Jeanette, survivor, nun and former teacher
My name is Jeanette Redmond and this is my story. I was a victim of ritual abuse for most of my growing years. I don’t remember the abuse because I left my body and would suppress feelings. As I got older, I realized that alcohol numbed those feelings. I also was aware that I felt “relieved” after I would injure myself. I was ashamed of hurting myself, the binge eating, hiding food, getting drunk, and stealing in order to feed my addictions and I knew I was crazy.
At age 21, I entered a religious congregation. It was a secure, safe life. I loved it. I enjoyed teaching. But I always had a problem with “the Church.” I had been taught to worship Satan, not God or Jesus. I was so confused.
After 30 years of the religious life, my life took a drastic change. My twin sister (who was also a religious sister in the same congregation) developed cancer and died within 2 years. Now my behavior was out of control. I was isolating, binge-eating, drinking and hurting myself on a daily basis. My Congregation knew something was wrong and sent me to a psychiatric hospital. I felt devastated and beaten down. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was.
There began my diagnoses. The first one was major depression and an eating disorder, then alcoholism and bi-polar disorder were added to the list. I was given psychotropic drugs. I felt like a prisoner in my own head. Since I was in a safe environment in this psychiatric hospital, I began to open up and reveal my feelings. I would let myself say things that just came out of me. I didn’t know where they were coming from, but I knew they were coming out of me. It was a good start in the process of identifying Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
For a period of seven years I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. I could not function and did not feel safe. One astute woman in one of the hospitals realized that I had DID. She arranged for me to go to a hospital that dealt primarily with DID. From there I had a DID therapist. As I worked in therapy, my psychotropic drugs were decreased and finally stopped. I began to feel hopeful.
The Road to Healing
In therapy I was taught to create a safe place in my imagination. In my safe place are a healing pool and a beautiful waterfall that gives off a mist of healing spray, which has the power to return me to my original innocence. My Higher Power is always there.
I have also created a time-out building in my safe place. My dissociated parts go there when they are feeling unsafe. The door is locked from the inside. No key is needed. Once the part feels safe, she/he can just leave.
It is very helpful for me to dialogue with my parts I split off into. We do it in my head and in writing. My parts also dialogue with my therapist. When this happens sometimes I’m also there watching and listening, and other times I am not present.
For the past 3 ½ years of working with a DID therapist, I have made much progress. I am safe and I function very well. The following techniques have been very helpful.
When one of my parts is being triggered, or when I am being triggered, we go through a process at the healing pool, which is the following:
- I accept the body recall and honor it.
- I ask God to help me to surrender to Him.
- I acknowledge that God can remove it from me and ask Him to do so.
- Now I express my feelings regarding this body recall.
- I allow myself to shed tears.
- I sit, breathe, pay attention to my breathing and focus on it.
- I allow the healing water to cleanse me and bring me back to my original innocence.
- A feeling of peace encompasses me.
For me, the hardest part of this process is letting go of that which was triggered in me. And the only way for me to do that, is to make myself focus on God and not on the trigger. Once I surrender to God’s taking over, I am overtaken with peace.
Since I’ve been working with the diagnosis of DID for the past 3 ½ years, I do not hurt myself and I function well. I am in recovery in from alcoholism, and compulsive over-eating. There are times when I deny my parts. There are times when I deny DID. What quickly brings me out of denial is the question: “What has been my experience with my parts?”
My process of recovery is a process, which will last until the day I die. Reclaiming me is worth it. I’m worth it. Life is worth living. I began my life being forced to worship Satan, I will end my life willingly and joyfully worshipping and praising God. It doesn’t get any better than that!