Tag Archives: Tattoo

Dirty word of the day: Integration

I know this will be a controversial post for some people. Many medical professionals do not agree with my views… which is fine because I do not agree with  theirs. 😉 Joking aside, many doctors, therapists, and even some people within the dissociative identity disorder (DID) community feel that integration is the holy grail of healing persons from DID.
To me? Integration is a dirty word.

If you have not read this blog before, I call my “alters”, my Helpers. Hence the name of the blog. 😉

Even now while writing this, I can feel my inner world starting to freak out. Anxiety, worry, a wish to run away, feeling overwhelmed, getting angry… that is what my Helpers deal with every time this word is said. I feel it too. Big time. I feel totally in control today and I am always out front when writing but I can still feel the weight of inner feelings especially when they are shaken up.

I can not speak for everyone else out there but I can speak for myself and I will express how I personally feel about the issue of integration. If you disagree, I’d love for you to write a blog on it and forward it on to me. I’d love to read other opinions. 🙂

Having DID is not easy. Every situation that happens garners my own emotions but then the Helpers step in with theirs as well. Have you ever been at a big get-together and try to get everyone to stop and listen to you? Can you imagine trying to come to agreements about certain important issues? There will be as many opinions as their are people. DID is a lot like that every day.
That said? Some of the same people who may drive you batty would also rush to your aid if you suddenly collapsed or started having real troubles coping. DID is a lot like that too.

I believe that my Helpers started coming in to existence between the ages of 2 and 4. I know for sure there were several there when I was 4 and 5 but I have a feeling they were there earlier. For me? I’ve never had a life without my Helpers in it. For the purpose of this blog, I will set aside all the confusion and thinking I saw dead people and just discuss my view since being properly diagnosed.

As much as life with DID can get hectic, I am never bored and never lonely. I have company at all times and honestly? I am not sure I’d enjoy life so much without it. I was once on medication that made them almost silent (and made me a zombie) and that was a very sad and lonely time for me. I am also ALWAYS full of ideas for new things and ways to use things that I myself may have never thought of.

I also have a huge issue with integrating these people whom I have come to view as such a big part of my life. Who do I get rid of first? Little “Hannah Banana”? My ever faithful sidekick Rielyn? Old man Oscar? Tilly who helped me birth a baby when I was too young to mentally handle it on my own? I am sorry but full integration is never going to happen because each of these Helpers are important to me as individuals.

I am also very aware that each of them is a part of me. A very compartmentalized part of me but still essentially “me”. While it would be all neat and tidy to roll the Helpers and I in to one person, I honestly feel I would end up completely overwhelmed. At least right now there is separation between all these opinions and emotions.

So what do I want? What do I feel is healthy?
Teamwork.
Rather than working on getting each Helper to integrate, I spend that time trying to work out the kinks in our relationships and certain actions. I will use Jenna as an example. She was always having issues with self harm and quite often these “events” were incredibly scary. I still have many scars. Trying to integrate her causes panic, more dissociation and more self harm. Working out a deal between us was FAR more productive. Jenna admitted in writing and through art that she often used self harm not only as a release but also in trying to fix old scars. A deal was made that if there was no self harm for 6 months, we would get a tattoo to cover one set of scars. 6 months later was another tattoo to cover more. Jenna LOVES her tattoo’s and I love them too. She found a new strength during a year of no self harming that she still possesses today. Integration made her run away and refuse help but making a deal with her stopped the harmful behavior and allowed me to take care of her.

One by one, we work out deals. We make rules that certain age groups MUST follow. No one under 18 drives. No one under 18 signs important documents. Only I (Heather) goes to therapy. If anyone has a concern, they can write it down and I will take care of it or help them with it. There are a few other rules that are for safety, friendship, being creative and so forth. These rules are enough for me to feel good about my team of Helpers.

There will always be mess ups, uncomfortable situations, missing time, forgotten occasions and other issues that persons with DID have but would full integration solve all of these issues? And what about all the PTSD triggers they help me through? How often I would have fled out of a movie theater, ran my car off the road at a fright, been unable to function at social events before I was able to stay more present? My life would have been far worse. I am sure of it. My Helpers came in to being for excellent reasons and I do not wish to thank them by making them null and void.  Also, I am aware of 34 Helpers… integration could or would take FOREVER. I’d rather live my life with my team. They help me and I help them. For me personally? That is enough.

