To Tell or Not to Tell

One of the most stressful things about sexual abuse, besides the abuse itself, is the taboo against telling someone. Abusers tell victims (children and teenagers), that they must not tell anyone, and that they will be hurt badly or killed if they tell. The abuser also may tell the victim that a loved caregiver will hate them because they are so bad.

Often the victims of this crime grow up with a terrible secret knocking constantly at their consciousness. It’s like throwing a ball against the wall and catching it. You wish you had someone to catch it, but you alone keep catching the secret and throwing it back into your mind, because you believe you will suffer grave consequences if you tell.

According to psychologists, eventually the secret abuse settles somewhere in the child’s sub-conscious and cannot be retrieved. Sometimes the secret remains hidden years after the abuse is over. My secret, the sexual abuse by a maid, was not revealed until I was middle-aged. I went to a mental hospital and my therapist helped me remember my abuse. With that came the realization that I had wanted to tell my mother very badly at the time, but did not, because my abuser told me she would kill me with the butcher knife if I ever told anyone.

Therefore, these secrets, the secrets of sexual abuse, eventually hid in my subconscious. Along with that, I developed alternate personalities that didn’t even know about the abuse. It was only when I had the courage to tell my therapist that the stress of hiding the secret was released.

If you are suffering from abuse, it is very important to tell someone. Telling is a key to healing.

My story has been told, but there are millions of stories out there that have never been told. Every year the Children’s Advocacy Centers in the United States help over 100,000 children who have been abused. These children may be battered, beaten, starved, locked up, berated, or forced into having sex with an adult or sibling. This is not acceptable in our American society, where we value each life. We must pass stronger laws to stop it.

We must address the needs of girls who are being abused by their fathers or step fathers. Often the first thing they do after being assaulted is tell their mothers. Unfortunately this disclosure is often met with retaliation and disbelief. How many young girls have been slapped in the face, yelled at and told they have dirty minds. They are accused of lying. If Mom won’t listen, I strongly advise these girls to tell a teacher or responsible caregiver about this incest. To tell can lead to release from this situation.

A little known fact is that mothers are committing a felony in most states if they don’t report the abuse and do something to stop it.

If YOU are being abused or you are suspicious that a child is being abused, please call the Child Advocacy Center or Children’s Services in your area. It is their job to investigate and RESCUE ABUSE VICTIMS. Their phone numbers are on the internet. Or you can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD, the national number for reporting abuse. My prayers are with you if you decide to tell.

OCD Christmas

Every year I look forward to Christmas and every year I become overwhelmed by the number of preparations involved, so naturally I was happy to see this card, painted by my grand-daughter, Rachel, who is 10. I love the simplicity of the tree and the bright colors.

Rachel's Tree large

If only decorating the tree was as easy as this simple painting. The first thing I do is assemble my large imitation tree. I help my husband as he places the color-coded branches in their respective spaces on the pole, which eventually becomes an evergreen-shaped plastic object. Once the branches are in place, I go around the tree spreading out the small boughs like lettuce leaves, so they are available to hang ornaments.

Next I go for the lights! This year I am using the larger colored bulbs for a more old-fashioned look. As I struggle unwinding the cords, my husband says:

“Do you want some help?”

“No,” I answer, “Then I’ll just have to change them.” What? Can’t I accept help with this humdrum job?

No, because I am OCD. (Doctors say this means Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but I say it means Overly Concerned Dunce). I can’t accept help because I need to have all the lights spaced evenly around the tree with no two lights of the same color next to each other. No one else seems to have the patience or concern to do that. And if they do, they always make a mistake and I have to do it over. And if you are a mental health practitioner, yes I am in therapy!

Unfortunately, I am that way with the ornaments too, so the next day I drag out the old foot-locker that has held our Christmas decorations for the last 20 years. It is always fun to open it, because years ago I glued a giant picture of Santa’s face on the inside, and he greets me with a big smile. I can’t help it. I always smile back and giggle.

