Posts Tagged 'Good things'

Music, soothing and snobbery

Jennifer Riley over at Psych Scamp recently shared some links to research about music therapy.  Until this final prompt, I never really considered the role that music plays in my life. When I wrote about Oceans soothing me, Paul responded that music gave him a similar feeling.  I didn’t really think about this at the time because I was so caught up in my feelings about the ocean, but I think I can understand a little more about what Paul was meaning now.

I know many people use music to soothe and to help tell their stories – Matthew (our American friend) often uses music to indicate how he is feeling and to try and take away the pain; Secret Shadows lists music that has a special meaning for her within her blog; and Sophie used music to help tell our story when creating the Little girl lost clip on YouTube.  But for me music has often been a noise in the background, it’s not something that I really thought about, but I feel fear when it isn’t there to break the silence.  I suppose in many ways, music is a form of protection for me.  But for others in the system, music has a totally different meaning… a few bars of heavy metal and R is fronting, ready to take on the world; One prefers the blues and Motown so he can lie back and restore energy; Sophie prefers Pink, Brooke Fraser and alternative music, while  Katie loves anything that will mean she can dance around.

Our taste in music has always been fairly eclectic, with classical being one of the few genres we don’t listen to.  I know that the main cause for the lack of classical music in my life is the influence of the father.  He would make fun of those who listened to classical music, saying that they were elitist snobs.  I have no memory of us listening to anything other than what he described as, the local “rubbish” radio station.  I have no idea what his idea of good music was, but it wasn’t anything that the family listened to.  A week ago, we were sent a link to some classical music and from that list we went straight to two pieces which were in the middle of the list.  This in itself is odd, we usually have to work through lists from top to bottom.  But these two pieces (Cantique de Jean Racine and Silouans Song) were picked and recognised by part of the system immediately.

As I write this, W is telling me that we got told off for listening to the Concert programme by the father.  I think listening to classical music was her rebellion against him.  While we listened to these two pieces, there was calm throughout the system.  It was a different calm to what we experience when near the ocean, but I think this is because more of the senses are involved with the ocean experience.  But still, there was a sense of peace.  We all listened with respect to something that held importance for a young one.  It was her quiet protest and we all admire her strength and courage.  But we also just loved the music, it held a fascination for the rest of us.  I know those of you who know classical music will be able to tell me why those two pieces are amazing, but for us it wasn’t about dissecting something to understand it.  Listening to that music was purely about being there and being surrounded by something soothing.  That is a special gift.

Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Shadowfeet
via FoxyTunes


Seeing joy and experiencing wonder

Over the weekend we saw the first Spring lambs.  They were bouncing all over the field, looking so cute and carefree.  All Sophie could hear is Katie saying “lambies” over and over.  It’s amazing how quickly we can have a trigger experience for something wonderful.  It is usually associated with something that Katie sees, we suddenly feel this sense of joy and wonder come across the body.  She’s incredibly focused on the item and we can block out everything else.  It’s an amazing feeling.

Katie is heavily protected and only comes forward when Sophie is present.  This means that when we’re at our most dysfunctional, Katie is well hidden within our internal house.  But when she is present, it can be a shock for the rest of us.  M has come back to find a child’s cupcake on our lunch tray, or found herself arms deep in a bin of Mushabellies :)  Which considering the quiet dignified nature of M, was rather amusing…

When we’re in the depths of our denial about DID, or when we read the sometimes negative information about littles, this behaviour is like a reality check for us.  There is no way that M would voluntarily let herself get arm deep in squeaky toys.  But it is something that a 3 nearly 4 year old would do in a heartbeat.  Sometimes it’s hard to understand that this brain can hold the wonder and joy that Katie can experience, as well as the dark depths held by those in The Basement.

Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Waste Another Day
via FoxyTunes


I’ve never lived more than a 2 hour drive away from the ocean.  Until my early 20’s I could drive 15 minutes and be looking out to sea.  This was my escape, my coping mechanism, my release from the craziness in my head that I didn’t understand…  Go around to the beach and sit and watch the waves come in.  Watching the endless wave action, hearing the water birds calling, seeing the sunset or sunrise…  these are the things that have always brought us back to steady ground internally.

I think this is part of the reason that when our friends are in pain, we’ve never known what to say to help.  We don’t know soothing words, but we know peaceful silence that comes from being alone with the ocean.  You can’t transfer that feeling into words.

When we lived in Wellington, we would sometimes go around Coast Road beyond Wainuiomata and watch the storms rolling in from the Antarctic.  It was like watching some of the storms that happen within my head.  Seeing the ferocious wind and waves crash up against the rocks, it freed some of the tension and anger that we would feel coming from our internal Basement.

