D.I.D.

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.

 

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Death Note

The movie begins with a sky view of rain over Tokyo City at night. There are many quick shots from different view tops of the buildings, before the camera settles on a final location. It pans in to an alley where a black notebook falls lightly to the street. There is this still shot of the notebook in a perfect circle of dry asphalt whilst the surrounding road is drenched in rain. This image shows the unnatural presence the notebook has in the human world. The next few minutes show compilations of a hand writing in the notebook before jumping to the death of a person. As a movie adaptation of a book series, I find this as an interesting angle to show first on the society’s views on the plot device, before introducing any characters. It seems this might have been the easiest way to shorten a book series, which has been adapted almost word for word earlier as a 37-episode animation, to fit into a 126-minute film.

At the 9-minute mark, the writer in the notebook is finally revealed. The music brings tense feelings and a sense of anxiety of who the person who is causing these deaths is. There are a couple of scenes introducing this character as Light and shows through his interactions with people at school and around his girlfriend on what kind of person he is on the surface. Through some clues from the female lead, Shiori, and the background characters, it is easy to determine the both of them are in law school. The next minutes have a few flashbacks show how Light had lost some faith in the justice system before discovering a notebook in an alley. This is where the plot device is explained. Light learns that the notebook belongs to a Shinigami, or God of Death in Japanese. With it he is able to kill anyone whose name he has written down while thinking of his or her face. With his strong sense of justice, Light commits to using this item to rid the world of crime.

After these explanations, the scene changes to a police station where detectives are trying to figure out why so many criminals around the world are suddenly turning up dead from heart attacks. It introduces the main antagonist, in part, known as L who is a mysterious private investigator. This slowly leads to one of my favorite scenes in which L broadcasts a worldwide live news broadcast where he challenges the mystery killer dubbed Kira. Light feels insulted and tries to kill L only to shortly realize he had fallen into a trap and killed an impersonator instead. This scene is adapted in sync with the book and show word for word and is most likely done so because of how well it show L’s genius at gaining clues as well as his cunning ways on how to obtain them. With the scenes the movie goes from a singular story of the morality involved in choosing whether or not it is right to kill the most vicious of criminals to a game of cat and mouse between two intelligent individuals trying to find one another. The rest of the movie includes thrilling scenes on how closer both are to finding the other and the many obstacles in the way.

When adapting from an already existing source, many directors try to focus on story arches differently.  In this case, a character from the series called Naomi is given a larger role in the movie from being a minor obstacle to a major threat against Light. In the movie, Shiori is also given a large role considering she was only in one chapter of the book as a girl who had a crush on Light in high school to his love interest. This gives a more soft side to Light when they are shown together. With the inclusion and expansion of these two characters, the ending of the movie was a shock to both crowds that have and haven’t seen the series. If there were anything I would change in this movie, I would give more emphasis on the lengths Light goes through in the beginning on rationalizing about the rights and wrongs of having such a power as well as the fear he first experienced with that knowledge and how he tries to hide the Death Note before L’s investigation.

 

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