Lyn Barrett is an author and a facilitator of Writers’ Workshops and Memoir Classes for People with Dissociative Disorders. Her memoir, Crazy: Reclaiming Life from the Shadow of Traumatic Memory, follows her discovery of and recovery from multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder (publication date January 3, 2022 with Koehler Books). Her free eBook DID Unpacked: A Parable is available on her website. She has been interviewed by public radio stations around the country and by Safe Communities Survivors’ Voices series. A retired teacher, school principal, and pastor, Lyn was diagnosed with DID in 1992 while climbing up the career ladder. After considerable therapeutic work, she now lives a happily integrated life with her husband in the Adirondacks. You can connect with Lyn on her website at www.Lynbarrett.com.
INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):
· Are you really crazy?
· Dissociative Identity Disorder defined
· Alternate/Multiple personalities
· Insight into the memoir writing process
· Early childhood trauma
· Trauma informed therapy
· Atheistic insight
· Quaker insight
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· Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)
o TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs
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You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your.
There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So
let’s dive right into this episode.
De’Vannon: Lynn Barrett is the author of her intense memoir called CRAZY: Reclaiming Life From the Shadow of Traumatic Memory. Lynn is very vulnerable and transparent in this interview as well as in her memoir. And she breaks down for us in excruciating detail, her experience with her own mental health struggles, Dissociative Identity Disorder is something I had never heard of before.
This is the [00:01:00] epicenter of Lyn’s book and it’s what she has struggled with throughout her life. She tells us how this all starts in early childhood . We get an interesting atheistic insight as well as an interesting insight. From a Quaker perspective, I never talked to a Quaker before, so this was pretty bad ass and we wrap it all up with some good ole healing towards the end.
I hope you get a lot of informative information out of this episode.
Hello? Hello. Hello, Lyn. Welcome to the sex drugs and Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus podcast.
Lyn: Hello, Jesus. Yes. I’m for that all the way. I’m for sex too. I’m not sure about drugs, but you know, let’s keep it all open for everyone.
De’Vannon: Oh, the swinging sixties and the summer of love, baby.
Lyn: Yeah. And the swinging sixties, how old was I? I was [00:02:00] a late teenager, so yeah, but I was a good girl back then. So I didn’t get into all that. I didn’t find those other parts of myself until later in life. But we’ll get to that. I’m sure in this conversation,
De’Vannon: All things in it’s time. Well, I’m doing great. It looks like you’re doing fantastic. And you have a gift at the world with a neat memoir. It’s called crazy. all crazy. I was to see if there’s some sort of like polite way I can introduce this. And I said, now, you know, I’ll just do what I usually do and be myself it’s called crazy.
And the cover is is very, very interesting. It’s like a woman standing in his, like all of her shadow cells are surrounded or she has like about 60 different shadows that are all surrounding her. They’re like in tri color, there’s like tri Technicolor kind of [00:03:00] situation going on and everything like that.
Can you. I’m always interested in people’s book covers. Tell me about, tell me what this book is about, why you wrote it and why you went with that cover.
Lyn: Yeah. Well, thank you for asking that question. And there is a subtitle to the book. It’s called crazy reclaiming life from the shadow of traumatic memory. And the story is about my discovery of, and recovery from personality disorder, which was later renamed identity disorder, or did.
I imagine that you or your listeners have probably heard something about did from Hollywood you know, on TV shows on YouTube and is so much. Misinformation out there that hopefully our conversation and my book might help [00:04:00] to clarify some of that, but that cover comes from my publisher.
They produced about six different possible covers, you know, and it immediately came down to just two covers. It was either this one or another one, and the other one was beautiful too, but it was really dark. And this cover is light and I wanted the cover.
to convey hope to convey light in the midst of darkness to convey a life. When it feels like there is no life. So that’s how the cover came to be. What else can I tell you?
De’Vannon: that reminds me of the of that artifact that the lady and the Lord of the rings game gave to What was it? No, it was the Sam wise he, and she told him may this be a light all of them go out?[00:05:00]
Lyn: That’s it that’s the light. The only thing is there there’s six shadow cells there, but I had over 20, so it’s not exactly accurate, but it’s still could base the same, the same sense that there is life even in the midst of that kind of darkness and that there’s hope. And that I lead a very fulfilled, happy and integrated life after more than 20 years of extreme.
Pain feeling unreal, how suicidal ideation feeling crazy. And maybe here’s the place to say that I was not crazy, but I felt crazy. And the people. Other people out?
there who have did are not crazy. They’re using a creative coping strategy for the experience of chronic childhood [00:06:00] abuse. And so it’s actually an incredibly powerful way the brain has protect young children.
And, and so we, in a sense I’ve been gifted with this kind of protection when we were children with did the problem is that although it’s very functional for the child when, when it’s happening, it’s dysfunctional when we become adults, because we don’t understand it. So would you like me to explain a little more about how that all happened?
