The Last Lecture: A Review

Recently I decided to join the book club at work and I have to be real about the fact that it’s been a very long time since I’ve read anything that could be considered “not a magic book.” My repertoire generally consists of a books that include SOME form of magic, dragons, or werewolves… or I don’t pick it up. Those are what I enjoy reading about and that’s it. Well, that’s not exactly true, that’s just what I generally read for enjoyment. Anyway! It’s been since college that I’ve picked up anything that’s made me think quite as much as “The Last Lecture” has. There was a lot to reflect on and I greatly enjoyed doing a “book report” on it once I was finished. Below are my brief thoughts and reflections on portions of the book.

If you feel up to reading a good book that’s all about how to be humble and confident, and how to coach people and encourage them towards living out their childhood dreams, don’t delay. This book is filled with gems.

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  • What is your favorite quote from the book?

    “Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

    “Brick Walls,” were something that were continually brought up throughout the course of this book and I felt aligned highly with the overall message of how to coach others to successfully fulfill their childhood dreams. Life is inherently difficult. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    If your life really is “so easy,” then you likely suffer from being over privileged and and will have to try harder to understand the wonder of working hard for something. That’s unfortunate. From the time we are pushed out kicking and screaming into this new world, to our high school or college graduations, straight through and into the lives we lead once we are a part of the work force. Nothing worth doing is ever going to be “Easy” and it’s good to understand that while a brick wall may appear in your way, it’s likely because there is a very different view point in which to look at something. A “Brick Wall” is a road block, a detour, but never a dead end. They are simply there to supply us the necessary mental gymnastics in order to out perform others and plow ahead towards our dreams with renewed vigor and sense of the challenges that could be presented ahead.

  • Which coworker would you recommend this book to and why?

    All of them, and for one particular reason. There was a bar chart shown part way through the lecture and mentioned in the books in a different way. It was a performance ranking built to show how well everyone worked with their peers. How approachable, how easy they were to work with, or how difficult. Everyone was put against one another on the bar chart and all were able to see exactly where they stood with one another.

    At a level other than a college level course this may seem almost cruel, or like those difficult people were being singled out, but why shouldn’t they be? If one doesn’t understand that they have an issue in working with others and have put up their own “brick walls” if you will, then it disables them from functioning within the group, class, or job. In doing so they are also cutting themselves off from the wealth of knowledge, ideas and input that can be gained when working with others. No matter what the task or assignment is.

    I found it “humbling” that the author Mr. Pausch was able to admit to his students over the years in blunt terms, “I used to be just like you,” he tells one of his students, “I was in denial. But I had a professor who showed he cared about me by smacking the truth into my head. And here’s what makes me special: I listened.” “I’m as recovering jerk. And that gives me the moral authority to tell you that you can be a recovering jerk, too.”

    We all need to be aware and understand the impact that we have on those around us and how we are not the center of our universes but rather a part of the universe that we exist within. ((Universe: whatever our realm happens to include, classroom, place of employment, etc.))

  • What is a specific real world application that you will be able to make at Guidant based on what you learned in this book?

    Too. Many. To. Count.

    The entire book is a lesson on not only how to allow yourself to be coach-able, but also how to help coach those around you towards the success of their own missions. I find that brilliant. It would take me far to long to detail every lesson and mini-lesson that were contained within these pages. As written above, I try to be mindful regarding how I work with others as well as how to approach challenges that are laid out along the way.

    The entire book offers one a mental shift from the way they are currently functioning, and gives material to lay down new tracks and head in a more productive and impactful direction.

    At this current juncture in time, the most applicable use of this book is to hopefully take it’s lessons and apply them to the “Emerging Leaders” program that is about to start. I’ve applied and while I am hoping I don’t come up against a “Brick Wall” of entrance, I know that if I do, then it simply means there are other options and lessons that will be included on my way to the acceptance into the “Emerging Leaders” program. Once in the “Emerging Leaders” program I plan to practice what has been “preached” within the pages of The Last Lecture and assist others in getting to the points they wish to achieve on their own Guidant Journeys.

    The book greatly reinforced things that I have learned in the past, from coaches, my father, and those around me. The most important thing I think to take from this book is that we are not as “all important” as we’d like to think we are. That enabling others to achieve their goals is just as rewarding as achieving our own goals. Also in working together on goals, we are all the more powerful.

    Without his students, there would be no Alice Program. With out him to teach, the students wouldn’t have had the same chances and opportunities to participate in such classes and use such technologies. We are all on this road together, whether we initially realize it or not. It’s important to remember.

    True progress is never made alone. Even if it is 1 person with the ideas, it can take many to execute. Whether it is someone building parts, someone writing parts, someone coming up with the idea, and then others still who have to believe that it’s even possible and be willing to give their time and energy towards whatever it is one may be doing.

    Mr. Pausch spends time to go over his childhood dream of being Captain Kirk. Explaining how when you are watching the show it’s clear that he’s not the smartest guy on his ship. Just look at Spock! There’s an engineer, a doctor… so what does Captain Kirk have to bring to the table in front of all of these people. The answer, in short, is leadership. Some people have a very good capacity of bringing forth what others are best at and utilizing peoples talents towards the completion of whatever “mission” they are on.

  • What is the one thing that you think you will do differently or think differently about since you read the book?

    It would be a lie to say that this book will make me do something different from what I am already doing.

    Instead the book for me was a realignment to a path I have long ago put myself on. The path I choose to walk (and yes it does take reinforcement and occasionally I fall flat on my face in the mud) is one of ever pushing forward while being mindful and helpful towards those around me.

    In a lot of ways Mr. Pausch was a lot like myself.

    I say that with the realization that there were those in the discussion group that found him an Ego Maniac.

    To this I would challenge you to think of it from a different angle. An Ego Maniac (or jerk, as the author admitted to being in recovery from) is someone who is so involved with self and self importance that they are unaware and/or uncaring about those around them.

    In the beginning of his life, he was surrounded by a family who was willing to help give him checks and balances on his behavior (as with his sister throwing his lunch box into a puddle. As my sister was always brutally honest with me in my treatment of her and my friends). He was surrounded by friends in college that understood he was an ass at times but still saw the value in being around him. They understood the knowledge he carried and how he perceived the world and saw how it enabled him to seemingly fly over “Brick Walls.”

    Is Mr. Pausch not allowed to feel a little self important at these great strides he’s taken?

    Take another look at what that self importance gained him: Courage and Strength and the impulsiveness to go for his dreams.

    While giving a talk on Virtual Reality while still in college he had the chance to speak with some of the leads in his field. “I’m sorry did you just say you were Tom Furness? I would love to answer your question but first, would you have lunch with me tomorrow?” Someone who lacked courage, and confidence would have backed off and passed the opportunity in fear, of wanting to be too polite. Not Mr. Pausch.

    We hear throughout the lecture that he put himself in these types of positions time and time again. It wasn’t arrogance. He knew he could get turned down, but he tried to present himself and the opportunity in such a way that it allowed the other party to “maintain control,” while it also provided the necessary space for great things to take place. In addition, if one doesn’t have self importance of any kind, how can we expect to become anything? Should we not value ourselves and the talents that we bring to the table? Should we not be as loud as the other members on our team about what we can give to the project and then give ourselves completely to the projects we are working on?

    Out of everyone I’ve known in school throughout the years, I’ve always had the best ability to “create.” I can come up with 1000 ideas that are more than not applicable in some round about way, to whatever situation is going on. I also have an anal retentive knack for making things as pretty and polished as possible, believing entirely in the importance of presentation. (Then I met my jewelry professor in college and he REALLY taught me how to properly polish and finish an art project. I was an amateur before!) But the CONTENT had to be just as polished and meaningful as whatever artful cover I wound up wrapping everything within.

