mental health

Making Room for New Things

Things I’m saying goodbye to (in no particular order) –

Worrying about when my kids get married and what kind of place I’ll have in the wedding party.
Picking at my cuticles until they bleed.
Worrying about when I will be bringing money into the house again.
Thinking that surely the next shoe will fall, and probably right around that corner.
Worrying about if/when people close to my heart will be passing on to a new reality.
Obsessing about if my belly is getting smaller or bigger.
Guessing that people in my life wish I weren’t.

First and Last

For those with mental issues, this post can be triggering – drugs, sex, self-harm.

The first time I tried meth was behind a gas station with a one-armed guy named Brett. Brett had a hook on his left arm starting a few inches under the elbow. He delivered ice blocks and used his hook to peg one side of the block, then grabbed the other side with his right hand and loaded the freezer.

Brett asked me, “Wanna know what happened?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued, “I hated having a left arm so I chopped it off. I used an axe. It took two chops and hurt like a bitch.”

“You chopped it off on purpose?” I asked.

“I always wanted it gone ever since I was a little kid. I burnt the edge to make it stop bleeding but it didn’t work so I had to go to the emergency room. They asked me if I wanted to have a robot arm made, and I was all, dude. No. I don’t want a left arm. That’s why I chopped it off.”

“And now? Are you happy with it gone?”

“Sure am.” He looked proud. “Never been happier.” And he took off the wooden arm with the hook at the end and showed me the stump. “It’s beautiful,” he said and stroked the scarred end.

I should have known then to run away from meth as fast as I could. But I didn’t even think about it. My friend and I took the marble-sized white powder ball nestled in the corner of a baggie and tied closed with a twisty-tie. “It’s ok to snort it, but never, never smoke it,” my friend said. “You’ll get hooked like that.” And she snapped her fingers. We snorted 3 lines of meth each that night.

Two weeks later, I smoked meth for the first time with a dentist who was my new supplier. He snorted coke, but never meth, but said, derisively, that I could do what I wanted. I followed suit and snorted the coke and smoked the meth. He showed his approval of my choice and rewarded me with more drugs.

The dentist had a collection of knives and machetes on his living room wall and I fantasized about using one to cut my arms open. Filleted from shoulder to wrist. I saw how I’d bleed all over the floor and be found in a giant puddle of my own blood. And no one would be sad. Then I grabbed the pipe and smoked again.

Three weeks after that I was smoking meth only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday nights, since Wednesday was in the middle of the week and I needed a pick-me-up.

Two weeks after that, I was smoking meth every night, rationalizing that I was only doing it after 5pm. The dentist tired of me and my fascination with his knives and my constant handling of them. He stopped calling and wouldn’t answer my calls. When I saw him at the bar he would ignore me like I wasn’t there. He had someone new to take home with him and warm his bed.

I felt lost. I started going home with two of my friends who were squatting in a condemned apartment building just out of town. The girl had a brother who made meth, the boy was kind of her boyfriend, and I was the new entertainment, so the three of us had an endless supply and nothing but time. I stayed in that apartment for days sometimes, mostly drinking, smoking meth and having sex, passing hours of time just staring at the wall, listening to music or jumping on the mattresses or driving to get more beer. Or hiding behind the dumpster and throwing rocks at the cop cars, laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world.

I went home every few days to shower, change clothes and sleep for a couple of days straight. One day, the police busted the apartment and hauled in the guy who I’d been hanging out with. The girl was at her cousin’s house recovering from an abortion and I was home sleeping off a four day meth binge. We were warned to stay away from the apartment by the girl’s brother and his friends. They didn’t want any of us getting hauled in and fingering them as suppliers. We met up at bars and whispered in the back, comparing notes and gossip. We heard the boy had been shipped off to rehab. Everyone asked when they would start making meth again. They decided to move their operation to another town. The girl decided to go with her brother. She was drunk 24/7 and in my very sage opinion, needed a change of scenery or she would never recover. I never saw them after that. I was on my own.

