In what seems like eons ago, a dear friend got me Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber. It was a lovely second hand book and the description at the back left me nothing short of stunned. I was crazy happy to have been gifted this book and no doubt, started reading it almost immediately.
The story revolves around Sybil Dorsett (not her real name) and her treatment for dissociative identity disorder, and not multiple personality disorder as it was popularly known then. And Sybil was known to manifest almost sixteen different personalities. This fact in itself was quite jaw-dropping, but the devil lay in the details. It’s quite horrifying to get to know that one is not really alone in one’s head, and especially when one doesn’t know ‘which personality’ is really dormant, and which is active. It’s a severely serious situation and very scary, and Sybil could not trust herself. One minute she’s walking down towards her university, another minute, the ‘same personality’ wonders how she reached a completely different place. What memories could she rely on, if at all.
The main personality was Sybil Dorsett, and what is interesting is that her personalities were not of the same age. Apart from Sybil, there was a chirpy teenager, two male personalities—one a builder, the other a carpenter—and the like.
As one progresses with the painful details of the story, we are introduced to her parents. While her father was a well-respected and religious businessman, her mother was a strong-willed woman who in turn suffered from untreated schizophrenia. Sybil’s father lived his life in denial, but Sybil bore the brunt of her mother’s abuse. Her mother would often punish her for bad behavior and some of the punishments are nothing short of horror stories. They sent shivers down my spine. Yes, not all mothers are caring and lovable. To be honest, in a way, reading this book opened me to a lot of harsh realities. I’m not saying I’ve got blinders on, but it’s quite natural for parents to often shelter their children from disturbing things. I hate it. I remember showing my mother the book, and she said she had read it in college. I wish she had introduced this book to me earlier in my life. This book put a lot of perspective into place.
This post is part of the eighth annual A to Z Challenge that takes place in the month of April. The theme for this month is ‘Between Pages’. It’s my second attempt at this. Feedback is most welcome, constructive criticism, even more. Share your experiences and let’s enjoy this month of fabulous blogging.