I begin routing around for ornaments, pulling out the larger glass balls first, then the medium and small. I put them on the tree carefully, according to color, spacing and size until I am satisfied that it looks perfect. Then I add the special ones, including angels of different sizes, a snowman, a glass elephant and a Madonna and child ornament.

At last the tree is beginning to look done. I fall exhausted onto the sofa, while my husband tries to revive me, patting me softly and saying “it looks beautiful.” But I don’t hear him, I’m asleep.

 

 

Sarah Gets Her Own Room

SarahI have been in therapy for multiple personalities since 1992. During that time I have discovered more than 13 alters in a system I call the Vortex. This is a circular system in my mind that organizes my personalities, so they can be remembered and accessed. My therapists and psychologists have identified and spoken to most of my alters, and we knew about Sarah but she had never revealed herself except during hypnosis in 1993. She is four years old.

At my most recent therapy session, Dr. Foster suggested we have a conference for all the personalities, where they come out and talk to each other and try to solve their problems. Everyone agreed with this idea, except Sarah.

“No, no, no!” she cried. She squeezed into the wing chair, and hugged the side for protection and to make herself seem smaller. She writhed in the chair, as though she was being attacked by snakes.

“Who are you?” Dr. Foster said. At first she would not identify herself, but after whining for several minutes she answered. She is carrying a lot of shame.

“Sarah!”
“What’s wrong Sarah? Why are you so upset?” the doctor asked.
“Because I don’t want to go to a conference.”
“Why not?”
“Because I don’t want anyone to see me.” There was a long pause.

“Why?” the doctor asked.
“Because I’m so ugly.”
“I don’t think you’re ugly Sarah,” the doctor answered.
“I am ugly. I have to live in a black hole so no one can see me.”
“Tell me about the black hole,” he said.

“I had to go in there to get away from the Green Girl (my abuser). She made me all slimy and hated me, so I disappeared. I went into the hole so she couldn’t abuse me any more. I need to go there now, so no-one finds me.”

“Sarah, the Green Girl can’t find you because she is dead. And, I think Nancy is looking for you,” my therapist said.
“I don’t care. I don’t want anyone to see me, because I’m so ugly and sticky,” Sarah answered. “I have slime all over me from the Green Girl.”
“You still have slime on you from 68 years ago?” Dr. Foster asked. Sarah thought about that. It has been 68 years since my abuse.

“Yes, it feels bad. And my hair looks awful and smells bad,” she said.
“Doesn’t it look like Nancy’s hair?”
Sarah was really thinking now. She said, “No it’s black and kinky like pubic hair.”
“Are you sure about that?” asked Dr. Foster. “It looks to me like it is brown like Nancy’s hair.”

Sarah relaxed a little in the chair, realizing the doctor was right.
“It’s not black and kinky?” she asked.
“No, it’s pretty like Nancy’s hair.” There was a long pause, while Sarah thought about her self image.
“I still don’t want to be around people,” she said, “because my skin is so sticky and slimy.”
“It doesn’t look sticky or slimy to me,” said Dr. Foster. “It looks like Nancy’s skin.”
Sarah looked at her hands. She straightened up in the chair and said, “Do my hands look like Nancy’s hands?”
“Yes!” Sarah relaxed even more and she started accepting her position in my body. “You’re saying I look just like Nancy?”
“Yes, Sarah, yes!”

After a long pause my therapist said, “Would you like to live in a room like everyone else instead of going back to the black hole?” All my alters have rooms in my imaginary house in my head.
“Yes!” Sarah was getting excited about having her own room. “And I want a pink ruffley bedspread.”
“Okay. You have it.”
“And I want a big blue elephant in the room with me.”
“I don’t think there’s room for an elephant in your room, do you?”
“No. I want him to be stuffed!”
“Okay.”

Dr. Foster and Sarah talked about her new room. The doctor said she only had to come out if she wanted to and he gave her a little square window in the door, so she could see if anyone came to see her.
“What if someone comes that I don’t want to see?” she asked.

