This book cannot be classified as an autobiography or a memoir. It is a story of recollection, discovery, recovery, and research - a combination of autobiography, pre- and perinatal psychology, a form of psychotherapy called Derepression and Reprocessing, and neuroscience. If I were to tell it as an autobiography, the tale would be extremely emotionally raw and full of negative pathos for that was the way it was during the first 16 years of my life. Of course, I could give it a veneer of objectivity and write it from a certain mental distance, but that would defeat my purpose.
Why my interest in neuroscience? Some people who are close to me think it is because my father was one of the first neurosurgeons in the Netherlands. That accounts for only 10 percent of my motive. My real reason is that I am a person "who misplaced her mind and soul. Back when I was about 29 years old, I could not remember the first sixteen years of my life - a terrible and frightening blank to the point that I could not even remember my mother’s face. I had no identity for those sixteen years covered more than half my life. And as Eric Kandel (2008), the Nobel Laureate, wrote, "We are what we remember". Maybe neuroscience could lead me to answers to the myriad of questions I had. What are dissociation and dissociative amnesia? What causes repression? Why is it so massive in my case? How do I get my identity back? Is it worthwhile to reclaim the past? Is it possible at all? More importantly: what happened to me to begin with?
Ingalls, Paula M. S.
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