Reclaiming My Name, by Jeanette Bartha

Originally published, 2003

I fled repressed memory therapy 11 years ago, relocated 1,700 miles from the psychiatrist I fired, and changed my first name to Jaye because I was no longer interested in being the crazed multiple Dr. Stratford [1] had created during the previous 6 years.

During treatment in a Philadelphia psychiatric hospital, my given name, Jeanette Bartha, became a label I hated, a four-letter word if you will, that was plastered all over hospital and court records. I was ashamed of the volatile, narcotic-dependent woman I had become and wore my name like a scarlet letter. My reputation as a difficult patient was known by hundreds of hospital employees and, given the committed manner in which I carried out my role as mental patient, the name Jeanette should have been awarded its own DSM diagnostic category.

I recall with a smile what Dr. Stratford stated during his medical malpractice deposition that led to an out-of-court settlement 2 days before trial. My lawyer, Richard Shapiro, asked the good doctor what he thought of my use of the name Jaye. Dr. Stratford stated that in all probability I was still multiple and that Jaye was another personality — one he had never met. In some peculiar twist of language, the doctor was correct regarding a new personality, but not for the reasons he believed. Changing my name enabled me to recreate myself while gaining independence from coercive psychotherapy.

Unfortunately, Dr. Stratford did not have the capacity to see beyond his delusions. For the past decade, I have been running from the Jeanette Bartha label. But now that I have rebuilt my life, I have come full circle and returned home — home to myself, home to Jeanette, and home to my family.

While my parents know my new friends call me Jaye, I recently announced that I completed my memoir of those horrific therapy years . . . my manuscript is written by Jeanette D. Bartha — not Jaye. We all cried. By reclaiming my name, we have sewn another stitch into the fabric of our family, which gets stronger with each passing year.

1. A pseudonym
Source: http://www.fmsfonline.com/fmsf03.630.pdf
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I Wonder What Would Have Happened If … by Jeanette Barhta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  04/12/2012

    Just because you had an aweful experience ( which saddens me) doesn’t mean everyone has had the same experience …
    I am sorry for your experience
    But I also know people who have been through DID and know it DOES exist
    So please be considerate of others… And do NOT post other peoples blogs on yours saying they are wrong

    Compassion for all will help end bad therapy and help others speak out about their issues

    Like

    Reply
    • Anonymous, it’s fine you think that multiple personalities exist – I don’t.

      Throwing me a little compassion as you do those whom you think have multiple personalities will, as you say, go a long way to ending bad therapy.

      When people say they are sorry for my experiences then tear me and what I say apart, it hardly seems sincere. Essentially, you told me to shut up.

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      Reply
  2. Wow Jeanette….empowering and liberating.

    I can only imagine what your life and heart has been through.

    I look so forward to reading your memoir when it hits the market.

    Much love and respect,
    ~carol

    Like

    Reply

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