Three months after I first tried it, my life revolved around meth. I woke up in the afternoon and smoked the tiny bit of meth coating the bulb from the night before. I painted and wrote nonsense with deep meaning, then went out at 3:30pm to a local bar right when Happy Hour started. I nursed a beer or two, bought with the change from under the car seat or a five I had stashed in my pocket, taken from a drunk someone the night before. I played some pool, wrote more earnest pieces that had nothing to do with reality, and waited.

Keeping up with a meth habit is exhausting and expensive. The only thing that makes sense is to have someone else buy it and give it to you. The stuff you do to get the meth means nothing. The meth is everything.

So, there I was in the bar and looking around, kind of measuring everyone up. I knew he would be there. Or she. Didn’t matter. What mattered is that they had meth and were looking to share it. With the right person. And that person was going to be me.

There would be eye contact across the bar. Then some smiling and more direct eye contact. Then, a tilt of the head indicating I should come over. So, I did. With relief. Because, I knew I’d have what I needed that night.

After a few more drinks: two or three shots and a beer, we’d have flirted enough for both of us to take it to the next level. Their place. My place. A car. An empty room at someone’s party. It didn’t matter. I was past caring and all I wanted was to smoke out.

This went on for a few months until I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I was gaunt. My hair was limp and always greasy, even right after I washed it. My teeth and gums hurt. My face was covered in zits. I was so tired unless I was high. When I was high I had started seeing things and acting a little too odd. When I came down, I couldn’t remember what I’d done while high. But I pushed all those thoughts away. They didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was the meth. I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror, so I stopped looking.

The last time I smoked meth was about seven months after I first tried it. I went to the bar, tired and feeling sick but wearing sexy clothes, my hair and makeup done. I went in the bathroom and smoked the mist of meth covering the bulb left over from last night. Not enough to get me high, but enough to increase my craving. I nursed my beers and searched the room. Finally, I found him. Not only was he looking for someone like me, but he was so handsome! Even in the dark room, I could see he had piercing blue eyes. His shoulder-length hair was blond and wavy and thick. His smile was amazing. My thoughts took off to where he would be more than a one night stand. Maybe my boyfriend. Maybe more.

He treated me nice. He was sweet. He got me drunk and then drove me to his trailer where we smoked for hours, had sex and passed out. I remember thinking how good this could be if I could keep it going. Keep him around and wanting me.

“Hey,” I whispered, “Do you know what my name is?” He groaned and mumbled something unintelligible.

“I said, do you know my name?” I asked a little louder and closer to his ear.

“Your name? Why, babe? No. Go to sleep, babe.”

I would make sure he knew my name before I left in the morning. I smiled and my head sunk into oblivion.

It was dawn and light was coming in through the window right by my head. I cracked my eyes open, felt my dry, dry sandpaper throat and noted I needed to pee. As my eyes focused, I noticed the window was filthy and the glass cracked with a hole in the corner. I didn’t remember seeing that last night. I lifted my head to look around a little more and realized the entire trailer was a total pigsty. I half expected a rat or two to peak their heads out of the pile of newspapers and the amazing amount of empty cigarette cases in the corner. The one burner stove had a dented pot which apparently had at one time held beans that had boiled over, the evidence stuck and petrified to the sides. And, inexplicably, there was a vase with dusty plastic flowers in the corner next to a very shiny silver figure of Mary and the baby Jesus.

As I rested my head back on the pillow, I knew better than to look at the sheets and pillowcase. I decided to exit the trailer as soon as humanly possible. Just as I was figuring out how to climb over my never-to-be boyfriend, he grunted and moaned.

“Babe, hand me my bridge?”

“Your bridge?” I asked.

“Ya, in the bowl on the shelf above your head. Grab it for me.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured I’d just find something, anything, put it in his hand and exit. I gingerly tested the shelf above with my fingers, searching for something in a cup. I found the cup, put my fingers inside and pulled out…..teeth. As I looked at the teeth in disbelief, he turned over and grabbed them.

“Thanks, babe.” He smiled. And yep, that was where the teeth would go. Right there on the top in the front. He clicked them in.

