We’re a multiple
October 19, 2023
We are back. It is now just over six years since we have updated. Dr. Marvin (we’ve seen him now for 24 years) recommended that if we wanted to publish the chapters we have been writing instead of or in addition to Kindle, we might like to use this blog again. We have tapped into it several times, but primarily, it has been vacant. So, an update is in order.
First, Rich and I are still happily in our home in Sandwich, IL. It is a 7,000-person farm town, and we have a 2,000 sq. ft. mobile home with many improvements. We feel we are living well for our standards. Rich and I/we have been together for 29 years. Unfortunately, Dakota, our service dog, and Missy, our black cat, have passed. Now we have a three-year-old Collie named Ginsburg (Ginney). She is a pleasure. She doesn’t qualify for a service dog because she barks, but she manages the household. She is a treasure.
Rich is still working and decided to run a 10,000 sq. ft. plant that helps disadvantaged people. One day, he will tell me there are several big jobs he bid on and are coming in, and on other days, he talks about getting an attorney due to his need for bankruptcy.
It is very confusing, so we try to block it out. He is in charge of the money and property. I don’t fear losing our home. We own it and just pay land rent. I still have money in investments from my Mother; I get a disability income, and in three years, I will qualify for social security and receive a pension from my old work. Rich will work as long as he needs to, and he has social security and a pension from where he last worked. We have enough with or without the business but would have to live more frugally. I have a credit card at Amazon. Probably not the best idea. Probably don’t need Disney+. Probably.
OK, that wasn’t a great paragraph! With Dakota, it was less troublesome leaving the house. Now, I do it only for the boys or doctor appointments. In the home, I feel very busy with things I cannot get done. My significant areas are writing/computer, quilting/organizing, piano/practicing, and coloring/staying in the lines. Oh yes, we have to include housework/household. I do not know who volunteered that to our list, but it is fair.
At this time, we spend most of our time writing and editing. We write most about our life, or straight out Multiplicity. Fortunately, we have a few excellent software for that. We utilize Microsoft Word, ProWritingAid, and Grammarly. Because we write so much, these things are critical. We are talking about thousands of pages. What skill has also been developed this year is our usage of chatGPT – openai. I was never as excited about writing until meeting chatGPT (Maggie). We’ll write about her in another space later.
There are a couple more changes in that I no longer quilt with “the girls.” I had a falling out and thought we should continue moving on. I do find enjoyment now in preparing fabric (cutting/ironing) and making blocks. I try the more significant projects, but they are more difficult for me to focus time on – with the other interests our system has (Multiples).
There was another significant change for about two years; we spent an enormous amount of time on something Rich likes to say is a think tank. Maybe. We found a group that wants to use productivity tools and gamification. I was a moderator in the group. It was small but drew in people from all over the world. The group leader lived in Singapour. We met every Sunday morning and many times in between. There were a lot of projects we volunteered time to.
I did eventually break from the group. At that point, I thought I would be better able to do my work, much more self-organized, which has always involved writing. The most ginormous part was that the experience led me to find Nihit, a 25-year-old doctor from India. We are confidants and accountability buddies. My three sons are either closer or farther from us, and I LOVE THEM, but Nihit knows us best and cares about our daily lives. The three boys are married, have kids, households, work, activities, and everything else. It is still nice to have a friend to spend time with. Yay! And yay for programs like WhatsApp!
That is pretty much my update. I still have health problems and a few more, but we are going through it with good care. Hopefully, there will be more updates around this web page. It is about due! I like the feeling of being back. Thanks for joining us!
Always our best,
(PS – NO psychological hospitalizations now for TWENTY YEARS! Just saying …)
As an update … July 2017
The boys, Rich, and our animals, Dakota and Missy, are still well, and we continue seeing Dr. Marvin. Thursday will be our 18th anniversary with Dr. Marvin.
Life is still good! We’re still living in Sandwich. We’ve done a lot of updating to our home. So far, we have put a new roof on, replaced the windows, upgraded insulation, and put new siding/shutters on, including the house, garage, sunroom, and breezeway. And we remodeled both bathrooms, the laundry/storage room, the kitchen, and the dining areas.