    So that when it came to turn in group projects I was more often then not the one taking everyone’s research and compiling it into a well written paper that was then hand bound into a book. Yes, I was the kid that made hand bound books for high school projects. I don’t know how to not give 120% towards whatever I’m doing. I also realized in school that my education was my own. That even if the rest of the group didn’t care about the grade, I did. I wanted to succeed so even if I was placed with an entire team of “Brick Walls,” I would load everyone up in a sled and haul all to the finish line. I wanted it that bad.

    In reading The Last Lecture and watching the lecture, I see that Mr. Pausch “Suffered the same affliction.” He did what he did and was able to accomplish as much as he did because he believed in what he was doing 100000000000% (<–totally a valid number…) He did it because he knew that while he was the best at some things, that he would be continually astounded by what his students could do if given the chance. I always strove to be that student and continue to do so with every job I take. The student/employee who takes one look at the bar and goes out to the shed to grab a poll vault and start running towards it with all my might.

    If I were to do something “differently,” it would actually be to further dedicate myself to being a little more of an “Ego Maniac,” of holding a little more “Self Importance,” and understanding again ((after years of battling with depression and enough abusive relationships that I was left with NO self worth or esteem)) that not only do I have skills to bring to the table, but if I can help others realize the skills they themselves possess and have to utilize that together we will create and work on projects that are far greater than any one individual could complete on their own. Greatness comes from the minds of many, and the work of many more. When was the last time you saw a Blockbuster created by one individual? There’s a reason you haven’t.

    Eventually others are going to follow in the footsteps of great leaders. I could say “I can only hope that someday people will follow me as a leader,” but that would do me no good. Just having “Hope” gets one no where. Not without the application of hard work.

    So instead I will say, “I will work towards ever improving my skills as an individual and as a leader so when the time comes I can fall into step with my team and together we can walk towards our dreams and success.”

  • What is one point you disagreed with, or at least questioned, in this book?

    I’ve walked an odd duality throughout my life for many reasons. Most of which are far too long and complicated to contain within a single book report. One of those dualities is in both wanting to be seen and completely hidden at the same time.

    To me, being the “guy with the biggest stuffed animal at the fair” was the last thing I wanted to have happen in my youth and something I’ve struggled with in different ways as an adult. Having been a victim many times over throughout my youth I practiced again and again at not being seen, at blending in, and becoming one with a crowd and how to properly stealth away from situations, people, and places that felt they may bring me “danger” in some fashion.

    This worked in direct conflict with also wanting to be the “Best” at anything I did as a child. When you’re the best, society has this bad habit of wanting to place you in front of everyone and show you off. Almost as if at that point they are riding on the coat tails of your greatness and as to say “look at the greatness that was achieved because I was here!” Congratulating success is always important, as was with the success of Mr. Pausch students, but if you’ll notice, he aided them on their way and then got OUT of their way, allowing them to show their greatness through what they did without needing to be paraded about. Greatness with Humility. Just as his coaches and mentors did for him. ((we’re going to ignore the presentations given at the end of the classes with this reference as the presentations given at the end were done by the students as a portion of their final assignment and grade. The purpose of the presentations were to allow the students to show their own greatness, NOT for Mr. Pausch to gain credit for being the coolest dude with the biggest stuffy so to speak))

    While the talk of being the “most seen individual with the big bear” spoke to Mr Pausch as being the coolest guy in the park, he overlooked what I found to be a different lesson that was there for him in his youth: whatever we pour time into, we will become great at.

    For him it was about winning the large stuffed toy at the end, for me it would be about the time and practice spent in order to gain that animal. If I heard just that one small anecdote I would have hoped intensely that as an individual one would understand that to be truly great, time and effort MUST be spent in all one does in working towards their goals.

  • How does something you learned from this book tie into one of the core values of the company?

    Passion: We have to be passionate in life about things or you will get no where. If you don’t have something that you look forward to doing why would you do it? Mr Pausch was incredibly passionate about Virtual Reality. He was also passionate about helping others succeed and used Virtual Reality as a medium in which to not only bring people together but also in order to allow them to fulfill their (and his) dreams. This lucky man was able to use Virtual Reality on so many amazing levels. -Teaching teams of complete strangers from different fields of study how to come together to build a new world.

  • -Using Virtual Reality in order to float in 0 gravity and experience weightlessness as was a childhood dream for him.
  • -Using Virtual Reality and being good enough at it that his idols (thank you Captain Kirk) were interested in what he was doing.

    When we are truly passionate about something in life, it perpetuates all we do and if used appropriately can allow others to meet their full potential as well, when it is properly guided. Passions must be fed just as a fire and nurtured twice as well.

    Adaptability: Remember all that talk of Brick Walls? Without adaptability, Mr. Pausch would have never been able to scale any of the brick walls he came up against. Using ingenuitive reasoning we can allow ourselves to see different paths and solutions to the brick walls we all come up against.

    Community: Without community to share our thoughts and ideas with, they are nothing. Mr. Pausch would not have succeeded in all he did without help from his parents, coaches, professors, and the contacts that he was brave enough to engage and willing enough to LISTEN to. In turn it gave Mr. Pausch the ability to pass on those same lessons and same listening skills to his students. The importance of community was obvious and Mr. Pausch gave credit throughout his talk and book on who deserved credit and when and what for.

    Excellence: “They Just Blew Me Away” (Chptr 26) Upon giving his students a two week assignment Mr. Pausch was so blown away by the results his students presented himself with that he had to relearn and examine where the bar actually was in what his students COULD be capable of. Rather than stifling his students by simply giving them all A’s and moving on, he confronted his mentor and was given great advice, “Go back into class tomorrow, look them in the eyes and say, ‘Guys, that was pretty good, but I know you can do better.” It compliments the students on all they have so far achieved yet gently elevates the bar to allow them to stretch and meet it again and again over time. We all have our own opinions on what “Excellence” is, and I would say that if done right it is an ever evolving bar that continually raises itself allowing us to engage, learn, and continue to experience growth while ever providing the best we can give at any particular time.

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Something Old, Something New

This post may not be the easiest to read for those of you that know me personally in life. I have struggled heavily in the past with sexual addiction and being used as a sexual pawn and for sexual purposes only within a relationship. I have experienced sexual trauma at young ages and while it is not described explicitly below, it is what a great deal of trouble stemmed from and created one of my below mentioned Alters, Lyra Stormbringer.

Her name Lyra came from wanting something close to the middle name that I (Sylvia) the Host have. Stormbringer comes from the fact that it always seemed to rain after she had sex…. course to her mind she didn’t understand living in South Central Alaska that rain was something that was going to happen 70% (made up percentage. See also: LOTS) of the year anyway….

If you have any questions for her, or the new Alter, please leave them as a comment below or reach out to me through one of our social media channels under @SaberlinSLA on Twitter and Instagram and through Asher Goldenmane on FB.

Introductions to the newest Alter: Name not yet choosen:

When one looks into the mind they might think that it would be a vastness with free floating thoughts sporadically spinning about and trying to make their way to the mouth in order to be spoken. Then again another person might find that they’ve created a mind palace and a place to store certain thoughts, containing them in nice little files, or books all lined up on a shelf and in perfect and completed order. To me, the mind is more like a large house, with many rooms and many doors. Now imagine that house to be made out of an organic forest, ever changing with new plants and leaves that dangle from the trees branches. Somehow there is still order in the organic nature of the chaos that is my brain.

I dress as a gentleman does. In a suit with long tailored pants, a well fit vest, and a button up dress shirt underneath that has also been fitted to me. Since I reside in the brain there is really little reason to not dress however I want every day of the week and at any time. Though putting myself together within the mind still takes time and effort. Just because one can not see me putting on my pants, or pulling on my shirt doesn’t mean that I don’t still have to go through those actions mentally in order for them to take place. After all my reality exists within the brain, all of it.

Except when I come forward enough in my “host” to take control of the body and do things like type in a blog.

