Archive for October, 2009

Karen answers Susan

admin on Oct 31st 2009

Comment by Susan on 22 Oct 2009 at 10:07 am

Dear Karen,

Bunch of questions about dying. Have you ever died and came back? Did any doctor think you should be dead? Have you ever been in an altered state if presumed dead? Were you ever worried you could be buried alive? Do you fear death?

Courious about multiples and alters and the death of alters. Was your integration a death to you?

Your book is intense and realistic. I enjoyed the challenge it brought to me. I hate reading but finished your book in three days. I am interested in more and started reading your blog.

Susan

Alabama

Dear Susan,

Interesting questions!  Yes, I suffered a cardiac arrest at age eleven, after a bout with double pneumonia, I recall my hospitalization and coming back. During my childhood, my pediatrician often mentioned that it was a miracle that I was alive. My doctors comment was based on the fact that I had suffered from many medical problems and numerous hospitalizations, beating the odds many times.

Most of the time no one could explain or diagnose my sudden illnesses, leading me to believe that there was alter influence. Once my doctor hospitalized me for a high fever, only for my fever to disappear as quickly as it arrived.  Another time I couldn’t walk, I was paralyzed, and then suddenly I was able to walk without aid.  Once I wasn’t able to hear, I was assumed to be deaf, and started to hear just before entering the operating room. There was always a mystery surrounding my childhood illnesses.

I do not fear death and never feared being buried alive. While in an altered state I never stopped breathing; I may have appeared as if I had fainted, nothing more.

My integration was not the death of my alters. Integration was a merger of each alter within me to become one. The only difference was that each alter was no longer able to function as an individual part in the capacity they once had. I never lost my alters; they are a part of me.

Thank you for your compliments, your interest in learning more, and for finding my story challenging.

Karen

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Karen answers Kim

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment by Kim on 24 Oct 2009 at 8:11 am

how did you get your alters to cooperate? this is a really hard one

Dear Kim,

I didn’t get my alters to co-operate. I believe my alters figured that out on their own every day, although they disagreed among themselves for a long time. In therapy, with Dr. Baer’s help, my alters came to realize they were all on the same side, working to help me, protect me, and provide for what was in my best interest. My alters learned that teamwork was better than alter chaos. All of my alters wanted what was best for me. Therapy provided that atmosphere. If that makes sense to you…

I believe that Dr. Baer’s kind, calm, and even disposition had my alters wanting to be liked by him, so they behaved, in the same way a child longs to seek parental approval. My alters eventually found that therapy was much more helpful if all were getting along. My alters grew to trust and respect Dr. Baer and the job he was doing. Once they understood, they all agreed to work together. My alters were amazing.  They had a unique and supportive job to keep me as safe as possible in the midst of being unable to save me. It’s kind of strange to think about it.

I believe most of my alters, especially the children, wanted to be loved. Time and again they learned that when they spoke calmly and acted responsibly, they had more “out” time with Dr. Baer in therapy and the safety of his office. That meant less stress, anxiety, more quality time, and we were on our way to a successful healing journey to becoming one.

Thank you for your question.

Karen

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Karen answers Darlene P

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment by Darlene P on 21 Oct 2009 at 9:02 am

Karen and Richard!

Good morning to you both! I am in aaaawwwweeee by the book. I can’t say enough and have told many of my classmates to buy, read it, and see the fascination of your mind. Karen. Richard, I hate doctors. But you have given me reason to re-think my hatred. In the first pages of the book I hated you but then something happened?, you were not the doctor I assumed you were. Thank God for this book. I hope all doctors read it to learn more about treating people as humanly as possible. What you did, Richard, listen and allow Karen a safe venue to share her deepest traumatic experiences was what was needed for Karen to heal. Richard, you need to receive a reward or medal. Karen, you also need to be rewarded for sharing you story and allowing Richard to care. Thank you both! Be proud of your work, Let no man come between you.

Karen, Great job in answering questions!

Darlene P

Battle Creek, Michigan

Dear Darlene,

Thank you so much for all your kind words and compliments! I am touched by your enthusiasm!

