Archive for May, 2009

Karen answers Marquerite

Richard Baer on May 20th 2009

Comment by Marquerite on 13 May 2009 at 5:54 pm

During your process to integrate your alters were you working a full time job. If you were did you find the trauma of integration exhausting enough to need time off? What did your employeer say when you told him of your condition? How did you spouse deal with your process? your kids?

Dear Marguerite,

Most of the years during my therapy were spent on disabilty for medical reasons in addition to my multiplicity.  Due to an incident at the birth of my daughter, my alters re-grouped and came out full force in order to help me survive the trauma I experienced during the cesarean section.  I share this story in the Prologue of our book, Switching Time.

My cesarean section didn’t quite go smoothly and left me temporarily traumatized with pain that resulted in my need for nine surgeries.  During the first two years after my daughters birth I was often hospitalized for one thing or another.  It was at this time my alter’s resurfaced. Remember, alters are created to help one survive, and I needed help.

I did my best to heal and get back to my full-time position as an administrative assistant in a large company.  Although ill, dissociating my pain helped.  I went back to work within four months and continued to work until my daughter’s first birthday when I couldn’t hide from the fact that I was not only in constant, disabling pain, but was losing time and not recalling large parts of my day.  My work always got done, the only problem was I couldn’t say how.  That’s when I knew my losing time was more than simple forgetfulness.

I never told my employer that I lost time, but I decided to quit.  I informed my employer I was planning to go back to school and be full-time mom to my one year old daughter and three year old son. I was ashamed and unable to explain how the excellent quality of my work got done, on time, but out of my awareness.  As I received awards for work that an alter did, I became depressed. I was really afraid that I’d soon be discovered, and I more or less fled before I was.

During the eighteen months of integrations, my job was as a full time mom, part time night cashier at a drug store, and volunteer for many community and my children’s activities.  I rarely slept, and with active alters, I kept busy even though I was emotionally exhausted all the time.  My husband supported my decision to stay home and raise our children.  He actually wanted me to stop working after my first child was born, before my daughter’s birth and subsequent alter chaos.  I had maintained a great paying job for ten years.  However, losing time would not allow me to function at my best.  Sure, I was able to wear a mask and get things done, but not in an appropriate way.

Thank you for your thought provoking question.

Karen

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Karen answers Angela

Richard Baer on May 20th 2009

Comment by Angela Allison on 17 May 2009 at 2:05 pm
Dear Karen,
What if your alters came back if something else traumatic happens to you? How would you know if you have alters that didn’t come out yet? I know someone who was integrated and twenty years later discovered there were four alters that were hidden. Do you think there could be alters not integrated and live hiding from you and Dr. Baer?
Angela Allison
Dear Angela,
 
I don’t believe it’s possible for my ex-alters to come back.  Each alter was a part of me and has merged within me to make me whole.  If something traumatic should once again happen to me, and it has, I will need to deal with it in the best way I can.  I feel I would know if there were other alters that hadn’t been integrated. I would know if there were alters yet to come forth.  I would know this because I would be losing time, which I am not.
 
Thank you for your questions.
Karen

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Karen answers Bill

Richard Baer on May 20th 2009

Comment by Bill  on 17 May 2009 at 2:00 pm
Hey Karen! What’s up! Haven’t checked your answers in about six months and am shocked by how many questions people ask you. Great job! You get better and stronger with each question answered.
Bill 
Dear Bill,
 
Thank you! I truly appreciate your kind thoughts and opinions, they mean a lot to me.  Thank you for not only re-visiting our web site, but for reading what I’ve written.  It’s nice to hear that every now and them. 
 
Have a good day!
Karen

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Karen answers Philannon

Richard Baer on May 20th 2009

Comment by Philannon 13 May 2009 at 10:50 am
What would you say to a teenager contemplating suicide because a friend of her’s older downs syndrome brother raped her and he was too strong for her to fight off. I think she should call the police and report it. Just because the guy is slow doesn’t make it forgiveable. I told her to tell her friend but she said no. I don’t want to lose her because of this. What could I do to help prevent her from taking her own life. I heard people who threaten aren’t really serious but can’t buy that.  I know this girl and she means what she says. She’s not capable of lying. I read you book and admire Dr. Baer for helping you. Who would ever believe rape to be so damaging. My friend is special to me. I want to be her Dr. Baer.
Dear Philannon,
I’m sorry to hear that your friend was raped, and yes, it’s sad that the rapist happened to have Down’s syndrome. I am not a therapist and can’t give advice, nor am I qualified to give any advice on whether to call the police.  However, in my opinion, rape is rape, and your friend was violated.  That is not acceptable.  I believe all acts of rape should be reported.  If the rape goes unreported, he may rape another woman, teen, or young girl.  Please do the right thing and report it.  The brother with Down’s syndrome needs help, too.
 
