You Will Never Be Normal

A Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
356 Pages
Reviewed on 07/31/2021
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Author Biography

Catherine Klatzker’s mental health memoir, “You Will Never Be Normal” from Stillhouse Press was written because DID, dissociative identity disorder, is real and overcoming the stigma of DID begins with that understanding.

“Most people with DID are ashamed and terrified of our symptoms, at least in the beginning,” she says. “It is a hidden disorder; we work hard to hide it.”

Because stigma is still formidable, (and also to understand her own experience,) she wrote “You Will Never Be Normal” over ten years. “I continue to educate people as much as I can, and to offer support to the great many among us who suffer from misdiagnoses and remain untreated. DID is treatable.”

Catherine Klatzker is a writer and RN in Los Angeles, California, whose specialty for twenty-two years was pediatric intensive care. Catherine's work is published in mental health anthologies from In Fact Books and from Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective, as well as a range of other publications including Atticus Review, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Tiferet Journal, The Examined Life Literary Journal, Emrys Journal, Please See Me, River Teeth Journal’s “Beautiful Things,” and others.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

You Will Never Be Normal is a work of nonfiction in the memoir, autobiographical writing, and mental and physical health subgenres, and was penned by author Catherine Klatzker. The work is intended for the general adult reading audience and contains references to trauma, abuse, self-harm, and mental health issues that some readers may find distressing. In an incredible up-close account of lived experiences, the author discusses her journey with DID (dissociative identity disorder) and the subsequent breakdown in her mental and physical health caused by it, as well as experiences before and after this moment in relation to her trials and triumphs with the condition. What results is a fascinating and engrossing real-life experience that is sure to keep readers turning the pages from cover to cover.

Author Catherine Klatzker has crafted a detailed, raw, and unapologetic work of nonfiction with plenty of insight, bittersweet truths, and cold hard facts to offer readers. One of the features I found particularly impressive about this piece was the author’s narrative style and her sense of honesty because I think it’s a really tough thing to discuss one’s past traumas and the daily struggles we go through as people with medical and mental health issues. The work is well organized and worded to help those unfamiliar with the condition understand what is going on and is also sensitive to the need to be accessible and realistic at the same time. What results is a fantastic factual account and, overall, I would highly recommend You Will Never Be Normal to fans of real-life memoirs, deep-thinking discussions of mental health, and for anyone interested in learning more about dissociative identity disorder from within the experience itself.

Lesley Jones

In You Will Never Be Normal by Catherine Klatzker, the afternoon was like any other for Catherine Klatzker, until her regular meditation session would resurrect painful memories from her past which would change her life forever. For years, the voices in Catherine’s head, which she called the Parts, were a benign presence. Then they changed and this time was different; the Parts seemed to be attempting to communicate something to her. The Parts were screaming, ‘Please don’t hurt me! You’re not listening! Help!’ Was it her imagination or was her brain malfunctioning in some way? In her search for peace and the truth, Catherine turns to a meditation teacher and psychotherapist. Catherine embarks on a journey of healing that would last for many years until the truth reveals a traumatic experience from her childhood. Follow Catherine as she tries to come to terms with her abusive past and face her perpetrator. Will the Parts ever leave her or will they remain with her forever?

I found Catherine’s debut memoir an incredibly moving read. She writes with passion and with brutal honesty which completely touched my heart. The emotions she felt throughout this poignant journey of self-awareness were so vivid and raw. I found many scenes really heartbreaking to read, especially Catherine's therapy sessions with Dr. Lew and her time spent in the hospital with Danny. I was not aware of Traumatic Dissociative Identity Disorder before reading this memoir and Catherine has done a fantastic job of educating me on the traumatic feelings of losing control, confusion, and fear of the unknown. The Parts each had clear identities and personalities. Katie, Cat, Cathie, Baby, and Tina were all distinctive characters who played a unique role in protecting Catherine from the pain she had endured. You Will Never Be Normal is a fascinating and heartening read that highlights and educates us on the aftermaths of trauma and abuse. Catherine Klatzker's courage was admirable and I highly recommend this compelling memoir.

Vincent Dublado

Catherine Klatzker’s memoir is a candid look at the horrors of her traumatic childhood in You Will Never Be Normal. She opens her heart in narrating with candor an episode in her life that was triggered during a meditation exercise. Pleading voices in her past start to hound her mind, and this internal festering becomes so pronounced that it takes a toll on her health. Her rational side tries to make sense of the experience as a form of regression, yet the more she justifies it, the more questions pop up in her mind. Shame. She needed to hide. What follows after the meditation is an altered state that leaves her sleepless for ten weeks, yet it did not occur to her to stop meditating. Seeking professional help, this episode makes her deal with a dark past that she has tried burying in that deep part of her psyche. Visions about her father will make her understand the complex psychological malady that consumes her. This is Catherine Klatzker’s story.

It takes courage to write and share about an unsettling experience, and it takes even more courage to confront and use it as a stepping stone toward healing. Catherine Klatzker’s keen memory of her father’s abuse strongly reflects in the way the sensory details of her narrative evoke the episode, and the worst part of her experience is that she is the one who feels at fault about it. Her minute details further add to that horrifying milieu that had stolen her innocence and sense of security. But her lucid confession is what makes her memoir a stark and naked reality that cannot be ignored, for there is something illuminating about what makes this real-life story disturbing. You Will Never Be Normal is thought-provoking, and as it sheds light on the anatomy of dissociative identity disorder stemming from trauma and memory, it is a story worth telling and worth reading.