“I’ll give you some cannonballs. You can shoot them at the window if someone comes who you don’t want to see.”
Sarah smiled, perhaps for the first time in 68 years. “I know,” she said, “I can have the elephant shoot the cannonballs at people through his trunk.” She laughed about that. Sarah was feeling much better.
“I’d like to play,” she told the doctor. He got out some crayons and some paper and gave them to her.
“I’m going to draw my new room,” she said, with enthusiasm.

 

Image

Radio Interview

My radio interview is now available online. I have installed a link to it on my home page, and I’ll jot it down now for those who want to go to it immediately:

http://namiathensohio.org/radio-program/

When you get to the page, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), you will see Conversations from Studio B. Scroll down to the box that says Nancy DeLaval Miller. Click there to hear the interview.

I’ve received many compliments from those who have heard it, and I’m planning to do more speaking on the subject. I am proud to be able to shed light on dissociative identity disorder with multiple personalities. It has been a mystery for too long.

I also was able to talk about my Savior, Jesus Christ, who delivered me from many of my symptoms and led me to the psychologists who discovered my personalities.

Thank you for reading itsmindbloggleing and I really appreciate your comments.

 

My Radio Interview

I am so excited to tell everyone that I will be on the radio on Sunday, September 21st at 12:00 noon. The program is entitled Conversations from Studio B.  I was interviewed in the studio by Tom Walker of the National Alliance on Mental Health, (NAMI). The interview will be broadcast on Ohio Public Radio, WOUB in Athens and affiliate stations.

NAMI is one of the only national organizations that concentrates on helping the mentally sick. They have classes for people diagnosed with mental problems, for people who have children who are mentally ill, and for spouses of the mentally ill. The classes are meant to teach and guide caregivers and family members to emotional healing and wellness.

Tom has years of experience as an interviewer and kept the program running along smoothly, asking me pertinent questions about having Multiple Personalities. I answered honestly, if not sanely, revealing some of the pitfalls of MPD. If you miss the program, the interview was taped and will soon be available on the internet. Simply  type in Conversations from Studio B and your computer will bring up links to hear most of the shows that have been recorded. My name, Nancy DeLaval Miller, will be listed next to the program.

I am one step closer to finding an agent for MULTIPLE: a Christian’s Battle with Insanity. Thank you for following itsmindbloggleing.

Multiple Personality Disorder Case Report

This description of MPD comes from a paper by A. Salama Abdel-Aziz, M.D., published in the Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America in 2005.

“Kathy is a 29 year old white married female who, after having taken an overdose of sleeping pills in her home, was discovered by her husband and admitted to a hospital. This overdose was attributed to her inability to cope with her responsibility as a wife and mother. The husband reported that several times he had found food burning in the oven. On one occasion the patient was saved from a fire in the home but was unable to recall how it started. The patient also denied ever having had a sexual relationship with her husband, although she was the mother of his three children.

The patient’s early development was uneventful except for temper tantrums and nightmares. The nightmares began at about age three when the parents would entertain in their home leaving the child to cry for hours. She would eventually fall asleep only to wake up frightened and screaming.

At age four she had her first traumatic experience. One night she found her father naked in bed with her five year old neighbor. She said that she was stunned with fear and surprise and ran away to her room. Her father followed her and gently persuaded her to take off her clothes and to join him and the other girl in their sexual play. Later,  alone in her room, she felt guilty and cried for several hours, denying to herself what had taken place, and only got relief when she attributed what had happened to someone else, whom she called “Pat.” The second day when approached by her father and the girl, she insisted on being called “Pat.” Also, she continued to engage in oral sex with the father, for nearly five years.

At age nine she experienced her second traumatic event, when her mother caught her with her father. The mother became angry with the father, wept for some time and insisted on taking her daughter in her bed every night. After a short time the mother became attached to her daughter sexually in what the mother described as a safer relationship. “Kathy” could not accept this, denied to herself what was happening and attributed it to a new person, “Vera”, who continued the relationship with the mother for another five years.

