This therapy has snatched something from me that I can never get back. I lost years of my life where I was emotionally distant from my family and my daughter. There was pain, despair, humiliation, fear, and frustration. It caused me to be paranoid. I have had trouble trusting anyone. Professionals had me scared to death, even ones there to help me. My daughter and I had no financial security and nearly lost our home. I did not have a car that ran. All my energy, all my money, everything I had went to them. When I woke up, my daughter was 12 years old and I missed it. I missed some of her most precious years while searching endlessly for the next "memory."
With the help of Skip Simpson, his law firm, my faith in God and the support of family and friends, I have held these two men accountable for what they did to me and my daughter. They were responsible for unethical, unprofessional treatment of me and my child. They injured us and it will take a long time to undo the damage. On December 19, 1991, Skip filed a lawsuit on behalf of myself and my daughter, Jennifer.
We sued them, in part, for creating false memories, for giving me substandard care, for therapeutic negligence, and for fraud. It was extremely hard to trust anyone, especially an attorney. It was quite a while before I felt I could trust Skip but through his being trustworthy, I am learning to trust again. Now, however, I do it with my thinking cap on. I have learned through all of this that no one, not one single person in this world, has all of the answers. One of the quickest ways to turn me off is for someone to tell me "This is the only answer, the only way." I am now into critical thinking and proper skepticism. I look back now and see so many things that were just not logical, I will never again allow another person to control my mind or my life.
On June 25, 1993, Skip Simpson called me at work. He told me they were having a meeting to possibly settle my case and for me to stay by the phone. When the call came, I went to his office. We talked and he gave me two options for a settlement. We decided which would be the best one for my particular situation and that of my daughter. He went downstairs and moments later came back up. He said, "It's over." Tears were streaming down my face. We hugged. I looked at this man who had taken my case before he knew it was a national problem, believed in me before I could believe in myself, and I said, "You helped me get my power back from those who took it from me. I have my mind back and for this, I cannot thank you enough." (As a condition of my settlement I cannot disclose the settlement amount, the location where I was treated, or the names of my counselors.)
My life has changed so drastically this past year. Since my case broke on the news I have been taIking with people all over the country who have lost children to this therapy, and adults who have absolutely had their lives destroyed and lost everything by being in it. I was speaking in Illinois and we got picketed. The signs read, "We believe the children." I would like to ask at what point do they believe the children? Is it when they are insisting nothing happened, or, after they place them with a social worker, or therapist with an agenda, who spends hours, days, weeks and months trying to get them to say what they want them to say?
What happened to me is not about sexual abuse or child abuse by a parent. It is about therapeutic negligence and fraud. We must begin to think critically about this situation. If we do not do something to Stop this, the family structure as we know it will be gone. Families have been shattered and homes destroyed because troubled, hurting, vulnerable people sought out help and those who have taken an oath to do no harm abused the trust placed in them and did, in fact, harm. They not only hurt the patient, they destroy the patient's parents, siblings, their own children, and virtually anyone else who has been in their lives.
My life now is only getting better because I am not into the blame game any longer. I am no longer searching out "memories." After only one year with a good competent counselor, and two years working with an attorney who refuses to treat me like a "mental patient," I have begun to rebuild my life. Skip Simpson had faith in me and recognized my strength before I could see it. I responded to him because he treated me like I had a brain. He e expected me to use it. The pain of what I went through is still there; however, I now take responsibility for my own life, for changing it the way I want it to be. I could sit forever and worry about the past and what this one or that one did or did not do, but the ultimate choice for my life is mine to make. I now take that challenge.
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