Welcome

This is my journey. I want to share this incredible roller coaster ride of hopes, dreams, signs, emotional crashes, and excitement.
this is the space where i work out what is going on in my head. i hope that you can see yourself in my posts and that you will gain something from following my story.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Purge Cycle (TRIGGER WARNING)


TRIGGER WARNING:
This post discusses purging. 








For the last 4 months I have been struggling with a really difficult relapse. And just when I think I have a handle on it, something happens and I go back to my old coping mechanisms and once I begin the cycle, it is incredibly hard to get off that spinning circle. 





I've written before about how I have learned that people are made up of different parts of ourselves. And, as I do with all things, I took the idea and went with it and then developed it into something that I could understand and work with. For me, that meant exploring my psyche, naming my parts, and drawing them. 

This morning I emailed Nosy Nora to attempt to explain what has been going on. She suggested that I share what I wrote as a blog post. I must admit that I had already been thinking that it was something I could post here. 

I'm not sure I like talking about myself as if I am different people. But I'm going with it so that I can explain the purge cycle. 

It begins first thing in the morning when Fat fanny stands on the scale and sees if my weight is above or bellow the do-not-pass number. 







Then, based on the number, she chooses to eat something like junk food for breakfast. 









Hateful Harriet sees all this and tells Fat Fanny that she is fat and stupid and tells her that of course she's fat because she makes such stupid choices. 









Punishing Penelope overhears the mean things being said and wants to join in ...







And when she finishes berating Fat Fanny, she tells Purging Polly what happened and pokes at her. 

Purging Polly doesn't want to know anything. She wants to be left alone. Punishing Penelope keeps telling her all about Fat Fanny and Polly starts to get overwhelmed and upset. She can't stop the hateful, mean, ugly words and doesn't know what to do with those feelings, so she makes herself throw up. 








Afterwards, Polly feels shame and stupidity and crawls into bed with Scared Susan. The two of them whisper to each other in the dark. 





Susan tells Polly all the things that are going on in her head. All her fears. Everything that she is afraid of. Polly whispers that she is afraid of the others. That she doesn't know what do when they get angry. She also explains that Fat Fanny chooses what goes into my body and Polly can take control to choose when and what gets expelled.

And then Fat Fanny hears their whispers, tucks them in, and decides what happens next. It might be sleeping, crying, hiding, or eating another kind of junk food which repeats the cycle. And then within that cycle, it starts to not matter what she eats. It can be soup or salad or cucumber or melon. Once the cycle has started, Hateful Harriet and Punishing Penelope just keeping telling Fat Fanny that she's worthless and ugly and a stupid pile of shit. And then they report to Purging Polly and call her horrible names until it's easier to throw up than to listen. 

Yesterday, while climbing into bed, Fat Fanny was listening to Hateful Harriet who was telling her she didn't deserve to feel pleasure .... And out of nowhere, Sexy Sasha poked her head out and said "well maybe ..." And she took over until I fell asleep. The cycle started up again after I woke up from my nap. I ate raspberries. And I didn't deserve them. So I immediately threw them up. 







It's way more complicated than that, obviously. Throw in all the chronic physical pain I have been experiencing, and external stressors and all the things that suck in my life. But I think it's the clearest way to describe what happens. And to explain the ways in which it is a cycle. And to demonstrate that there are ways to break the cycle, if I let parts like Sexy Sasha take over. Or even to call on Morning Myrtle, who finds pleasure in reading, write my, drawing, and cups of hot tea in bed. Today I allowed Myrtle to take me for a walk. We walked 6 km in the gorgeous sunshine. It felt so good. I came home and drew. 







And then after dinner, the cycle began again. 

I keep thinking that Polly is having a tantrum. But I do t know anymore. I think that she is being provoked. 

Tomorrow is a new day. 

Be kind to yourself, 

xoxo


...