De’Vannon: Well, tell me, so is multiple personality disorder. A separate thing from the ID or like, is that what it turned into? So are there like many different types of multiple personality disorders or did the name change from multiple personality disorder to dissociative identity disorder?
Lyn: Well, that’s a great question. And it [00:07:00] it’s, it’s what you just said. When I was diagnosed in 1992, it was called multiple personality disorder I believe it was in 1994. The DSM, the diagnostic statistical manual changed the name from multiple personality to dissociative identity disorder?
Because by that time there had been enough research to show that this was really a dissociative issue.
That the way that. Alternate personalities were created was through dissociation and dissociation is a very natural body process. It just means that we’re being that, that our minds and our bodies are not necessarily connected. So everybody dissociates every Now and then if you’re sitting in a lecture hall and you’re really bored, and you’re looking out the window at what’s going on out there, you are dissociating from what’s happening in [00:08:00] your lecture hall and your mind is going somewhere else.
It can also happen with other very mundane things that happen in our lives that have nothing to do with trauma, but when people experience trauma, Dissociation is a natural thing for their minds to do so that they don’t have to live fully in the moment of that terror, fear, horror that they’re experiencing.
So you will find that veterans coming back from war experience dissociation, that’s a part of PTSD. You’ll find that rape victims experienced association, and you will also find people who are, were abused repeatedly as small children have dissociation. Now, what happens with [00:09:00] did dissociative identity disorder is that the small child realized.
On their caregiver. Usually the parent, whoever it is who takes care of them, the child can’t survive without that person. If that person is also abusing that child, it puts the child in a really untenable position because they have to go back to that person in order to survive. But that person is the one who is hurting them.
And so our minds, when we’re very little, have not been fully formed. And so we, we sort of using dissociation, we partition off parts of the mind. So, so a part of me is hurt over and over again. But another part of me doesn’t know about that and goes back to my caregivers so that I can trust them.
And, and for instance, my. The center of my [00:10:00] dissociative system is Rosie, who is a two or three year old child. And she, her ammo is trust. She trusts over and over again, and she keeps climbing back into that lap that hurts her, but she gives all of her pain to nanny who takes care of her head. So nanny is exhausted and overwhelmed with this pain.
So that Rosie can go back and trust again. So this is just a little snapshot of the sort of thing that happens in dissociative identity disorder. And so it’s very functional for the child while it’s happening, but as we grow up and we are no longer in danger, have we’re trying to live a relatively normal sane and calm life.
These these parts of us that we probably didn’t even know existed start to create some havoc inside of ourselves. And that’s where it [00:11:00] becomes a disorder because it’s really difficult to manage until one, until we until we have discovered what it is it’s actually happening.
And we work in therapy to do the kind of work that helps to heal and resolve these issues.
De’Vannon: Now you’ve mentioned a few names. There were those like some of your other personalities.
De’Vannon: So I want to take a moment in researching you are, I think you refer to these alternative personality as altars.
Lyn: I guess that’s the common term for it.
De’Vannon: Okay. So I want you to, to, to, to give us information on how you discovered what your altars are.
Is this something that you. Are they still there? Or is this something that you got rid of in the course of the therapy?
Lyn: These are all really good questions. Davanon so let me see, let [00:12:00] me start how I discovered them. So for a good 10 years or more leading up to my diagnosis I began to feel like I wasn’t myself. I began to feel unreal. I began to feel like I was in the corner of the ceiling, looking down on this wretched woman who was going through life.
But then it wasn’t me. This was an awful way to feel it, it was mind blowing and it made me feel crazy. I felt body pain everywhere. I had, I had multiple streams of consciousness going through my head at a time. I, I, I was, I had suicidal ideation most of the time and I attempted suicide. I was I hospitalized myself for 30 days, about two years after that.
I tried everything at that time. I, I [00:13:00] had a therapist I had took different kinds of medications. I had a good lawyer to help me through the divorce that I was going through. I tried to be positive. I would write positive affirmations. I did set goals for myself and all the time that this was happening to Havana and I was also a teacher and then I was hired to be the head of a school.
So there was a part of my life that was just working really well. But then there was this other part of my life that caused me to roll up in a fetal position every day and pull the covers over my head because I was in such pain. And so these were the kind of symptoms I was experiencing, but without any context for those symptoms, it made me feel crazy.
That was the word that I used is that I feel crazy. I I, I went into a, really a wonderful [00:14:00] 30 day hospital unit. And at that time we did not know I had did and it helped to stabilize me when I came out, I actually got a new job. I moved. And I found a new therapist and in that interim, you know, for moving from one community to another and one job to another, I had a Twilight dream, which means that I wasn’t asleep, but I wasn’t fully awake.
