Karen answers Secret Shadows

Comment by secretshadows on October 17, 2008 1:37 am

I just finished reading the book about your healing journey. It was so very touching. I admire your strength, and the persistence with which your system stuck to the task of healing. I also have DID. I am not a survivor of Ritual Abuse, but there were some aspects of your history that I could identify with. I really, really like the artwork provided by Jensen at the end of the book. The picture of Karl speaks volumes!!! And the one with the stars is heartwarming. How awesome that must be for you to have this record of your journey! I can’t even imagine what it is like for you to look back on it all. I am at the beginning stages of my therapy. I was diagnosed a little over a year ago. I wasn’t totally new to the idea. I had been diagnosed “dissociative” in the past, but never had it clarified, and wasn’t really treated for it. I was mostly just stabalized at the time. I read the chapters on integration of the alters, and I was just in awe. I wonder how thats even possible, but I know it is. It’s really hard when that’s all you know. I could identify, some, with the feeling at the end of being “alone”. I worry about that myself, but I know I am very far from that point and may feel differently when I get there.

Your story is an inspiration. I just wanted to come here and let you know how I felt about reading your story, and tell you that you are definitely reaching people with this text.

Secret Shadows

Dear Secret Shadows,

I truly appreciate all that you have shared.  It’s nice to hear that my story is reaching people.  I can empathize with how you are feeling early in therapy.  It was difficult for me, too!  I never thought I would survive and comtemplated giving up more than a few times.  But I wasn’t alone; there were parts of me that were stronger, and their persistence paid off.  One of my alters sought help and found Dr. Baer.  Of course, there were alters that tried to sabatoge any good thing, but I believe these efforts were caused by fear and not meant to hurt me.

Being diagnosed and in treatment with a dissociative disorder is time consuming and takes patience.  Dr. Baer was a blessing.  He kept me calm and allowed me to call him when I wasn’t.  I always tried to be fair and not take up too much of his time, but he knew in treating me would be draining.  For many years I survived from one session to the next, and from one call to the next.  If it weren’t for Dr. Baer’s care, I surely wouldn’t be here.

My strength and persistence came from knowing that someone cared. My alters stuck to the therapy because Dr. Baer was a great therapist and had gained their trust.  I believe all my alters were on the same side and wanted me well. The period of abuse I suffered in a ritualistic way was minor compared to the many years I suffered at the hands of my father and grandfather, who went through many phases of different ways they could hurt me. The ritualistic period was not long but enough to damage my spirit more.

Thank you for all your compliments on Jensen’s drawings. All of these drawings have a special meaning to me, more than words can say.  My alters are gone now; they are within me, and I am very happy to have all that has been written and the pictures I’ve drawn to hold on to.  I admit, it’s overwhelming for me to look back sometimes.  I try to look forward.  And when I need reassurance of how far I’ve come, I look back and see a world I no longer wish to be a part of.

During my therapy I needed to be stabilized before the real work could begin.  Integration was accomplished and succeeded after building trust, feeling content, and believing it was possible to survive.  I had to first re-establish the faith that was stolen from me as a child.  Dr. Baer helped me with all of this.  I know integration seems impossible, but it really did work for me.  I was very afraid to be alone without alter help after integration.  Realizing that all my alters were a part of me and not removed from me helped me understand the necessity of integration.  I wasn’t functioning well with switching and losing time.  I am now one woman with multiple talents learning to live my life the best way I can.  There are days I miss having an alter. Then I really think back to the chaos and realize my life wasn’t working with alter help.

Thank you again for writing in. I have visited your website and am glad to know there is more information being shared about dissociative disorders.



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