Dec 17, 2008

"The United States of Tara"

A new Showtime series is airing January 18, The United States of Tara. The premise is a family with two teenagers. Mom is a multiple. She has DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder a/k/a dissociative states. Tara, in the previews, has several personalities. Her husband, who I know as the radio guy from Northern Exposure (John Corbett), and both teens (a boy and girl) understand mom has issues and that environmental and internal triggers (out of the family's control) cause her to change to a different identity.

The show acknowledges that Tara has deep seated issues and DID is her coping skill. The family embraces her differences and helps each other. The kids know the alters by name because each has a different voice and facial expression. On the show, Tara also changes clothes when she is someone else. That does happen for some survivors. I recall having wardrobe changes because I felt differently. I guess I never consciously experienced myself feeling like a guy though. I never felt frilly feminine. I don't see the wardrobe change as detracting from the message of the show.

The more I learn about the show, the more I believe there will finally be an accurate representation of the issues of someone having DID and normalizing that difference. Mom is different and interesting to the kids. They love her and all of her personas. I have learned an expert advisor for DID is a consultant. I know the individual to be a highly respected psychiatrist in the field of dissociation. I prefer to wait to see his name in the credits than disclose here.

While I'm sure some sacrifices had to be made for entertainment purposes, the show promises to balance the humorous and possibly exasperating side of loving someone with DID with the serious issues that lie behind anyone with DID. To hear the cast and writers speak of multiplicity and DID with appropriate terms was heartwarming. But not as much as knowing so many will likely watch the show. I wish with all my heart and soul many will finally see and hear the reality of DID. It is not to be feared but to be embraced. More than anything, those with DID desire connection and acceptance.

Hopefully the show will inspire discussion in many forums on the internet and television. Bless you, Steve Spielberg. Click here for a quick preview. If you are a Dexter fan or otherwise have access to Showtime, longer promotional previews of the show are being shown frequently and are excellent.


Ethereal Highway said...

Hmmm... Interesting trailer. Seems like it is set to be a 'feel good' comedy/ drama. I have a sense that it will miss the mark in a way that will do an injustice to survivors. Mom has 'issues'? I wish people could just be more honest and thus we would have less suffering. Mom has TRAUMA - that's what Mom has. I would be willing to bet that the reason for this woman's condition will not be accurately portrayed, nor will the suffering that is part and parcel of trauma. But then, why should it? Society does not want to hear about that end of things.

As a fiction writer, I can tell you the one key ingredient that makes or breaks a work. That ingredient is truth. I don't think there will be enough truth in this show for it to last, and ironically, in this case the truth would destroy the ratings or get the survivor labeled as a victim of false memories or some such crap (fiction mirrors our greater reality). This show is probably doomed.

Catch-22 -- Tell the unpopular truth, the show dies. Don't tell enough of the truth, no one can connect and the show dies. I don't see how this can work. If you are still blogging when it gets cancelled, please tell me about it. I don't watch much TV. Too triggering.

Grace said...

Hi EH,
I know that's a possibility. Am wanting to be hopeful that our time has come. If they heed the consultant's advice, it will be portrayed respectfully and fairly accurately. Time will tell. I'll be giving my personal review after giving it a few episodes.

Anonymous said...

Why is your email on the webpage (perjury and false statements) ??

Theoretically !! your webpage could be a mean trick of abusers to attract victims and get hold of them. So who are you really (sorry for asking you that, you alread have gone through a lot) ?
Or do the people of abuse your email ?

I am confused.

Grace said...

Dear Anonymous,
I have no email posted on my websites. I have no affiliation with the perjury website you cited. What makes you think my email is there? I understand that people with DID tend to be suspicious of sources of information, which is why I'm publishing your concern.

While I had used a first name of Annie, I can assure you many multiples have a part named Annie as well as it being a common name. Am wondering if you assumed that was me? That's a bit of a stretch, and really quite unfair. I belong to several groups of therapists who work with trauma survivors. They know these are my blogs and have often commented on how helpful it is to them as well as survivors.

I have no control over those who would make statements to try to stop me from publishing info that could help survivors. You have the choice of which websites you visit. My hope is that you might find something that would help you too. Thanks for expressing your concerns.