And the Twilight dream woke me up and it said to me you have a twin sister and her name is Rosie, but she is me. And they gave her a way and I had no idea what that meant to cause another crazy-making message to me. But I just sort of stirred it in the back of my mind and went on to my job. And I found my new [00:15:00] therapist and I shared this with her and.
I became more comfortable talking with her Rosie came forward as the small child that she was and began to talk. And so I, of course at the time thought it was again crazy. I mean, this is nuts. You don’t have. Other parts of yourself talking. I was an intelligent woman. I didn’t believe it at all, Rosie would continue to share some of her story.
And then nanny came out and talked about her story. I had a victim and a survivor. I had Mike who was a teenager who was angry and and Sylvia who was Mike’s twin, who was very sexual, but also very sensual. So all of these different parts slowly started to make themselves known to me. I still didn’t believe them.
I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe that this was really happening and I couldn’t believe that they were real. And yet I also knew that. [00:16:00] They were a part of me somehow. And so my therapist thought that I was at that time it was called MPD multiple personality disorder. But I didn’t believe it.
And I wanted a second opinion. So I went to a psychiatrist who also confirm that diagnosis. I will say at that time, I actually didn’t know who Sylvia was, but driving down to the psychiatrist’s office, I felt this very sexual part of me come help, who decided she was going to seduce the psychiatrist.
And fortunately she went back in and I went in as myself Lynn and that didn’t happen, but these were different parts of me that Been most of them had existed since I was a small child. Some of them were probably created as I got older in the face of stress. But the [00:17:00] structural theory of dissociation says that these parts are created when most of them are created in the in the developmental period of a child’s growth.
And that that’s the way your mind is is structured, which means that even though I’m integrated, those parts are still there. But they trust me now and they allow me to operate as one and they rarely come with. And speak or talk to me. They do occasionally if there’s some really big thing going on, but for the most part, I don’t hear from them, but they influence me because I still have I have I have an innocence.
Side to myself and the caregiving side to myself. I, I, I very assertive now. I’m not filled with rage the way I used to be. But I have that assertive Mike in me. [00:18:00]I still am sexual and central. And I, I have faith. I’m religious. I have all these parts make up me just like you Divan and have parts of you too.
But your parts were not created from chronic trauma. Your parts is, or the natural way that people are as adults. And that’s the way my parts are now. There’s a natural way that people have parts as adults. But they were initially created out of chronic promo as a response to protect the integrity of the child.
De’Vannon: So, so the people, so these different personalities you say take over these, when they speak to you or they speak through you, is this like some form of possession or are they, are you hearing an audible voice in your head? And if they speak through you do you feel like someone else has taken control [00:19:00] of you at that time?
Lyn: Well, that’s another good question. And I don’t like the word possession. I’ll I’ll say that right now. It, because it does It sends the message that it’s some outside force that is doing this, and it’s not an outside force, it’s an inward force. And I think that I can only speak for myself because I think did manifested differently in, in different people.
So I sometimes I did feel like, I don’t know who this is. Where did that, where did those words come from? Where did this come from? You know, I didn’t understand it. And I. That depending on how it manifests in people with did, we can feel more co conscious and aware of what’s going on. Or we can fully not be aware that someone else is speaking through us.
But they’re all us [00:20:00] all of them are us. And that’s the important thing for me to say to you, it’s also important for people with did to hear, because when we first learned we have did, it does feel a little, like a possession. It does feel a little bit like these are outside forces, but they aren’t.
And part of our therapeutic work is to. Get to know them, to allow them to speak, to start to encourage communication between the parts. So the amnesiac barriers will be lower and to to listen to their stories and to believe that even when their stories seem almost unbelievable.
De’Vannon: Okay. So how would people you’ve interacted with, with some of your different personalities? Describe it described you in the, in that time. Like what, what are some of the reactions you’ve gotten from people.
Lyn: Well [00:21:00] to be Frank, And this is, you’re a great interviewer because you ask all the right questions. This, so 90 to 95% of all people with did have what we call covert did, which means that it’s, it’s not clearly evident in our behavior when we’ve made a switch. The other five or 10%, it’ll be very, very clear and you will know this is someone totally different in front of me, but most of us are covert.
And there’s a reason for that. The whole perp did is called the hidden disorder and the whole purpose of it is to hide the abuse from. The child who’s experiencing it. And from the world around the whole purpose is to hide it. And so if we were to be very obvious about our switching and our [00:22:00] condition, it would feel very dangerous to us.
So for instance, when, when I first learned that I had did, I was teaching in a public school and I just had this real, real desire to share my diagnosis with someone that I worked with, which was not. Really a very smart idea, but it was still a desire that I had. And so I was talking to a teacher that I got along with pretty well, and she was sharing family issues of her own.
