One therapist after another, including family doctors, psychiatrists, family counselors and counseling psychologists, failed to properly diagnose Phil. Even when I tried to explain it to them, they misdiagnosed him. They pretty much ignored my observations of Phil's behavior, as well as my analysis, I suppose because I didn't have a university degree or an M.D. behind my name.
They treated the symptoms with pills and talk therapy. Depressed? Have some mood elevators. Agitated? Have some tranquilizers. Mix them all up and take them together. The drug cocktails seriously compromised his physical health, as well as his mental well-being. Tell me about your day. What are you doing now? Get off your tail and do something about it. They were telling a blind man to see, a legless man to walk. Today was not the problem. Deep-seated early childhood trauma blinded Phil and crippled him.
At different times, Phil acquired different labels -- whatever was fashionable at the time -- psychosis, neurosis, schizophrenic, manic depressive, bipolar, drug addict, whatever. I seem to have been the only one who even suspected the real problem -- associative identity disorder, also called multiple personality disorder.
Since then, one biographer has touched upon the truth. Gregg Rickman suspected and perhaps proved that Phil had several distinct personalities and that any one of them might not know what the others were doing. These separate personalities arose from several severe traumas in his early childhood.
Phil recalled becoming "Teddy" as a child, and playing with his imaginary sister Jane. His father, Joseph Edgar Dick, went by the nickname Ted. And then, later on, Phil witnessed the horrible death of a boy at summer camp -- Teddy got too close to the bonfire, and his paper costume caught fire.
He also recalled a severe trauma caused by a teacher at a boarding school when Phil was 7 years old. He refused to eat, and the school sent him home because they were afraid that he would starve to death. His mother sent him to a child psychiatrist, but Phil said that the psychiatrist made him feel guilty and dirty.
So it is no surprise that, in the course of his visionary experience, Phil became Thomas. This alternate personality lived in a first-century Christian community, a place and period which Phil had studied.
To my knowledge, not one single therapist ever even tried to help Phil deal with the pain that he continued to suffer, terrible pain that stemmed from early childhood trauma.
You can buy Philip K. Dick: Remembering Firebright on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Philip-K-Dick-Remembering-Firebright/dp/1442110...
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