Saturday, September 20, 2008
On August 21, 2008, Woosie sent me an e-mail from Japan. I had had to cancel my planned trip to Japan to be with him and his family during the Matsuri Festival because of medical problems. He wrote, “According to weather forecast, it will be rain around Matsuri. We have had 5 days straight rainy days. And more rainy days until next Thursday. Weather CIE is not on our side this year.”
He later reported that it rained continually during the Matsuri Festival week, so it would have be quite a wet week to visit, had I actually gone there.
He also wrote, “Saying about the CIE, I have heard of that aircraft crash in Spain. There were so many deaths due to that. Do they require more lives in Thoughtspace? Recently, Jean-Luis is telling me that several disasters will happen since the CIE decided to do so. So we will have more typhoons here and hard rain and earthquakes. In US, you will have very hard hurricanes attacking mainland. I wonder why they do this and would like to know the reason, to understand. But Jean-Luis doesn’t know that.”
Since that note came, CNN has been busy telling us all the terrible things that have been happening here in the USA. First, there was another hurricane which emptied out New Orleans. Next, a hurricane came on shore at Galveston, Texas, destroying most of the town, and hitting Houston, with massive floods throughout the state and elsewhere. Then a passenger train hit a freight train in Simi Valley, north of L.A. killing many passengers. Then, to top it all off, the US banking system started collapsing last weekend, with the stock market on a roller coaster and our Treasury Secretary trying to figure out how to keep the financial system together. So it seemed to me that Jean-Luis was predicting disasters correctly.
I sent Woosie another question as to why this might be happening, according to Jean-Luis, and on September 19, 2008, he sent me this answer:
“Again, Jean-Luis told me that the next 1-2 years are the years of con men. After ruined mega-banks and security companies, con men will appear to take money and confidentials from people and authority. So the world would enter more chaotic society. Typhoons and hurricanes are only the beginning. Severe winter would affect the East Coast of the US, and dry weather would make more wildfires on the West Coast. Japan will have severe rain and hard blizzards. In the winter, in France, vines are affected and there are no more great wines. In China, there must be heightening of distrust among people and more emotion in the western part and near Tibet. All the people would lose their confidence in things that are trustworthy, so con men are rising. I am afraid if Jean-Luis includes the US president and Japanese Prime Minister in this. [Here in Japan] economy is still going down. Oil is expensive. It affects the price of whole things. Depressed people are coming to my outpatient clinic every day. Police chief told me yesterday that indiscriminate killings are very often these days. So the CIE turned their steering wheel to something awful in this world. They might think that humans should sink until we notice something about the warning from the CIE.”
As to the lack of confidence in China, they are now dealing with contaminated baby food and milk, and thousands of parents are frightened and anxious. We have daily reports of more suicide bombings in several countries as the “War Against Terrorism” keeps going on many fronts.
I have never had much patience with Doomsday Prophets, but the first message from Jean-Luis came before the worst several weeks I can remember in US history, since the Great Depression. I was born in 1931, when the US was still in the Depression, and our bankers know what needs to be done to prevent a repeat of that catastrophe. But the Weather CIE seem to be very busy this season, also, but the human reaction in New Orleans was much better than during Katrina a couple of years ago. So we are learning to work together when we have to. We are also in the middle of a tight-fought Presidential election campaign, where there is much more interest in the result then often exists. Having talked to the CIE (Faith, Hope and Charity) many times, I know they can manipulate all this to happen, in the hope that we human beings will start being cooperative with each other, will look after one another, and will forgo personal greed and ambition for a greater good. The CIE will not give us much choice in these matters.
Monday, June 2, 2008
This movie review appeared in Newsweek of June 9, 2008. It is about a remake of the movie “Sybil” which is based on the book of the same name. In reading the book carefully, I found no evidence that those “other selves” which the heroine created in her early childhood were alter-personalities. They were most likely IIC (Internalized Imaginary Companions), with some of them being “older” than the patient herself. Therefore I feel she used her “emotional imagination” to create entities who could help her cope with her schizophrenic mother. She had no evidence of a dissociated ISH, either. Therefore I disagree with any diagnosis of DID, or MPD, and I have always been unhappy that she has been considered a prototype of a “multiple” all these years. To have a movie apparently this bad produced about her gives a disservice to all those patients who really do have one of the dissociative disorders.
