Archive for November, 2010

Karen answers Beth

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Beth on 03 Nov 2010 at 4:00 am

There has been alot of talk about Kim Noble and knowing Kim like I do as a mother first, an artist second and just happens to have DID. I would like to make some factual remarks. Kim’s artwork has been exhibited for 7 years all over the world, her book “All of me” was written before the Oprah show and is published 2011 and filming in Japan and London had taken place also beofre the Oprah show.

Unlike Dr Baer Kim’s theapist is unable to disclose any clients confidentality even with Kim’s permission, there are other clients with DID to consider. Perhaps in the UK it is different.

Also Kim chose not to interate 16 years ago.

Kim’s daughter Aimee wanted to be a guest on the show and after much discussions Aimee wanted her say. Due to the lack of time on the Oprah show much was cut. Yet it was felt by all professionals working with Aimee and Kim that it would be emotionally damaging for Aimee to be left out.

Beth

Dear Beth,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions. I truly appreciate hearing from you. I have not read much on Kim Noble other than we were once featured in the same magazine article a few years ago. I can understand that people in general have many opinions, and that’s their right, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all I hear or read. I never met Kim Noble, but would have loved to get to know her. I honestly don’t know of anyone who has had the same or similar experiences that I have. I didn’t know she chose not to integrate. I admire her for her decision. In my case, it was in my best interest to integrate. No two multiples are alike; we share a common thread but we are unique in our life experiences. My system was failing and my thoughts of suicide were increasing. I was exhausted all the time. One of my alters, Holdon, felt it was time that we integrated. I really had not thought about it too deeply, but since my alters thought it for the best, then so be it.

That’s great news to hear Kim’s artwork has been exhibited for seven years around the world! I wish I had been more disciplined and not sold away most of my artwork to unknown buyers just to make a few dollars to live on. There was a time during high school when my art was on exhibit along with a few other students, but I only vaguely remember those shows. I admire Kim’s ability to continue her artwork. I stopped my art after integration and have not attempted to continue since then, though I do desire to so some day! Art is still a huge part of me. Maybe I will pick up my brushes and start again. It will be interesting to see what I come up with now that I am whole.

I’m not sure of the ethical differences between countries. I know that Dr. Baer did not disclose any of my therapy without my permission and only after integration was complete. As far as having my daughter appear on any show. It’s not actually something I’m totally against. My daughter is now twenty-five years old and I can’t imagine exposing her to that at thirteen. Although I’m sure she would’ve done great, just like Aimee did, I’ll never know. You may be right, Aimee may stay well and is mature enough to handle being on Oprah. Aimee is mature compared to my daughter at the same age. I believe she did a great job as guest.

I would love to meet Kim Noble in person and chat with her. It would’ve been a privilege to talk with her while she was in Chicago during the Oprah Show taping. For that, I am a bit upset. But I’m grateful that the illness we both share, integration or not, is being talked about. Knowledge is power. And for me that’s all that matters.

Please wish Kim my very best! I am sending my good luck wishes on her film and book. If possible, please ask her to write to me here or on Facebook. I would love to hear from her!

Karen

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Karen answers Will

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Will on 31 Oct 2010 at 6:06 pm

Hi Karen,

I am currently taking a class on abusive relationships (working toward becoming a mental health counselor). For a class project I decided to use your story as a case example for trauma survivors who are diagnosed with DID. I am impressed with the progress you have made working with Dr. Baer!

Is there anything you believe would be worth emphasizing about your journey? Anything you believe would help other abuse survivors?

I hope all is well with you and that you are able to continue making progress in your recovery!

Best Wishes,

Will

Dear Will,

Thank you for sharing, for your well wishes, and for choosing to use my story as a case example! I will share what I can in hope to help. Please know that you can befriend me on Facebook for more information. It is my desire to encourage hope through sharing my story.