“Wanna know how I lost them?” he asked. Without waiting for a reply, he continued, “I was in a fight. I was at this party, see, and some shithead tried to leave with my shit. I had this bag, like a brown grocery bag? And it even had my name on it, but he grabbed it and walked out. So I followed him, tried to punch him and grab the sack, but, I’d been drinking,” he laughed, “and I slipped on the deck and fell down some stairs. My face hit the bottom step and BAM! my four front teeth popped out. I jumped up and ran after the guy. I had all this blood running down my chin. Seriously, it was crazy!” He laughed again.

“You know,” I ventured, getting sucked into the story against my will, “You can put teeth that get knocked out into cold milk and take them to the dentist. A lot of times they can put them back in.”

“Oh, I know. I heard that, too. But, then that dude would have gotten away with all my porn! I had the rarest tapes in there, man. Irreplaceable.” He shook his head, visibly saddened just thinking about his porn being stolen. Brushing it off, he continued, “No, I ran after him. I grabbed his shoulder and popped him one in the eye. He dropped the bag, I grabbed it and the rest is history.” He smiled, showing me his new teeth, and I noticed his eyes were brown, not blue. I noticed his hair was stringy, shoulder-length, yes, but colorless and greasy. He face was a little misshapen and the smell in the trailer was getting unbearable. Just like almost every morning over the past months when I’d woken up in a stranger’s bed, I wondered what the hell I was doing.

Grabbing my clothes, I crawled over him, found my shoes and opened the door, saying something about yes, talking soon, and you’ve got my number, right? and yes, yes, sounds good.

“Don’t forget your baggie,” he said, “You earned it. That was some night, huh?” He smiled again and I thought I was going to be sick. I turned to go, grabbing the drugs off the tiny counter. “Seriously, babe, you were awesome. If it weren’t for girls like you, guys like me would never get laid.”

Frozen, I stared at him. Then forced myself out the door and into my car. Suddenly, I realized what I was. A whore. I didn’t have sex for money, but I did it for drugs. I looked at myself in the rear view mirror, wondering why I hadn’t realized this sooner. I wanted my life to be different. I didn’t want to be “a girl like that” anymore. And for one of only three times I’ve ever littered, I tossed the meth baggie out the window into the trees. I wanted to change. So, I did.

Starting Over

Here’s the thing – life doesn’t give you the opportunity to really start over very often. I’ve been married and divorced and remarried and lived a ton of different places. I’ve had all kinds of jobs. I’ve been mentally ill, fake-cured, mentally ill again (and will be for the rest of my life). I’ve lived near my kids and far away from my kids. I’ve been in mental hospitals and released. I’ve been to individual therapy and family therapy and couple’s therapy. I’ve been sexually abused and in loving relationships. I’ve been happy, sad, depressed, excited and everything in between.

I’m sure many of you have been through some of those things, as well. And you probably know what I mean when I say that each time there was a positive change, I looked at it as a new beginning. A chance to get things right, do better. Be better.

These past few years have been a roller coaster for me and those close to me. I’m sometimes a bit (read: a lot) unstable when it comes to everyday life. It’s never been my strong suit. Being mentally ill has its challenges and while I’m really good at some things, maneuvering through life always capable of facing the day is not one of them. Working a straight 9-5 job is sometimes impossible while telecommuting and working my own hours works great. I have to create a life that works for me. I craft what I need for myself on the terms that make sense in all my weirdness.

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that the highs and lows of being with or not with my children is a regular topic around here. As a mother, I’d like to think that I’m the best thing for them. That they need me to be nearby and to take care of them. I’ve learned the past few years that they really don’t need me to take care of them in the way I thought. They get that from who they call their ‘Parents’, my ex and his wife. They don’t think of me like That Kind of Mom. I’m a friend and someone they want to hang out with sometimes. And when my mental illness makes an appearance in any variety of ways, it makes them feel like they did when they were little kids – scared, sad and worried for my well-being instead of experiencing their lives being taken care of by an adult and worried about regular things like school and friends. Their grades slip, they get depressed, they don’t sleep well, they find reasons not to visit my home and then feel guilty. As the person that wishes they were the mom that was able to take care of them, I feel horrible. I live with the guilt and shame every day.

