Il libro mi è piaciuto molto specialmente nella parte centrale in cui viene descritta nel dettaglio la vita di Billy Milligan.
Da quelle pagine sono riuscita a capire tutta l'angoscia e i problemi che comporta una patologia così grave come il disturbo dissociativo d'identità.
Ancora oggi molti non sono sicuri che la patologia esista e gli stessi studi psichiatrici sono molto indietro, ma io invece sono sicura che Billy soffrisse davvero molto.
Fake or Victim?
William Stanley Milligan is a troubled man living a troubled existence.
He is either a con man who has duped society and beaten the rap for violent crimes or he is an authentic victim of a multiple personality disorder.
Only time will tell whether Milligan has played the world for a fool or is one of its saddest victims.
Perhaps the time is now.
All the material in this book was given to the author by the fused Milligan, his other personalities and sixty-two people whose paths crossed his at different stages in his life. Scenes and dialogue are re-created from Milligan's recollections. Therapy sessions are taken directly from videotapes. He has invented nothing.
One serious problem thee faced the author began to write was developing a chronology. Because Milligan had “lost time” frequently since early childhood, he rarely paid attention to clocks or calendars and was often too embarrassed to admit not knowing the day or month. Keyes was able, finally, to arrange events in time by using bills, receipts, insurance reports, school records, employment records and the many other documents turned over to him by his mother, sister, employers, attorneys and physicians.
Billy is also the first multiple personality patient to have been carefully examined around the clock as an inpatient in a hospital setting, with findings of multiplicity attested to in sworn testimony by four psychiatrists and a psychologist.
Keyes first meets the twenty-three-year-old man at the Athens Mental Health Center in Athens, Ohio, shortly after he has been sent there by the courts. We are in the mid- 70s. When he asks him to write his story, he tells Keyes it would depend on whether or not there is more to it than has been reported extensively in the media. He assures him that the deeper secrets of his inner people has never been revealed to anyone, including his attorneys and the psychiatrists who has examined him. Now he wants the world to understand his mental illness
Out of control of his own actions, Billy Milligan is a man tormented by twenty-four distinct personalities battling for supremacy over his body—a battle which culminates in late 1977 when he awakes in jail, arrested for the kidnap and rape of three women. In a landmark trial, Billy is acquitted of his crimes by reason of insanity caused by multiple personality—the first such court decision in history—bringing to public light the most remarkable and harrowing case of multiple personality ever recorded.
There remain, however, unanswered questions: How did Milligan learn the Houdini-like escape skill demonstrated by Tommy [one of his personalities]? What about his conversations with his rape victims in which he claimed to be a “guerrilla” and a “hit man”? Doctors think that Milligan may have personalities yet unfathomed—and that some of them may have committed undiscovered crimes.
There is Tommy, 16 years old, who is a rather antisocial youth, but very clever with electronic equipment and locks.
He studies methods of escape. He reads about the great escape artists Houdini and Sylvester, and he is disappointed to discover that some of their great escapes are tricks.
When Tommy is alone he studies the knots and figure out the easiest way to turn his wrists to make them mobile so that the ropes would slide.
Tommy decides he also needs to know how to get out of locked rooms.
But he never aids anyone in stealing. He is not a thief. He practices the tenor saxophone in his spare time and perfects his talent in painting landscapes. He has to control his belligerent attitude and use it to deal with other people when necessary.
There is Arthur, 22 years old, who waves dabbles in biology and medicine. He is arrogant and he has an English accent. He is strongly intellectual and he appears to the doctors to maintain a compensatory feeling of superiority to the world at large, but he has feelings of uneasiness and he is threatened by emotionally stimulating situations.
Arthur concentrates on his scientific studies, especially those in the medical arts.
He has no emotions and he reminds of Mr. Spock in Star Trek. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t hesitate to complain in a restaurant. He doesn’t bother to explain himself to people, but he gets annoyed when someone doesn’t understand what he’s saying. He just doesn’t have time to be tolerant.
