Say Hello to Dina Leah!

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Click to read Laura’s bio

You’re cordially invited to Dina Leah’s coming-out party.  You might have met her before, but she is painfully shy, and has had to be earnestly convinced to reveal her true identity.

You see, Dina Leah’s life has been tough, and she’s got a lot of fears.  One of them is being discovered by her mother, who was terribly cruel to her as a child, and continues to be cruel whenever she gets a chance.  So Dina is terrified that her mother would somehow find her (she does know how to use Google), so Dina has built layers of pseudonyms around herself, in an effort to insulate, to build a wall around her identity.

But this only reinforces her fear of her abuser.  When thinking about what would happen if her mother “found out” she was writing about her own life, in which her mother’s abuse played a large part in driving her into the bleak life of a teenage runaway, her PTSD takes over and she is gone, just gone, until the episode wears off and she returns to the world, a blubbering mess, filled with shame that she would let her mother control her even from a distance.

But this level of fear is not good for her, or for anybody else.  Fear is a valuable survival tool that can keep us alive.  But when the time of its usefulness is past, fear becomes an ugly habit that eats at the soul, destroys the body and poisons the mind.  Dina has come to that place where she sees that the fear is ruling her like an addiction, and she wants to get free.

Yes, she is still terrified of her mother.  But she sees now that that is an illusion, and it empowers her mother to terrorize her.  Once the illusion is broken, the terror has no power over her.

Begone, Prince of Darkness
You have no power here!–The Nylons

It is with great trepidation and trembling hands that I present her, Dina Leah, to you: she is none other than myself.  And I myself have a pseudonym: Soul Survivor, which gives me one degree of separation from my “real” name.   But the time has also come to reveal Soul Survivor’s “real” name: Laura P. Schulman, MD.

I’m not sure I’ll have the courage to change my Gravitar just yet, or the names on my blogs.  That is another leap.  But sooner or later, I’ll have to hold my nose and jump in.

I’m 325 pages into my memoir, which you can taste a few morsels of on my Dina Leah blog.  Since it’s a memoir, it has to be real.  Every bit of it has to be real, including my name.  And it was just pointed out to me that the fact that I went through the fire of homelessness, hunger, and eventually, prostitution, and lived to eventually become a doctor, might be useful to some who are or were in similar situations and feel that they can never fulfill their dreams because they took a left turn at Albuquerque, to quote Bugs Bunny.

Meet Dina Leah, aka Soul Survivor, aka Laura P. Schulman, MD.

© Soul Survivor and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Soul Survivor and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

28 thoughts on “Say Hello to Dina Leah!

  1. You have so much courage to do this. I wish I could be brave enough to use my real name but I am still too afraid. Bravo to you for overcoming the shame abusers place on us that is actually their’s anyway.

    • Thanks, Anya. I have to admit, I’m scared to death that my mother will see what I’ve written about her and either go all “hurt” on me or go all screaming crazy on me. I guess I haven’t really broken free of the fear but I’m trying to look it in the face. Thanks for your kind words–your support helps a lot!

      • You’re very welcome 🙂 I hope your mother does neither of those things. Maybe by some miracle she’ll see what she did was horrible and feel ashamed but I’m doubtful. Thank you for sharing your story so openly and offering others your experience/wisdom.

  2. Hi, very nice to meet you. I hope you can find support here among your fellow survivors and this community in general. It is a very big step to speak your truth.

    • Thank you, Jenny. Nice to meet you too. I’ve been here for quite some time, under the moniker Soul Survivor here on Canvas and on my own blog . I’m working on shedding the layers of pseudonyms that I have been using out of fear of discovery by just one person: my mother. It’s terrifying, but I do have tons of support from all of you wonderful bloggies!

  3. I cannot imagine the bravery it takes to do something like this. I am honored an humbled and can only hope I have the fortitude to come forward some day with my full story under my real name. I am new to this community and am looking forward to getting to know everyone, including you. Thank you.

    • To tell you the truth, I’m petrified. I’m quaking inside. I hope I have the courage to keep on. Your comment is a big help. And welcome to our wonderful, supportive community of mental health bloggers. I’m looking forward to seeing more of you!

    • Thank you! I haven’t seen the movie/show, just the comics in the paper, so I don’t know what kind of happy ending they gave Annie! In the comics she just had Daddy Warbucks….

      • It’s a while since I saw the show, but I think Daddy Warbucks saves her and the other kids from the horrible orphanage where they’d been living. I’ve not seen the comics in the paper – so I can’t really compare anyway. But it’s a film/show that’s well worth watching.

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