THE BOOK: You Will Never Be Normal
PUBLISHED IN: May, 2021
THE AUTHOR: Catherine Klatzker
THE PUBLISHER: Stillhouse Press
SUMMARY: You Will Never Be Normal is the story of my dissociative identity disorder, (multiple identities,) and PTSD that were accelerated by meditation and treated with psychotherapy and mindfulness. In You Will Never Be Normal, I take readers through that DID experience. This memoir looks deeply at the lifelong effects of early childhood trauma from the perspective of my own treatment and healing and my wish to have a “normal” life. A key takeaway from this book is that “it’s not trauma alone that traumatizes—it’s having no one who is interested or cares about you afterward, that’s what’s especially traumatizing.” Healing was a result of therapy and mindfulness. For a long time I wanted to get rid of my alternate identities, to make them go away and have my life go back to normal. What ultimately happened was that I fell in love with my “parts” and wanted to make their burdens my own.
As I became less fragmented, we became less and less separate over time until fully integrated.
THE BACK STORY: It was not my original intention to write a mental health memoir. My DID was securely compartmentalized from my writing life. My writing had hit a wall—what I recalled as richly boisterous stories with my sisters were frankly bland, and I took a hard look at what I might be leaving out. I was leaving out the “parts” of me that I kept hidden from everyone. No one knew I had DID; my “parts” or alternate identities gave coherence to my narrative. If I wanted to be genuine—and I did—I would need to include those alternate identities and reveal my mental illness. I reset my intention and I allowed them into my writing, without really appreciating how deeply I would need to dive into profound terror to honestly tell my story. Then I was compelled to get it right, not just for me but for the others (1 to 2% of the general population) who struggle with DID, often unknowingly, often misdiagnosed. I came to believe that the stigma of mental illness, and DID specifically, can only be overcome if its lived experience becomes real to people.
WHY THIS TITLE: “You will never be normal” is a sentence I said to myself following an incident of PTSD flashback long after I thought my trauma was resolved and my “parts” had integrated. This seems to be true for so many survivors of trauma—loud noises, people yelling, even in play, can elicit adrenal responses of startle, a racing heart, readiness to fight or flee—and those lasting embodied responses are what I’m primarily referencing.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: This book can help anyone reevaluate things they take for granted in life. People tell me that it’s written in such a way that they start to remember things from their own lives, to relate to various chapters in personal ways. The primary story is the fracturing into parts as a result of childhood sexual abuse and the long road to integration. The secondary story is about making sense of the life I assembled moving from place to place and relationship to relationship to understand my true strength. The third is a social commentary in part of the book about the struggle underneath the primary narrative of a single mother in the United States. People connect emotionally to hope and to the search for balance in their lives.
“You Will Never Be Normal is a beautifully rendered account of personal integration and survival. Klatzker’s personal detective work, vulnerability, and intelligence create a compelling story, skillfully told, that invites the reader into a struggle to map the after-effects of trauma and of complex resilience.” — Sonya Huber, author of Pain Woman Takes Your Keys.
“With You Will Never Be Normal, Catherine Klatzker has written a remarkable account of survival from childhood trauma. As the title suggests, Klatzker does not sugarcoat her life. This honest, gutsy book achieves a tough, hard-won, genuine sweetness.” —Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences.
“A brave, compelling memoir written with honesty and vulnerability. Catherine’s healing journey will contribute to lessening the stigma of DID and to better understanding of severe abuse.” —Jack Kornfield, PhD, author of A Path with Heart.
“…The style is often entertaining, especially due to the inclusion of Klatzker’s poems and some prayers. The memoir tackles themes of sexual abuse, family relationships, romantic relationships, self-harm and self-love, dissociation, therapy, and single parenting.
“In this brilliant memoir, you will find the two ends of human experience, love and death.
“This memoir is a book not written to one target group, but to the whole race of humans who owe each other humanity.” — —Alain-Jules Hirwa, Porter House Review https://porterhousereview.org/articles/its-the-soul-that-needs-surgery-catherine-klatzkers-you-will-never-be-normal/
Amazon Review, Verified Purchase, 5.0 out of 5 stars “Profound and Gripping
Memoirs are typically not the books that you just can’t put down, but this memoir captivated me from page 1 and compelled me to read it in every spare moment of the day. What is it like to be in someone’s brain? That is almost impossible to imagine, but somehow in You Will Never Be Normal, Klatzker takes us inside her complex experiences and with beautiful and clear sentences, we live inside what happened in her brain. Her writing is vulnerable and raw and at the same time fierce and powerful. She guides the reader through so that we all can be more compassionate and have a better understanding of trauma’s impact as well as how our brain protects us in non-intuitive ways. I’m so grateful to have read this book.” —Rachel S
“A lucidly written memoir that documents the devastating psychological impact of childhood abuse while offering hope to fellow survivors…powerfully illuminating writing.” —Kirkus Reviews
AUTHOR PROFILE: Catherine Klatzker’s work appears in Atticus Review, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Emrys Journal, Tiferet Journal, The Examined Life Journal, in River Teeth’s “Beautiful Things,” and in mental health anthologies from In Fact Books and Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. She has recently written about empathy in the art of health care for Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine and for Please See Me. Catherine is a retired pediatric ICU RN, residing with her family near Los Angeles, California.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Writing this book helped me reflect more on what had happened. I noticed I had more empathy than when I started. Why was that? Mental shifts had happened. Writing gave me the creative space to find those moments of kindness and grace that I’d missed as I went through the shifts.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). https://catherine.klatzker.com/?p=1124
LOCAL OUTLETS: Village Well Books & Coffee, Culver City, CA; Small World Books, Venice, CA.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, Barnesandnoble.com, Stillhousepress.org
PRICE: Paperback $16 Kindle $8.99
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/klatzkerwriter/
Instagram @toomanyparts Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55567142-you-will-never-be-normal Website http://catherine.klatzker.com For those who click on my webpage, there are more reviews, radio and podcast interviews, and much more.