Arthur isn’t someone you like or dislike. He’s someone you respect.
He realizes that because of his knowledge, he has become responsible for a large, diverse family. They are all involved with the same body, and something has to be done to create order out of what was proving to be a chaotic situation.
Since he is the only one capable of handling the task unemotionally, he puts his mind to it and comes up with something that would be fair, workable and—above all—logical.
He’s the one who made up the rules: how to act, what to do, what not to do.
first: Never lie.
second: Behave properly to ladies and children. Women and children must be protected at all times, and everyone should come to their defense..
third: Be celibate. Never again should the males be placed in a position where they could be accused of rape.
fourth: Spend all your time on self-improvement.
fifth: Respect the private property of each member of the family.
Anyone violating these rules would be banished forever with the other undesirables.
The only one permitted to handle guns is Ragen, 23 years old, the keeper of rage. That is his specialty. But he may use them only for protection and survival. Just as he may use his great strength only for the common good, never to harm others. He has the ability to control and concentrate his adrenaline.
He is s able to absorb all the others’ fear and transform it into action.
Ragen never raped anyone. He started to commit robberies because he was worried about the unpaid bills. He admits robbing the three women, but he denies, absolutely, any involvement with that woman in August or with any sex crimes. Ragen is a thief, but he is no rapist.
He has a Slavic accent that did not sound like an imitation. His voice truly has the natural sibilant quality of someone who has been raised in Eastern Europe, has learned to speak English, but had never lost his accent.
Spot is ruled by Ragen or by Arthur, depending on situation. In prison Ragen control spot, he decides who goes on, who stays off because is dangerous place. As protector, Ragen has full power and command. He alone may commit victimless crimes or crimes necessary for survival. Because of his great strength and power, he alone may have the right to hurt others, but only in self-defense or in defense of women and children.
He is the keeper of hate.
In situations where is no danger and where intelligence and logic are more important, then Arthur dominates spot.
Spot is Arthur’s explanation of what happens when one of Billy's inner people comes out into the reality and takes over. It’s like a big spotlight, and whoever steps on it holds the consciousness.
Then there is David, eight years old, who is keeper of pain. He is the one who accepts all suffering. David is empathic .
And Allen, 18 years old, who plays the piano and the drums, he paints—mostly portraits. He is eighteen and loved baseball. Emotionally, Allen appears to be an almost detached personality.
As he is the most sociable one, it is important for him to get out and meet people.
A nineteen-year-old girl named Adalana.
She has the ability to wish any of the others off the spot.
Adalana is a lesbian and she did the rapes because she says she was desperate to be held and caressed and loved
"They don’t understand what love is . What the need for love is. What it means to be held and cared for. To be held by someone. Just to feel warm and cared for.” Adalana says,
She learns that men are violent and hateful and never to be trusted.
Then Danny who is fourteen and he is a fine artist. He paints still lifes mostly and he lives in constant fear.
Samuel who reads the Old Testament, eats only kosher food and loves to sculpt sandstone and carve wood. He takes the spot on September 27, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and says a prayer in memory of Billy’s Jewish father.
Christene, who is three years old . The comer child, so called because she was the one to stand in the comer in school. A bright little English girl, she can read and print, but has dyslexia. Likes to draw and color pictures of flowers and butterflies. Blond shoulder-length hair, blue eyes.
Christopher, who is thirteen years old and he is. Christene's brother. He speaks with a British accent, he is o bedient but troubled. He plays the harmonica.
Then there are the Undesirables suppressed by Arthur because they possess undesirable traits. Revealed, for the first time, at the Athens Mental Health Center to Dr. David Caul.
When Billy Milligan fused completely for the first time, he reveals a new individual, an amalgam of all his personalities. The fused Milligan has a clear, almost total recall of all the personalities from their creation—all their thoughts, actions, relationships, tragic experiences and comic adventures.
