We were born in Minneapolis, MN in July of 1959. We went through a very abusive childhood, including sexual, physical, mental and spiritual. We graduated high school in 1977 and went on to college that year at St. Mary's University of MN. We attended three years including a semester in Norway, and then we became pregnant with our first son.
We and our boyfriend got married in June of 1980 and moved to Chicago, and then Oak Park, IL. We had three sons within four years. We stayed home with the boys and my husband had a small Victorian house painting business that was fairly successful. We bought several more houses/homes in Elgin, IL and moved while the boys were still young.
We started being counseled in 1984 because we were having troubles with depression and anger. At times we became suicidal, and our husband was frequently absent, drinking or using recreational drugs. We found a steady therapist for 1985-87, but then he changed practices. We became engaged in the boys’ school systems through volunteer work and enjoyed finding people with similar interests.
But, by 1990 the marriage was very dysfunctional and we ended up hospitalized at Rush-St. Luke’s in Chicago for 7 weeks. When the insurance ran out, my husband put me on public aid. The hospital could see problems between our spouse and us and recommended that we complete our original plans to go back to school at St. Mary's to finish our senior year, so we could obtain work.
We left for school that fall, but we were soon depressed and overwhelmed and at Thanksgiving time while we were home, our husband stated that if we went back to school he would divorce us, lock us out of our home and we'd never see the boys again. We went back to school, but within days were locked up at the local hospital psych ward. We were pretty much out of our mind(s)
My then sister-in-law convinced her husband, my husband's brother to come and get me and bring me closer to home because they were unsure what to do with me other than send me to a MN state hospital. My husband flew up with my BIL, but it was primarily the BIL we were able to talk to and he had made arrangements to get us to the University of IL - Chicago psych unit.
There we met Dr. Woollcott who was the head of their psych department. He had us come to a big meeting where there were about 30 staff members, and he talked to me throughout the meeting. We were then asked to leave the room, so they could make their conclusions. This is where we were diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as well as Severe Depression, PTSD with anxiety and obsessive tendencies.
We remained at UIC psych ward for 2 months and the doctors told us, we wouldn't be released until we found housing separate from our husband. We did separate within our 18 room Victorian house because it had separate entries. We remained under Dr. Woollcott's care for 7 years and through the divorce. Surprisingly, we ended up with the kids though with not much financial or emotional support.
We raised the kids and our ex had them every other weekend with his new wife and her family. In 1997, we came to another end. The boys' father wanted one of his sons and the costs of going through court were astronomical. We had secured a house, but we lost the house, the boys, the job we had, and even our dog through bankruptcy and all.
We were re-hospitalized and told once more now with boys given to their father that we should go back to school in MN which we did. One of our favorite nurses stated we were at the bottom of our life cycle and there was nowhere to go but up. We lived in a homeless shelter and then got government housing.
We graduated in two years, but had been in and out of hospital psych including Mayo Clinic where we had received electric shock treatment. A friend of twenty years - a Christian Brother had sexually abused us, which nearly finished us. We had the help of the psychology department chair (we have a BA in psychology) to graduate.
Before we left our job in Chicago (while we had the boys), we met Rich our life partner who had been our boss. We fell into a romantic relationship that seemed to continue while we were alone in MN. He was married. After we graduated in 1999, he assisted us in getting another job in Chicago which we held for twelve years.
We were a mix of social worker/counselor for adults with developmental disabilities and we managed a case load of about 24 people, worked on program development, maintained a weekly group for all clients, trained staff, and was put in charge of the center's accreditation. We were a biggish fish in a very small pond - about 50 clients total.
Part of what got us through those years, was that Dr. Woollcott who had retired, had paired us with another psychiatrist, Dr. Marvin and he's been with us now about 17 years.
We did well for a good amount of time, but then we started to have real trouble with our administrator - a Catholic nun past her 80's. The Sisters were in the process of replacing her, but a lot of damage was done first. She added not only a tremendous work burden on us, but as well was very psychologically bitter and emotionally destructive. We left the agency in 2011 with suicidal behavior again (hadn't been acted out for 8 years), and we gained an ulcer.
We were by this time living with Rich in our Brookfield apartment. His marriage had ended in 2007. In January of 2013, Rich and we found a home in Sandwich, IL where he could be taking care of his elderly mother - four miles away. We continue driving bi-weekly the 60 miles into Chicago so that we can see Dr. Marvin.
Although the house is a mobile, it is double wide with 4 bedrooms which gives us room to have sleepovers with three of our older four grandchildren and periodically our sons - who are thankfully successful. Our Marine son now works for Lockheed Martin in Japan, one owns a karate dojo, and the last is a technician working toward management at Comcast. The fourth room gives us a sewing room for the quilting that we like to do with family and friends.
We are on disability and don't leave the house often other than doctor appointments. We have a service dog who keeps us company and grounded. We are getting back to online work in the area of Multiplicity, we have written a book, maintained a blog for 13 years, and we've completed a half a masters (before it became too much).
Throughout all, we consider ourselves very happy. We've been with Rich for 22 years and time is spent primarily working on keeping a good balance. We still have times we're depressed and physically, we've lost most of our mobility skills through diabetes, weight and back issues.
But, I think if we were to summarize our lives to this point, I would have to still say we've been blessed. We've made the most out of our adversity, maintained our sense of humor, and we feel good about what we are doing day to day. We like us and those in our life.
And, we feel special - to be here Ann’s – September 2016