Helpers

Rules

Dissociative Identity Disorder – Making deals.

HK
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is not an easy disorder to deal with. The biggest issue in my opinion is the disconnect between my Helpers and I. When they are out front, I have no memory of what happened so actually getting to know them is a difficult process. In the past 2 1/2 years I have gone from not knowing I had DID to actually being able to speak to the main Helper Julie and having the others communicate to a much smaller degree by drawing me pictures or leaving notes while they are out. I work daily on trying to communicate with them as a group even on the days when I truly feel like I am talking to myself and may in fact truly be batsh*t crazy. 😉

WarningI have had great success with Helper Polly over the past 18 months or so. She is a very angry, self harming teenager and her self harm was at a very dangerous level. It was not just cuts and scrapes, it was seriously mutilating  and a LOT of blood. Arteries were cut at times not just skin or regular veins.

Polly and I were eventually able to make a deal through many pictures and journal entries to stop the self harming. In turn, she had certain needs that she needed to be filled. Her self harming was in response to anger that she had no way to let out or deal with. If I wanted it to stop, I needed to address that time in my life when Polly was formed and take over as the adult to deal with them. It took about 6 months to get her to stop and hasn’t been perfect but she hasn’t done any self harm now in well over a year. Closer to 2 I think. I am horrible with time so I hope you will forgive my guesses as to how long since something took place. I try my best. 🙂 Either way, there has been no self harm and I have even had tattoos done to cover many of the scars. There are a few more to go but for every 6 months or so with no harm, I am willing to have scars covered up by beautiful drawings that Polly has the power to veto if she doesn’t like them. It is a deal and we both keep our word.

So Polly was my first real success in dealing with a Helper to stop negative behaviour. More recently, I have been working with my therapist to deal with an issue caused by a few young adult Helpers. This is very hard for me to talk about and I feel very exposed by doing it but I have a feeling that I should try to be open about it because others may be able to relate and hopefully feel as though they are not alone in this.
Sex. It’s a HUGE issue for me and I am sure it is a huge issue for many persons with DID. Quite often, the host (main personality) is not able to deal with sexual issues or events even if they are within the confines of a loving and safe relationship. Jokes about sex, flirting, sexual advances, sexual discussions and such are nearly impossible for the host to deal with.  This is certainly true in my case. I dissociate at the mere mention of anything sexual and it is incredibly difficult for me to even write this without dissociating. I have to stop every minute (literally) and ground myself. Needless to say… without getting too personal, my Helpers handle that issue in my life.

The trouble began when my husband started getting older than the Helpers who share that time with him. At first it was only a minor issue but now they are still in their late teens and 20’s while my husband is 52. The biggest issue is that while they lose interest in an older man, they cause a great deal of risk to all of the Helpers and I by wanting to go find someone younger. This is not something that I can allow to happen so I’ve been trying desperately to find a solution.
Julie who is usually always helpful and supportive to me and deals with the Helpers in a very calm and efficient way seemed as stumped by this issue as I was. My therapist spoke directly to her twice and while she seems to have all the answers about everything else, she was stumped too. She is not a huge fan of Lenny so that doesn’t help. He is such a great man and an amazing husband to me but not every woman has the same taste in men right? Not much of a problem until you share a body!

Julie and I have been doing a LOT of inner talking over the past couple of months and this issue has been brought up each and every time with no forward movement until this past week. It finally occurred to me that she could get the younger Helpers who have been handling that part of my life to step back and not partake in that any longer. They surely have other things they can be doing with their time. 😉 I have a few Helpers in their 40’s and 50’s so I asked Julie if she could have them begin dealing with this issue as they are more age appropriate now. Sadly me staying out front is impossible. I’ve tried so many times but it causes a great deal of damage and my therapy suffers for months afterwards. 😦
Back to my idea of using older Helpers…
Why it took me 2 years to think of that as a solution? I have no idea. I think I was too focused on dealing with what was actually happening and my fears of adultery, sexual disease etc. to look outside of those particular Helpers and even think that others may be able to help. I am not blaming myself. Those are HUGE issues to find answers for even if it looks so incredibly obvious now.