Recent circumstances have brought these things to light with more force than ever before and I guess I’m finally listening. Yes, I want to be near them and just watch, if that is all I can do. But at some point, I really have toput their needs ahead of mine and give them their space. And now is that time.

As if that wasn’t enough, some of you know that Joe and I have been having some issues. Much of it too private to mention here, but let’s just say that being mentally ill is no picnic for your spouse. We considered a divorce, but that sounded too final and decided to try and do what we needed to do as Separated, which so far has worked really well. Part of the reason we are succeeding, I think, is because we do actually love and like each other. With that as a foundation, we’re pretty sure we can work the rest out.

As confusing as this is to others, it makes a lot of sense to us. We’ve come up with some solutions to help change our lives in a very real and substantial way. More on that very soon.

Here’s to Starting Over.

This Post is All About Me. Seriously. Me. Me. Me.

This is a post all about me and it’s filled with photos of me and I’m going to be talking about me and pretty much only me. Feel free to move on if this doesn’t interest you. And let’s be honest – it probably only interests me.

I’ve never been happy with the way I look. Ever. I hated my fat arms and thighs when I was around 8. I hated the shape my legs made when I sat on a chair and I tried to not rest all my weight down so it appeared (probably only to me) that I was thinner. I’m the short one on the left –

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In high school, I spent hours not eating and then hours puking if I did eat. I spent hours thinking about which foods had the most fat grams and how many pieces of popcorn I could eat and not reach 100 calories. Hours spent self-harming if I failed and went over. I was the fattest person in the universe. Here is what I looked like –

wow. i have no words

When I got pregnant at 17, I gained weight like crazy. Crazy! Like, 50 pounds in the last 3 months. After I had Devon, I looked like this and as you can tell by my bershon face, I thought my life was pretty much over.

sarah, i may have found another bershon.

After my four kids were born, I lost some weight. From the waist up. I tried to make sure that all photos of me were of my shoulders and above because I was a HIDEOUS size 16. Too large to fit most clothes in the department store. It really was the end of my life.

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And now? My thinking hasn’t changed. I’m the hugest. Ever. Than anyone in the entire world. I have fat arms and neck rings. Tree trunk legs and squishy belly. I’ve spent too many days trying to figure out how to look smaller, prettier, firmer in photos to represent myself to the world as a different person. I was only fooling myself. As if this carefully crafted shot done in my own studio represents the real me. Still employing the shoulders and up rule, many of the photos I take of myself are fuzzed to oblivion because OH NO my skin has dark spots everywhere. And freckles. I love how this photo from a few years ago has the same bershon face as above. Trying to hide by chopping off the rest of my body.

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So, ready? This is what I look like, me. Look at it. Why can’t you look at it and see how great the family looks together? Do you have to pick yourself apart, me?

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Still looking, me? Good. When I drink, I look like this –

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and this –



Leah’s here!!, originally uploaded by Aubs.

Here I am double fisting –



, originally uploaded by LeahK.

And you know what? That is fine, me. It’s ok to look happy about wine if you want to.

Here I am in the morning, hungover.



Leah, originally uploaded by s myrland.

And another hungover morning, also just fine. I don’t have to look sprightly in all photos, right me?



Ariel and Leahpeah, originally uploaded by crazedmommy.

This is me when my vest is too tight standing in front of a room of people. Yes, it doesn’t look as good as I thought it did when I left the house that night. That’s alright. Everyone makes clothing mistakes sometimes, me. Try to do it without hating yourself.

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I look like this in a cowboy hat, all squared face. And yes, I was attempting to look cool.



IMG_8315, originally uploaded by katester.

Sometimes, me, I take horrible photos which accentuate my chipmunk cheeks, neck rolls and jowls while standing next to really cute people. This is fine.

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When I’m leading a craft panel, and someone takes a photo of me from a lower angle, my legs look enormous and look at those dimpled elbows. My, my. Me, I can see you wanting to crawl under the table. Don’t do it. We’ll get through this.



