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44 Personalidades, pero el artista brilla

Por Robbie Woliver 26 Marzo 2000

JUDY CASTELLI hace el trabajo de 44 personas. Eso se debe a que el artista, escultor, cantante, compositor, autor, músico,
defensor de la salud mental, inventor, emprendedor y docente con un diagnóstico de trastorno de personalidad múltiple dice
que tiene 44 personas.

Está la pequeña Judy Girl, que ríe infantilmente, se ríe y arrugó la cara;Gravelly Voice, un hombre de voz ronca; Squeaky, que
apenas puede articular sus pensamientos; El que camina en la oscuridad, que ciegamente tropieza con los muebles, y Big
Judy, que es competente, divertida y autoritaria. Ella es la que da entrevistas.

Ahora es Big Judy quien está presente la mayor parte del tiempo y han sido las artes (la música, la pintura, la escultura, el vitral
y la escritura) las que han proporcionado una salida para su sufrimiento.

En el pasado, los enfermos mentales vivían en secreto, pero la Sra. Castelli usa el diagnóstico como una insignia de
honor. Después de décadas de diagnósticos erróneos, ella ha trabajado duro por el derecho de ser lo que ella llama '' loca ''. La
Sra. Castelli, de 50 años, a menudo bromea al respecto. Eso es porque el terror de vivir fragmentada está detrás de ella.

"Si su vida comienza con basura, dolor y abuso y se convierte en una vida de locura, sepa que puede convertirse en una vida
plena y feliz", dijo la Sra. Castelli. '' Puedo ser lo que sueño que puedo ser. Y no podría haber sucedido sin el diagnóstico ''.

Mientras era una niña que crecía en East Meadow, la Sra. Castelli era lo que su tía de 95 años llamaba "la chica más triste que
he visto en mi vida". Aunque estaba triste y no respondía, nunca vio un psiquiatra hasta que asistió a la Universidad Estatal de
Geneseo, en 1967, cuando la tristeza se convirtió en pensamientos suicidas. En un mes, la psiquiatra de la universidad la envió
a su casa.

Un traslado a Dinamarca, a los 18 años, para visitar a un amigo, dejó a la Sra. Castelli hospitalizada tres veces (durante un total
de tres meses) en un período de 13 meses. Ella comenzó a cortarse y quemarse, comenzando lo que se convertiría en un largo
período de autolesión grave.

Durante años, una Sra. Castelli, atormentada y medicada, sufrió una serie de intentos de suicidio y hospitalizaciones. Su
terapeuta se frustró.Ella dejó de devolver las llamadas de su paciente, diciendo que la Sra. Castelli estaba '' chupándolo ''.

Virginia Flanagan, una nueva terapeuta, fue encontrada a través de la Clínica Pedersen-Krag en Huntington. Ella no lo sabía
entonces, pero sería la línea de vida de la Sra. Castelli durante 19 años.

La Sra. Castelli dijo que su vida fue una tortura. El diagnóstico fue esquizofrenia no diferenciada crónica; las voces que escuchó
la obligaron a golpearse tan brutalmente, que casi destruyó su rostro, casi dañando su visión y el uso de un brazo. Las voces le
decían que se ahogara, cortara y se prendiera fuego. "No estaba tan bien", dijo, "no pude soportarlo".

Con todo esto, logró expresarse creativamente. En la década de 1980, The Judy That Can Sing comenzó una carrera, en el
mismo círculo de Greenwich Village como Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin y Lucinda Williams. Su rico contralto de tres octavas
estaba a punto de lograr su firma en Columbia Records, cuando el ejecutivo de A & R perdió su trabajo.

Actuó en Broadway y encabezó el prestigioso Bottom Line. Su voz en pleno auge y escalofriante, que envolvía canciones sobre
la locura, dejó al público hipnotizado.

La Sra. Castelli también comenzó a pintar y esculpir, trabajando con piedra. Su obra de arte llamó la atención y también
comenzó a enseñar su oficio a otras personas con enfermedades mentales.

En 1994, a la Sra. Castelli finalmente se le dijo que el diagnóstico era el trastorno de identidad disociativo, más comúnmente
conocido como trastorno de personalidad múltiple. En una reunión de emergencia a mediodía con la Sra. Flanagan, Gravelly
Voice proporcionó la clave.

"¿Qué ocurre?", Preguntó Flanagan en la sesión crucial.

"No sé", respondió la Sra. Castelli.

"Tal vez alguien más pueda decirme", dijo Flanagan.

'' Tortura '', respondió Gravelly Voice.

