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Today I am bringing you a guest blog post from a friend of mine. Her name is Sam and she is a very good friend of mine, she has been my friend since the summer of 2013. She is totally blind, and she also has anxiety disorder, ptsd and suffers from self injury issues. She runs an email support group called blind mental health, which is a group for blind people who also suffer from mental illnesses. I help her to moderate that group. And she helps me to moderate my did support group. She has a great blog, where she writes candidly about her ups and downs with life with a mental illness, she also writes posts where she reviews books that she has read, she also posts different resources she finds which may be helpful to others. Please visit her blog and give her a follow. I will put the link to it below. Today Sam has reviewed a book for my blog. The book is called pieces of me still awake and is written by a woman who has did, and is also well known on youtube. The review is bwlow. Any and all comments are appreciated.
the link to sams blog is
and here is the book review
Lyn Jamison is known by the youtube community as Tomy Jamison. Shes been making personal vlogs since the early 2000s about her journey with DID. Openly discussing all aspects and working to dispel the hurtful myths and misconseptions that are barriers for those with DID to feeling accepted even among the professional mental health community. Many of her alters make videos on serious subjects such as their purpose in the system, to funny things like cooking or just hanging out. Her amazingly loving and supportive partner Milissa also often is a part of these videos and makes her own.
I was introduced to Tomy by another friend with DID. I instantly loved her commanding yet gentle presence. Her way of reaching out to anyone with a mental illness to give encouragement and total validation for just how impossible recovery can feel at times. She holds nothing back and in that way has made what seem like life long connections. Watching her vlogs has given me the inspiration and courage to attempt to be as honest as she is in my presentation to the world.
I was somewhat familiar with all characters presented in her memoir before it was published. When it was I eagerly purchased it on kindle and started to read. On her video about the books release she says the book is one big trigger warning. And acknowledges that many who have been in her situation or similar with the level of abuse that took place may not be able to read the book at all or fully. Ive read many memoirs related to mental illness and abuse. Thankfully the abuse Ive personally dealt with has been emotional. Reading about the other levels of cruelty that an adult puts upon a child always breaks my heart. The directness and raw emotion in this book was hard to bear at times. However I took my time to work through it as I see Tomy and her system as my friends and wanted to hear everything they had to say.
The narrative appropriately is told in flashes of experiences and jumps around the different time periods in Lyns life. It covers everything from early childhood and the nice on the outside horrific on the inside family she grew up in. It covers her life as an adult and how flashbacks tore through her consciousness. Several alters tell their stories of birth, their order in the system, and the ins and outs of the inner world.
In an interesting twist, the lives of both Lyns parents are explored as well and made clear the level of abuse they suffered. This is in no way at all excusing anything done. However it does show the power of the cycle of abuse, and how perhaps in the creativity of the mind that creates alters, Lyn was able to take a different path of self-discovery and awareness which lead her to avoid making the same mistakes in later life.
Ive read some other books on DID. Before I personally had friends who dealt with this, I found the books fascinating and interesting and felt for those in it but didnt have the knowledge and emotional attachment to watching someone go day by day trying to constantly make a healthy life for themselves while being haunted by flashbacks, and overwhelmed with the daunting task of connecting with the others inside. Lyns account talks about this in detail. The struggle to accept get to know, and build a safe world for she and all of her inner family so that they can have a cooperative life together. This has ups and downs and is ultimedly heartwarming and overall successful. Its empowering to see how the system takes their own path to healing. Taking what works from therapy, but ultametily being self-supporting and knowing whats right for them. Theyre not about to be manipulated or controlled by people who try to tell them whats best for them. In all other DID books Ive read integration is the preferred method of treatment. Before meeting my friends I thought this made sense logically. That was before intimately getting to know these complex systems, each alter a true person in his or her own right. And seeing the complex nature of DID, it makes sense that integration is by no means straightforward or even any kind of valued option. It should be individualized to what each system feels is right. Lyn and her system discuss integration, how theyve made it work for them specifically and how in their world no one can integrate unless its just the right time.
Many books dealing with DID focus on the retelling of brutal abuse with little about the day to day life of the person, or very much positive other than some kind of integration compelled by the therapist feeling this is necessary. In this book other aspects of their lives are fully explored. Such as their job and the breakdown that caused the end to Lyns denial about her situation. The various relationships she had and how they served her in healthy or unhealthy ways. And in the eliment of peace about their lives. Not peace like happy ending or like nothing will go wrong again. But peace like she found a life partner thats truly a soulmate. Peace in a full understanding of herself, her system, exactly what works for them all. With all this experience, ups and downs, shes able to move forward building a healthier life than she ever could have imagined. At the end of the book she says something quite powerful that I too believe. It all had to happen. Everything leading up to this moment. If she hadnt gone through all that she had she never would have met Milisa. . Or any of the others who touched her lives in her many moves. She never would have such a rich understanding of herself and her inner world. And she never would have written this book. Or touched probably hundreds of people through her live encounters on video. Including myself.
I encourage anyone whos interested in truly learning about life with mental illness to read this book. Its nothing glamorous or dramatic or like in the media. Its rough down to earth, and with unexped pleasant surprises and moments of peace and healing along the way. For those who deal with this on a daily b basis I feel anyone can see at least one aspect of themselves or their struggles here. For significant others I hope you read this book and give your loved one a big hug. And maybe cry because you finally sort of get it. Why this person might seem out of reach at times, and how you really cant know whats going on inside their head. Maybe it will make you a little more patient in the bad times. And take your breath away so that all you can do is listen.
Lastly, of course the trigger warnings. This book has moment by moment graphic descriptions of physical and sexual abuse. As well as some cult like ritual abuse. I have no personal experience with these traumas but I found them very hard to read at times. If I found them hard to read Id extremely caution those with personal experiences to try and monitor yourself emotionally. It also deals with a suicide attempt in detail. However if you arent able to read the book, Iknow that Lyn would understand. And that shed probably be willing to connect with you through youtube and be a listening ear and have only compassion and understanding for what youre going through.
Below is the amazon link to the kindle book.
Also here is the link to their channel.