Crafts Session Panel, originally uploaded by crazedmommy.

And when shooting photos with my friends, I will quite possibly always be the Giantess in the group –

Pretty much, I’ve spent my entire life hating the way I look. And I’m tired of it. I want to love myself just the way I am, large or not, with neck rolls, size 26 pants and boobs too large to do anything with. I want to look in the mirror and not worry that those people around me are looking at me in disgust and revulsion. Or disappointment. Are you on board, me?

I want to love me with a receding hairline and skin blotches

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and chubby hands and fingers

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trying my darnedest to look good using the Myspace angles and liberal amounts of lip gloss

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sitting a little too snugly in the chair doing interviews

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letting it all hang out with friends

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acting silly



Leah!, originally uploaded by MaggieMason.

and looking insane due to accidental oversmile.



IMG_8339, originally uploaded by katester.

All of it. All of me, me. Got it? I don’t look perfect. I will never be able to compete with porn stars. I might lose weight and I might not be able to. I know it’s hard with the medication for my mental health, me, but I can feel good for trying, right? In any case, let’s do one thing right and love us.

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

Yesterday I went to the Tara set and met some wonderful people. I got to see how they shoot and watch the monitors and listen with the headphones. I sat by the writers and chatted and joked around. My first time ever on a set, and I think I nailed it.

For example, Toni Collette (I adore her!) (Super talented!) came to shake my hand right after I wiped my nose with my fingers and then wiped them down the side of my jeans. I turned around to meet John Corbett just as I was hiking my bra strap back up my shoulder. He does seem to be one of the nicest guys ever. When I was introduced to Keir Gilchrist, I was just coming out of one of those surreal moments where you can’t believe you are really where you are, doing what you’re doing. So, I was kind of staring off into space for a sec, jumped when I realized he was right there and then shook his hand very enthusiastically. Which, he loved just like any other 18ish guy would.

I was around Brie Larson (Used to be a pop star! How cute is she with the french fries and shit!) the most. She was joking around with some of the most awesome writers to ever grace the earth, Brett and Dave, and I was in a nearby directors chair, surreptitiously listening and trying to appear like I was busy with something on my phone. Which I was not. Because my battery was almost dead. So, I’m just sitting there, half turned their way and randomly clicking buttons on the phone’s keypad, which is CLOSED. And then I thought to myself – this is pathetic. And it was. I put my phone in my pocket and turned more their way and started interjecting laughter and smiles at what I hoped was appropriate timing. Ha ha ha! You know the scene in 16 Candles where Anthony Michael Hall’s character is sitting on the bleachers at the dance trying to start up a conversation with Molly Ringwald’s character? Ya, kinda like that. The three of them were so witty, I had no hope of keeping up. So, instead I blurted, ‘I love your tattoos!’ to Dave in the middle of their dialog regarding a Craigslist murderer. It went really smooth. You should know that this little incident is not their fault at all. They were very, very nice to me. I just happen to be a dork sometimes.

I also met Rosemarie DeWitt, who was beautiful, very nice and friendly. She was recently in the movie Rachael Getting Married. (LOVED it. Very good flick.) With her was Ron Livingston and I had to actually bite my lip from leaning over and whispering in his ear, ‘I hate my job and I’m not going to do it anymore.’ in my very best Peter Gibbons‘ impression. Or, ‘Uuumm, yaaaa. Peter. I’m going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in this weekend.’ Both, hysterical. To me. I’m sure he’s never had anyone do that before.

At one point, I went next door to do an interview they filmed to use in the season 2 promos and on the Tara website. I was a little nervous at first, but everyone there made me feel so comfortable, it went fine. I said Um a lot and kept checking the ceiling to my left after every question, apparently waiting for the answer to float down softly like snow. Which, could happen on a set. Look for that, friends. I’m adding awesome interviewee to my repertoire.

