Archive for July, 2009

Karen answers K2

admin on Jul 30th 2009

Comment by K2 on 28 Jul 2009 at 6:28 pm

Since none of this is private I have asked for the help of another alter. I feel ike others can see me like I am wearing a t-shirt announcing who I am. But I am never sure if they do. How did you calm the anxiety? Since this is all so new, it is also very confusing. Who is, who isn’t at any given moment.

Dear K2,

I know how frustrating it feels not to know what’s happening with yourself. I’ve been there, too. My alters never announced who they were when they came out during a switch, and no, it’s not necessary for the alters to announce himself or herself. Alters are created to protect you. Within a multiple’s inner world, each alter may envision what another alter looks like, including dress and appearance.  My alter’s did.  But in the real outside world no one can see anything.  You will appear the same at all times, but just feel different.  For me, I stayed away from looking in mirrors to lessen anxiety.  What people may see or experience as you switch is that you may appear moody, angry, or not quite yourself at times.

Unless you share that you are a multiple, most people will dismiss your switches simply as if you’re having a bad day and are being different or difficult at that moment.  If I couldn’t stay calm I would excuse myself and find somewhere where I could settle down.  When a multiple is stressed, chaos is surely to follow.  Trying to stay stress free may be difficult but it’s necessary to function well.  So what I try to do is remove myself from stressful situations.  I walk away.

I know all this is new to you, please be patient, have faith and your healing will follow.  Wishing you all my best on your journey.

Karen

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Karen answer Christine

admin on Jul 30th 2009

Comment by Christine on 28 Jul 2009 at 1:09 pm

Dear Karen,

I just ordered your book.

I would like to share a song I wrote regarding my own experience.

The Process

Little Child where are you?

I’ve looked a long, long time.

Within the shade of shadows

And memories laced with wine.

Your fragile heart was taken

And wrapped with pain and tears.

And tucked beneath the covers

And lost for many years.

Oh I’m looking for you Little One

I want to hold you tight!

It’s time to shed your covers

And step out in the light.

Little Child, how are you?

You needent be so shy.

I have a friend to meet you…

She shares the tears you cry.

You’ve spent your life together

And now you need to know

She needs you right beside her!

It’s time for you to grow.

Oh I’m looking for you Little One

I want to hold you tight!

It’s time to shed your covers

And step out in the light.

Little Child, I love you!

I’m glad you chose to stay.

We have a life together!

It’s starting every day!

I like to feel your lightness…

The softness of your heart.

Let’s play this song together

We have a brand new start!

Oh, I’m glad I found you Little One!

I’m gonna hold you tight!

You’ve shed your heavy covers.

You’re standing in the Light!

Oh, I’m glad I found you Little One!

I’m gonna hold you tight!

You’ve shed your heavy covers

We’re standing in the Light.

Thank-you for sharing your story. This was a very brave thing to do and will help many of us who suffer in silence. My first attempt to describe my inner chaos was met with ridicule…”Well, you LOOK the same!” and “If this is so, I will have you committed.” I decided then to keep it to myself and have been doing some slow change/progress for almost 20 years…alone. In some respects, this has been very difficult and exhausting, but at the same time it has empowered me.

I am presently seeing a different counselor for PTSD. He has taught me some very helpful techniques to assist when I feel a physical change that takes my breath away. I have read extensively about the role the body’s hormones have with the stress response and have felt validated for the first time in years. I am trying to get the courage to talk about what goes on inside of me but still feel strong concern about being “labeled” or ridiculed.

Thank-you and keep your focus on what a gift you ARE. We were all made tenderly and with Love that knows no end.

Dear Christine,

Thank you for sharing!  The lyrics to your song are wonderful!   As a former multiple, I totally understand your story through your written words.  Your song touched me and has brought tears to my eyes.  I hope to hear it sung someday.  I believe you are gifted.  It really takes a special person with a creative mind to have accomplished such an inspirational song!

It’s true, I too suffered in silence for many years due to the fear of being ridiculed.  I tried to share a few times and was literally laughed at, so I stopped sharing and kept my illness as private as possible.  It’s hard to share an incomprehensible illness, that is largely unknown and not taken seriously.  That is why I share my story in Switching Time.. It is my hope to bring knowledge of a rare, but real illness.

I’m glad to hear that you are doing well in therapy.  I haven’t read much on the body’s hormones having a response to stress, however, it makes sense to me.  I’ll surely look into it.

And yes, I agree, we are all made tenderly and with Love that knows no end.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and for sharing your amazing song!