Negative memories are associated with the ocean, but we can block those out when looking out to sea.  It numbs, yet frees us.  We’ve yet to find an alternative for this feeling, the lake is a very poor substitute.

We need the ocean now…

Now playing: U2 – Running to Stand Still
via FoxyTunes

Are they safe?

A young one going to make sure that her secrets are safe. I’ve been told off for the post about secrets. Thank you to those who helped me through yesterday – your comments and time taken is greatly appreciated. When we’re not so raw, we’ll try to find a way to show our appreciation.

Time to take a deep breath

The last few weeks have been difficult. The prospect of ACC mediation on Tuesday (21st) had us going off on all sorts of tangents. Then last Thursday (16th), ACC made a decision which meant that the mediation was no longer needed, although they have yet to look at our corrections which will odds are require another round of negotiation.  Despite this apparent cancellation of the meeting, the potential sat within the system.  Some of us considered it to be like the tricks played on us when younger. At any moment we were going to get a phone call on Tuesday telling us to get to the meeting. Thankfully that phone call never happened, instead we got to spend the two days we had arranged to have off to recover from the meeting as time to breathe.

On Monday night we chatted with a friend who’d been on holiday for what seemed like a very long time.  He helped us smile, laugh and shed a tear.  Through a photo slide show he took us on a tour of where he lived – it was fascinating.  I’m always awed by the historic nature of where most of the people I talk to live.  To put this into context, New Zealand has had only been a British colony since 1840.  We don’t have the old buildings that are present elsewhere around the world.  To show him a little of where we live, we went out taking photos (at midnight)…


This mural is in a car-parking area in the middle of town.

This was the only photo that turned out viewable – we have an essential tremor which doesn’t mix well with night photography and the long exposure times needed.  We might have another go at doing a tour of where we live on a fine day.

On Tuesday we needed to get out of the house – possibly the fear that they’d call and we’d have to go to the meeting.  So we went around the gardens and took more photos.  Photography is fast becoming our main means of distracting, focusing and self-soothing.  Part of the soothing, is to take photos of plants.  I know that many people consider this type of photography boring, but for us it’s about finding peace for a short time.  It’s something that each one of us can enjoy on some level – I’ll get a message to take a photo of the purple flowers…

Lilac viola

Lilac viola

Purple viola

Purple viola

Sometimes, the camera feels very cumbersome in my hands and I’ve taken to wrapping the strap around my right hand several times, I’m not sure if this is a switching issue, or me being a klutz. I also know that not all of us are happy with this new interest – I’ve been told that the camera is going to be thrown into the lake or smashed into the pavement.  I know that these threats are about us not being entitled to any form of enjoyment.  It’s awful to hear, let alone realise that part of this brain is wired to ensuring that we don’t enjoy life.

On Tuesday night we ended up talking to another friend.  I mention this because it was the first time in over a week where S didn’t come forward to self-injure, which had become more severe as the week went on.  Again, there was laughter and a sharing of knowledge.  It always amazes me that those who are going through difficult times can put that aside to help someone else.  To those friends, I say thank you.  I hope we can reciprocate what you both did for us one day.

This reminds me of Faith Allen’s entry over at Blooming Lotus about how we can Make a difference.  You don’t have to be rich, pretty or popular to make a difference, it’s all about being willing to learn and share that knowledge for the social good.  I stumble badly with this sometimes, the fear and anxieties put up barriers to my learning.  But I can’t use this as an excuse to give up.  When teaching information literacy to cynical and usually technophobic students, I tell them it takes practice.  Information literacy is all about lifelong learning – being curious about new things.  It would be hypocritical of me not to gently work on those barriers in the same way that I get my students to question every scrap of information they find.

A day in the life…

A day in the life of a spoilt domestic cat…

Morning: Sleep until the human has woken and prepared a morning snack.



Afternoon: Bask in the sun on this convenient thermal rug.

Basking in the Sun

Basking in the Sun

Mid-afternoon: Look scornfully at the human who is sitting on the floor, but can be forgiven as she is fairly well trained – for a human.

Ahhh... the Sun... ohh you poor human

Ahhh... the Sun... ohh you poor human

Soon after: Go back to looking out over my domain.

Looking out over my domain

Looking out over my domain

Night: After licking the gravy off the evening meal, curl up in my bed in front of the heater.

Ahhh... the heater... Wait... go away human...

Ahhh... the heater... Wait... go away human...

Some time during the night: Retire to the igloo bed in preparation for a new day.  It is truly a hard life, one which humans will never really understand.

Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Shadowfeet
via FoxyTunes


Was given this by the mother…

Anne Rice quote

Ashley Rice quote

You are a very special person… Make sure you always remember that.
Ashley Rice.

Yes, it’s slightly crooked and that REALLY annoys me…

January 2018
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I’m feeling…

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)

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