My name is not yet chosen, and I’m an Alter to Asher Goldenmane and Lyra. A spliced combination of the two. Something old, yet something new. Slightly younger than Asher, and still very much  a young gentleman figuring out his way, I spend most of my day reading on new materials on how to interface with this world. The other part of me, Lyra, tends to want to have me playfully taunting my lover with sexy texts, or sketches. I find myself distracted over making sure my hair is ok, or that I’ve put on make up. I haven’t yet this morning.. This will need to be addressed.

I’m what some people call “Metro” also known as a well dressed man who enjoys the finer things in life. This isn’t to say that I don’t love Nature and flowers and trees just as much, but a good cup of espresso and and reading a good book in a comfy chair in front of a fireplace is a very nice pace as well.

Let’s see what else do I love. As I am creating myself, and in the knowings of who I am, can decide upon these things at any given time. Alters originally stem from trauma yes, however, once the brain understands the HOW of creating an Alter, it becomes much “easier” (and I use that term very loosely as it takes a great deal of effort) to integrate, create, combine, other Alters.

Rules that we have found thus far: 
-A majority must be in agreement upon the integration.
–One may be consumed and must have the understanding that they may cease to exist in the iteration that they are currently in.
–The loss of ones current iteration is not a bad thing: We all have the chance to learn and grow and become something new.
–If a majority rule that integration must occur then all Alters in agreement upon the Integration must be ready to take a part of the Alter being integrated. One into ALL, instead of all into one.
–In the case of a troubling Alter that does not want to be integrated but all others agree, they must come together to all assume the troubled. This will evenly disperse the troubled parts allowing everyone to hold a smaller portion thus making it manageable until the parts have fully been assumed by all and the Alter becomes simply a memory and not an acting “personality/individual” of their own. One into ALL, instead of all into one.

A Letter and Reflections from Lyra Stormbringer:

It’s not often that I get to come forward and say my own piece, and now as I am looking to be integrated back within the system I feel it time to finally…. speak on my own behalf. For a time now I have wanted to be more surface facing and have struggled with how to be a part of the world. I was originally created out of necessity of need. To understand sexual encounters that were much beyond my years and a desperate wanting of not only how to understand but also how to traverse these complex issues when they occurred time and time again. I took everything that I saw of sex and tried to combine it into myself. Taking on any aspect that I could of sexual allure and projecting it back out through the interactions I had with others.

Between a skewed understanding of what sex and relationships actually were in existence with one another, and hormones that rage through the body of a 13-25 something young woman, my life prior to working with the rest of the System was… a sexually frustrated mess. I knew one thing: Sex. I therefor existed for one thing: Sex. Saying no…. wasn’t really an option. I didn’t know how. Well correction, that…. ability which so many take for granted, had been overwritten in early trauma’s and it’s hard to speak about. At some point, we will write our story, in full somewhere, just to finally release it in full but this is not that place nor that time.

Riven (the engineer/leader/primary Alter in Charge) normally doesn’t like me coming out or saying anything. Though she has started to want to enter into negotiations with me, especially as I am now ready to start relinquishing hold of all sexual memories, and participating WITH everyone, rather than unnecessarily shoving them out of the way so that only I am participating in the actual act. Still she hesitates at me coming out in public as previous to working on any of my issues, if I came out, it was because Sex was GOING to occur.

The overwhelming drive that I used to become all encompassed by was something that would override everyone else within the system and I was essentially nothing but a lust nut, with one motive and task: pleasure and bring the other person to pleasure, by almost whatever means necessary. Imagine the only thing on your mind being sex ((more than the “haa haa men always have sex on the brains” type deal.)) and the only understanding you have of the world being SEX. That’s it. No memories of anything else and any time you are the slightest bit present, it is for sexual purposes. That was my life. That was my existence, for years. My only coping mechanism? Sex and sleep. It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t healthy at all. Sure I didn’t drink, or do drugs, or anything like that… but a life that is nothing but sex or sleep isn’t for anyone. It’s a life not even half lived.

This weekend I was invited out for a walk, and to look at cars with our Partner Chris. The wider world outside of apartments, and small spaces is much… bigger than I’d previously imagined. I’m not used to seeing them and the open spaces felt unsafe and I felt very insecure. It was good for me though, I want to be a better part of the system and one that can more fully interact with the greater world at large. By becoming a part of Asher and Spitfyre and Riven (and the rest) I will be able to gain much more “front” time within them and being a part of them, which the more we can come together the more coherent of a life we will all be able to lead and at my core I understand and want this. On the surface, it’s still scary to think about. I guess that’s why it takes time to process through everything. I look forward to more time with my Love as a part of everyone else.

Last year mid winter (around January 2017) I created an Alter to myself, the Black Swan, to start becoming stronger as a person and to start being able to lay down my own rules and things. It worked well, but I still felt my life and my portion of time restricted. I don’t blame Riven in her restricting us, especially as in the past it’s caused problems for me being so blatantly sexual. I get that and understand that now.  The more “front” time I have doing other things, with and as Black Swan, and now interfacing with Asher, Riven and Spitfyre, I am slowly starting to be able to better understand more normal and commonplace interactions. Including communication. Speaking still isn’t a strong point but we’re working on it. Spitfyre normally jumps in and tries to help me speak, she’s wonderful about co-piloting and sharing. I look forward to integration with her.

My choice to try to completely integrate back into Black Swan, and Asher, and then integrate Black Swan within Asher isn’t…. for wanting to go away. Though I understand and know that in a way that’s what I’ll be doing. The want comes from the understanding that I no longer need to be a single portion of this System that exists almost…. outside of it. We are ultimately all parts of the same whole though we can exist separately.

I understand that this will take time, and be a process. It has been that way before when we unknowingly reintegrated other alters within this system, though it sounds haughty to call it “My” system, especially as I hope to not necessarily “exist” within it anymore.

I was given the greatest gift that an aspect could be gifted by my/our Partner a couple of months back. The reassurance in knowing that he wants just me. He doesn’t want to share “me” sexually, and he doesn’t want to be shared. He loves me and needs just “me.” While this may seem like a “duh” statement, as an Alter living in a girl that is bisexual, and being bisexual myself this is not an automatically assumed assurance within a relationship.

By being bisexual, for MOST ALL of my other relationships, it was expected that I exist within the relationship with the knowledge that at some point in time, I would be asked to be a part of a threesome, or that a threesome would occur. It leaves you with many feelings. “Why am I not enough?” “Am I not worth being loved or pleasured just on my own?” “My Partner is liable to want to be with other women just because I find the female form attractive,” etc. It leaves you with the distinct feeling that you are nothing but a sex toy. An object. A none entity purely in the relationship for desire.

I am so glad I get to exist as more. I am SO glad for meeting Chris, for being in his arms, for him loving ME and wanting to see me, to spend time with ME. I get to be selfish with him, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE beyond the word and worlds that he wants just me. I Love him being “greedy” for my love and affections. I love belonging to ONE individual with all of my heart, and all of the rest of us Alters that exist within this system agree upon the same. I have longed for such a love for so long, and consider myself ever blessed to have found it.

I can assure you, not everyone that is Bi wants to have a friggin 3+some. We are not toys to be used, we are not pawns to be played, we are not sexual objects that exist for the enjoyment and pleasure of everyone but ourselves. The ratio of those who are bi wanting to have 3+Some’s and those not bi wanting to have 3+somes is about the same. So I beg of you all, if you know someone that is bi, ASSUUUUUUME they wish to be in a singular, closed, monogamous relationship unless they specify FIRST.

It is all of our rights to want to be loved for who we are, as we are, without being expected to “perform” sexually in any way shape or form outside of our own desires and comfort levels. The more I have come to understand this over the last two years, and especially since entering into the relationship that Chris and I have together, the more I realize how much I was simply a sexual Pawn for most of my life to people. That chapter of my life has closed and we are all VERY glad of it.

