Archive for September, 2008

Karen Answers JR

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by JR on September 27, 2008 11:33 pm

Hello Karen,

Who can really understand the life you’ve had without being exposed to childhood abuse themself? I haven’t been abused as you were but can feel your pain while reading this book. How can you possibly move forward after such an ordeal? Do you have any regrets? If you do, what are they and how to you forsee your future? The book being written can’t possibly provide comfort, or can it? Definitely a must read, powerfully intense and written with compassion. Great work!

JR

Dear JR,

Thank you for your concerns. I admit, it is difficult to move forward after a lifetime of abuse, but I try the best I can. Whenever I have a bad day and I get down, I despair that my life can’t be happy. This isn’t realistic. I know this. I know my abusers can no longer hurt me. They are dead, and I am trying my best to live.

Regrets? Yes, I do have a few. Doesn’t everyone? Life is difficult for me. I make mistakes and learn from them. The book wasn’t written to provide me with comfort; it was written to share my story to help others through their own journeys, to bring awareness to childhhod abuse victims and the adults who care for them. I wish for a sense of calm and peace, and to know that somehow my story will make a difference in saving the life of a child.

Thank you for your compliments. I agree, Switching Time is a must read, powerfully intense, and compassionately written by Dr. Baer.

Karen

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Karen Answers Regina

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Regina on September 26, 2008 8:13 pm

Hi Karen,

What do you think happened to the cult your father and grandfather formed? Where are these people now? Do you think the other children were other children or your child alters? Is it possible you survived because you were compliant? What do you think would of happened to you if you screamed? Why didn’t you scream?

Switching Time is a book that kept me wondering about all children. Definitely worth reading. I came to a realization that any child could suffer if adults don’t watch out for the signs. This book makes you alert to abuse. An important read.

Regina

Dear Regina,

My father and grandfather didn’t really form their own cult. Their immaturity couldn’t manage something as organized as a cult. What they did do was draw information about cult like acitivities and use them on me. This didn’t last all through my childhood, but was merely part of one year when they decided to experiment in these activities. The other adults involved were friends and aquaintances of my father and grandfather. Most were their employees who, while being abusers themselves, were afraid of being terminated from their jobs if they didn’t follow orders. Sad but true. I was informed about this when I was a teenager by one of the abusers himself. To my knowledge, I believe all my abusers are dead.

I believe I did survive because I was compliant. I feared that if I weren’t, my brothers would’ve been abused in front of me. That’s what I was told. This is how my abusers constantly threatened me. If I would’ve screamed, I was told I’d be killed or injured more harshly. I didn’t scream because I was a child, dissociated, and afraid.

I know there were at least a couple of boys who were also abused with me, but it’s hazy, and it’s hard for me to differentiate whether the other children were real children or my alters. Perhaps some of both?

Thank you for your compliments and for recognizing the importance of sharing my story. It is my hope all adults understand what can happen to any child. There are signs; and all adults need to be made aware of them.

Thank you your thoughts and questions,

Karen

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Karen Answers Melody

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Melody on September 26, 2008 7:16 pm

Dear Karen,

Unbelievable! I have never read something like this before. I am overwhelmed with fascination of both you and the doc. His writing kept me engrossed. I was crying as I read the epilogue. The love between the two of you really shows in between the lines. How he cared for you and you for him and what you’ve accomplished together was no mistake. It was one of those unpredictable once in a lifetime chances. God surely meant for you two to work together. I hope you both are well and hope that he never lets you out of his sight. Karen, stay strong. Doc, be proud!

Yeah, thumbs up!

Melody

Dear Melody,

Thank you so much for recognizing the true depth of Dr. Baer’s and my amazing journey in healing. The epilogue still brings tears to my eyes, too! Dr. Baer and I do deeply care for each other. We wanted to create the best way to tell our story, and he did an amazing job in capturing it! I also believe it was no mistake that we were brought together to accomplish this one great thing; it was fate, God sent, and a once in a lifetime chance to experience something extraordinary. I am blessed and hope he feels the same. We are both doing well as can be expected after an overwhelming year with the book. I will continue to keep my spirits and strength up. I am sure Dr. Baer is proud, and I, too, hope he never lets me out of his sight!