So now we have a deal. Julie will bring out older Helpers for that part of our life and she will allow the younger ones to partake in more age appropriate ventures as the need arises. My husband will be in for a shock. I’ve thought of talking to him about the solutions we’ve found but I have this little devil on my shoulder that just wants to shock him. Right now (fun) badness is winning. *laugh*

My therapist and I agreed yesterday that my Helpers are a necessity in my life and always will be. He actually said that without the Helpers, I could not survive. I’ve known that almost since the beginning of this journey but it was a bit strange to hear him say that since he was always using that most hated word “Integration”. He now sees that integration is really not the solution that he thought it was. Far more important than integration is the ability to make deals with the Helpers and work with them to become or remain as Helpers rather than “Hinderers”.
By working as closely as possible with each Helper over time and dealing with whatever issues they were created to handle for me, I can begin to heal myself and eventually them too. They benefit as much as I do  by my healing.

Rather than focusing on Integration, this is my goal (and the eventually realized goal by my therapist too). To make deals, to find ways around our issues, to work together and respect each other no differently than a group of workmates all working together towards a common goal. Some agree, some disagree, some are easy to work with, some are stubborn, some are kind, some are mean… but in the end? A finished project that works and can accomplish what it was meant to accomplish is the goal.

I wonder what the next hurdle will be? I hope its something easy like a Helper who wants to learn how to bake. Any chance of that? 😉

MT

Love, loss, and learning to live again.

MoonRemember to breathe.
I must remind myself to breathe right now as my stomach clenches in to a ball and I feel ill.
Keep breathing and keep moving forwards.

I was only 11 years old when my first baby boy was born. I was far too young to know what was going on with my body and I had no support system to help explain it. The details are best left out of this blog and there are very few people (professionals only) that I have shared the details with. I think it is more than enough to say that it was a horribly confusing and lonely birth followed by a very violent death. The people responsible should be in prison but at 11 years old that is not something you even see as a possibility. 34 years have passed now and I have sadly come to realize that true justice is something I will never get. Not in this world anyway.
Justice is not what is important here though. The one and only important fact was that this little boy lived. His life was cut horribly short but it was still a life and he deserves to be celebrated even if his death is so very far in the past.

This year is a special year for that baby boy. It was only just over a year ago that I spoke of him for the first time to others. I was so afraid that if I ever mentioned a thing about it that I would fall apart and never recover. The only people who always knew about him were the people that were there at that time in my life and none of them are in my life any longer.
A few months after talking about him to a fantastic and caring nurse, I had the chance to do some grief work and was asked if I’d ever given him a name. I hadn’t. I do remember though that all those years ago, Helper Tilly (who lived most of this time in my life for me and holds many of the memories) had wanted to call him Mark or Marcus so that was the name I gave him. Marcus.

Some time with someone who specializes in grief helped me plan and hold a small memorial for him as well. I was in hospital at the time and they have a special tree there that is for all sorts of memories and wishes. It is right beside a beautiful labyrinth as well so I made a pair of silver “ornaments”. One for Marcus and one for Tilly and I to keep. We walked through the layrynth slowly and we thought of nothing but him. Our sweet little boy. In the very centre is a large stone “alter” and we stayed there until it was time to go back to the tree.
While back at the memorial tree, I read something I had written and then tied his ornament to a tall tree branch. I left my letter under a large stone. Hopefully it is still there.
I found a small stick that had broken off the tree and was laying there on the ground so I picked it up and brought it home so that I could wrap my ornament on the “same” tree. I now have it all displayed on a small shelf dedicated to our baby boy. A beautiful wood block saying from a friend, some bubbles from my nieces wedding (every baby loves bubbles right?), and a “Hope” candle given to me at Homewood adorn his shelf.
DSCN1872
If you can see here, The ornament I made has two owls. One larger, one smaller. The larger one has two stones in it and for me that symbolizes both Tilly and I. Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy.
DSCN1875
The only detail of his life that I never attended to was choosing a date for it. I was far too young, too confused and often too dissociated to recall exactly which date everything happened and for some reason I just couldn’t choose one. It felt wrong somehow. I finally decided about 6 months ago when I was getting a tattoo that would include a flower for each of my children done in the colour of their birthstone. At this point I had to choose.

