15 Years And Her Destruction Continues

“Millions of lives were changed in a day by a cruel and wasteful storm.”
—–President George Bush

This is a topic that to this day a difficult topic to talk about.  June 1st is the beginning of hurricane season which will run until November 1st. I was in Mississippi at the time about 1 hour north of Gulfport in Hattiesburg, MS. Make no mistake that she left her mark on this area as well. I still have a lot of anxiety when a storm comes around which is often. Katrina was something that this area couldn’t imagine possible after Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Frederick in 1979. We had “minor” hurricanes in other years. But after hearing stories from my parents and grandmother I wanted to see one for myself. All I can say is, “Be careful what you ask for and want.” I can say that I have some PTSD from the trauma that occurred from this storm.

katrina satelilite 2

hurricane Katrina20

This image became known as, “The Stairs to Nowhere. “August 29th, 2005 will never be forgotten. It’s been 15 years and just talking about this hurricane and tears will come to my eyes. I will never forget the uninvited guests known as love bugs that covered our vehicles and houses. The mosquitoes that were the size of house cats. The heat inside the houses was so hot that sleeping outside in a truck bed was the only way to get away from some of the heat. But the mosquitos were so bad that you also had to keep in mind that West Niles virus was also very possible. The price gauging from the companies from out of state to removing trees off people’s houses. Price gauging for gas and the rationing of gas.

We were told to plan for no food and water for 3 days. It was more like 2 weeks in our area. We all ate good for the first couple of days while everyone’s freezers were defrosting. After the defrosting everyone just had rotting meat and nothing to do with it. There was no sewage working either. Talk about nasty…. the manholes were running over with raw sewage and going everywhere. It was so bad that city officials were riding around neighborhoods telling us to use the bathroom in the woods.

hurricane katrina23

hurricane katrina22

A good friend of mine who was dating my sister at the time helped my dad with a chainsaw cut the tree limbs that were possible to move and put in a pile for the city to pick up. Sadly, he’s one of my friends that passed away a few years later. He was a good guy and I miss him dearly. We would finally get power restored two weeks later. Cell service would not be restored until November because the cell towers in New Orleans were destroyed. I was able to drive down highway 90 which was along the beach to get pictures like the above because I was a current student at William Carey University. The National Guard had control over the street and highways. I was in awe at what I saw. The mausoleum had been opened and the deceased were lying around on the beaches. The bodies of the ones of the mausoleums were also trying to be identified. Entire casinos barges were picked up and moved across the highway. The magnitude of the situation was finally beginning to hit me. This level of destruction I had never seen. I couldn’t identify street because all the signs were ripped away.

hurricane katrina21

 

hurricane katrina17

This was a funeral home where the first level was destroyed, and bodies were found on the beach. The amount of devastation on the Mississippi gulf coast was never acknowledged because New Orleans got most of the coverage. That was the reason for me and a teacher from William Carey University decided to write the book.
Those were the days where you got to know your neighbors and pull resources together just to get by. This is also about everyone being on the same economic level because there’s were no working atm machines and no banks open. I can remember that Sonic made hamburgers for the entire city of Petal, MS to keep the meat from going bad. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to find a place to keep certain medications cold for both children and adults. There were just not a lot of formula and water for babies and no way to keep medications like insulin to keep cool for the adults. There were thousands of people that were helpless during those days. We didn’t finally get cell phone service back until sometime in November because cell towers were destroyed.
We had no way of knowing what was going on in other areas. It was like we were on an isolated island because as a community we were also stuck on survival. The mayors had also called for a curfew in Petal and Hattiesburg and surrounding cities. For those who had generators the issue was fuel. And you also had to be alert for people stealing fuel out of generators, cars and boats through siphoning. There were many tears that were shed in the days after the storm. The storm itself was scary but nothing could compare to the fear and emotional devastation that happened as a result of the storm. Many thoughts of rebuilding, and others moved away forever. No matter what area of the south people lived in the date August 29, 2005 and the vicious Hurricane named Katrina will forever be engrained in people’s memory. And every year when that day comes around, I still shed tears for the tremendous loss that our state of Mississippi and the surrounding states that became our new reality.

#thispuzzledlife

Happy Birthday, Copeland

Happy Birthday, Copeland!!!