Thank you for your compliments, and for your wonderful spirit,

Karen

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Karen Answers Sharon

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Sharon on September 26, 2008 2:29 pm

Hi Karen,

Can you tell me more about the hospital stay written in the prologue? How long were you in the hospital three or six weeks? While you were hospitalized what went through your mind as you lay there? How sick were you? Were you in pain? Were the nurses attentive? I would like to know more about what you believe was going on with yourself? The book was great, and your story was written in detail. I am a nurse and as I read this book I felt enough compassion to ask these questions. I would like to learn how well the staff at the hospital had taken care of you? Actually, I think I may have been one of your nurses? If you were, we had many conversations; the staff wasn’t all that great and your answer will provide me with peace. Thank you for your time.

Sharon

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for asking this question. I was a patient for six weeks, minus two days, at which time I signed myself out after becoming frustrated with the way things were going. I was in severe pain, but because I was dissociating, I couldn’t describe or show it. This caused the medical staff to disbelieve the severity of my pain. How could they respond to someone who couldn’t explain pain? How could they treat me when I didn’t share the truth about my not knowing who I was?

Once, a nurse told me my pain was normal and from the C-section surgery, but I knew there was more. Then one day, out of my awareness, I spoke firmly to a new internist assigned to my case. I heard the words come out of my mouth, but they weren’t mine. I said, “I am not a hypochondriac. I am in severe pain. My left side is paralyzed… do something, now!” It was this moment that frightened me more than anything, because I wasn’t “there”, but somehow, some part from within me, took charge. I finally was taken seriously by the staff and the tests started rolling. I can’t blame the staff for not being attentive. I couldn’t explain what I did not understand myself.

During this six week hospitalization, I tried my best to gather information from everywhere and from everyone who came into my room. I also learned through the television what was happening in the world. And when I couldn’t explain something, I would stay quiet and pretend to be asleep or say I wasn’t feeling well. To my knowledge, no one suspected anything, except for one nurse. Could this be you? This nurse knew I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t, she suspected I had lost time, and she covered for me and answered my million and one questions. I was blessed whenever she was there. She took great care of me. This nurse became my friend during my stay, and if it weren’t for her, I may not have survived. My doctors treated me well once the tests showed the lung abscess. I was very sick from aspiration pneumonia and had to have surgery to remove part of my lung.

Thank you for your questions, and if you are the nurse who treated me so well, thank you so much!

I hope my answers bring you peace.

Karen

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Karen Answers “Charles”

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by “Charles” on September 25, 2008 12:35 pm

Dear Karen,

I know you. Your story is eye-opening and very humbling. You are completely genuine, unique, a pleasure to know and never once looked for attention because of your past experiences. As a matter of fact, until you shared that Karen, is you, in the book Switching Time, I would’ve never guessed. I respect you for trying to protect your friends, including me, and your family, from the horrors you once suffered. I can understand why you felt no one would believe you, but knowing you as I do just has me respecting you all the more. I speak for all those who personally know you, WE, don’t need protection and want to be there for you!

I know it’s hard to change the mind set of people. Those who chose to work against assumptions and perceptions of the illness MPD have their work cut out for them. I read somewhere that if you look at the mind, consciousness, and the brain, the assumption that the mind and brain are the same is fine for most circumstances, because in 99% of circumstances we can’t separate the mind and brain; they work at the exactly the same time. Is this true? Can you ask Dr. Baer to answer this part?

I marvel your brain and how you survived. Do you know if there is any new science being studied? Your way of coping is an extreme example of what scientists need to look into? Has any medical professionals studying the mind contacted you? I know you, and Dr Baer, can help clear up the confusion and misunderstandings of MPD.

Good Luck and hope you sell a million books!

