Archive for March, 2011

Karen answers Sue

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Sue on 30 Jan 2011 at 9:46 pm

Hi Karen,

I have terminal cancer and was reading your story when it came to me how much I wish I could have had alters to distract me from myself during chemotherapy. My chemo treatments did not work therefore the grim prognosis. I wished for strength of any kind and suprised myself by gaining strength from your gentle nature. I am at peace with dying and wanted to know if you are too? If you were to know you were dying from a terminal illness what would you do? I have faith. I want to thank you for your story. People do need people from many walks of life. I was never abused but feel abused. Thank you and Richard Baer for continuing support. I prayed the Novena for you. Bless you both.

Sue

Dear Sue,

Thank you for sharing your story with me at this point in your journey. I will be praying for you as you quiet your heart and receive God’s strength. Today, I send my blessings and pray for you.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I hope these times are growing and learning times for you and come with a sense of calm and peace in your heart. I have faith, too. And like you, I believe we all need people from all walks in life. We are all here for too short a time and need to make the best of our journey and support each other. Please know I am with you in spirit.

Maybe having alters would have distracted you, but do you really wish to be distracted and not feel every moment of life? Having alters was frustrating because I wasn’t given a choice to feel my own pain and grow from it.

When I’m ready to go, I will most certainly wish to be aware of everything. I want to feel every moment, breathe each breath, and talk to those who mean so much to me. I’m not afraid to die. I’m glad my alters are integrated and that I will be one when my time arrives.

Wishing you peace, my friend…

Karen

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Karen answers Rachel

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Rachel on 30 Jan 2011 at 10:31 am

Hello Karen!

I just finished watching a new documentary which aired on the CBC Passionate Eye “When the Devil Knocks”, wondered if you knew about it and was interested in your thoughts. The film was a wonderful portrayal of the non-Hollywood version of DID and also resulted in a complete integration.

Thank you. You are a remarkable lady!!

Dear Rachel,

I’m sorry, I did not see this documentary but will search the archives for it. Interesting, I hadn’t seen any documentary or show related to complete integration. I didn’t know one was made. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall hearing about any integration other than my own.

Thank you for your compliments and for your referral! Love referrals!

Karen

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Karen answers Stanley

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Stanley on 26 Jan 2011 at 4:22 am

Is this Karen really the real Karen Overhill? If you are I would like to know if you believe people who sexually abuse children can change. I was a rapist done my time for ten years and released to an unforgiving world. My past actions have condemned me and in prison I learned about why I did what I did. I am a twenty nine year old male who was raped by my grandfather. I act like a multiple personality to maintain sanity. If I pretend the rapist was a part of me no longer exisiting then I can move forward. If I tell myself I am a rapist I feel suicidal. I never wanted to hurt any child and sorry I did. What I thought was love was not. I know better now and hope to be forgiven. I felt hope reading your book in prison. I said to myself if you can forgive life can become rewarding for me to. I want to find a nice woman to love me for me. I want to have children of my own. How is it possible when I have to carry shame? Oh I was released twenty months ago and found a job and stay clean and away from trouble.

Stanley, a former prisoner

Dear Stanley,

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m not sure how to answer your questions, but I will try. If while you were imprisoned you received therapeutic help to resolve the impulse to harm and sexually abuse children, you may need to take precautions not to be influenced to that same thought pattern. It is my hope that you continue in therapy forever. I believe constantly sharing and keeping yourself involved in your healing journey is an absolute must.

As for myself, after being a victim of abuse, I don’t consider myself as healed. I continue to experience the after-effects from my past abuse. The difference is that now as an adult I’m able to acknowledge it, deal with it, and put those dark thoughts where they belong—in my past. I don’t welcome my past pain into my present or future. Though I admit, triggers are still present. Be careful, be cautious, and stay away from children.

I am sorry to hear that you were abused. But pretending to be a multiple is not right. Admitting you were a rapist and vulnerable to rape again is being wise. Never forget the pain you’ve caused. Please remember it, feel it, and never allow your feelings to overtake your need to rape again.

Please seek continued help and round the clock support. I will keep you in my prayers.

Wishing you continue your journey to be your best self.

Karen

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Karen answers D. Pearson

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by D Pearson on Jan 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Hi Karen and Richard.

My name is D. Pearson. I have Aspberger syndrome. I am not the best person to be around.D. P

Most people are afraid of me or hate me. But you were nice. I heard about you from a friend who read me your story. I wished it never ended. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear D. Pearson,

Thank you for sharing! I’ve read about Aspberger syndrome and can empathize where you are coming from. Though I can’t compare my illness with yours, I know that my illness may have left friends and family feeling standoffish, too. Please know that being your best self each day will bring forth knowledge and understanding of who you are and of your experiences trying to survive your illness. We are each unique. I wish you much happiness.

Thank your friend for reading you my story. That was very nice of him to take the time to do so. I, too, wish my past abuse never happened. Unfortunately, it did. Reality can be harsh. Thankfully, my past challenges provided me with a caring heart with which to help others. I believe helping others through sharing my story gives me purpose.