The director of the interview wanted to shoot some B roll footage to cut to during the times when my talking head gets boring to look at in the editing room. They told me to not look at the camera and just keep doing what I ‘normally’ do. Hm. So, I stared at the screens and looked at some footage. Then, I held the headphones to my ears and stared even harder at the screen, accompanied by a small but distinct furrowed brow, showing real concentration which almost burned a hole on screen one. After about 6 solid minutes of that excitement, the director asked me to talk to the writers and do some pointing, which the writers were very good sports about. The dialog for that conversation went something like this –

Me – Um.
Brett – Now let’s look at this page in the script. See where she says, ‘Can I?’
Me – Now I’m pointing, too. Yes. Pointing right there.
Brett – Let’s turn to this other page and see where I’m pointing?
Me – Yes, I see that. Right here?
Director – More Pointing!
Me – Oh, look. Look at the screen!
*I point furiously, from screen to screen then back to script, sweat forming on my neck and glistening on my forehead.*
Brett – Yes, I really see you pointing now. You’re pointing at the screen and now at the script.
*My arm is stuck in some kind of pointing pattern up and down and up and down.*
Director – -sigh-
Cameraman – I guess there is a reason you guys are writers and not actors.

And, scene.

The thing I noticed when meeting everyone on set, and this goes for meeting anyone anywhere for the first time that knows I’m MPD, is that they say hello a little cautiously, with some curiosity in their eyes. They study me for just a second or two, trying to decide if I’m an ACTUAL crazy person about to do ACTUAL crazy things or if I’m mostly tame. I enjoy that moment immensely. And one of these days, I tell ya, I’m gonna do something completely bizarre after shaking their hand, like start ticking my head to the right repeatedly and saying, ‘Not NOW, Satan. Not NOW!’ I’ll wait til I meet Steven Spielberg to use that one.

This Side of Manic

The dark rabbit hole has passed and I’m now the Official Queen of the Universe. I can do anything, any time, anywhere with anyone. Have a huge project you need thought through and organized? That’s me. Give it to me. I will dissect and chop it into tiny bite-sized pieces. Have an insurmountable mental puzzle? Toss it over. I’ll unweave your mind while we have coffee and laugh at reality television.

Seriously – I am on top of the world. I want to start a magazine, a new book proposal and finish a book idea I’ve had in the works for ages. I want to attack the south side of the house and make it beautiful with landscaping and flowers. I’m ready to get all the photos out and make books for all the kids.

This is the better side of manic. This is the reason people get off their medication. This is the tricky part because you get used to it and then when you fall next time, it’s truly a tragedy and you don’t feel like you’ll ever feel good again. You want this side of manic to last forever. But, it won’t.

But right now, I feel fantastic.

Neon

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If they came and kidnapped me right now and blindfolded me, gagged me
stuck me in the trunk
I would stay calm
because I know the roads.
I would know where they took me.
Quick left, quick right, quick left
to the freeway
or the other way.
The slow S shape
winding back and forth.
They won’t go 35 and 45.
They are in a hurry.
They will push it and speed.
And when the orange sign warns that going over 30 round this turn will lead to death and it will be your own fucking fault
they won’t listen.
They will go as fast as they want.
But the car won’t flip or crash because the guy driving the car is a professional.
I’ll use my nose to figure out where we are.
The smells go like this
City, people
Less city, people
Grass
Soil
Rich, rich soil
Soil and garden
Onion rings?
People
City
Cars, industrial stink
too much.
And Joe says
You Don’t Ruin Everything
Don’t say that anymore, Leah, it’s not true.
And I hear him from far away.
I’m not really in the trunk
but I am bound and gagged.
The buildings and the streets
they are neon pink and orange
It’s not true, I know.
But I still see it.
I’m not in the trunk.
I know I’m sitting next to Joe in the front because from my vantage point in the back seat
I see him holding my hand.
There are tears running down my cheeks
for no reason at all.
But my mouth is trying to smile and feels like nothing is wrong.
They aren’t connected to each other.
My mouth says
Gatorade powder
toilet paper
milk and I smile
and my eyes cry
for some unknown reason until I need a hankie or tissue.
In the isles I can’t stop staring.
The boxes, the floor, so sharp, so blurry
all so beautiful in neon.
The colors are almost overwhelming plus I know they aren’t there but, they are and I can’t stop staring.
Everything should cost a dollar.
Things are so expensive.
Joe gently guides me along
and when I say to no one except the cereal boxes that I like Honey Nut Cheerios
he says
Yes You Do. You Like Them.
And grabs my hand to look at canned beans.
There is a family with four kids.
Both parents are wrangling two.
Line the kids up and they make a stairway just like my kids did.
But my kids are old.
I don’t get to nurture them like that.
And I can’t even have a dog.
Would my pet dog be neon red, too?
And glow and look like fire?
The dad looks at me in surprise
and then pity.
I’m walking next to me
and I see what he sees.
I have the look of a crazy person.
My hair is unwashed, clumped and stuck in all kids of directions.
I’m wearing Joe’s Hawaiian shirt that has the same leaf colors as the bird’s poop and it hangs over my bra-less front.
My jeans are sagging, top button undone.
I’m shuffling
and my eyes are puffed, tearing and have red rings like clown makeup.
Next to myself I see this.
Back walking in myself I don’t know it or care.
And the floor is orange now.
The air smells so good on my face on the way home.
I love air.
I tell Joe I Will Be Better Tomorrow. Joe says I Know.
And Joe is helping me make nachos with cheese and black beans.
I eat them.
I vomited all morning.
My tummy feels humming but it doesn’t kick the nachos out.
And Joe gives me warm kisses on my cheeks and eyes and lips.
I feel them.
And I feel them.

