Archive for September, 2012

Karen answers Lauren Ruth

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Lauren Ruth on 11 Jun 2012 at 11:44 am

Thank you for letting Dr Baer to tell your story. I learned so much from it. My hat is off to your phenomenal achievement. Faced with such unrelenting terror from such a young age, how many of us could even survive—much less develop the kind, loving, generous, and sensitive aspects of themselves, the way you did?

The world considers multiple personality disorder a disease, but in your case, I think it was an effective response to shattering circumstances, and I admire your creativity and resourcefulness. Living a life the rest of us can barely imagine, you found a way to keep your sparks of goodness isolated, protected, and alive until someone could help you put yourself together. I can only imagine what it felt like to absorb all those memories. I’m sorry you had to endure that. I salute your courage.

My childhood wasn’t quite the nightmare that yours was, but it was bad enough. I’ve recently finished a memoir of those years called Riding the Cyclone. As I sought to write my story honestly and clearly, you gave me a unique and useful way of viewing my past self. How enlightening it was to see the many ways in which emotional pain can be a synonym for a poorly integrated personality.

My sincere thanks for everything you’ve taught me. I’d like to send you a copy of my memoir. If you’d like it, please give me an address to send it to. I can also email you the memoir in ebook form, if that’s more convenient.

Best wishes, Lauren Ruth

Dear Lauren Ruth,

Thank you for your compliments and for sharing.  I like what you wrote: “The world considers multiple personality disorder a disease, but in your case, I think it was an effective response to shattering circumstances…” That is the way I’d like to envision my past multiplicity!

I’m not sure how I survived through the many years of abuse and therapy, but somehow, God willing, I did, and I’m grateful. Absorbing memories was not the worst of my therapy because all the memories were already there inside me in pieces, but speaking them out loud to Dr. Baer was the most difficult thing I had to do. In healing I felt it necessary not to share the details at first.  I was concerned with how Dr. Baer would react and how my painful story would affect him. I’m a people pleaser and did not want anyone to hurt because of me. But I was wrong. Dr. Baer took me on and never once judged me. He may have been ill after a session with me but he never allowed me to see this side of him. There were many days when I left a session and feared I wouldn’t be welcomed back. I’m thankful for Dr. Baer’s unconditional care and know my care wasn’t easy for him.

I’m sorry to hear you had a bad childhood, too. I’m also glad to hear you wrote your story. I would love to read your memoir and will contact you soon! Thank you for sharing your personal journey with me. I look forward to getting to know you.

Wishing you all my best,

Karen

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Karen answers Beau Jeffrey

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Beau Jeffrey on 14 Jul 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi Karen,

I found your book in my wife’s things after she passed away and noticed you signed it with a note of endearment… so I read your story and realized what was so important in my wife’s last days before she passed. She was a survivor of past abuse just like you in different ways and I wanted to say as she spoke during the last few years I noticed much healing and thankfulness in her.  I attribute this to your story. Anyway my wife is gone and I continue to learn about her determination to make things right before she died. What a marvelous contribution your story is to hurting people. Keep the faith. Thank you for being a spot of hope in my wife’s life. I don’t know if you ever met each other, but I think so. Amends for me will be in heaven. As for now I have accepted Jesus as my savior and have changed for the better.

Dear Beau Jeffrey,

First, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m also glad you found understanding in your wife’s illness and pray that it gives you a sense of calm in knowing how hard her life had been and how she longed to make things right before she passed on. I hope you have found peace. I’m not sure if I met your wife without knowing her name, but if she had a signed copy, I suspect I did meet her. Most of the signed books were personally hand given.

As a survivor myself, I know life can be difficult without support and understanding from our loved ones. It sounds to me that you have tried your very best to be supportive to your wife and continued to learn. Living with a multiple or a person with past sexual abuse is not easy. All one can do is to try to be patient during tough times.

Thank you so much for your encouragement to me to continue sharing my story. I have faith and I hope to be of help to those who suffer or know someone who has suffered the pain of abuse.