I would love to hear your story. Please keep in touch! You can write to me here or find me on Facebook.

Thank you. Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Susan

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Susan on 25 Jan 2011 at 1:34 pm

I happened upon your page after reading your book. I noticed the last comment about you and Oprah. I agree. Why not chosen? Yesterday I watched Oprah meet her half sister for the first time ever. Amazing story, don’t you agree? I believe with my whole heart that you will personally hear from Oprah. It is all in God’s plan. I bet He is saving you for something bigger after you accomplish some more, not to diminish what you did accomplish. Someone else wrote this is not your time. Karen, your day awaits you. God bless you.

Susan

Dear Susan,

Thank you for reading Switching Time and believing in me! That means so much to me.  I did see the reunion show when Oprah met her half sister. Amazing, yes! I was touched, too!

I have faith that deep down Ms. Winfrey is the best person to understand my story. Yet, it may be that she hasn’t read it. I have faith that one day, maybe over tea, we will sit down and discuss my story. Maybe then Ms. Winfrey will want to get to know me more. I don’t need to be a guest on her show (although I would love to be her guest), but that’s not as important as encouraging hope through sharing my story in the best way I can. Surviving and being my best self is most important to me.

Thank you for sharing,

Karen

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Karen answers Danielle

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Danielle on 16 Jan 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hi Karen

I read your story and am inspired by you. I am a student of psychology and thought your story opened up pandora’s box, so to speak. LOL As my class debated your illness and successful integration I wondered how you managed to keep your therapist in control. This may sound off balance coming from a psych major but the tension that surrounded your therapy had to have been difficult for you and your doctor. The fascination I have is did you actively remain cautious about how much to share and when? Were you able to read your therapist and act accordingly? How did you approach an issue when your therapist was having a bad day? Could you tell when he was ill? If you could did you change the flow of your therapy to suit his needs? I bet you did. Love your answers here on your blog. You are one fascinating woman. Can’t wait to read your next book.

Danielle

Dear Danielle,

Love your question! Keep my therapist in control! Now that’s a first! I don’t believe I kept my therapist in control, but I can totally recall I may have been overly cautious as to what I shared at any given time. I will try to explain this.

The answers to all your questions is—yes. I admit I was able to read Dr. Baer. Most of the time, Dr. Baer had an excellent way of shielding me from trying to read him, but I always knew more than I should. I believe this being attuned to people in general came from my having to constantly be aware and prepared during my abusive childhood. For survival, I had to learn early on how to read people. Dr. Baer was no exception, but quite frankly my therapy worked because he was an excellent therapist when I needed one.

The truth? Yes, I knew when Dr. Baer felt ill and if I sensed Dr. Baer was having a bad day, I shared less. I could tell within the first few minutes of each session how much to share. But that is great therapy, us working together as a team to heal me. Though Dr. Baer worked hard at keeping his thoughts and feelings private, I knew that he knew that I was attuned to him, and he adjusted to that to be the therapist I needed him to be at that time. Nevertheless, being a multiple can be quite frightening and it took an exhausting amount of energy between us for me to share. I had to be sure he could take me on. My alters as well as myself were relentless at times. I’m sure working with a multiple patient can spiritually drain any therapist. I can only guess that based on the fact that I felt drained myself after each session. But Dr. Baer hid his stress well.

Thank you for your question. In the sequel to Switching Time, I’ll share more stories like this.

Karen

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Karen answers Cal

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Cal on 10 Jan 2011 at 7:21 pm

Hi Karen,

Read you story. Amazing! Brilliant! Miraculous! Well written! Lots of love to you. God bless you to make a difference.

Cal

Dear Cal,

Thank you for the great review! Dr. Baer and I truly appreciate hearing from you!

Wishing you all my best!

God bless you,

Karen

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Karen answers Jessica

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Jessica on 09 Jan 2011 at 5:16 am