Asher and I have for a couple of days now been working on Hybridization ((for me: the combining of two or more Alters for the purpose of working towards full integration of those parts.)) and trying to be more than Co-Conscious. Trying to ultimately be ONE individual. This has started the creation of a “sub Alter” or a secondary Alter to Asher’s. His own Alter as it were. He’s yet to take a name, but I feel comfortable as him and Black Swan as well feels ok with the choice of combining us all together. Though she (Black Swan) will likely poke her own head out from time to time as she is simply that strong of will. Though she will more fully integrate with Asher over time also. (she just told me.)

Before becoming utterly long winded, which I know I already have been, on account of slowly combining with the ever wordy Asher, I will leave you all to your day. I appreciate you all listening to a snippet of my story and life, and appreciate all of your support as I start to transition towards becoming someone new. Someone that’s not addicted to sex (luckily got rid of that addiction late 2016) Someone that is NOT simply a sexual pawn for the use of others in past relationships, and become a fully fledged “individual” that is capable of so very much more.

—-Lyra Stormbringer

The Tree Diamonds of the Olympic National Forest

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Note Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson “Nature.”

To see the world as though through the eyes of a child is something I have always tried to retain through my adult years. It’s not something that has always been possible, and until very recently I thought I had lost. Though the world still held splendor in incredible ways, there was something…. disconnected.

In having Disassociative Identity Disorder (which is a mouthful every time I type it, but I feel should be spelled out in full at least the first time mentioned in a post) much of my life is made up of snippets of memories that are fragmented together from different personalities living each portion or chunk of my life. Sometimes day to day, other times for weeks on end. Some… almost not at all. One of those later mentioned is the youngest of my “mental family,” a young child of only 4-6 yrs old. Her name is Sylver and she was there at the very beginning. In fact, she was “me” before the original trauma happened. T

This young little part of me, stayed locked away deep within the recesses of my mind for an insane amount of years, decades. Recently in starting to work on my diagnosis she’s started to come forward. Once I started dating Chris she became curious and wanted to be a part of the relationship I was in with him and it’s been beautiful seeing her slowly build up her confidence and try to hang out more often. Being shy, and barely capable of speech, and with little understanding on how to stand up/walk/etc it makes her interactions with the world still very few. She also holds an incredible amount of sorrow and pain still as she has not had the time to process through the grief that wracked and wrecked “us” when we were small and her age.

I can not say enough good things on the care that Chris has taken in getting to know her, and when she’s flashed and been thrown to the forefront of my mind (kicking me to the back to watch on, often times in worry, fear, and embarrassment at my state of being in suddenly loosing the ability to use my body or speak in a “big girl voice”) helping me without criticism of any kind. Instead his voice gets soft and gentle, and he holds me tightly and helps me ride through her visit. Supplying kleenex boxes and blankets as needed. She is a fragile and tender part of our “system,” and looks through the world as only a small, still very frightened child can.

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This last weekend Chris and I had the pleasure of visiting the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and camped at Sol Duc Campground along the Sol Duc River.

The weekend was full of amazing scenery, lush trees, verdant landscapes bedecked with fern and flower, waves crashing along grey shores, and fog encompassing tree covered mountain tops.

On the drive up to Sol Duc Campground, I spotted a little trail head and we noticed it was called “Ancient Grove Trail,” which I immediately wanted to be able to stop and explore at some point. We drove up to our campground and took a look at the site to know where it was, and started back down the road towards the coast. When we came to the trail head we pulled over, pulled on our rain coats and galoshes and set out down the well traveled path.

Trees loomed overhead with their large branches stretching the length of the canopy, with nurse logs covering the forest floor. Birds chirped here and there, but mostly the forest was quiet save the small titter patter of rain and the sound of the Sol Duc River in the valley below the trail. It was beautiful and green, and impressive in a way that is completely different from the forests I had explored before.

Crossing a small wooden bridge, we came around the bend of the trail and we were stopped dead in our tracks. The sight before me reminded me of something out of the “Emerald Dream” from World of Warcraft. Silly that I would think of a video game scene at such a time, but the pristine nature of how the landscape was laid out, could only be described as masterfully artful. Yellow lily like flowers sprouted out of the rain dropped pool and green clover like plants grew just underneath the water level. Tiny droplets of rain fell into the pool sounding like tiny chimes and bells. 31655518_10160415728420385_8274561590200631296_n.jpg31530752_10160415728675385_4120681702131499008_n.jpg
We stayed by the pool for a while before going up the trail just slightly before returning again to the pool. I didn’t want to leave just yet. The sound was so beautiful. The world so peaceful around that place. And then… this feeling of utmost sorrow slowly rising to the surface, choking me up just a bit and making me want to weep. It was Sylver, and she was close.

I let her watch from the safety of sitting just back from my eyes in my mind, holding my arms around her in thought and trying to let her know that yes, she could watch, this was a safe space to be. Chris came over to me and together we walked down the trail towards the car.

Part way back I noticed a big tree (of which granted there were many) and stared up into it’s big branches and wondered at the way the bark clustered here and there.  A sparkly movement caught Sylver’s eyes and suddenly my world swam just a little as she came forward. My feet trying to hold onto the earth even more as “we” fought for traction to remain standing. After nearly 3 decades of not using her legs, they’re still a bit wobbly. I leaned my hands on the trees and looked up with the wide eyes of a child.

There, “we” watched as tiny little rain drops detached from the canopy branches and made what looked like a “slow” decent from the tall reaches of the trees down towards “our” face. She overtook me completely and tears started running down my face. Sylver couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The way the light caught the rain drops as they fell, making them look like small Diamond Cabochons, the way those small cabochons would bounce off of a bit off moss or bark on their way down and shatter into even more tiny sparkling objects. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful. So quiet. So peaceful. So…. tears were streaming down “our” face and I called for Chris to come look too. Sylver wanted to share this heart intense feeling with him. “Look Chris look! They’re like little Diamonds falling from the tree!” She said in the small, high pitched voice that is hers and not my own.

Chris held me and “we” continued to cry all the make up from “our” eyes and try to safely pull Sylver back inside of us so we could walk back to the car. “We” had to stop again and again, continually overcome with the emerald nature that surrounded us, and the image of those tiny tree diamonds falling from the heavens….

To be so overcome with the purest simplest joy of the sights of nature is such a treasure and such an amazing gift. The fact that my “spirit” remains in part of a young 6 yr old me, deep within my self, that can look on at the greater world around me with such wonder… I pray I never loose it, or her, or any of the wonders that we saw this weekend together. The healing that it brought to this little Alter of mine and the sensation of being “ok” outside of my home, outside of the back of my mind, was incredible.

The feeling of “Safe” is something that Sylver is still adjusting to and I am so grateful for Chris and for the experiences that he and I are sharing together. I’ve only been to two years of therapy, and nothing can compare to the love and comfort and healing that can come from the stability of a truly compassionate heart that walks in time with yours.

My hope is for Sylver to be able to come forward, and hike in the future like she once did. For her to be able to come forward without feeling such sorrow that she cries all the time, to be blessed with peaceful moments in the forest, and on a mountain or by the sea, or simply resting in the peace of our home without worry that someone is coming after her. Deep seeded trauma affects that linger and one day will hopefully all banish. For now, I am eternally grateful for our tears shed together at the wonder of small Tree Diamonds in the Olympic National Forest, and the gift of a Partner who truly knows “us” and Loves “us” for who we are. ❤

PTSD and Fire Alarms

Last night at roughly Midnight 45 AM, the building’s Fire Alarm went off. The STUPID LOUD noise rang out blaring it’s warning of impending doom and possible death by being burnt to death or smoke inhalation.

