Last year we were sent up to the local psychiatric unit for an assessment.  We knew that it would be a long wait until we were assessed, so took some paper and crayons with us.  These are some of the things we did while we waited.  A good distraction then and a good distraction now as we try to cope with the mother being here.

First writing to try and calm down:



Top row:
Help Us
2nd row:
3rd row:
Sick of This
4th row:
Is this it?




When we were sectioned a couple of years ago we did incredibly intricate versions of this sort of doodle. This one is on an A5 size sheet of paper, the others were on A2 and were much more detailed and circular. Then at times Sophie was asked by a young one to draw a sunflower, tree or flax to try and help calm them. Just realised that some of the young ones used to pretend they were hiding in green plants as part of the dissociation. The plants didn’t have flowers, but were always a cool, comforting green.

As the wait wore on, we started to establish the rules that would enable us to get out of the hospital –



Writing to the left:
Good Job!
These will get us out of here!
List of rules:
– no yelling
– don’t show wounds
– say ‘Thank you’ & ‘Please’
– say ‘I’ NOT ‘we’ or ‘us’
– smile!!!
– make eye contact!!


10 Responses to “Distractions”

  1. 1 Ivory June 2, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Wow. I am lucky so far in that I’ve not been hospitalized. It’s been suggested and I’ve (Blue) has been threatened with it, but not yet.

    I hate that you are forced to disavow your alters by saying “I”, instead of “we”. That is a clear indicator for my T that I’m having dissociating or that one or more alters are close.

    Wishing you well. ((Castorgirl))

    • 2 castorgirl June 3, 2009 at 9:22 pm

      Hi Ivory,

      In some instances hospitalisation is a good option. It isn’t for us due to hospitals being such a big trigger, but it I know that the hospital environment helps people every day. It’s just easier to go along with what they want – our ability to do this indicates our ability to manipulate and work within the mental health system over here. It also sets us up for problems in that Sophie will reach out for help, but another one will come forward to do the assessments as it’s too much for Sophie alone.

      The need to say “I” is purely because the dissociative disorders are not widely recognised where we live. We often do use the “I” terminology, but usually only when one of us is in total control and it is an “I” statement about that one alter.

      I’ve heard some good things and some bad things about hospitals in the USA and Britain. I think the success of the hospitalisation depends on the motivation for the admission and which mental health professionals you encounter while there.

      Take care
      M and B

  2. 3 lostshadowchild June 2, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Thank you, for this post.
    I’ll take the list of rules with me, when I’m in hospital again and try to handle the situation. The reaction of the last doctor was really ugly as I said “us” instead of “I”
    I was stunned with drugs because they thought I was psychotic :(

    Hope you can cope your mother at your home.

    Take good care ((((()))))

    • 4 castorgirl June 3, 2009 at 9:27 pm

      Oh (((lostshadowchild))) that’s just awful. I hope you managed to get yourself safe…

      It helps to try and have agreements about how to keep yourself safe in hospital within your system. The problem is that the reason you end up in hospital is that all the agreements and communication have been lost.

      Sending positive thoughts…

  3. 5 nomorehurt June 2, 2009 at 4:23 am

    I know those rules, the ones you need to follow in order to be let out. I have others …

    – Eat .. even if only a little bit.
    – Don’t isolate.
    – Don’t refuse your meds.
    – Don’t hurt yourself.
    – Don’t throw your bedding in the hallway.
    – Rock your littles in mind, not in body.

    and, as you listed,

    – Omit we, they, and us from vocabulary.
    – And smile.

    Thanks for sharing your list.

    • 6 castorgirl June 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

      Great list…

      We were lucky in that we could isolate ourselves and still be considered not appropriate for the hospital. We can’t go out into the general ward – just too scary for us all. So we ended up drawing and reading in our room – thankfully we didn’t have to share our room and one of the nurses gave us all the crayons from the art room with some paper.

      It also pays not to use the correct terminology to describe your symptoms. We found that if we said that we experience derealisation, depersonalisation etc they thought we were malingering or attention seeking as we knew the terms. Alternatively, they thought that we didn’t really know what the terms meant, so would quiz us about meanings and how we knew the terms. Apparently you’re meant to have very little curiousity about your own mental health… lol.

      When we get the strength, we might do another post about our hospital experiences and what we found helpful.

      Take care…

  4. 7 mindparts June 3, 2009 at 1:42 am

    These are great. I especially like your “Doodle” which reminds me of some of the “doodles” I’ve done. By the way, I’ve taken to painting some puzzle pieces and photographing them. Inspired by your banner page! Thanks, Paul.

    • 8 castorgirl June 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Paul,

      I’m glad the banner picture got you thinking and playing around with ideas :) It’s also good to know that we’re not the only ones who do this sort of doodling. At times is does just feel like a random doodle, at times a very intense desire to do something in just the right way and it’s very purposeful.

      Take care…

  5. 9 Missing In Sight June 3, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Thank you, castorgirl, for sharing.

    It reminds us the importance of going back to coloring and doodling. Right now we don’t have the mental energy, but hopefully next week we’ll get to it.

    I really love the creative way you and your selves handled what was probably a stressful situation.

    Stay strong and take care.

    • 10 castorgirl June 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm

      (((Warm safe hugs))) to those who want them…

      The seemingly aimless doodling can mean a great deal sometimes. Just take it a moment at a time and do what you can :)

      It was a particularly bad instance when we did these pieces. I’ll double check and see if we wrote about it at the time, if not one of us might write a little more about it when we’re feeling stronger.

      Take care…

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