Nov 15, 2008
Let the truth be known
For the first few years of my recovery, I journaled my trauma as it oozed from my subconscious as well as my healing process. What surfaced was a world I never knew existed. I've spoken of healing through collages. I have several trunks full of collages and research and drawings and doodles and scribblings. I gave a short presentation at the 1998 SMART conference on "scrapbook therapy" and how it could benefit healing as well as internal communication. I gave a longer presentation at the 1999 SMART conference. It was also at that time I had completed my book Paperclip Dolls documenting my healing to that point. My pen name and survivor name was Annie McKenna.
It's safe to say I really didn't know who I was at the time memories came up that included such government programs as Operation Paperclip (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4443934.stm) and MK-Ultra (http://www.arts.rpi.edu/~pellr/lansberry/mkultra.pdf). I found numerous survivors online with the same type of memories. I was deathly afraid of seeking a therapist who would be safe because of the content of my surfacing story. Becoming a psychotherapist didn't become a thought in my mind until 2000. I was able to enter a grad school counseling program in summer 2001. I made the transition from the world of what has been dubbed conspiracy theory to functionally healed survivor entering a new life chapter in a new career.
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In hindsight, I realize how focused I was on the unbelievability of my own memories and researching for hours a day only to find continued validation rather than information negating the memories that came from my murky dissociated past. Now that I'm beyond integration with much slowed new memory content and many resolved triggers, I realize now it doesn't matter what happened to me--only that I healed. But dealing with the memory content is, I believe, a stage of healing requiring focus to understand the breadth and intensity of the abuse.
I have been living in fear of having been Annie McKenna and now living my life as Grace the psychotherapist-blogger-writer-advocate. Last night I completed my application to the Obama Transition Project. I wanted to no longer have to hide that I was Annie McKenna. The new presidency is about openness. I shouldn't have had to feel shame about my history, but having had DID is still not completely accepted in my own profession, although it's the focus of treatment for my professional colleagues. Therapists who are also survivors mostly stay in the shadows so we can do the work we want to help others through that difficult healing journey.
For the first time ever, a professional organization of therapists who work with clients with DID, has opened discussion of the world of ritual and government abuse, both with the common denominator of organized pedophilia. For a therapist to speak of ritual abuse or government mind control has been taboo. Major strides have been made in the past few years. A presentation by professional colleagues was given to the United Nations to highlight the torturous methods used by groups of pedophiles to create dissociation. This is known to be a worldwide issue.
After 11 years of healing and living in both worlds, I still can't say what really happened to me other than a sh*tload of trauma. I know certain things were very real while other details are fuzzy. I was led to so much information about government abuse of its own citizens that I could not believe in anything political. I am aware of officials in my local government and/or agencies that have at least one person protecting the secrets of organized pedophilia. It is my hope that, under the new presidency, there might be a commission or task force to address these layers of government with the secrets as well as redirect the focus for survivors of abuse to safely report known "cult" activity and seek help. It would also require that health insurance companies be mandated to cover the more intense therapy needed for a survivor to heal from DID, and a new way for all of law enforcement and other helping agencies to view dissociation and work with victims of sophisticated abuse.
I want to be part of that change. The reason you don't see other therapists jumping on the bandwagon with this issue is that careers could be at stake. I'm in a place right now where my career is on hold and I can advocate from my home. I want it to be okay to be me to include my first few years of healing.
My book is no longer available although I'm going to try to make it available through Kindle. The SMART website still sells cassette tapes of each presentation from each SMART conference if anyone is interested. I don't benefit from sales. I've spoken in the Forbidden Topic blog about most techniques for which I gave presentations. What I have avoided in the blog are details about government and other key words that tend to cause the greater public to immediately dismiss the survivor. I am a survivor of that crap. I lived to heal. I lived to help others heal. And now I would like to be part of the change--to be proud of my country and my government once again.
Photo: My "nursery school" graduation photo. My mother has no recollection of my having been at nursery school, nor does my older sister. She was age 6 when I was 3. Look at the size of the diploma. Where are the other children? Why is "no one home" in my expression? Why is it a dirty area? Where was I when my mother thought I was in nursery school? If you look at the photo in enlarged detail, you can see the bruises under my lip and the blood on my lips. My mother always showed me that picture describing it as nursery school when she used to show it to me. Part of my manufactured childhood.