May your wife rest in peace,

Wishing you all me best,

Karen

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Karen answers Penny

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Penny on 07 Mar 2012 at 8:05 pm

Did you read the religious fiction book about God called The Shack by Paul Young? Do you believe in pain? Do you believe your life was a metaphor in why you survived? Where was god while you were being abused? How is it possible you survived? How does god look to you? Are you a believer in angels, and why? Many questions but I want to know you.

Dear Penny,

Yes, I did read The Shack by Paul Young and found it quite interesting. I believe there was a reason I survived. I have faith and believe my multiplicity was a gift from God.  I’m thankful for the help I received and know that I was never left alone.

You ask where was God while I was being abused. Well, I can’t answer that except to say He was with me, keeping me safe in His arms through dissociation. I had to believe this for this is how I survived. I survived knowing that if I died I would go to heaven. I longed to die and be at peace. I longed for comfort and for someone to care for me. As a child there was no adult I could turn to that wasn’t within me as an alter. I knew God couldn’t stop my abuse because He couldn’t physically stop my abusers, but He ultimately provided me with the best help He could… a coping mechanism called dissociation. God never once left me.

How does God look to me? God is a feeling within my heart, and the way I envision Him is how He appears to me. I believe it’s a personal relationship, and it’s the warmth I feel that matters most. Regarding angels, yes, I do believe in angels. I believe angels surround us and comfort us. I believe this because I feel blessed. It’s a feeling that gives me hope and strength to do more.

Please know that my faith played a big part during my healing. During therapy Dr. Baer and I rarely discussed religion, except about the abuse I suffered from the priest.  Yet, I know I always felt comforted by something other than Dr. Baer. I had the best of both worlds, God, Angels and Dr. Baer.

Thank you for caring.

Karen

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Karen answers Intan

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Intan on 24 May 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hi Karen

I am Intan from Indonesia and finished read a book title Menyingkap Karen….it was very touching and inspiring….you are very brave person and i hope, after your past time you deserve have a wonderful life……regards.

Dear Intan,

Thank you very much for your kind compliments and heartfelt wishes. I hope to continue to live my life to the best of my ability. Life can be wonderful!

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Lia

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Lia on 04 Jun 2012 at 11:33 am

You’re truly a beautiful human being, dear Karen.

Dear Lia,

How very sincere and thoughtful of you! I am touched! You made me smile…

Thank you so much!

Karen 🙂

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Karen answers Anna

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Anna on 29 May 2012 at 12:01 am

Hey there, Karen,

I’m in the middle of Switching Time at the moment, and I’d just like to thank you for your willingness to allow your story to be published and to inspire many others!

I’m in High School, and I’ve recently learned about a very important woman in my life, a grandmother to me, who is dealing with MPD currently, and has been for some time. Not knowing what to think, I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to you and Dr. Baer for helping me better understand what one woman, who I love no matter what, is going through.

These psychological instances, and psychology in general, are something to which I’d like to dedicate my life, and it’s because of people like you who have overcome, or those striving to overcome, what seems impossible.

To be honest, at one point before beginning the book, I feared what I might feel throughout the book. But the emotions I’ve felt so far have helped me understand myself and this field better–your words and Dr. Baer’s are gripping and truly diminish any fears I had.

I can’t wait to read on! And I thought my English independent reading selection would bore me… well, clearly I’ve been proven extremely wrong.

My greatest thanks,

Anna

Dear Anna,

Thank you for sharing! It’s my hope that you finish reading Switching Time and continue to have the same enthusiasm and optimism I hear in your letter! I’m glad to hear stories like yours. It’s always been in my heart to help and inspire others like you.

My sincere good wishes to you for being kind to someone very special to you; support is very important. I was fortunate to have had Dr. Baer and a few close friends and family who loved me unconditionally. I am who I am today because of the support and encouragement I received. I’m truly blessed.

Dr. Baer and I have always hoped to reach people like you and those who have suffered through dissociation. Love and patience is the most important part of the healing journey for a multiple. Trust and time come next, but for me, feeling cared for meant more than words can say.

