Archive for February, 2009

Karen answers Lovely

admin on Feb 28th 2009

Comment by Lovely on February 27, 2009 6:24 pm

Karen, I know you write you had been integrated but how is it possible not to have had any effects from this? I pondered asking you these questions in my attempt to understand but how is it possible that your pain was removed? After alter Julie integrated did you ever suffer leg pain again? What about headaches? Did integration cure your headaches?

I am in awe of you but feel Richard Baer didn’t treat you very well. I know the book shows he did but while reading inbetween the lines I felt something. He hurt you, didn’t he?

Thank you for telling your story. I will share it with some of my friends who would appreciate the truth about your disorder.

God Bless YOU!

Lovely (Yes, my real name)

Dear Lovely,

Beautiful name!  I know it’s hard to understand someone like me, who suffered from multiplicity, who had alters taking away my pain so I could survive, but it’s true.  I’m not sure how to explain how my mind was able to accomplish diverting pain. I believe that my pain was somehow temporarily displaced, removed from my immediate awareness.

After the integration of Julie, my leg pain decreased within a few weeks and has never returned. My ex-alter Julie’s leg pain was psychological and came from memories of being abused; there was no real physical problem with either of my legs. Once integrated, my pain was diluted within the rest of me.  The headaches that came from having multiplicity were removed and never returned.  Switching alters caused much stress that would produce severe, unmanageable headaches.  Interestingly, at times, switching to another alter could eliminate my headache. It’s all still somewhat of a mystery to me!

I can understand your feelings regarding Richard Baer.  There was much frustration throughout those years, however, we decided to share the truth about how intense it is to treat a multiple like me, so that the reader could visualize and feel the experience of our journey.

What started out to be a stressful, annoying, intolerable therapeutic relationship turned into a healing experience for both of us.  Dr. Baer and I worked very hard to give me a chance at a life that I never thought possible.  I admit, tolerance played a huge part, but we did it!  How amazing is that!

Thank you for your compliments and for sharing Switching Time with your friends!

Karen

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Karen answers Cynthia

admin on Feb 27th 2009

Comment by Cynthia on February 24, 2009 2:01 pm

Karen

Coming from an abusive childhood also, I feel like in the end there has to be some kind of justice for people who abused us as children.  I understand and know that forgivness is the key for healing but I have to admit I feel a sense of comfort knowing that there is a just God in the end for these people.  I also believe in Karma and wanted to know your feelings on that.

Thank you, Cindy

Dear Cynthia,

I believe justice will be done to those who have abused me.  I have faith that all my abusers have received their just reward in the end from God.  It’s not for me to judge.  As a victim, I’ve learned to let go.  I have to let go in order to continue on in hope and to be happy.

I have forgiven my abusers, however, will never forget what they’ve done.  In my case, I hope there is Karma. I’m due for some good luck!

Thank you for your thoughts.

Karen

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Karen answers Phoebe

admin on Feb 27th 2009

Comment by Pheobe on February 25, 2009 4:43 am

Dear Karen,

If someone would hurt you now would your old alters come back or would you create new ones? I have a brother who integrated five of five personalities and swear one returned. He was hit by a car and has been recovering from a back injury. A alter he had was mean. Do you think he came back? Whatʼs your suggestion? I have never read a more optimistic book than Switching Time. Tell Richard Baer thank you for making you well so that you can help others like me. I am worried about my brother. He lives with me and frightens me.

Pheobe

Dear Pheobe,

There were more than a few times when I’ve felt hurt since the integration of my alters, but not once did any of my ex-alters return.  I don’t believe that it’s possible to create new alters at this time in my life.  I’m an adult now and deal with the reality that life brings in an adult way.  Multiplicity was an illness formed and created during my early traumatic childhood.

I admit there have been a few times I wished I had another alter to spare me from some painful moment, but I take a few deep breaths until the stressful period passes.  I try my best to stay on the side of reality, and the reality is, life with alters is not fun.