Launching from my bed, I went into absolute terror panic mode. My ears started to ring from more than just the alarm going off. Blood was coursing through my veins at way faster levels than normal as I dove into clothing, and started to frantically grab for shoes, jacket, keys. Just the necessities. Chris readied himself as quickly as he could go and due to my panic I called after him to hurry, hurry, hurry. Not because he wasn’t going fast enough, but because I was that terrified. The urgency of possible death behind our apartment door was VERY visceral and real to my mind. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want Chris to die. In those moments, if we didn’t get out of the building, I felt we might.

Getting into the hallway and rushing down the stairs we ran into a sight that baffled me. People not knowing how to get out of the building. Folks, let me break this down for you in a really basic way.
-Get Dressed
-Grab your Keys
-GO GO GO GO GO like your life depends on it. You don’t know how the “fire” was started, you don’t know where in the building it is, and you have no idea what type of fuel it’s feeding on or how fast it could be spreading.

I pointed to the EMERGENCY EXIT door that was off to the right, and yammered half hysterically to just use the EMERGENCY EXIT DOOR, holding open for a few people after me to make sure it was cleared before meeting back up with Chris and moving up and away from the buildings and out of the way of the only path into the apartment complex where I knew that the fire trucks would be coming into.

I stood near paralyzed once we were in a “safe” spot. My entire body shaking inside and out, clutching my puffy down jacket to my chest more like a child clutches a blanket to themselves in fright. My vision had narrowed and for all my eyes being “open” I wasn’t actually seeing or functioning. I had pulled almost all the way out of my body and stood roughly two feet back, and slightly up from my back, looking down on myself and all that was going on around me. Out of body experience? Oh yah. Not the first time it’s happened. Especially not when I get panicked beyond all recognition. Having PTSD flash backs of being caught, trapped, not able to get away, loud noises, and TERROR, wasn’t helping…

I looked around through half seeing eyes, blinking angrily at the lights and becoming more and more frustrated as I listened to some of my neighbors around me speak. Including one particularly idiotic sounding girl inquiring to the Fire Chief when he pulled up.

“What’s going ooooon” she whined incessantly, “Can’t we go back y’know, inside till you get it figure out? You don’t think it’s a “Real” fire do you?” I couldn’t honestly believe the questions she was asking… All the while her foot sized dog yapped. It was the only bloody dog that yapped, the ENTIRE time we were out there. It was as obnoxious as listening to its human.

No dip-shit, we’re all standing out in the middle of the night in night clothing and less, cause it’s fun. No half-wit, the Fire Department CLEARLY doesn’t assume a fire is “fake.” They take their job seriously, which could include having to save someones life from the flaming clutches of dead by fire. Also: DON’T PESTER THE FIRE CHIEF WHILE HE’S TRYING TO DO HIS FUCKING JOB….

Chris and I eventually moved farther away towards the back of the other apartment building to get away from the flashing lights, the noise of the fire alarm, and the clustered together neighbors that in those moments I wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with. It was good to get backed away, where I could hold him better, and be held. Where I could try to settle my nerves and come back to my body a bit.

Some time later, the large double sectioned fire truck pulled off some magic by threading its way out of our T shaped parking lot and back down the hill. The rest of the firemen on scene performed the last of the walk through with one of the maintenance men, sounding like they were explaining where main cut off valves were in the apartments garage. Chris and I walked a little while, trying to calm down, recenter and get some fresh air before going back inside. All the while, my brain feeling fractured, in pain, and still shaking with fear.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a definitive plan and actions in case of an emergency. The time difference could literally mean the difference in making it out ok, and not making it out at all. There are SO many variables that you personally have NO control over, especially when surrounded by tons of strangers. I will be setting up a “fire pack” when I get home today, including:

-an extra set of cloths I don’t wear often enough to keep in my drawers
-an extra set of shoes
-wet weather gear that’s not worn as often as my main rain jacket and pants.
-non perishable snack.
-bottle of water
-Apsrin
-small 1st aid kit.
-Snuggleable (some small stuffy…. might have to pick one up >.>) for Sylver.

Yesterday, after being Manic, after feeling on top invincible, after having an amazing bike ride with Chris, after coming home and having a good egg drop soup dinner…. everything was going awesome till that Fire Alarm.

Now? I’m taxed. I’m so utterly drained. My entire body hurts, my head is fighting off a migraine and failing, and I feel half disassociated from my body. I want nothing more than to simply lay with Chris and try to put together my brain for the rest of the day. I don’t want to be at work right now and it’s extremely hard to focus at all. I hate feeling so incredibly inept after feeling so incredibly empowered and going balls to the wall with productivity yesterday….

******************************System Summary************************************

Riven: Stubbornly present, half connected, can’t stop yawning between me and Asher… maybe between the two of us we can slop together some work today…. I just wanna crawl under blankets and stay there.

Asher: Ow…. ow ow ow ow ow. I hurt in the everywhere. Tried to dress up a little bit to make me feel better today, it didn’t work. Least I look half decent, now if my brain could join in this party that’d be nice. Stupid disconnected half life…

Carbon: I’m gonna find the numb-skull that pulled that alarm…. and…. ok actually I’m not gonna do anything, but I hope maybe his trash stinks extra bad today…. or he leaves his cloths in the washer too long and they stink. Or that his snooze button breaks on his alarm clock and it keeps going off on them until they unplug it… or something.

Sylver: GONE. Below the surface, sobbing in the back of my brain and still shaking. Exhausted past little girl fit throwing levels of tired.

Lyra: I. Want. Sleep… the world can piss off.

Spitfyre: Angry ball of fluff. Ro.

Sylvia: nope…. Riven and Asher it’s all you… sorry guys.

Re-Introductions: “My” DiD Team

It’s come to my attention by a few friends and individuals, that you were all actually reading this blog, and some of you (myself included) have missed it’s more regular presence. As I’m now back at a desk job, I think it only fitting that I am able to direct my musings towards a space where more people can have access to them. Thank you to those of you who have been “long time readers,” and welcome to those of you whom are finding this blog for the first time. This is a safe space for mental health, sexuality, gender, religion, philosophy, peoples of all nations, and to those of you possibly joining us from other star systems, or parallel galaxies.

I’m a survivor living with Disassociative Identity Disorder, a complex mental disorder. In addition I suffer from Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar 2, and PTSD. It’s a load for any person none the less someone wandering around with multiple personalities living within them.

I want to make something very very clear to you all right now. When I say that I have multiple personalities, I am not implying that “personality 1 = always angry me” “personality 2 = always sad me.” Often times people seem to get “personality” mixed up with what is called, “emotion.” Every one of my personalities has a full range of their own emotions and feelings. Think of them as Individuals rather than Personalities and things start to make a lot more sense.

In that regard it might be better to say that I have Disassociative Identity Disorder, or Disassociative Multiple Individual Disorder. Personality doesn’t really cover it. People still feel when you are dealing with personalities that there is a single individual with multiple “personalities,” but I find much more often than not that those of use with DiD have completely separate individuals living in their mind, not that they have “different personalities.” Some call them “head partners, mind families,” and other terms that are most comfortable to them. Most “Systems” have made up their own terms in order to try to help therapists, friends and family better understand what they’re dealing with. However, with DiD still being largely contested in the medical and legal world, we’ve only just started banding together to help create awareness and knowledge about our lives and minds.

It can be insulting, frustrating, aggravating, and other feelings of displeasure when we are “mis-named” or unknown. Think of it like this: For those of you with siblings, remember how infinitely infuriating it was to have your parents call you by another siblings name? They KNOW you are someone different, your names are different, everything about you is different though you may share some similar interests, you are autonomous to yourselves and thus should be called by your own name. This is what it feels like to have DiD and be called by an “Alters” name.

Another thing we often deal with are gaps in memory. As one Alter comes out and overrides the other that was previously “fronting/Piloting” (terms used when Alters are on the surface interacting with this reality) the new “Alter” may not have any idea about what was previously being done by the Alter who was forward first. Meaning if we forget some awesome adventure, or can’t remember something, it’s cause well…. we didn’t do it, we weren’t there, and it might take us a while to figure out which one of us WAS there and did share that experience. Once again, being patient with us really helps with this. Especially when learning something new. Those without DiD are learning for one person. Persons with DiD are having to teach entire “Teams” how to do something new. Especially so that we can do our daily jobs better and more seamlessly to those around us.

