I love the idea of reincarnation, so just in case it doesn't exist, I decided to be different people in the same lifetime.
Over centuries, organised perpetrator groups have observed and studied the way in which extreme childhood traumas, such as accidents, bereavement, war, natural disasters, repeated hospitalisations and surgeries, and (most commonly) child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional) cause a child's mind to be split into compartments. Occult groups originally utilised this phenomenon to create alternative identities and what they believed to be “possession” by various spirits. In the twentieth century, probably beginning with the Nazis, other organised groups developed ways to harm children and deliberately structure their victims' minds in such a way that they would not remember what happened, or that if they began to remember they would disbelieve their own memories. Consequently, the memories of what has happened to a survivor are hidden within his or her inside parts.
When I was cooking I enjoyed a sense of being ‘out’ of myself. The action of dicing vegetables and warming oil made my hands tingle and my thoughts switch to a different hemisphere, right brain rather than left, or left rather than right. In my mind there were many rooms and, just as I still got lost in the labyrinth of corridors at college, I often found myself lost, with a sense of déjà vu, in some obscure part of my cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that plays a key role in perceptual awareness, attention and memory. Everything I had lived through or imagined or dreamed appeared to have been backed up on a video clip and then scattered among those alien rooms. I could stumble into any number of scenes, from the horrifically sexual, horror-movie sequences that were crude and painful, to visualizing Grandpa polishing his shoes.
At cocktail parties, I played the part of a successful businessman's wife to perfection. I smiled, I made polite chit-chat, and I dressed the part. Denial and rationalization were two of my most effective tools in working my way through our social obligations. I believed that playing the roles of wife and mother were the least I could do to help support Tom's career.During the day, I was a puzzle with innumerable pieces. One piece made my family a nourishing breakfast. Another piece ferried the kids to school and to soccer practice. A third piece managed to trip to the grocery store. There was also a piece that wanted to sleep for eighteen hours a day and the piece that woke up shaking from yet another nightmare. And there was the piece that attended business functions and actually fooled people into thinking I might have something constructive to offer.I was a circus performer traversing the tightwire, and I could fall off into a vortex devoid of reality at any moment. There was, and had been for a very long time, an intense sense of despair. A self-deprecating voice inside told me I had no chance of getting better. I lived in an emotional black hole.p20-21, talking about dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder).
FLATOW: So you would - how would you treat a patient like Sybil if she showed up in your officeBRAND: Well, first I would start with a very thorough assessment, using the current standardized measures that we have available to us that assess for the range of dissociative disorders but the whole range of other psychological disorders, too. I would need to know what I'm working with, and I'd be very careful and make my decisions slowly, based on data about what she has. And furthermore, with therapists who are well-trained in dissociative disorders, we do keep an eye open for suggestibility. But that research, too, is not anywhere near as strong as what the other two people in the interview are suggesting.It shows - for example, there's eight studies that have a total of 11 samples. In the three clinical samples that have looked at the correlation between dissociation and suggestibility, all three clinical samples found non-significant correlations. So it's just not as strong as what people think. That's a myth that's not backed up by science. Exploring Multiple Personalities In 'Sybil Exposed' October 21, 2011 by Ira Flatow
The moment was surreal. A sometimes-autistic young man with two identities lecturing a room full of zombies on feelings and realities.
Dear Sigmund,Multiple Personality Disorder is a much discussed topic in my one bedroom bedsit.Signed....Thomas, Jane, Ralf, Tom, Toomey and Spot
Rikki looked over at me.“Why now? she asked, looking back at Arly. “Why is this happening now?Hard to say. Arly [therapist] replied. DID usually gets diagnosed in adulthood. Something happens that triggers the alters to come out. When Cam's father died and he came in to help his brother run the family business he was in close contact with his mother again. Maybe it was seeing Kyle around the same age when some of the abuse happened. Cam was sick for a long time and finally got better. Maybe he wasn't strong enough until now to handle this. It's probably a combination of things. But it sure looks like some of the abuse Cam experienced involved his mother. And sexual abuse by the mother is considered to he one of the most traumatic forms of abuse. In some ways it's the ultimate betrayal.
