4 out of 4 stars
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Mending the Shattered Mirror by Analie Shepherd is a nonfiction book about one woman’s life experiences and the abuse she suffered while in therapy. Ana has DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder; however, her diagnosis has not prevented her from living a meaningful and satisfying life. Ana has a husband, two daughters, a successful teaching career, and a wealth of hobbies. However, when a terrible family secret comes to light, Ana finds herself in great emotional distress and seeks help through therapy. After many years in therapy, Ana comes to the realization that her therapist is not helping her as she should be. Instead, her therapist has become an abuser. Luckily, Ana reaches out to TELL, the Therapy Exploitation Link Line, for support and help with her abusive situation. This book details the relationship between Ana and her TELL responder, Laurie.
Up until the end, the narrative is told through the back and forth email exchange between Ana and her TELL responder. The use of the actual emails created a genuine connection to both Ana and Laurie. Both Ana’s and Laurie’s emails are incredibly personal. It was enjoyable to read about the evolution of the relationship between the two women, and how Laurie was able to guide Ana towards becoming a survivor. Moreover, the author’s decision to tell her story through her exchange with Laurie gives the reader an intimate look into Ana’s life and her personalities. Sometimes Ana’s ‘Others’ email Laurie, providing additional perspective about Ana’s diagnosis and her multiple personalities.
Although Ana is the focus, this book is just as much about Laurie and how she has overcome her own difficult experiences with therapy abuse. The juxtaposition between Ana’s distressed mental state and Laurie’s perspective, as a survivor looking back, helped provide hope through the many poignant and painful parts of Ana’s story. Laurie’s calm, reassuring voice gave hope that Ana would be able to overcome her emotional turmoil and learn to see the past for what it was.
Although I enjoyed reading Ana’s story, some of the emails felt repetitive and became tedious to read through. It is understandable that this is completely realistic of Ana’s struggles; recovery of any great trauma is not linear. However, this was not a book I could read through quickly; it required a lot of thought and understanding of Ana and her situation before I could move on with her story. Additionally, there are certain aspects of Ana’s story that were difficult to grasp or were mentally taxing to read about. That being said, it was an incredible experience reading about Ana’s life; I learned a lot about DID, therapy and relationships.
Mending the Shattered Mirror is an incredibly moving and encouraging story, yet it was difficult to read in places because of the progression of Ana’s story and the stressful nature of her experiences. That being my only criticism, Mending the Shattered Mirror earns 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to those interested in psychology, therapy and learning about different experiences. However, as I said, this book is mentally taxing at times, and I do feel it necessary to add a warning that some readers may find parts of this narrative triggering.
Mending the Shattered Mirror
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