“You’re going to miss this one day, I whisper to myself as I’m
shot in the butt with a nerf gun while unclogging the toilet”
—Unknown

I remember when Mel was pregnant with our second and sweet little boy Copeland. It was one of the saddest times of my life because we had found out that Sarah’s condition had gone from being in remission to terminal and she wouldn’t have many days left. And we had lost Copeland’s twin at 12 weeks only a couple of months earlier. I was completely distraught at what was happening in our life. I felt guilty for being so sad at the loss of our unborn child and the latest news about Sarah. I was in a whirlwind of emotions and mad at God when I should have been grateful and looking forward to being a mom again. My mental health issues became more erratic at this time. My rock and my yoda and the one that was teaching me about life was about to be gone. I just couldn’t handle that. My heart was shattered at both losses. The world would go on and my world would never be the same.

              IMG_0186IMG_0188IMG_0189

Mel and I would have to drive back because she had to go back to work. My parents would Facetime Sarah’s service as I sat in my truck waiting on an appointment. After the service was over, I cried secretly that I can explain. I cried because my heart hurt, and It felt like part of it was becoming necrotic. I also cried because my soul hurt. I needed someone to just hold me and let me cry over this loss. And as I cry now, I am sobbing like I did that day secretly in my house. I was mad at God for taking them both away. I just didn’t understand, and I still don’t. Everything hurt and it does again for a woman who loved me just because. What an emptiness I can still feel from those losses 5 years ago.

Sarah died in February and Copeland was born in May. And I think his birth was what I needed to keep going. Our boys will never know fully how stressed and distraught both of their moms were at that time. And how incredibly special and powerful to us for being our children. Copeland came along at a time at a time that we needed.

IMG_1976

I now understand what my parents have told me for most of my life. One of my grandfathers died in September 1975 and I was born in December of that same year. My mom tells me that my birth is what helped them get through Christmas. And for Mel and me, Copland’s birth did the same thing for us. That little baby boy put a smile on my face where only minutes before there was a frown from a hurting heart.Ever since he was born, and Marshall has had the duty of being a big brother we have had some of the greatest entertainment and love that mothers can have with their children. Here’s a conversation that Mel and Copeland had several months ago….

Copeland: What are you made of mommy?
Mel:_Sugar and spice and everything nice.
What are you made of Copey?
Cope: Plastic
Mel: No sticks and snails and puppy dog tails that’s what little boys
Are made of…
Cope: nooooooo I don’t have puppy dogs!!!
Mel: so what are you made of?
Cope: Rubber
Continuing the conversation later she asks
Mel: So what are you made of Cope?
Cope: plastic and rubber and Boogers!!! Lots of Boogers!!!!

Copeland Samuel Landrum-Arnold is the finest little superhero man cub that God has created other than his brother Marshall. I am blessed to be in his life and to be called Mom when I never saw that as a possibility several years earlier. I love you, son! And I’m so incredibly proud to be your mom even with challenges. Happy Birthday, Copeland!!!

#thispuzzledlife

The Marley Chronicles

THE MARLEY CHRONICLES

Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching
is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance.
—Dan Greenburg

Since I haven’t had a kitten in several years, I thought maybe I could write things that I observe Marley doing. Yes, I have been taking notes on her behavior. I have sat quietly, while giggling at some of the funny things that she does. The way I see it, at least I get to experience unconditional love that I’ve missed since Simba and Nalla died. I’ve really missed having that. Having a mental illness that most people couldn’t begin to understand, leaves me living on an island. And then you look into the eyes of an animal and you intuitively know that somehow, they just get it. There’s no explaining that needs to be done with them. All you need is the willingness and opportunity to exchange energy and the outpouring of love will continue if you let it. Enough of the sappy stuff and tears. So, anyway I have put together a list of Marley’s crazy little kitten behaviors and wanted to share them. She will eventually write on her own but right now she needs my help.

1. Kittens can make snow out of the paper in a Kleenex box.
2. Kittens do their best to kill broom bristles.
3. Kittens are more like toddlers than we realize.
4. Kittens behave better for their grandparents than for their parents.
5. Kittens are like little vampires with fishhooks in their paws.
6. All they really need for a toy is a house shoe or a sock with moving toes to kill and they will be entertained for several minutes.
7. Their owners must have a high pain tolerance, Neosporin and a lot of love.
8. Just because you have on long pants does not mean your leg won’t be used as a scratching post.
9. If you’re busy writing, they don’t care. They will make their way to your pen and paper and then sit on them and look at you.
10. Trying to set boundaries with a kitten DOES NOT work!!!
11. Yelling “SHELTER!!!” loudly doesn’t work.
12. When you’re ready to go to sleep they’re not.
13. Watching them raise their back and hop sideways at their reflection is entertaining for humans.
14. Bathroom time for you is supervising time for them. Their motto is “If you can potty, I can do it better.”
15. Being told “NO!!!!” While being sprayed by a water bottle will get you attention faster than the Corona Virus.
16. When I’m cleaning the house, kittens want to help until the “death machine” (vacuum cleaner) is turned on. Then she sprint’s who knows where and sits quietly until death machine leaves the house.
17. AND WHEN THEY FALL ASLEEP IN YOUR ARMS ALL OF THE ABOVE DOESN’T EVEN MATTER.

