Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Closer Look at Multiple Personalities

Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder)

From the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously referred to as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a dissociative disorder involving a disturbance of identity in which two or more separate and distinct personality states (or identities) control the individual’s behavior at different times. When under the control of one identity, the person is usually unable to remember some of the events that occurred while other personalities were in control. The different identities, referred to as alters, may exhibit differences in speech, mannerisms, attitudes, thoughts, and gender orientation. The alters may even differ in “physical” properties such as allergies, right-or-left handedness, or the need for eyeglass prescriptions. These differences between alters are often quite striking.

I’ve noticed that in recent months, there seems to be a concerted effort in mainstream media to discount or diminish the concept of dissociative identity disorder (DID), or what was once known as Multiple Personality Disorder.  It is interesting how these trends work.  One news outlet releases a story, and others follow suit with increasingly more critical articles, almost in a case of “one upsmanship” amongst their peers.

Certainly, this trend isn’t new.  The very reason that the psychiatric community changed the MPD name to DID was because of bad publicity.  Naysayers claim that it is a disease created by psychiatrists eager to make a name for themselves, and publishers/filmmakers eager to make a buck.   But, it must be noted that just because something is exploited by opportunists, doesn’t negate the reality of the disorder.

I’ve found that the primary target of those who would call DID a myth is the scandal surrounding the book and subsequent film, Sybil.

In short, the book ambien with food by Flora Rheta Schreiber chronicled the life of a young woman named Sybil (pseudonym) who split into 16 personalities after a childhood wrought with abuse.   Her doctor, Cornelia Wilbur, treated this disorder and claimed to eventually heal Sybil of her split personalities.  The book was a commercial success, and a film starring Sally Field is now a cult classic.

next pageYears later, the truth of the case came to light.  The real “Sybil” was a woman named Shirley Mason.  In the 1950’s, she’d come to Dr. Wilbur looking for help.  She claimed to have been experiencing blackouts, and wanted to find the source cause.  The timing of her visit would have been shortly after the release of the famous cheap discount on cialis, which also chronicled a woman suffering from MPD.  Dr. Wilbur then subjected Shirley to hypnosis and, most disturbingly, she liberally administered the use of sodium pentathol (truth serum), which is a highly addictive barbiturate used to weaken one’s resolve and theoretically cause one to be more truthful.  Unfortunately, the drug is also said to make a person more pliant to the will of the one administering it, and it can trigger false memories.

In Dr. Wilbur’s documentation, it was brought to light that Shirley had at one point written her a letter stating, “I do not really have any multiple personalities. I do not even have a double…I am all of them. I have been lying in my pretense of them,” which the doctor apparently dismissed as an attempt to escape further exploration of abuse memories.

Although allegedly proven false, the story of “Sybil” caused a flood of patients to seek medical attention for their own MPD, and the diagnosis became much more commonplace.  Hospitals devoted much time and money (and many doctors made substantial money) treating MPD, and patients were often seen for years in an effort to rid them of the disorder.  When the damning expose (most notably Get More Info) of Dr. Wilbur’s tactics with regard to Shirley Mason came to public light, these same patients began to turn on their doctors, and in many cases sued hospitals for misdiagnosis.  It seemed that MPD was under attack, and that perhaps it never existed at all.

But what about the scores of cases that have never been negated?  Are we to assume that in every scenario, the victims are lying, acting, or insane?  While the diagnosis of DID has become extremely rare, there are many instances where it seems to be the only explanation.  There is also evidence that the Government is not only aware of the ability of the human mind to “split” into different identities, but that covert groups within the government were/are actively creating such alters within individuals for their own purposes.  We’ll touch on those later.

First, let’s take a look at a few high profile cases of DID/MPD, and see if there’s any way to “fake” such experiences.  Note, nearly every case of multiple personalities can be connected to extreme abuse starting in very early childhood.  Often, such abuse has a ritualistic nature, and the victim splits in an effort to withstand the torture being inflicted.