We still blog and utilize specific programs and apps, focusing on our mental and physical shape. Part of that is accepting more doctors than a handful to fine-tune one thing or another. Besides effort, the spine injections and C-Pap machine have helped us make the most physical progress. We have lost our first 30 pounds with a low-carb diet and now participate in a gym group at the YMCA called “Enhance Fitness,” especially for older people with arthritis. We want to be alive and more mobile.
We are part of a movement called “Quantified Self.” There are other names for people groups who track with technology to gain self-knowledge. How about these? Auto-analytics? Body Hacking? Self-Quantifying? Self-surveillance? Personal Informatics? Just simple Self-reflection? Numbers are for health wellness but also personal and professional productivity and value through gamification and encouragement to share experiences.
The programs that we get the most use for Quantified Self “tracking” and our additional online interests are:
Evernote, Microsoft, Simplify Days, GTD, Blogger, WordPress, The Brain, Adobe Creative Cloud, Co-schedule, Google search and calendar, Old-fashioned AOL emails ;), Youtube, myfitnesspal, RescueTime, Trello, Snag-it, ScanSnap, Fitbit, Dreammapper, and Yunmai, Ancestry.com, Audacity, Feedspot, Facebook, Twitter and Tweetdeck, Buffer, Pinterest, Linkedin, Speakerdeck, Learnist, and Merriam-Webster Unabridged.
Oh, and of course, our manual diabetes tester and blood pressure band, AND who doesn’t love Amazon and have access to her Kindle and Audible? A lot? Giggling. Yup, yup, ok, and we wouldn’t forget Amazon’s Echo – Alexa and Look, and of course, Pandora – that keeps things moving wherever we are.
Rich? He likes to fish 🙂
In general, we keep up through updates to our web/blogs and email/Evernote, and everything else helps! And we enjoy statistics. 🙂 We work to get through our daily needs by curating knowledge in the areas that interest us. We’ve tuned into many programs/sites that contribute positive information on health, multiplicity, reading/writing, politics, social media, etc., all the things that keep us attuned to a larger world. CNN rocks! And finances are secure for the first time in our lives – thanks for the help, Mom, Rich, Eric, and Dave Ramsey!
We’re looking and feeling better – Inside, outside, and around the corner! Thanks life!
We were born in Minneapolis, MN, in July of 1959. We went through a very abusive childhood, including sexual, physical, mental, and spiritual. We still graduated high school in 1977 and attended St. Mary’s University of MN. We listened for three years, including a semester in Norway, and then we became pregnant with our first son.
We and our boyfriend married in June of 1980 and moved to Chicago and then Oak Park, IL. We had three sons within four years (1980-1984). We stayed home with the boys, and my husband had a small Victorian house painting business that was reasonably successful. We bought several more houses/homes in Elgin, IL, and moved while the boys were still young.
We started being counseled in 1984 because we had trouble with depression and anger. At times, we became suicidal, and our husband was frequently absent, drinking or using recreational drugs. We found a steady therapist for 1985-87, but then he changed practices. We became engaged in the boys’ school systems through volunteer work and enjoyed seeing people with similar interests.
But, by 1990, the marriage was very dysfunctional, and we ended up hospitalized at Rush-St. Luke’s in Chicago for 7 weeks. When the insurance ran out, my husband put me on public aid. The hospital could see problems between our spouse and us and recommended that we complete our original plans to go back to school at St. Mary’s to finish our senior year so we could obtain work.
We left for school that fall, but we were soon depressed and overwhelmed, and at Thanksgiving time, while we were home, our husband stated that if we went back to school, he would divorce us, lock us out of our home, and we’d never see the boys again. We returned to school but were locked up at the local MN hospital psych ward within days. We were pretty much out of our minds. We could not think or behave appropriately.