Ralph Allison, MD
The Return Of 'Sybil'
A new life for a TV movie that already had plenty
By Joshua Alston
Hysteria is a woman's problem," says a brutish male colleague of Dr. Cornelia Wilbur ( Jessica Lange), the psychologist treating the main character in the CBS remake of "Sybil." My hysterical laughter during most of the film is proof that it's a man's problem, too. I'm not an insensitive guy. I recognize the horror in the story of Shirley Ardell Mason, the woman whose personality fractured into 15 parts as a result of merciless childhood sexual abuse (assuming the story is true; both the diagnosis and the abuse are still under debate). But it would be difficult to intentionally match the unintended comic value of the scene in which Sybil (Tammy Blanchard) rebuffs her new beau, Ramon, after slipping into one of her alters, a boy named Sid. "Guys don't sleep with other guys!" says Sid. "Of course not," says Ramon, both writing off the comment as a non sequitur and failing to realize that his girlfriend's voice just dropped an octave. "Sybil" has the infectious scrappiness of a community-theater troupe, one that isn't that great but has enough conviction to make up for its lack of self-awareness.
But this new "Sybil" can't possibly have the same impact as the 1976 original, for which Sally Field won an Emmy, because the made-for-TV movie has a reputation that precedes it. The term "made for TV" has become shorthand for hammy acting and frugal production values, which is why the glossy, competent original TV movies of today are labeled "television events." The made-for-TV movie served a distinct purpose back when entertainment choices were few. They provided a way for families to have a night at the movies without the hassle and expense of going to a theater. Later they became topical, portraying the hot-button issues of the day, like 1983's hugely watched "The Day After," which depicted the eruption of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Now a movie night at home is as easy as opening the mailbox. And Dick Wolf, between his three "Law & Order" franchises, has the "ripped from today's headlines" market cornered. (This season's premiere of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" featured an appearance by Cynthia Nixon as a woman who—get this—fakes having multiple personalities.) Still, there's something charming about the made-for-TV movie, something adorable in its earnestness, something humorous in its humorlessness. This is why Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel have built brands around them; these movies are the purest form of guilty pleasure. And while I wouldn't watch "Sybil" a second time, it was raucous, nostalgic fun. I could say it's the worst movie I've seen in some time, but I'd prefer to say it's the best at being not good.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
"You chose for this lifetime the theme of Emotionality, and you chose to be born into a family where this would be virtually unacceptable. You wanted to be challenged although you have fought the challenges all your life. You are very quick to point out when you have been 'hurt' but not so quick to take the responsibility for the many times you hurt others, others who loved you very much.
In order to work with the theme of Emotionality, you had to be born highly sensitive and intuitive, even psychic. You are now asking why you turn anger inward, assuming that someone else caused the anger when all the time you are angry at yourself. Your life is winding down now. It is time to stop this intense quest and just BE.
When you return to the spiritual world, you will understand that there is no good or bad energy -- it is all simply energy. The Creator wanted to know more of Itself and thus exploded outwardly, and each human being is basically on a 'fact finding mission of exploration.' You may decide not to come back to this world, or you might decide to just take a long rest and then come back because there is much of physical life, especially Nature and Relationships, which you will probably wish to experience again. There is nothing to fear, there is no separation, you are never alone -- whether here or there. Be gentle with yourself now."
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Shortly before Sam Harris became a New York Times best-selling author, he was a UCLA doctoral student in neuroscience, a mere dissertation away from his Ph.D.
But in 2004, Harris took some time off to write The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. The book sold wildly and Harris was anointed a leader of America's atheist awakening.
After writing another bestseller, Letter to a Christian Nation, and traveling the speaker circuit, Harris returned last fall to his doctoral research. His latest writings were published this January, not in a book but in the scholarly Annals of Neurology, and the subject wasn't faith but research into the physiological distinctions between belief and disbelief.
The study tested the hypothesis that belief "might have a functional localization in the brain and the design of the study was to isolate such regions," explains Mark S. Cohen, Harris' thesis adviser and professor of psychiatry at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, who co-authored the study with Harris and Sameer Sheth Ph.D. '03, M.D. '05 of Massachusetts General Hospital. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the scientists found that a region of the brain involved in belief, disbelief and uncertainty acted differently depending on subjects' acceptance of statements they were given while inside the machine. A portion of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex appeared to be at least partly responsible for discerning belief of all kinds, whether it's "a personal God exists as described in the Bible" or "George Bush is president of the United States."
"It has no relevance to the question of whether or not there is a God," Harris says of the findings. "Even if we had a perfect belief detector, we still can't tell you what is true in the world. You put somebody in the scanner who believes Elvis is still alive, and all we will be able to tell you is, 'Yes, he does believe Elvis is still alive.'”
Still, Cohen observes, "This study demonstrates convincingly that fMRI has the power and sensitivity to probe levels of human cognition that subjects may not be conscious of." In the planning stages a follow-up study to explore differences in neurological activities between those who believe in God and those who don't, with non-believers as the control group.
"If you are given a proposition you truly don’t believe, it is just mere words," Harris concludes. "The moment you give them credence a complete transformation of your neurology and psychology and physiology occurs. Belief is the hinge upon which the door to behavior and emotion swings."
