Interview with Tussila Spring

You have added a warning at the front of "Tussila's Book", why is that?
Dear fellow survivor, I must advise you not to read this book unless it is under close supervision by your therapist. When I myself was at my worse, I was not capable to read any book at all and definitely not a book like this. Actually, my only need for a very long period would be to sit on a sturdy and reassuring granny’s lap. In addition, I must admit that still today, I’m reluctant to learn about other patients’ stories. I’m afraid I’ll get even more confused because I still have some large gaps in my memory. Please also bear in mind this book contains paintings, which also can activate unexpected and unwanted stress reactions. If you choose to open this book, please promise me that you’ll close it and put it away if you feel the slightest distress viewing my paintings or reading my text. I do not want to cause you any more pain!
PLEASE NOTE:
I am not a doctor, therapist, or a member of healthcare. This is my own story and as the reader, you choose to read this and to make your own opinion about whether this might help you.
Who is Tussila Spring?
Actually, my real name is not Tussila. Tussila is my alter ego; she is my inner traumatized child. I’m yet not ready to go public with my real name because I’m afraid to be recognized. Besides, while working with this book project, it feels much more comfortable to pretend that we are two individuals rather than one, which is the fact.
Therefore, if you wonder, I am not schizophrenic. However, I do have diagnoses that equal schizophrenia or psychoses in severity. I am diagnosed with PTSD and dissociative disorder, also called complex PTSD. I suffer from trauma inflected upon me mainly during my childhood. I am a survivor of incest, bullying, and negligence.
To me, it is crucial to emphasize the fact that I have survived. In addition, not only have I survived, in spite of my diagnoses, I am today living a rich and fulfilling life too.
Why did you choose to publish your book i the first place?
We are all individual human beings. This fact also counts whether we have a diagnosis or not. It would be a mistake to say that all patients involved in, for instance, a traffic accident, require exactly the same medical treatment. There probably will be a need for individual medical attention and treatment, depending on the injuries and the patient’s ability to cope with the trauma. However, some of the treatments sustained will probably also be similar for many of the patients. This is also true for us suffering from other traumas like incest or bullying. We also are all individual human beings.
Therefore, I am, by no means, trying to look at my story as a universal guide of what complex posttraumatic stress disorder concerns. I don’t even believe it is possible to write such a book because of the wide range in individual histories and personalities.
However, as in the traffic accident, there will also be some similarities concerning the victims involved in childhood traumas. As I have learned, during years in therapy, there will also be similarities concerning the symptoms and aftereffects in survivors suffering from such traumas.
Those similarities have made me conclude that it would be wrong of me to assume that my story and symptoms differ too much from others to be of any interest. In other words, what if my experiences actually can make a difference, wouldn’t it be egoistic of me not to share them?
When it comes to my own understanding of my psychiatric diagnoses, it’s not as if I suddenly saw the light and then it all came clear to me. My road to understanding, and thereby to get a better life, has been, and will be, as in life itself, long, and slow moving and with many curves and hills on the way. The understanding has not appeared in one single flash of light either; it has consisted of all sorts of lights or all sorts of enlightening moments. I have had small lights, large glints, hardly visible shimmers, flashing lights; I have sensed the whole range of lights, especially in the last twelve years. These lights, small or large, have appeared mostly due to therapy. Looking back, let’s say one decade, I really am baffled when I realize how little I understood of myself back then.
I’ve been told from many holds that my challenges in life are not that far from what the others face, except for the prevalence and extremity of some of the symptoms. Based on those assumptions, it might be fair to suggest that the following statement isn’t very wrong, at least I hope, because that implicates also, I’m not that apart from other human beings as I used to believe:
Though I’m quite sure that nobody will recognize everything I’m describing in this book, I’m equally quite sure that everybody, diagnosed or not diagnosed, will recognize some of it.
I hope that by publishing this book I can offer one or two of the previously mentioned lights, or enlightening, mentioned above, to help bring other survivors closer to their way to a better life.
For whom do you think "Tussila's Book" will be suited?
During my many years as a psychiatric patient, I have experienced, repeatedly, some substantial challenges.
It has been just about impossible to express the whole picture to any therapist. One of the obvious reasons is that I was convinced I had to cover all my symptoms up in order to survive. A second reason is that it would be impossible, due to the time limits in the therapy sessions. A third reason is that many people, including some of the health care workers, have a tendency to jump to conclusions, meaning that if I started with a carefully chosen sentence, meaning to reveal something important, I could risk immediately being met with generalizations or even worse, with belittling.