At age 14, she suffered her third traumatic experience. This was rape by an older man, who was her father’s best friend. “Kathy” became very depressed, called herself “Debby” and slept away from the mother. At that time, she was described by the parents as being very miserable. She became mute and was admitted to a hospital.

According to the hospital records, she showed a mixture of depression, dissociation and trance-like symptoms, with irritability and extensive manipulation which caused confusion and frustration among the hospital staff.

Following discharge she was seen by a therapist to whom she became very attached. He showed marked curiosity about the different personalities and became fascinated with her case. He suggested hypnosis as a treatment for her condition. His hypnotherapy sessions focused on the rape incident. He felt that “Debby” was the strongest of the personalities. Instead of concentrating on “Kathy”, he encouraged “Debby” to dominate the therapy sessions and talk about “Pat” and “Vera”, reinforcing their roles as dominant personalities. It was at this period, she terminated her therapy and began to call herself “Kathy”, “Pat”, “Vera”, and “Debby” at different times.

At age 18, she had her fourth traumatic experience. “Kathy” became very attached to a boyfriend in town. Her parents opposed the relationship and refused to allow her to meet with him. Her mother was constantly warning her that men could not be trusted, pointing to her own marriage to her father. The patient became scared, unable to trust either of her parents, and ran away from home to another town. She could not find a job, and her need of money drove her into prostitution. She began calling herself “Nancy”.

“Debby” rejected “Nancy” and forced her to overdose on sleeping pills. She was then admitted to a mental hospital where she met her husband, who also was admitted following a suicide attempt. This time the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder was confirmed.

Reading ‘The Yard Gnome’

I wrote a very comical series called The Yard Gnome. I should not have divided it into parts because it made it too hard to read.

If you would like to read it, you have to go to my blog and start on the blog from May 24th, My Neighbor the Yard Gnome, which is the first section of the series. Then you would read the blog from May 26th, Yard Gnome II.  If your not laughing by that time, you can read the blog from May 27th, Yard Gnome III. I hope you can still laugh after all this confusion.

Sorry about that.  D.I.D. I do that? Nancy

Yard Gnome III

gnomeThe Yard Gnome Part III

I didn’t think things could get any worse, when Jessie devised a plan for catching her husband. She had found an old dolly in the shed. It wasn’t a baby doll, it was one of those gizmos men use to move heavy items. She thought we could pick up the gnome and move him back to the house on the dolly. It wasn’t a bad idea, considering the problem.

I wish you could have seen us trying to move that stupid gnome. We had a terrible time getting it onto the dolly, and when we did, neither of us had to strength to push it over the grass. We were groaning and moaning.

“Paul’s fallen off the dolly!” Jessie screamed after the gnome slipped and crashed onto the grass.

“How will we ever get him to the house?”

It was a predicament. The gnome was the heaviest thing I had ever tried to lift and even together we could hardly get him right side up. He was at a weird angle and pretty far away from the bird bath.

“He’s leaning over too much,” Jessie whined. “I hope he doesn’t notice.”

After our dolly folly, neither Jessie nor I could figure out what to do. Since I didn’t really believe Paul had turned into a yard gnome, I decided I needed to spy on him at night. I didn’t mention to Jessie that I thought he was seeing another woman, but she thought he must be moving around at night, doing the yard work by the light of the moon.

The next night we hid outside behind the bushes near the bird bath and watched the gnome. It was back in its original place, with the hose in its hand. Nothing happened for awhile and I almost feel asleep, when we heard a funny noise and something whizzed past us into the woods. The yard gnome had moved!

“Did you see something whiz past us?” Jessie whispered.

“Yes I did, and I heard it too. Do you think it was………could it have been…..Paul?” I couldn’t believe it. How could he move that fast. I must have been asleep.

I couldn’t see Jessie’s face, but I knew she was excited. We began calling out Paul’s name into the darkness, sneaking through the yard quietly. Jessie handed me a flashlight and I lead the way, as we walked round and round the bird bath and through the yard. She was calling Paul in a plaintive voice.

