I Can’t Help It

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sculpture.jpg
Untitled in progress by Jana Rawling

I Have to Sculpt People

It’s been a while, but I had fun making this guy. I’ll do some finishing touches and wait several months before firing him. Let’s pray he doesn’t bust open in the kiln. I’m still learning…. What should I call him?

“Life motivation comes from the deep longings of the heart, and the passion to see them fulfilled urges you onward.”

Proverbs 16:26, The Passion Translation

Hold onto Hope

Love Yourself

Loving ourselves for who we are is critical. We were made special, capable of connecting with so many others because we have more personalities. We can be flexible and capable of loving others for who they are. We can love ourselves for our uniqueness. We are special.

If You Don’t Mind

My most recent drawing for a handmade book I want to make.

I’ll Share My Creativity

Something has been bothering me lately. How can I host and maintain four blogs with podcasts on three of them, and videocasts on one?

I’m an artist and author and have a lot happening in my life regarding my health. I have been diagnosed with five rare diseases or disorders, yep five. Not to mention what I call my lesser diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes and Fibromyalgia which are a result of some of the other illnesses. The annoying five are:

  1. CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
  2. EDS-3 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3)
  3. POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  4. DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)
  5. PNES (Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures)

I have separate blogs for CRPS and DID. I also have a site I rarely post at which is janarawling.com for my art making (though I forget to post stuff). Add to that, I am a Believer in Christ Jesus and have a blog site for that at HardwiredForLife.com (I have a partner on this one), and well, you see where I’m going with this. I get very tired and can’t post to all of them consistently, and I don’t. I suffer from symptoms every day mainly including pain, seizures, overall fatigue and falling down (sometimes breaking bones). I’ve had to stop working as a commercial art professor, which I miss very much. But I can still write when I feel okay, and I can make some art, which brings me joy through the pain.

I was wondering if I should combine some of the blogs, but I’m pretty sure that someone with CRPS doesn’t care about my DID, DIDers don’t care about POTS, and so on. I’ve been asking the Lord about it and He told me that the common denominator for all of my sites is not only me, but also is my art making, my creativity.

God told me that DIDers, CRPSers, Believers, and Artists all enjoy creativity. So, if you don’t mind, I will post the same art making and writing to all of my sites. That way, I have some universal content. I will still keep everything separate, but some creativity will be the same.

Whew! I feel better now. I feel that sharing my creativity is something I can do that will bring me tons of joy. Plus, I’m working hard on my healing and joy is a precious remedy.

Thank you for participating in my journey from wherever you’ve come.

With Love,

Jana

P.S.: Can I pray for you? If so, contact me via email, or just say, “Yes” and I will be honored.

P.S.S.: I’m currently writing a book called, “Hardwired for Creativity: Art Supplies for the Mind” that should be finished sometime this year. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Full Disclosure

Photo by Steve Leisher on Unsplash

Sitting in Judgement

People just can’t imagine what it’s like for us. We’ve all been judged for being dissociative. So, we’ve spent our lives learning how to hide the DID. We’ve been forced to call it something else, anything else, to rationalize it away. DID has been the cause of damaged relationships, misunderstandings, loss of jobs, loss of friends and deep loneliness. So, how much do we ever disclose?

I chose to tell my family and close friends.

They may not understand, but I’ve tried. I told my family and a couple of close friends, because I wanted them to understand why I did or said certain things. I’d rather they know that I’m not forgetful, or undependable, or low in character, I’m fighting a disorder that occasionally makes me that way. I want them to know that if I don’t remember something, it’s not my choice and I do deeply care about them still. I can’t control when I switch, and now they are starting to see it and can deal with it however they choose.

I find that during conversations I can tell them I’m sorry for not knowing about something we’ve already talked about. They seem to be more understanding, rather than mad at me. Honestly, it’s been pretty amazing. I’m hopeful that as time goes by my relationships with my family will only get better. I’m finding that I’m less defensive knowing that they know about my DID. I feel safer.

Defensiveness

DID is a purely defensive position. We are defending ourselves by switching. I find that I’m not as capable of being loving and compassionate toward others. It’s hard for me to reach out toward others with an open heart, because I’m so used to waiting for the next trigger to come. This makes me seem and feel very self-centered and I don’t like that. I find I have to strive to be kind, loving and caring because it doesn’t come naturally to me. Some of my alters are that way, so I seem kind and caring, but I’m not that way. I’m always waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop.

I hate being defensive, that’s why I fully disclosed my DID to my family and close friends. It was just my personal choice. It may not be yours, and that’s okay. It seems that having DID is a lot like grief — everyone does it very differently.

Food for thought,

Jana

21 Pieces Excerpt

Available on Amazon

A Bite of My Novel

Simon and I were trying to focus on reading a blog post as two of my alters, Gwen and Heidi, began arguing over which dress we were going to wear to our appointment. Gwen is a bit of a hippie enjoying lots of flowing, flowery fabrics and Heidi wanted to wear something solid and more form-fitting in her vanity. Gwen is concerned with all of our spiritual matters. She flows intuitively through life. Heidi is very different, more concerned with how we look. She loves doing my hair in long, wavy curls and painting our nails bright colors. Sometimes I can’t get her to stop watching makeup tutorial videos online.  

I was sure Dr. McNally could help me, but I was scared. He’d worked with dissociative patients before, but this would be the first time I’d seen someone with experience. I had an underlying feeling that I could trust him, and things would work out. I was determined to give it my full commitment. Besides, I didn’t want to lose James. 