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Learning to be Second


somewhere in my childhood, i was taught that i was not first. 

i wasn't entitled to be first. wasn't worthy. was not deserving. 

someone taught me that i don't matter as much as everyone else. 




and i believed it. i have always been good at learning. i have always been good at paying attention to what i am being taught - to the overt and unspoken messages being given to me. 

for as long as i can remember, i have always put everyone else ahead of me - other people's needs in front of my needs. it doesn't matter if it is my partner, my friends, my family, my students, my colleagues, or even strangers. 

i have very few memories of feeling like i mattered. 

i never chose what game we were going to play, what movie we would watch, what we would have for dinner, where we would go, or any other "easy" decision that people make hundreds of throughout the day.

a pivotal moment in this process was my 9th birthday. that day has stuck with me for the last 30 years. 

my cousin CP is my best friend. she is 16 days older than me, so she has literally been in my life since birth. there were stretches of years where we were completely inseparable. we continue to be inseparable through the wonders of technology despite so many provinces separating us physically. 

for our 9th birthday, we celebrated at our Gram's house. We were given Barbie-style rockstar dolls. Mine had curly red hair and i thought it was the coolest most beautiful doll i had ever gotten. CP had a matching doll but it had blue hair. 


i was really excited about my doll. The red hair was beautiful. and i imagined the different stories that we were going to act out with our new dolls. 

we were also given plastic hoop earrings. CP got a pair of turquoise earrings and i got a pair of purple earrings. purple was (and still is!) my favourite colour. 




these gifts were awesome. i couldn't wait to put the earrings in and i took out the ones that i was wearing.

this next moment shaped my relationships for many years. not just with CP, but with everyone, and with everyone to come. 

i am not sure that much has really changed.

CP asked me to trade. 

she said that she liked the one with the red hair better. i didn't really like the blue-haired doll. it was the runner up. but i liked CP. i loved her. she was my best friend. and i was terrified that if i didn't do the trade, that she would be mad at me. disappointed me in. that maybe she wouldn't like me anymore. i was scared that i would be left alone with no friends. 




in that moment, i set up the pattern that would follow for the next 30 years. 

so many things went through my mind. i asked myself, did it matter that the blue doll was second best? did i deserve the better doll? was i worthy of keeping something that i liked. 

i loved CP more than i loved myself. 

it was mere seconds before i made my decision. and in that one decision, i gave away more than the doll; i gave away the idea that i was worthy of having something that i wanted. 

then it was time to put in our new earrings. i was ready to show off my new purple accessories and was happy that people knew that purple was my favourite colour. CP looked at my earrings, and then at her turquoise earrings and told me that purple was her favourite colour. and she asked if i would be willing to trade.   


of course i agreed. and i didn't simply give away the purple earrings, i gave away the last vestige of any self-mattering. 


i talked to CP before writing this post. because i know that she has sad feelings about that day. sad feelings about asking me to trade. 

i don't blame CP for the choices that i made that day. because that's what they were: choices. i could have said "no" if i hadn't learned that my wants and needs were secondary to everyone else's. i could have said "no" if someone hadn't taught me that it was more important to keep everyone else happy at my own expense. 

i was so scared that if i said "no" and kept my own things, that CP would no longer be my friend. that she would see me as selfish and mean and rude. so there wasn't ever really a question of whether or not i should do the trade. she asked, and my brain jumped to the thought of losing her a friend, so i said yes. 




over the last 30 years, i have given away so much. not only items but pieces of my very self. 

i always take the smaller piece of whatever food we are eating. i will also always take the burnt piece, or the piece of pie that fell apart, or the drink that is less bubbly. 

i tell myself that i don't care. that i don't need to choose what movie to watch because i don't care. i hate making decisions. 

but i do care. i care a lot. 

of course there are things that i like and things that i don't like. but my fear of being disliked, or being left, overrides my desire to have my way - my desire to make a choice. 

i don't want to make a decision for fear that that decision will lead to judgment and that that judgment will lead to being abandoned. 

it's odd to look back at that photo of my 9th birthday as our 39th birthday approaches us in a month. i remember being happy to be celebrating my birthday with my best friend. i remember how important it was that CP be my best friend. and i remember how scared i was that if i didn't give her what she wanted that she would stop being friends with me. and it was easier to give her my doll and my earrings that it was to take that risk. 

i didn't understand then that it in fact wasn't easy at all. 

it feels so much easier to say "i don't care" than it does to assert what i need or what i want. it is so much easier to let everyone else decide. it is so much easier to believe that i am not worthy of having what i want than it is to try to believe that i am deserving of anything at all. 

my feelings of self-worth haven't changed much in 30 years. 