The most chronic and complex of the dissociative disorders, multiple personality disorder, was renamed multiple personality disorder, was renamed 'dissociative identity disorder' in 1994 in DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association). The rationale for the name change, was among other things, to clarify that there are not literally separate personalities in a person with dissociative identity disorder; 'personalities' was a historical term for the fragmented identity states that characterize the condition.
Switches among identities occur in response to changes in emotional state or to environmental demands, resulting in another identity emerging to assume control. Because different identities have different roles, experiences, emotions, memories, and beliefs, the therapist is constantly contending with their competing points of view. Helping the identities to be aware of one another as legitimate parts of the self and to negotiate and resolve their conflicts is at the very core of the therapeutic process. It is countertherapeutic for the therapist to treat any alternate identity as if it were more “real” or more important than any other.Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision
The primary treatment modality for DID is individual outpatient psychotherapy.Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision
Treatment for DID should adhere to the basic principles of psychotherapy and psychiatric medical management, and therapists should use specialized techniques only as needed to address specific dissociative symptomatology.Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision
The apparently normal personality - the alter you view as the clientYou should not assume that the adult who function in the world, or who presents to you, week after week, is the real person, and the other personalities are less real. The client who comes to therapy is not the person; there are other personalities to meet and work
What daily life is like for “a multiple” Imagine that you have periods of “lost time.” You may find writings or drawings which you must have done, but do not remember producing. Perhaps you find child-sized clothing or toys in your home but have no children. You might also hear voices or babies crying in your head. Imagine that you can never predict when you will be able to have certain knowledge or social skills, and your emotions and your energy level seem to change at the drop of a hat, and for no apparent reason. You cannot understand why you feel what you feel, and, if you are in therapy, you cannot explore those feelings when asked. Your life feels disjointed and often confusing. It is a frightening experience. It feels out of control, and you probably think you are going crazy. That is what it is like to be multiple, and all of it is experienced by the ANPs. A multiple may also experience very concrete problems, even life-threatening ones.
I recently consulted to a therapist who felt he had accomplished something by getting his dissociative client to remain in her ANP throughout her sessions with him. His view reflects the fundamental mistake that untrained therapists tend to make with DID and DDNOS. Although his client was properly diagnosed, he assumed that the ANP should be encouraged to take charge of the other parts at all times. He also expected her to speak for them—in other words, to do their therapy. This denied the other parts the opportunity to reveal their secrets, heal their pain, or correct their childhood-based beliefs about the world.If you were doing family therapy, would it be a good idea to only meet with the father, especially if he had not talked with his children or his spouse in years? Would the other family members feel as if their experiences and feelings mattered?Would they be able to improve their relationships? You must work with the parts who are inside of the system. Directly.
Having DID is, for many people, a very lonely thing. If this book reaches some people whose experiences resonate with mine and gives them a sense that they aren't alone, that there is hope, then I will have achieved one of my goals. A sad fact is that people with DID spend an average of almost seven years in the mental health system before being properly diagnosed and receiving the specific help they need. During that repeatedly misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated, simply because clinicians fail to recognize the symptoms. If this book provides practicing and future clinicians certain insight into DID, then I will have accomplished another goal. Clinicians, and all others whose lives are touched by DID, need to grasp the fundamentally illusive nature of memory, because memory, or the lack of it, is an integral component of this condition. Our minds are stock pots which are continuously fed ingredients from many cooks: parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates, strangers, acquaintances, radio, television, movies, and books. These are the fixings of learning and memory, which are stirred with a spoon that changes form over time as it is shaped by our experiences. In this incredibly amorphous neurological stew, it is impossible for all memories to be exact.But even as we accept the complex of impressionistic nature of memory, it is equally essential to recognize that people who experience persistent and intrusive memories that disrupt their sense of well-being and ability to function, have some real basis distress, regardless of the degree of clarity or feasibility of their recollections. We must understand that those who experience abuse as children, and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance, and reinvention of the self.
As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.
As a therapist, I have many avenues in which to learn about DID, but I hear exactly the opposite from clients and others who are struggling to understand their own existence. When I talk to them about the need to let supportive people into their lives, I always get a variation of the same answer. It is not safe. They won't understand. My goal here is to provide a small piece of that gigantic puzzle of understanding. If this book helps someone with DID start a conversation with a supportive friend or family member, understanding will be increased.
