Oprah: Where Are They Now?
Cameron West on First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple
Posted: Fri 01/03/2014 02:00 PM
In 1999, Oprah Show viewers met Cameron West, a husband and father with dissociative identity disorder. Over the course of his treatment, 24 different personalities emerged. Now, 15 years later, Cam shares how his story has impacted the world.
When I wrote First Person Plural, I didn’t really know if anyone would read it. It was written as a testimony to my love for my wife, Rikki, who stuck by me and kept our little family together through the extremely difficult years after I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (as multiple personality disorder is now called). I was hoping to reach out to other multiples or survivors of abuse, to let them know that they aren’t alone and to give them hope. Oprah’s enthusiasm for our story and her very compassionate response to us personally allowed us to reach more people than we could have ever imagined.
What we discovered from the many letters and emails, from reader reviews, and people who stopped us in the street, was that our story resonated with them. They related to the fact that as a family, we faced a formidable challenge and stayed together. They related to the fact that child abuse (of all sorts) is real and, sadly, prevalent and can have devastating effects on the psyche. When people ask me if writing the book helped me to heal, I tell them the truth: I don’t know. I think it helped me to face a powerful barrier to my healing: denial. But my personal healing continued over years of painfully difficult therapy. I do know, because I was told many times in the years following the publication of the book, that our story helped other people to heal. The thought that I did a good thing for someone else—that something good could come from something so bad—meant a great deal to me.
And so I am excited to put First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple out as an eBook. I feel I can reach a new audience of people who are not familiar with or who have misconceptions about DID. I can offer one person’s experience with the condition to students of psychology and therapists who are learning to recognize it in their practices and treat it. As so many people have asked how I’m doing and how Rikki and my son, Kai, have been, I’ve added an updated epilogue that fills in the gap from first publication to the present. But most of all, I hope to reach more people who suffer from this or any other psychological condition or personal adversity, to offer you support in your struggles and encouragement to redefine your future. If our book helps you in any way to get through the challenges you face or to heal from your wounds, then know that I am truly grateful to be a part of that.
Find out more about Cameron and his eBook at CameronWestAuthor.com.