I’m not a professional therapist and can’t give advice, but I believe your brother may be in severe pain, especially after recovering from back surgery.  The car accident may have triggered some ill feelings.  The pain may be the cause for your brother appearing to be mean again.  Remember, alters that have integrated are still a part of your brother.  When an alter integrates there is a merging that takes place.  I believe what frightens you is that you may recognize the behaviors of one of your brothers former alters while witnessing his pain.  I believe what you are seeing is just another side of your brother who happens to be miserable and in pain.

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful compliments.  I can understand why you are worried about your brother.  Please seek help if you feel threatened.  It’s important for you to feel safe.  Maybe a call to your brother’s former therapist may help.  I wish you all the best.

Karen

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Karen answers Keith

admin on Feb 23rd 2009

Comment by Keith on February 22, 2009 2:50 am

Karen,

If a alter inside you committed suicide in your mind how would you live? Itʼs a crazy question but I have alters that threatened to kill themselves inside, not on the outside. So if thereʼs a death internally what will happen? I think you are the first person who understands how people with multiple personalities work. I know you can answer this easily. Thank you very, very much. I like and admire you.

Keith

Dear Keith,

If an alter of mine committed suicide, as they often threatened, I would be dead.  I’m not sure your alter really understands the difference between “internal” vs “real” suicide.

Once, one of my alters, Miles, felt that if he ended his life, I would be spared the pain he experienced during my being abused.  He was trying to protect me.  There is no easy answer here, suicide is not to be taken lightly.

Please seek professional help as soon as possible. If any “part” or “alter” of yours is suicidal and commits suicide, you may cease to exist.  A multiple shouldn’t kill off alters within their mind; a multiple must integrate each alter to heal.  A merging of all alters is necessary for survival.  Each alter is a fragment or part of the whole you. Think of yourself as a puzzle, if any one piece was missing, the puzzle wouldn’t be complete. Therefore, you must not eliminate any alters, just merge them within yourself.

Please take care of yourself and your alters. Wishing you a safe journey to healing.

Karen

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Karen answers Marvin

admin on Feb 23rd 2009

Comment by Marvin on February 22, 2009 2:46 am

Hi Karen,

What do the pictures of the upside down hand tree and the stars falling from the sky to Jesus mean to you? Do you remember what Jensen was thinking when he drew them? What about the picture of the devil in biker clothes?

Marvin

Dear Marvin,

Interesting questions.  I suppose there may have been more than one interpretation for the pictures he drew, whether his own or through me.  I believe my thoughts about this now come from what Jensen thought then.

The picture of the upside down tree, I believe, meant that God was holding me firmly in place here on earth, that it wasn’t my time to die, that I needed to stay grounded. The tree branches meant God’s arms, and the branches, His veins of life giving energy to me.

The picture of the stars falling from the sky, I believe, meant Jesus called on God to send angels, in the form of alters, to me.  Each star had an alter’s name, and came into me and helped me survive.  Jesus is calmly sitting on a rock, holding me, accepting the gifts God sent, each a coping mechanism of alter help for me.

The picture drawn of the devil in biker clothes, I believe, tells an entire story.  He is dressed in biker clothes because he is full of himself as my abusive father was.  Maybe he is my father.  I believe the devil’s choice of dress represents his cockiness. If you notice the devil is upfront in the picture while I, the child, is being drawn to heaven even while being shackled to the stake on the ground.  If you notice, there is plenty of rope to get to where I want to be.  The devil is so preoccupied with himself, smiling and facing a camera, that he isn’t even paying attention that God has come for me despite his attempt to keep me.

Thank you, Marvin, for these challenging questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Anonymous

admin on Feb 21st 2009

Comment by Anonymous on February 18, 2009 6:21 pm

Karen do you think dreams sometimes have hidden messages?  I am not a dream expert but I notice on occasion I will have dreams that have a strong message for me or somone close to me.  I also wanted to know did your dreams change after your alters were integrated?  Thank you.

Dear Anonymous,

I’m not sure if dreams have hidden messages.  That is a good question.  I’ve had some very intense dreams, some of which even came true, but I never really understood why I dreamt in such a way. During the years when my therapy was intense, my dreams would startle me awake in the middle of the night.  Memories shared during the day would somehow enter my dreams, mix with the alters’ thoughts, and turn into distress.

