Book review: Today I’m Alice by Alice Jamison

Hi everyone,

I’ve just finished reading a memoir called today I’m Alice. It’s about a woman with DID. It’s set in England so very interesting to note the differences between care in the US and in England. In terms of hospitalization therapy ETC

I have to say the book is extremely triggering. Alice grows up having nightmares of being sexually abused or burned. Has physical problems with her bladder and bowels and other physical issues. There is a lot of emotional abuse at home. She is constantly bothered by these memories and starts hearing voices as a teenager. She does see a psychiatrist for years but doesn’t confide anything. After leaving home she does have some good periods abroad but the voices follow her everywhere and she realizes she’s losing time and finds things out of place or new things she didn’t remember buying.

Throughout the book she does run into genuinely supportive people but also people that take advantage of her vulnerability such as people who draw her into doing drugs or abusive partners. She also tries to confront her father a couple of times with no positive results. Her mother does believe in the end that what happened was true and was over all supportive.

What stood out to me was the number of times her alters cut her/ tried to kill the boday. She was taken to a/e or the emergency department stitched up and more times than not sent home under the promise she won’t hurt herself again! It just didn’t seem right or like something that would happen in the US but you never know. Sadly at the time this was maybe the sixties, the hospital psych wards were a nightmare and little good came out of it except being over medicated.

The therapy she received was psychoanalytic, with one therapist she was helped to regress and was continually flooded with memories this increased her symptoms draswtically. Another therapist she saw for a rape and when she found out about the dissocation said she wasn’t able to handle it. Her last therapist had firmer boundaries. Though he still used regression he really focused on the alters cooperating rather than individual ones and this was helpful in some ways.

I’m not sure how I feel about the book. I admire anyone who had a horrific life like that and was able to tell their story. I wish Alice had received therapy as it can be done today with direct coping skills for trauma self-harm and DID. I also wish that hospitalizations were more helpful as they currently would be.

One thing I’d tell readers who have experienced any kind of abuse is that the book is extremely triggering in describing graphically flashbacks and abuse scenes throughout the book. I would be interested to hear a person with DID’s thoughts on the book.

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