There are more than a few things that are worth emphasizing about my story to help other abuse survivors. I will share a few thoughts though I am not a therapist and by no means will comment other than from my own personal experience.

In my experience I would share that manipulation was a common thread in my life before, during, and after therapy. If not careful, I can fall victim time and again. As a one time victim, my life continues on as a never ending reminder of what once was. But the difference therapy made is that when dark moments resurface I am able to acknowledge them, deal with them, and make sure they stay in my past, while at the same time not allowing my past to ruin my present or future. Abuse is abuse. It never really goes away. I believe healing for an abused person is a life long journey. I continue to have a bad moment now and then, but do my best to move forward and live my life to the best of my ability.

The most important thing I learned was to recognize that I am no longer a victim. I can’t change what happened to me but I can change the way I deal with it. If I allow the pain of past into my present then my abusers won and I am imprisoned. Letting go is hard. But constantly feeling like a victim is worse than all.

It takes time to heal. There is no cure but to take time for yourself and patience. There were many days when I felt like giving up. I felt like I had lost faith and hope. But I didn’t. It was simply hidden in heart break. Repeatedly I had to step back from myself and re-think thoughts of suicide. I needed help, sought it out, and received the best care. I was fortunate. It is my hope all can receive the unconditional care that I have. Time heals.

Thank you for asking.

Karen

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Karen answers Dave

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Dave on 31 Oct 2010 at 12:34 pm

Hey Karen!

It’s Halloween Day! Have a great one! Crazy day today but interested if you believe in paranormal activity. Do you see things, hear things, sense things out of this world? Some people like you have a keen sense of unexplainable awareness. Do you? Can you predict things? Can you tell things ahead of time? Do lights go out around you? You may be fortunate to use your abilities in paranormal work. Ever think of working in the field?

Great story! Gave me the willies. Have a spooktacular day!

Crazy Dave

Dear Dave,

Hope you had a great Halloween Day, too! Paranormal activity? I’m not sure, but I believe in the unbelievable. That comes from living my life as a multiple, which is incomprehensible to most people. I will not judge, but for my own experiences, I would have to say I stay on the side of reality. And in reality anything is possible.

I admit, I am highly attuned to more than most and have a sixth sense, so to speak, when it comes to feeling different things around me. But I believe that comes from being on guard twenty-four-seven, in order to survive. There have been times I knew something ahead of time, but I can’t explain how or why, nor can I predict when those moments happen.

Unexplainable? Lights out? How did you know? Yes, lights do on occasion go out when I’m nearby, but that doesn’t make me special. Why? Because that can happen to anyone at any time. No one notices a light until it blows out, right?

I’m sorry my story gave you the willies but it’s unfortunately true horror…I’ll keep you posted on the paranormal work. Sounds interesting.

Hope your day was spooktacular….

Karen 🙂

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Karen answers Amanda

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Amanda on 29 Oct 2010 at 4:36 pm

Karen is it okay with you to use your story for my class project? It is due by winter break and I would really like to get an A and think your story will do it. Really. I think you are the most inspirational woman I read about in my psych class. This assignment needs to be on one remarkable person and a psychological story in which may have changed the life for the better for others, I can’t think of anyone else who accomplished what you have despite great odds. In my studies I found your story an asset to the medical world. I will welcome any advice and help. If I have any questions where can I send it other than your blog. I can understand you can’t get back real fast but I have a few weeks and will start working on it praying you will say yes. If not It won’t be a loss because you are amazing and not at all dull. My name is Amanda and I will send you this same message to your facebook account. Please accept my friendship. Thank you so much.

Amanda

NYU

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and compliments! I am touched and honored that you chose me to write about! It will be a privilege to share what I can with you for your studies. As you know by now I have accepted your friend request on Facebook. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Please send me your questions there for a quicker response. My answers here take a bit longer to post. Thank you very much, your letter made my day!