And then I said, yes, I really understand. And I’ve just been diagnosed with did, and that’s really complicated things with my family too. And she just like backed away and said, oh, that’s really interesting. And the next thing I knew, she had told the principal who had told the assistant superintendent who had talked with HR and my whole.
[00:23:00] Teaching position was in jeopardy. The fact is that I was not released or let go. And the principal said, just let me know if there’s any if it interferes with your work. And I said, I will do that. Absolutely. But we are very frightened of telling people about this condition because it is so misunderstood.
And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve written my book. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m being interviewed by you right now. That it’s it, I am 74 years old and I am only just now coming out and I feel that. Very comfortable coming out now, but I would not have felt comfortable coming out 10 years ago when I was still working.
And I, I work with people daily now who have did in writer’s workshops and they have a fear of coming out [00:24:00] because they don’t know how that will impact them or affect them. Now, these are people, I was a teacher and I was a school principal. Some of the folks that I work with are artists, college professors PhDs and other areas regular everyday folks.
I mean, these are, but they’re all people who are capable, competent and responsible, but they’re terrified to come out. They are terrified to come out and I was terrified to come out. So in terms of, would somebody know when I’m switching, not unless. You and I were intimate with each other, if we were intimate and you knew me really well, you would notice the difference.
But if, if, if I were your next door neighbor or if we worked with each other or if we were just friends, you would probably not know it. And that’s another area of misunderstanding with did because people think it’s [00:25:00] rare. But in fact, between one and 5% of the world population has did and that’s that, that puts it right next to bipolar disorder in terms of prevalence.
So there are people that you know, who have it, but either they don’t know it themselves yet, or they’re not going to tell you because they not ready to experience what coming up. experience.
De’Vannon: And then you’ve mentioned in the definition of this a lot as it relates to childhood trauma. So is this something that’s pretty much exclusive to trauma that happens as a child or can this not happen to an adult? From what you’ve experienced.
Lyn: So dissociation can happen at any age. And we’ve already mentioned that veterans and rape victims experience it. And anyone who experiences violence at any age is likely to experience dissociation, [00:26:00] but to experience it where you have separate parts of the mind sort of cordoned off from one another. It has to happen repetitively before the age of six or eight, because that’s when the brain is still developing. So after that, you, you, you would still experience dissociation, but most likely not as a separate parts or we call them alters parts or insiders. Some people call them head mates. So there are different words that people use for the same thing, but you’re not likely to have that after the age of maybe 10 you might, the person will be dissociated, but they, they, they will not have alters or parts.
De’Vannon: Gotcha. Thank you for clarifying that for me. So, so you, so you went through, you wrote this a memoir. I know from my, from writing my own that writing memoirs [00:27:00] is, is a, is a bitch. And it can be like a really, really just emotionally. Taxing and draining and in a couple of other words that are not coming to my mind right now, because it’s different than writing where you can just make it up as you are inspired, know, but when you’re writing about yourself and things that are very intense, it’s a completely different ball game.
And it takes forever to write a memoir because of that. How, what, what, what were some of the toughest parts of this writing process? I want to hear about like, maybe when you thought you didn’t want to do it anymore, maybe a time that came where you thought you were going to quit and just throw the whole thing away.
Lyn: So I’ll tell you how I started on the memoir. I was, I am an ordained minister and I was pastoring, a church in Connecticut. And I was planning on retiring in the next year or so. And [00:28:00] I, I, I’m a good writer and I’ve had an interesting life, even aside from having did, and I have a opinion, so I thought.
I’ve got to write a book. And every time I would say that this big blank would come up in front of me, like, Nope, w what should I write about? Nope, nothing, nothing. It was just blank. There was nothing. it didn’t make sense to me because I thought, what else am I going to do in retirement? This is what I should do.
I’m a writer, you know? And and then I realized that the reason why I couldn’t even imagine writing anything else was because I had to write this story. And so I started writing it in about 2014. And I was just playing with different ways of going about it and writing, you know, getting the writing juices going.
I was still working at the time. Then I retired and I’m still doing some writing. And I went to [00:29:00] a big summer event, which was really lovely. And somebody offered a a class on writing for healing. And I thought, oh, I should go to that. So I went to that and one of the, it was right around father’s day.
And one of the, the assignments was to write just a couple of paragraphs about your father. And so I wrote a paragraph or two about my father. It was not an indicting paragraph, but it was, it did indicate that there were some challenges there. And I read it aloud to this group and. They were all just stunned that I could say anything negative about my father and I, I was, I was dumbfounded and I was hurt.
And I was shut down and I can look back on it now and laugh and say, had, this was a class on writing for healing. I still don’t understand that. But anyway, I, that shut me down. [00:30:00] I just, I, I just put it away.
and I couldn’t think of it anymore. Because in this class for writing for healing, people were upset that I had said anything even remotely negative about my father.