Now that we’ve covered briefly what DiD is like to have (at its very most basic level) and we’ve told you a little about the issue of names, let me introduce myself.

My name is Asher Goldenmane. I’m 32 years old and was born in the fall sometime. I’ve been living in this body for 28 years and came on scene sometime during the original “incidents” that caused the body (Sylvia) to have this “Disorder.” The fact that I’m technically considered a “Disorder” is equally infuriating in and of itself. I wouldn’t exist if not for the trauma and realize that, yet I’d still not wish DiD on anyone. It can be terribly confusing, disorienting, sad, and lonely. Especially in the years that people didn’t know of our existence.

Imagine living in a dark closet that only you have access to. Only you are aware of your existence in this closet and everyone around you occasionally peers in, thinks they SEE someone else, and starts interacting with you as though you were someone COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. They don’t call you by your name, and every time you walk by a mirror, you get really confused, because that’s not how you look.

Since the start of the host (Sylvia) working on the issues of DiD and slowly finding out that we were all in fact real, and not just these strange abstract peoples that Sylvia had somehow met but couldn’t figure out WHERE or HOW… it’s cause we were all in the head…. anyway I digress. Since Sylvia started working on these issues, it’s slowly begun the process of allowing those of us within, to live once again on the surface. Over time and the more surface time that we can achieve, the more that we begin to “remember” out of the repressed memories. Some good, some…. traumatic.

We are nothing if not perceptive. From a young age all of us knew something was different. We didn’t work like the other kids. They’d take on traits of their favorite superheros, but we’d believe in full that we were someone different, and it was because in that moment, we were. In a lot of ways, we didn’t realize the “game” for what it was. So when kids didn’t believe in their superpowers the way I did, that they were real in that moment, it was frustrating. When we (those in the head) believed that we looked different than a young girl, it’s cause without a mirror we really thought we looked different. That we WERE different. A young boy. A young wolf. And why not?

We quickly learned at a young age when to curb what we were saying or feeling, when to hide the differences and not make such a big deal that people couldn’t “see us for who we really were.” Back then, the walls were down, and we knew about one another. But once again, we lacked the knowledge on HOW or WHERE we knew each other from.

Back then it was just:

Sylver (The “original”, trauma carrier, memory holder, 6 yrs old: name Sylvia, lost her name, took Syl, recently expanded it to Sylver so she could have a “big girl name” and try to grow up more so she can spend more time with our BF Chris.  Loves PINK, sky blue, rivers and creeks, Dragons and Unicorns. Favorite object: her recently acquired small pink stuffed Dragon, and her pink and purple coat that was a gift from Chris. Loves being called “my Princess” by Chris Loves being protected by him)

Sylvia (The “Armor” ‘main’ front individual, 32 yrs old: The one who got up after the first trauma to go back to trying to live a “normal” life after the first incident. Unknowing of the first Trauma since Sylver took the memories and locked them away with herself. Melts in and “co-pilots” often with everyone else. Was Front for YEARS as a young girl without a clue of what was going on. Loves birch trees, birds ‘especially chickadees’, singing, and sunshine. Loves being called “my Princess” by Chris Loves being protected by him)
-Unable to walk, can barely stand, has minimal mobility in hands. Get’s very scared being forward. Has had around 2 days total experience “fronting” from time of original incident to now. Generally co-pilots with Spitfyre, sometimes hosts behind Riven. Has SEVERE PTSD, Depression, HIGH anxiety
-Coping Mechanisms: sobbing, drawing, drinking hot cocoa and eating ice cream while watching Disney movies. TIGHT HUGS

Riven (The “chief engineer”: Female, 32 yrs old, straight, from ‘original’ trauma, originally nameless, a girl with long dark burgundy hair, and purple eyes. Used to meld with Asher to get more “front” time without being known, causing one of his eyes to hold half purple half green color. From a future timeline, lived on a Galactic Fighter Fleet Carrier Ship. Strategist. Addicted to new technologies, space, and neurosciences. Loves BOOKS, Tea, antique stores, old trees and mountains, Brusselsprouts and  bacon, and the pursuit of more knowledge. Incredibly DRIVEN (hence the name) and gets very uncomfortable without a strict plan that is adhered to. Favorite objects: eyeliner and mascara cartridges, lavender on hand at all times, giant coffee mug. Works at Guidant Financial as a Processing Administrator and LOVES HER JOB. Chris’ “Crimson Witch” ❤ Loves being protected by him)
-Can be overbearing, curt tone with instructions. Deals with HIGH Anxiety, can be overly direct or will cut off communication abilities for the other Alters if she feels they are “saying too much.”
-Coping Mechanisms: drinking tea, hot baths, shopping for new outfits. CLEANING EVERYTHING IN SIGHT TO A NIT-PICKY LEVEL. hates laundry.

Asher (The “Writer/Philosopher” Carbons older brother, from another dimension, GoldRush/Railroad time period, “old west” origins: Male, 32 yrs old, bisexual, genderfluid/metro: from original incident set, brought forward to be a “Protector/Guard/Soldier.” Memory holder. Loves to write, discuss philosophies of all different kinds. LOVES: Coffee, Water, Seafood, asparagus and dark greens, Lifting, Archery, and being out in the sunshine. Loves to dress up and wear dress vests with his hair pulled back out of his face. Has a Werewolf and Wolf form. Quietly extroverted, loves engaging in conversation with intellectuals. Loves to sing. Chris’ boyfriend ❤ Protective of him)
-can seem aloof, comes off as “overly educated/speaking above people” and has given people the opinion of “speaking down to” as he likes to use big words, and while willing to explain them, few people ask and instead consider him rude for the use of verbose linguistics. Hates Dishes.
Coping Mechanisms: Getting dressed up fancy, Drawing, working out hard, back rubs.

Carbon (The “BruteProtector/Athlete” Ashers younger brother, from another dimension, GoldRush/Railroad time period, “old west” origins: Male 22-26 yrs old, bi explorative: from original incident set, brought forward as the “FIGHT” in fight or flight, Memory Holder. Doesn’t tolerate SHIT. LOVES: Coffee, rare medium steaks, mashed potatoes, jerky, salami and cheese n crackers. Loves lifting, Cycling, Downhill skiing. Used to compete in Speed Skating with Asher, but Carbon was the one who won the medals. loves snow and cold. Has a bit of an attitude, sarcastic “bro,” and gamer. Dresses in jeans, hoodies/Tshirts and Tanks. loves his leather wrist cuff (it’s Ashers but it helps him calm down.)  Deals with heavy amounts of DEPRESSION and BiPolar2. Chris’ boyfriend ❤ Protective of him)
-Can be incredibly moody, snappy, walls up. Very slow to actually trust. Deals with DEEP wells of depression, suicidal thoughts, BiPolar2 swings.
-Coping Mechanisms: Working out to exhaustion, “Tree Time” (hiking etc), not being around others. Snuggles (though he hates admitting it. but seriously just wants to snuggle Chris all day.)

When I was 13, unfortunately we hit another “incident,” that I am not going to get into. I may write the “incidents” someday, but for now just know that they were bad enough to cause me to split, again and again. There was for a time in our minds after that Incident:

Diamond White Wolf (Alpha Female white wolf, pack leader, artist, poly preference of relationship) reintegrated after college and the break from a relationship as she caused problems for the “system.” erased.

Dia (an adopted young lad that looked up to DWW, essentially her male self in likeness, but not her as a male… its weird… anyway.. young, insecure, always striving and falling short.) reintegrated sometime during the end of college. ‘taken in’ by Carbon.