Karen

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Karen answers Mom of 6

admin on Jul 30th 2009

Comment by Detroit Mom of 6 on 27 Jul 2009 at 11:53 am

Hi Karen,

I just started reading your story. I’m writing before I continue because after reading most of your answers here I wanted to know how you managed to raise two children with being a multiple mom. Two children that have no drug problems. I am the mother of four boys and two girls between the ages of 16 and 24. I admit parenting is hard. I am someone who tried my best yet three of my six wound up on drugs, one committed suicide because she was apparently sexually abused by a relative and never told me. After her death I read her journals. I was devestated. My daughter was 20 when she took her life. If I had known the signs of child abuse I think I could’ve been a better mother to her. We shared everything. Why didn’t she tell me? I live with guilt. The first hundred pages of your book was a startling reality of child abuse. More than once you said there are signs and parents should known these signs. How are your hildren today? How old are they? Are they happy? My daughter was abused by her father’s brother. Could this be why she didn’t tell me? Could this brother have abused my other children? Could that be why three of them turned to drugs? I have many unanswered questions. Where do I find the answers? Is it too late to have my brother-in-law convicted? Could he be imprisoned for abusing my daughter after her death? Could I prosecute him? Have him arrested? Should I ask my other children if he abused them?

I will finish reading your story now. I wanted to vent before continuing on. I am shocked at the contents. Thank you for sharing your pain so us parents can learn.. I will pray for you.

A Detroit Mom of 6, one never to be forgotten.

Dear Mom of 6,

Raising even one child, let alone six, is the hardest job in the world.  I’m not sure how I managed to raise my children.  I just did what I needed to do time and again and prayed for the best.  Children are resilient.  When my children were young I did the best I could.  And as they grew and now that they are adults I still do the best I can.  I feel my children turned out to be the best people they could be.

I’m not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion I believe children change and choose their paths in life based on many factors, not just by their relationships with their parents.  An adult child makes his or her own decisions.  Some good, some not so good.  No one is perfect.  And we all learn from our mistakes. Your children that have turned to drugs still have a chance at a great life with proper help.  They may not have made the best decisions in life, but that’s their choice, not yours.  Just be there for them when they need you.

If I based my path by how I was raised I surely wouldn’t be here.  I could have easily chosen the dark path and become someone who abused others, committed crimes, or become an alcoholic or drug addict.  But I didn’t.  Why?  I’m not sure, but I thank God every day.  Relationships are complex.  As a parent the most important thing we can do is love our children, be there for them in good times and when they fall. And never give up on them even when they piss you off.  I’ve had my share of stressful moments, too. Believe me, I was far from the perfect mom.

I’m so sorry to hear you lost a child to suicide.  I understand how devastated you feel.  In reading your daughter’s journals, you may have come to a better understanding of why she took her life, but blaming yourself for missing the signs will only keep you paralyzed and unable to be there for your remaining five children.  I believe your daughter never shared her pain because she didn’t know how.  I never shared what happened to me until in the safety of Dr. Baer’s care.  First of all, my not sharing was due to the shame I felt and not because I didn’t want to.  I simply couldn’t.  I didn’t understand the inner pain I suffered in order to share.  I felt at fault.  I felt dirty.  I blamed myself.  How could I have explained something so horiffic if I couldn’t understand it myself?

Many adult children may not know how to seek help.  That’s why I share my story: in hope to bring awareness of what can happen to a child who has been abused.  I understand you have many questions that need to be answered.  I’m sure the answers to all your questions will come in time.  I’m not qualified nor do I know the legalities on what can be done with evidence from a journal in court.  Maybe seeking advice from a lawyer is the best you can do.  That way, at least you’ll find some comfort in knowing that you did what you could and can work through your pain in hope for some closure.

My children are doing well; thank you for asking.  My children are both in their twenties and continue on their own journeys to being the best person they each could be. I believe my children are happy.  But just like all moms, sometimes we just don’t know everything.

Thank you for sharing, for your compliments, and prayers.  I will be praying for you, too.

Karen

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Karen answers NY Writer

admin on Jul 28th 2009

Comment by Writer in NY on 23 Jul 2009 at 10:22 pm

Hello Karen!

Seeking advice please. As a fellow writer I ask how you can answer each question in depth for each reader with enormous attention to detail. My gosh! You not only have wit, you have wisdom and can inspire! I write my own column, love it and know my work can exhaust me. Tell me, How do you deal with your exhaustion, assuming that you do become exhausted? Keep up the great work! Keep on writing and I’m confident you will be working for a newspaper like me. I see great possibilities for you.

