By Vanessa Kahin
The inspiration for this generation’s “Sybil” might be living in Clovis.
Originally from Portales, author Casey Jones has written a book about her experiences growing up with a family she describes as abusive, two tumultuous, short-lived marriages and dealing with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder.
In the coming weeks, Jones will be traveling to Los Angeles to discuss her book, “And the Angel Rocked Me,” with film producer Ken Wales, who has expressed an interest in making the story into a movie.
“It’s really a story about … survival,” said Jones about her book, “And the Angel Rocked Me.”
Jones said she has battled mental illness for most of her life. Although she was not completely sure what it was before she began therapy, she had a notion that something was amiss, she said, and a feeling that she had “started being out of control.”
“I suspect that my alternate personalities were coming out,” she said.
Jones sought mental help at the age of 38, when she was several years into a lucrative career as a flight attendant for United Airlines. She’d become too depressed, she said, to continue working.
When she called a mental health practitioner, she was given an appointment in 10 days. Jones was too suicidal to wait that long.
“I’ll be dead in three days,” Jones said to the person at the other end of the phone line. She was given another appointment date, and, for the next few years was able to slowly work through her issues in therapy.
Not much is known about what causes multiple personality disorder, Jones said, but she said she has learned that having a life-threatening, traumatic event happen before the age of 5 may be a contributing factor.
“Multiple personality is the most severe form of PTSD,” she said. “It’s disassociation to the extreme.”
Jones said she has 19 personalities.
When she expressed her desire to go to psychotherapy to her family, they were not supportive.
They have also never acknowledged the abuse that Jones said may have triggered her mental illness.
“My father said to me that people who went to go see a psychiatrist or (who) go get therapy are weak,” Jones recalled. She said that, at the time, it was shameful to seek mental help.
This may not be the case nowadays, she said.
“You’re in a time when society is so much better in so many ways,” Jones said.
Although she grew up in Portales, Jones said she graduated from Roswell High School, as she was living in Roswell after her mother got a job at the city’s branch of Eastern New Mexico University.
Jones attended ENMU in Portales, receiving a degree in psychology and German. Through a scholarship from a Rotary Club, she was able to study in Germany, accruing graduate-level credits.
She wrote “And the Angel Rocked Me” over the course of two years. She said her book was quickly accepted by Tate Publishing, and was available as of January 2013.
When she asked Wales, a former friend of her second ex-husband, to support her book, the producer behind “Chariots of Fire” said he wanted to make the story into a film.
Jones, an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Clovis, said the book and the possible film based on the book have put her difficult, traumatic life in perspective.
“My pain was the path to my purpose,” Jones said. “I believe my whole life was meant to do the book and the movie.”