Once I felt accepted, I walked with my head held high. I no longer felt ashamed, nor felt the need to make excuses for my behavior, or want to end my life. I’m touched to know that your fears were diminished as you read my story.

I’d love to hear from you again, and it’s so great that you have found an area that piques your interest in psychology! The mind is fascinating and complex, and we definitely need good therapists.  Keep on reading and studying!

Wishing you all my best for a lifetime of working, studying, and learning to help others and becoming your best self!

Karen

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Karen answers Elysa

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Elysa on 24 May 2012 at 12:53 pm
Hi, Karen i’m Elsya from Indonesia..
I just finished reading your book ‘menyingkap karen’
I really feel sad to hear stories about your childhood
I do not have any questions I just want to say that you are a very strong woman
I’m very grateful you meet Dr. Baer..
I hope you’re always happy, and God bless you..
thank you for sharing your story and thank you for inspiring me to stay strong through this life
A huge love n hug for you!
Dear Elysa,
Thank you so much for writing to me and sharing! I love hearing that my story is read in your country. I appreciate that you care,; that means a lot to me. My childhood was not the best to be sure, but through my experiences, I’m able to empathize and help others. I’m grateful I met Dr. Baer, too! I can’t imagine where my life would be if I fell into the wrong care.
I’m only as strong as the support I’ve received from God, Dr. Baer, friends and some family members. My life was certainly a challenge and through my journey I’m now living a life full of both happy and sad times. The difference is I choose to be happy, therefore I am. Hugs to you!
God bless you!
Karen

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Karen answers Cathy

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Cathy on 24 May 2012 at 5:16 am

Hi Karen,

I just finished reading Switching Time and want to applaud you on your healing. I can’t believe things like this happen in this world of ours, but it’s good to know there are therapists in the medical field who would go beyond their training and expertise to help a patient like you. In your story both doctor and patient worked together very hard. I know you had to have enriched his life as much as he enriched yours. Do you continue to maintain a relationship with each other? I can’t wait to read the sequel. Why no movie yet? Are the producers waiting for part 2? Best wishes to you both!

Dear Cathy,

Thank you for your applause on my healing. I continue to learn something new about myself each day and believe healing is a lifetime journey. I agree, it’s hard to envision abuse through the eyes of someone else’s story, but I thank God everyday for Dr. Baer’s care and for all therapists who empathize and allow their patients to be themselves as they step off the deep end and begin to share their horror. Dr. Baer truly did his best to treat me with an open mind and not from some medical books. My therapy was extremely intense for both of us. We worked together for many years and yes, there were times that challenged the therapy and our relationship. It took years to build trust and rapport.  I believe Dr. Baer would agree that we enriched each other’s life.

This past year has brought on many changes. I moved to another state and Dr. Baer and I don’t see each other as often as we would like.  But my feelings will never change. I remain forever grateful for all that he has done for me, and we maintain a respectful friendship.

The sequel continues to be a work in progress. I feel inspired to keep writing after your excitement. No movie deals at this time, though you never can tell, if interest resurfaces. In the meantime, I remain hopeful!

Thank you again for your best wishes!

Have a wonderful day!

Karen

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Karen answers Alicia

admin on Sep 19th 2012

Comment by Alicia on 21 May 2012 at 4:40 pm

Hi Karen,

I’m a sophomore in high school reading your book for a report in AP Psychology. This book shows me that people have gone through great things that I have never thought could happen to just one person. You are genuinely an amazing person, and so is Dr. Baer. I’m glad he published this book to show that it is possible a person can overcome any obstacle. I just have a question, so basically all of you dissociatives just went away? I don’t understand; could you explain?

Dear Alicia,

Thank you for your interest and compliments! Dr. Baer and I truly appreciate hearing from you! I’m glad the book was published, too, but for me the book shares more than just the healing process of a multiple. It’s also communicates my desire to encourage hope to others through sharing my story.