i would rather help everyone else than help myself. i would rather give away what i have and end up in debt than be seen as selfish. i would rather drive back and forth across the city for someone else 3 times in one day than be seen as lazy. i would rather say yes when all i want to say is no, for fear of being disliked. 

my fear of judgement overrides my instinct for survival. 

i want to change. i want to learn that i matter. i want to learn that i am worthy and deserving. 

people tell me that i am. and i sometimes believe that they actually think they what they are saying is true. 

but what i want to learn, is how to believe it about myself. i want to learn how to believe that i am worthy of putting myself first. of making choices. of saying no when i want to. of learning to know WHAT i want, and expressing it to others. 

it's a process. one step forward and 73 steps backwards. at least, that's how it feels. 

be kind to yourself, 
xoxo








 



  

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Research


It has been quite awhile since I have written anything on my blog. I have been on a leave from work and just trying to stay afloat and get through life. To sort through stressors, anxiety, and the chronic pain issues that I have been experiencing for the last 6 months.

This last week I decided to give myself a project - something that I had been thinking about for awhile. I wanted to do research and write an academic article on the potential of using self-pleasure as a replacement for self-harm behaviours in disordered eating (or Eating Disorders: ED).

I tried google first and found it to be less than helpful. I'm sure you can imagine the types of websites that pop-up when using search words such as "pleasure", "self pleasure", "sex", "sexuality" ... not very helpful.

I then discovered that the Toronto Public Library has public access to 2 search engines for academic journals. It was a treasure trove of information. I dove into the archives and read academic articles from the last 50+ years about the history of masturbation, the history of women's sexuality, different theories on ED, ED symptomatic behaviours, ED treatment, self-harm, self-harm treatment, and the health benefits of pleasure.

My digging led me to some really interesting studies, some of which had nothing to do with the topic but the titles popped up in my search and compelled me to read them. Things from the sexual activities of monkeys and their relation to that of human development, to the history of knowledge around orgasms. It has been quite the adventure thus far.

I became completely immersed in the research and writing. The article is currently in draft form and is 17 pages long!

I am stuck on some pretty weird theories posed by Sigmund Freud that I truly don't understand. I am working through trying to understand what the hell he was talking about when he wrote about a phallus baby as being the reason for bulimia. I even turned to my friend Dr. M, who is a psychiatrist. He said that he doesn't understand what Freud was saying! When I saw my psychiatrist today I asked him about it. He coincidentally works with Dr. M and knows that he is my friend. After explaining my Freud analysis issue, my psychiatrist suggested that I speak to Dr. M about it, saying that he is well versed and supervised my doctor's reading of Freud!

So no one seems to understand what he was talking about, except the academics who wrote about it who are even more confusing to read than Freud himself.

Perhaps his theories on eating disorders are too antiquated and entirely unnecessary for my writing.

As you can see from my babbling on and on about it, this project has consumed me.

I didn't realize how much I truly miss academia. In 2002 I was accepted into a Phd program that I had to turn down because of money. The program was in Sheffield, England and the fees for foreign students were exorbitant. The estimate was that I would need $100,000 per year to attend the program. That same year, I was offered a scholarship to Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia. So I accepted the scholarship and my life took a different path.

I often wonder where the Phd would have led me. It was in the field of geography, specifically human geography. And I was hand picked by a woman that I call "my academic crush." I have read everything she has published and am always astonished by her brilliance and the theories she works to prove. It still makes me sad that I had to turn it down.

Stupid money.

This project has made me feel alive. It is feeding my soul and allowing me to feel pleasure. To explore areas of research that I was unaware of. It is opening my mind to new ideas and new areas for exploration.

I can't wait to see what topic I think of to work on next!

This is my last week being on sick leave. Next week I return to the real life of having to go to work every day, of having to bring work home, of having to put my energy into my career. My intention is to carve out time for this process that I am so passionate about. Even if nothing ever comes of my reading except my own happiness.

I hope that all my readers can find something that brings you as much pleasure and passion as my project has for me.

Be kind to yourself,

xoxo

...

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Belonging



I woke up this morning thinking about Tyson. 






I never think about Tyson. 

I've never talked about Tyson. 

Oddly. 

Because the impact of him has stayed with me for the last 23 years. 