Writer

N.Y.

Dear N.Y. Writer,

Thank you so much for all your compliments!  I appreciate hearing a critique from a fellow writer.  I would love to write for a newspaper or have my own column some day.  For now, I will think of myself as “in training” and hope for a better tomorrow…

Although answering questions here on my blog can be overwhelming at times, most of the time it is in a good way.  I believe my answering questions to be therapeutic.  How do I do it?  I rarely read the question sent unless I’m ready to answer.  As I read the question I focus on that question only.  I try to empathize with each reader who wrote to me and give my personal attention to that person.  I “listen” to the reader’s “voice.”

My answers come straight from my heart and I never hesitate or second-guess how to answer.  I just write the very first thoughts that comes to mind.  For me, that is the best I can do.  It’s free flowing and I usually don’t look back.  There is only one answer for every question and I am the only one who can answer it.  So I do.  I admit, some questions do take me back to a few dark moments, but these dark thought pass quickly once I realize that I no longer live in the past.

If I happen to become overwhelmed, Dr. Baer is always nearby to help me.  Dr. Baer looks over my answers before posting them.  It’s always best to have a second eye and Dr. Baer has been great about helping me.  As time passes, I become stronger and less in need of help when I feel overwhelmed. Truthfully, I never feel overwhelmed while answering these questions.  However, sometimes late at night I feel an after shock. Whenever that happens I distract myself by watching something uplifting like a comedy.

I admit, I do become exhausted at times, just from life, but my exhaustion is short lived, and I only need about fifteen minutes to re-group. Maybe I’ve trained myself to be this way.  I really feel fortunate to be able to answer people’s questions and then let go.

Thank you again for encouraging me to continue on writing.

Karen

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Karen answers Lisa

admin on Jul 28th 2009

Comment by Lisa on 25 Jul 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hello,

I am a 23 year old, married, mother of one. I am in the mist of the story you have allowed to be shared, and I am blown away. I am sure you have heard that before. Anyway, I stumbled upon the book and it caught my eye because just three years ago my therapist told me that he believed I have DID. I already knew when he told me, but like you, I felt as though no one would believe me, I sometimes to this day think maybe I have made this all up. My question is when did everything become real for you….I am feeling like sometimes I make it up, but it is the rush to my head, the light-headedness and pressure that makes it real. I believe once I really accept it, then I can start to heal, but how can I believe myself?

Thank you.

Dear Lisa,

I understand that you are blown away by my story after hearing what you are going through.  It’s true, many have said the same, but once they read through the entire book, they feel much better about what they have read.  When someone says they can’t continue reading, I ask them to finish anyway, for closure.  During the first third of the book, it’s horrific and hard to imagine.  The journey to healing follows through to the end where you will see a great mystery unfold.  I believe it’s important to finish reading once you’ve started, otherwise you will not know the true miracle of why I am here, alive and well, and able to bring hope to others who may have suffered from being abused.  I believe we learn from each other, and fear can control us in a way that disables us from moving forward.

I knew something was very different about me before I started therapy with Dr. Baer.  I knew I lost time and feared telling him because I myself found myself questioning my past and lost time.  I first needed to feel secure and build trust.  Building trust with Dr. Baer took a few years.  I had to be sure he was the one to accompany me on my journey. At first I shared short episodes and moments.  I recall being so afraid he wouldn’t believe me that I wouldn’t share much detail and skimmed through my story.

It’s interesting to hear you say you sometimes believe you made it all up.  I felt the same way, too!  I had gone through many moments of doubt.  What I did during those times was seek proof, in a round about way.  I would ask my mother, neighbors or family questions about certain times, dates, situations and have them share their versions of that time period. Each fit exactly into place like a well placed puzzle piece.  I knew what happened to me was true by listening to family stories.  For example, once while talking to my brothers about how we all shared the same bedroom, sleeping in separate beds, my one brother said that he couldn’t sleep some nights until I came back.  I asked him where he thought I went.  He said, “I don’t know but you were gone for hours after dad dragged you out of bed.”

I could no longer ignore the signs of lost time, headaches, and feeling as if I didn’t know myself.  Finally, I let go and allowed myself to vent in writing and to Dr. Baer.  The more I shared and the more I journaled the less distress I was in.  A weight lifted and I was on my way to feeling whole.  Slow and steady, steady and slow, that’s the only way to go. Please be patient with yourself.  Have faith.  It doesn’t matter what you share; just share what comes to mind and your healing will follow.  There is no right or wrong way in therapy.