I am glad you came to re-think your hatred for doctors and come to an understanding of what a doctor’s job is and how much effort is required to help patients like me. I wasn’t an easy case to treat. There are good doctors out there! I hope you find one, too!

Dr. Baer most certainly deserves an award for treating me! We are very proud of our work together. I hope more doctors read our story. I believe that through my story many doctors may come to realize the effects of child abuse and learn how to treat their abused patients appropriately.

Have a great day!

Karen

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Karen answers Natalie

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment by Natalie on 21 Oct 2009 at 11:01 am

As a patient what did you believe worked for you in therapy? Why did Dr. Baer’s treatment work for you and will his therapy treatment work for other mpd patients? Please tell us your opinion. Thanks much.

Dear Natalie,

Good question. Thank you for asking! I believe my therapy worked because Dr. Baer never showed signs of distress, never became overly excited, and accepted angry outbursts with a calm demeanor that diffused any aggressive behavior. By Dr. Baer staying the same, me and my alters learned how to make the most of our session time. My alters decided to keep therapy a part of our daily routine. During sessions I believe my alter Holdon helped to keep all the alters sitting in the chair without acting out. That was an important accomplishment for a fractured group of disturbed alters.

Dr. Baer treated the alters with respect and never mocked or disbelieved them. Dr. Baer befriended each alter, was always on time, and was very attentive to the needs of all seventeen alters. He never overstepped our boundaries and never abused us with his authority.  I healed because my therapy was kept simple, consistent, and allowed me to mature at my own pace.

Thank you for your question.

Karen

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Karen answers Man, Depressed, not MPD

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment by Man, Depressed, not MPD on 15 Oct 2009 at 2:19 pm

Karen,

Hi! Thank you for providing this helpful blog. Can’t make it on my own at this time but feel there’s is a way to someday feel better. I am a multiple like you but don’t believe I am. My doctor tells me I am. So I say I am. I can’t buy it and think he’s trying to keep me in therapy by confusing me. I have no symptoms like you. I read your book and can’t recall ever being abused. My parents are still together after fifty years. I have two sisters, they were never sexually abused so how could it be possible for me to be sexually abused like my therapist said? He said another part of me came to see him. I don’t remember anything. I am a depressed male age 44. First time in therapy for depression. Married with two small children, eight and ten. I bought your book to see what the hell this doctor was saying I had. No way. What should I do, punch him out? call him a liar? acuse him of trying to steal my money/ Whatever you say I will do? Too bad your life was so hurtful. I hope you are in peace now. Don’t let anyone else hurt you. Praying for you.

Man, Depressed, not MPD

Dear Sir,

I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion I would say seek another opinion from a qualified therapist. From what you have shared I can see your concern. It sounds like your therapist is causing you stress and grief. No one needs to feel that way. Therapy can be exhausting, but the ultimate goal is to get help.

Please don’t take aggressive action towards your therapist. That wouldn’t help and isn’t wise. There are wonderful therapists out there; you just need to find the right one for you. It’s sad that there are a few therapists who inappropriately care for their patients.

Thank you for sharing and sending your well wishes and prayers. I will always try my best not to allow anyone to hurt me and to live in peace.

Karen

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Karen answers Luanna

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment from Luanna on 20 Oct 2009 at 8:17 am

Hello Karen,

Loved the book! I am hopeful. See I’ve been in therapy for four years and when I express this in conversation people are taken aback saying that my doctor isn’t helping me. They laugh at the silliness of the cognitive behavioral assignments I am given, Because of that I don’t talk much anymore. I am impressed that you kept your therapy between you and your therapist. How did you know? I decided to be like you in that respect. My friends would ask too many questions. I was being judged right along with my therapist. I felt awful. Why do people try to sabotage what works for those who need help. I witnessed some of my friends snickering at me while I spoke about my sessions.

One question. Did you know at the start of therapy how long it would take to get well?