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Heather

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Heather on 28 Oct 2010 at 9:25 am

How are you? I read your story and would like to know more about your doctor patient relationship. My therapist is writing my story and his writings hurt me. I am still in therapy but dont believe he cares except for the book. Had you felt hurt while in the process? Has you therapist hurt you?

Thank you. Love your story.

Heather

Dear Heather,

I am well. Thank you for asking! I’m sorry that you’re feeling hurt by your doctor writing your story, but I’m not sure how to respond to your question without knowing more. You mentioned you are still in therapy. First, there should be no writing while you are still in the midst of therapy unless the therapeutic part of you relationship has ended and you and your therapist have discussed the writing at length.

Was I hurt? That’s too strong of a word for me to use to describe how I felt during the writing of Switching Time. I admit, it was very emotional and disturbing at times, but that was the reality of my story. Seeing my story written was like re-experiencing part of the pain again. I have no regrets, but I have to admit it was emotionally draining at times. But Dr. Baer and I worked together to address every single issue, emotion, thought, discomfort, and moment of confusion. Between us we resolved most issues. The reality of sharing my story was difficult, but I believe necessary to help those who suffer as I once did or know of someone who has suffered.

I do not know your story, but if I were you I would ask myself whether this book is in my best interest and in the interest of helping others, and most importantly, is it hurting my therapy. If not, and you continue to feel hurt or victimized, just tell your therapist to STOP. It’s your choice, your decision. You have to give your consent to have your story told, and you can revoke that consent at any time.

Please think through what you have shared with me and share the same with your therapist. Tell him exactly how his written words have hurt you. It will be best for the both of you to honest and open now and in the future. It was not an easy decision for me, but by sharing my story I have been rewarded tenfold. Whenever I read a letter from someone who claims I have inspired or helped I feel I have fulfilled my purpose. And that’s a good feeling.

Wishing you a sense of calm on your journey.

Karen

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Karen answers Ingrid

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Ingrid on 27 Oct 2010 at 7:04 am

Good morning Karen,

In reading your story I was left with a type of unexplainable peace.I can’t begin to express the change in me but know it came from your writing between the lines of the book and your answers on your blog. Could it be a reason to share with you my past I’m not certain but I know you have a special gift in keeping someone close in heart. Once your in, you never leave. My question won’t be easy to answer but I have cancer and have about three months to go. I would like to know what I can write to people to touch their hearts the way you do. Any suggestions on how to write some kind of letter? At least a beginning? If you were dying what would you write to people as a group and individual letters? I am ready to go and need help preparing. Can you help me?

Ingrid

Dear Ingrid,

Thank you for sharing, thinking of me, and being inspired by me. I feel privileged to receive your heartfelt letter. I’m sorry for your loss and understand your need to prepare yourself and your loved ones. Though I hope and pray that you survive, I admire your courage to do what’s in your best interest. If I were you I would hope I could have the same strength when facing the reality of my illness.

I believe leaving behind letters is a wonderful way of sharing your feelings with those close to you. Sharing in your own written words is a personal, priceless and powerful inspirational gift. If I was told I was to die soon I would start by writing one letter to all my friends and family sharing how important they have been to me throughout the years. Next, slowly, I would try my best to write individual letters touching on my personal relationship and what they meant to me. Write what’s important to you; write from your heart. If that seems too difficult I would search for the perfect card and write a shorter note in hope to help them ease their grief. I would most likely share that I will always be with them in heart and spirit. That I am only a mere memory away. And that whenever they think of me, I will be there. I would ask that each remember the good parts of our relationship and not the sad times. I would ask them to pay their kindness forward to someone else in need. I would share that we all must go and that it simply was my time to move on. That death is a part of life and there is no escaping when God calls us home. I would ask my friends and family not to cry too long over me because that would only sadden me. I would tell them I am everywhere, and when they need me I will be there in every smile, flower, slow moving stream of water, calm clear night, brightest star, and also will be there in every storm they experience.