But somehow I knew it was still there and I knew I was going to have to do something about it. And so I believe it was in 2000, the end of. December, 2018, I picked it up again and I started all over and I started from a totally different perspective and I just started writing and it just started coming out and we go to Florida from January through May.
And so in 2019, I wrote from January through may, then moved, came back up to the Adirondacks. And I didn’t do much of anything again. And then the next year we went back down again from January through may. Of course, that was the COVID year 2020. And that’s what I finished the first draft. I mean, it just came pouring out of me.
It came pouring [00:31:00] out of me. Now I have to tell you I’ve written tender AFS. So the first string. Was really important. And that’s what I tell people in my writer’s workshops. Just get it out, just get it out. You have as many drafts as you want after that, but get that first draft out. And so I I did, and it was a good start, but I it’s, it’s very different today than what it was the first time around.
And I did hire an editor who taught me how to tell the story. So I was able to go back and do a lot more storytelling than I had done. Originally. I shared so much more of my personal life beyond did in the final version. I mean, it’s all related to the did, but it was hard for me because I have four children and I really didn’t, I think I’ve put them through enough and I didn’t want to put them through anymore with this memoir, but [00:32:00] I also had to tell my story.
So I had to tell it in the best way that I could without Yeah.
without trying to invade their privacy. And I ended up by fictionalizing the, the children and what that means is all the events in my story that have to do with the children are true. But instead of having four children, I have three, instead of having two boys, three, three boys and a girl, I have two girls and a boy, so that it was really hard.
Then it’s hard for people to know who, who did water, what happened to who? My life. And the situations that I found myself in were very hard for both me and for my children. And so that’s my greatest grief. And so I, I do everything that I can to put any more on them, but most of [00:33:00] them are really fine with it.
And they they’re, they’re, they’re cool. But it is, it is a little bit of a challenge for one of my children. So
De’Vannon: Oh, they going be all right. I hope and pray.
Lyn: they will.
De’Vannon: So all right. So, so like in your book, you describe how, you know, life was pretty much like great, perfect, wonderful, whatever. You mentioned a divorce in there, and then I read something about an affair. curious. So at what point, you know, that something happened to, to make like a, like a snap or something to make this, you know, the, these, all this compartment compartmentalization and the least fractured, th these different personalities had been there, it’s like, they didn’t come out until like you said, you were like in your late thirties.
So was it. A traumatic event that happened or were there, are there some sort of signs and [00:34:00] symptoms that came up? You know, how did you know even that there was a, you know, what happened.
Lyn: Well, yes exactly. There was a family crisis. And I found out that my husband had been having an affair for two years. And and that’s, that was the snap that it made all my parts terrified. It was a betrayal that mimicked the original betrayal and so in different ways, they began to show themselves that we’ve talked about that already a little bit, but I also want to say that even prior to learning about my husband’s affair, I looked back and there were times when I could see, I can see now that different parts of myself were coming out and we’re having [00:35:00]difficulty.
So. My guess is that even if my husband had not had an affair that gradually my parts would have started to come out because they needed to be heard, but it would have been very different in terms of what the experience was like. My husband. I think was dealing with his own you know, mental health crisis in, in terms of how he responded to me because he didn’t want to divorce and he wanted us to get back together.
But I I, I didn’t know why, but for some reason I couldn’t do that. And then he got really angry and then it was very ugly for years ugly. And so I was in a constant state of alert to try to manage everything. And it was Well, I’d probably dissociating right now because it was such a hard time in [00:36:00] our lives.
I will say that he and I now have a good relationship and that healing and reconciliation up to a point are possible with some people in our lives, but not with everyone. But it was a really horrendously, awful time. And it made life harder for me and harder for my children. And ultimately I’m sure it was harder for him to but I don’t want to get inside his head because that’s his story, not mine, but that was the.
That was the turning point. That was what snapped the rubber band. When I discovered that and I also B w began to be able to look back and say, oh yeah, we had this wonderful, perfect life where at least I thought it was, had created this fantasy land for myself. But yeah, Remember the time that you know, about two years after we were married, when we had gone to Bria and he [00:37:00] told me it was because of camp toilets.
Not so sure that’s true. You know, the time that he said that he did this, this or that. And he, he really didn’t do anything with this woman, but he might have a venereal disease and you just accepted it, Lynne. Yeah, I did. I just accepted all these things because was living in a fantasy world in a dissociative fantasy room.
I accepted them all. But when I find it found out that he was actually having. The fair and he admitted it to my face and he said it had been for two years, I could no longer I could no longer keep the bubble intact, had the bubble burst. And that’s what I call it. That’s the first chapter of the book is when the bubble burst and you’re looking at me right now and your viewers can’t see this, but you’re looking at me and thinking, how could she possibly believe?