We must understand that those who experience abuse as children, and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance, and reinvention of the self. At this point in time there are people who question the validity of the DID diagnosis. The fact is that DID has its own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because, as with all psychiatric conditions, a portion of society experiences a cluster of recognizable symptoms that are not better accounted for by any other diagnosis.
Janna knew - Rikki knew — and I knew, too — that becoming Dr Cameron West wouldn't make me feel a damn bit better about myself than I did about being Citizen West. Citizen West, Citizen Kane, Sugar Ray Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, Robinson miso, miso soup, black bean soup, black sticky soup, black sticky me. Yeah. Inside I was still a fetid and festering corpse covered in sticky blackness, still mired in putrid shame and scorching self-hatred. I could write an 86-page essay comparing the features of Borderline Personality Disorder with those of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but I barely knew what day it was, or even what month, never knew where the car was parked when Dusty would come out of the grocery store, couldn't look in the mirror for fear of what—or whom—I'd see. ~ Dr Cameron West describes living with DID whilst studying to be a psychologist.
Some alters are what Dr Ross describes in Multiple Personality Disorder as 'fragments'. which are 'relatively limited psychic states that express only one feeling, hold one memory, or carry out a limited task in the person's life. A fragment might be a frightened child who holds the memory of one particular abuse incident.' In complex multiples, Dr Ross continues, the 'personalities are relatively full-bodied, complete states capable of a range of emotions and behaviours.' The alters will have 'executive control some substantial amount of time over the person's life'. He stresses, and I repeat his emphasis, 'Complex MPD with over 15 alter personalities and complicated amnesia barriers are associated with 100 percent frequency of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse.' Did I imagine the castle, the dungeon, the ritual orgies and violations? Did Lucy, Billy, Samuel, Eliza, Shirley and Kato make it all up? I went back to the industrial estate and found the castle. It was an old factory that had burned to the ground, but the charred ruins of the basement remained. I closed my eyes and could see the black candles, the dancing shadows, the inverted pentagram, the people chanting through hooded robes. I could see myself among other children being abused in ways that defy imagination. I have no doubt now that the cult of devil worshippers was nothing more than a ring of paedophiles, the satanic paraphernalia a cover for their true lusts: the innocent bodies of young children.
I believe the perception of what people think about DID is I might be crazy, unstable, and low functioning. After my diagnosis, I took a risk by sharing my story with a few friends. It was quite upsetting to lose a long term relationship with a friend because she could not accept my diagnosis. But it spurred me to take action. I wanted people to be informed that anyone can have DID and achieve highly functioning lives. I was successful in a career, I was married with children, and very active in numerous activities. I was highly functioning because I could dissociate the trauma from my life through my alters. Essentially, I survived because of DID. That's not to say I didn't fall down along the way. There were long term therapy visits, and plenty of hospitalizations for depression, medication adjustments, and suicide attempts. After a year, it became evident I was truly a patient with the diagnosis of DID from my therapist and psychiatrist. I had two choices. First, I could accept it and make choices about how I was going to deal with it. My therapist told me when faced with DID, a patient can learn to live with the live with the alters and make them part of one's life. Or, perhaps, the patient would like to have the alters integrate into one person, the host, so there are no more alters. Everyone is different.The patient and the therapist need to decide which is best for the patient. Secondly, the other choice was to resist having alters all together and be miserable, stuck in an existence that would continue to be crippling. Most people with DID are cognizant something is not right with themselves even if they are not properly diagnosed. My therapist was trustworthy, honest, and compassionate. Never for a moment did I believe she would steer me in the wrong direction. With her help and guidance, I chose to learn and understand my disorder. It was a turning point.
Of course, I should have known the kids would pop out in the atmosphere of Roberta's office. That's what they do when Alice is under stress. They see a gap in the space-time continuum and slip through like beams of light through a prism changing form and direction. We had got into the habit in recent weeks of starting our sessions with that marble and stick game called Ker-Plunk, which Billy liked. There were times when I caught myself entering the office with a teddy that Samuel had taken from the toy cupboard outside. Roberta told me that on a couple of occasions I had shot her with the plastic gun and once, as Samuel, I had climbed down from the high-tech chairs, rolled into a ball in the corner and just cried. 'This is embarrassing,' I admitted. 'It doesn't have to be.''It doesn't have to be, but it is,' I said.The thing is. I never knew when the 'others' were going to come out. I only discovered that one had been out when I lost time or found myself in the midst of some wacky occupation — finger-painting like a five-year-old, cutting my arms, wandering from shops with unwanted, unpaid-for clutter.In her reserved way, Roberta described the kids as an elaborate defence mechanism. As a child, I had blocked out my memories in order not to dwell on anything painful or uncertain. Even as a teenager, I had allowed the bizarre and terrifying to seem normal because the alternative would have upset the fiction of my loving little nuclear family.I made a mental note to look up defence mechanisms, something we had touched on in psychology.
