By the first day of kindergarten, Olga Trujillo had already survived years of abuse and violent rape at the hands of her tyrannical father. Over the next ten years, she would develop the ability to numb herself to the constant abuse by splitting into distinct mental “parts.” Dissociative identity disorder (DID) had begun to take hold, protecting Olga’s mind from the tragic realities of her childhood.
In The Sum of My Parts, Olga reveals her life story for the first time, chronicling her heroic journey from survivor to advocate and her remarkable recovery from DID. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, DID is defined by the presence of two or more identities. In this riveting story, Olga struggles to unearth memories from her childhood, and parallel identities—Olga at five years old, Olga at thirteen—come forth and demand to be healed. This brave, unforgettable memoir charts the author’s triumph over the most devastating conditions and will inspire anyone whose life has been affected by trauma.
This was a very difficult book to read because my heart went out to Olga Trujillo for what she went through. Diagnosed with dissociative disorder (DID) in 1993 at the age of 31, Olga has spent many years learning about her disorder. She is now a professional speaker and consultant who educates other people about trauma and how to “craft thoughtful community support systems for survivors of violence.”
Olga developed dissociative disorder after enduring a tragic and violent childhood. She watched her father beat her mother and then he sexually abused her. Her brothers abused her and she was prostituted. She dissociated herself from the “violations and sexual attacks by her family.” She experienced panic attacks, severe abdominal pain and tightness in her chest that “would leave her gasping for air.”
When she began counselling with Dr. Summer, she wasn’t even confident about attending her sessions because she didn’t like leaving her safe environments of either home or her office. She said that “everything outside of those safe places felt unpredictable and scary.” She couldn’t even tell Dr. Summer how terrifying the trip was to his office for her.
The first time Olga ever spoke publicly about her childhood was in 1996, although she was still in therapy at the time, she was finally beginning to “function well again.”
Olga’s main hope in writing about her personal story is to aid other people in not feeling alone and to educate them about this disorder. She wants people to learn that no matter what happened to them they CAN survive!
Ms. Trujillo is a survivor and has shown great resilience during her healing. My hat goes off to her for her bravery in seeking help and for now being a spokesperson to help others. Olga is one courageous, gutsy, and brave woman.