Billy doesn't want to hurt nobody, so the others put him to sleep, but he keeps hearing things too and he says somebody trying to talk to him .
He knows they make him go to sleep when he gets too upset and every time he wakes up, he is not hurt.
There must be some great fear inside Billy that prevents him from taking the actions that are necessary to protect him . Somehow it’s too frightening for him to do this. And so he has to go to sleep in order for that side of him to take those corrective actions.
“Why am I that way?” Billy asks the doctors
“There must have been things that frightened you terribly when you were very small.”
The patient reports that the mother and children were subject to physical abuse and that he suffered sadistic and sexual abuse including anal intercourse from Milligan. According to the patient this occurred when he was eight or nine over the course of a year, generally on a farm where he would be alone with the stepfather. He indicates that he was afraid that the stepfather would kill him insomuch as he threatened to ‘bury him in the barn and tell the mother that he had run away.’”
Milligan'snatural father's suicide has deprived him of a father's involvement and attention, and left him with “a feeling of irrational power and overwhelming guilt leading to anxiety, conflict and increased fantasy formulation.” He was thus “vulnerable to exploitation by the stepfather Chalmer Milligan, who preyed upon his needs for closeness and caring to satisfy his own frustrations through sexual and sadistic exploitation ...” Young Milligan identified with his mother, when she was beaten by her husband, it caused young Milligan to “experience her terror and pain ...” It also led to a “kind of separation anxiety which left him in an unstable fantasy world with all the unpredictable and unintelligible characteristics of a dream.
This along with the stepfathers put-downs, sadistic abuses and sexual exploitation led to recurrent dissociations.
In fact Milligan exhibits multiple personality behavior and he has personalities unaware of the actions of others. He hears voices that tell him to do things and yell and scream at him when he does not comply. Milligan expresses his belief that these voices are from people who have come from hell to torment him. He also speaks of good people who periodically invade his body in order to combat the bad people.
"Sometimes I do not know who I am or what I am. And sometimes I do not even know the other people surrounding me. The echo of the voices are still in my mind, but they have no meaning at all. Several faces appear to me, as if from a darkness, but I am feeling very fearful because my mind is totally divided.
My [internal] family, in fact, is not in continuous contact with me at all, and have not been for a long time. . . . I am not responsible for it at all. I hate everything that transpires around me, but I can’t stop it, and I can’t alter it. . . .! Billy says to his doctor.
But Billy is the Teacher.
The Teacher is Billy all in one piece. But Billy does not know.
Billy was child prodigy when he was little. He vas all of his people in one. He does not know that now.
The Teacher is the only one who can put them all together.
The main question is, how did all of his people learn the things they know? From the Teacher. He taught Tommy electronics and escape. He taught Arthur biology and physics and chemistry. He taught Ragen about weapons and how to control adrenaline for maximum power. He taught them all to draw and paint. The Teacher knows all.”
You meet each in this often shocking true story. And you are drawn deeply into the mind of this tortured young man and his splintered, terrifying world.
Suggested by a friend, I bought this book even if I had never read this genre before. I've found the reading really interesting considering that it's a true story. A detailed story about the life experience of 24 "people" in one.
This book is a sad and shocking story. It's sad because Billy is a tragic person trapped in tragic circumstances; it's shocking because the story is a factual one. Unfortunately, after more than 30 years, we still don't know much about multiple personality disorder - now called dissociative identity disorder (DID) - and we still get scared and confused when confronting DID patients.
I hope that when people read this book, they won't treat it as just a shocking and morbidly fascinating story. It's a story that should prompt more research into this devastating disorder....Continua
Pazzesco e sconvolgente. Bravissimo lo scrittore a rendere così facile e scorrevole la lettura nonostante i tanti "personaggi" racchiusi in Billy. È una storia vera, incredibile! Billy mi è entrato nel cuore