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kiota and an aftermath eraser

It is a beautiful morning, about 47 degrees F, 8 degrees C, and it's been dark and rainy all night, now cool and fresh with dawn through the clouds so far. Perfect kind of night for Ki to walk in her forest at school, doubtless that's where she's been. One of the places. Seagulls are talking there, here too. There from Puget Sound south, here from Lake Champlain.

"We have all forgotten things, but what if we could choose to erase a particular memory from our consciousness? .. A memory of childhood abuse, say, or the imprint of a violent death?"

Well, if the new med had caught up with Ki in time, lots of things would have never happened, including April 13 and all our aftermaths.

This is the opening line of a small article in DISCOVER magazine [January 08] that reports on research. At New York University, a special enzyme was prepared and administered which selectively erased an emotional memory of pain in lab animals. The research was performed in March 07. They're busily expanding it to develop a human variety.

Once before in America, there was psych research/technique that erased your whole personality [if you survived at all.] It was a surgical procedure called prefrontal lobotomy and claimed the persona of at least one gifted actress, Frances Farmer, in the ...... 'fifties, I think. This new deal is totally different.

Perhaps we can debate about how good or bad it is to erase a memory. But, with the help of this enzyme, our memory cells deep within our brains would keep on being just fine, but emptied of one or two things that persecute us. PTSD would vanish because there's no SD-stress disorder anymore, so no P-post because what gave rise to all that is gone permanently, the T-trauma. Kiota's sexual attacks at nine would not vanish, of course, but their memories would. And ten years of grief about it would never have happened either.

The memories would vanish, not the lady herself ...

And I don't think there would be any debate about this at all. I'd much rather PTSD be a memory than a person be a memory. Any person. Especially, of course, Kiota. And Frances too.

I'm mainly posting this for my newest LJ Friend, who's also in the med field, but it's exciting for us all.

The seagulls are suddenly quiet now, they've maybe gone fishing. The sun is way more up now, and in Olympia Kiota has gone to sleep, all refreshed after her walk through the darknesses in the forests where her spirits live.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 24th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, I only wish I would have shared some of my experiences with Kiota, they were so similar. I wish I could have told her how I felt when I was her age when I felt the burden of that impact to be unbearable, to the point where the feeling of desperate immobilty caused me to welcome the relief she sought, ultimately.
I guess I hold back, my generation is crippled by the pressure to keep your mouth shut, don't talk about your family, 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' and so on.
I weathered it, I guess, in my imperfect way and in the raising of my own daughter my resentment for my mother flares up occasionally....how could she be so self-centered? How could she have let that happen to me?
It sounds like such a cliche coming out of my mouth, but maybe it comforts me to think of Kiota as finally released from underneath that crushing weight.
Trying to make sense here, not succeeding too well.
I'm honored to be on your f-list, I need to read things like this.
Thank you.
May. 24th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
The honors are shared here, Frieda. I'm so glad that some words I say can resonate with others and with you.

Conflicts with parents are the ultimate dilemmas, aren't they. How can someone who is supposed to love me, do THAT? Or, fail to do that ....

I just think that Anna's geographical separation is entirely symbolic, just as every one of the multitude of scars on her body are symbolic of the inner pain: here you place your seventeen-year-old daughter on the other side of the world, about as far from the family home as you can get her, with nearest reqlatives hundreds of miles away --- and she's a first-year student at an American college with no social history at all in the American public high school system....

I'm not a mom and especially I'm not *her* mom, but ....well, I guess hindsight is always 20-20..... But for a daughter who's been suicidal since age 14, suffering from depression and dissociative identity disorder .... *this* is what you do?

What I think is that every single line of communication needs to be kept open. It could turn out to be a lifeline someday.
May. 24th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
I agree. She seemed to be so far out of her element at times it made me hurt for her to read it.
But, she may have made the decision, however naive, to get away hoping for some healing in the distance. Maybe her parents were so besotted by their own guilt (assumption on my part, I have no idea whether they felt or WERE guilty)that they didn't want to refuse her. I feel as if I have so little perspective on this thing, and I don't want to come off as if Kiota and I were close or talked often because we really didn't. I felt an inexplicable kinship with her though. I wish I could have explored it further.
May. 25th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
Her parents were amazing to her and did absolutely everything they could. Going to America was not something they just let her do, it was something she really wanted to do, and something they didn't deny. She was in contact with them through email and phone, I think, at least through email, and with all her siblings and grandparents. Her family was supportive (and probably felt at least a little guilty) for the years she'd been sick.

But she lied to them.
Her mother went visit her some months ago and said she had looked really really happy. She never told her family the whole truth.
It took four years for her to tell them "I'm cutting and hurting, please help me" (and they got her the best doctors and supposedly the best hospital in Israel), and they only knew she had prostituted after she'd stopped (and were understanding and supportive). Her mother argued with her because she wouldn't find a therapist in the US (she told her she would eventually, and threatened to drop her studies and go live somewhere). Her grandparents promptly arranged and paid for her doctor visit when she was sick. The idea I have of her family is caring, loving and totally completely oblivious.