There are misconceptions regarding people who say they want to end their life. On some level, if you say it, you mean it.  However, I also believe by sharing suicidal thoughts one is looking for someone, anyone, to help them change their mind.  I’ve felt suicidal many times, and believe me, I meant it.  When I would share my suicidal thoughts with Dr. Baer, I was looking for him to say “please don’t, I care”.  If your friend continues to say she doesn’t wish to live, she really needs help, and not from you but from a trained professional therapist.  Being a friend is one thing, but stepping into the role of a therapist in not only inappropriate but dangerous.  Please encourage her to talk to someone. Please don’t try to be your friend’s therapist.  Just be her friend.
 
Wishing all of you my best.
Karen

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Karen answers Pat

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by Pat on 08 May 2009 at 9:02 pm

Karen: Thank you for this beautiful email.  You were amazing at class; I was in awe of you. How tough you are, I thought my wedding was strange, that was nothing compared to what you went through. That rotten priest, I would like to spit in his eye and kick him and beat him, etc etc.

Your writings are so great. Have a wonderful Mothers Day, and I will see you next Monday. Love, Pat

Dear Pat,

You’re welcome! And thank you for all your compliments. I feel touched. I appreciate your thoughts about how you would’ve taken care of the priest.  It made me smile to think of you kicking and beating him up. You have much more strength than you think!

Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, too!

Karen

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Karen answers Brittany

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by Brittany on 08 May 2009 at 11:50 am

Dear Karen,

I am eighteen and my father raped me when I was eleven and again when I was thirteen. I never told anyone because he said I asked for it because I wore clothes that turned him on. I read your book in my psychology class, my first college semester. I think about you sometimes and that’s how I get through the bad times when I feel ugly from what happened to me. I have a question for you. After you were abused did you feel ugly too? I can’t see myself as beautiful after being raped by my father. When I want to get into a relationship I ruin it on purpose after the third date, or before becoming intimate. What do you think would help me?

Thank you, Karen Overhill.

Brittany

Dear Brittany,

I’m sorry to hear that you have suffered from being abused by your father.  I can empathize with you and recall how keeping secrets kept me miserable and my pain hidden.  It’s not your fault.  It was never your fault.  When a trusted loved one, especially your father, rapes you for his own personal pleasure, there is no way to justify the act.  It was wrong. It doesn’t matter what type of clothes you wore or how your innocence appeared to turn him on.  Your father was the adult, he acted inappropriately and damaged you.  Please know that you were never to blame: not one bit.

It must’ve been difficult for you to read my story during your psychology class.  Your past feelings may have resurfaced and caused you to think of yourself as unattractive.  I also felt that way, and at times still do. There’s a deep, dark sadness that tends to invade the simplest pleasures of an abused child’s adult life.  A simple statement, in passing, even from a friend, may trigger feeling unattractive.  Men can easily hurt an abused woman’s feeling by making small inappropriate remarks regarding another woman, that will in turn make her feel unattractive.

It’s easy to push away potential good relationships by believing the man will eventually hurt you.  Men can say hurtful things, not thinking they may be inappropriate to the woman accompanying them.  When this happens, it’s important to gently mention that the words hurt.  At these times I try to calm myself and think: is what was said an actual attempt to discredit and hurt me, or just an insensitive remark that the man made without the intention of bringing on harm?  I don’t want to make excuses for men, but I believe most men have no clue as to how they can hurt a woman, and need to be gently reminded.  If not, you will become angry and explode, and he will never know why.

Try to allow yourself some breathing room, excuse and ignore the little hurtful comments, brush them off and tell yourself it’s not something worth ruining your relationship over.  Of course, never let he big hurts go without sharing what upset you.  Try to see if there’s a pattern of hurt.  It’s a balancing act between understanding, self-respect, and seeing reality.  It’s all about learning who you are and how much you can tolerate.  I haven’t found love yet, but believe it is possible.

I am not a professional therapist and can’t give advice, but in my opinion, based from my own personal experience, there are many triggers that come from having low self esteem, caused from being violated.  Please seek help with a professional qualified therapist.

I wish you all the best.

