Martha Beck's article was right on but she missed some key points. Simply thinking positive is not enough to change the hurt inside that keeps us from being able to heal.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:20:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
"Not the Steven I Knew" by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Jessica Baty, the girlfriend of NIU shooter Steven Kazmierczak says her boyfriend was not a monster and she still loves him. How can someone display such radical personality changes?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 10:16:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [2]  | 
Split Illinois Shooter by Melody Brooke, MA, LPC, Author, Conflict Coach#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Kazmierczak Dissociatve?
The details about this man who shot 20 people and left 7 dead are beginning to unravel.  This mornings AP article talked about the contradictions in his behavior.  They sound, in my experience, very much like those of a Dissociative Identity Disordered individual.
Kazmierczak was hospitalized in the past, for what condition we don't know. One of the issues he dealt with is that he didn't like staying on his meds.  Many DID clients are mistakenly given anti-psychotic medications which cause them side effects and are inneffective in managing symptoms.  Voices that come from being split into alter personalities cannot be silenced by drugs.
Another issue he struggled with was self harm, a common symptom of DID.  Reportedly he was a "cutter" (someon who cuts themselves).  "Cutters" do this in an effort to manage internal pain. Our bodies release endorphins when we are injured and these endorphins coursing through our system relieve pain in much the same way opiates do.  This is one of the reason's it is so difficult to stop "cutters" from cutting.  It becomes quite addictive.
Kazmierczak's pain
Most of the people who knew him had little to say about him that sounded like he was suffering in any way.  They saw him as a nice guy, though some suggested he struggled with intimacy problems.  He had a girlfriend who reports say he sometimes engaged in physical altercations with, though it never involved hitting.  He would physically restrain her during arguments.
The night befoe the shootings he talked with his uncle making plans for playing a game of chess with him.  None of this sounds like someone in psychological distress.  Though there are reports of his possibly haven broken up with his girlfriend.
What could have happened to him?
It's doubtful that we will ever know what happened to him to have created the kind of turmoil he was clearly experiencing. Family's of these type of perpetrators rarely admit to having knowledge of their having been abused in any way. Why would they want to acknowledge what they might have done to contribute to these people's horrific behaviors?
Cho Seung-hui, the gunman who killed 32 students at West Virginia Tech, had sent many more clues as to his misery. He was reportedly on anti-psychotics and also had been hospitalized for mental illness in the past.  But his writings certainly indicated trauma history.  He wrote repeatedly suggestive statements of his having been sexually abused, and his intense anger about it. Could he have been split, too? It's not so clear with him since his behavior was more consistent with the profile of someone who would do this sort of thing. But he was certainly suffering from some kind of traumatic history.
Traumatic splitting
Traumatic splitting occurs, generally in childhood, when a person is subjected to some kind of traumatic incident that is overwhelming to the child. While the trauma is happening the child energetically leaves their body, looking down on themselves as if from above.  They then look at the child being traumatized as being separate from them, as if it were happening to someone else.  This kind of splitting, when it occurs frequently enough, becomes DID. At least, that is one of the paths to the disorder.

The faces of evil or the faces of pain?
Looking at these facese is spooky, perhaps because we know what happened to the person behind those eyes. But even without having known what these men did, we could easily see that something is missing in their eyes. Could it be dissociation? Could these hollow expressions carry the blankness of one's mind being split so completely as to carry out such horrific behaviors? Let me know what you think when you see these faces.  Could this kind of pain be behind the attacks? Comment below.