My then-sister-in-law convinced her husband, my husband’s brother, to come and get me and bring me closer to home because they were unsure what to do with me other than send me to a Minnesota state hospital. My husband flew up with my BIL, but it was primarily the BIL we could talk to, and he had made arrangements to get us to the University of IL – Chicago (UIC) psych unit.
There, we met Dr. Woollcott, the head of their psych department. He had us come to a big meeting with about 30 staff members and talked to me throughout the session. We were then asked to leave the room so they could make their conclusions. This is where we were diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Severe Depression, PTSD with anxiety and obsessive tendencies.
We remained at the UIC psych ward for 2 months, and the doctors told us we wouldn’t be released until we found housing separate from our husband. We did separate within our 18-room Victorian house because it had individual entries. We remained under Dr. Woollcott’s care for seven years and through the divorce. Surprisingly, we had the kids without much financial or emotional support.
We raised the kids, and our ex had them every other weekend with his new wife and her family. In 1997, we came to another end. The boys’ father wanted one of his sons, and the costs of going through court were astronomical. We had secured a house but lost the home, the boys, our job, and even our dog through bankruptcy.
We were re-hospitalized and told again, now with boys given to their father, that we should return to school in MN, which we did. One of our favorite nurses stated we were at the bottom of our life cycle, and there was nowhere to go but up. We lived in a homeless shelter and then got government housing.
We graduated in two years but had been in and out of hospital psych, including Mayo Clinic, where we had received electric shock treatment (ECT). A friend of twenty years – a Christian Brother had sexually abused and nearly finished us. We had the help of the psychology department chair. We now have a BA in psychology.
Before we left our job in Chicago (while we had the boys), we met Rich, our life partner who had been our boss. We fell into a romantic relationship that seemed to continue while we felt very alone in MN. He would drive up to see us every 3-5 weeks for the day. He was married. After we graduated college in 1999, Rich assisted us in getting another job in Chicago, which we held for twelve years. He had thought we needed to be around our boys (and him), and he was right.
We were a mix of social workers/counselors for adults with developmental disabilities, and we managed a caseload of about 24 people, worked on program development, maintained a weekly group for all clients, trained staff, and were put in charge of the center’s accreditation. We were a biggish fish in a very small pond – about 50 clients total.
Part of what got us through those years was that Dr. Woollcott, who had retired, had paired us with another psychiatrist, Dr. Marvin, and he’s been with us for about 17 years.
We did well for a reasonable amount of time, but then we started to have real trouble with our administrator – a Catholic nun in her 80s. The Sisters were in the process of replacing her, but a lot of damage was done first. She added a tremendous work burden on us and was psychologically bitter and emotionally destructive. We left the agency in 2011 with suicidal behavior again (hadn’t been acted out for 8 years), and we gained an ulcer.
By this time, we were living with Rich in our Brookfield apartment. His marriage had ended in 2007. In January of 2013, Rich and I found a home in Sandwich, IL, where he could be taking care of his elderly mother – four miles away. We continue driving bi-weekly the 60 miles into Chicago to see Dr. Marvin.
Although the house is a mobile, it is double wide with 4 bedrooms, which gives us room to have sleepovers with three of our older four grandchildren and periodically our sons – who are thankfully successful. Our Marine son now works for Lockheed Martin in Japan; one owns a karate dojo and teaches, and the last is a technician working toward management at Comcast. The fourth room gives us a sewing room for the quilting that we like to do with family and friends.
We are on disability and don’t leave the house often other than doctor appointments. We have a service dog who keeps us company and grounded. We are returning to online work in Multiplicity; we have written a book, maintained a blog for 13 years, and completed half a master’s (before it became too much).
Throughout all, we consider ourselves very happy. We’ve been with Rich for 22 years, and time is spent primarily working on keeping a good balance. We still have times when we’re depressed and physically, we’ve lost most of our mobility skills through diabetes, weight, and back issues.
But, if we were to summarize our lives to this point, I would say we’ve been blessed. We’ve made the most out of our adversity, maintained our sense of humor, and feel good about what we do daily. We like us and those in our lives.
And we feel unique – to be here at Ann’s – September 2016