Karen

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Karen answers JK

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by JK on 08 May 2009 at 11:17 am

Hello Karen,

Consistent. That you are! My first time writing to you. I admit, I check your site every few days to educate myself on the human spirit. The answers you provide have a harmonious effect on me. Not sure why? Thank you for providing this chance of a lifetime to get to know you.

Loyal. That you are! Not once have you criticized anyone for the questions they asked, nor have you criticized Richard Baer.

Dependable. That you are! I notice you answer each question posted. I love the fact that you helped a college student finish her research paper. The student, forgot her name, wrote and asked help, and you responded. I respect you for that.

No questions! You answered enough. I am a writer like you and appreciate your effort to bring your message across the globe. Thank you for being you.

JK

Dear JK,

Thank you so much for all your compliments and kind words.  I feel blessed and touched that you took the time to share with me.  It’s really nice to hear that you’ve noticed some of the things I do.

Karen

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Karen answers Chester

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by Chester NYU on 06 May 2009 at 5:44 pm

Hi Karen,

When you first became whole how was your relationship with Dr. Baer and your family and friends? Were there times of tension and accusations? How about ill feelings and wishful thinking that you were dead?

The book was amazing. I can’t believe you are still alive. I think I would have killed myself if I were you.

Chester

Dear Chester,

The integration of my last alter, Holdon, left me feeling as one.  Of course, all wasn’t perfect at first.  I needed to adjust to all my surroundings as one person.  Since each alter gradually integrated within me, Dr. Baer called it a synthesis, my trauma never became more than I could handle.  Besides, Dr. Baer was right beside me, lending his support. I couldn’t have healed without his unconditional care.

My relationship with Dr. Baer stayed the same. We had worked together for so many years that he knew me well enough to help me adapt to my new circumstances.  I wasn’t afraid and knew that all my alters were now a part of me.  I actually felt better knowing that my memories were now all my own. Now I would be able to process all the horror of my past in an adult way.  For the first time ever, I would not lose time nor second guess what I had done during the day.  I felt a sense of calm.

There was some definite tension with my extended family members, especially my siblings and mother.  I did not wish to be around my mother and felt that I needed to let go of being the protector of my siblings.  It was best to keep a distance at first, at least until I was able to sort out my thoughts and feelings.  My family became angry with me and couldn’t understand why I appeared so different. I was accused many times over for not caring, when what really happened is I would no longer serve them.

To some degree, I felt a bit sad at first.  After all, not losing time meant that I had, for the first time in my life, a need to deal with reality on my own.  Not an easy task to accomplish, especially when one wishes to escape.  I knew I was afraid of the unknown.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m alive myself.  Healing is hard work, and I am not finished yet.  Each day is a challenge.  It is my hope to maintain the strength needed to move forward.

Karen

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Karen answers A Fan

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by A Fan on 08 May 2009 at 7:07 am

Karen,

Now that USoT is off season I missed your input and comments on the show’s message board. Not much action on the board. One reason may be because you and DeanNYC haven’t been writing in. I decided to read up more on the illness as you suggested. It’s fascinating to me that you actually answer people’s questions. It seemed so effortless for you. Was it? Are you still around? Will you continue to comment next season? IMO you should be included in on the show’s writers say. Best of luck to you. Love.

Dear Fan,

Thank you for your kind words. I’m still around, answering questions here on my blog.  I see that you have found me.  I appreciate your interest in learning more about multiplicity and glad to hear that you are reading up on the illness.  That’s great!  Especially before the start of the next USoT season.  I would love to share some of my experiences with the writers of USoT.  If asked, I would.

I admit, I miss the action on the USoT message board, too!  I’m not sure what happened to DeanNYC.  I believe he or she bowed out long before the last episode.  As for myself, I check the message board every now and then and most certainly will continue to share my thoughts and opinions when the next season starts.

Thank you for your continued interest, and especially for your well wishes.

Karen

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Karen answers Jodie

Richard Baer on May 12th 2009

Comment by Jodie on 30 Apr 2009 at 5:11 pm

Dear Karen,

If I were you I would change your color scheme on this blog. It sucks! Yuk. I felt inspired by your story but not to encouraged by this web site. LIfe breathes life, make it happen, Karen!

Jodie

Dear Jodie,

I know the colors appear a bit depressing.  Dr. Baer and I will be working on making some cosmetic changes soon.  What’s most important is that we continue to provide information in hope for a better understanding of MPD/DID, an illness that I have survived.  My answers continue to come from me.  It is our hope to encourage healing through knowledge.  And yes, I agree, life breathes life.

That you for sharing your opinion.

Karen

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