It was a painful experience that I stuffed way down deep inside of me and don't allow to surface. Once in awhile the memory pops up and I tell myself it's not important, and think about something else. 

As far as I can remember, I haven't even mentioned it to Nosy Nora. 

Today I told J that in the clarity of being stable, it's hard to know the difference between mental health and emotions. That in moments of clarity, emotions surface and we convince ourselves that such emense feelings are due to depression or whatever diagnosis of mental illness we may have been given. When in fact, it is our very stability that allows us to truly feel what we have for so long refused to feel. 






I have many feels right now. I don't think that this is a time of stability or clarity for me. That being said, I am ready to think about (and feel) my feelings around Tyson; what happened to him and subsequently to me ...

In the Spring of grade 9 I was still trying to find my group of friends. My group had decided to stop talking to me. So I was alone and searching. 







After school everyday, a group of self-declared "comic nerds" would walk from school to the main road, about 20 minutes away. There was a coffee shop on the corner and they would sit and have coffee. 






I was invited to join them. I always knew I wasn't really part of their group, but they welcomed me into their coffee dates and through the Spring I went with them and listened to them talk and laugh. 

Tyson was one of them. 

I didn't know him very well. Only as part of that group. I liked him. He was a nice guy. He made me laugh. 

That summer I got a job as a live-in nanny. I hated it. No one should be responsible for 4 children under the age of 6 (one being only 3 weeks old when I started!!) but especially not a 15 year old kid. Being left alone with all 4 of them was terrifying. So when my mom showed up one night saying she was taking me home, I was beyond relieved. 

She said she had something that she needed to tell me. 

The story was that Tyson was walking home along the railroad tracks and had his earphones on so he didn't hear the train coming. And that's why it hit him. 

And killed him. 







I was never entirely convinced that it was an accident. 


It was very sad that Tyson had died. A boy I knew, who went with me to the coffee shop everyday, was no longer alive. It was tragic. And my heart hurt for his family. 


But what hurt me most from his death wasn't actually his death itself. 


My mom took me to the funeral home. We went into the main room where all the adults were. Someone said that his friends were gathered in the side room. So my mom sent me there and she stayed with the adults. 






I made it only a few steps into the room and was stopped by Jeni - supposedly my friend. 

What she said to me was mean. Insensitive. Stinging. And I think it came from a place of grief and the shock of him dying. 

She looked at me and said "what are you doing here? Did you even KNOW him?" 

It stopped me in my tracks. Like a punch in the gut. 






My inner critic (I suppose Hateful Harriet) took over. HAD I known him? Why was I there? What right did I have to be there? I was so stupid to think that I ever belonged to that group. I was never truly a part of their friendship. They simply tolerated me because I was lonely. 

So I turned around, found my mom, and left. 

I didn't go to the funeral. I didn't ever speak of Tyson again. I don't even think I've really thought about him. 

I wasn't allowed to feel grief over a boy I knew who died horribly when I was 15. Because Jeni called into question my right to belong. My right to be part of a community. My right to have feelings. 

The feeling of belonging is essential to the healthy mental state of all people. Belonging is interconnected with self-esteem. If I were to examine Jeni using Tajfel's theory of social identity, I could say that she needed to feel that I was "other" in order for her to have a sense that she belonged in her social group. She needed that sense of "us" and "them" so that she could grieve with her peers. 

As an adult, I can look back and see that Jeni had no idea what impact her questions would have on me. It was mean. It was insensitive. It was cruel and hurtful. And no one thinks about how one thing they say can profoundly affect the self-esteem, the decisions, the internal talk of another person. One off-hand remark can have a profound impact on another human being. 

It puts a whole new perspective on "think before you speak." 

I spent a long time feeling "other". I still feel like an outsider sometimes. And I also know that I have incredible, amazing friends. 











I am part of a vibrant and diverse community. My desire and need to be loved is being met. 




And despite the fact that I am a total and complete head case, I am accepted. I belong. 

Be kind to yourself,

xoxo




...




Monday, 16 November 2015

Why my Heart Weeps for Paris



Note: 

this post was hard to write. 

It may very well be hard to read. 

I like to say that Nosy Nora's favourite word is "suggest" ... 