I will pray for your safe journey. Please take care of yourself and feel free to write to me here or on Facebook. I am here for you.

Wishing you all my best…

Karen

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Karen answers Lisa

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Lisa on 25 Oct 2010 at 9:17 am

Hi Karen,

I am schizophrenic and finally medicated correctly. I read your book during my hospitalization when a friend said she thought my voices were from mpd not mania. I am glad you shared your story because it clarified what my worst nightmares were, I dont like my diagnosis but guess you didn’t like yours either. I have a question about medication. Did you need medication for your illness? Did any medication work the same way like that with a schizo like me? I feel great now and don’t think meds are needed anymore. What and why and how did you get off your meds?

Thank you.

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for sharing! I am glad to hear that you finally received a diagnosis that will keep you well and on the right path to healing. No one likes to hear a diagnosis. What’s most important is that there’s a treatment plan and medication for your illness that will help you live and function to the best of your ability. Each patient’s treatment is individual. My medication needs were different than yours.

I am not a professional, psychiatrist or therapist. I’m not qualified to share medical advice or information on medications but in my opinion, there’s a difference between the illness I suffered from and yours. I don’t believe there is any one medication known to help multiplicity. None worked for me. But that’s me, not you. The only medication that worked for me was an occasional Xanax during short periods of high stress when I needed help to calm down.

My understanding of schizophrenia is that it requires constant lifetime medication maintenance. Please do not stop taking your medication without the approval of your doctor. Personally I have known someone who thought she no longer needed her meds and stopped. She relapsed terribly, and her once productive life spiraled downward. That saddened me. Thank God she is back on her medications now and functions at a high level. She is one of the most intelligent women I have ever met, as long as she’s keeping up with her therapy and treatment plan. I believe your medication is of great importance. I believe you’re doing great because you’re maintaining a healthy level of medication.

Wishing you continued success in your future.

Karen

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Karen answers Mike

admin on Nov 8th 2010

Comment by Mike on 24 Oct 2010 at 9:31 pm

Can you believe anyone would claim to be raped for attention? Why would someone do that? I read your story and have great respect for your shared wisdom. Tell me why you think people make up stuff. If they read your story they would know horror. I am sorry you suffered. I am happy you are here.

Thank you, God Bless you!

Mike

Dear Mike,

Yes, I believe there are people who seek negative attention and use sympathy to gain friendship. There is nothing sadder than to hear someone falsifying an attack, rape, or abuse. If someone had personally shared such a tragedy with me and I found it to be untrue, I would be very disappointed. My first reaction would depend on whether he or she told me the truth, or whether I heard it elsewhere. I would listen first, not judge, and wait for an explanation, or if needed, an apology. I know trust is fragile and sometimes people make things up because they don’t know if they can share a truth. But that isn’t an excuse. My next reaction would depend on how I decided to handle it and what to say. If someone shared a story and confessed to lying, I would be concerned as to why they felt they needed to lie to me. Sometimes there is an underlying story that is truthful but more hurtful. But nevertheless, I will be cautious about believing that person with future stories. It’s always best to be truthful, there’s too much work in keeping up with lies. 

Thank you for sharing and for your compliments!  I am glad to be here, too!

God Bless you!

Karen

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Karen answers Bart

admin on Nov 5th 2010

Comment by Barton 23 Oct 2010 at 3:13 pm

Karen,

Can you find a way to talk to a friend of mine who is extremely disturbed. She read your book. I can’t help her. I don’t know how. She has alters don’t know how many but she pisses me off all the time. I can’t handle it anymore. I suggested she seek therapy as you repeatedly suggest in your blog answers but she claims only you can help her. I think she needs professional help and not you who must be drained from such constant requests. I know she is on your facebook account and sends you a ton of crap that I am happy you ignore. It is nice of you to answer one a day that helps. Can Dr. Baer take her on as a patient? She lives near you guys in the Chicago area. I can get her to him. I am retired and tired of fighting a lost battle. Today I could strangle her but don’t be concerned I won’t. I found your site and ordered your book today.

