that was when I was still assuming I was psychotic or just truly bat shit crazy. In time, with a great deal of support and compassion, I allowed myself to begin to hear others and there are 34 in total that have made their presence known. I don’t know them all yet and I don’t have all of their memories.

I work daily on hearing them, finding out what their needs are and trying my best to fulfill those needs. I feel as though when parts of me feel heard and hopefully healed as much as possible, they can get a well deserved break from needing to protect me from what they deem as dangers. This will reduce the “need” for dissociations.

I am not a professional with all this nor do I have all the answers. I am learning day by day and sometimes I get it all very wrong. I’ve been able to help my Helpers at times while hurting them at others. I am working at it though. Every day.
One day I hope that my 4-year-old will know my 6-year-old. My teenagers will know the adults and the adults can allow me to take care of my daily needs without whisking me away. I will not integrate them, I just want us all to communicate more easily with each other rather than living in all these separate locked boxes. My goal is to find peace.DID0

My Backwards Tree

My Backwards Tree

My life has been like a tree that grew backwards.
The leaves looked so lush, so green, and it was heavy with  blooms all over.
From afar you would think that everything was perfect.
I had a house, a home, a family, friends, a job…
I had it all.

Then autumn arrived and the leaves fell off.
You would have been shocked by what you saw.
That tree had no branches, no trunk, and no roots.
When the leaves fell, the tree was just gone.
Everyone was shocked. They had no idea.

So I made a decision to plant a seed.
I actually planted many seeds.
Most just rotted where they had been placed.
They had no good soil, no water, and no sun.
So they died.
I planted more seeds and more seeds rotted.
Something had to change.

So I stirred up the soil and found it was full of poisons.
Secrets kept. Tears unshed. Fear scattered everywhere.
Pain packed away deep beneath the dirt.
Tiny pieces of a shattered mind cut my fingers as I dug.
It was painful and I felt uncomfortable exposed.

But with every secret that found the sun and every fear that found the air,
the pain was soothed by the slow flow of silent tears and each small piece of that shattered mind started to get reassembled.

Something wonderful began to happen.
A seed began to take hold and began to grow in the new ground.
It is now a seedling with  a few fledgling leaves.
It is small but it is growing.

I keep churning that soil.
Refusing to allow secrets to smother the roots any longer.
I try to let the fears blow past and tug on the tree a bit.
That only makes it stronger and forces the roots to go deeper in to the new, more fertile ground.
I am trying to learn to let my tears fall so my tree can have water then I try to get my pain out of the way so it can get some sun.

One day my tree is going to be lush and green with blooms all over but this time it will have deep roots, a strong trunk, and beautiful branches.
And when the autumn leaves begin to fall?
You will see me.
Whole and at peace.

Some meaningful quotes.

I’ve been having a rough week and do not feel like writing much of a blog today. Normally I push myself more than this but this week is not like the others. It is in these times that I enjoy reading meaningful quotes more than ever so I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you. I hope they will help you as well. ❤
1 3 8 19 20 21 Buried Dalai1 Dogs Forgive Forgiveness. HH Marcus Meaning of Life TA4

Worth

See you all on Monday! Have a fantastic weekend.