Marley brings me joy and laughter. While living in Texas the animals that helped to heal my broken heart for my grief were: Harley, Annabella, Princess, Journey Faith, Callie Ray, Smokey Bear, Mickey, Esme’, Bella, Fanny, Black Cat, Fat Cat and a very special connection with Ginger Bella. They all were incredibly special animals that I got to share time and space with. And I’m sure they were all helping me to prepare emotionally for my sweet Marley.

#thispuzzledlife

Her Name Is Marley

Her Name Is Marley

“Emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. We have them and so do other animals. We must never forget this.”
― Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals

Recently, I’ve been thinking of my cats Simba and Nalla who I simply referred to as “my girls.” It’s been about 3 years since I had to have them euthanized. They were 15 and 16 years old when they died. I had raised them since they were 1 week old. And they were also a large part of my abuse history. Losing them caused a lot of grief because there were things that happened to them that I was unable to prevent. When I left my ex-husband, I was fortunate to get them out alive. A lot of my animals were left dead for me to find.
My girls and I shared a difficult time in our lives. I wasn’t going to be able to rush the grief that I had when they died. So, each day when I would open my eyes one of the first things, I remembered was how much abuse they also went through and the guilt that I had for not being able to stop it. They were treated as queens and they knew it.

IMG_2931IMG_2938

IMG_2932

While I was living in Texas when I visited friends, I would borrow the love the animals had for a visitor and each time a little piece of my heart would heal a little bit from the grief. Their animals were so compassionate, but I still missed my grumpy cats. The two years I spent in solitude doing healing work many wouldn’t understand that level of loneliness. Do I wish I had an animal to keep me company? You bet I did. There’s just something about having an emotional connection with an animal that you can’t have with other humans. I love domestic animals because they aren’t judgmental. I can’t say the same thing about humans.
Since I moved back to Mississippi, I have been thinking about getting another cat. I didn’t rush things because in my heart I would know when the time was right. I had been looking for a kitten but was not in a big rush. The right kitten would be waiting to meet me somewhere and I knew that. I just had to be patient.
For the last couple of weeks, I had been communicating with a local vet clinic. And just like I thought the right kitten was waiting for a home. I barely heard the instructions for her meds because I couldn’t take my eyes off her. We are a perfect match. I watched her for a few hours before settling in on her name. Me and my internal guys settled on a name and her name is Marley. She will also be a part of ongoing healing for me. If service animals were easy to acquire, I would have one. She will be my emotional support animal no matter what. Just like my emotional support beverage called Diet Coke.

Lacking a shared language, emotions are perhaps our most effective means of cross-species communication. We can share our emotions, we can understand the language of feelings, and that’s why we form deep and enduring social bonds with many other beings. Emotions are the glue that binds.”
― Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals

#thispuzzledlife

You Never Mattered (poetry)

You Never Mattered

You forced me to list and now it’s my time.
Your abuse has made me feel like I can’t be real in life
You destroyed parts of me that once thrived
And you sucked me into your grasped by being very kind.

Once everyone was gone you made your first move
Showing me the side of a human that most must prove
You dehumanized me in so many ways
Until I’ve learned to live life mostly in a trauma filled haze

But your days are over, and my days are near.
Oh, and the truth that everyone shall hear
About your venomous actions forced on to children, teens and adults
All you’ll be able to do is sit back and sulk

I won’t be sad for because you hurt me so
But what you shoved into the ground has now begun to grow
With growth you need water and those are the tears I shed
While I try to undo everything, you put into my head

I went to everyone looking for help
And it made it all worse and you hurt me more until I yelped
I didn’t know it then because I was just a kid
Because I matter now, and you never ever did.
#thispuzzledlife

The Myths About Dissociative Identity Disorder

 