“Paul……Paul, please come in….Here Paul…..I’m sorry I made you do all the housework…” She repeated it like a mantra for awhile. Finally she screamed “Come here you idiot.”

The situation was getting scary. Was Paul a ghost? Suddenly, something touched me on the shoulder and I jumped and screamed.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” Jessie said. “I see something in the woods. Turn the flashlight to the woods.”

“Of course,” I whispered. I pointed the light toward the woods, checking out the trees and the bushes, but no Paul. There was a slight glow coming from behind one of the larger trees, and suddenly I saw the top of a pointy red hat. I grabbed Jessie by the arm.

“Look over there,” I whispered. We both saw the red hat. We moved closer and I turned off the flashlight so Paul couldn’t see us. Then we saw the tops of more than one hat.  My thoughts were running wild. Could there be more of these little men? More yard gnomes? Was this a meeting?

“He has friends!” Jessie whispered.

There was a small fire in the middle of the group and we heard quiet laughter. We slipped up closer to the little fire and counted the gnomes. Six in all, and sure enough, there was a female gnome standing next to Paul. She looked almost the same as the other gnomes, but she had blond hair, no beard and she was wearing a skirt. Jessie was really mad by then, and I hoped she knew better than to make a scene.

I was wrong.

“Paul!” Jessie cried. “What are you doing out here?”

“I’ve met some other gnomes,” he answered. “This is Tiny and this one’s Cutie, and……”

“I don’t give a darn what they’re names are,” she yelled, piercing the quiet night. “Are you coming home to bed, or not?”

“Not!” he said. “I’ve met someone else.” He nodded his head towards the cute little female gnome. “You know what they say, gnome, sweet gnome.”

I was astonished, but I had the sense to make Jessie turn around and leave the woods. Soon after, the glow went out and the laughter stopped.

On the way home, despite her anger, a tear ran down Jessie’s cheek. “I had no idea my husband would become a yard gnome. Do you think I forced him into it? I miss Paul, and I am so lonely sometimes. It’s just not that nice at home anymore.”

I finally had the answer she needed. “Well, at least your yard is beautiful! The lawn seems to be perfectly groomed, and I got you a subscription to Gnome and Garden magazine.”

 

 

Yard Gnome II

This story becomes sadder and sadder every time I tell it. Jessie was coming over to my house every morning to discuss her problem. As I sat with her, I realized she was slipping over the edge.

“Perhaps you should see a psychologist,” I suggested.

“What!” she gasped. Oh, oh, I had offended her.

“You think I should go to a psychologist?” Jessie was definitely insulted and she got up and left, slamming my kitchen door so hard, I thought the glass was going to break. I felt bad about it, but I breathed a sigh of relief.

I didn’t see Jessie for several days and then one morning she was back. She had mellowed a bit and she said, “Wouldn’t it be better if Paul saw the psychologist?”

“Yes, but he’s not even able to speak anymore, Jessie. I think you need to get help for your own sake.”

“I guess you’re right. Do you have the name and number of a psychologist?” I gave her the number and she left. When I drove past her house I saw that the yard gnome had not moved and was still holding the hose, smiling. I was amazed that Jessie’s yard still looked perfect. How could that be? I asked her if she was doing the yard work.

“No, I haven’t done a thing. It still looks good though, doesn’t it?”

“Yes it does,” I agreed. Over the next few days I really tried to figure it out. How could a man turn into a yard gnome, I kept thinking. There had to be some explanation. Maybe Paul had put a stone yard gnome in his place and was sneaking off to see another woman. It certainly made sense considering the way Jessie treated him. But how could the gnome look so much like him?

Later that week Jessie knocked on my door. “Oh no, here we go again,” I thought. I was glad to hear she had visited the psychologist, but sad to hear the results.