So… Marcus was my first child. The 1st is a nice date.
For the month I decided to choose the month of March. My incredible sister-in-law Zita who passed away over a year ago was born in March and I am positive that if there is a world beyond this one, she is taking care of Marcus for me until I get there. I can picture Zita and my sisters all fighting over who gets to hold him next. It’s a comforting picture to hang on to.
So March 1st, 1981 is his birthday and today marks the 34th anniversary of his short life.
TattooI am the red butterfly 🙂 and my 4 children in order starting at the bottom. March, February, September, and December.

I will admit there is a huge upside to all of these decisions. I feel like I have honoured Marcus as a life that mattered.
The downside is what I am facing this year. I’ve never really had a date so the thought of mourning his death on a particular date never happened. My sadness was always there but on “the day” my sisters and my friends have died, they are always a day that I really remember them more than on most other days.
This year is a really hard one because of that. For past two weeks I have felt anxious, sick to my stomach, and have had a sense of foreboding while waiting for this day to arrive.  Now I just feel really, really sad. I wish I could have watched him grow up and see what sort of man he’d be.
Next year won’t be so tough but for today I am sad and that is okay.

So Marcus. You mattered. Your life was important and you will always be remembered. Happy Birthday sweetheart. Until we meet again. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

A Safer World

Have you ever been sitting in front of your TV or listening to a radio when some breaking news comes on and your attention is immediately focused on the latest tragedy? I sure have! I remember spending DAYS watching CNN after 9/11. I just couldn’t turn away for fear that I’d miss something. Looking back now I realize that i was traumatizing myself but back then I had no clue.
It’s not only news stations that bring these events in to our lives. Many popular TV shows are centered around the latest most gruesome murder.
After my 4 months of treatment I made a decision to stop watching the news, listening to radio reports or allowing any violent TV to be played in my home.
It didn’t take me very long to begin to notice something. I started feeling safer. It wasn’t what I had learned while I was in treatment that was making this particular change. It was my purposeful avoidance of any type of unnecessary negativity.
Without hearing the news, I didn’t really miss out on anything of any importance. I could get general news stories online from sites like “The Good News Network” where you can still hear the stories but hear the GOOD side as well. An example. The Ebola outbreak. The news will be giving you how many people have it, how many will likely get it, how many are dying and how seemingly hopeless catching it appears to be. I don;t need to watch the news to know how they will present this topic. It will be presented in the most fearful, attention grabbing fashion possible. Not to educate you but rather to gain viewers and make money. Educating you is not their real business.
On The Good News Network, I still hear about the outbreak but they tell of towns where the locals have worked together to eradicate Ebola from their area. How quick and out of the box thinking has worked. Will the town that managed this incredible feat be on the news? Not likely!
I am picking on the news but it really holds true for all media. They make people feel as though the world is less safe, more horrible and far more out of control than it really is. There is bad. I can’t argue that at all but there is FAR more good. I found a terrific video today online that has cemented my belief that this world is a safer, healthier, more educated place. I hope you will take some time to watch it as well and I hope it allows you to feel the same way I did.
This truly is a safer world. Breathe a sigh of relief and shut the news off. 🙂

Self Harm

Don’t worry. No triggers. I promise. 🙂

A new and lovely friend of mine is dealing with the topic and I know many others do as well. My children and I included. I offered to do a blog post on it because not only do I understand it from my own personal experiences, I’ve watched my children, many friends and my sisters all go through this as well. To add to the issues I faced, it was not me that self harmed, it was a Helper. I eventually found out how to stop this harmful behavior and hope this blog just might help someone else suffering through this issue.

First my theory on self harming. I don’t believe anyone self harms in order to cause themselves pain. I believe it is actually done to help stop pain or to actually just feel something when feelings seem buried too deep to experience. When mental/emotional pain gets to an intolerable place and there seems to way to release it, overriding it with self harming behaviors and focusing on the current harm being done actually makes our minds calm down. The release of endorphins also gives us a bit of a high and we end up feeling better than we did before the self harming happened. This gives our brain a very clear message. “Self harm makes me feel better.”

Since I have DID, this issue can be a lot more confusing because I do not recall the self harm and had no control over it yet the solution is the same no matter who does it to you.
Self harming is a coping mechanism. That is really all it is. Just like any other addictive behavior, it solves a current issue is an unhealthy way. Just because it is unhealthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t work though which is why we all keep doing these things.