Wishing you all my best.  Take care.

Karen

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Karen answers Kim

admin on Jul 28th 2009

Comment by Kim on 27 Jul 2009 at 10:20 am

Karen,

I was just recently diagnosed with DID. I hope I can be as strong as you. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dear Kim,

You’re welcome!  I understand how recently being diagnosed can frighten and weaken you, but you will become stronger each and every day just by seeking help for yourself and starting your journey toward becoming whole.  I believe you already took that important first step.  Please don’t be hard on yourself.  Have faith and your healing will follow.

Wishing you a safe journey to becoming whole.

Karen

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Karen answers Carol

admin on Jul 26th 2009

Comment by Carol on 22 Jul 2009 at 7:44 pm

Karen,

In the book Dr. Baer describes looking at you and feeling a kind of awe. “She ’s an incredible human being,” he says, and I whole heartedly agree. I have daughters your age and it broke my heart to read the unspeakable horrors of your life. Yet, after everything, you seem to have found joy and want the same for others. I can’t wrap my brain around such individual personalities your alters had, they all truly seemed to be separate people. Yet, they were all part of you, saving yourself.  Karen, where did you find your courage?

Carol

Dear Carol,

It’s true, I’ve suffered unspeakable horrors, and my life continues to be affected.  What isn’t known to most is that I still hurt at times and that relationships can still hurt me.

There is nothing more in the world that I wish for than to help others.  I wish for no child to ever suffer as I have.  I believe Sharing my story has given me purpose.  I felt that if I could change the world with one act of kindness at a time, along with caring for people in a way that no one cared for me as a child, then my grief and pain would bring proper knowledge to an incomprehensible illness. People who abuse children should be locked away.

I believe my journey was indeed worth sharing.  To me, my alters were separate people, but to the outside world, the alters were not seen.  But my alters each believed themselves to be whole.  Actually, each alters was one part of a complex puzzle.  An alter could never stay out long enough to function independently as one person.  Only through integration did each alter merge together to become a part of me, a whole person.

My alters did save my life. It was my alters who decided when it was time to seek help, heal, and how to integrate.  A multiple can heal him or her self in a safe setting with a trusted guide to accompany them on their journey to wholeness.  I believe Dr. Baer was that one special person who I needed to accompany me on my journey to become whole.  I truly believe Dr. Baer and my alters were God sent.  I will always be grateful for the wonderful care my alters and I received.

My courage comes from deep within myself.  I learned about courage from those who inspired me.  There were a few people that crossed my path throughout my life and during my years of healing.  I would absorb all the good I could, from these relationships and from Dr. Baer, who never left my side.  Dr. Baer never once gave up on me during my healing years.  Dr. Baer re-parented me.  That alone made me feel special and gave me the courage to move forward.

But I believe the number one reason I have courage is because God loves me.  For me, feeling loved, having faith, and caring for others gives me the courage I need to live.

Thank you for your compliments and thought provoking questions.

Karen

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Karen answers “L”

admin on Jul 25th 2009

Comment by L on 22 Jul 2009 at 9:07 am

Dear Karen,

Oh my God, things have gotten so much worse for me. My mom won’t let me leave the house. She won’t let me go anywhere with my friends. I am over 18. It doesn’t matter to her. She got mad because I was fighting with my sister. She completely freaked out and accused me of using drugs. I’ve never done any drugs. I just get mad sometimes. The only thing that made it bearable was being able to go out. I can’t stand it here. I just can’t. I want to die so bad. I have no where to go. I don’t have a job and no money.

I had a friend who said he wanted to help, but he hates me now. He thinks I’m pathetic. Nothing has changed since I was a little girl except the sexual abuse doesn’t really go on anymore.

L

Dear L,

I hope you’re having a better day!  Bad days come and go, everyone has them, including me.  However, it seems victims of abuse have bad days more often than not.  I’m sorry to hear that you were abused.  Although you briefly mention that the sexual abuse doesn’t really happen anymore… it appears that the abuse continues.  Whether in verbal or physical form, abuse is abuse.  I know it’s hard to imagine you can some day get away from all that causes you unhappiness.  If you are being abused in any way, please seek help soon.  It’s important that if you are having thoughts of wanting to end your life that you find a therapist to help you right away.

It sounds like your mom may have over-reacted to the fight you had with your sister.  Some of us accuse and say hurtful things when we’re angry.  My mother would also say horrible things when she was angry.  Please hang in there until these dark moments pass!  Remember you are over eighteen and your life has just begun and you have so much to look forward to.  I know things are difficult for you at home at this time but is that reason to end your life?  No.  Please don’t hurt yourself.  You can dream of a better tomorrow.

