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Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder Hardcover – April 14, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"For the past twenty years, I have guided hundreds of people struggling with dissociative disorders

on the difficult path of recovery. But doing so with someone like Herschel Walker has truly been an

extraordinary experience—not because of his celebrity status, but because of what he brings to the

journey for himself and all others who share similar experiences. . . . Inviting the listener into the

compelling story of his life, Herschel poignantly shares how he has used adversity to inspire him

to be successful in his running career, his professional football career, his Olympic career, and his

business life.

For those listeners who may have been diagnosed with a dissociative disorder or are struggling

with the negative aspects of dissociation, Breaking Free will inspire you to accept your diagnosis,

to work with your alter personalities, and to seek help if you are not already in therapy. For those

listeners already being treated, this audio book will open doors to self-help ideas you have not

thought of before."

-Jerry Mungadze, Ph. D

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Herschel Walker played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Minnesota Vikings. He now owns a number of businesses, including a food service company, under the name Renaissance Man International. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (April 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416537481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416537489
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overall, I liked this book. One has to admire Herschel for going public with his diagnosis, one poorly understood by the general public and often associated with severe pathology. That took courage, which the author seems to have in abundance. His writing shows an intelligence not commonly associated with sports, and he gives articulate expression to the various manifestations of his version of DID. A real plus of Walker's account is that he describes an "up" side to this condition, stating clearly for the layperson that it has certain adaptive and self-protecting qualities.

That said, I was left with some questions. While the book seemed forthright and honest, he describes about a dozen different "alters" (formerly called multiple personalities) that he claims have arisen from his being tormented as a fat and stuttering schoolboy--while undoubtedly painful, his schoolyard abuse is hardly the type that normally spawns this fragmented condition. And as a clinical psychologist, I have treated DID patients. A more common presentation than his involves distinct changes in personality including voice, body posture, emotional expression, etc. . . . like you are really seeing different people. He says that his shifts were more subtle, nothing that could be seen externally, more like discrete changes in mental state known only to him at the time. That raises (for me, at least) the issue of whether or not this devoted and highly focused athlete is not simply given to a rather strict compartmentalization of his feelings, a medium that he would admit he is not comfortable with. Even his most personal relationships have suffered from his tendency to be so self-contained. Or perhaps DID is best explained as a "spectrum" disorder, ranging in degree of severity, as we now know autism to be.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just finished reading Hershel's book and found the story very interesting as story about how to survive the crueling life of a football player but not informative enough about the DID diagnosis. I purchased this book because I was excited to hear of someone else who had this condition. As I read on I was hoping to read more about the alters and how the alters "switched" in and out to complete any one task. Since I survived my horrific childhood with "alter" help, I had hoped to read more detail. I'd be interested in meeting and sitting down with Hershel to share some of the "alter chaos" that wasn't written in his book and my story. I, like Hershel, felt the importance of sharing my story as to help others understand the amazing way our minds can protect us while we are suffering through abuse. I believe DID/MPD is a God sent coping mechanism. I shared my life story in the book, "Switching Time" by author Richard Baer.
Although no two cases are the same I found too many differences that have me wondering whether or not this was truly a case of DID? For me, my "alters" weren't so consistant. I accomplished many great things but could never have spent many years in a rigorous exercise schedule to accomplish something as great as becoming a professional football player. However,I've spent many years watching my son play baseball and witness the change in his personality when he is concentrating on baseball. He is in a zone and nothing around him distracts him. I also imagine that those who serve our country, as in the Marines, switch into combat mode when needed. They are also in a different "zone" to fight and protect. I know this because my son is also a Marine who served in Iraq. And he does not have DID.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading "Breaking Free" by Herschel Walker, but was a bit disappointed by it because it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. He never told how his family reacted to his diagnosis of DID, nor where he was as far as his therapy today, or where he was as far as integration. I know he was trying to remove the stygma from DID, but not having suffered the extreme abuse I did, it was hard to relate to him. Also he may have grown up with very little as I did, but he's never suffered the financial hardships I have as an adult because of extreme panic and anxiety disorders I have a hard time holding a job. Plus during my abuse I received permanent damage to some of my joints and have to deal with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately for me I don't have an alter who can take the pain so I don't have to deal with it. Where as he's got the freedom to announce to the world that he's DID, if I did that I'd have to share what caused my DID. Since I've already lost my extended family because they don't believe me about my abuse and men in my family are some of my abusers, I don't have the freedom to share my diagnosis with anyone outside my adult children, husband and one good friend and of course my therapist. This makes me feel very isolated and alone. I know Herschel understands the loneliness and isolation, but when I'm ready to write my autobiography I will have to use a "Pen Name". There are those in my family who might sue me for defamation of character as one of my abusers is in full time ministry and it would destroy his ministry, and as a Christian I just can't do that no matter what he did to me. I am glad Herschel was able to share his story and that he's benefited from it, as I'm sure others have, but I don't have the freedom he has to share his story.Read more ›
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