So what do you do to stop it? Well, you need to find out what need to are fulfilling by doing it. If it is a Helper/alter/other, you need to find out why they are doing it. What is it that they need or what is it that you need?
To feel calmer?
To reduce extreme stress?
To help with feelings of being overwhelmed?
To cause a new pain so the old pain dulls down?
To be heard?
To be believed?
Once you know why you are doing it, the solution to begin healing yourself is actually rather simple. Don’t take that the wrong way, I know it is hard work but I also know that the path to wellness is not quite as difficult as I once thought it was. It’s just the not owning a map to that path that makes it tough. Thankfully, I was given the map and now I am trying to share it with all of you.

No matter what you do to harm yourself, you first need to rid your home of anything you would normally use for self harm. If it is a common and needed household item then you need to find a way to make it less accessible to you or you can put a note with that item reminding yourself that that tool is NOT intended for self harm and you need to stop yourself now.
Now you need to start finding healthier alternatives. I think making an actual list of things to do instead is very helpful. Print them out, make it look nice and post it in a very easily seen place. It will be totally positive so if anyone sees it, they will just see a wonderful list of uplifting messages. I will put some suggestions at the bottom of this blog. You can choose the ones that you actually find helpful and in time, you will find that these healthier behaviors really can offer you the same high as self harming once did PLUS you can be so proud of yourself for stopping the harming behavior. Remember the 80-20 rule though. Just because you might not be successful every time doesn’t mean that you have failed. It is about reducing the frequency of it and eventually finding the right tools that help you stop completely.
Getting mad with yourself does not help you heal!!!

When you have a Helper that is doing the self harming, the way to deal with it includes another 2 steps. First you must do some (okay, a lot of) inward talking. Even if the harmer won’t talk back to you or they are extremely mad or hurtful to you, just remain calm and continue with your inward talking. In my case, letting my self harmer Polly know that I cared for her, wanted to help ease her pain and wanted her voice to be heard did eventually help her feel cared about and we could start working towards the 2nd extra step.
Step 2 is making a deal with that Helper. In my case, Polly is an angry (furious) teenager with plenty of reasons to hate everything in her world. I can’t blame her for feeling that way but I can let her know that harming us won’t solve her troubles. It took about a year but eventually Polly and I decided that we would get tattoos done on both wrists that would cover the scars from the self harming. She got to have say in the tattoos but the deal was that if I got the tattoos done with her suggestions, she could not cut through them. I am very happy to say that after years of uncontolable self harming behaviors, I have now been 18 months without a self inflicted scratch. THANK YOU POLLY!!!!!!

In the end, Helper or not, you need to figure out what you need and find healthy alternatives. Self harm is not going to solve anything long term no matter how good it feels at the time. You deserve wellness and I want it for you.
Have a great day all!!!
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Positive Stress Relieving ideas

1.  Exercise. 

2.  Put on fake tattoos. 

3.  Draw on yourself with washable red marker-then take a shower and wash away your pain.

4. Scribble on sheets of paper.

5.  Write poetry.

6.  Cuddle with a stuffed toy.

7.  Be with other people.

8.  Watch a favorite TV show.

9.  Post on web boards or try answering other people’s posts.

10, Think about how beautiful unscarred skin looks.