I was lucky to be able to write my dreams down quickly upon waking and share these dreams with Dr. Baer, who in turn helped me understand where my dream may have come from. He would always give some logical explanation that gave me a sense of calm.  I didn’t remember every dream, just the intense dreams, or some that disturbed or puzzled me.  It’s a good idea to keep a pad of paper and pencil beside your bed. If a dream isn’t written down immediately upon waking, it loses it’s strength and fades away.  I needed to write my dreams before I lost them.

Did my dreams change after integration?  Yes and No.  Sometimes I still have a bad dream, but most of the time my dreams comfort me.  I feel a sense of calm in knowing that I am one woman who won’t take being abused anymore, a woman who has survived something incomprehensible, a woman who longs to live in the present, not in the past, and continues to search for peace.

Thank you for your questions, sleep well, and allow your dreams to be. Accept your dreams for what they are, a cumulation of your day, your life, thoughts and ideas. 

Karen

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Karen answers Marc & Denise

admin on Feb 21st 2009

Comment by Marc & Denise on February 17, 2009 11:59 pm

Hi Karen,

Drugs? Alcohol? Addictions of any sort? Are people like you likely to have addiction problems? The way I figure it it would be to difficult for a multiple (I like that your call your self this one choice word) to engage is such behavior. Whatʼs your opinion on the above?

Thank you for being honest about your selves, past and present.

Marc & Denise

Toledo, Ohio

Dear Marc & Denise,

No, I don’t believe people who suffer from multiplicity are more likely to have addiction problems.  Multiplicity is a dissociative illness, not an addiction illness.

I couldn’t take drugs, including medication, without an ill effect.  As for alcohol, no way!  A small amount of alcohol would disable my entire system of survival.  I admit to trying a drink now and then, but with disastrous results. It was extremely difficult for me to engage in such behavior because multiplicity and drugs don’t mix well.

As far as suffering from any other addiction, I’m not sure.  Of course, there were four alters that ate simultaneously, and for a while I was overweight.  After integration my eating habits became normal again.

Thank you for your compliments on my being honest about my past and present. I have no reason to hide from what I’ve been through. That’s why I continue to share.  It’s my hope to tell the truth about multiplicity.

Karen

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Karen answers Max

admin on Feb 21st 2009

Comment by Max on February 17, 2009 6:14 am

Wow! I didn’t expect you’d respond to my question, having so many of them every day. Thanks so much!  I just think it’s amazing what art can do for a person; as an artist and composer of music myself, it’s my primary way of getting out any emotions that are too strong for my system to handle (and most of the emotions end up becoming that way! :O). Maybe Jensen saw those pictures and was just immediately able to identify with them in some way.  It helps a lot to relate someone else’s work to your own life, and I know kids get inspired by others’ works all the time. I was inspired a TON by 90s Nickelodeon cartoons when I was really young.  It really helps you feel like you’re not alone in this world… to look at another person’s creation and think “That’s just like me.” or “That’s just like how I felt when that happened.”

Multiplicity is really interesting to me in that respect.. since your mind had to come up with so many different, distinctive personalities, it makes me think just how much more the human mind is capable of doing to save us from pain… and how much more it’s able to do in general. Certainly out of this came a wonderful artistic ability that helped you out as a whole… it just proves to me more how important art and creative expression are for survival, whether it’s yours to make or yours to enjoy from the outside.

Thanks so much for answering.  I wish you all the best.

Max

Dear Max,

Welcome Back!  I try my best to answer each question.  I believe it’s important to do whatever I can to help everyone understand the reality of multiple personality disorder, at least through one multiple’s eyes, mine.

I agree, it is amazing what art can do for a person.  And I remember watching Nickolodeon, too!  I’ve always been creative, whether through myself or my alters. As a child I always drew pictures, painted, and enjoyed art in many different forms.  Some of my fondest memories came from visiting the Art Institute, the Field Museum and Museum of Science and Industry, all in Chicago. Many high schools days were spent taking a bus to Old Town in Chicago, sitting in front of buildings and drawing the architecture. I always wondered why I’d draw something instead of take a picture.  I sometimes created works of art which I sold for extra money.  Sometimes I wonder who still owns my art.