It is necessary to make this point in answer to the `iatrogenic' theory that the unveiling of repressed memories in MPD sufferers, paranoids and schizophrenics can be created in analysis; a fabrication of the doctor—patient relationship. According to Dr Ross, this theory, a sort of psychiatric ping-pong 'has never been stated in print in a complete and clearly argued way'. My case endorses Dr Ross's assertions. My memories were coming back to me in fragments and flashbacks long before I began therapy. Indications of that abuse, ritual or otherwise, can be found in my medical records and in notebooks and poems dating back before Adele Armstrong and Jo Lewin entered my life. There have been a number of cases in recent years where the police have charged groups of people with subjecting children to so-called satanic or ritual abuse in paedophile rings. Few cases result in a conviction. But that is not proof that the abuse didn't take place, and the police must have been very certain of the evidence to have brought the cases to court in the first place. The abuse happens. I know it happens. Girls in psychiatric units don't always talk to the shrinks, but they need to talk and they talk to each other. As a child I had been taken to see Dr Bradshaw on countless occasions; it was in his surgery that Billy had first discovered Lego. As I was growing up, I also saw Dr Robinson, the marathon runner. Now that I was living back at home, he was again my GP. When Mother bravely told him I was undergoing treatment for MPD/DID as a result of childhood sexual abuse, he buried his head in hands and wept.(Alice refers to her constant infections as a child, which were never recognised as caused by sexual abuse)
The physical shape of Mollies paralyses and contortions fit the pattern of late-nineteenth-century hysteria as well — in particular the phases of grand hysteria described by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French physician who became world-famous in the 1870s and 1880s for his studies of hysterics...The hooplike spasm Mollie experienced sounds uncannily like what Charcot considered the ultimate grand movement, the arc de de cercle (also called arc-en-ciel), in which the patient arched her back, balancing on her heels and the top of her head...One of his star patients, known to her audiences only as Louise, was a specialist in the arc de cercle — and had a background and hysterical manifestations quite similar to Mollie's. A small-town girl who made her way to Paris in her teens, Louise had had a disrupted childhood, replete with abandonment and sexual abuse.She entered Salpetriere in 1875, where while under Charcot's care she experienced partial paralysis and complete loss of sensation over the right side of her body, as well as a decrease in hearing, smell, taste, and vision. She had frequent violent, dramatic hysterical fits, alternating with hallucinations and trancelike phases during which she would see her mother and other people she knew standing before her (this symptom would manifest itself in Mollie). Although critics, at the time and since, have decried the sometime circus atmosphere of Charcot's lectures, and claimed that he, inadvertently or not, trained his patients how to be hysterical, he remains a key figure in understanding nineteenth-century hysteria.
