By Zion Loo
Multiple Personality Disorder, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder, is a dissociative disorder that causes multiple personalities to exist separately in one body. Each personality with unique mannerisms, way of talking, and characteristics, and may identify with different names, ages, or genders. The horrific view of this disorder depicted by popular fiction (such as the movie “Split”) is unrealistic. Having the disorder is not in any way a horrific or bad thing and is much more common than most may believe, affecting one to two percent of the population, which may sound small, but in perspective, is roughly 75,270,000 to 149,159,928 people around the world.
DID develops in a person at a young age (about 5-7 years old) as a result of recurring childhood trauma, such as but not limited to, verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Indicators of DID include impulsivity, mood swings, feelings of detachment from self, self harm, altered consciousness, blackouts, depression, or obvious presence of an alternate identity. DID forms mainly as a means of protection and to avoid bad memories for these victims. Each identity that manifests in a person often has a particular purpose or role to play; for example, a three-year-old alternate may be created as a way to relieve stress, and another ‘alter’ may then even be created specifically to look after the three-year-old personality, almost resembling a parent or guardian. The average amount of personalities for someone with DID to have is about thirteen to fifteen, but in rare and severe cases have even exceeded the hundreds.
One factor of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder includes communication between personalities. For some, each of the alternate personalities can communicate with each other within the mind, while others may have no way to know of other personalities existing besides symptoms of DID and have no way to communicate with one another. The experience of having multiple personalities varies considerably with each person and is not a 1:1 experience for people affected by the disorder.