“Charles”

Dear “Charles”,

I truly appreciate your letter being sent anonymously. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and words. I’ve always tried my best to protect those close to me because I’d never intend to hurt anyone. I never meant to disrespect anyone by not revealing my past; it was more that I needed relationships that didn’t focus on the victim I once was. I desired normal friendships. I enjoy and treasure my friends, and wouldn’t trade in anyone. I am grateful that each of you, my true friends, respects me for who I am, and has supported me through my sharing my journey.

Dr. Baer always remarked how interesting it was that a normal human brain (mine!) could organize itself in this unique way: through dissociating between part personalities. I don’t know about the research being done about how the mind works, but I think Dr. Baer is writing another book about this.

Dr. Baer and I hope through Switching Time we can help clear up the confusion and misunderstanding about MPD. Learning about MPD and the type of therapy Dr.Baer treated me with may be helpful to medical students and professionals. We hope to bring more awareness to this illness and would be interested in talking to any professionals who may be in the middle of researching MPD. We invite them to post their questions here!

Thank you, friend, for believing in me and my therapeutic journey. We, too, hope to sell a million books!

Karen

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Karen Answers Mary Ellen

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Mary Ellen on September 24, 2008 6:12 pm

Dear Karen,

While you were healing during therapy how did you make it through your days? How did you switch with children around? Did you act out in public like some patients who claim to be multiple do? Which alter was your favorite and which alter did you wish to be more like? I really am interested in hearing more.

Thank you,
Mary Ellen

Dear Mary Ellen,

I made it through my days very carefully. My alters made sure I appeared to be in my best form at all times. My alter, Katherine, had everything planned. All I needed to do was to remember what was written down in my datebook and go. I never put much thought into this way of life. I just followed and did what I was scheduled to do. I would always appear where I needed to be, on time. This may sound like a perfect system, but it caused me grief, for I never knew all that I had done until the end of the day. I would pray all went well. But it always did.

I never once acted out or appeared different in public. I may have appeared distracted, ill, or quiet, like a person deep in thought. The main reason for developing my alters was to protect me and keep me as safe as possible. I rarely switched in front of my children. There was no grand entrance in which an alter announced his or her presence. My children received the best of me. Through switching, I always became the Mom my children needed me to be. Switching was subtle. And most times, in order to switch, I would need to be threatened or provoked.

My favorite alter? I’m not sure; my alters were out of my awareness until integration. I believe each alter was an important part of me, and in their own way, I needed each one of them in order to survive. Now I’m Karen, who is made up of all seventeen of my past alters.

Thank you for your interest in hearing more,

Karen

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Karen Answers Jacob

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Jacob on September 24, 2008 12:15 pm

Hi Karen!

I can’t wait to share this book with my friends. This night we will be meeting for coffee and comparing our most interesting finds of the week. Yours is mine to present. Absolutely a book to get under your skin and stay with you. That’s a compliment, in case you didn’t get it? Greatly written, well described and fully visual picture additions. I felt I was in therapy with you. Crazy, huh? I am going to try to stump my friends with knowing more about you from this website. I am sure all five of them will buy your book after I get through with them.

Good thoughts,
Jacob

Dear Jacob,

Thank you for your enthusiasm for my story, and for choosing Switching Time as your most interesting find of the week! Sounds like you will have a great discussion tonight! Please write back and let me know how it goes…

I appreciate your sharing that you felt like you were in therapy with me. I believe this means the book accomplished what it meant to. Thank you for all of your compliments, especially for having confidence in our book!

I wish you luck in stumping your friends!

Karen

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Karen Answers Jerry

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Jerry on September 23, 2008 6:54 pm

Karen,

In response to another q & a you received and answered, I, too, bought this book while waiting for a flight, sat down and quickly became engrossed in your story, which amazed me. I am a lawyer, and like one previous q, is full of skepticism about mpd. That is until now! I finished the book, of course. The problem is I can’t stop thinking about you, the therapy, and your relationship with your psychiatrist. I need to know if your were properly taken care of legally? I would imagine you to be extremely gullible and not one to make the best decisions. Were you coerced into selling your story, giving up your rights and left unprotected? Considering all that you went through in this lifetime I can’t imagine you are where you need to be.