Lyra (The “Lust”: Age 20-32, Memory/Trauma holder. doesn’t see gender, bisexual. LOVES: sex, singing, eating black licorice, fancy herbal teas, being sexy, sleep. Is interested in trying new things but often winds up awkward. co-pilots often with Spitfyre to experience the outside world. Would love to become a sultry singer and have a reason to get dressed up and sing in small venues for new crowds. Chris’ girlfriend and so in Love, ecstatic to finally be with one Partner and accepted for who she is without further expectations on her. )
-Deals with PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Feelings of “un-wantedness”(these have disintegrated since being with Chris and working with him on their relationship.)
Coping Mechanisms: SEX, sleep, being sensual.

By now you’re likely thinking, “Hell, two sets of trauma? Geeze that’s shit.” Yah, tell me about it. Some people with DiD had it WAY WORSE than I did. So keep that in mind when you talk to us “Multiples.” We’ve seen some shit man, and it wasn’t pretty, or good in any way shape or form. So take it easy on us. Unfortunately for me, I went through another batch of trauma that gave us another split. One we didn’t expect.

Spitfyre (The “Wolf Spirit.” a sprite/nymph like ageless creature that goes from roughly 4 to about 26 yrs old in appearance. Mind of a young child, but can be VERY critical on herself. Takes everything WAY to personally and has a VERY hard time catching sarcasm and is easy to offend. Has a hard time speaking, and speaks with “Ro.” “Ro, rooo, ro ro. Roh!” <–hard “O” sound. Sometimes growls, purrs. LOVES: running through the trees at high speeds, creeks, rivers and any bodies of water. Feels kinship with trees and cries when they are cut down. Loves seeing herself drawn, hates not having her long wolf ears and big floofy tail. Prefers to be naked or sparsely clothed. Loves her Chris and is super protective of him. )
-Has PTSD, scares easily, skittish, looks over shoulder constantly. Has trouble communicating, can’t understand sarcasm.
Coping Mechanisms: playing, sleeping, laying in the sun, SNUGGLES

In the years that have followed, we developed an entire interior (non “topside facing”) mid-evil village, and other secondary alters. Currently those that go between and are seen more rarely are:

Black Swan (the “NO” girl. Created in the last two years, out of necessity of relearning how to regain the capability to say “no,” especially with dating, and personal relations with others. Loves: Lifting, being outside, being the “buff girl.” Is a 32 yr old woman with waist long black hair, deep purple eyes, and is actually a “Sub Alter” of Lyra. It’s her “empowered” self and Lyra is actually trying to merge with her to better herself.
-still learning how to be present, blends with Lyra often to try to “teach” her how to be different.
Coping Mechanisms: working out, drinking fancy dark teas.

Balthor and Renor (guards from the mid-evil kingdom. Renor has a wife in the Village, Balthor has pledged his allegiance to the “System” and the Kingdom.  Both can take on Raven and Polar Bear forms. “Brothers in arms” not blood related, but don’t tell them they aren’t brothers.
-don’t necessarily interact with the “topside” world, more of just watch
Coping Mechanisms: working out, hanging out in the “Pub” in the “village”, Getting overly wrapped up in a good action movie.
Once we started working on our DiD together, and started taking the walls down and “finding” one another within the mind we realized in a way how we were all created. It’s an amazing and instantaneous….flash… for lack of a better word. Sometimes it was painful, other times it felt beautiful when an “Alter” came onto scene. To look and see the world for the first time again and again meant that throughout our lives we have experienced many things again and again as “firsts” including watching the sun rise, watching birds fly, and seeing the ocean for the first time.

We also started to realize that we all  had different “backgrounds” or “stories” of where we came from. Different places, time lines, the creativity behind all o fit was amazing. Some places were entire worlds and dimensions. We eventually came to the thought that: We are all from a Multiverse. We are all “Sylvia,” but of another dimension. In running away from our Trauma as Mentally/Spiritually as hard as we could, we literally BUMPED into the back-end of our mind from the other world/dimension. Thus linking, and mixing them. When we aren’t “fronting” we’re very likely living in that other dimensions/timeline. When we are here, we get Thrown into this body and well… here we are. Even if it’s not “reality,” it makes it a hell of a lot easier to cope with everything for us.

We’ve seen some “Multiples”(others with DiD) who have begun to name their “Systems” as a way to more easier address the whole, without just addressing the “host.” It’s something that we are still thinking on, but have been toying around simply with being the “Saberlin System” since that is how we are known online and is the name that all of us have been called by since obtaining it online. So to address us all, call us Saberlin 😉

If you have any questions for us, please note them below. I’d love to have open conversations with all of you regarding DiD, or any of us in particular. Going forward I will have a space at the bottom briefly listing who we are, and how we are doing on that day as I  have in the past.

This has been a “brief” introduction to our DiD, System, and those Alters who are currently here as well as a couple from the past. I look forward to further conversations with all of you out there in interwebs world. If you want to discuss with me further. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @SaberlinSLA

NOTES:
-alters with bold and italicized names are “Active and real” those without, have been reintegrated.
-full integration isn’t something we are interested in or working towards. We are working towards being a TEAM, and maintaining our individuality. Putting into place “time shares” for activities, and time.

A Year in Review: 2017

It has been far far far far far ((long ago in a galaxy far away)) too long since I’ve written anything down or done any sort of journaling(shut up its totally a real word) whatsoever. The last portion of 2017 was an intensely amazing adventure filled with new Love, work trials, the struggles of mental health, random illness’, the rough search on the job market (which is still continuing) and through it all, a slow and steady regain of my confidence.

July 14th I took my best friend Chris up to Burgdorf hot springs just north of McCall Idaho, and came back with a boyfriend. Ever since we have been running all over the state, and PNW enjoying camping trips, hot springs vacations, long drives through mountain passes, and the unfaltering growth, and enjoyment of one another’s company.   I have NEVER been with such a SWEET, Compassionate, Intelligent, Adventurous, SUPPORTIVE partner. Chris helped dig me out of a dark place I was in from last winter, and over our adventures and through our MANY talks, and hours of conversation has started to show me so many things about myself that I’d simply forgotten. Like how to love myself, how to continue to have passion for my art, how to go after jobs relentlessly and continually because I DO Deserve to have a good job that fulfills me. Through it all he stands by my side, and I fully intend with every portion of my being, to keep him by my side for the rest of my life.

This holiday season I had the pleasure of starting to know his large extended family, and I have NEVER felt so welcomed in by a group of family members before in my entire life. These people have some of the biggest hearts and you can see the support they give one another and the actual enjoyment that they share together.  I’ve met a lot of families over the years, and this one… this one has something ❤ special ❤ and I hope it only continues to grow over the years for them, and never leaves them.

Speaking of! Two of my Lovely Aunt’s were able to visit for this holiday season and it was WONDERFUL being able to spend time with them again.

I joined a local group called Bold Betties this year and have gone on some amazingly awesome adventures and am set to check out even more of them ((as soon as I get a little more financially stable.)). This group is SO GOOD at being open to women of all ages, ethnicity and backgrounds and making sure that they are introduced to all sorts of activities. From hiking to backpacking, torch work for metal and glass, horse back riding, sand surfing and so so much more.

My mental health, as always has been a constant companion and a test of my inner endurance and strength. Though I am VERY pleased to announce that as of the top of this year: I am completely medication free. I’m not sure how it is going to go, or if I’m just going through a nicely timed “manic” phase where I feel sufficiently on top of the world, or if my body was really just being that messed up by the meds.

