I became prickly and defensive—"Resisting? What do you mean? I've told you everything. Alcohol, cigarettes, bulimia, rages, terrible fatigue, blank spots in my memory, inability to go to work, a sense of hopelessness." In the back of my head, as I listened to Dr. Smith's calm response—"I know it gets rough sometimes, just give it time"—I resolved to break with my psychiatrist at the next session.
A week later, I staggered out of Dr. Smith's office trying to comprehend his crazy assertion that he had just met with a very angry "Tommy" inside of me. "Don't worry about it." he had said, obviously trying to comfort me.
"Don't worry about it." I kept repeating his phrase incredulously to myself as I sat in the car. "Are you kidding!?" I checked my watch—he was right—a full hour had lapsed since the appointment began. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard—it indicated precisely the same time as my watch.
What the hell happened in that hour? Oh come on, there's got to be a better explanation. This is just plain nuts! After years of peeling back my insides, finding problem after problem, now I'm told that there's someone else inside me? What's this, some kind of silly sci-fi movie? Was Smith out of his mind, a shrink gone bonkers? I'd had blank spots in my memory before, but never with anyone else present. Would Smith toy with me, maybe make up a story to keep a disgruntled patient coming back? Yes, that's it. Dr. Smith had to be an utter quack, inventing stories to keep pathetic souls writing checks.
Late the evening Dr. Smith called: "Are you okay? Just don't worry. I have an explanation. You're coming tomorrow night. Right?" I didn't know what to say, but agreed to show up. He sounded both professional and comforting, not at all like someone pulling a scam.
Tommy, who was Tommy? Let me think, maybe someone at work? No, I didn't know anybody professionally by the name "Tommy." How about outside, maybe in the sailing community? No, not a soul named "Tommy."
Excerpted by permission from "Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder," by Robert B. Oxnam. Published by Hyperion. Copyright © 2005 Oxnam.