Grain

I find my life rubbing against me lately, on all sides. It’s feels like it MORE some times than other times. Life turning me that way and this way, getting in the cracks, carving lines through the layers. Creating my grain.

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Today's Theme Song

That I Would Be Good

that I would be good even if I did nothing
that I would be good even if I got the thumbs down
that I would be good if I got and stayed sick
that I would be good even if I gained ten pounds

that I would be fine even if I went bankrupt
that I would be good if I lost my hair and my youth
that I would be great if I was no longer queen
that I would be grand if I was not all knowing

that I would be loved even when I numb myself
that I would be good even when I am overwhelmed
that I would be loved even when I was fuming
that I would be good even if I was clingy

that I would be good even if I lost sanity
that I would be good
whether with or without you

Fan Mail

I rarely reply to or post email here from people that send me hate mail or very strongly worded You Suck mail or You are a Liar mail. I don’t post it because I don’t like to dwell on the negative and I feel like giving them any time on this blog gives it more life of its own and the negativity grows and there are so many other things to write about.

However, I’m making an exception for this one. I feel like it is born out of misunderstanding of what I’ve written or perhaps I didn’t do as good a job of explaining my process or how I navigated DID as I thought I did.

I’d love any feedback you might have on whether I need to go back and rewrite parts of my bio for a better explanation. Of course, if you’ve read my book, you’d know much more about what I did and how I did it, but if you haven’t read it, than maybe my bio doesn’t make sense.

Here is the email with my reply following.

Hello Leah,

I am a 39 year-old woman with D.I.D, and I am a psychiatric social worker who is very well educated on this topic. (Despite the knowledge base I do not treat those with dissociative disorders) I am responding to your biography which you have posted on your web site. I usually don’t comment about such things, but something your wrote leaves me feeling compelled to respond.

You wrote:

“In May, I’m released to the care of my sister and accept the terms of having to attend therapy. The hospital sets up my first appointment and I mistakenly go to see Dr. Clancy who has stopped seeing people with dissociative disorders. After speaking with me for an hour, he decides to make an exception and take me on as a client. He helps me see that my kids may have a use for me in their lives after all. In July, my divorce is final. I complete the integration process.”

You started therapy in May, and you finished the integration process in two months???????

I’m sorry, and I don’t mean any disrespect, but that is total bullshit and a great disservice to those of us who have been working years to overcome the trauma and torment which cased us to be dissociative. You write earlier that you were not aware of some things that you did (sex with strangers). If one is dissociative to the point of losing time, there is NO WAY that in 2 months integration is achieved. That defies explanation and is controverted by ALL of the clinical literature. If you are familiar with treatment of dissociative disorders then you know that this (lengthy and arduous )treatment is done in stages, the first of which often takes YEARS.

