For most of my life, I have been interested in psychological disorders. Out of the many, the ones that caught my attention the most is Dissociative Identity Disorder and Bipolar disorders. Since the topic said to write about one, I guess it would have to be the one I’ve been thinking about since the first time I heard about it as a child.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) is when a person has two or more distinct personalities. The main personality will suffer brief gaps in memory and will only learn of events or things they have done or said from someone else. “Note that identity disorders are not the same as schizophrenia.” (pg. 494. Psychology: A Journey. Dennis Coon John O. Mitterer)
D.I.D. has been shown to the public through books, television shows and movies. “One famous and dramatic example of multiple personalities is described in the book Sybil.” (Schreiber, 1973.) In the book it describes the girl going through all kinds of torture as a child and escaping from it by creating another personality. She kept this up until she had 16 other personalities, each with their own voice and background.
Another example of multiple personalities is in the movie Identity. The movie begins with a group of men gathering to hear a plea to reconsider a man’s sentence the night before his execution. The scene changes to people driving down a deserted road and end up in an accident. Over the first couple of chapters, a group of over ten people end up trapped in a motel building with the roads blocked. It is later discovered that they each have last names of states and share the same birthday. One man then learns that they are all nothing but personalities created by the convicted man and that one of them is a bloodthirsty killer who had committed the murders and is killing the other personalities off. I believe it was this movie that sparked my interest in this disorder as a child.
My final example of D.I.D. is within the Japanese cartoon, Sukitsuyo, which is about a high school boy with a slight case of amnesia from falling out a window to one of the buildings. In the first episode his is introduced to a childhood friend, whom he has no memory of. It is reviled that this friend has another personality named Ran, which is in love with him. As the show progresses, the audience learns that the main character also has a dormant split personality called Yoru whom was the lover to Ran. Both kids were kidnapped and experimented on as children. The main character decided to be stronger for the younger one by becoming the determined and strong-willed protector, Yoru. Following his friends example of survival, Ran was born and together they made an attempt to escape with the help of two adults. Unfortunately, Ran had tripped and was left behind, which leads up to the plot of the series and the cause of the main characters accident.
What causes D.I.D.? “A history of childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse, is found in a high percentage of persons whose personality splits into multiple identities.” (McLewin & Muller, 2006; Simeon et al., 2002) Another personality is typically created as a defense in order for the host personality to escape from the reality of their pain. Most of the time the new personality is someone more stronger and able to endure different sorts of abuse. In the book Identical, the main character had recreated her twin sister to both escape the reality of her death and so she would be able to live through the sexual abuse from her father. Her “sister” Reianne, enjoyed the thrills of sex and drugs; Keighla in reality tried to stay being a good girl with high grades and good friends. She learns about her sister not really being there when Reianne is caught by Keighla’s boyfriend doped up on drugs and with another boy. She’s trying to explain to him that she’s “Reianne” and that he’s mistaken the twins again. It is then that he yells that he followed Keighla after school to the house. Other times the personality is someone who is more dependant and trusting than the original, like Ran from Sukitsuyo who was not afraid to admit he needed help, and willing to be free with their emotions then being antisocial and stubborn.
There is no real cure for D.I.D. with a shot or any kind of medication. The only way for a person let go of their other personalities is for them to come to terms with the past and go through the acceptation that they don’t need their “sister”, “defender” or “other me” anymore. “Therapy for dissociative identity disorders may make use of hypnosis, which allows contact with the various personality states. The goal of therapy is integration and fusion of the identities into a single, balanced personality.” (pg. 494. Psychology: A Journey. Dennis Coon John O. Mitterer)
It is good to know that genuine D.I.D. is very rare. “Flamboyant cases like Sybil’s have led some experts to question the existence of multiple personalities.” (Casey, 2001) However, D.I.D. is very real. It is not uncommon for some adolescents to believe that they might have this disorder with the way it is shown to the public, but a vast majority of these cases are of the teens over-thinking things with their imagination at work.