My name is Jayne Melville Whyte and most people call me Jayne. I was born in December 1947, raised on a Saskatchewan farm in western Canada, gained a two-year teacher’s certificate, got married, raised a son, got divorced and carried on. I live in a seniors’ apartment in Regina. All that is true but it is only part of my story.
My name is Jayne. I have lived most of my adult years as a person who experienced mental illness, deep depressions, mood swings, suicide attempts. I joined the Canadian Mental Health Association in 1975 and have spent the rest of my life as volunteer and contract worker to increase awareness of mental illness, especially empowerment of persons with lived experience to live full and meaningful lives in the process of recovery. This is who most people know but it is only part of my story.
My name is Jayne. As a person who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder, Jayne is a collective name for more than a dozen parts or identities, each with his or her own name, story and characteristics, strengths and vulnerabilities, fears and joys.
My name is Jayne. My father, who was a soldier, and taught me to withstand torture, said the only thing I need to say is “name, rank and serial number.” I don’t have a rank or serial number. I have only my name. Beyond that, I was taught to be silent, to not speak of the secrets I’d learned, the life I’ve lived, the knowledge I’ve accumulated. I was to be pleasant and competent and blend in to my settings so that no one would guess what I had endured and what I been trained to forget. I often struggle to claim my right to speak and my right to exist. I can hardly believe that I might dare to tell my story.
My name is Jayne. Through determination and deep psychotherapy, I am unravelling a childhood of deliberate abuse, torture and complex programming to mould me into a leader who could perpetuate cruelty and trauma. They failed. Deep within myself, from infancy, has been a core, a connection to a source of Love that I learned to call God, and now often refer to as the Universe, an energy larger than any one faith tradition, name, place or power. Through this blog, Mental Health History Fragments,I invite you to join me in in exploring my story.
My name is Jayne and I am a writer, speaker, educator. What I lived through was beyond endurance, but I have grown well beyond mere endurance to living my own empowered, interesting and meaningful life. My name is Jayne and I have not been silenced. I share my story to offer hope to others who struggle and the people who care about them.