I do however understand that it is somewhat of a challenge, to uncover the whole picture, when the patient is verbally strong and seems to be in good control of herself.
This fact contributes to another major issue, the diagnostic system. I, for instance, have had a whole range of different diagnoses before I finally ended up with the correct one. In addition, of course, all the different opinions from different experts make it even more problematic to get the right sort of help. The result is that normally the process of getting properly diagnosed takes years, and unfortunately even decades, to obtain.
The last years though, there have been huge developments in the understanding of complex posttraumatic stress disorder.
I hope my book can contribute to even more openness and that it can help to shed more light to the often obscure and complex aftereffects of childhood traumas.
This book is therefore probably most suited for mental health care staff and for support persons and volunteers, especially interested in these topics. It might also be of interest for other professionals who are dealing with people in crisis, like medical staff and police officers.
What would you like the reader to know about the language in your book, and why did you choose to publish an e-book instead of a print version?
Firstly, let me inform you that English is not my native tongue. If you find my writing a bit puzzling and out of the ordinary, please bear with me.
You may ask why I’m taking the effort to translate all this text into a foreign language. It’s no wonder if you ask, and of course, that was not at all my original plan. The explaining is as follows:
I’m depending on disability benefits, which means I have a restricted economy. Therefore, I can’t make this text into an ordinary print book as planned without financial assistance.
I have considered contacting the old fashion public houses in my home country to ask if they would be interested. After some research, however, I realize I’m not robust enough to cooperate with professional publishers. They would most certainly have many ideas of all aspects of my book and they would probably put me under pressure in many respects.
Then this new idea emerged in my head; what if I first publish an e-book? Maybe I could sell enough e-book copies to finance a printed version later on.
Some further research led me to the conclusion that my own small country’s market for e-books is not yet very active. Besides, I am afraid somebody will recognize me, if I would publish the book in my own country.
These facts made it easier to reach a conclusion.
My book project has become so important to me that I really need to see it through. First I will publish my story as an e-book, in English, and due to my previous mentioned financial issues, I’ll have to translate it myself.
Then, maybe later I can manage to publish a paper copy as well, which was my original goal.
What would you like the reader to know about the images in your book?
Originally, there were ninety-seven paintings for Tussila’s Book, Part 1. Due to e-book formatting limitations, I had to choose only thirty-five of them.
It was tempting to pick only the images I liked best myself, but I did not do that. I have instead tried to make my choices in order to display, as honestly as possible, what I was going through.
All paintings are watercolors on paper or watercolors and ink on paper.
All paintings are genuine, meaning that I painted them on site, just before or after my diary notes, while the sensations and emotions were still strong and vivid.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
First of all, my wolfhound puppy gets me out of bed. I do not want to hesitate for very long, I know very well what he will do with the furniture if I ignore him for too long!
Then, of course there is a nice cup of coffee and the newspaper (printed version) before I decide what to do with this brand new day.
I have so much to choose from, besides of my writings I always have new images I want to make. I just love to find new approaches and to learn new techniques for making art, whether it is digital or paper collages, I am in the zone right away!
How do you approach cover design?
The cover design for "Tussila's Book" is one of my paintings. I chose this particular painting, because it represents both hope and it hopefully explains the symbolisme of my pen and artist name. Tussila farfara (colts-foot) is to me the spring flower above them all, they always pop up again after a rough season, and so do I.
What do you read for pleasure?
At day time, I read newspapers and various educational books. In particular I like to read about different art techniques and about positive dog training techniques. I also recently have read the three Smashwords self publishing books, with great interest I must add. I even printed them out so that I could read them properly in the old fashion way, using text marker and making notes in the marge. All credit to the author, these books are a goldmine for self publishers!
When I get to bed however, I always must have a non fiction novel to read in before I go to sleep. I am addicted to it. It is as if I need to have a different world to dive into before sleeping, it makes me calm and it makes me occupied with something else but myself.
Published 2016-02-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tussila's Book I
Price: Free! Words: 84,580. Language: American English. Published: December 21, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Psychopathology / dissociative identity disorder, Nonfiction » Psychology » Child Abuse
Yes I am a psychiatric patient. Yes I still have complex posttraumatic stress disorder. Nevertheless, I now actually love my life, at least most of the time. Which has not always been the case. This is my story; this is my illustrated diary.