It’s been so long since I’ve logged in here that I almost forgot my password. I’ve had a time of it this last twelve months and that has been reflected in my writing. I came to a point where I just couldn’t continue with Dorian, getting the second book continuing his story published.
I stopped at a point where an assassin has caught him in the one retreat where he can be alone as a new king. In that moment, he relies on others to come and save him. The struggle to figure out exactly where the block about sending it to publication originated was a tough one. Then, the real struggle was to discover why I didn’t feel peace about that particular scene.
Let’s recap. It has been nearly four months since I last wrote so a recap is necessary. In 2019, I went to therapy for the second time. I had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety back in 1991 and treatment for that … well, it accomplished next to nothing. I was still depressed and anxious. Fast forward through my career as a caregiver, caring for my parents, which was about all I was fit for. I had been sick with the same mental illness women in my family always had. I had no way to fight it and, seemingly, no way to win.
At the end of 2018, my father passed and I had dreams and visions I’d nursed for all of that year, preparing myself to be free for the first time in almost three decades without anyone to care for. Since I was working specifically for family, I’d let most of my certificates lapse. I didn’t have money really to keep up with the CEUs anyway. I was at a place where I realized I could reinvent myself.
I started having problems almost immediately after Dad died. Keep in mind, I had my diagnosis. I’d been hearing voices since I was seven but I knew from watching women in my family – those who are under treatment for mental illness cease to be persons the moment they start telling their doctors that they hear voices. They are not treated like people. I kept that to myself! At the end of 2018, I’d been hearing voices again for months. Nothing horrible. Someone crying. Someone saying something I couldn’t quite hear. I prayed about it. I never told a soul. I didn’t want to go back on medication because it made me gain so much weight. I wanted to lose weight not put more on!
By April of 2019, I was very sick and barely able to function. I was hallucinating but I was rational! I realized I wasn’t being stalked by some extraterrestrial to be recruited to save the Planetary Alliance. I wasn’t delusional. I was just very sick and my sickness didn’t have a name. I got so miserable. I spent 2019 traveling as much as I could and, in April of that year, I started therapy.
I found a doctor I’d met during a conference, made an appointment, and told him my story as I remembered it. And I finally got a diagnosis that made sense! I was dissociated! That is the saddest part of being dissociated – your consciousness is trying to protect you from unholy things! My consciousness did such a good job of it I never once imagined this would be my reality. I remember reading about Dissociative Identity Disorder and it never dawned on me that I might also have that same thing. All the symptoms fit. A one hundred percent match! And the treatment – well, the treatment …
I’m still seeing this therapist, four years later. I’ve covered a lot of ground and done a lot of work and I have lifted the lid off pandora’s box to confront a moras of horror and sadness. My parents’ marriage was failing almost as soon as it began. My mother started to ask for a divorce in 1971, when I was turning two. My Dad refused. And thus began the domestic violence. He would beat her up but most of his vitriol was aimed at me. He was the cruelest person I have ever looked at eye to eye.
There are still come holes in my memory and there are still times when I “lose time” and also lose things! So many things! I find them in the weirdest places! But I am getting better and the evidence of that is in my writing.
And this, you might ask, leads where? How does this affect Dorian 2?
I wrote all of Joanna starting in 1984 but wrote most of what I’m publishing now in extensive edits started in 1999. I was highly, completely, and irrevocably dissociated then. In going back to read some of my old work, I’m finding loads of evidence that I understood what had happened to me to some extent and I was putting parts of my story down in fiction form, the only way I had to confront my pain. I truly thought my place in the story was as Joanna. When I conceived of the story in the 1980s, Rossyn’s name was Tristian and Joanna wanted to be rescued in the same way I wanted to be saved, a little girl’s fictional wish to be removed from a bad situation.
Fast forward to 2022 and I began to realize just how much of myself I had really put into my books. In fact, there were loads of parts which were written and I never remember writing them!! I was stunned and also kind of spooked. But when it came down to Dorian 2, I realized, I had put something of myself into every character! A bit of me was Joanna. A bit of me was Chandler. Another Stella. And a part of me went into Dorian.
Dorian had lived in repression and oppression for so long, he’d come to accept it as normal. He didn’t fight against it. That was where I had to make the changes. Today, with less than a hundred and fifty words, I changed that scene. Dorian didn’t do anything to fight back against the assassin in the original story, giving in to the darkness. But the part of me which is healing has been telling me in ways I couldn’t fully understand that he needed to fight! I needed to fight.
Last year was a terror for me. Some changes in my exterior world and my inner world led to the retrieval of an extremely painful point in my life, when I was 13. My mom was asking for a divorce again and Dad was punishing me for – I never really understood what he was punishing me for. He did some especially cruel and hateful things to me which, when I had those flashbacks, when I recovered that information, just absolutely knocked me on my ass. I spent months spiraling, talking to the therapist, and going back to school to study art and only art while dreaming of what I might do with the rest of my life.
I am hoping this edit will do the trick and I’ll be able to get Dorian 2 submitted into publication with the cover art I’ve already got completed. At some point in the future, I may redo all of these books, edit them up, make them another version of me just like now there exists a bolder, stronger version of me who knows her story now in much more detail. I’ll assess how I feel, how ‘we’ feel about Dorian 2 in the morning.
No one has ever left me a review. I’ve had a few readers who’ve told me good things about my writing, all while smiling at me like they don’t want to break my heart. I don’t know if anyone reads my books let alone this. But I wanted copies of these books for myself. They are a personal journey which heavily reflects my inner life as I struggled with mental illness, struggled to find my way, struggled to survive domestic violence. My Dad was such a good man. I heard that from everyone. His public persona was as a kind, charitable man. His private persona was very, very different. Few people other than me got to see that private persona. My mom basically divorced him in her mind if not in reality, divorced us all, really. Left me to fend for myself. All these years later, all I can say is that I survived. These stories were rolling around in my mind back in 1984. They helped me to make it to today. Having a copy of them to hold in my hand – Even if it means nothing to anyone else, it means something to me and that’s what writing is all about.