Fan Mail

I rarely reply to or post email here from people that send me hate mail or very strongly worded You Suck mail or You are a Liar mail. I don’t post it because I don’t like to dwell on the negative and I feel like giving them any time on this blog gives it more life of its own and the negativity grows and there are so many other things to write about.

However, I’m making an exception for this one. I feel like it is born out of misunderstanding of what I’ve written or perhaps I didn’t do as good a job of explaining my process or how I navigated DID as I thought I did.

I’d love any feedback you might have on whether I need to go back and rewrite parts of my bio for a better explanation. Of course, if you’ve read my book, you’d know much more about what I did and how I did it, but if you haven’t read it, than maybe my bio doesn’t make sense.

Here is the email with my reply following.

Hello Leah,

I am a 39 year-old woman with D.I.D, and I am a psychiatric social worker who is very well educated on this topic. (Despite the knowledge base I do not treat those with dissociative disorders) I am responding to your biography which you have posted on your web site. I usually don’t comment about such things, but something your wrote leaves me feeling compelled to respond.

You wrote:

“In May, I’m released to the care of my sister and accept the terms of having to attend therapy. The hospital sets up my first appointment and I mistakenly go to see Dr. Clancy who has stopped seeing people with dissociative disorders. After speaking with me for an hour, he decides to make an exception and take me on as a client. He helps me see that my kids may have a use for me in their lives after all. In July, my divorce is final. I complete the integration process.”

You started therapy in May, and you finished the integration process in two months???????

I’m sorry, and I don’t mean any disrespect, but that is total bullshit and a great disservice to those of us who have been working years to overcome the trauma and torment which cased us to be dissociative. You write earlier that you were not aware of some things that you did (sex with strangers). If one is dissociative to the point of losing time, there is NO WAY that in 2 months integration is achieved. That defies explanation and is controverted by ALL of the clinical literature. If you are familiar with treatment of dissociative disorders then you know that this (lengthy and arduous )treatment is done in stages, the first of which often takes YEARS.

I mean no disrespect (although I appreciate that this might be hard to read and not feel disrespected) and I in no way mean to dismiss or downplay your struggles, but integration in 2 months? Am I missing something? How can someone who has been tormented (in an ongoing, severe and unrelenting way) to the point of a dissociative disorder integrate years of trauma and torture in 2 months? That’s ridiculous. Either you didn’t have a dissociative disorder or you are full of shit.

Wow. Pretty strong. I would have appreciated a more inquiring type of email as opposed to an accusatory one, but I don’t get to choose what kind of people are going to take issue with me, so there you go.

In my bio I write about how during 1990 thru 1995 I went through years of therapy and I worked towards integration during the times I (Leah) was aware of what was happening. Also, in the 2001 year I write about getting serious about getting well and journaling from all the personalities perspectives. That was all work towards integration as well. By the time I met Dr. Clancy, I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. And I did it because all my personalities were on the same page and wanted the same thing. I can give you Dr. Clancy’s info if you’d like to contact him regarding my process, although I can’t guarantee he would talk to you even though you say you are a psychiatric social worker. In the foreward to my book he tells how things happened with him and that is was highly unusual for us to reach integration so quickly.

I suppose I could make it more clear in my bio and make sure and use the phrases ‘towards integration’ and such, but I like it the way it reads now and don’t feel compelled to change it because someone I don’t know and have never corresponded with and have no way of knowing who they are tells me I’m full of bullshit.

One thing I’ve learned writing my new book and doing research for the work I do on Tara is that no two people’s experience of DID is the same. Everyone has their own sets of experiences that made them that way and their own sets of solutions they come up with to cope. Some people go to therapy their whole life, never to work through what happened. Some people become integrated. And some people go through things faster than others. I would not ever tell someone that their experience is bullshit because it is different than mine. I’ve met too many people with their own stories.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Have a nice day.

22 Responses

  1. It reads to me like a semantic battle over “integration.” I think the “bullshit” and “full of shit” stuff is exceedingly rude but the rest isn’t horrible. I guess you must have hit a nerve with her & really there’s nothing you can do with people like that except clarify (if you chose to respond), which is exactly what you did. If she’s as knowledgeable about therapy, etc as she claims, she knows that her problems are her own and she’ll have to solve them partly by examining why she had such a reaction to what you wrote.

  2. I mean no disrespect, but the 39 yo psychiatric social worker is a total fucking bitch. I mean, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but this self-righteous asswipe obviously has reading comprehension problems, and most certainly should NOT be treating patients or dealing with the public. Her lack of sympathy or empathy or understanding for anyone whose experience may be different from what she knows must make her absolutely horrible in her profession, and a danger to the mental health of those whom she comes across. No disrespect, of course.

