It seemed like any other ordinary day take my daughter to school, run some errands, and pick her back up from school. But things have been going a little haywire lately and without a reason. I have been losing time and one minute I’m here and the next it seems I’m across town. My name is Barbara Sellers and I am married to a wonderful, loving, and very supportive man named Tim. We have a nine-year old daughter named Kelly, and I am a registered nurse at the county hospital. I have been in nursing for over twenty years and only six years at this hospital. We are here in Chicago where we have lived since Kelly was born. My husband Tim is an engineer for the county so we are pretty well off. My daughter needs or wants for anything. She has plenty of friends that always come over and there is a sleep over like every other weekend. I feel like I have seven daughters instead of just one. They are a handful but my husband and I manage.Well things have been going normal except for a few time lapses here and there. It seems like I fall asleep in one place and wake up in another. It feels pretty odd and I have been to see counselors and therapists with no prognosis in sight.
One day I went to pick up my daughter from school and we stopped at a local store to get things for dinner. When we got home, my daughter went to her room and I started putting things away and getting ready to make dinner. Then it happened again and all of a sudden my daughter was standing in front of me crying and afraid of me. I became apologetic and asked her what happened. She said that I came into her room yelling about how lazy she was and then I started throwing small items at her. I feel so bad because I don’t remember any of this, I was just in the kitchen making dinner. I grabbed her and hugged her tightly telling her how sorry I am. She just laid her head on my shoulder crying.
When my husband got home, we sat him down and told him what happened and he was really concerned about what was going on. We put our heads together and tried to come up with a plan of action so that we can find out what is going on. Instead of me picking up our daughter, my sister-in-law would be picking her up and not bringing her home until Tim got home from work. I searched diligently for someone who could possibly help us in our situation. I scoured the yellow pages for professional help where I found a psychiatrist who deals with hypnosis. I called her and made an appointment for my husband and I to go see her the next day.
When we got to her office, she met us in the lobby of the building and we followed her back to one of the therapy rooms. She introduced herself as Doctor Victoria McClain and offered for us to have a seat and make ourselves comfortable. The was a table with coffee and snacks on it if we got hungry but sitting there in front of us was this tall woman with an athletic frame, somewhere in her thirties, with a short new style haircut. She was clean and looked professional. When she asked what the problem was, we informed her of the time-lapses, memory loss, and other minor instances. She asked how our home life was and we told her it was great except for the things happening lately.
She seemed very interested in what “things” were happening. I told her about the instance with my daughter yesterday, how it feels like I fall asleep in one location and wake up in another location. Doctor McClain sat there taking notes and asked what else has been happening and how long these things have been happening. I couldn’t exactly tell her when they started because of the memory loss but that it was putting a strain on my marriage and the relationship with our daughter. Our whole routine has changed because my husband is concerned about our daughter being alone with me. I should be allowed to be with our daughter even alone, but we both feel that it isn’t safe.
After trying to remember and explain everything, she came up with a prognosis of depression and anxiety for which she wrote out some prescriptions. I couldn’t believe that I was depressed and that was more than anyone else was saying. At least now I have some hope of getting better. My husband was relieved to know that we have an answer now and we can start treating it and getting back to normal. We picked up my prescriptions on the way home and I immediately started taking them.
Tim thought that it would be better if my sister-in-law would still pick up Kelly since the doctor said it would be several weeks before the medication built up in my system or showed any effects. So I sat at home during the day after running errands to see how the medication would make me feel or act. I felt fuzzy for a few days and it happened again. I fell asleep in one place and woke up in another. This time it really freaked me out and I called the doctor. She stated that it would take some time for the medication to stop everything and get it under control so I should have patience.
Days went by and then weeks and I thought the medication should be working by now so I asked my husband if I could pick up Kelly and spend some quality girl time with her. He was hesitant at first but he knew I had been taking my medication regularly and I seem to be fine. He agreed to let me pick her up and when I did we went out for dinner since Tim was working late. We sat there eating and laughing while she told me how school was. Then, things got a little crazy again.
This time with the time-lapse and memory loss it happened in a social setting and when I realized what happened I had the store manager in front of me asking me to leave. When I asked him what happened he told me I became belligerent with other guests and started screaming at my daughter. He asked me to leave or he would call the police. So, we got up, picked up our food and headed for the door. Once inside the car, I called my sister-in-law to come get Kelly until Tim got home. We sat right there in the parking lot until she showed up to get Kelly. I squatted down and gave Kelly a big hug and kiss and told her how sorry I was and everything will be okay. I helped her into the car and watched as she left with my sister-in-law. Then, I immediately called Tim to inform him of what happened and became sort of hysterical in the process. He told me to stay put he was coming to get me.
When he got to the restaurant, I was sitting in the car like in a daze. When he opened up my door, I started screaming at him like he was a stranger. He tried to calm me down which made it worse. He said that I was not acting like myself and became more concerned. I started telling him to get away from me and that I didn’t know who he was. Then it flipped over to me telling how selfish he was and that my daughter and I should just leave. This was all making Tim upset but he had to keep a cool head and remember there was something wrong with me. He finally just grabbed me and hugged me very tightly saying how much he loved Kelly and I.