Un historial de abuso psicológico, físico y sexual por parte de un ser querido de confianza comenzó a desmoronarse.
"Después de eso, fue solo una avalancha de voces, utilizando mis labios, mi garganta", dijo la Sra. Castelli. "Hubo otras siete
personalidades que se abrieron ese día. Abrió una compuerta".

La Sra. Flanagan consultó con un experto en trastornos disociativos, y la Sra. Castelli estaba en camino a un nuevo terapeuta y
un diagnóstico prometedor. Ella estaba comenzando su cura.
Ella desvió su atención de la música, concentrándose en el arte: dibujos, óleos, acuarelas, pasteles, esculturas, tallados en
madera y vidrieras.

Su obra de arte es pictórica, gente sin caras. "Agrego mucha expresión a las figuras", dijo el artista. Sus líneas están formadas
para retratar la actitud. Su trabajo representa grandes agrupaciones de figuras. Una multitud, todos conectándose y
tocándose. Madres abrigando niños. Su trabajo anterior también describió la multiplicidad: caras que se parten y gritan.

Sus piezas más llamativas son vidrieras grandes, que generalmente tardan más de 200 horas en completarse y se venden por
hasta $ 2,000.La primavera pasada, apareció en el show de artistas emergentes en la Galería Elaine Benson en
Bridgehampton. Cuando no está trabajando en su vaso, la Sra. Castelli está en su computadora desde las 7:30 a.m. hasta las 2
a.m.

Después de su diagnóstico, se concentró más en su diario, que ha conservado desde que era una adolescente. "¿Quién
necesita hablar?", Preguntaba. Ese diario, junto con sus bocetos, que sirven como planos para su obra de arte, se está
preparando para su publicación.

La Sra. Castelli tiene dos sitios web. Uno, www.multiple-personality.com, presenta su obra de arte y escritura. "Es inspirador",
dijo. "Muestra que hay esperanza y belleza en la vida". La segunda, www.mental-health-matters.com, es un boletín en línea que
sirve como un directorio de recursos de Internet para profesionales de la salud mental, pacientes y familias.
La Sra. Castelli, quien se ha convertido en una experta laica en temas de salud mental, forma parte de la Junta de la Sociedad
de Nueva York para el Estudio de la Personalidad y la Disociación Múltiple. Su obra de arte '' Slip Sliding Away '' apareció en la
portada de febrero de 2000 de la revista American Psychological Association Journal, así como en los especiales de canal
Learning and Discovery.

Un equipo de filmación de la cadena NHK de Japón está siguiendo a la Sra. Castelli, para un especial sobre trauma y
disociación.

La Sra. Castelli también se ha vuelto emprendedora. A través de su negocio, Castelli Studios de East Hampton, creó Good
Works Productions, que enseñaba a pacientes con enfermedades mentales crónicas cómo hacer las lámparas con vitrales de
estilo Tiffany, que vendieron a Bloomingdale's. Ella pasa un día de la semana enseñando habilidades informáticas y de
investigación a personas mentalmente enfermas en el programa LIFE de Yaphank.

Y ella ha inventado un dispositivo de tracción diseñado para aliviar el síndrome del túnel carpiano.

La Sra. Castelli, que es más alegre de lo que su historia indica, trabaja en un estudio en su casa de East Hampton, una casa
contemporánea de tres dormitorios en el bosque. Mientras juguetea con su Jack Russell Terrier, Dolly de un año, y comparte
momentos de tranquilidad con su compañera de más de 15 años, Phyllis Meryl, parece que Big Judy tiene todo, y todos, bajo
control.

Most of the art in this gallery had its beginnings in The Multiple Journals. I began writing these journals in 1994 when I was
flooded by memories of childhood abuse. After a lifetime of mental hospitals, suicide attempts, despair and confusion, I was
diagnosed with MPD/DID (multiple personality disorder/dissociative identity disorder). I have come to recognize the 44 separate
personalities residing within my one very tired and crowded body.

This is my art and my life on these pages. I am a Survivor, and an Artist. I know who I am - all of us. My ability to dissociate from
the abuse as a child is the only reason I am alive. I consider MPD to be a blessing. In the Multiple Journals the personaliti es
were encouraged to write and draw.

I looked inside for answers. It was there that we found healing. Some of the drawings in my Multiple Journals was later
translated into the art you see here. Some of my earlier art is included so that you can see what was there all along, what was
overlooked and dismissed. It is the wonder of the Child that gives us hope, that brings us joy, that insists that we "Choose Life."