I didn’t want to hide D.I.D. anymore. I couldn’t. James told me if I didn’t get help, he’d leave me. He’d put up with so much from me over the length of our marriage. Heidi was yelling at Gwen again when I stepped forward and told them we were wearing jeans and a sweater, period. Heidi was ticked as usual and Gwen rolled her eyes. Simon just wanted to stay right there leaning back on his favorite gray pillow casually scrolling through blog pages.  

I suddenly sensed God telling me to get up and get ready, so I listened. I heard Him say, “Becca, I don’t want you to hide who you are. My people need you. This path you are on is sacred to Me. It will be difficult, and I will be with you the whole way.”   

The Good Old Daze

Photo by Jennifer Griffin on Unsplash

If Only I Could Remember

Holidays bring family around reminiscing days of old. Which sucks for people with DID.

At our Christmas Eve dinner, I stopped counting how many times someone asked me if I remembered when…. But I couldn’t remember. My siblings started staring at me strangely. I couldn’t be a part of the conversation and none of my alters were helping me out. It was pretty sobering.

The past is such a mystery to me. Now, I’m grateful to know I have been dealing with DID my whole life. I can say I understand when I can’t remember something that happened in the past. I understand that I just wasn’t myself, I was someone else. That someone else carries the memories and if I really need them, I’m sure I will be reminded. Maybe those memories will help me to heal. Maybe they just need to stay where they are.

Waiting to remember,

 Jana

P.S.: I hope you remember your positive childhood holidays.

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction.

Psalm 90:12

Ugh, the Amnesia!

Making 2020 Ornaments

In Trouble Again

Once again, I got in trouble forgetting an important conversation. This time it was with my husband. Not good.

So, there is debate out there about DID and the Amnesia Barrier that exists between alters or parts. The Harvard Gazette published an article (A story that doesn’t hold up – Harvard Gazette) siting a study from a doctor setting out to prove the barrier doesn’t exist. Well, he says it does, but I say it does.

Here’s the thing: when we experience amnesia, it is felt with varying levels of remembrance. I believe our brain and spirit remembers everything we say and do. I also believe that we have a powerful ability to subconsciously and consciously block our memories in dissociation.

In the case of my forgetting a conversation with my husband, I was very adamant that I wasn’t aware of the discussion. I even told him I must have switched alters. He proceeded to remind me of just about every word we said, and I began to remember some through a thick cloud. I could only agree to remembering a few words in the end.

I know that I know that one of my alters was present for the full conversation, and I wasn’t. I still don’t even know who fronted at the time. So, that Amnesia Barrier is real, and I do believe that the memories are still present with one of my parts.

Maybe I’m blocking the discussion because it was a hard one. Maybe an alter fronted to protect me from the conversation. Either way, I still don’t remember what happened and my husband and I had to rehash the conversation. Can I just repeat, Ugh!?

With words to remember,

Jana

P.S.: I made some fitting 2020 Christmas tree ornaments.

21 Pieces: Finding Wholeness in Spiritual Truth

My New Book

A Novel Based on My DID Story

A few months ago I finished my book 21 Pieces. This was so hard to write. It really stretched me, because I had to work through a lot of my life having DID. I always learn when I write and this book taught me a lot about myself and how others live with DID too. I am very proud of how it turned out. If you check it out, I hope you like it.

Here’s the description and link on Amazon.

Becca understands that she has Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) and she has fought for healing for decades. She believes she’s been delivered of dark influences and has been healed in stages over the years with various integrations led by God. Becca is nearing the end of her D.I.D. journey into wholeness, but several personalities remain. Her struggle is in her own self-doubt that what she has experienced with healing, miracles and encounters with God are real. Or whether she’s crazy like she’s been told all her life. Becca has a long history of psychological issues, and several diagnoses without much resolution and she must rely on her own research and knowledge to get by. She is faced with marital challenges and starts to see a new psychiatrist, Dr. McNally. McNally is not a believer in Jesus or the spiritual realm and finds her voices and experiences with God to be psychotic. As McNally witnesses her integrations and encounters with God, his scientific world begins to crumble. By the time Becca puts the final pieces of her identity together, Dr. McNally finally looks beyond science and into supernatural territory.

Masters of Compartmentalization

Photo by Sep on Unsplash

Living in Mental Boxes

Like DID, compartmentalization is a subconscious defense mechanism used to avoid distress and anxiety. This happens when someone has incongruous values, beliefs, emotions, etc. within themselves. Compartmentalization allows for multiple viewpoints that can oppose each other in the same person under different self-states. It can also be an intellectual form of rationalization for having opposing beliefs or values. And it can be a form of emotional detachment and/or used for denial.

An example of compartmentalization for someone with DID could be that one alter, or identity states believes in the death penalty where another doesn’t. Or more simply, that one alter likes sushi and another won’t touch it with a ten-foot chop stick.

We all compartmentalize parts of our lives. We often act and feel differently at home, or in the gym than we do at work. This can come in handy for homicide detectives, morticians, and nearly every first responder job. But compartmentalization can hinder our relationships, career paths, and ability to interact in teams and community.

Those of us with DID live in multiple diversely self-made boxes. And I believe that the more we get to know the different identity states we walk in, the more we define those alter boxes. This creates well-formed alters versus nameless fragments. And yes, we create them.

We unknowingly pull from our subconscious minds information we’ve filed regarding character and personality throughout our lives. And sometimes, we also make some conscious decisions as to what we are willing to accept or not in an identity states. That may not be a popular statement, but I do believe we have a responsibility to leave evil thoughts and characteristics behind. We have the power to be honorable, righteous and sanctified.

So, are we to blur the edges of our boxes for integration? Maybe. I think I’m going to try to open some boxes.

Lifting the lids off,

Jana

P.S.: Stay safe and blessings to you.