I wrote a book. Well, I had help from the "inside others" so I guess I should say we wrote a book. Am I Alive? (available through this website only right now...send me a note via the contact page if you'd like a copy) is the story of my childhood in Indiana; some good days, some terrible days and even more terrible nights. Blueberry picking, Church, and the abuse and terror that caused the "inside others" to come to be inside my mind, to lend a hand and to help me survive.
For so much of my life I couldn't really tell if I was alive; if anyone could see me or hear me. I often said I was just pretending to be alive and that there was a story being written in my head about someone else's life, and that there were lots of voices in my head contributing to the story. It was hard to sort out. As I progressed through years of therapy, I began to write down what had to be written. I often feared that I was lying, but from the most inside place of me would always come the cry, "I'm not lying. I'm telling the truth. This is the truth of me!" So I invite you to read our story. Some parts are hard to read, I'm told, but it is not without hope. Never without hope.
When I published the book, I told my therapist that I was just going to trust my Higher Power and put it out there and hope that it would help at least one person who was struggling with the same kind of memories and the same fears. I did not expect the anger in my extended family and my community. Perhaps I should have known that it would not be well received in those circles, but I was so focused on helping others like me, that it never occured to me that there would be such outrage. That anger knocked me flat for a while, but then something amazing began to happen. People began to contact me, by email or in person or by letter, and after a few minutes of conversation that began with "I read your book..." many of them would say something like, "what happened to me is..."
It was as if my having had the courage to tell my story helped them to find their own voices and to find the strength to talk out loud about what hurt them. And that was all I needed. I knew that I could put up with the anger and with being disowned by some family members, just knowing that telling my story is helping other people who are still struggling.
That said, if you are reading this and want a safe place to begin to tell your story out loud, to find your voice, feel free to go to the contact page and send me a note. I'm not a therapist and I won't be able to help you do your recovery work, but I will read it. I won't tell anyone. I won't call you a liar (as some have called me) and I won't think that you're crazy to remember what you do and to need to say it out loud. Sometimes just saying it out loud, in a safe place, is enough to help you find the strength to own the truth of your life, and to begin to recover. And if you're not ready yet, that's OK too. The contact button will be there when you are ready.