— Brad A. Greenberg '04
DEAR ABBY ADVICE
Daughter lauds mom's work to integrate selves
Dear Abby: I was offended by your response to "True Love Texan" (Jan. 18) when he asked about loving a woman with multiple personality disorder. MPD is also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Individuals with DID have survived severe childhood abuse. The way they
coped was to split into different personalities. DID can be treated through intense psychotherapy, which attempts to integrate the personalities into one.
A loving relationship is possible with people who have DID. My mother is an example. She has DID due to extreme childhood ritual and sexual abuse. She's the most amazing and resilient woman I have ever known, and I am proud to be her daughter. My father has been married to her for 35 years and has supported her unconditionally. It can work! Please educate your readers and provide some useful information about the courageous people who live with DID.
— Proud of Mom in Pennsylvania
Dear Proud of Mom: I received a slew of mail about this. My response to "True Love Texan" was not meant to minimize the seriousness of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The following responses offer personal insights meant to support him as well as provide information about this sensitive topic. Read on:
Dear Abby: Telling that Texan to be certain that he loves every one of the multiple personalities may not be possible. However, it is possible to have a successful marriage with a person who has DID.
My husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer, and he is a multiple. We knew about some of his personalities when we began dating, but others have surfaced as the years went on. It has not been easy, and I have had to deal with different folks coming out at awkward times. But as my husband said, "Your life will never be boring if you marry me," and he was right.
— Wife to One of Many in Vancouver, Wash.
Dear Abby: I know from firsthand experiences that all the love, devotion and loyalty may never be enough when dealing with a person with DID. Instead of being a partner, spouse or equal, I became my wife's caregiver, peacemaker and sometimes a target.
Nothing was ever easy; I could not depend on anything going smoothly or without incident. After 13 years of turmoil and uncertainty, I had to leave. A serious illness gave me no choice but to take care of myself for a change.
I hope "True Love Texan" will heed the warnings of his friends and understand the gravity of this illness before he makes a lifetime commitment.
— Wiser in California
Dear Abby: When a child is denied "normal" defenses and abused by those who are responsible for providing safety, some children do the most sane thing possible. They retreat into their own minds to a place of safety. We choose to call this by a new term, Multiple Personality Gift (MPG).
As long as the woman is in counseling, and "True Love Texan" is on board with the counseling, there is no reason they cannot have a good and productive life together
– Adoptive Mom in New York
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Her daughter has been through her own experiences, as a result of being born to a “multiple” and her husband, who had his own problems. But now this daughter of Janette, whom I will call “June”, is interested in bringing her story to light and meeting other adult children of parents who had MPD or DID. (Remember that I have my own definitions of these two diagnostic labels.)
I am putting this out so that if any other children of parents with MPD/DID want to communicate with June and do what they can to help each other cope with the current demands of society, they can do so, through me via email@example.com. As far as I know there has been no research on the effects on the children of such patients, but now enough time has passed from the time I was doing therapy for some of them to show what has come of them. I have had some acquaintance with several adult children of my former MPD patients.
One daughter followed the paths of her mother’s worst alters and became an alcoholic prostitute. Two sons have done well vocationally, but neither of them have married.
Below is the letter June wrote to a daughter of a multiple who recently contacted me for some supportive resources.
You do not know me but we have something in common...we are both daughters of MPD mothers. I am sure you have had an interesting life. I am currently researching the resources available for family members about MPD.
“My take on it is this:
My mom is one of the most effective teachers in my life. Because of who she is, I have learned courage, spirituality, strength, patience, and faith. Of course, this was all learned the hard way, but nonetheless it has helped to shape me into a better person today.
“As a daughter I have had to be the mom at times, the confidant, the counselor (as best as I could for a child’s understanding), Mom's little helper, the big sister. We (you and I), too, wear many hats and have had to learn to roll with the punches. There have been times in my life where I felt that I could not bear things, but I managed to hang on. Suicide was never an option for me, but my mind went there a few times as I had my lowest moments. There was frustration, anger (why can't I just be a kid?), added responsibility in the home, bleak days (Mom would sleep for days on end), confusion about my role in my family, boundary issues and just plain confusion!
‘Mom, don't you remember that?’
‘Mom, who is that in the front room with you?’ as I heard the multiples speaking to each other.
‘Mom, you're scaring me...you're talking funny.’
“There is so much to share. There are bad memories, good memories, funny memories, paranormal memories, but my mom will not remember them all. Sometimes I tell her things, and she looks at me as if I do not know what I am talking about. Sometimes she speaks in different languages, and we cannot converse with each other. Those situations, looking back, were kind of comical.
“Life was nor is boring! I am sure you understand.”