“That psychologist is a nutcase. He kept asking me about my feelings. How did I feel about my husband turning to stone? Had I done anything to offend him? How did I feel about doing his household chores? Was I willing to give up my soaps? It was just hopeless. When I got home it was dark. I hoped Paul had returned to being a man, so I ran in the house hoping he was watching TV, being his normal self. He wasn’t.”

She started crying again. “It doesn’t matter how I feel about it, it only matters that he’s not around any more. He’s not around to do the dishes, or take out the garbage or wash the car. He doesn’t do the vacuuming, or dust. He’s just standing in the yard. I knew he’d find a way to avoid doing his chores.”

My Neighbor, the Yard Gnome

gnome A Three Part story by Nancy DeLaval   Miller

Part I

When I first met Jessica and Paul Yardley I thought they would be great neighbors. They were polite and friendly and their place looked like a picture from Home and Garden magazine. Often, during those first weeks after they moved in, I would see Paul working in the yard – mowing, planting, pruning, watering – he did everything with a pleasant smile on his face. He seemed very happy.

However, I soon learned that Jessie wasn’t happy at all. When we got together for coffee one day, she expounded on her husband’s faults. He was lazy and stupid, shirked his chores in the house, and all he wanted to do was work in the yard. I came away realizing she was very bossy and quite dysfunctional, even crazy perhaps.

Friday, she came rushing over to my house and knocked loudly on the back door. “Can I talk to you?” she asked, pushing her way into the house. I agreed and we sat down at the kitchen table. “Paul won’t come in the house!” I had no answer for this and she went on. “Paul went out to work in the yard on Wednesday and never came back in. He finished the mowing two hours later and I kept expecting him to come back in the house, but he didn’t. I didn’t really care at first. I needed my nap and I had to watch my soaps, plus I had to prepare dinner. It seems like the work never ends.

“When dinner was almost ready, I went out to call him. I saw him standing by the bird bath with the hose.

“Paul,” I called out.

“I’m over here,” he yelled back. His voice sounded a little weaker than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it. He was some distance away.

“It’s time for dinner.”

“I’ll be in soon,” he said smiling at me. I thought his smile was a little stiff, but I was too far away to get a good look. I was tired from a long day’s housework and I went back inside. I called him two more times that evening, but I finally ate dinner alone. I even ate some of his, but I left him some on a plate. Then I did his job, washing the dishes. That made me really mad and I called him several more times to come in, but didn’t get an answer. That evening I fell asleep in front of the TV, alone.”

Unbelievable as it seems, Jessie told me that Paul never came in that night. In fact, he never came back in at all, and it made her very angry. The next day she went out to find him. He was still standing by the bird bath with the hose. She decided she needed to check him out carefully, so she trekked all the way out to the bird bath to see him.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Making sure the flowers and the birds have enough water.”

“I see that, but what about you? Aren’t you hungry?”

“No, I’ve just been sipping a little water from time to time.”

She noticed that he looked shorter than usual. “Aren’t you going to come in soon? I’m sure the birds and the flowers have enough water by now!”

“I stop sometimes and wait for the birds and squirrels to get a drink. A deer came by last night with two fawns and……”

“I don’t really care if the president came by,” she screamed. “I need your help in the house!” She was finally losing her patience with her husband. Didn’t he know that he had responsibilities in the house? The dishes were piling up and he forgot she needed help with the vacuuming. And why would she care if the wild animals had enough to drink?

After an uncomfortable silence she said, “Well, I’m going ahead with my day. If you want to stay out here all day, I guess that’s up to you!” She was mad and stomped into the house.

The next morning she called me and asked me to come over and try to convince Paul to come back in the house. When I saw him I was shocked. He seemed much shorter than I remembered, so I looked down to see if he was standing in a hole. He wasn’t. His white hair had grown longer. His face looked the same but his body was much smaller than it had been. Paul Yardley seemed to be morphing into a little yard gnome. Even his clothes and shoes must have gotten smaller, because they still fit the same way. And somewhere he found a long pointy red hat.

