Karen answers Denise

Comment by Denise on November 30, 2008 1:27 am

Karen,
Hi. I’ve not read your book. I just came across it on Amazon. And saw your note, to ask you a question, if I wanted to. I think I’m dissociative. No, not think. I am. There are entire years of my life that I don’t remember. Still don’t remember. I’m 35. My mom divorced my “dad” when I was 13. You can guess why. He was not my genetic father. Thank God. I don’t know how sick I’d feel if he were. Sick about who I am. Hmmm… I just am amazed that I’ve seen probably 4 different therapists. All 4 knew about my past & DID never came up. Not once. I just happened upon it. And, the lack of memory really seems to stand out to me. I’ve often thought, how can a person who was considered “gifted” in school have no memory of such huge sections of her childhood? Am I an idiot? Am I losing my mind? Why can’t I remember playing soccer? Why can’t I remember our house on Coral? Such huge gaps. Even though I’m no longer devastated by what happened to me. And, I know my value is my value and what happened to me has no impact. But, I still can’t recover those memories. Then, when I got married, my mother wanted me to forgive him & invite him to my wedding. Unbelievable. Now, I can’t trust her. She’s my mom.. hm. I can’t trust her with my most fragile parts. That’s horrible. anyway, I have so much more to say. But, enough for now, I think. I think I need to find a therapist who specializes in dissociation. How will I know when I’m “healed?” Normal? Over this? Is this why I have so many highs & lows? I’m happy. Mostly. Then, down. For no reason. Is this why?

Dear Denise,

I appreciate you sharing all that you have before reading Switching Time. Please share your thoughts here afterwards. I can understand all of your concerns whether you are dissociative or not, and why no doctor has diagnosed you as having a dissociative illness when that could explain your distress. It would take a skilled therapist to determine what type of dissociation you have or whether there’s another reason why you can’t recall details of your past.

Please don’t be so hard on yourself, the right therapist is out there somewhere, you just need to find him or her.  I’m sorry you had to go through four therapists already. Having a diagnosis isn’t as important as keeping consistency in a safe therapeutic setting with a qualified therapist, building trust, and taking care of yourself.

I can empathize with your frustrations regarding your lack of memory despite being a gifted child. I, too, felt confused as to why I couldn’t remember how I managed to play the clarinet, oboe, bassoon and saxophone. The only knowledge I regained was in the awards I received, the documentation of what I had accomplished, and the pictures of me in my high school yearbooks, that prove I was there.

Please know that if you are suffering from MPD or DID, you will eventually regain all your lost memories. I did, but not before integration of my alternate personalities was complete and I became one woman. Unfortunately, although all my memories returned, I didn’t regain all my physical skills. I temporarily lost my ability to type, play musical instruments, paint, and drive. I gained the driving part immediately; that was shared by several alters, but I haven’t tried to master anything else. I’m looking forward to the possibility of regaining my ability to accomplish these things again someday.

My mother caused much chaos for me, too. However, my relationship with my mother was only one part of my failure to thrive. You will know you are on the right path to healing when you accept your past and deal with all the emotions that cause your distress. When the healing begins, your highs and lows should lessen, and you will start to feel more confident as your self esteem rises.

I am not a therapist and can’t give advice. In my opinion, it sounds like only you and a qualified therapist can work through the web of hurts you’ve shared here. Please don’t give up, and continue to search for the therapist that’s right for you. I wish you a safe journey.

Karen

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