And you’re absolutely right. That is that’s what happens when we have been [00:38:00] abused. And when we dissociate and when we we create these bubbles for ourselves to live in because they seem safer than anything else.
De’Vannon: Well, yeah, I do have a look of shock on my face. I’m going to be thinking that, you know, I’m going to have to have me some Tito’s vodka. Whenever I get off interview to help me No, you’re going to be fine. So let me just tell everybody I, you know, so I am, I actually, this is like going to the other end of the story. After I integrated, I met a wonderful man. We got married and he died suddenly and unexpectedly four days before our first anniversary, God bless his soul. My marriage with him taught me that I could actually have a healthy relationship.
Lyn: And so five years later I met my third husband who I am now. We’ve been well, we’ve been together since 2015. [00:39:00] And he is wonderful. We have a very open and honest and transparent relationship and we support each other. So I only want to go there because we’ve been, we’ve been at the other extreme and I just want to go to that extreme that it is very, it’s possible to heal from dissociative identity disorder.
It is possible to heal from relationship dysfunction. It is possible to heal. From flashbacks and all of the other kinds of symptoms that come with early childhood abuse, it is possible to heal all of those and to lead a happy and fulfilled life. And that’s the point of my story that I.
That I worked really hard. I worked really, really hard. I didn’t know what I was [00:40:00] doing, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and working with a very good therapist. And I never knew that I would come to a place where I didn’t feel like I was in constant pain and I never knew that I would come to a place where I would have a loving partner.
And I never knew that I would come to a place where I would just feel like I’m like I’m safe. And it’s, and it’s okay to be safe enough to be happy. So I am very happy now. So that’s the other side of that story.
De’Vannon: So, you’re talking about you know, healing and everything like that. What was the turning point that you began to say, okay, I need to do better. I can do better. How did you know that you could do better? And then if some that’s question one and then wanna a little bit more clarity on, so like if someone’s listening and they may have
De’Vannon: and they don’t know they have this, what, what might they want to [00:41:00] look for?
Be it in themselves. I would dare say in loved one, but if it’s a covert, they may not be able to see it. So are some of the signs and symptoms that people can look for in case this is happening to them? And they may think they’re crazy. And as you said, they’re not crazy. You know, what are the signs and symptoms and then how did you to turn it around?
Lyn: Yes. So I started trying to turn it around. 10 years before my diagnosis, that was one of the most frustrating things is I, I went to therapists, I took medication. I, I set goals for myself. I tried to be positive. I did all these great things and it didn’t work. It did not work. And that’s why I attempted suicide because it did not work.
So it wasn’t so much a matter of making a decision to turn my life around. It was a [00:42:00] matter of Finding find finding the right kind of treatment and surrendering myself to the diagnosis. So which in a sense Davanon is, is a religious thing. Isn’t it? Although I don’t mean to turn off anybody who’s not religious, but surrendering yourself is, is, is a religious act almost.
Or at least for me it was. But I, you know, I, I went into the hospital. I stabilized, but I still didn’t know what was going on. I knew it would happen again. And so when I found a trauma informed therapist who wasn’t afraid of did and knew how to treat did that’s when things started turning around.
When I got my diagnosis of did, even though I didn’t really believe it that’s when things started turning around?
because all of a sudden. [00:43:00] There was a reason for my craziness. All of a sudden I could see that maybe, maybe I’m not really crazy. Maybe there really is something else going on here. And so I did surrender myself to this treatment and worked damn hard relentlessly.
And it was mainly because it was the only way I could survive. I didn’t have the luxury of having a husband who supported me. Instead I had one who was trying to hurt me. And I didn’t have the luxury of parents who would support me because my parents ended up disowning me and having a relationship with my ex husband.
So I was all alone.
Lyn: Oh alone. And I couldn’t tell other people about this diagnosis because it’s the hidden diagnosis, you know? So I, it was mainly working so hard to stay alive, but I did all the [00:44:00] things that I, that my whole system was pushing me towards doing. You know, I, I, my, my, my parts would come up and share stories of what happened.
I didn’t believe them, but I believe them, you know, that’s sort of the craziness of it is, you know, I, I, I would say I It’s really hard for me to believe this, but I believe you. Or I would talk to my parts. I would send them love letters. So this is, I want to talk to your, your, your audience about this.
But I think one of the most important parts of healing is to get to know your parts, to hear their stories, to believe them and to love them. Now they’re not always lovable. Sometimes they do things that get put you in trouble that, that make life really difficult. But we have to remember that these are small parts that were created to save our lives.
They saved my life. He saved my life. She saved my life. And [00:45:00] so even though they might be acting difficult, I, I respect that and you get to know them and my therapist. This is what she said. Every time a new part came into the office, no matter how miserable they were. She would say, well, let’s take the devil.