Luanna

Dear Luanna,

I understand what you are sharing. I’m not sure how I knew not to share, especially with my husband.  Perhaps it’s because he always used everything I said against me. I believe my entire system of alters were always in survivor mode. As a child growing up, during my teen years, and as an adult I didn’t share much of what was happening to me at home. Silent secrets. Maybe out of shame, fear of being blamed, being further abused, or because there was no one I could trust.

When I started therapy I didn’t tell anyone. Therapy was my new escape. I felt so bad that I wanted to die, but Dr. Baer listened to me. I was finally able to share without judgment. I did not want everyone knowing how badly I felt so I wore a mask that shouted “I’m doing well!” And that was killing me. I needed professional help and not the advice of many. I needed time for myself to heal without the influence of others. Besides, each session exhausted me.

I had no idea how long therapy would last. I had no idea how ill I was. In my opinion, you can’t put a time limit on how long it takes to heal. Only you and your doctor will know when the time comes that you are well enough to be on your own.  If I were you, I’d stop sharing the details with everyone. I would simply say my therapy is going well and that I chose not to share at this time. If your friends and family truly care they should back off and say they will be there for you if you ever need to talk, and drop it.

My therapy was very important to me. Anyone who tries to jeopardize what is important to your well-being is not a friend. Take care of your self first. Someday you may find strength to share, but not during the process of healing. Keeping your therapy between you and your therapist is essential.

Wishing you all my best.

Karen

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Karen answers Professor Ted

admin on Oct 28th 2009

Comment by Professor Ted on 17 Oct 2009 at 12:09 pm

Hello Karen,

I’m curious and would like to ask you a strange question. If you don’t mind, what thoughts come to you when you hear stories like Jaycee, Steven and other children who were abducted and kept prisoner for many years before found?

Thank you. I’m curious as to whether you have the desire to help those kids. I am sure you can empathize with their experience. Do you understand my question?

Professor Ted in Florida

Dear Professor Ted,

Sadness, most of all, but hopeful that all missing children may be found. I believe, Jaycee, Steven, Elizabeth, and other children taken so young may have developed the ability to dissociate like I did to in order to survive. It’s horrific to be taken and abused, and living with those who claim to love you but hurt you. Each of these cases is incomparably horrific.

There is no excuse for abusing any child. It sickens me to hear stories like these, especially since there have been great strides to bring awareness through the media, school education, and from the stories of abused children themselves who suffered and survived. Knowledge is the key. I believe we all need to pay more attention to all the children around us. Be aware. Be safe. Communicate freely and don’t be afraid to report when facts don’t add up.

In my opinion, I believe missing children learn to adapt to their abusers in order to save themselves and survive their present trauma. These children may have believed their abductors were truthful and they may even grow to love their abusers, perhaps blaming themselves for their abuse. I know I blamed myself.

Being continuously threatened, degraded, and told that no one would ever love me but an abuser, left me paralyzed with fear. I was conditioned to believe my abuse was my own fault. I never ran away. I never dreamed of being saved. I just lived my life day to day hoping that someday someone would listen. I suspect Jaycee, Steven and Elizabeth would understand exactly what I have shared. We all need to give them adequate space to heal. I’m sure in time they will share their stories.

I would love to help children who have been abused. That’s why I share my story. I believe knowledge is power. And we all need to bring awareness to child abduction and abuse.

Thank you for caring.

Karen

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Karen answers Michael

admin on Oct 27th 2009

Comment by Michael on 13 Oct 2009 at 7:44 am

Yes it was hard on me to lose each alter. I loved them each in a different way and very dearly. Even though i knew they were all different parts of her, they seemed like different people to me. Sometimes i miss them just as they were individually. I have pictures and videos of each in there alter state and when she sees them she remembers the event as herself. I never let her see the ones of her child alters, because she wouldn’t understand why she was acting like a 5 year old, but i keep them for me. Her chaos is gone and now she is going through the process of healing from all the sexual abuse memories. Her memories are still coming slowly. I love her so very much and hurt for her, for all the pain she endured as a child and even as an adult because of her multiplicity. We are now able to move forward with our life together and she is the happiest she has ever been.