Her reasoning for this was always that she "didn't want to hurt them", so she lied and hid things - as much as possible - about her life to them.

She should have been forcefully dragged to a hospital months ago. Unfortunately, even if her parents knew the whole truth and wanted to do this, it's not possible to do that to someone that's legally an adult unless they are a threat to themselves or to society. She knew exactly what to say so she wouldn't be considered a threat to herself (not to the degree of being hospitalised), and she was pretty calm so nobody would think she was a threat to others. It had to come from her, and she chose otherwise.
May. 25th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
Agreed with most everything here, Lwithmin, except the fact that their custody would end when Anna became 21, not 18, unless she had gotten a court decree delaring that she was an Emancipated Minor. Which I think never happened.

But I think your evaluation is more nuanced and accurate than mine, thank you. I still think something more could have been done, and should have, from that quarter.
May. 26th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
I'll expand a bit on that.

Anna was diagnosed with emergent Dissociative Identity Disorder in Idaho in 2007 [along with severe pervasive depression, a history of suicidal ideation, and other things]. She herself used the word 'dissociated' a lot in her last weeks. The pdoc cannot have kept this a secret from the family, who were writing the checks, nor a secret about what it meant. If he did, they damned well should have asked questions. Lots of them.

DID means that you have two personality patterns living in the same body. If the personalities are well-defined, you're hospitalized as schizophrenic. If they are not,
but it's more debilitating than severe mood swings, you're loaded up with drugs to try to get the personalities re-integrated into one. Antidepressants were prescribed. One of the longterm effects is that you get so anti-depressed that you feel like you can do anything. Like kill yourself. This can happen when you take them long enough. In her case, for years and years.

Of course she is going to tell her mother those things. But it's not an integrated personality talking, it's a dissociated one. Putting on a happy face should have set off loud alarm bells instead of rejoicing. Where was the other face -- the one we all have when we don't happen to be happy all the time? It was there, and equally as anti-happy as the one she showed to every one of the adults she was related to, especially her mother.

Well, they saw what they wanted to see, yes?

I looked right at both these faces, and I was in her physical life for lots fewer than 18 hours, let alone more than 18 years. Do you think the difference might have been that I was totally open to her and completely non-condemnatory?

Sorry, it's not enough to send your kid to a shrink and write the check. You have got to involve the family in healing, for it to be long-term effective. If she won't, they could have, and should have, forced that.

I don't care who was locked out of her LJ and who was locked in. Given just the clinical data, I connected all the dots to this in about a hour in my medical library. For free. Further, no way am I a pdoc [worked for some, though.] Just moderately intelligent and caring enough to find some precise answers.

To be oblivious, clueless, is NO excuse. I do not buy that AT ALL. The result is that these four adults ended up paying a price horribly bigger than any or all of us, and they'll pay that price for a lot longer, too. Her grandfather was described as "being afraid of this for years." Well, fine. So what?

The evidence for how well they supported her with a warm, caring parental environment, and deeply cared for her, and were present for her and got her the help she needed -- since age nine, *every day* since age nine -- that evidence lies on a hillside in Israel.

They were her legal guardians for her whole life, and her moral guardians, too.

I grieve for all the new things that she will never do now, nor ever write, and for the kids in her family, brothers and sisters, whose questions might never get answered. They will all have to make their own peace.

I grieve for the healing she could have had --- and for which one part of her was begging --- but was denied. And the healing she could not find her way to, left on her own. Or, yes, didn't want to find, that's possible too ... but intermittently so.

Kiota would be aghast at reading this squabble so I'm going to stop. Not what she would have wanted, at all.

Enough, she'd say. And, is.
May. 26th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for writing this. It's so important to hear from people who had a clearer understanding, as much as something like this can ever be understood.
(Deleted comment)
May. 26th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this, Mari.

As I recall, Emily was depressed for awhile, too...made great poetry out of it. Lived one state south of me, also :)

I think the enzyme has a ways to go: our memory centers are far more complex than they are in animals. But I'm cheered by the possibility!
(Deleted comment)
May. 27th, 2008 11:39 am (UTC)
:) Love your use of the word INCITE here, Mari! ... also, "something brilliant" <3

Sara Kane, of course, is someone I totally relate to, coming also from the world of theatre. "4:48 Psychosis" is a verbal stage poem that demands collaboration from all varieties of stage artists [like lighting designers, yay!] and is wide open to their interpretations, even welcoming of them. I've never seen a production but I'm aware of two totally different ones, both praised, in America, one at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. And, of course, the linkages of fatal depression and ineffective pdocs and death while a psychiatric inpatient ... and her youth, of course.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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