Have you ever heard of multiple personalities residing in one’s body? Or ever have had to watch movies revolving around a single person with multiple characters living inside. If still not grab the point, let talk about Zahid Ahmad’s one of the hit drama series named ‘’ Ishq Zahe Naseeb," where he has an alternative female personality called Sameera, alongside the core personality. In that drama, that alternative personality of his every time pop out of nowhere and cause a stir. The fun part is the disorder shown in that drama was not a work of fiction, but it actually exists.
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
This disease, known as Dissociative Identity Disorder(DID), aka Split Personality, is a state where a person experiencing DID has distinct personalities, or you can say “alters” other than the core personality.
These alter can take over the person anywhere anytime. No matter how many split personalities reside inside a person, each has a different set of habits, a separate school of thought, distinct history, discrete way of speech, different names, and sometimes shows an allergic reaction when the original personality isn’t allergic to anything. They may be of different gender or age. A designated female from birth can have personalties from 9 years old boy, a car enthusiast, to a teenage girl obsessing over Kpop.
Stating to an article from Medical News Today, “A person also maintains their primary or host identity, which is their original personality, and will answer to their given name. Their primary identity is generally more passive, and they may be unaware of the other personalities.”
About 90% of the case have some history of trauma like sexual abuse, emotional abuse, loss of a loved one at an early age, or a nerve-racking accident. Which then likely to be turned into DID.
In this case, the patient feels a disconnection between his thoughts, feel like not being himself or out of his body. They call it dissociation, which acts as a coping system to disconnect the person from all traumatic or painful situations. The person creates an imaginary world to keep himself away from what is happening in real.
Studies say it sometimes help them tolerate a painful or overwhelming event by escaping from the pain, fear which others might not hold well.
A rare recollection of an unfortunate incident, stress, or a mild involvement in an accident or a disease can trigger one of the personalities residing inside.
- They suffer from immense Amnesia. Huge chunks of their memories, especially childhood memories, just merge in the air. Severe Amnesia affects the parts of the brain vital for memory processing.
- feeling disconnected from the body and its surrounding
- Supposing everything around is imaginary and blurred.
- Unable to process smoothly and keep a check balance on the critical areas of life
- Dominating mental issues like anxiety, stress, depression
Real life Sufferer
Meet Jeny Haynes, living with 2000 personalties. Her mind made up different characters to keep herself safe from abuse. One of her most known and active characters is a four-year-old girl known as ‘symphony,’ an eight-year-old boy named ‘little ricky,’ and a teenager called ‘muscles.’
And there is Kim Noble with 20 personalties. After suffering abuse in her childhood, her brain split up into 20 characters. Her actual self is a painter, and over a dozen of her personalties are painter also.
Living with DID is a real disaster. How would it feel waking up in your original self and realizing that you have spent an enormous amount on things you never need or difficulty in recognizing friends you have made in your other-self. Unable to sort out where you are driving to when the last recollection of yourself you have is cooking in the kitchen. That must be insanely disturbing.
In its treatment, psychotherapy, medications, family therapy, or clinical hypnosis are involved. Sometimes it can be treated, but in few unfortunate cases, it lasts for a lifetime. Treating is a long and detailed process as it involves the arduous task of compiling all the split self into one wholes self. Also, there are no specified medications to heal it, but medications help suppress the critical factor backing split characters, such as antidepressants for anxiety or stress.