[Judy also runs the very informative Mental Health Matters! website.]
The Unspeakable
By Judy Castelli | Feb 4, 2009 | 0 |

I watch the Evening News. A mother is put into the squad car. A little girl-child walks from the house, in silence, hand-in-hand with the kind
police officer. This child will not suffer a lifetime of borderline madness as I had. This child was seen. Someone made it stop. This child was
saved. I had survived the abuse, but it had taken my childhood, and it had nearly destroyed my life.

My career of mental patient began at age 18. I was diagnosed early with schizophrenia and major depression. I was a gifted singer/songwriter
and artist, and it was all going to waste. I was locked up, drugged up, shut up, and I survived. I was finally winning. I had successfully
completed 15 years of good therapy that had saved my life and given me a chance at a “real life”. I was happy, productive and strong. I was
doing work I loved, and I was in a good, loving relationship. But now I was having some disturbing flashes of memory accompanied by
unsettling feelings. I called my former therapist and asked if she could see me. That day, in her office, Gravely Voice said “Torture”, and 6
other voices I did not recognize, came from my lips. Apparently, those many hospitalizations and years of hard work in therapy had brought
me to a place where I was just strong enough to begin to know what had been buried since childhood.

I had come a long way, and with the speaking of a single word, I felt it all slipping through my fingers. “Torture.” Eight days later, at age 44,
I was admitted to yet another mental hospital, with yet another diagnosis. multiple personality disorder. I was a child tortured by my mother.

If the previous years had been a battle, this was war. Memories and flashbacks of horrific childhood abuse flooded me. In order for me to
survive repeated physical and sexual attacks, my child-mind had split itself off again and again, into separate personalities. Each had existed
without knowledge of the others. Once Gravely Voice told “The Secret”, the others were free to make themselves known. Each part had come
into existence to help this child survive. Each had their own history, their own story to tell. It was a time of discovery, and pain. There are, at
last count, 44 personalities.

If I did not look for answers inside, I would not survive this. In the present, the real danger came not from my aged mother, but from within.
One alter personality (a 10 year old boy) had no words, only fire. Through the years, he had repeatedly attempted to set himself (and therefore
all of us) on fire. He was encouraged to draw. Again and again, he drew the small; child-body standing engulfed in flame, smoke rising
bigger than the world. Surely someone would see this fire, and understand the bigness of the hurt, the bigness of the pain. He prayed, “The
Angels will see, and the angels will say, ‘You are not alone.'” He had to understand that in 1994, he was no longer a child alone and unseen.

For the Little Ones, the Monster was there, in the present, waiting. The Monster would be back, they would be hurt, and there was nothing
that could convince them they were safe. One of the memories was of being hung. Gabriel was present. He went to Heaven but would not
leave the others behind, so he returned with God’s wisdom and peace. He alone could comfort the children who lived in horrible sadness,
terror and pain.

The Little Blind Girl had witnessed the abuse. I had not met her until she stumbled around our living room, days before I was hospitalized. As
other parts lived through the memories, and shared the sight of them, she regained her vision.

Another alter was known as The One Who Would Cut Us Open. A competent adult (an aspiring surgeon), he was intent on cutting us open in
an operation of sorts. This was designed to let in the light and air, to heal that stuff inside that was killing us. It took one more hospitalization
to find other, safer ways to deal with the past. Looking at, and speaking the truth would heal us of our childhood.

The One Who Walks in Silence explained that, “If you can’t say the important things, there is no reason to say anything at all”. She later
became the voice for those of us who had doubts that this was real. She spoke with authority on the power of “saying truth out loud”. It was
becoming clear that working together, we could learn to live with the reality of our childhood, and the reality of MPD.

My Life Today

Today, my life is again my own, but different. The Big Ones (the adult alters), are mostly “out”, dealing with the world. The Little Ones come
out to say “hello”, to play, to laugh, to sing, to draw, to express their sadness, and their joy. We continue to work well together, and the days
of self-abuse and suicide are over. The memories are now, just that. I remember the past, but from a distance.

I have moved beyond the memories, the rage, and the outrage. I have mourned the loss of my mother, and the dream of a real Mother. I have
wept for the failure my father who refused to see, and, therefore, protect. They are, typically, in complete denial of any abuse in my
childhood. They continue to insist that I was “a loved, and happy child”. My “memories” are proof to them of how “sick” I really am. We talk
on the phone, without talking about anything of import in my life. They are pleased that I am “doing so well”. It seems to be enough for them.
I do not expect more.

