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An Apparently Normal Person

Bonnie R. Armstrong

Cover Designer: Mark Gerber

Publisher: Emerald Lake Books

Publication Date: February 27, 2024

ISBN: 978-1-945847-78-3

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Book Description:

Have you ever questioned the truths behind a seemingly ordinary life?

An Apparently Normal Person takes you on a captivating journey through the depths of trauma, resilience and the power of the human spirit. In this inspiring memoir, Bonnie Armstrong unveils the uncharted territory of her dissociation, a survival mechanism that became a catalyst for healing.

At the height of an accomplished professional career, an inexplicable illness hints at a connection to a forgotten suicide attempt decades earlier. The author is led to unravel the enigma of her past. What follows is the revelation of a secret internal community that helped her function in the face of unspeakable suffering.

This book offers hope to the two-thirds of adults who have experienced some type of childhood trauma. More than a story, it’s a testament to the transformative path from darkness to wholeness.

Brave, raw and ultimately uplifting, An Apparently Normal Person serves as a beacon of hope for those seeking solace and healing from hidden pain.

What Others Are Saying

Of the many published personal works on dissociative disorders, there’s not a better, more insightful account than this one. Engaging, sincere and sometimes shocking, I was hooked from the start and wanted every detail. The author shares her extraordinary and complex life with clarity, sincerity, dignity and love.

—Dr. Chris Downs, psychologist and author

In An Apparently Normal Person, Bonnie Armstrong lives a full life, devoted to a career in child advocacy. But when she’s plagued by a series of physical ailments unresponsive to treatment, she begins a journey of uncovering and unraveling unspeakable childhood trauma.

Armstrong provides readers with an in-depth look at a world unknown to most. Through the sharing of her story, Bonnie leaves us with an important legacy of breaking down the stigma of a mental health diagnosis. While it’s difficult to read some of the painful details, Bonnie Armstrong’s vulnerable and honest writing makes it an easy read. This fascinating, enlightening and profound memoir has moved me to my core. Above all, she has shown me the resilience and power of the human spirit.

—Merle R. Saferstein, author of Living and Leaving My Legacy, Vols. l and ll

An Apparently Normal Person is a searching memoir of medical mystery, self-discovery, and harrowing honesty as Bonnie Armstrong works to uncover the source of her physical and mental afflictions. As her life is upended, it becomes clear that overwhelming trauma has reshaped both her body and her brain.

The author’s searing story invites the reader into a struggle to learn the terrain of complex trauma and recovery. We share her disbelief and her determination as her story unfolds in a page-turning series of advances and setbacks.

Armstrong’s writing is personal and steeped in deep feelings as she comes to understand her dissociative disorder has saved her life. The stigma of speaking out about one’s lived experience with a mental health diagnosis is transformed into her superpower in her triumphant memoir, An Apparently Normal Person.

—Catherine Klatzker, RN, author of You Will Never Be Normal

Bonnie Armstrong’s book, An Apparently Normal Person, is a tour de force of courageous storytelling and information, a memoir that offers a path to hope and healing for those who suffer from buried traumatic experiences. Bonnie reveals her personal story, her quest for healing, and the spiritual and scientific ways that mind, body and soul can be reconnected.

—Linda Joy Myers, founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers and author of Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains

I couldn’t put this book down! With each page of An Apparently Normal Person, Bonnie’s unique story unfolds into a journey of self-discovery that anyone can relate to. Through accounts of trauma and adventure, she balances educating the reader with keeping them inspired and hopeful. I learned so much and would highly recommend Bonnie’s story to therapists and anyone who is in therapy as a resource for understanding the role of dissociation as an adaptive response to trauma.

—Andi Fetzner, PsyD, partner in Origins Training and Consulting

An Apparently Normal Person is an incredibly powerful book for the field of psychology and all human services fields that serve clients. It not only carefully lays out the less understood symptoms of severe trauma that every professional needs to be able to recognize, it demonstrates the incredible resilience that people can experience, especially when given the appropriate tools to do so. I hope it also serves as a reminder to everyone that we have no idea what others are dealing with and why leading with compassion is so important.

—Carrie D. Miller, PhD, Clinical Psychology

Bonnie Armstrong is a well-respected educator and advocate for those living with childhood trauma, dissociation and dissociative identity disorder. She continues her advocacy work with her memoir, An Apparently Normal Person. Bonnie takes us on a raw and real journey from the unknown physical manifestations, to the eventual diagnosis, and through her incredible healing journey.

—Jaime Pollack, founder and director of An Infinite Mind

An Apparently Normal Person

Project Info:

Bonnie Armstrong came to us after hearing Tara Alemany speak at a conference in March 2023. As intriguing as this memoir was, like many people, our only context for dissociative identity disorder was what Hollywood had primed us to believe. So, there was some initial concern about what we might be getting ourselves into. But after our first call with Bonnie, we fell in love with her story of being empowered through something commonly thought of as a disadvantage. And we knew we wanted to be part of getting her story out there to inspire others and help change the way people think about dissociative disorders.

Little did we anticipate some of the unique challenges this project would present us with (pronoun usage, anyone?), but we’re so very proud to have been a part of bringing this book to market. It has made a lasting impression on us, and we hope that it will do the same for you.

An Apparently Normal Person

Five-Star Review from Literary Titan

An Apparently Normal Person by Bonnie R. Armstrong is a strikingly candid and powerful memoir, delving deep into the author’s journey through medical mystery and personal discovery. This exploration begins as Armstrong, a career-focused child advocate, faces a series of baffling physical ailments. Her quest for answers uncovers a shocking childhood trauma, revealing the roots of her dissociative disorder. This disorder, initially a protective mechanism, eventually manifests as overwhelming mental and physical symptoms that challenge her.

Armstrong’s narrative is nothing short of compelling. Her unflinching honesty in recounting her experiences brings to life both the pain and the strength that is inherent in her story. Her writing style is vulnerable and insightful, making it a gripping read. The book’s portrayal of dissociative disorders stands out for its depth and clarity. It invites readers into a world often misunderstood. I found Armstrong’s journey through self-discovery, acceptance, and eventually empowerment to be moving as well as inspiring.

The exploration of mental health stigma and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity are notable themes. The memoir offers a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind and body and the role of dissociation as a coping mechanism. It’s a testament to resilience, shedding light on the importance of mental health awareness and compassion.

An Apparently Normal Person is a must-read for anyone interested in psychological memoirs, particularly those related to trauma and recovery. It’s an educational and empathetic journey suitable for mental health professionals, trauma survivors, and readers looking for a story of triumph over adversity. Armstrong’s courage in sharing her story provides valuable insights and hope to others facing similar struggles.

This review originally appeared on the Literary Titan website.

An Apparently Normal Person

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