When I asked June if she was willing that I put in my blog what she had written, so that we could find other adult children of MPD parents, she replied:
“I would like to share my story with others. My life is an open book, but I would of course like to keep my mother’s identity private until she makes the decision to share her story. Perhaps we can use just my first name.
“There are things that happened to me as a child, young adult that I am still putting together. Things have begun to make sense to me.
“There are dynamics that influenced me as a child that have had long term effects. For instance, I learned at a very young age that I could leave my body and come back, as I was abused by my father. I did not get my memories back until I was 36 – the big year of change for me. I learned to shut down my emotions in order to survive. I did not have a stable childhood where I could learn to live with my past. We moved often, and I learned to let go of friendships instead of forming long term bonds with others. It affected me to the point of being extremely depressed for not being able to have some sort of stability with others. In my twenties, I felt as if I would become like my mother. I was in a negative and emotionally abusive marriage. I felt that the only thing keeping me alive – suicide was not an option – was the fact that I was a mom, and I did not want the cycle to continue with my son. My son became my reason for living, and that is what I focused on to get through the hard times.
“The hardest part for me to figure out in my life was how to open up and truly love myself so I could love others. The love was hidden deep within me, and I always had it, but I did forget that it was there.
“My guides have always been with me. Even as a child when my mom was hospitalized, I would cry to myself and wonder if I would ever feel safe. Then I would hear the comforting voice of a man say to me, "Everything is going to be okay." I can remember hearing the voice as early as four years old. I thought it was Jesus speaking directly to me. It was audible and real, and, each time I heard the comforting voice, I saw bright pastel colors, and I felt immediately better. I have sketched the vision and the colors and gave it a title, "The Child" sketched Sept. 1, 2003. On the back of the drawing I wrote: "Love is the essence of art". Thus began my journey to self love and acceptance.
“My brother did not fare as well as I did. He is schizophrenic (according to many psych evaluations) and borderline sociopath. The cycle did not end for him unfortunately. He lost himself at the young age of four, I believe. There have been others living in his body, but the original boy is gone. He, too, endured abuse. We endured it together. We handled it differently. He became involved in drugs at a young age and has served time in prison for making and selling drugs. He writes poetry to express the torment he endured. My hope is that he too can have some sort of healing in this life.
“There is so much to share with others – the good, the bad, the ugly, but most of all the hope of breaking the cycle and finding inner peace.
Included in June’s writings was a Poem For My Father written on April 28, 2007. I had seen him with her mother during my therapy sessions and only knew it was a precarious marriage which broke up when they moved from Santa Cruz to Texas. Here is that poem she wrote, to her father.
“When I was a child and I thought of you, my heart would well up and the sadness was almost more than I could bear. I felt the emptiness inside of you...yet I could not explain where this empathy came from at the time.
“I knew that you did not have a childhood and I grieved for you. I knew that you did not have security...and I grieved for you. You were once a little boy who wanted more than anything to just be loved. Where was your love? Why couldn't your father give you what any child deserves? Why were you left to fend yourself? Abused, lonely, deserted... an outcast. How miserable you must have felt.
“I imagined your day to day existence...it was mere survival. You wanted to be loved, accepted, and protected. Yet you had none of these things. You didn't even have the basic things that are considered necessary. How embarrassing it must have been for you to have to take your only shower at school because you had no running water. Foraging for whatever food there was, working so hard at such a young age. You tried to protect your mother and sisters from the abuse, yet you couldn't. You must have felt powerless in your youth. You must have lost all respect for women at a young tender age. Where was your mother in all this? Why didn't she make all the madness stop? How truly sad this is. Did the tears ever reach your cheeks? Were you ever allowed to cry? Did you bury your childhood at infancy? My heart aches for your loss.
“Your father was truly a miserable, mean person. You saw things that you should have never seen. You experienced things that took your childhood away. I feel your sadness. You couldn't break the cycle. I KNOW your sadness.
“I could become bitter and angry myself and take the role of victim. I choose not to.
“There is sadness sometimes for what might have been. Yet the darkest days of my life have given me the most growth. I must thank you for the opportunity that you allowed me to grow. I have had to learn to forgive. I have learned to have compassion for those whose shoes I have not walked in. I have learned that my happiness is in my own hands. I am responsible for any and all successes and failures in my life.
“You are not a traditional father/teacher in the sense of the word. Yet I will have to say that you have taught me the most in my life.
“May your emptiness fill with love
May your anger subside
Forgive yourself because I already have
Forgive your father and his father before him
They, too, could not break the cycle.
“With love and peace I send this to you.”
So, if you are an adult child of a parent who had MPD/DID and you want to make contact with June, the daughter of my first patient with MPD, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ralph Allison, MD