There is no one who can substantiate the truth of my history. There is no videotape of the crimes. No Department of Social Services report
was ever filed. The kind police officer was never summoned to remove me from harms way. No one can speak out to corroborate, without
exposing his or her own wrongdoing. No adult can come forward to say they knew something was wrong without admitting their own failure
to act. No one in my family can afford to see the truth. They would have to face their own demons to acknowledge the reality of my
childhood. It would appear that there was no one present during the outrageous events of my childhood except my mother, and myself. My
mother denies she abused me, and I am convinced she is being truthful. Her memories are buried as deeply as mine were. She may well be
plagued by occasional flashes, and glimpses of unknown terror, just as I was.

So it is left to me as witness to my own abuse to speak to a world that does not protect children. Instead, it is a world that protects the idea of
parenthood, motherhood, and family at the expense of the undeniable evidence that often exists. It has become fashionable to idealize Family.
The memories and pain of adult survivors of abuse are often dismissed as hysteria and craziness. Child abuse is real. The destruction that
follows is real. My life story is somewhat typical, and I was one of the lucky ones. I am still alive to tell.

I have no doubt that the flashbacks I experience are memories of real events. I have no doubt that the pain in my body is remembered pain.
The terror is terror relived. I have no doubt that the face I see before me, the eyes that peer with hate into my soul and glare at me in madness,
are the eyes of my mother. These things, I know. I was there. I remember. The awful truth is that there was a part of my mother who could
hurt her own child. Me.

We who suffered as children, alone, and in darkness will come forward. Each of us will, one day, step out into the light of day to speak the
truth so that the world will know. The unspeakable must continue to be spoken, and written. We will speak it. If the world does not believe,
we will believe each other.

If, in reading this, one person comes forward to report the abuse, or suspected abuse of one child, then a life is saved. If this survivor’s voice
reaches one person, lost in the abyss of memory and madness, and they recognize themselves, then, good. If my voice offers hope, a reason to
hang on, to walk the hardest walk, to ask inside, to search for the truth, then it does not matter that others believe or not. It matters only that
you know that I survived the unspeakable, the unbelievable. It matters only that victims of childhood abuse and incest know it is possible to
survive, and to remember. And, it is possible to survive the remembering. It is possible to speak the truth and to survive the speaking of the
truth. It is possible to live with the truth. And we must live. We will live.

The Unspeakable
By Judy Castelli | Feb 4, 2009 | 0 |

I watch the Evening News. A mother is put into the squad car. A little girl-child walks from the house, in silence, hand-in-hand
with the kind police officer. This child will not suffer a lifetime of borderline madness as I had. This child was seen. Someone
made it stop. This child was saved. I had survived the abuse, but it had taken my childhood, and it had nearly destroyed my life.
My career of mental patient began at age 18. I was diagnosed early with schizophrenia and major depression. I was a gifted
singer/songwriter and artist, and it was all going to waste. I was locked up, drugged up, shut up, and I survived. I was finally
winning. I had successfully completed 15 years of good therapy that had saved my life and given me a chance at a “real life”. I
was happy, productive and strong. I was doing work I loved, and I was in a good, loving relationship. But now I was having
some disturbing flashes of memory accompanied by unsettling feelings. I called my former therapist and asked if she could see
me. That day, in her office, Gravely Voice said “Torture”, and 6 other voices I did not recognize, came from my lips.
Apparently, those many hospitalizations and years of hard work in therapy had brought me to a place where I was just strong
enough to begin to know what had been buried since childhood.

I had come a long way, and with the speaking of a single word, I felt it all slipping through my fingers. “Torture.” Eight days
later, at age 44, I was admitted to yet another mental hospital, with yet another diagnosis. multiple personality disorder. I was a
child tortured by my mother.

If the previous years had been a battle, this was war. Memories and flashbacks of horrific childhood abuse flooded me. In order
for me to survive repeated physical and sexual attacks, my child-mind had split itself off again and again, into separate
personalities. Each had existed without knowledge of the others. Once Gravely Voice told “The Secret”, the others were free to
make themselves known. Each part had come into existence to help this child survive. Each had their own history, their own
story to tell. It was a time of discovery, and pain. There are, at last count, 44 personalities.

If I did not look for answers inside, I would not survive this. In the present, the real danger came not from my aged mother, but
from within. One alter personality (a 10 year old boy) had no words, only fire. Through the years, he had repeatedly attempted
to set himself (and therefore all of us) on fire. He was encouraged to draw. Again and again, he drew the small; child-body
standing engulfed in flame, smoke rising bigger than the world. Surely someone would see this fire, and understand the bigness
of the hurt, the bigness of the pain. He prayed, “The Angels will see, and the angels will say, ‘You are not alone.'” He had to
understand that in 1994, he was no longer a child alone and unseen.