As for your question, yes, all my alters (alternate personalities, dissociatives as you refer to them) no longer survive as separate selves. My alters have merged within me to create one complete woman with a variety of interests. This happened slowly, over a few years time, through integration of my fragmented selves. As an adult there was no further reason for me to actively dissociate. I matured to handle adult issues and no longer needed, nor required, my past, childlike coping mechanisms in order to survive with alter help.

Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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Karen answers Hollie

admin on Sep 18th 2012

Comment by Hollie on 21 May 2012 at 11:06 am

Hi Karen,

Hope your well. I have just finished reading Switching Time and lets say that if I hadn’t had college and had to cook and clean, and parent I would never have put it down. I have started writing the script and lets just say I am finding it really difficult to imagine it but I do have a couple of questions that have searched for the answers in the book and I don’t think that they are in there.

How long did each session become and in the end once you had integrated all the alters?

How did you feel once you realized that you weren’t actually living your days, others were?

The lack of sleep, how did that bother you? I know personally that I love sleep and I wouldn’t have handled life knowing that when I thought I was asleep I was actually driving around.

Last one, where did Holdon drive at night?

You are in my thoughts constantly.

Kind regards,

Hollie

Dear Hollie,

It’s nice to hear from you! I am doing well and continuing my work in writing the sequel to my story. So much has happened since the book came out and it’s my desire to encourage hope for what comes after integration and years of therapy. I’m glad you finished reading my story and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

How long did each session become and in the end once you had integrated all the alters?

My sessions were usually either 30 or 45 minutes, but on occasion could last nearly one and a half hours. It continued that way even after all my alters were integrated. My therapy lasted eighteen years. Dr. Baer and I met once a week and spoke by phone 2 to 3 times per week for about 15 to 30 minutes. My therapy was intense, exhausting and appeared never ending. But in the end both Dr. Baer and I learned enough to help me heal and to live a productive life. I’m truly blessed.

How did you feel once you realized that you weren’t actually living your days, others were?

How did I feel? Exhausted and overwhelmed with anxiety at first, but after things settled down a bit and after learning the reasons my life felt chaotic, I came to understand the reasons behind my distress. There is nothing worse than spending an entire day doing things and not know what it was you had done. At night my alters filled in my thoughts and I was given a story about my day, rich with the events but void of feelings. I felt as if I never lived and this saddened me terribly.  For example, in my artwork and drawings, I never could claim them because I was void of the experience my alter Jensen had when doing the actual work. Realistically, the artwork was drawn with my physical hands, but not with my present mind. After each alter accomplished integration, I felt a sense of calm knowing I did take part in all these things, just in pieces.

The lack of sleep, how did that bother you? I know personally that I love sleep and I wouldn’t have handled life knowing that when I thought I was asleep I was actually driving around.  Where did Holdon drive at night?

I know what you mean. I was definitely sleep deprived for many years, more so when my alters were active. The lack of sleep bothered me, but I didn’t realize I lacked sleep at the time.  My body knew, but I did not. Let me explain. When I would go to sleep at night, my alter Holdon and a few other alters would rise to complete tasks left undone from my day. Holdon would drive to put his mind at ease; he did his best thinking during the quiet peacefulness he found in driving with no interruptions during the dark of night, with no visual distractions or noise coming from my children.  Later, Katherine would rise and clean the house so that when I awoke the dishes were done, children’s lunches packed, and their clothes set out.  It would be a great asset to wake today and have a clean house!

I may joke about missing those times, but it was actually frightening. Can you imagine waking and not knowing what you had done all night, after not knowing what you had done all day? I was a mess! Once Dr. Baer discovered Holdon’s driving during the night, I paid attention to the odometer in my car, and made a point of recording the mileage when I parked and once again when I started the car the next day. There were days that nearly 200 miles were unaccounted for, as well as an empty gas tank. I assume Holdon simply drove the highways without any particular destination. The purpose of Holdon’s drives was simply to be himself and do something he loved to do…drive.

I hope these answers are helpful and please keep in touch! Wishing you all my best!

Karen

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