“And if we do speak out, we risk rejection and ridicule. I had a best friend once, the kind that you go shopping with and watch films with, the kind you go on holiday with and rescue when her car breaks down on the A1. Shortly after my diagnosis, I told her I had DID. I haven’t seen her since. The stench and rankness of a socially unacceptable mental health disorder seems to have driven her away.”
― Carolyn Spring, Living with the Reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder: Campaigning Voices

There are so many different myths in society about mental illness. However, when you begin talking specifically about a disorder there are even more. And Hollywood doesn’t help when people with mental illness run wild and crazy and going around killing people. If that’s the only side of mental illness that people know and see then, of course, that is what will be formed in their minds about mental illness. This is very harmful and degrading to people who have some type of disorder.
So……. I’m going to write a little bit about these myths and see if I can help dispel some related to Dissociative Identity Disorder. I have found some of the more common ones in different places on the internet. I will do my best to try to dispel these myths. I haven’t told many people about my diagnosis because they take their uneducated ignorance and usually turn and walk away. I don’t take it personal because it’s just a lack of education. But I do smart back at them and I usually say, “Don’t worry I’m not going to cook you and eat you!”

Truth be told, if you walked up to someone and asked them what dissociative Identity disorder is, they would probably say, “What are you talking about?” But if you asked them what multiple personality disorder was they would unload all kinds of myths probably related to the movie Sybil, Split, The Three Faces of Eve, Frankie and Alice and any movie like that and could tell you all kind of information that was wrong. I will and in no way cover all the myths, but some is better than none.

stand up

 

1. Myth: DID is not real. In 1980 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM-II) classified this as a mental disorder. So, this diagnosis has been around for many years.

2. Myth: DID=Schizophrenia are the same thing. There are similarities but there are significant differences. DID is a trauma related disorder and schizophrenia is an organic and psychotic disorder. I could expand on this topic for the rest of the day. But my best advice it to look it up yourself.

3. Myth: DID alters are obvious and extreme. The opposite happens. Unless you live around the person you most of the time won’t know any of the alters. Switching is so subtle that the average person wouldn’t be able to tell when a switch occurs. The disorder was designed to keep the individual safe from a very abusive situation so that’s why switching alters is not obvious. My wife knows a lot about my alters and my switching but even now things have changed and most have hidden deeper because my alters have gotten hurt by people and they only feel safe being around certain people.

4. Myth: DID is an iatrogenic rather than a trauma-based disorder. This statement means that the disorder is caused by the therapist or other professional. Contrary this disorder IS caused by trauma and not the therapist.

5. Myth: The belief that it’s only something that happens in a movie. Hollywood has created this belief and others. Very seldom does the movie industry present this disorder correctly. Remember that the industry needs to make money to survive just like any other industry. And they will do that anyway it needs to. So, if that means misrepresenting mental illness to get it done it will

6. Myth: People with DID are more prone to violent behavior. Individuals with DID are no more prone to be violent than anyone else. In most cases there is not an ‘evil’ alter.

7. Myth: The belief that treatment is harmful to the patient. I can personally say that had I not got adequate treatment that I would probably be dead. Treatment is crucial for the individual to receive to be able to get better.

This is by no means a complete list of myths. With all the information out on the internet I would highly advise looking through scholarly journals to get more of the accurate information about these and other questions that you might have about this disorder and any other disorder. Educate your self about mental disorders and mental illness and then there will be no reason to fear individuals that have a diagnosis. Are there people who are violent and have mental illness? Yes, but that’s not most people with a disorder.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shames us all.”
—Bill Clinton

#thispuzzledlife

My Punshiment (Poetry)

My guilt and shamed that others can’t see.
How much self-punishment will serve me?
I’ve hurt my kids and wonderful wife
And how I have taken from their lives
I feel that it is my honor to do
To punish myself like other abusers should do
The people that hurt me never punished themselves in life
But this is something I can do for my kids and wife.
My punishment I’ll do, and others can’t know
Until it’s time for my punishment I’ll show
My punishment I’ll do because I have a conscience you’ll see.
But they didn’t have one for what they did to me.
What can be worse than to drive Mel away?
Only what I deserve……an eternity in hell.
And then I’ll never hurt anyone again.
I won’t hurt my babies or anyone I call my friend
Then I’ll be the parent they need
The one who is no longer sick, and they can have stability they can see.
I’ve put my family and kids through enough
Just ask them and they’ll tell you that it’s been rough.

#Thispuzzledlife