Thank you.

Bart

Dear Bart,

Thank you for believing I can be of help but I am not a therapist and can’t give advice. It would be inappropriate for me to talk with your friend. But I will pray for her and I wish her well. It’s my hope that she will seek professional help with a qualified therapist. What I can say is that therapy helped me. Tell her being afraid to talk to someone is like allowing her abusers to win while she is kept a prisoner of her past.

I know who you’re referring to and read about her distress and responded to her a few days later. I can’t take on a relationship that may drain me and jeopardize all the work I’ve done to stay healthy. Please know I care and hope that all those who write to me find my story helpful. It is my desire to encourage hope through sharing my story. Dr. Richard Baer is no longer counseling patients.

Thank you for ordering Switching Time. It’s my hope that in reading my story you will find a sense of calm in how to help your friend. I can hear your frustration and I feel your pain. However, it’s nice to know that despite the aggravation she puts you through, you still found a place in your heart to write in hope to help her. I admire that! I wish more friends of multiples cared as you do. I believe it’s healthy to want to strangle her and I’m glad to know that you won’t! Sounds to me like you’re stressed and feeling overwhelmed. Please take care of yourself first!

Wishing you all my best,

Karen

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Karen answers Jesse

admin on Nov 5th 2010

Comment by Jesse on 23 Oct 2010 at 2:53 pm

Dear Karen,

What are you called now after integration? Do you consider yourself mentally ill? Are you diagnosed with some other disorder? Are you receiving professional care? I am curious what integration will bring if I agree to it. My psychiatrist said I will become normal like everyone without a diagnosis. I find his statement confusing. I would love to believe him but can’t. I am asking your view on disolving your illness. Does Dr. Richard Baer believe in writing you off as 100% normal? Can you survive without the mpd label attached? What are you? Can you define yourself? Do you require maintenance support? More therapy? Life help? Education to re-enter civilzation like those who were traumatized during war? In my confused mind I need to know what you believe is helpful to your sanity? What do you live for? Why are you living? At what cost did writing your story cause you? I know I am asking a world load of questions but I would be very grateful for your response. I trust you to tell me the truth. Doctors lie.

Jesse

Dear Jesse,

WOW! There are many questions here, enough to write a book on! I will try my best to answer some of them. First. I no longer consider myself mentally ill since integration. I have always thought my multiplicity was disabling, but not a permanent illness. For me multiplicity was a coping mechanism that kept my brain healthy by compartmentalizing my abuse into small sections, like pieces of a puzzle, until as an adult I was able to deal with the fact that I was sexually abused in a horrific way.

What do I call myself these days? I’m not sure. I don’t believe there is a label, but there were a few times I referred to myself as a recovering multiple. I say recovering because recovered sounds too final. I believe my journey is life-long. Just because my alters and I survived integration doesn’t necessarily mean I have no issues left to work on. There are moments now when I could use someone to talk things over with. But everyone needs to talk to someone sometime. I continue to require emotional support and try my best to live my life in a way I once never thought possible.

Normal? Define normal. I don’t believe anyone who has suffered severe abuse and multiplicity can be really normal, because there are always issues of past abuse to deal with. What is normal for me may be not normal for you. We all are unique. In my opinion, the word normal should never be used.  I’m not sure what your therapist meant by normal without a diagnosis.

I try my best not to dwell on my traumatic past and instead live with hope of an abuse-free future. I try not to look back, but I admit it’s sometimes hard to look forward. I live each day to the best of my ability. If I were you I would relax and allow your therapy to progress naturally. Integration was the best decision I made. Trust your therapist to guide you; he or she is there to help, not hurt you. There is no sure foolproof way of knowing what life will bring after integration. That’s being realistic. Just take one day at a time and do your best.

Wishing you all my best on your own journey to wellness!

Karen

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