I am a big fan of Casey Watson (a pseudonym). She is a foster carer in the UK trained specifically to help those children with challenging difficulties. This particular book struck with me a LOT. I believe the 12 year old girl she was fostering (called Sophia) had Dissociative Identity Disorder. Read on for a short discussion but beware of spoilers.
Casey describes how the 12 year old has “personality switches”. She describes Sophia falling into a very child-like state – and asking to be called a different name. She describes her becoming a very sexualised character who makes moves on men. She describes her becoming a very angry beast that growls and attacks. She describes how Sophia will switch right before her very eyes and will not remember what she has done in the previous “state”. She describes how Sophia will unknowingly start talking to herself, having emotionally charged conversations. She describes how Sophia will enter trance states where she is completely unresponsive. Sophia has a history of sexual abuse and other very traumatic incidents.
Sophia’s mental health spirals more and more out of control until towards the end of the book she is referred onto the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. I was hanging onto every chapter willing for them to assess her and take note of the clear altered states. But no. I was disappointed to find out that she actually gets put into an adolescent unit and diagnosed with “psychotic episodes” and put on medication.
I hope for Sophia’s sake that I am wrong- that she is going through psychotic episodes that will be helped with medication in the residential unit that she will probably stay in for a long time now. But my gut tells me that this is just another case where the UK mental health system is oblivious to what is staring them right in the face. Leading to a damaging case of them using medication to sedate the alters and inhibit her true healing from the horrific terrors she has had to endure in her short life so far.