I would like to suggest that you think about whether or not you want to read this particular post. It discusses atrocities that people commit against each other. My images are stark and may have an impact on you. It is potentially triggering to read - it was certainly triggering to write. 

I will completely understand your discretion at choosing whether or not to read this post. 

Respectfully yours, 

April 




I firmly believe that one atrocity does not outweigh another. Weeping for the horrors in Paris does not mean NOT weeping for the horrors in Beirut. Humans have always committed harm against each other. It is our deepest flaw - the belief that two wrongs can make a right. 

Revenge, retaliation, and not even knowing "who started it".






As a young child, I was exposed to horrors around the world enacted over the last 70 years of global history. Explicitly taught and shown what happened, what WAS happening, and what could happen. Taught of the horrors as a means to prevent their recurrence. At night I curled up in a ball in my bed and cried silent tears over lives lost and horrific violence committed in countries I had never been to - some I had never heard of. 





At 10, I would wake from nightmares about what might be happening to Nelson Mandela in prison. At 11, I was taken on a class trip to see a graphic movie about the life and brutal death of Stephen Biko and I would wake in the night fearful of what might happen next - of what could, or in my mind WOULD, happen next. 






I think it is worth me writing about here in this space that I have created for myself. To finally speak what I have carried around in my heart for more than 30 years. 

Humans can be awful. Humans can be beautiful and wonderful and kind and compassionate and vulnerable and strong and weak and brave and incredible and sad and lonely and jealous and mindful and just plain human. 





Humans can also be convinced that they are in the right. That violence is the only solution. That nothing else will work. Humans are flawed. 

The attacks on the Twin Towers in New York was horrific. Thousands and thousands and thousands of lives changed, affected, or lost. Continued effects and pain and trauma haunt the USA. I ache for their pain. 

And at the same time, on that day, I thought about the concept of NYMBY - Not In My Back Yard. 

Thousands and thousands and thousands of lives have been changed, affected, or lost around the world over many years. The sudden and unexpected attack on American soil with the loss of so many lives at once was ... there isn't a word to describe how awful it was without sounding flippant or dismissive. My reaction to 9/11 was no different than my reaction every time there is an attack anywhere in the world - whether it is a suicide bomber, a drone bombing, a massacre in a movie theatre or a school, war, genocide ... in my mind, they are all atrocities. They are all worthy of the tears I weep in my heart. 




The reaction of the West to the attacks in Paris are very much rooted in NYMBY. The Middle East faces this unsettled violent loss so often that it has become "expected". It has become "the norm". An attack in France is shocking and terrifying to the West because we think of ourselves as peaceful nations. We don't consider ourselves to be part of the flawed and fearful parts of humanity that we have othered. Hearing of the deaths of innocent people in Iraq is not shocking. Hearing of the deaths of innocent people in France is terrifying. 

To me there is no difference except that we have become desensitized to horrors that are far enough removed from our realities that we have convinced ourselves of NYMBY. We have convinced ourselves that the individuals in Western society who suddenly murder innocent people in a massacre in a movie theatre in Colorado, 

a school in Columbine, 





a University in Montreal





 - that these are the acts of individuals with mental health challenges. 

That horrific attacks from one nation against another could not possibly happen here. 

And yet it did. 

I weep for the people in Paris who survived the attacks. I weep for the ones who were murdered. I weep for those left behind. I weep for the fears of France declaring it an act of war. I weep for the potential repercussions. I weep for the people who believe so strongly in a common enemy that they are willing to take so many lives as well as their own. It is awful, and painful, and something that I can't possibly ever understand. 

I weep for the children of Soweto who were murdered by police in June of 1967 when they protested Afrikaans being the language of instruction in schools. 




I weep for the over 1,700,000 Tutsi Rwandans who were slaughtered over a period of 100 days by Hutu Rwandans - military, police, and civilians, encouraged to wipe out the Tutsi people in 1994. Roughly 7 people every hour ...  My heart aches for the 45,000 Tutsi people, including children and infants, hiding in a technical school, who were slaughtered all in one day and dumped into a mass grave - a volleyball court was built on top to hide what had happened. The school is now a genocide museum. 





I weep for the victims, survivors, and families of those systematically murdered during the Holocaust. 





I weep for the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in our own country of Canada. 

I weep for the people of Beirut. 