“Take that hat off,” Jessie demanded. “It makes you look stupid.” He just looked at her and laughed. She didn’t want the neighbors to see him wearing it. She grabbed at the hat, but then grimaced.

“Feel this hat,” she said, giving me a direct order. To my surprise, the hat was as hard as a rock. I was taken aback. Jessie and I couldn’t pull it off. We looked at Paul with total bewilderment. Then I touched his shoulder and it was hard too.

“What happened to you?” I asked. He just stood there watering and smiling and didn’t answer. I wondered if he could even talk. Could his mouth move if it was stone? His eyes were still alert and moved around, looking at me and the lawn.

“Quit turning into stone and come in the house,” Jessie demanded, but by noon Paul had turned completely into a yard gnome. All the yard work was meticulously done, but we never saw him move a muscle or a stone arm or leg, or give a toss of his hard head. He was as hard as a rock, and couldn’t talk, so Jessie turned off the hose and went shopping.

“I knew he would figure out a way to avoid doing his chores,” she said.

Stay tuned for Part II of  The Yard Gnome

The Iron Cage

I often dream that I live in a giant cage made of iron bars. Inside the cage is a circular iron staircase, and I start climbing. Step by step I ascend the stairs and as I climb I can hear the sounds of people moving around and talking. I climb higher and stop at a landing and look around. If I look down I get dizzy and I realize that the iron bars aren’t very stable and that I might fall at any time.

There is a wooden door on the landing, so I knock and soon Nola Peters answers the door. Nola doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m dirty and spoiled, and she hates me when I scream.

“Please let me in, I’m afraid I’ll fall,” I say.

“Okay, come in, but watch out for all these boxes. I’m unpacking.” She waves her hand around the room, which is filled with dusty boxes piled on top of each other.

“What’s it like to live up here inside the cage?” I ask her.

“Oh, it’s not bad. I have lots of friends in here.”

Soon I remember that I have a purpose in climbing the stairs. “I’m searching for a way out of the cage. Do you know the way?”

“No, sorry. I just got here,” she answers and turns back to her boxes. “If you look through the bars you can see Bonnie across the way. Maybe she knows the way out.”  I looked hard and realized that Nola’s room didn’t have any walls, just bars around it. A few yards away, past another room, was Bonnie, my old friend from college.

Suddenly, without walking or climbing, I am in Bonnie’s room.

“Nancy, come in,” she says. “I’m sorry I’m very busy sorting the clothes in my closet.”

Bonnie likes me and talks to me about serious issues that affect our lives, like grades and what we will do after college. I think she may know the way out of the cage.

After a few minutes she says, “Would you like to see the sky?”

“Yes, I would love that.” It seemed like I had not seen the sky for a long time. I guess I forgot to look up.

“If you come over here and stand on the chair, you can see it,” Bonnie continued. She holds the chair and I climb onto it and I am thrilled when I look up through the bars of the cage and see blue sky with puffy clouds moving along slowly.

“It’s so pretty,” I say. “It makes me feel good.”

“Me too,” she says. “That’s why I am going to be moving,” Bonnie told me. “I am getting an apartment a few blocks away.” I am astounded that she will be leaving the cage.

“That is very exciting,” I say, “but I’ll miss you.”

“Why don’t you come and visit some day for lunch?”

“I would love that,” I answer, but I am wondering if I can find a place that is outside the cage.

I suddenly realize it’s time to go, and I run back down the iron steps to the ground floor and wake up. I am not in the cage anymore, but I feel like part of me is still inside.

 

AFTERWORD: The iron bars symbolize the place where my abuser lived. She was a juvenile delinquent and lived at the Gumbert School for Wayward Girls north of Pittsburgh. My parents took my sister and me to see the home one day when they had an open house. The school was home to many girls and had a tall iron fence around it. To get to the house we had to park far away and walk through a very tall iron gate.

Today I am wondering what my dreams would be like if my mother and father had not chosen to hire one of these girls to move into our house and babysit for my sister and me during the summer of 1946. Would I still dream I’m in a cage made of iron bars?