Once I calmed down and became myself again I broke down crying and collapsed in my husband’s arms. I had no knowledge of what I was saying or who I was but I know it wasn’t a safe environment for my daughter. I asked my husband Tim to take me to the emergency room for an evaluation and while on the way there he called the doctor and told her what was happening and she agreed to meet us at the hospital. Tim looked over at me and could tell how scared I was that I sat there crying.
Once at the hospital we told the nurse what was going on and that my doctor was on her way. They took me to a room where my husband and a nurse sat with me until Doctor McClain arrived. She came into the room and saw a broken woman crying and scared. She asked the nurse to go get a sedative and she would sit with me. Tim went out to the lobby to call his sister and let her know what was going on. I tried to explain what happened but only Kelly and Tim really know what happened. Tim’s sister brought Kelly to the hospital so she could tell the doctor exactly what happened while in the restaurant.
Once the doctor sat and thought about things, she had me stop taking the medication since it agitated my condition even more. While the doctor was in the room with me and administering the sedative she got a first hand glimpse of what was going on. She got to see the side of me that was causing problems and what had given me the time-lapses and abusive behavior. I became very belligerent and a little violent so the doctor had me restrained to the bed. I fell asleep from the sedative and slept the whole night.
When I woke up the next morning, Tim and Kelly were there watching over me. When I asked them what happened, they told me the doctor has finally figured out what is wrong with me. When I asked him what was it, he said it would be better if the doctor explained it. Doctor McClain walked into the room about fifteen minutes later with some equipment and I immediately thought something was very wrong. She informed me I would be staying another night in the hospital, restrained of course, and under a specific evaluation.
I felt somewhat a sigh of relief but not much of one because I was having to be restrained to a bed for safety. I thought I was really losing my mind. While the doctor and an intern got everything set up, there was eventually a camera mounted and pointed at me that would record everything of that night in the hospital. I felt better knowing we were going to get to the point of everything. Well, everything was ready and my husband gave me a kiss and hug and then my daughter before leaving for the night.
The doctor looked at me and said she would be back in a couple of hours to check on me. She did in fact tell me to relax and that I was somewhere safe and if anything happened it would be recorded. I hesitantly told her okay and started staring at the ceiling while I laid there. She smiled at me and left the room. The door was closed and an intern posted up at the door in the event of anything happening. I began feeling very weird and agitated and then I went blank for what seemed like a few minutes before opening my eyes and seeing Doctor McClain standing over me asking me if I remembered anything, which I didn’t again.
She gave me another sedative to help me sleep through the night and tilted the head of the bed up some to make me a little more comfortable. I stayed restrained for the remainder of the night until morning when Tim and Kelly walked into the room. They both gave me a hug and kiss while Tim told me how the doctor had called him last night and informed him that she found out my problem. I was relieved to hear good news and began crying telling my husband and daughter how sorry I was. My daughter Kelly climbed up on the bed and sat next to me telling me it was okay and that I would get better. When I asked Tim what the problem was he told me that the doctor would reveal it this morning to everyone.
Soon after that, Doctor McClain walked into the room smiling and stating how she had good news. When I asked her what the problem was, she had an intern push a television into my room and set it up. I was a little dumbfounded by the setting of a television up to show me what was wrong. When everything was set. the doctor looked at me and told me to remain calm while I watched the video of myself from last night.
The first thing she told me while turning on the video was “Barbara meet Jane”. I looked at her wondering what she was talking about when the video started to play. I saw myself talking to the doctor but those weren’t my words coming out of my mouth. When she asked me my name, the person in the video told her “Jane”, but it was me saying these things. I told the doctor I don’t understand, how is that me telling you my name is Jane when it is me, Barbara. The doctor had me watch some more of the video up until she asked me if I was okay and I replied to her I was. That much I do remember.
Tim was a bit concerned about this video knowing it was his wife but not his wife. Doctor McClain said that I suffered from what is called split personality. I was one person which my mind has separated it into two people. That would account for my time lapses and memory loss. At those moments is when “Jane” came out to play. Although, the doctor has not as of yet discovered where “Jane” came from she is aware of the situation now and can prescribe me the correct medication that would keep :Jane” at bay. She wanted me to come to therapy groups and counseling to learn how to cope with this condition.
I agreed and the first thing I asked afterwards is can I be unrestrained and allowed to sit up? The doctor said it would be okay because she had started me on the correct medication while I slept and that I should be calm now. Once the restraints were taken off I couldn’t wait to hug my daughter and tell her again how sorry I was. She looked up at me and smiled and told me that it was okay because daddy told her that mommy was sick and not feeling well. That melted my heart to hear that. I looked over to Tim and said thank you, he just smiled.
Doctor McClain finally informed Tim what to look for in symptoms and to notify her of any changes immediately. I sat there and watched the rest of the video and could not believe that was me acting that way. I don’t recall anyone named “Jane”. I was glad and excited that we finally found out what the real problem was with me and that it is being treated. I was given time off to get settled with my new medication and new life. It was a paid leave in fact. So our finances would not be hit so hard and I really appreciated it from my boss.
I was finally discharged and allowed to go home with my family in tact. It felt different knowing there was someone else living inside me. I almost wondered if Tim had been having sex with this other me, but I shrugged it off and went home with my family. Split personalities are a mental illness and the person infected has no control over it. There are medications that can help but it also means changing the lifestyle you’re used to and incorporating a new one. Never look differently at someone who has split personalities because one, they almost never can control it, and two it could be someone you love who becomes infected with this mental illness. So be kind to everyone you meet.