Identity confusion is defined by the SCID-D as a subjective feeling of uncertainty, puzzlement, or conflict about one's own identity. Patients who report histories of childhood trauma characteristically describe themes of ongoing inner struggle regarding their identity; of inner battles for survival; or other images of anger, conflict, and violence. P13
In my client who had confessed her “alien abduction” experience, an alter had been instructed that if she began to remember the ritual abuse she was to remember the alien abduction, so that nobody would believe her account of the ritual abuse. This program did not work with us, but you can imagine the larger consequences of such a ruse.p55
The return of the voices would end in a migraine that made my whole body throb. I could do nothing except lie in a blacked-out room waiting for the voices to get infected by the pains in my head and clear off. Knowing I was different with my OCD, anorexia and the voices that no one else seemed to hear made me feel isolated, disconnected. I took everything too seriously. I analysed things to death. I turned every word, and the intonation of every word over in my mind trying to decide exactly what it meant, whether there was a subtext or an implied criticism. I tried to recall the expressions on people’s faces, how those expressions changed, what they meant, whether what they said and the look on their faces matched and were therefore genuine or whether it was a sham, the kind word touched by irony or sarcasm, the smile that means pity. When people looked at me closely could they see the little girl in my head, being abused in those pornographic clips projected behind my eyes? That is what I would often be thinking and such thoughts ate away at the façade of self-confidence I was constantly raising and repairing. (describing dissociative identity disorder/mpd symptoms)
If I was set an essay on Friday, I’d spend three hours on Saturday morning in the library. Was that normal? I didn’t know. What I did know was that I felt less prone to depression and more normal walking through Venice or staring out over the lake in Zurich. At home I wrestled continually with my moods. The black thing inside me gnawed like a rat at my self-esteem and self-confidence. I felt there was a happy person inside me too, who wanted to enjoy life, to be normal, but my feelings of self-loathing and the deep distrust I had towards my father wouldn’t allow that sunny person to come out. When the black thing had an iron grip on me, I couldn’t even look at my father: Did you do bad things to me when I was little? Like a line from a song stuck in your brain, the words ran through my head and never once came out of my mouth. Not that I needed to say what was in my mind. I was sure Father could read my thoughts in my moods, in the blank, dead stare of my eyes. It was hardly surprising that there was always an atmosphere of strain and awkwardness in the house, and the blame was always mine: Alice and her moods, Alice and her anorexia; Alice and her low self-esteem; Alice and her inescapable feelings of loss and emptiness.
In this chapter I restrict myself to exploring the nature of the amnesia which is reported between personality states in most people who are diagnosed with DID. Note that this is not an explicit diagnostic criterion, although such amnesia features strongly in the public view of DID, particularly in the form of the fugue-like conditions depicted in ﬁlms of the condition, such as The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Typically, when one personality state, or ‘alter’, takes over from another, they have no idea what happened just before. They report having lost time, and often will have no idea where they are or how they got there. However, this is not a universal feature of DID. It happens that with certain individuals with DID, one personality state can retrieve what happened when another was in control. In other cases we have what is described as ‘co-consciousness’ where one personality state can apparently monitor what is happening when another personality state is in control and, in certain circumstances, can take over the conversation.
Just as sometimes I wondered if Grandpa had ever existed, sometimes I wondered if I truly existed myself. As I was running, I could see myself from outside myself: a skinny girl with the flapping shorts and too- big a T-shirt, always watching the other girls at school, a girl in a pink bedroom sitting with a book propped on her knees, the words she was reading entering her mind, some sticking like gluey never to be forgotten, others disappearing instantly, I could remember everything and remember nothing. I would watch a movie and recall every scene as if I had written the script, then watch another movie another day and be unable to recall it at all.
I remembered during puberty, through the anorexic mists of intermittent menstrual cycles, that man, my father, lifting Shirley's nightdress over her head and asking her in his mocking way to choose what colour condom she wanted. 'Red or yellow?' Which did she choose? I can't remember. Perhaps she alternated. Perhaps there were other colours. It didn't happen once. It happened again and again. I had no power to stop it. That man, my father, had some control over me. I was drugged by the black silence in that big house, the vile whiff of aftershave, the crushing torment of inevitability. My father fucked Shirley using red or yellow condoms and it was those condoms that brought it all to an end. It was my last realization of the day; any more would have been too much to contemplate. That time when my mother had found used condoms in bedroom, he had admitted, after a pointless burst my father's of denial, that he had been going to prostitutes. That was no doubt true but I can't imagine clients take used condoms away with them; prostitutes would surely get rid of the things. No. My father kept those used condoms as a prize. He was fucking his fourteen-year-old-daughter. He was proud of it. Rebecca welled up with tears. Poor thing, she kept saying. Poor thing.
There, there, best to bring it all up,' she said. My memory was in shreds. Imagine a photograph cut into narrow strips then jumbled up. Everything is there, but you can't see the whole picture and even the strips have no bearing on reality. I did know I had consumed a large amount of alcohol. But I must have done something crazier than just being found drunk to have a nurse sitting by my bed. I thought it would be a good idea to say something and planned it for several seconds. 'She's all right,' I said. 'Who is?' asked the nurse. 'Alice. I'm all right now.' As I spoke I wondered if I had said something wrong. didn't sound like me. There were so many voices muttering in the background it was hard to tell.