I weep for Stephen Biko (famous for his slogan "black is beautiful") who was brutally murdered while in police custody in 1977 - the year I was born. He was declared a terrorist by the South African government, because of his activism against apartheid, detained and beaten until he died of a brain hemorrhage. 






I weep for heart break and sadness and murder and terror and acts of violence that I will never comprehend. 

Humans have the capacity for such love and such hate. 

It terrifies me. 

As a teacher, one of the main focuses of my teaching is: do not retaliate, do not seek revenge, and work towards restitution. It is not enough to say you are sorry. It is not enough to be sorry. As human beings we must make amends for the hurts and harm that we cause. 






A survivor from the massacre at the concert in Paris wrote an incredibly real, raw, heart wrenching, loving, passionate piece on her Facebook wall. It is incredibly hard to read. She describes what happened in detail, yet she writes of love and kindness and our shared humanity. At 22 years old, her perspective shows that she is an old soul. I have chosen NOT to share what she wrote. It is triggering and awful and beautiful. Should you wish to read it, look up Isobel Bowdery on Facebook and scroll to the photograph of the stained white shirt. 

Beyond being horrific and shocking and painful, the attacks in Paris is a knife in the heart of the West - Not In My Back Yard. A message that we are not immune to the anger, hatred, and violence enacted by those we have othered as militant, angry, insane, terrorists. Their acts have evoked terror in the hearts and minds of the West. 

Including me. 





There will never be a time when horrific acts of atrocity make any sense to me. I will never be able to sort out the feelings inside my very soul as I react to things that I learn about what we as humans can do to other humans. It is devastating and I am fearful over what may come next. 

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and let your compassion touch the world. 




xoxo


...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

My many parts




"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting." Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery 


Nosy Nora is my therapist. 





She has saved my life. Multiple times. Figuratively, by providing me with tools and opportunities to say things I've never said, to talk about things I've never talked about, and to make changes in my life, and to know what it feels like to be cradled in support in a way I never was as a child. And also literally in that there have been several times since I've been seeing her when I just didn't want to be alive any more. And Nosy Nora has gotten me through. 

So it wasn't surprising when Nosy Nora had an idea for managing my chronic pain. 

I have had a headache and neck pain since August. It's been 3 1/2 months now. Sometimes it is unbearable. Sometimes it is minimal. But it is always there. Nagging at me. Throbbing. 





Nosy Nora suggested I see Hearing Henry. She said that Hearing Henry is an RMT who does Osteopathy. Who does whatnow?

I turned to Wikipedia: 


"Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicinethat emphasizes the physical manipulation of the body's muscle tissue and bones.[1] Its name derives from Ancient Greek "bone" (ὀστέον) and "disease of" (-πάθεια),[2]" 


I decided that I could live with that definition. That was one hurdle conquered. The next was that Hearing Henry was a man. I don't have very many men in my life. And the ones that I do have don't touch me. My Dad almost never touches me. The odd time he has patted me on the shoulder and it has been awkward and weird and uncomfortable. I prefer he not touch me at all. 

The only man who does touch me is my dear friend DS who is also an RMT. Going for a treatment from DS has always been comfortable, safe, and okay. And part of that is having known him for many years and having the utmost trust in him. The other part is simply knowing what a wonderful person he is. 




The idea of going to see some strange man to have him touch me on purpose was very odd for me. I wasn't scared of the touch. I didn't think that I would like it particularly. But I wasn't scared because Nosy Nora said it was okay. And besides, at that point I wanted to rip my own head off from the constant pain. 

Off I went. Scared to meet Hearing Henry. Not because he was going to touch me, but because he was going to judge me. He was going to take one look at me and decide that I was too fat. He was going to poke and prod me. After a thorough assessment, he was going to determine that my chronic pain was due to my weight. He would tell me that if I lost 100 lbs, the pain would go away. As PP says, there's no rationalizing the irrational. If I actually lost 100 lbs I would either be dead or unable to support my own head. But in my warped mind, losing 100 lbs will solve all my problems and obviously Hearing Henry would come to the same conclusion. 







Hearing Henry didn't mention my weight. And surprisingly being touched felt okay. Even more surprising was that beyond being okay, I actually liked it. It felt oddly comforting and nurturing. Not a feeling I am used to coming from a man. 






