Photographic (Eidetic) Memory VI
Bill Long 11/18/07
Julie Explains Her Ability Further...
After pondering Julie's answers for quite some time, I began to wonder if there was any connection between childhood traumas or experience and the ability to develop an eidetic memory or whether it just was something that was "given" or "a gift/curse" from birth. My experience with the man with Asperger's Syndrome heightens the question. Was his epilepsy, which perhaps arose from the irregularity of his birth, related to his Asperger's? But before I had a chance to raise any more questions, Julie first had a further comment on hypergraphia:
"I find being a hypergraphic writer exhausting and overwhelming. There are both positive and negative consequences of being hypergraphic. I have to admit, hypergraphic writing has broadened my horizons in many areas of life, and it continues to reform, reshape and redefine my entire being. Before I go any further, I feel you should know a little more about my background. Then you can decide whether or not you want to continue corresponding with me. I am communicating with you through the movies of my mind, so please bear with me. Remember, I converse with people on a pictorial level. New video footage is being created even as I write this. Words are transformed into a visual world for me instantly."
Of course I wanted to "bear" with Julie to hear her story. Here it is:
"My talents were derived under extreme circumstances. I was severely abused throughout my childhood and the trauma has had a long lasting effect upon my mind. The malicious treatment I endured resulted in my developing a severe dissociative disorder which became debilitating. I was conditioned and programmed very early in life to fear and distrust the world around me. My childhood was spent learning how to survive. When one’s life is repeatedly threatened, that raw, primitive instinct to survive kicks in and my mind trained itself to remain highly alert to my environment. What should have been “my carefree days of childhood”, instead was one of learning to live long enough to see the next day. This constant vigilant mode of mind is what kept me alive, but it also exhausted me. A child’s mind is very fragile and it should not have to run in this manner."
So, once she became an adult, what did Julie do about this?
"Later in life, I underwent intensive psychotherapy. That was a feat in itself. I won’t elaborate on that just yet, but I will say that this process opened the door to a better understanding of the human condition. I was fortunate to have a very kind and compassionate (and patient) psychologist who taught me how to reclaim my life and live in a healthier way. I became that man’s protégé. I was programmed, deprogrammed and reprogrammed during the course of six years. His teachings run through my veins. What I learned was deeply ingrained and instilled upon my mind. And my heart, for it was during therapy that I learned about feelings and that I was entitled to have them just like everyone else. The results of therapy were rewarding. My “new” mind emerged from the “shadows” and I was transformed into a beautiful and brilliant personality. Sometimes, the true identity of a person lies latent within and it takes extraordinary courage to come forth and out into the light."
"Dissociation is a difficult and complex state of mind and I won’t get into the details. Perhaps if you read the book, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” you’ll better understand my frame of mind."
But I found that Julie's comments to me kept raising new questions in my mind. This was, at first, a little disconcerting to me since I as a writer have so many topics I want to cover that I simply wanted to "contain" this to about five essays, but the nature of what Julie is saying continue to draw more from me.
So far I think there are three things about Julie that I found utterly fascinating: (1) her eidetic ability; (2) the way psychotheraphy might have helped her "put things together"; and (3) her life as a writer--with hypergraphia. I felt I had made some progress in understanding the first--her "camcorder" mind; and her self-revelations in this email got me started on (2), but I, as a person with a touch of hypergraphia, wanted to ask her about (3). So, the next essay brings up some questions I raise about her writing.
Copyright © 2004-2008 William R. Long