Kim Noble

imp sourceKim Noble is a U.K. woman who claims to have 20 distinct personalities.  Diagnosed as DID in 1995 by Dr Valerie Sinason and Dr Rob Hale at the Tavistock and Portman Clinics, Kim has been working ever since to learn to cope with the chaotic life that comes with living as a multiple.

See video from Kim’s appearance on the Oprah Show here:  Kim Noble’s Multiple Personalities

Through her therapy, she has uncovered some very dark memories of her youth which involved ritualistically being tortured for years.  She has learned that her original identity, that of Kim, no longer comes forward.  She’s either dormant, sleeping, or “dead”.  The dominant personality is now the nurturing Patricia, but many others come forward on a regular basis.  They range from young children, angry adolescents, a devoutly religious adult, and a gay man.

Part of Kim’s therapy has been to use art to express the latent emotions and memories of each alter.  At least 12 of her personalities have created a catalog of paintings, and each one has a unique style.  The personality named “Ria Pratt” may hold the key to what caused Kim’s personalities to split.  She believes that she is 12 years old, and paints extremely disturbing works depicting abuse of the most heinous types.  Her art is at times so graphic, I’ve chosen not to display most of it here, so I have only included two selections here, but you can see the full gallery at the following link:  Ria Pratt – Flicker

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Ria Pratt explains her art in this video from her appearance on Oprah:  Art Therapy and Dissociative Identity Disorder

The personality called “Key” creates paintings that are cryptic and seemingly occultic in nature.  They are comprised of a variety of symbols and characters that are very complex.

This piece of art created by Kim Noble’s alter personality “Key” features strange characters, letters and numbers, and zodiac symbols . Within the mix of symbols, depictions of torture and abuse can be seen.

Noble has written a book about her experience titled All Of Me: My incredible story of how I learned to live with the many personalities sharing my body

Truddi Chase

In 1987, a book called When Rabbit Howls shocked the nation.  In this chilling autobiography, Truddi Chase documents a childhood of violent psychological and sexual abuse which lead to her splitting into multiple personalities.   Truddi documented in her book some of the most horrific torture one could dare to imagine.  In one case, she said her step-father used to lower her into a deep dark well, and drop live snakes on top of her.

After the blockbuster release of her book, Truddi’s story was made into a TV miniseries called Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase starring Shelley Long.  Her story truly jumped off of the page and into every living room when she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1990.  Audiences were riveted as Chase explained that she shares her body with no less than 90 different personalities.  Rather than using therapy to bring her alters together, she chose to live together and cooperate with these other personalities… referring to them affectionately as “The Troops”.

Chase’s appearance on the Oprah Show is one of the most memorable in Oprah’s many seasons.  Her candor about the abuse she faced lead many people, including Oprah herself, to open up about their own abuse and start the process of healing.  To this day, many credit Ms. Chase with helping them come to terms with their troubled pasts.

Truddi Chase died on March 10th, 2010 at the age of 75.

Billy Milligan

William Stanley Milligan (known as Billy Milligan) was the first person diagnosed with multiple personality disorder to use the insanity defense successfully.  Accused of three rapes on the Ohio State University campus, Milligan was also arrested for a series of felonies in Ohio.  His was one of the most highly publicized court cases of the 1970’s.

Throughout his trial, it was learned that Billy was subject to abuse as a child, although he didn’t remember the exact nature of all of the abuse.  This is likely because he allegedly had at least three personalities by the age of five.   At the time of his arrest, he claimed to have 24 distinct personalities.

People who encountered Milligan sensed that something was amiss.  The officer who arrested him on rape charges is quoted as saying, “I couldn’t tell you what was going on, but it was like I was talking to different people at different times.”