During my dark days, I would journal like crazy.  I wrote and wrote and wrote until I exhausted myself and my pain was transfered onto paper. Through writing I was able to deal with my stress and focus in a productive way.  For me, journaling helped.  Maybe it can help you, too?

I wish I could be of more help.  I’m not a therapist and I can’t give advice.  I hope my thoughts and opinions are of some comfort.  Please take care of yourself first.  Remember, the most important person to you is yourself.  And if you don’t take care of yourself, you will become stuck and unable to move forward.

Wishing you a better day.

Karen

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Karen answers Walliann

admin on Jul 25th 2009

Comment by Walliann 19 Jul 2009 at 6:42 pm

Dear Karen,

Do you know how much you helped me by allowing your story to be written? I bet you have no idea how many people learn from you. Switching Time was a comfort to me when I realized I was not the only person who suffers like you, so I shared, and my friends shared, and their friends bought books. I bet you sold a million copies and are rolling in the dough. I am so happy you’re not hurting anymore. Thank God for Dr. Baer. Thank God for your alters. Thank God for you.

Walliann

Dear Walliann,

Such wonderful compliments!  Thank you!  I’m glad to hear that my story helped you, and that you feel my story has helped many more people learn about multiplicty.  That is important to me and the reason I decided to share my story.

I’m sorry to hear that you once suffered from being abused, too.  I hope you are doing well and on your own journey to wellness.

I think we have sold a good many books, but please know that there are many misconceptions about the book world.  Most authors, other than J.K. Rowling, Stephen King or others that sell millions, don’t make that much money. Neither Dr. Baer nor I are rolling in any dough from Switching Time.  We received a moderate advance, but we need to pay back that advance before we ever see any future royalties.  That process is very slow, one book at a time, slow and steady.  Time will tell…

It is Dr. Baer’s and my hope to continue sharing our story so that all those who have once suffered as I have come to a better understanding of multiplicity.  As for the doctors who treat patients like me, it is our hope that they take another look at this incomprehensible illness, multiplicty, and make the appropriate choices when faced with trying to help their own patients.

Thank you for your compliments and questions.

Karen

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Karen answers Stuart

admin on Jul 25th 2009

Comment by Stuart on 19 Jul 2009 at 6:16 pm

Hi Karen,

I know you might be busy but could you tell me more about what if felt like to move in and out while you went to school, work or out with people? I watched many different shows on your disorder. Each was never clear on switching, like the title of your book. When you switched did you feel tired… Did you faint or collapse? On your wedding you fainted then not usually during your life. What made you faint on your wedding day and not during regaular switches? What do you recall at the altar on your wedding day? What was going through your mind? Do you remember saying I do? What alter went on the honeymoon and where did you go?

I am interested to know more about you.

Stuart, Chicago

Dear Stuart,

I believe each multiple may experience switching in their own way.  For me, I would feel a slight faint coming on.  I call this a “pause.”  It was as if someone pushed a pause button for a moment and I’d fade away.  That’s when I would switch into an alter.  I’d also describe switching as the feeling of being on a descending elevator.  Whenever a switch would occur, I would feel exhausted afterwards.  However, these moments passed quickly and once I regrouped, I’d feel slightly disoriented, but fine. That’s how I’d describe the pause.

On my wedding day, I fainted for more than a few reasons.  As I walked down the aisle, I was escorted by my abuser, my father.  Second, as I approached the altar, I came face to face with the priest who participated in my being abused and never helped me.  This was the priest who witnessed the filming, knew of my pain, and didn’t stop it.  Third, just before my wedding there was a funeral mass, and the incense they used triggered me into a panic.  As I look back now, it makes sense why so many alters switched that day: alter chaos.

Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact moment I said “I do”, nor do I remember the vows my ex-husband and I shared.  I wasn’t exactly present as myself.  I believe Karen 2 was the alter who attempted to marry my husband but backed out leaving other alters to deal with what was happening.  I do remember being told the priest shared a story from the Bible, in Acts, as I lay on the floor of the church where I fainted.  I believe I did say “I do”, otherwise I would’nt have received the marriage certificate.  I never went on a honeymoon. Because of my fainting, I spent the first week of my marriage at the hospital having a million tests, but nothing was ever found.  My multiplicity was yet to be discovered at that time.

Thank you for your thought provoking questions.  I hope your questions were answered.

Karen

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