 

 

 

 

 

Are Multiples Confused, Conflicted or Both?

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and I have multiple personalities. I was violently sexually abused at the age of four, which is the main cause of my disorder. I became confused about who I was, and I have a theory about how child abuse causes a person to become a multiple.

The original definition of the word confuse means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to Multiple Personality Disorder, one of the major effects of child abuse, especially sexual abuse.

During the abuse, I couldn’t stand to be present, so I pretended I was someone else. I allowed confusion to help me pretend I was also somewhere else, doing something besides being abused. All this confusion helped me avoid the feelings of shame and anguish and forget that it happened. I developed five childhood personalities or alters.

I was creative enough to form alternate personalities, but not mindful enough to push them aside when I was not being abused. I developed a proclivity for inventing alters, which carried into my teens and adulthood. During high school, my friends would wave their hands in front of my face, trying to get my attention when I was dissociating, and wanting me to tune into reality as they saw it. I became conflicted. My alters wanted to come out, but people didn’t recognize them.

If all this is true, I am now conflicted and confused. My personalities don’t always agree about things and they argue with one another and get angry at each other. In a way I am fighting a battle inside me. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder.

Most of you who are multiples are probably aware of these theories and I encourage you to speak out on March 5th, which is MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY. Recognize it. Acknowledge it and celebrate it. It’s good to have so many survivors of child abuse.

My Brain is Snowed In

I was going to blog about the psychodynamics of complex multiple personality disorder today, but when I woke up my brain went into a pathological brain freeze. When I try to think, this fluffy white stuff starts flying around in my head, giving me cerebral frostbite. I would very much like to share wonderful truths with my followers, but the truth is I have only frozen memories of such things. Things such as words, sentences, clear thoughts, memories, ideas and other assorted subjects evade me. In other words, my brain is snowed in. Sorry about that! Perhaps tomorrow there will be a thaw.

Another terrible story of child abuse

I read a terribly sad story this morning about child abuse in Florida. Although the story is seven years old, I had never heard it before today, so I’m putting the link out there for any interested readers.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

My question is was this child born with these malfunctions or were they the result of the neglect of the birth mother? What do you think?

Are You a Multiple or Just Confused?

Having lived the last 66 years with multiple personality disorder gives me a unique perspective on life. There is no such thing as a normal day when you have this disorder. My brain will think of things to do and say much faster than I can do them. I do better if I plan ahead for the next day. Of course just because I plan my day, doesn’t mean I’ll actually do all the things I’ve planned.

There is also the other extreme – doing three or four things at once. I’ll start one project, see another that I can do quickly and begin that, and then before I’ve finished either of those, start a third and fourth. This is definitely “crazy” behavior. If I had Bi-Polar Disorder, it would be a short manic period. The problem is, if I don’t quit and start cleaning up, it becomes very obvious that I’ve “gone over the edge.”

Having a conversation is also challenging, because while I am talking or while the other person is talking, one of my personalities will think of something else and miss the point. If I don’t monitor myself diligently, I’ll blank out and miss what the other person is saying, or I’ll change the subject without blinking an eye. I feel like my head is a gum ball machine. I can put my quarter in, but I’m never sure what’s going to come out.

Have you had problems with confusion? Do you ever feel like you’re on a mental “wild goose chase?”

All of these problems have their root in confusion. Here is what Mr. Webster has to say about “confuse.”

  1. archaic: to bring to ruin
  2. to make embarrassed: ABASH. This word originally meant to shame
  3. to disturb in mind or purpose: THROW OFF (“Interrogators who do their best to frighten and bewilder him,” Aldous Huxley)
  4. to make indistinct: BLUR (stop confusing the issue)
  5. to mix indiscriminately: JUMBLE
  6. to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other ( ~ money with comfort).

I think all of us have experienced confusion, and hopefully this definition is helpful in understanding how to deal with it. Do you have problems with confusion? Do you have a special way of dealing with it?

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If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them