From a teen in the U.S.: I am 97% sure I suffer from multiple personality disorder I have been dealing with problems my entire life, and terrible problems. I have people who live inside of my head in a place called “the scenarios”. They’re an entire society of their own completely void of the outside world, some of them who manage to coming out know they are personalities, and a few of them dont know what it’s like outside, but they all know me as the host.
I have a friend who we will call K. K helps me manage them and she is looked up to by almost all of them. Some of my personalities are really nice and some aren’t so much, there are also animals. I block them out during school but they still find out ways to come out. I’ve been struggling for years and I have never fully came out, and I haven’t been diagnosed.
Do you have any advice for me? I dont know where to go from here.
Yes, I do have advice for you. Where you go from here is to a licensed professional mental health clinician who specializes in trauma work for an assessment and treatment. What are you waiting for?
What used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2 percent of people experience dissociative disorders like dissociative identity disorder. A person with DID has two or more identifiable “sub personalities”. Sometimes the sub personalities are much like the “host”. But sometimes people develop sub personalities who are significantly different in age, gender, interests, and skills. Each personality has a skill that is helpful to the person in some way.
According to the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that mental health workers use to guide diagnosis, the following symptoms have to be present to diagnose DID:
- The individual experiences two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self). Some cultures describe this as an experience of possession.
- The disruption in identity involves a change in sense of self, sense of agency, and changes in behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and motor function.
- Frequent gaps are found in the individual’s memories of personal history, including people, places, and events, for both the distant and recent past. These recurrent gaps are not consistent with ordinary forgetting.
- The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Sometimes the personalities seem to be aware of and know each other; sometimes not. The number and nature of the sub-personalities are unique to each individual who has created them.
The reason I referred you to a trauma specialist is because nearly 99% of people with the disorder have a history that includes severe and long lasting traumatic experiences (like physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse) – usually starting before age 6. Dissociation may also happen when there has been persistent neglect even when there hasn’t been physical or sexual abuse. Parents may be so unpredictable or frightening that the child develops the sub-personalities to handle what they can’t handle themselves. Often an individual with a diagnosis of DID also suffers from anxity, panic attacks, or depression, or post traumatic stress disorder.
DID can be treated. You can help yourself in a number of important ways. The most important thing you can do is to find a safe place to live. Continued mistreatement will support the continued felt-need for the sub-oersinalities. Get sufficient sleep. For someone your age, that means an average of 8 hours of sleep a night. Do not abuse alcohol or drugs. Doing so will get in the way of any treatement.
See a licensed professional. DID is responsive to a number of types of therapy. It will take awhile. It will take willingness of your part to participate in your treatment. There are no medications to directly treat DID but if you also have accompanying disorders (like anxiety or depression), you may be prescribed medicines to help you deal with them.
Please — make that appointment with a mental health professional for an assessment. At the very least, you’ll get some peace of mind if you find that you just have an active imagination, not a disorder. If you do have DID you will get recommendations for how to treat it. People with DID do get better and can live a normal life.
I wish you well.