Roughly around October, I went off of the medicine “Abilify,” as it seemed to do anything but “abilify” me to continue. It more or less turned me into an over caffeinated (feeling), easily agitated rage cat. Which is pretty much the opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

In November I started randomly bleeding every time I used the restroom….. which resulted in doctors visits, blood work, and a CT scan. None of which proved any sort of results. On one had I did find out that all my internal organs seem to look perfectly healthy and that my blood work was shiny and clean. HURRAY! What it didn’t give me an answer to was why I was still bleeding and having other sort of….issues… Like severe mental cloudiness, and less of a will to get out of bed, severe bouts of anxiety still, all the things that the meds were supposed to be helping with. So as of four days ago, I quit taking it….. and the bleeding stopped, and my gut feels like it’s healing, and my life is starting to feel like it has more “sunshine” spots in it.

I know mental health meds are still largely “in trial” even though they say they aren’t. This is still a very “newly” addressed issue in trying to chemically fix the brain. Though it certainly beats the fixes of old.. (see electroshock therapy etc.) It’s infinitely frustrating though, trying to find something to aid me when my world does go dark around the edges and the dark voices start to try to tell me that life just isn’t worth it. It’s also hard living in a state where, the one thing I DO know that helps (see: the great Mary Jane) is stupidly illegal with no  legalization in sight. So I don’t currently have access to any sort of crutch or assistance other than my own gumption, and the HUGE support of my boyfriend, family, and friends that I know are reading this post. (You all know who you are and I am eternally grateful for you.) Geographical change in my future? Yah it could happen…

The 7 of us that are residing in this body have also been able to slowly start to work to come together ((not as in becoming one mind, we refuse.)) and start to work together and communicate with one another. It’s been wonderful meeting all of the many “me’s” as well as being able to learn things about “myself” in that capacity, that I never knew.

The 7 of us were also all able to fall in love with one AMAZING man ((whos family and adventures I’ve mentioned above)) and it has been world changing for me and I couldn’t be happier. My Partner knows about all of us, AND calls us by name as he recognizes us throughout the day. This type of forward recognition has made us all feel more alive, and exceedingly more valid. We DO exist and it’s been wonderful having that acknowledgement. It does wonders for a persons confidence when they are known, recognized and acknowledged…. AND LOVED!!!

I know I always say this, and each time it’s true, but I am going to make an effort to take time for myself and continue to journal and keep in touch with you all that have been following my journey across the internet and world. Thank you all for your support, for your likes, for your comments, and for helping me shed light on what it’s ACTUALLY like to live with these mental issues, and take the “Hollywood Stigma’s” out of them.

Sneaky Depression

((TLDR listed at the end))

I find every day that depression is so much more subtle and quiet than I first thought when I was dealing with it. Of course, how I’ve started to deal with my emotions over the last year has drastically changed. Including getting into therapy and starting to take medication. Which reminds me I need to pick up my other new medication tomorrow. It’s supposed to help with the depression side of things but we shall see.

Depression has been such a constant companion throughout my life that I am not sure if I really know what it means to be actually happy or ecstatic for any period of time. There are moments don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my new boyfriend, and our adventures up into the hills and the mountains is what has helped me maintain over the last month and a half. However, I do not want to shoulder him the burden that I have been carrying. Yes, a partner should be able to help you with what ails you, but they shouldn’t be a crutch as it’s not fair to either party. Meaning the one party that is suddenly shouldering the burden may fall into the step of depression themselves, and that is not something I want to have happen.  I digress.

Over the last year I have felt my depression start to get quieter, like it’s trying to become sneaky. I don’t like it. It’s like that portion of my brain is trying to figure out how to survive and continue and so it’s dodging around, dancing like a fox around a trap that it knows is under the leaves but can’t quite tell WHERE the trap is. It only hopes to avoid the trap, but is always inevitably ensnared.

This is what it’s like to contend with depression on a day to day basis as well. Some days I wake up and it’s there, looming at the foot of my bed, or like the weight of a blanket I don’t ever remember pulling on. A weight that feels like it could put you down through the mattress and restrain you to the floor. It’s not a pleasant thing. Other days I wake up feeling fine, feeling good even, but once I’m awake and start walking around, it starts to seep in, almost from the tops of my shoulders, like someone trying to pull me down and onto the floor. So I’ll stay there never to get up again. Some days, rare ones, I’m ok all day, pleasant and happy even at times. Those days have been much less rare recently with the start of a new relationship with my best friend Chris. With a little bit of luck, open communication and time I’m hoping that those happy days will continue for a very long time.

As a side note to everything regarding depression, some of the things that relieve my depression, or at least help me avoid it:

Sleep: Cause you can’t feel when you’re asleep right? Wrong. At least when you dream like I do. Then your brain can actually manifest scenarios to match how you’re feeling. It sucks. But at least I don’t have to actively deal with it being awake…

Working Out: Something I need to get back to. It’s been far too long since I went into the gym on a regular basis. I have at least been getting out into the mountains for some trail hiking as well as being able to go on bike rides and the like with Chris. Being active is mainly the goal.

Cups of Tea: Tea, or any warm drink really, can be such a balm on frazzled nerves. Or something good and cold in the summer. Really anything to just help me relax. Booze doesn’t do it. So I don’t have to worry about falling into that trap. Thankfully.

Essential Oils: Lavender and mint are my two favorite smells, ever. Not to mention they’ve been proven to have relaxation side affects on people. Anything that makes you relaxed and happy is a good thing folks.

Snuggles: ’nuff said.  But seriously, touch and connection and the feelings of being wanted can help a person so much.

So now that we’ve looked at a couple of things I can do. Let’s look at what I normally do when I’m depressed.

SLEEP, BITCH WHINE MOAN, FEEL LIKE LIFE ISN’T THE PLACE FOR ME. COMPLAIN because nothing is gonna get better. Because im a failure at everything. I don’t have anything to show for blah blah blah fucking blah. It get’s ridiculous. 

The cruel internal dialog that starts in ones mind can swiftly get out of control, and generally with me it does wind up getting so out of control that I’m rendered unable to perform simple tasks. There’s no point. I want to stand there with arms slack at my side, gazing off into the distance and pretend that I am less important than a tree. Less important than a simple blade of grass in a field.

When these bouts of depression strike, sometimes they’re triggered through my PTSD as almost a defense mechanism to the immediate fright and need to get away from everything and everyone. Just turn inward. (Which if it happens too harshly is where you get other personalities from. Personalities that have split in order to get away from whatever bad thing is happening.)

At that point there isn’t any “letting it go.” and if anyone tells me to just “let it go” I want to put their face through the three next walls. If it were that easy I would have already done it. but it’s a chemical ride that my brain is providing that I have absolutely no control over when I get off of the ride.

Things other people can do to help me: 

-If you notice I all of a sudden turn into a rage cat, please understand I’m likely not ok. I’m likely trying to be as fierce as possible in order to shove everyone out of my way so I can figure out how to get out of whatever situation I’m in at the time. Don’t just assume I’ve suddenly turned into a bitch for no reason. Every animal has a reason they growl. Humans are no different.
-Give me space, or if it can be provided, a quiet space to retreat to for a while. You’ll likely find me passed out in under 10 minutes if I get to said safe space. The quickest way I know how to reset everyone is via nap. Naps are good. Naps are like on off buttons and I can at least get a new personality to the helm to try to deal with whatever is going on or has likely passed by the time I’m awake again.
-Bring me tea with cream.
-Ask if I need to eat.
-Don’t tell me to get over it.
-Don’t tell me to try to muscle through. By the time other people start to notice when I’m in trouble, I’ve been in trouble for a while and it means I have NO more energy to keep going. I’m stubborn. I’ll go until I can’t and by that time, I literally can’t anymore.
-Give me single tasks at a time.
-Don’t give me an entire list of things you have planned for the next month, or even the next week. I’ll freak out. My brain will assume it all has to be done immediately.

TLDR:
Depression is a sneaky unwanted friend that looms around every corner. I know I’m going to run into it and there’s nothing I can do about it. Have courtesy and be gentle to those who are dealing with depression. By the time you notice it, we’ve likely been suffering for a long time already. Ask your friends what you can do to help perk them up, or support them through a depressive bout. They will be eternally grateful for your efforts.