Jessica was terrified that the unthinkable had happened when she had been "made-up." That was the only reason she could think of for the strange feeling that swept over her whenever anyone asked her a "you" question. .
The instant she heard that word – even if it was just a friendly "Hi, how are YOU?" – she wanted to shove her hand into the offending mouth and shout, "Stop! That's the stupidest word I've ever heard. You know why? Because there's no you in here. You see, I'm really not supposed to be here. Look at me! Can't you see that I'm just an alien being trapped in a human body"
Whenever Jessica was asked such a question, she gave the shortest answer possible and faded as quickly as possible into the background. She maneuvered her way through each day trying to anticipate what was expected of her and act accordingly. That was the only way she could think of to appear as if she belonged on planet Earth.
If her act wasn't perfect, she knew what would happen. Strangers would surround her, and with their arms raised high and fingers stabbing at the air, they'd shout, "Imposter! Imposter!" Before she knew it, she'd be hauled into court and found guilty of impersonating a human being. All she could see in her Mind's Eye was the next day's headlines: SCIENTISTS GATHER TO EXAMINE ALIEN IMPOSTER.
In her therapy with Dr. Jeffrey Von Glahn, her ever resourceful therapist, Jessica discovered that the mystery of who she was had started far, far earlier in her life than she - or anyone else - had ever imagined. It began with the hurried and inattentive behavior of the medical team at her birth, continued at home with her mother who had an eighteen-month-old and a boarding house to take care of, and culminated a few weeks later in a harrowing experience with her mother when Jessica woke-up "wet, cold, and hungry" in the middle of the night. On that fateful occasion, the gauge on Mrs. Thomas' giving reservoir read "EMPTY."
In re-living this encounter – as if she had been transported back in psychological time but with her adult mind – Jessica described her experience as feeling that she was "being picked up like a football, dressed like a rag doll, and flipped around any old way." Instinctive, life-saving mechanisms in her psyche stripped her of her sense of feeling that she was, indeed, a needing, wanting human being. part of her – the "I" part of her psychological make-up – was too dangerous for her to act on and that she had to behave as if it didn't exist. What no one could possibly have known at the time was that in being born Jessica wanted "to add one more good thing to the world" - herself - and that her greatest hope was to bring a smile to her mother's face.
After about two years, progress in Jessica's therapy, what little there was of if, came to a grinding halt. Dr. Von Glahn did not know that for all that time he had been operating on a mistaken assumption. He automatically assumed, as he had done with all the clients he had ever seen, that Jessica was aware of what she needed. Then one day, she made a bold request for multiple-hour sessions for several days a week for six weeks in hopes of a breakthrough. If Jessica had not made that request, this book would not have been written.
For Dr. Von Glahn, Jessica's therapy was the most challenging, the most profound, and ultimately the most personally satisfying experience he has encountered in forty-five years of practice. If someone had explained to him ahead of time the actual nature of Jessica's problem, he would not have believed that it was possible for a human being to have such a psychological condition.