AND I got relief from my pain! I now see Hearing Henry twice a week and the treatments are my way of pain management. Much better than me begging my doctor for pain meds which she wouldn't give me anyway because of my being an addict and stuff. 






Nosy Nora and Hearing Henry are the perfect tag-team working in tandem on all my different parts. Sending support from different angles. Different sides of me. Between them, my partner DP, my CP, and my friends, I have a flood of support coming at me from all sides. 

I'm going through one of those periods where life just feels too hard. Where life seems to just throw me one curve ball after another and deciding to go to sleep forever seems like a viable solution. Part of me doesn't believe that. It's a struggle between different parts of me. 

Nosy Nora and I have talked a lot about how people are made up of different parts. And I have started talking to Hearing Henry about that as well. I think different parts of us develop in response to different experiences in our lives. As a way of coping. Not always healthfully. But coping. 

There are many, many part inside of me that make me who I am. And each part plays a role in how I respond to different situations and to the experiences of having emotions. I decided that in order to identify the purpose, motivation and development of each of my parts, it would be effective to name them and draw them. 

Here are some of my many parts. 





Hateful Harriet is the loudest of all the parts of me. She is the mean voice inside my head that tells me how stupid I am when I make a mistake. She tells me that I am ugly, and fat, and undeserving. She calls me names and is the first part to step up in response to anything that happens - even good things. She shuts down happiness and hope by telling me that I am a fraud and am unworthy. She also often shuts down my other parts. There are few parts that she likes and encourages. 








Anxious Martha is the part of me that is afraid and worried all the time. She tells me everything that is going to go wrong. For example, if I am driving and it starts to rain then she tells me that all 4 tires are going to fall off the car and then I will get hit by another car which will start a chain reaction of a 73 car collision. Or if I have a disagreement with someone then they are never going to talk to me again and they are going to get other people to stop talking to me too. She tells me I will lose my job and have nowhere to live and that I will run out of money. She tells me that everyone I love is going to die. Soon. Hateful Harriet encourages her once in awhile and other times she just tells her how stupid she is too. 







Angry April doesn't get to stick around very long. She is a knee-jerk reaction that gets sent to her room pretty quickly after she tries to express her feelings. Even though she doesn't get to talk to sort through her emotions, she's always there in the background. Festering. Waiting in her room for someone to open the door so that she can explode all at once about all the injustices that have made her angry. The door is almost always closed. 








Purging Polly pokes her head up when something feels stressful. She is convinced that throwing up and feeling empty is much better than sitting with an uncomfortable emotion. She doesn't listen to reason. She is irrational and unwilling to stop and think. She reacts swiftly before any other parts can stop her. I think she is mostly afraid. Afraid of what could happen if feelings get felt. 







Fat Fanny sits around eating. She thinks that she can numb feelings with food that is consumed without being tasted. Food without nutritional value. She and Purging Polly used to be a team. Fat Fanny has recently moved out. She barely visits anymore. Which leaves Purging Polly throwing up anything that gets eaten rather than throwing up excess food. 







Jealous Hortense is Angry April's best friend. They whisper to each other through the walls. Hateful Harriet and Jealous Hortense fight a LOT. Harriet tells her that she is so unworthy and undeserving of anything that there is no reason to feel jealous. But Hortense is pretty spunky and is able to hold her own. She sticks around a lot. 







Punishing Penelope is just plain mean. She is Hateful Harriet's right hand. She decides what the punishment will be for my stupidity, my weight, my laziness, my procrastination. My punishments include eating when I'm not hungry, not doing activities that I enjoy like walking or playing guitar, not asking for support from Nosy Nora when I need it, and poking Purging Polly to get a reaction out of her. 






Sexy Sasha is very quiet. She's there. She knows what she wants but is afraid to ask for it. She doesn't think she's worthy of attention. So she doesn't speak up much. 






Morning Myrtle is Hateful Harriet's biggest rival. She isn't around very often. But when she is, it's wonderful. Myrtle makes cups of tea and lays in bed reading. She takes a cup of tea to the park in the morning and soaks in the sun. She goes for walks along the river and notices the colours of the trees and the grass. She likes to sleep in. She buys beads to string on wire with Nosy Nora to acknowledge accomplishments. Morning Myrtle is happy. 






