I first came across multiple personality disorder in a book written by Sydney Sheldon titled ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’, and later, in ‘Fight Club’. Over the years, I have come across video recordings of people who have this rare and complex psychological disorder switching between their different personalities like there is a control pad navigated by someone somewhere.
It is very curious and frightening to see a person almost physically change as they take up a new personality. Their voices change, their eyes take up a new light, their demeanor alters, their accent becomes different, their history and gender and ideologies and habits and characteristics and the core component that makes them who they are is replaced. But they themselves, physically, remain the same. It is wonderful.
Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behavior.
DID is usually a coping mechanism due to a traumatic experience that has happened before (usually in childhood). In a bid to suppress the memory, the person literally shuts off or dissociates themselves from the situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate with their conscious self. This is the case with 99% of people living with DID.
DID can lead to gaps in memory and hallucinations (believing something is real when it isn’t).
DID affects only 1% of the population.
Women are more likely than men to have DID. (I wonder why?)
Some people with DID have up to 100 alters. (Basically many aljanu cases might be DID)
Although not everyone experiences DID the same way, for some the “alters” or different identities have their own age, sex, or race. Each has their own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking.
Sometimes the alters are imaginary people; sometimes they are animals.
As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals’ behavior and thoughts, it’s called “switching.” Switching can take seconds to minutes to days.
It is caused by many factors, including severe trauma during early childhood (usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, or emotional abuse).
HOW TO IDENTIFY
-Two or more distinct identities that have power of the persons behavior.
-Inability to recall key personal information that is too far-reaching to be explained as mere forgetfulness.
-Highly distinct memory variations, which may fluctuate.
OTHER SYMPTOMS ARE:
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Memory loss.
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
DID might manifest among children between the ages 5-10.
It might be confused with other behavioral or learning problems common in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For this reason, DID usually isn’t diagnosed until adulthood.
Some seek treatment with hypnosis where the person’s different “alters” or identities may be very responsive to the therapist’s requests.
There is no known cure. It can only be managed.