Karen answers Laura

Comment by laura on October 18, 2008 7:15 am

Dear Karen and Dr. Baer,

Thank you for givng a rational voice to the horror of child molestation, abuse and incest. I am struggling with dissociative issues, have for a long time but find most of what is written about DID and dissociative experiences to be so bizarre I cannot embrace it I have been diagnosed with MPD, then DID after it was renamed, but it doesnt matter what its called it is helll. I am a mental health paraprofessional so am more aware than many of the vast possibilities and capabilities of the human mind and the depth of courage it must have taken for you to seek therapy. I feel a kinship with you but am also humbled by your experiences. I do not know if others truly populate my head, sometimes I think there are others but most of the time it feels like a game, and i can stop at any time. My therapist and I both have doubts about the DID diagnosis, due mostly to the sensationalism that the media has painted. it was as you surely know the diagnosis of the week and some of the behaviors i saw and books I read did nothing to dispel my disbelief. this book along with Dr. Rosss book have offered me some solace – I am not just trying to jump on the popular wagon so I can feel if only for a moment that I belong and am human.

I am very deeply touched by your struggles, courage and compassion in writing this book and think maybe there is hope for me as wellI have always believed suicide would be waiting for me at the end of my days, this gives me the idea that maybe, just maybe, that can change. Thank you.

Dear Laura,

Thank you sharing your personal struggle.  I can empathize with you.  During my therapeutic years with Dr. Baer I chose not to read anything on MPD, now DID.  I tried to read the book, Sybil, once, and also tried to watch the movie portraying her life, but I couldn’t.  It was definitely too bizarre for me.  As time went on, after integration was complete, Dr. Baer and I watched the movie Three Faces of Eve together.  I felt I could identify a little more with that story.

Having multiplicity was no laughing matter.  My life was built on shame and hiding all that happened to me.  I was living a lie switching all throughout the day, until I was able to acknowledge what was happening to me, in the safety of Dr. Baer’s office.  I believe a diagnosis of MPD/DID, as in my case, is rare.  I’m glad that Dr. Baer never appeared frightened or excited by what I told him; he always treated me with the utmost respect and never once gave up on me.  I believe I survived because Dr. Baer unconditionally cared for me in a very structured therapeutic setting.  We worked well together. And I was fortunate to find him.

My therapy took a long time–eighteen years!  In the beginning it seemed that I’d never get better.  I felt suicidal most of the time.  Although I continue to have a bad day once in awhile, these days are far from where I once was.  After suffering so long, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.  It is a life long process to heal from the horrors of childhood abuse.  I believe having alters spared me from the immediate pain I suffered at the hands of my abusers.  But MPD is not a perfect system, it’s complex and takes years to develop and then to unravel and heal from.  Multiplicity worked well for me as a child, but not as an adult.  To me to live, there was finally no option than to integrate and become one whole person.

I can understand the doubt you and your therapist are having regarding this diagnosis.  I had doubts, too!  However, after trying to rationalize every other possibility for what was happening to me, I couldn’t deny it anymore.  My story is true.  Sure, this illness may have been sensationalized in the media, but I never really heard of it before being diagnosed with it. This was one of the reasons Dr. Baer and I believed our story should be shared.  It is our hope that we can help mental health professionals, medical students and also all those who suffer, to understand MPD/DID. A rare opportunity exists through our experiences.

I also feel a kinship with you. Please don’t give up. If you are dealing with this illness, please continue your journey to wellness.  

Have faith and hope will soon follow, I wish you peace.

Karen

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