I have a part in the devil who carried the shame. He said, I mean, and miserable. Nobody would want to like me. Why? You know I might hurt you. I’m terrible. I mean, I’m miserable. And Sonia, my therapist said, devil, it is so nice to meet you. I’m really glad you came. Why would you be so glad I came because I’m really bad I will, I might hurt you.
So you shouldn’t want to like me. And she’d say, well, I do like you, I want to learn to know you better. I hope you come back again sometime. So she would always invite them, always invite them. And so I started to do the same thing myself, even though I didn’t know them, I was like, whoever’s there. I love you.
I love you. Whoever’s there. You [00:46:00] know? so they would slowly start to come up and share, themselves. And in the end they all turned out to be hurt children. And and once they were low. And loved. began to cooperate and collaborate and eventually in my case, they were willing to integrate so that I am now one person.
De’Vannon: I’m glad that you are now whole honey.
Lyn: So am I.
De’Vannon: Now you mentioned that your parents owned you and w with your ex-husband, which was a Dick move on their part. But I I’ve read somewhere that you were, that they were atheist. And you mentioned that you were a pastor in our conversations, you said that you had become a Quaker pastor, at least for some time.
please, please speak to me about raised by your atheist parents and how this may have affected you [00:47:00]
Lyn: Yes. Well, I have to correct. One thing. I was not a Quaker pastor. Most Quaker churches or meetings don’t actually have pastors. But, but let’s start from the beginning. My, my family, it was a very controlling family. My father was, God, you couldn’t get in step out of line with him at all. And so he said that people who believe in God are either stupid or weak.
I’m a little girl and you know, our parents. Kind of like God when we’re children and I didn’t want to be stupid or weak. So then I didn’t believe in God either, but at the same time I had this yearning for God as a little girl. And so my mother actually did send me to a Sunday school because she thought I could learn socialization there.
And I went to Sunday school and I [00:48:00] it really, really inhaled what I experienced there. But when I became an adolescent, I left it all behind. I read John Paul star, who’s an existentialist. And I decided that I would be an existentialist being an existentialist was an atheist. And so that’s what I was going to be, which is like my father.
So in a sense, it was really like becoming like my father, because that’s what he taught us to be. But I always had a deep sense of spirituality, although I didn’t necessarily call it that. And I met my husband and he was an ex Catholic and he was an atheist too. And so we raised this nice little atheist family but the, the, the book Chronicles different events or experiences that I had that began to sort of punch holes [00:49:00] into my atheism and atheism is as much a religion as Christianity or it can be at least I should have put it that way.
And so I I, I won’t go through all of those steps in all of those experiences, but I, I just kept yearning for God. And, but I didn’t believe in God. I just couldn’t believe in God. My, again, my brain had been formed to not believe in God. So it was a conundrum for me. And then then I became a teacher and I was hired by a group of parents to start a Quaker school.
Now, before they hired me, they had interviewed me a number of times that I, I really liked them. And I think they really liked me. And I thought they’re gonna offer me this position. So I have to be honest with them. So I said to them, I really hope that you offered me this position [00:50:00] because I would love to work with you and for you.
But it’s only fair that I tell you that I don’t believe in God. And they said to me, That’s okay. You have the kind of spirituality that we want for our children. You have the kind of creative teaching skills that we want for our children. Don’t worry about that. So it was like, oh, well, okay. And Quakers are pretty progressive and open that way.
So now looking back that wasn’t an unusual thing for them to say, but at the time it was stunning for me that they would be willing to entrust their children to me, even though I didn’t believe in God, Quakers have one doctrine and only one. And it’s there’s that of God in every person. There’s that of God in every person.
And what that means is that no matter how much we dislike someone, we still have to treat them with respect and kindness and compassion. And that [00:51:00] really, really meant something to me that sort of hit me in my core. And I found myself teaching these children. I would talk to them about that of God and every person and ask them, what does it mean?
And, you know, by the end of the first year of teaching, I realized that I, I felt really comfortable saying there’s that of God and every person, even though I didn’t believe in God, I was still able to say that honestly. And so gradually well, I, I want a lot of the stories in my book. It’s a very brief story, but I had I had a love affair with a Quaker man.
And this was after I was separated from my husband, not divorced yet. And he, he was a Quaker minister and I said I said to him, how do I believe in God? And he held me in his arms and he said, you you’re in fourth. [00:52:00] And I, and so that’s what I did. I mean, that relationship never lasted that that message that he gave to me stays with me to this day you yearn for.
I began to yearn for God and , and I was able sort of to cross the Rubicon on that and, and say, I had to, I had to, I had to break through walls that my father had built against religion and claim God what, not, not any particular religion at that point. Just God, I claimed God and I believed in God and I believe in God.