I mean no disrespect (although I appreciate that this might be hard to read and not feel disrespected) and I in no way mean to dismiss or downplay your struggles, but integration in 2 months? Am I missing something? How can someone who has been tormented (in an ongoing, severe and unrelenting way) to the point of a dissociative disorder integrate years of trauma and torture in 2 months? That’s ridiculous. Either you didn’t have a dissociative disorder or you are full of shit.

Wow. Pretty strong. I would have appreciated a more inquiring type of email as opposed to an accusatory one, but I don’t get to choose what kind of people are going to take issue with me, so there you go.

In my bio I write about how during 1990 thru 1995 I went through years of therapy and I worked towards integration during the times I (Leah) was aware of what was happening. Also, in the 2001 year I write about getting serious about getting well and journaling from all the personalities perspectives. That was all work towards integration as well. By the time I met Dr. Clancy, I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. And I did it because all my personalities were on the same page and wanted the same thing. I can give you Dr. Clancy’s info if you’d like to contact him regarding my process, although I can’t guarantee he would talk to you even though you say you are a psychiatric social worker. In the foreward to my book he tells how things happened with him and that is was highly unusual for us to reach integration so quickly.

I suppose I could make it more clear in my bio and make sure and use the phrases ‘towards integration’ and such, but I like it the way it reads now and don’t feel compelled to change it because someone I don’t know and have never corresponded with and have no way of knowing who they are tells me I’m full of bullshit.

One thing I’ve learned writing my new book and doing research for the work I do on Tara is that no two people’s experience of DID is the same. Everyone has their own sets of experiences that made them that way and their own sets of solutions they come up with to cope. Some people go to therapy their whole life, never to work through what happened. Some people become integrated. And some people go through things faster than others. I would not ever tell someone that their experience is bullshit because it is different than mine. I’ve met too many people with their own stories.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Have a nice day.

Where in the World is Leah Peadiego?

I’ve been busy. Doing……stuff. Like making lists of things I want to do. I’ve been just a little manic for the past weeks and I’m just doing and doing and doing. I took some photos to show you, but the light is really bad today, so pretend you like them that way, k? And so, in list form –

STUFF I DID

LIVING ROOM

Recovered throw pillows for couch and hung photos over the couch
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Sewed an ottoman cover
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Made paper birds for a grape vine flower drier
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Procured and organized matching baskets holding electronic equipment under TV, hung rug from my father that he hung for 35 years in his medical office
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MASTER BEDROOM

Sewed bed skirt

Sewed TV table cover
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Decorated walls with photos and nicknacks
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Recovered throw pillows for bed and hung painting
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Went through clothes and organized closet
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Found a solution to organize my purses and bags

Sewed throw blanket

Still in progress – quilt for bed, paint end tables

BEDROOMS

Framed and hung photos and paintings

Rescued and cleaned up dresser

KITCHEN

Organized pantry
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Organized shelves
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Created desk area for myself
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OTHER

Painted Welcome sign for front door
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Created calender to keep track of my neurosis
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Went through and organized linens

Planted rose bush cuttings from my Mom’s rose garden in Utah
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Planted flower seeds for a cutting garden
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Made baby quilt for friend and actually quilted it

Went through all photos and organized by kid
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Recovered cheap and ugly photo albums with awesome paper
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Did maintenance on the van

Went through papers and created files (should help with taxes next year)

Organized art room supplies
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Worked on a painting

FUN FACTS

I had 6 doctor appointments and spent $2154 on office visits and medications in six weeks

While decorating, I spent about 120$ on everything including fabrics for the house and saved money by using a table cloth, a sheet a few tapestry panels and 2 window panels I already owned.

Haven’t had any alcohol since April 26th

Related -We own a buttload of cocktail/beer glasses
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Switched to decaff

I own 26 pairs of scissors

Started new medication, Lamictal

Started making my bed for the first time since 1997

I’m having fun doing embroidery