  3. don’t give it another thought. I don’t think this email / comment is particularly mean, HOWEVER I do think it is quite insensitive. Your experience is your experience, so let her think what she wants. Or buy your book for a more detailed explanation… can I buy your book? 🙂

  4. I disagree. I think there is a way to question what Leah’s experience was without being nasty. However, the use of “???????”, “total bullshit,” “NO WAY,” “ridiculous,” and “full of shit” displays a level of judgment and criticism and venom that goes beyond mere insensitivity. That was the point of my comment: it was meant to be just as over-the-top as her original e-mail. Obviously, I don’t really feel that way, and don’t talk that way. But her words to Leah sounded as ludicrous as mine did.

    Leah, I thought your response was pitch-perfect, and I really admire your calm and restraint in responding to her. It cannot have been easy for you to receive something like that about something so personal. I don’t know how long it took you to respond (read: calm down), but I thought you did so beautifully, in a mature and rational way, without stooping to her level. Bravo, my friend.

  5. You handled it very well. She was clearly rude. Your bio is your bio, just as your blog is your blog, your book is your book, and, most importantly, your path to integration is yours alone. You don’t presume to speak for all people with DID. She was out of line.

    I hate it that online people feel freer to be jerks.

  6. My bullshit meter went off when the person who claims to be a professional social worker started berating you.

    Think about it, has any other professional ever treated you this way on a first contact? Expressing concern, suggesting further therapy … maybe. Cursing and calling you a fraud – No way.

    Put it in the creative troll category and move on. They are not worth your time, Honey.

    Have an excellent holiday weekend!

  7. I agree with Callie. Your bio is merely a short snippet of your long journey, and if she had read your book, she would have realized that. I think you handled yourself very well in your response.

  8. No “real” professional would use the terms she did, and go on the attack. She comes across as the one who really has a problem. Your response was perfect.

    I’ve read your story, and I don’t have to have DID to recognize that everyone is different, and there is never a ‘one size fits all’ therapy solution.

  9. The writer seems to have a ‘dissociated’ herself from trying not to be disrespectful while also feeling comfortable dropping ‘shit’ in her note a couple time. That’s unfortunate. It makes me wonder what is wrong with her that she personalized it in such a way to be that harsh in her response.

    Thanks for continuing to share your experience, Leah. 🙂

  10. So, by this person’s logic (indicating that the mere idea of one integrating within two months time is “bullshit”), every single case of DID is the same no matter the patient, situation, environment, etc. Which, for “a psychiatric social worker who is very well educated on this topic” is pretty effing ridiculous to say. It’s like seeing one indie movie your whole life and then deciding that ALL indie movies are the same topic/length/film style/etc – when it very much depends on the writers, the producers, the directors, the actors, so on and so forth.

    I think you said it best, in a very polite, non-confrontational way and I applaud you for that. I’m not sure I could have been so pleasant 🙂

  11. Something in her story obviously hit a personal note with her, or she wouldn’t have responded the way she did, which means she needs to work through something of her own. This doesn’t excuse her communication at all, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say stuff like, “I mean no disrespect, but you’re full of shit.” And I would concede with everyone else who said a true professional would never have a conversation like that. Hope it’s just a drop in the bucket that you doesn’t take up any of your mental space about ever again. Love love love. KG

  12. Leah, this person is just plain ANGRY and is venting her anger and frustration on you. Your reply was way more than the person deserved. The email was RUDE. As someone else already said, don’t give it another thought.

  13. I had to come back.

    This bugs me:

    “Either you didn’t have a dissociative disorder or you are full of shit.”

    How dare she invalidate you like that. Making a blanket either/or statement, your response to which (following the rules of her flawed logic) is to either say, “I DO have DID, therefore I AM full of shit,” or “I do NOT have DID, therefore I am NOT full of shit.”

    GOD I hate trolls.

  14. NoShowMo’s 1st comment totally made me giggle. I got what was being said right off. you are hilarious!
    Yeah this email lady’s douchery (yes a made up word, you can add that to excelando Leah) exceeds the limit. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. She needs to get over herself and stop using caps.

  15. I can understand that this can be a tetchy, emotional subject, but there is no call for the insults. I have little patience with that. There is a difference between respectfully questioning your experience and being a jerk. She crossed the line.

  16. Oh, man. I’m loving this. This woman completely got her bitch on and was UTTERLY WRONG. Your bio is fine for those who have reading comprehension skills. You clearly stated that you started your therapy in 2001 and completed it in 2002. It’s not information you’re likely to miss unless you’re in a giant hurry to finish reading so you can start passing judgment.

    On the plus side, I’m imagining some foul-mouthed version of Emily Litella saying “YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT! oh… uh… never mind”

  17. Your bio is very clear and describes the years of therapy and work that you did. She misread it, and owes you an apology. Not that you’ll get one, of course — but no, you don’t need to rewrite anything.

    p.s. you rock.

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