Book Review: “Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder” by Sarah E. Olson

I posted this first in April 2015

Book Cover Becoming One by Sarah E. Olson

Publisher: Swan Pond Press
Publishing Date: 14 November 2014
Edition: updated 2014 e-book edition of 1997 paperback
Genre: non-fiction
Formats: e-book, paperback
Source: review copy by author in return for an honest review

Bees: 6 out of 6

About the story:

This is Sarah E. Olson’s account of her healing journey from dissociated survivor of abuse by a family friend to becoming one. Sarah sought help for eating problems but was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her therapist Howard Asher who wrote the foreword to this edition embarked very dedicated to the healing journey with her.

You are confronted with memories of the abuse, with the feelings connected and the development of healing in different ways: Sarah shows letters to her sisters and her therapist and transcriptions of her therapy sessions all connected with her account of what happened while doing therapy. She explains what happened to her while healing and describes the memory process.

About the author:

On Amazon it says about Sarah E. Olson:

“Sarah E. Olson is the author of “Becoming One: A Story Of Triumph Over Multiple Personality Disorder” (trade paperback published 1997) and has maintained an online presence since 1993. She just released her updated ebook edition “Becoming One: A Story Of Triumph Over Dissociative Identity Disorder.” The updated paperback edition will be published shortly.

Her blog ‘Third of a Lifetime’ contains a wealth of links pertaining to dissociation and PTSD. She also maintains on her blog the Dissociation Blog Showcase, an index of ~185 blogs which discuss dissociation primarily from a personal experience perspective.”

Note:

I have to admit I am doing something I usually don’t: I am writing this review before having read the whole book. I know some reviewers do this, but it does not feel right to me.

In this case, I decided differently because I can only read this book in small instalments. Being a survivor myself means reading about Sarah E. Olson’s healing journey activates my memories, new thoughts about my identity and a feeling of panic, fear, and chaos which for me is always connected with my past as well as new developments in my healing journey.

This book though deserves to be highlighted as it shows a very strong woman, who gives hope and encourages not to give in to one’s negative beliefs and that it is possible to overcome the hurdles of a survivor’s life and to become a thriver.

Honey Bees in the book:

“Becoming One” is a captivating book. It challenges one’s perception of “self” and “identity” as it is hard to understand that there can be more than one personality “living” in one body. The reality for many survivors of abuse though is that there are more than one living inside.

I love the way, how Sarah E. Olson changes between transcriptions of her therapy sessions with Howard Asher, her explanations of what happened in her life at that particular time, letters to her sisters and to her therapist as well as her own writings in those days.

She holds it all together in chapters that focus on different aspects of her healing like her resistance to the therapy process or hallucinations she experienced in one part of her healing.

This is a very positive book that emphasises the ability of survivors to overcome their survival strategies which have become troublesome. It certainly has started another process of healing in me. But it also describes what is necessary for this healing process. In the cases of survivors who have dissociated it means to have a dedicated therapist like Howard.

This is also a very courageous book: Sarah E. Olson shares very private experiences and writes about a syndrome that many do not believe exists: multiple personalities.

Stinging Bees in the book:

“Becoming One” is a tough book to read. The abuse she has gone through is so horrendous that I often have to skip reading about her memories. The unfairness of not being believed as a young child is hard to stomach. And it does trigger memories of own abuse if the reader is an abuse survivor.

And the mead of it all?

“Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder” is an important book to read especially today where the perceptions of abuse and how police, the justice system, and the public react on disclosures of abuse. Even though, it is a tough topic; this book is worth reading as it shows how you can change your life around no matter from what horrible past you suffer. And it explains many processes happening when you survive abuse to those who did not have to endure it. “Becoming One” is a book I will read on and off for the rest of my life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Where to purchase “Becoming One ~ A Story of Triumph over Dissociative Identity Disorder”:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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