11.  Paint your nails a new color or draw something cool on your skin.

12.  Go out to see a movie.

13.  Eat something you can’t resist.

14. Read.

15.  Write a letter to someone. You don’t have to send it .

16. Go into chat rooms to talk.

17.  Call a friend and ask them to come hang out.

18.  Play a musical instrument. A kazoo counts!

19.  Sing.

20.  Look up at the sky, and  find the moon.  Study it.

21. Dance like no one is watching.

22.  Buy a punching  bag (with gloves.  Name it.  Then, have a visit with John/Judy when you need to.

23.  Snap a rubber band  (hair band) on your wrist.

24.  Cover yourself with band-aids where you want to cut.

25.  Go to the zoo and rename the animals.

26.  Let yourself cry, even if it is hard.

27.  Sleep,  only if you are tired.

28.  Do the exact opposite of what you really want to do.

29.  Play with a pet.

30.  Smile to at least 5 people.

31.  Re-organize something like a closet.

32.  Go out and perform one act of kindness.

33. Have a pillow fight with a wall.

34. Do something creative.

35.  Read a positive blog.

36. Watch funny YouTube videos. 

37.  Color your hair.

38.  Listen to music (non-triggering)

39.  Focus on the soothing light from a candle. No touching!

40.  Find someone else you can help.  Do volunteer work.

41.  Meditate.  Track your breathing.

42.  Call up an old friend and catch up.

43.  Work on a website or start a new one.

44.  Have a vivid fantasy love affair with a celebrity.

45.  Go somewhere public.

46.  Bake cookies or another favorite food you like.

47.  Write a blog about how you were going to self harm but didn’t.

48.  Chew gum.

49.  Buy a henna tattoo kit.

50.  Google the year you were born to see what else terrific started that year besides your life. 

51. Rip paper into really small pieces.

52.  Give someone a hug.

53.  Write a  letters or emails.

54.  Say positive affirmations. 

55. Hug a pillow.

56.  Hyper-focus on something like a rock.

57.  Fingerpaint.

58.  Scream as loud as you want.

59.  Play a cell phone game.

60.  Make hot chocolate.

61.  Pop bubble wrap.

62.  Play with play dough.

63.  Count to 100.

64.  Build a pillow fort.

65.  Blow up a balloon and pop it.

66.  Hug yourself.

67.  Write yourself an “I love myself because” letter and keep it.  Read it when you feel down.

68.  Do a puzzle.

69.  Go for a nice long drive, walk, or jog.

70.  Complete something you have been putting off.

71.  Drink a cup of herbal tea.

72.  Fold paper and invent a new origami shape.

73.  Write your memoirs.

74.  Build something.

75.  Take up something new. 

76.  Go hiking.

77.  Take up a new hobby you always dreamed of.

78.  Organize bills, receipts, etc.

79.  Cook a meal.

80.  Go out for ice cream.

81.  Buy a stuffed animal.

82.  Look at pretty things-like flowers or art work.

83.  Take pictures.

84.  Look up some silly information online. Do penguins kiss?

85.  Throw socks against the wall.

86.  Make a list of blessings in your life.

87.  Go to a friend’s house and open up.

88.  Write a thank you note.

89.  Watch an old comedy movie.

90.  Call your therapist or make an appointment with one.

91.  Talk to someone close to you that you trust.

92.  Buy a big ugly stuffed toy and beat it up as needed.

93.  Ride a bicycle.

94.  Clean your house.

95,  Start a garden or water your house plants.

96.  Re-arrange a room.

97.  Feed the ducks, birds, or squirrels.

98.  Draw or paint with watercolors if you don’t want permanence.

99. Go to a park.

100.  Play jacks or pick up sticks.

101. Color with crayons. There is no age limit!

102.  Memorize a song and sing it.  Then, reflect on it’s message.

103.  Put on boots and stomp.

104.  Stretch.

105.  Find a butterfly  and catch it.

106.  Watch fish.

107.  Come up with names for people you don’t know. He looks like a “Rob” don’t you think?

108.  Go to a public place and people watch.

109.  Make a playlist of your newest favorite songs.

110.  Name all of your stuffed animals.

111.  Go shopping.

112.  Get into your PJ’s and just veg.

113.  Sit in a coffee shop with a good book.

114.  Throw something unbreakable on the ground. HARD!

115.  Go to a a museum or a nifty store with unique items.

116.  Think about your ideal life.  What do you have to do to get there?

117.  Plan an outing for any day in the near future.

118.  Hunt for weird stuff on Ebay.  There are 451,549 results for chocolate!

119.  Alphabetize your books and magazines.

120.  Hunt for your perfect home in the paper or online.

121.  Take up Tai Chi.

122.  Try to make as many words as possible out of your full name

123.  Count ceiling tiles or lights.

124.  Go to the grocery store and buy yourself some flowers.

125.  Search for ridiculous things on the web.

126.  Google yourself. This is seriously cool.

127.  Color co-ordinate your wardrobe.

128.  Do a home tan on yourself.

129.  Take a hot bath and “be” in the moment.

130.  Sort some of your photographs.

131.  Give yourself a pedicure.

132.  Color or scribble over pretty women in magazines.

133.  Plan a dinner party with menus and guest list, then carry it out.

134.  Go through all your old stuff, and donate it.

135.  Take a walk in the woods and breathe the fresh air.

136.  Start a mood journal and write in it every day.  Do patterns surface?

137.  Buy yourself some toys and play like you are 5 years old!

138.  Start to collect some thing.

139.  Take up kick-boxing.

140.  Read a magazine or newspaper.

141.  Sew something.

142.  Buy a cuddly stuffed animal.

143.  Take your own dog, or a friend’s dog for a walk.

144.  Come up with your own fun idea! 🙂

80-20

How about we all face something here?
We just can’t be at 100% all the time.
Am I right?