Amnesia, which is a loss of memory, is a symptom of many different trauma and/or dissociative disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Amnesia can affect both implicit and explicit memory.
I am truly crazy, I told myself. It's over. I am not fixable. I cannot tell Tom. I cannot even tell Francisco. So I won't tell anyone. My brain seemed out of control. Tom does not deserve a crazy wife and my children do not deserve a crazy mother. I finally get it. This is not just repressed memory. This is dissociative identity disorder.
In cases of organized and multi-perpetrator abuse when the abuse occurs in the context of rituals and ceremonies, some elements of the experience may have been staged specifically with the intention of encouraging the disbelief of others if the victim were to report the crime. For example, someone reporting such a crime may mention that the devil was present, or that someone well-known was there, or that acts of magic were performed. These were tricks and deceptions by the abusers-often experienced by the victims after being given medication or hallucinogenic drugs - that render the account unbelievable, make the witness sound unreliable, and protect the perpetrators. (page 120, Chapter 9, Some clinical implications of believing or not believing the patient)
With DID patients, if they feel hostility or aggression they take it out on themselves with self-harm... They’re self-destructive and repeatedly suicidal, more so than any other psychological disorder. So that's what's typical – not this wild aggression, or stalking women [or robbery].- Dr Bethany Brand, on Billy Milligan and Multiple Personality Disorder (DID)
Cheryl was aided in her search by the Internet. Each time she remembered a name that seemed to be important in her life, she tried to look up that person on the World Wide Web. The names and pictures Cheryl found were at once familiar and yet not part of her conscious memory: Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, Dr. Louis 'Jolly' West, Dr. Ewen Cameron, Dr. Martin Orne and others had information by and about them on the Web. Soon, she began looking up sites related to childhood incest and found that some of the survivor sites mentioned the same names, though in the context of experiments performed on small children. Again, some names were familiar. Then Cheryl began remembering what turned out to be triggers from old programmes. 'The song, The Green, Green Grass of home kept running through my mind. I remembered that my father sang it as well. It all made no sense until I remembered that the last line of the song tells of being buried six feet under that green, green grass. Suddenly, it came to me that this was a suicide programme of the government. 'I went crazy. I felt that my body would explode unless I released some of the pressure I felt within, so I grabbed a [pair ofl scissors and cut myself with the blade so I bled. In my distracted state, I was certain that the bleeding would let the pressure out. I didn't know Lynn had felt the same way years earlier. I just knew I had to do it Cheryl says. She had some barbiturates and other medicine in the house. 'One particularly despondent night, I took several pills. It wasn't exactly a suicide try, though the pills could have killed me. Instead, I kept thinking that I would give myself a fifty-fifty chance of waking up the next morning. Maybe the pills would kill me. Maybe the dose would not be lethal. It was all up to God. I began taking pills each night. Each-morning I kept awakening.
It was soon after that I, overwhelmed with the implications of that memory, overdosed - well, somebody did but as it was my mouth and my stomach that was involved I had to take the consequences. Somehow or other (did an alter ring him?) Bruce (from my support group) got to know, drove over and took us to the hospital.
Why do I take a blade and slash my arms? Why do I drink myself into a stupor? Why do I swallow bottles of pills and end up in A&E having my stomach pumped? Am I seeking attention? Showing off? The pain of the cuts releases the mental pain of the memories, but the pain of healing lasts weeks. After every self-harming or overdosing incident I run the risk of being sectioned and returned to a psychiatric institution, a harrowing prospect I would not recommend to anyone.So, why do I do it? I don't. If I had power over the alters, I'd stop them. I don't have that power. When they are out, they're out. I experience blank spells and lose time, consciousness, dignity. If I, Alice Jamieson, wanted attention, I would have completed my PhD and started to climb the academic career ladder. Flaunting the label 'doctor' is more attention-grabbing that lying drained of hope in hospital with steri-strips up your arms and the vile taste of liquid charcoal absorbing the chemicals in your stomach. In most things we do, we anticipate some reward or payment. We study for status and to get better jobs; we work for money; our children are little mirrors of our social standing; the charity donation and trip to Oxfam make us feel good. Every kindness carries the potential gift of a responding kindness: you reap what you sow. There is no advantage in my harming myself; no reason for me to invent delusional memories of incest and ritual abuse. There is nothing to be gained in an A&E department.