Sunday, February 17, 2008 10:17:20 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [1]  | 
Happiness at What Price? By Melody Brooke, Motivational Speaker, Conlfict Coach, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Sadness Phobia
This past week there was a great article in Newsweek about the value of sadness. Funny thing is that of course, depression and "sadness" are not the same thing. We have become so phobic of depression that we obsessively label anyone with normal sadness, stress or grief as being depressed. We even say that about ourselves don't we?
When we get down we say to our friends "I'm a little depressed today." Depression is such a catch all word. What does it really mean? In the DSM for clinicians it means more than a bit of sadness or even prolonged grief. Depression is when we lose the capacity to function at normal levels for prolonged periods... not weeks, but months or more. When we can't sleep, can't eat, lose interest in our favorite activities and lose awareness of our appearance and it goes on for months; that's depression.
Showing Sadness
When we allow our sadness to be seen by others, we risk being labeled as "unhealthy" or "depressed" when what we are feeling is NORMAL. Isn't it normal to be upset if our cat dies or we lose our jobs? Isn't it normal to grieve for a loved one over a period of years? What happens if we don't allow ourselves these feelings?
I read something recently about a new trend in Japan among business managers. Japanese workers are REQUIRED to keep a smile on their faces at all times. The result is that the incidence of depression, anxiety disorders, suicidality and alcoholism have radically increased.
Our bodies are designed to release the the pain we feel through our tears. Tears actually release toxins created from the pain. Tears from watery eyes are not the same, chemically, as tears from pain or sadness. When we stuff these feelings and or pretend they are not there, the result is like a toxic waste dump in our bodies creating stress and illness in that show up as a variety of illnesses.
Being sad or suffering from grief is what makes us human!
My clients often feel they are "wrong" for feeling sad about sad things. Yet isn't this what separates us from the psychopaths of the world? Because we can feel sadness when something horrid happens, we know we have heart. How would you feel about someone talking about the shootings in Northern Illinois with no sadness about them? Someone who could hear of horrors like these and not feel something is missing a piece of their humanity.
Isn't this what we do to ourselves?
We limit our own ability to process or grief and sadness when we tell ourselves we "shouldn't" feel something we feel. This week a friend of mine said, "I was driving home from work today and just started crying. I don't know what is wrong with me." Yet this very friend was going through a painful divorce, moving into a new home and having to deal with her children blaming her for the divorce, and her mother died last spring. I said, "Your are kidding me! You have every reason in the world to feel sad. I want to cry just thinking about what you are going through."
When we minimize or deny our very real sadness we set ourselves up for depression. Depression, as it turns out, is less about being sad than it is not being able to BE sad. When we keep ourselves from having our sadness we are much more at risk of depression. 
Let yourself cry!
Allow yourself to have your feelings, and better still, let yourself cry on someone's shoulder. A man I know recently realized the career choices he had made have limited him so much he now feels trapped. He turned to me and said "I just want to drive up to my sister's have have her hold me while I cry." "Do it!" I told him. This would be the healthiest thing he could do for himself. Oh, wow, this changes everything, when we let ourselvs feel our pain.
Therapy is largely about helping clients connect with and release the feelings they have stored up in their bodies perhaps for a lifetime. Therapy works as well as antidepressants for depression, and it's effects last longer.
But you may not need therapy, you may just need the shoulder of someone who loves you.
Do you let yourself cry?
Let me know what you think. Is it too hard for you to let loose with your tears? If so, what do you think this has cost you? Maybe you think these emotions are best avoided. Let me know, comment below.

Saturday, February 16, 2008 2:59:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Empathy on OPRAH by Melody Brooke, MA, LPC, Conflict Coach, Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Empathy requires us to step out of our shoes to see things from another's eyes. Some of us do it too much, what happens then?
Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:22:13 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Patty Hearst Wins at Westminster! by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Speaker, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Good for Patty! She has overcome a horror that is surreal and now look at her. What makes personalities split like hers, like Herschel Walker and others?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:51:30 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
My Article on by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Author, Speaker#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Melody's article is available on today front page of Check it out. It's relevent to PTSD and Veterans.
Monday, February 11, 2008 3:53:19 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
The Picking of a President by Melody Brooke, Conflict Coach, Speaker, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
We select our president hoping for a hero. What happens when he turns out not to be one? What does he become? Can we pick a president based on something else, something more human?
Sunday, February 10, 2008 10:16:56 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Heath Ledger's Tragic End by Melody Brooke, Speaker, Trainer, Author#
by Melody Brooke, MA, Conflict Coach, Motivational Speaker
Heath should not have ended up this way. He was talented and in pain. How does our way of coping with pain affect everything?
Saturday, February 09, 2008 3:44:38 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
Blame seems to have started this tragedy, and it appears to be the defenses case as well. What does blame do and why do we engage in it?
Friday, February 08, 2008 8:29:23 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) #    Comments [0]  | 
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