Hi Karen, My name is Jess, I’m twenty years old and I have just finished reading Switching Times. I randomly picked that book up when I was at the library, looking for books about bipolar/disorders because I am looking for some sort of sign that could help me cure something that is severely wrong with me. It has opened my mind in a new direction towards personality disorder, but I’m so entirely confused about it all. I self-harm, severely depressed, suicidal, I have been diagnosed with bipolar (but I believe my therapist only diagnosed me with bipolar because of my depression and the 17 cut marks on my wrist) and I’ve had an eating disorder for about 9 years. I have been through sexual abuse as a child, but all the memories are blurred. After reading Switching Times, it brought back fuzzy memories, some (although very hazy) that automatically popped back into my mind, some I didn’t even remember. All throughout my childhood, to my teenage years, up until now, I have been “troubled” and no body could deal with me. No body “knows what to do with me.” My mother has a long history of bipolar and I assumed it has been passed down to me because I do agree that I have been diagnosed with bipolar. But I know that there’s something else wrong with me. I’ve caused a lot of damage in the past and currently I have been making everything a wreck. I don’t know what to do anymore. The book is about your seventeen personalities, and after reading this book, I question if this is a problem that I have too? I don’t recall having different names for different alters. I don’t even have different alters. Or perhaps it’s because I don’t know it? Did you know you had different alters right from the start? I, too, sometimes do things I don’t recall doing, but it’s probably because my horrible memory. But I also do things that take over my mind and I feel like I turn into somebody else. Like when I drive around in my car, I waste so much gas and I know it, but I still do it, and I know I’m going to suffer from it later when I have don’t have any gas left. Is that another alter that comes through me? I just don’t understand the fact of acknowledging an alter. This may seem silly, wondering if I have an alter. I feel like after reading this book, I sense that my mother must of had multiple personality disorder as well, she always had so many different sides which is why the doctors diagnosed her with bipolar. But it came to the point where sometimes I didn’t know her anymore. Like there was a stranger living with me. My family tells me that very same thing to me, as if they don’t know who I am at times. I know that you are not a therapist, and I know you do not have direct answers for everything, but I’m asking you because you have experienced it all, do you know automatically if you have those alters? I know I should get help, and I have, I had one therapist that was extremely nice, but I felt like the other two (I had three) only wanted my money because at the end of every session they would tell me my bill and ask for it to be paid immediately. I currently don’t have the funds to go into treatment. I just want to know that there Is something there that is wrong with me after all these years of have ruining my life. I just want to finally understand me somehow. Thank you for reading my comment and I just want you to know you are a brave and courageous woman to have been dealt with such hardships and to have survived it all, and still going strong. Honestly, thank you for allowing to share your story and I hope that millions out there take it all in and reach out to those who are suffering from any form of abuse.

With lots of love,

Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Thank you for sharing your story with me. I understand and can empathize with the confusion you feel. Please know that there is no easy answer. During my childhood and until my diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, I was unaware of my distinct alters. There were more times than I can count where I would find myself somewhere I hadn’t planned on being; many times I didn’t feel alone within myself.  There were too many coincidences in which things would get done out of my awareness by me.  But most of all, simply knowing that there was something happening to me out of my control. My alters didn’t just appear overnight, they developed over time.  They were my hope, survival, faith, and simply my way of coping through severe abuse.

Knowing whether you have alters doesn’t come to one’s mind unless chaos presents itself. It’s important to seek help with a qualified therapist who can help you uncover the trauma that has fragmented your thoughts and feelings. Whether or not you have alters helping you, your therapist will help you understand why you may feel disconnected from yourself. What’s most important is not to self-diagnose yourself, or define yourself by your mother’s diagnosis and life journey. Each of us has our own needs and journey to attend to. Please take care of yourself first.

Regarding cutting yourself, I understand. I’ve been there, too. But there was a reason for it that my therapist helped me come to understand. In my opinion, based on my own experiences, cutting replaces a much deeper pain. I once assumed cutting would take my inner pain away. Not true. But without help, I wouldn’t have known better.

Please know that I have faith in you. Thank you for all your kind thoughts.

Karen

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Karen answers Jeffrey

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by Jeffrey on 03 Jan 2011 at 10:43 am

Hi Karen,

Blessings to you in the New Year. I am determined to make something of myself this new year. I received the Switching Time book as a Christmas present and picked it up on New Years Eve day. I like books. Love them actually. I couldn’t put it down and read through the new year leaving me reading your book in two days. Funny I think. Had a bad cold and didn’t want to leave the house. Anyway, I am inspired by your courage.

Thank you. God bless

Dear Jeffrey,

Thank you for sharing! I’m touched you were inspired by my courage. What a wonderful way to make a statement that you’re determined to make something of yourself. I’m inspired that you chose my story to read.

Wishing you a safe and meaningful journey…

Karen

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Karen answers ellie

admin on Mar 19th 2011

Comment by ellie on 08 Jan 2011 at 1:38 am

thank you for telling your story. i know you inspire people but do you know how much you are loved and do you know your book is appreciated. i have been abused and it was your help, not your doctor’s  that helped me. isn’t facebook amazing. happy i found you. you are a true servant of god/ an angel. bless you.

ellie

Dear Ellie,

You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts. I’ve been told how much I’m loved, but it never ceases to bring me joy to hear it again. I’m truly touched by everyone who feels that. When I started down the path to share my story, I thought it was too overwhelming.  Could anyone understand that I am just one woman who happened to survive something horrific, and now wants to share in hope? It’s always been my desire to encourage hope and healing.

I’m sorry to hear that you, too, were abused. There are doctors who can be of great help, but it’s within each of us to heal ourselves. I admit, I’ve learned many lessons from Dr. Baer, but in the end, it was all up to me. Dr. Baer never told me what to do; he listened and treated me with unconditional care and respect. He was my guide.  That in turn helped me guide myself.

I’m blessed and grateful to all my new friends and Facebook friends for inspiring me, bringing smiles to my face, and touching me deeply. My faith comes from caring people like you. Thank you!

God bless you.

Karen

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