I never blog, think it to be a waste of energy and time. I had to ask these questions for my own selfish reasons. I read through every q & a in this site and have to say, you sound well grounded, caring and nice.

Best to you.
Jerry

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for reading Switching Time and coming to a better understanding of the illness I once suffered. I know there are many who are full of scepticism, and I am glad you shared yours with me. Having this illness made it difficult to comprehend myself, so I can empathize with all those who disbelieve. I, too, have read stories and have been sceptical.

I appreciate your concern about my relationship with Dr. Baer and whether, legally, I was properly taken care of. I am not gullible. Dr. Baer has been very thorough in explaining all the legalities to me, and I had my own attorney. Was I coerced into selling my story? No, I wasn’t. I never gave up my rights, and I don’t feel unprotected, but thank you for your concern.

I’m trying to be where I need to be. I look forward to my future.

Karen

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Karen Answers Maggie

admin on Sep 29th 2008

Comment by Maggie on September 22, 2008 11:30 pm

Hi Karen,

Maggie

This book is enough to give one a heart attack, and its just what people need to read. True horror that comes from child sexual abuse. Through this book I have learned the extent of what can happen to a child who is repeatedly abused. I never knew that the mind can be so utterly fascinating. I agree that you felt lucky to survive through dissociation. I read most of your interviews and viewed Good Morning America. I have a few questions for you. Do you still have a hard time trusting people? Do you still trust Dr. Baer? I loved the part about the Christmas tie. Does he still have the Christmas tie the alters bought him? Can you elaborate more about the specialness of the tie? Thank you.

Dear Maggie,

Yes, I still have a hard time trusting people, although I do take more chances in building trust than I did before.  There was a time I trusted no one; then I built trust with Dr. Baer, and yes, I still trust him.  It was in building trust with Dr. Baer that I learned how to trust others.  I have learned what to look for in relationships, and have formed new friendships.  I am blessed.

Dr. Baer’s Christmas gift tie is a memory I will always treasure.  It was the very first time my alters had agreed and worked together on something positive and special.  This was important to me for I feared some of the alters didn’t like Dr. Baer, nor did they always agree about where our therapy might lead: integration.  I believe this act of compassion and wonder was a turning point in our therapeutic relationship.  For me, it meant we, all the parts of me, had bonded with someone, Dr. Baer, for the first time ever.

Most the child alters feared men in ties, particulary red ties.  I believe this tie, red background with designs of children on it, meant this fear was removed.  I recall the exciting feeling I felt as I drove to see Dr. Baer that day.  I felt so calm and accepted.  And as silly as this tie looked, I never realized how special it was until years later.  I remember the look on Dr. Baer’s face when he read the letter and opened his present: it was priceless, and I felt truly cared for. Whenever I think back to that moment, tears come to my eyes, and I smile.

I think Dr. Baer still has this tie.  Dr. Baer saved most everything I gave him, enough to fill a four drawer filing cabinet!  And I know this tie was very special to him, too. 

Thank you for your encouraging words and for asking these questions, 

Karen

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Karen Answers Trina

admin on Sep 23rd 2008

Comment by Trina on September 22, 2008 6:34 pm
Dear Karen.

What would happen to you if you became stressed out again? Do you think you can reincarnate the old alters or born new alters? What kind of psych drugs do you take to prevent this from happening?

Switching Time is a book to read and think about, I am glad to experience this journey with you,

Thanks.
Trina

Dear Trina,

I have been stressed more than a few times since the integrations of each of my seventeen alters, but my ex-alters have never returned. Not even one. I admit there have been a few moments I wished one or two of them would have come back, but no luck. Integration was a success. I highly doubt any alters will “reincarnate” and don’t believe it’s possible any new alters will be born. The reason for developing the alternate personalities in the first place came from my unconscious need to protect myself during my childhood while I suffered from horrific abuse. I am an adult now and deal with life and its difficulties as an adult.

I have not been on any psych drugs for over fifteen years. I don’t believe there are any drugs that can prevent alters from forming. If there are, I’ve never heard of them.

Thank you for your thoughts on sharing this journey with me,

Karen

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