©Alexandrea Nicholas

Two authorsArlene R. Taylor, PhD and Marilyn J. Banford, PhDare saving lives one page at a time.

I know this because they saved mine.

They wrote the book Beyond the House of Silence…Secrets Layered upon Secretsthe book that changed everything for me.

It has taken five years for me to begin to come out of the “fog of my life.” I am just beginning to start over in a whole new light; a much better existence than I ever knew possible prior to reading this life-altering book. Every day thus far, without exception, some aspect, phrase, anecdote or chapter was with me for the past 1,825 days. I am remiss to have taken this long to write this because it has been on my mind ever since I opened the book. However, these authors remind the reader constantly, that the healing process “takes time” and to “be good to yourself,” something I had never practiced beforeuntil now.

I now find reverence in onionsalthough peeling back each layer makes you cry and is increasingly painfulthe last layer is fundamental to the structure of the whole, making is essential to the healing process. This experience feels like unraveling a colossal, knotted ball of yarn that had been neglected for years only to put it back together in an orderly waya frustrating but necessary process of breaking things down in order to put them back together again. Anecdotal evidence shared by these two authors was the linchpin in my healing process. They courageously share in the trauma and healing of this true story, making it plausible that healing was even possible for people like myself. Without the candid experiences shared, I am not sure that I would even be present to write this—period.

I was warned about the power of this book by one of the authorsI did take heed, however, nothing could have prepared me for this experience. It was suggested that I read it slowly, however, I couldn't put it down. I believe I read it all in one sitting and gorged upon it as it revealed things to me that I had denied for years, unknowingly. The notion of “secrecy” resonated with me. I had been in such emotional bondage for over forty years with no way out that I felt like a sinking shipthe future was inevitable until this lifeline of a book. This book scared me, haunted me, helped me, and then healed me and continues to do so along with the unprecedented dedication of my therapist Dr. Banford.

During this holiday season, it is only fitting that I thank you both, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Banford. It is a time of giving, and you both have given tirelessly of yourselves through the pages of this book. At a time when the general population is so ill-consumed with gift giving, the insanity of the consumer-driven holiday season and the quest for the perfect giftI feel so incredibly fortunate to have been touched by your writings. It would be my hope that everyone could be as fortunate as I. To be shaped by your ideas seems essential to one's overall wellness and happiness. Every person I know would benefit from your perspectives, and I strongly endorse this book to the overall population. Mental wellness seems like such a neglected area of medicine and the symptoms seem so pervasive in society ranging from addictions, to familial dysfunctionthe list goes on. It is not hard to see the ubiquitous nature of mental illness.

Thank you for every page. I found myself on most of them…too many to possibly mention and there aren’t enough “thank yous” to go around. Alice Miller's The Body Never Lies (p.160) reference caused me to sit and reel. Was I really picking up the check for parental emotional unfinished business? It had to be true “I was so incapacitated by the disease that I couldn't dress...”this entire paragraph (p. 161) was me. Could it be true? It was trueand right there in black and white before my eyes.

As a former educator of twenty years, I want to thank you both for educating me. Please continue to save lives through your research, academics, and through the giving of yourselves. I hope that you write another book togetherif so, I will certainly be first in line for it. As for now, enjoy the holiday seasonknowing how pivotal you have both been to patients like myself. You two truly are “gifts” exemplary of what this season should be. Merry Everything, Marilyn and Arlene!!! With So Much Love, Gratitude, and Respect…

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