For the Little Ones, the Monster was there, in the present, waiting. The Monster would be back, they would be hurt, and there
was nothing that could convince them they were safe. One of the memories was of being hung. Gabriel was present. He went to
Heaven but would not leave the others behind, so he returned with God’s wisdom and peace. He alone could comfort the
children who lived in horrible sadness, terror and pain.

The Little Blind Girl had witnessed the abuse. I had not met her until she stumbled around our living room, days before I was
hospitalized. As other parts lived through the memories, and shared the sight of them, she regained her vision.

Another alter was known as The One Who Would Cut Us Open. A competent adult (an aspiring surgeon), he was intent on
cutting us open in an operation of sorts. This was designed to let in the light and air, to heal that stuff inside that was killing us.
It took one more hospitalization to find other, safer ways to deal with the past. Looking at, and speaking the truth would heal us
of our childhood.

The One Who Walks in Silence explained that, “If you can’t say the important things, there is no reason to say anything at all”.
She later became the voice for those of us who had doubts that this was real. She spoke with authority on the power of “saying
truth out loud”. It was becoming clear that working together, we could learn to live with the reality of our childhood, and the
reality of MPD.

My Life Today

Today, my life is again my own, but different. The Big Ones (the adult alters), are mostly “out”, dealing with the world. The
Little Ones come out to say “hello”, to play, to laugh, to sing, to draw, to express their sadness, and their joy. We continue to
work well together, and the days of self-abuse and suicide are over. The memories are now, just that. I remember the past, but
from a distance.

I have moved beyond the memories, the rage, and the outrage. I have mourned the loss of my mother, and the dream of a real
Mother. I have wept for the failure my father who refused to see, and, therefore, protect. They are, typically, in complete denial
of any abuse in my childhood. They continue to insist that I was “a loved, and happy child”. My “memories” are proof to them
of how “sick” I really am. We talk on the phone, without talking about anything of import in my life. They are pleased that I am
“doing so well”. It seems to be enough for them. I do not expect more.

There is no one who can substantiate the truth of my history. There is no videotape of the crimes. No Department of Social
Services report was ever filed. The kind police officer was never summoned to remove me from harms way. No one can speak
out to corroborate, without exposing his or her own wrongdoing. No adult can come forward to say they knew something was
wrong without admitting their own failure to act. No one in my family can afford to see the truth. They would have to face their
own demons to acknowledge the reality of my childhood. It would appear that there was no one present during the outrageous
events of my childhood except my mother, and myself. My mother denies she abused me, and I am convinced she is being
truthful. Her memories are buried as deeply as mine were. She may well be plagued by occasional flashes, and glimpses of
unknown terror, just as I was.

So it is left to me as witness to my own abuse to speak to a world that does not protect children. Instead, it is a world that
protects the idea of parenthood, motherhood, and family at the expense of the undeniable evidence that often exists. It has
become fashionable to idealize Family. The memories and pain of adult survivors of abuse are often dismissed as hysteria and
craziness. Child abuse is real. The destruction that follows is real. My life story is somewhat typical, and I was one of the lucky
ones. I am still alive to tell.

I have no doubt that the flashbacks I experience are memories of real events. I have no doubt that the pain in my body is
remembered pain. The terror is terror relived. I have no doubt that the face I see before me, the eyes that peer with hate into my
soul and glare at me in madness, are the eyes of my mother. These things, I know. I was there. I remember. The awful truth is
that there was a part of my mother who could hurt her own child. Me.

We who suffered as children, alone, and in darkness will come forward. Each of us will, one day, step out into the light of day
to speak the truth so that the world will know. The unspeakable must continue to be spoken, and written. We will speak it. If
the world does not believe, we will believe each other.

If, in reading this, one person comes forward to report the abuse, or suspected abuse of one child, then a life is saved. If this
survivor’s voice reaches one person, lost in the abyss of memory and madness, and they recognize themselves, then, good. If
my voice offers hope, a reason to hang on, to walk the hardest walk, to ask inside, to search for the truth, then it does not matter
that others believe or not. It matters only that you know that I survived the unspeakable, the unbelievable. It matters only that
victims of childhood abuse and incest know it is possible to survive, and to remember. And, it is possible to survive the
remembering. It is possible to speak the truth and to survive the speaking of the truth. It is possible to live with the truth. And
we must live. We will live.