…and it may not be exactly what it appears to be (as the image above would demonstrate).
But first of all, I want to wish everyone a happy 2018, and hope that the beginning of this new year has been good to and for you! It’s nice to be back to my blog, and I plan to update regularly again. Winter sickness removed me from the writing game for a while, but I should be ready to go now.
That’s not to say I won’t be busy – I have two short stories that are getting ready for publication, and I’m mentally preparing for a few major life changes – but I will be writing more, updating my blog weekly, and getting things in line for something new, big, and exciting.
What is this new, big, and exciting thing?
It’s my second full-length memoir! While to some, it may appear to be a sequel to Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac, you do not need to read Shattered to understand the content of the second book (though I’m obviously not turning people away from the memoir; please, go forth and read it if you’ve not done so already!). This second memoir is a collection of essays, ranging from extremely serious to kind of odd to pretty damn funny.
But this book of nonfiction essays isn’t exactly what it may appear to be.
Because I’m not writing it alone.
Dissociative Identity Disorder is a complicated illness, and I won’t pretend otherwise. As most people know by now – those who have read my first book, or who have read about the disorder – it is a condition brought about by severe abuse, trauma, rape, incest, violence, or neglect, usually during a child’s most formative years. In order to cope with the reality of being harmed, the child creates a “system” to handle the trauma; in a way, the brain fragments, or shatters, and parts are created to handle different aspects of what is occurring. These alter parts often stay with the host (or the main personality) for the rest of that person’s life, though there are stories in which a person with DID is able to integrate – they can release those alters into themselves and no longer sense or feel them. They are no longer needed, so they are released.
This is not my case, however. I still have alters – many, up to forty or fifty, even though only about half of them are named and have presented in public. Some are children, and some are adults (or pretend to be adults). And even though I have a severe brain injury caused by a fall and a tremendous, traumatic hit to the head, I only lost so many of my own memories. Some of my alters were, and are, able to recover the past – though none of us can remember anything before the age of thirteen. Thankfully, I (and my system) kept a lot of journals, and have reliable records from the police, courts, psychologists, as well as testimonies from family members and friends. Without those things, I don’t know how I’d function, or even come to terms with any part of my life. And even though I was officially diagnosed with DID in 2005, when I was twenty-three, I didn’t come to terms with it until after my brain injury in late 2010 when I was twenty-eight – which was when I needed those alters again in a way I’d never understood. My brain reset itself, and I was a child once more. I had to learn to exist and grow, much as a child would.
If you’ve read Shattered, then you know most of this.
Then why am I going to such great lengths to discuss DID, and especially my own system?
Because my second book – again, a bit of a follow-up to Shattered, but something that can also stand alone as a book of essays if you haven’t read Shattered yet – is a collaborative effort between me and my alters. I’m not the only author. I am writing with a small army.
I am not, nor will I ever be, alone.
Wait, you may be saying. How does that work? Is that even possible? How can I be sure you aren’t just writing the stories to draw in an audience?
Let me address that.
How does that work? All of my alters have lived parts of my life – I barely remember more than seven years of my life as it is. They all have been through things that my body has experienced, but that my brain cannot recall. They hold the stories; I simply hold the personalities. It’s up to them to tell the stories about what they have experienced.
Is that even possible? Yes. Two alters have already written complete essays – they’ve come out at random times to write down stories that are important to them – and I have to be honest when I say that they are very revealing. I didn’t know those stories, and I feel like a more complete person now that I do.
How can you be sure I’m not just writing the stories to draw in an audience? Well, you can’t. But I promised in Shattered not to lie – I would always tell the truth in the best way I knew how. In this case, having the alter personalities come forward to tell many of the stories IS the best way to tell the truth. Again, they know what I don’t. And believe me when I say that DID isn’t a condition I wish upon anyone. There are some people out there that I don’t care for, and I wouldn’t even wish it upon them.
Imagine walking along as yourself one afternoon and things seem fine. Then, suddenly, you feel odd. You hear a voice. You smell something familiar that brings you a sense of nostalgia. You hear a song that makes you sad. You recognize that the world is warping around you, and the next thing you know, it’s the next morning, and you’re waking up in the middle of some unknown wooded area. Creepy, right? Well, it is, and it’s happened to me more than once. Where did those missing hours go in between my walking around and waking up in the middle of nowhere? To dissociation. Something – the song, the smell, a scream, whatever – triggered me, an alter personality came out, and I, as myself, was gone. And during my absence, that alter may have done anything – gone on a shopping spree, slept with a random person, gambled, drank, did drugs, or sat in the middle of the road. Or perhaps that alter found that quiet clearing, sprawled out, and cried, dealing with a memory that there was no way for me to handle. That’s how DID works, and it’s hard to explain and live with.
That’s why I cannot lie about it. I don’t know how. I only know the reality. So whatever you read from me will be the truth. And whatever the alters will say will be their truths.
Their stories are coming. My stories are coming.
And that’s not even the big reveal.
There are two pretty important things one must know before purchasing a book: what it’s called, and when it will be released.
And now that the holidays are over, and things are lined up with The Powers That Be (editor, publisher, and so forth), I can discuss those two details.
The book of essays – this second memoir, told in ten to twelve different parts – will be released mid-May. I believe that Tuesday, May 15 is the official release day, but if that changes, I will let you know. There will also be the option to pre-order a week or so before release, and I’ll post about that when the times comes as well.
And the title? In this second memoir, I wanted the essays to explore the good and bad things the alters have done or lived through. I wanted to play with the concepts of light and dark, right and wrong, humane and inhumane, sane and insane.
Therefore, keep an eye out for Villain, with a cover release to be teased in the next six weeks.
Thank you all for your friendship, your understanding, and your continued support. I love what I do, and while it’s not always easy to tell these stories and deal with both retrograde amnesia and DID, I do so because I am called to (and really, what choice is there? They are my illnesses; I alone can carry them, but I can share the facets of them with others). I know my stories have been helpful in the past, and I know my life would be incomplete if I wasn’t able to share them with those who need to read them. Therefore, I will always keep doing what I do, and will hopefully have your continued friendship, readership, and trust.
Have a good week, and I’ll be back next with something a bit shorter!