And so since that time I have, I I’ve become a spiritual director, a certified spiritual director, as Well, as an ordained minister. I am retired from the United church of Christ, but I am aware of. That God works through us in so many ways. And through so many beans and [00:53:00] in so many religions that I’m very universal in that way.
I completely claim my Christian, my Christianity, but I also bless other other faith traditions that lead to the same knowledge that, that God is love. And that God is for everyone. And I, I can speak with experience that God works in all of us. Even when we don’t believe in God, because I can look back on all those years when I didn’t believe in God and see how God was using me.
And so, you know, we tend to be very territorial people and we want God to be for us and we want God to do it our way, but God has God and God does it God’s way. And it really doesn’t matter. What we look like, where we live what our religion is or what our credentials are or what our sexuality is or anything like [00:54:00] that.
We are all made in the image of God. And I, I, I really guess I draw on my Quaker roots for that, but I also draw on a very larger and wider spirituality to be able to say that,
De’Vannon: Well, I’ll say hallelujah to all of that.
Lyn: oh yeah
De’Vannon: I’m sorry, you went through so much in life, but I am very, very appreciative of your transparency and everything because that’s how we help others get the victory. You know, this, this right here is what it’s all about. So I want you to Lin tell people exactly what you hope they take away from your memoir though.
You already have said it a couple of times throughout the conversation and then Ellis and more about these writers workshops.
Lyn: Well, maybe I should do it in the other order. I’ll start with the writer’s workshops.
And just say, I start just started a year ago and invited people across the country and actually in other [00:55:00] countries to come and join me every other week for a writer’s workshop on zoom and people sign up to bring writing and we all get to read their writing and then we all get to support people in their writing.
When I began this. Really saw it more as a way more people to get to know me so that when my book was published that there would be more people out there maybe for the same reason that you have a podcast. But what I have found is that this is such a powerful tool And we have amazing people in these, these workshops who share the deepest steps of their soul, they are trusting the people who are in that group and trusting themselves.
And the writing is amazing. And we [00:56:00] support people different ways. One we can, we can support our feedback. Support the writing itself. It can support the story that’s behind the writing, or it can share what your writing meant to me. When you said that this is what happened to me. So those are the three basic kinds of feedback that people give.
But then there’s a fourth kind of feedback called critical feedback. And we don’t give that to everybody. It must be asked for because critical feedback, I actually helps people to make the writing better and sometimes it can feel critical. So We know that some people are really ready for that and they want to hear what can I do to make this better, but others it may have been an alter who wrote the writing.
It may have been one that was very shy about coming out. And so the last thing they need is criticism. So we’re really careful to give only the kind of feedback that people request. But these are open. You [00:57:00] do have to register for them before you can attend. And you can register by going to my website, www dot Flynn, barrett.com.
That’s L Y N B a R R E T t.com. I also want to say that they, that some of these women are and men, men and women are so talented. They’re putting together an anthology of dissociative rating, which is going to be self published in January. It will be free on the, on my website. And they’re speaking at a conference with me.
Sometimes they write guest blogs, so it’s we’re learning how we can support each other in our writing. We’ve just begun. So that’s pretty exciting. And I, I guess in terms of what I hope that that people will get from my From my book is to learn a little bit [00:58:00] more about what dissociative disorder to know that people who have did are courageous because they have used this strategy to survive horrible childhoods.
I want people to know that recovery is possible, that hard work is required. And that when we work together, we can change our destiny and we’re all in this together So those are the broad sweeps that I hope people get.
De’Vannon: We are all in this together and the Lord works in mysterious ways. Y’all sell
Lyn: That’s right. Amen.
De’Vannon: it, be on the lookout for that healing cause it’s common, baby.
Lyn: Yes. I’m with you on that.
De’Vannon: Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much, Lynn, for coming on show today. The information that you’ve mentioned will go in the show notes and people will be able to find you. And I look forward for the book release, according to Amazon, I see that’s January 3rd [00:59:00]
De’Vannon: and and then it will be out and about, and then the next phase of this journey of yours can continue.
Who’s one thing, the right, the bug, then there’s a whole nother thing. Once it gets released.
Lyn: Well davana and I am just so grateful that you interviewed me. It’s really been a delight to get to know you. And, and I love your questions and I wish you the best on your memoir too. And I’ll just give a plug for it. I read the first chapter and it’s dynamite. So let’s hope that both of our books get into the hands of the people who need to read them
De’Vannon: As God as my witness, they will. And yours is wait, read as
Lyn: out of that.
De’Vannon: Thank you all so much for taking time to listen to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you can find more [01:00:00] information and resources at sex, drugs, and jesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.
My name is De’Vannon and it’s been wonderful being your host today and just remember that everything is going to be all right.