Dear Michael,

How wonderful that you accepted each of her alters individually. I can see how you would miss each alter’s uniqueness. During integration of my alters, Dr. Baer shared that he missed a few of my alters, too!  Please understand that if she is happy, has no alter chaos, and the two of you are moving forward in life, there is no need to bring up the pain of the past. Perhaps you should find someone to talk to, to help you with your grief regarding losing the alters. I don’t believe any alter is lost; all alters merge together. She is all of them. The alters are her.

I am not a therapist, but in my opinion, I would say put the pictures away. Revisiting how the alters once were will keep you stuck in the past. It’s time to move on. I’m sure she understands this. It’s time for you to let go. I wouldn’t want to be reminded of what once was an alter part of me.

I am happy to hear that you love her. Please love her as one woman. Help her live the life she was meant to live, in peace, love and happiness.

Thank you

Karen

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Karen answers Lost at Fifteen

admin on Oct 27th 2009

Comment by Lost at Fifteen on 12 Oct 2009 at 10:25 pm

Hi Karen,

How are you? I am doing fineeeeee. No I’m not. I am fifteen years old, freshman. I found your book in the library. I think I need mental health help. I haven’t talked to my parents yet. They are very great and wonderful to me. I am adopted and they adopted me when I was seven. I have nightmares and remember things I probably shouldn’t. If I tell my new parents do you think they will return me? I want to talk to them but think it’s best I wait until I’m eighteen. I haven’t been feeling very good lately. I don’t know the details of who I was before my adoption. I don’t remember my real parents at all but do remember bad things like dirty places and some smells bother me. Could my life be like yours and I don’t remember yet? What should I do? Do you think my parents will be mad at me if I ask questions? I trust you.

Lost at Fifteen

Dear Found, not Lost,

I am glad that you chose to share with me. Although I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, I understand you’re afraid to share some memories that are re-surfacing from your childhood. Perhaps these memories were triggered for a reason. I believe you are very wise to have recognized a need for help. In my opinion, you are “finding” yourself. Going to the library, searching for answers, and trying to contemplate what’s the best way to handle all that you’re feeling is very brave. I admire your efforts and encourage you to share with your parents.

I am so happy to hear that a loving, caring family has adopted you. They are your parents and will always be your parents.  Perhaps they already suspect something is happening to you. I’m sure they want you to share. I believe they will help you through this time, just as they have always helped you. If you trust your adoptive parents, as I suspect you do, nothing you share will change their minds about the way they feel about you. Your parents love you.

I think waiting until you are eighteen is a mistake. That would mean you would be living alone with your inner pain for three more years. There are good therapists that can help you understand your dark memories. Please don’t suffer alone. I healed through sharing my horrific memories and nightmares in the safety of therapy. You can too.

Wishing you all my best as you journey to heal.

Karen

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Karen answers Heather

admin on Oct 20th 2009

Comment by Heather on 12 Oct 2009 at 9:45 pm

Dear Karen,

Did all symptoms of depression, anxiety and panic attacks go away for you after integration?

Heather

Dear Heather,

Yes, most of my symptons did go away after integration. For a while at least. I felt exhilarated, had no anxiety, and no longer suffered from panic attacks. But as time passed, I did feel a bit depressed now and then, but it never lasted longer than a day. Something would trigger past memories and I would feel ill.  What is interesting is the fact that I was able to recognize those dark moments and change my thoughts or talk to Dr. Baer.  After being a multiple with alter help, adjusting to reality as one person can be overwhelming. No alter chaos, but also no alter help. Nowhere to hide from myself. Yes, it was stressful at times. How could it not be? What worked for me was to take a deep breath, calm myself using all that I have learned in therapy, and try to re-focus my thoughts elsewhere.

Each of us travels a different journey to wellness, and I am no different. My dark thoughts would come when I felt overwhelmed or unable to sort out my feelings over something I couldn’t comprehend. I always do the best I can. I am a survivor. No longer a victim.

Thank you for your question.

Karen

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