Motivated Mona thinks that Punishing Penelope is a pain in the ass. Mona shows up when things need to get done. She cleans the house, does the dishes, writes report cards, runs errands, and makes the phone calls that no one else will. Unfortunately, she gets tired really easily. I think she must have fibromyalgia. She runs out of steam and goes to bed for weeks at a time. 








Silent Sally sees all, hears all, knows all, and says nothing. She keeps the secrets of all the other parts. 






Scared Susan sits at Anxious Martha's feet. Martha tells her everything that is going to happen and Susan believes every word. She tries to hide from the world. She is convinced that she is going to be hurt. Repeatedly. So she cowers, protecting herself from the next blow that she knows is coming. 






Lonely Lisa was never noticed. She feels invisible. Her sadness was never acknowledged. She didn't know how to ask for help. When sadness comes now, she sits on the stairs wondering if anyone will see her. Instead of going to someone for help, she waits to see if someone will notice, figure out what's wrong, and help her to feel better. 






Needy Natalie is annoying. She has no boundaries. And no respect for other people's needs - only her own. 






Clingy Caroline is embarrassing. She desperately wants the nurturing maternal figure that she never had. So she clings to kindness and holds onto any feeling of being taken care of. She makes me feel like I'm 3 years old. 






Imaginative Anne is the part of me that identifies with Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Anne thinks all the marvellous things that I would never ever say aloud. She has a vivid imagination and uses flowery descriptive language when she thinks. And what she wants more than anything in the world is to be loved and to belong. 






Felicity the Fraud is really, really, REALLY talented. She can fake anything so convincingly that she has everyone fooled. People believe that she is good, and kind, and intelligent, and strong, and capable, and knowledgeable, and worthy. She worms her way into people's lives and hearts by tricking them into believing these false characteristics. The problem is that she can't keep up the facade forever because other parts knock her over once in awhile. She's pretty much able to pick herself up and take over again though. 






Nurturing Nora is the part of me that I can't find. The part that I WANT to find. She is the part of me who would be able to take care of all the other parts. 

She would know that what Hateful Harriet really needs is a hug. Anxious Martha needs a cup of tea. Angry April needs to be heard and told that it's okay to be angry. Purging Polly needs to be held and protected. Fat Fanny needs to be told that she is loveable. Jealous Hortense needs to be told that it's okay to have feelings about what she doesn't have and to express those feelings so that she can let them go. Punishing Penelope needs to be grounded and taught not to be a bully. Sexy Sasha needs to be invited to the party. Morning Myrtle needs to be encouraged to stick around. Motivated Mona needs to pace herself so that she doesn't burn out. Silent Sally needs to be told that she can speak. To be held while she speaks all the truths. Scared Susan needs to be held and protected and comforted. Lonely Lisa needs to be told that she is noticed and seen and that she matters. She also needs a hug. Needy Natalie needs to be told that it's okay to need other people. That no one can go through life alone. Clingy Caroline needs a big lonnnnnnngggggg squidge. She needs to be told that kindness and caring can be abundant if she is open to receiving it. Imaginative Anne needs to be told that her vivid imagination is wonderful and her use of language isn't too ridiculous to say aloud and that the world is full of kindred spirits. Felicity the Fraud needs to be told that all her characteristics are real. That no one can actually fake their entire life and their entire personality. 

Nurturing Nora is in there somewhere. She is the part that I want to find, to grow, to give strength to, to become the dominant voice. 

NOSY Nora provides me with the things that I don't know how to provide to myself. It embarrasses me. It makes Hateful Harriet and Punishing Penelope very loud. It adds fuel to their fire. CP says that if I had cancer, I wouldn't be embarrassed to need chemo. She says that at the present time, Nosy Nora is my chemo and that I don't need to feel embarrassed. 

I am trying to embrace this idea. 

My hope. My goal. Is to be able to provide these things to myself. To be able to rely on the nurturing part of myself. To be able to develop coping strategies so that I don't continually fall apart. So that I don't continually find ways to harm myself. That I develop the ability to do more than pick myself up, but to hold myself up. 

Have you ever thought about the parts that make up who you are? Have you ever thought of their motivation? Of their reason for existing? Could you name them? Can you imagine them? 

Be kind to yourself, and to all your parts. 

xoxo



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