A slew of doctors and psychiatrists examined and interviewed Milligan.  Although most were skeptical of his MPD claims, they unanimously agreed upon the diagnosis after witnessing his behavior.  Bernard Yavitch, one of the prosecutors of the case stated, “I saw multiple personalities.  His speech pattern was different, his accents were different. He sat different ways in the chair.”

Among these personalities were Ragen Vadascovinich, a Yugoslavian who spoke with a thick accent and knew Serbo-Croatian.  Ragen is known as “the keeper of hate”.    He admits to having committed the robberies.  Then there is Adalana, a lesbian, who admits to having committed the rapes in order to feel “close to someone.”   Others include David, age eight who is the “keeper of pain”; Arthur,  an extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman.  He is an expert in science and medicine, with a focus on hematology; and The Teacher, who has almost total recall of of all the other people’s actions and thoughts.

So, where is Milligan now? The Columbus Dispatch reports:

In 1988, experts agreed that Milligan had fused, and he was released from Ohio mental hospitals after 11 years. He was released from all supervision three years later, in 1991. And only then did he begin to fade from the public eye.

Author Daniel Keyes wrote a book titled The Minds of Billy Milligan, which has been rumored for years to be in production as a major motion picture.

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So, with all of these documented cases over the years, we are still to believe that DID is more hype than reality?

Certainly, we live in an age of psychological diagnoses.  In fact, it seems everyone today has something wrong with them.   From manic depression to bipolar disorder and everything in between, is it possible that DID is merely being overlooked or swept under the rug in favor of disorders that can make the doctor is quick buck in medication?

It can also be argued that many with DID simply do not come forward.  Whether it is from lack of understanding of their own condition, inability to afford treatment, fear of ridicule or inability to face their own demons.

Another explanation is that some people who have “alters” were created that way.  As stated earlier in the article, it is alleged that some government agencies have covertly created alternate personalities in citizens in an effort to use them for a variety of tasks that would be considered unsavory.  From sex slaves to hitmen, people have come forward through the years to claim they were victims of government abuse which lead to them participating in crimes that they weren’t aware of in the moment, because they were under the control of a created personality.  Do a Google search for Project Monarch and Project Bluebird, and follow the rabbit hole.

Many people who are diagnosed with DID claim to have been victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse, commonly known as SRA.  While mainstream thought all but ridicules these claims, the fact remains that people continue to come forward with horrific tales of unspeakable torture.  One only need look at the Ria Pratt artwork above to see what kind of nightmare some children must go through.  Is it possible that in our modern world, some people are subject to macabre rituals at the hands of multi-generational satanic families?

While most would have us believe that these cases are a thing of the “satanic panic” of the late eighties and nineties, many people continue to come forward.  A website dedicated to their cause is called S.M.A.R.T. – Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today.  Conferences for victims and supportive clinicians are held annually.

Some in the religious community regularly discuss such abuse.  Author and radio show host Russ Dizdar of Shatter the Darkness exposes what he considers to be a dark underbelly of satanic abuse that reaches to the highest levels of society.  A blogger who calls herself RisingRainbow chronicles her years of ritual abuse on her site My Clouds, My Storms and Multiple Personality Disorder.

So, what do I think?  I don’t really know.  I have experienced nothing in my life that can come close to the horrors that are claimed by victims of abuse of this magnitude.  But I will say that it stands to reason that the human mind is capable of self preservation, and that when faced with repeated trauma, a split could be formed in an effort to compartmentalize the pain allowing the victim to survive.

Ultimately, I think it is dangerous to discount DID outright.  Whether a person claims to have experienced heinous abuse by disturbed family members, or whether they claim to have suffered macabre torture by a devious cult, we KNOW that human beings are capable of despicable acts of cruelty.  We don’t find many psychiatrists who would say that there’s no such thing as schizophrenia, which causes the sufferer to be consumed by paranoid delusions, to see things that aren’t there, to hear disembodied voices, and so on.  So why is there such vitriol against those who claim to have alternate personalities?

I’d like to hear your thoughts.