My ex-alter, Jensen, was my most creative. I often admired the art he created, whether he chose to copy, or draw fresh from his own vision.  I believe Jensen may have read through some of my children’s books back then and was inspired by some art he saw. Art can lessen stress, and believe me, there was stress. I believe Jensen may have re-created some art and attached his own emotionals to them. I’ll never know for sure; it’s always been a mystery to me. I believe all multiple’s are creative. It really takes a creative mind to survive a multiple’s world.

I believe expressing feelings and thoughts through art is one of the most important ways to survive and heal from past hurts. There’s a kind of freedom in art, a window to the soul.

Thank you so much for your kind words. Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Adam

admin on Feb 17th 2009

Comment by Adam on February 17, 2009 12:53 am

WTF is this guy talking about? Peanut butter analogy? Is he trying to impress you both with sarcasm? Nevermind.

I admire every attempt you made to share the reality of life from a multipleʼs perspective. I know someone who is diagnosed with D.I.D. and she is more like you. I read Switching Time to learn more of how to be a friend to her, not in a sexual way, for I am gay. I love her as a sister and want to be there for her. She is really nice and a great friend. May I ask how does someone like me befriend a multiple without becoming stressed with the overwhelming trauma that can come from the illness. She doesnʼt show anger but we donʼt know each other very well yet. I want to be prepared. What are some warning signs to watch out for? What should I do? Ignore her and not be her friend or chance a great friendship?

Love,

Adam

Dear Adam,

I am really glad you chose to ask me these questions.  There is so much misunderstanding in befriending someone who is a multiple.  People judge, and this saddens me.  I’ve experienced great sorrow with a few friendships that have failed due to misconstrued expectations. There will always be a few people who can’t accept the truth about multiplicity and read into every little thing incorrectly.

Multiples make great friends if treated with respect.  In my relationships, when I’d feel respected, I’d stay calm and no alters would surface. There would be no need for a “switch.”  What is a must to understand is that a multiple won’t need to “switch” unless threatened or provoked.  If you choose to become a true friend, pay attention to the relationship without smothering her.  Multiples need space and are often taken wrong.

In my experience, it’s best not to ask a million questions about a multiple’s past unless they themself open this discussion.  At the same time, don’t ever ignore them.  I believe most multiples have issues with time.  I have a hard time feeling connected unless I hear from everyone I know, a minute now and then will do.  The longer the time not speaking, the harder to maintain the relationship.  Never lie to a multiple; a multiple is attuned to everything you say and can tell and although they may never share that they know you lied, they’ll always know.  

I am not a therapist and my advice comes from my personal experience.  In my opinion, a multiple can’t bear any more pain than what she carries within herself already.  Do not intentionally hurt a multiple.  That is like stabbing her in the heart.  It’s very difficult for a multiple to make friends, but once they do, they can become friends for life.  Unless you plan on a lifetime freindship, don’t bother to start.  Remember, the multiple has suffered horrifically and can’t deal with being hurt again.

If you choose to be in your friend’s life, enjoy her.  Multiples really are nice people, and don’t forget to keep in touch with her! 

Thank you for your questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Kevin

admin on Feb 16th 2009

Comment by Kevin on February 16, 2009 4:19 am

Karen,

I say peanut butter. USOT is contaminated peanut butter, will need to close and reopen with safe measures in place. I bet you make better peanut butter that is not contaminated. So make peanut butter please.

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Funny you compare contaminated peanut butter to USoT.  I assume you meant that our story is truer than USoT?  It’s true that Switching Time presents the treatment of a true multiple personality, and that USoT is just a TV show.  I’m not sure how I can help them make real peanut butter!  For the real thing, people will just have to go to Switching Time!

Thank you for your compliment on believing Dr. Baer and I could improve the show with our knowledge!

Karen

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