So how do you decide if where you are or what you are doing is good enough? Not perfect but good enough?

I have an 80-20 rule. Let me warn you though, I am not at all good with math so please don’t check my percentages. *laugh*

80-20-rule

Let me explain the 80-20 rule…
If you plan to exercise 5 days a week and you “only” make it out 4 times? That’s 80% and truly good enough. Why beat yourself up over the 20%? It’s so insignificant.
If you are watching your weight and you eat well most of the week but then blow it while out to supper with a friend? 80-20. Good enough!
You’ve had a busy week and fulfilled most of your responsibilities then cancel a plan to go out with friends because you are just too tired? Let yourself off the hook. You did your 80%.
Go grocery shopping and get most of your list but forgot paper towel for the 3rd time this month? Give yourself credit for all you remembered and give yourself a break. NO ONE comes home with everything they planned to. Usually we come home with things we didn’t plan to and forgot to take the list in the first place. If you still manage to eat and take care of your needs for the week? You obviously didn’t forget anything THAT drastic.
If you are a creative person (this one hits close to home), and you are making/painting/stitching/writing something and you mess up one part of it? 80-20! Seriously, the only person who will notice is you. Let go of the idea of perfection. 80% IS perfection!

In the end it is all about giving ourselves a break. We can all still aim for that 100% but it just rarely happens. I think it’s high time to just accept that and be super pleased by your 80% achieved. You’ll be doing yourself, your mindset AND the people around you a favour.
Seriously there is NOTHING more annoying than a perfect person that knows everything is there? 😉

The 4th flower.

I got another tattoo done on Monday. 🙂 All of my tattoo’s are meaningful to me but with each one I get, I feel completely differently about it because the meanings are so varied.
I can’t (won’t) show you my first 4 tattoos. Lets just say I was young and really stupid. You can just use your imagination. I still love them though even if they are a bit… well… young and stupid. *laugh*

On my left wrist I have this one.
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At first I designed it to cover the cuts on my wrist and they are nearly unnoticeable now YAY!!! It was also designed to remind me to both “Stay” (stay present, stay alive) and “Stay Strong”. The tree bending but not breaking reminds me of my life. It is how I feel. A bit misshapen and off kilter at times but still firmly rooted and strong. The sprouting leaves are symbolic for rejuvenation.

On my right arm there is this one.
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I chose an owl for the native Indian meaning “having the ability to see light through the darkness” and it is also a reminder for me to “stay wise”. Each leaf represents a Helper so there are 24 leaves and more can be added if needed. I now feel there is one more but won’t adjust the tattoo until I am positive.
The teal ribbon is the awareness ribbon colour for PTSD. DID and childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t want the typical ribbon though. I like to be different. 🙂

And now on my left leg there is this one.
Tattoo

The butterfly for me is a symbol of transformation. The fact that they literally wrap themselves in a tight and dark cocoon only to emerge as something far more beautiful than when they went in, just astounds me. It is done in reds for my January birthstone.
The books represent the writer in me but also offer me reminders. My life, my story and my voice really do matter and they always will. There are many days when I feel so useless and unimportant (just old messages replying in my head) and i need to remind myself regularly that I do matter.
The flowers are done for each of my children. To add the 4th is a huge mental and emotional shift for me. .
The first 3 are for my children who’ve I spoken about before in my blog. My December girl, February boy and September girl. The 4th flower is done in March colours for a baby that was taken from me when I was a very young girl. I will discuss this more in my next post but for today, just including him in to the group that I consider “my children” is huge for me. He was a secret loss for decades.
So… the flowers are for all 4 of my children. My two girls and my 2 boys.
With much love for all. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