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A Crowd of One: Living with Multiple Personalities
December 5, 2011 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Sidian3 is a middle aged woman who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.), formerly known as Multiple personality disorder. She makes video blogs about this and related subjects. Potential triggers and sensitive topics are in videos after the jump.

First, a clarification on a regular person portraying differnet aspects of themselves and how that's different from having actual multiple personalities.

Now, say hello to the people that live inside her, which she refers to as "her system":
Meet the Alters: Richi, Beth, Mimi and Hari, Part 1, 2 & 3.

How her system is set up internally, i.e. how the alters visualize where they are in relation to one another.

Why Sidan3 is reistant to intergrating the alters into one personality, as is commonly pushed in treatment. TRIGGER WARNING, she touches on the child abuse aspects that created the alters.

Finally, her guide to living with alters, rather than integrating them:
Steps to co-operation:
Communciation
Reassurance
Understanding
Structure

Finally an example of co-operation:
Mimi and Beth created a YouTube show(promo), where they write a script and then take turns with the body.
Episode 1 discuss what to pack when you're going to the hospital for being crazy.
Episode 2 is a brief discussion of a new haircut.
There doesn't appear to be an episode 3 available.
Episode 4 touches on fashion and what an alter is to do when others have a different style or are colorblind.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well-assembled post, I look forward to checking this out later. Thanks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:48 AM on December 5, 2011


The first episode is trigger-free and really sort of hilarious. Cheese sandwiches. Heh.
posted by brina at 6:55 AM on December 5, 2011


Whether you call it DID or MPD, the diagnosis is still controversial, with some seeing it as a side effect produced by certain kinds of therapy (previously).
posted by availablelight at 7:31 AM on December 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


The idea of one personality having a form of "colorblindness" is interesting. Generally, colorblindness is the result of a genetic difference that leads to defective cones in the eye; how does it come about that one personality has such a visual deficiency, and how closely does it mirror genetic colorblindness? (as alluded to in the blurb for episode 4; unfortunately, I can't watch any of the videos at the moment)

thanks for the previously, availablelight.
posted by jepler at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there any known examples of "multiple personalities" outside the industrialized world?
posted by phrontist at 7:41 AM on December 5, 2011


Are there any known examples of "multiple personalities" outside the industrialized world?

Bingo.

Also, cases of this were exceptionally rare...until the book and then movie of Sybil were released.
posted by availablelight at 7:44 AM on December 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


DID is a fairly good example of a culture-bound syndrome - but because it's from the culture that writes the DSM it's not recognised as such.

This is not to denigrate this person's experience, or the reality of their experience, but rather that it's interesting how culture and society affects the expression of your mental distress.
posted by Coobeastie at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've just started sampling some of the youtubes - and I'm happily surprised by how thoroughly charming "Sidian3" appears to be.

(I am a skeptic about so many aspects of this syndrome, I'd expected to find her fairly excruciating!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:44 AM on December 5, 2011


On day, hopefully in my lifetime, psychology will actually become a science rather than the art-form it is today. Until that time arrives we will never know how many reported symptoms are true disorders of the mind/thought rather than being secondary effects from some primary disorder.

My personal opinion (which means little I imagine since I am not a psychologist), based upon the observations of two people who reported having D.I.D., is that at least in some cases the disorder is more of an attention getting behavior rather than an actual disorder of internal thought. In better times the two people that I knew, would have been wonderful actors but in no way did I believe that I was talking to a completely different person. I was also disturbed by the manner in which each person made sure to bring up their disorder into every meeting and every conversation.

Some bright and wonderful day there will be a calculus of the mind , perhaps based upon some descendent of MRI scans, that will be able to differentiate between normal thought processes and those delusions, which at some, perhaps very deep, level are known to be such.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:29 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some bright and wonderful day there will be a calculus of the mind , perhaps based upon some descendent of MRI scans, that will be able to differentiate between normal thought processes and those delusions, which at some, perhaps very deep, level are known to be such.

Something physiological is going on in the brain.

It's appalling how quickly people dismiss the subject, yet have no medical training or experience with it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:43 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's appalling how quickly people dismiss the subject, yet have no medical training or experience with it.

Equally appalling might be the number of people who refer to a Wikipedia article and believe it to be fact due to confirmation bias. The referenced abstracts (not full articles) in the Wikipedia article that you reference prove nothing at all one way or the other and frankly neither of us has the training in the field to make an informed decision regarding the full articles. We only have our individual opinions. I do not doubt that something abnormal is going on in the minds of people who profess D.I.D. but what I do have doubts about , because if has never been rigorously proven, is whether the displayed personality is the product of a unique mind or an exceptional well formed delusion on the part of the sufferer.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:51 AM on December 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


The referenced abstracts (not full articles) in the Wikipedia article that you reference prove nothing at all one way or the other and frankly neither of us has the training in the field to make an informed decision regarding the full articles.

So your response is that you can't read the article and if even if you did, you don't have the training to understand it. Ok then.

It's curious that people (not just you Poet_Lariat) are not only skeptical of the disorder, which is very reasonable, but feel the need to bring it up at any mention, based on this thread and the previous one on MetaFilter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2011


I am a skeptic about so many aspects of this syndrome, I'd expected to find her fairly excruciating!

While I don't necessarily find it excruciating, I do find it very uncomfortable to watch these. I feel awkward enough even commenting pointing this out, given the hostile response so far by the poster.
posted by odinsdream at 10:09 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


So your response is that you can't read the article and if even if you did, you don't have the training to understand it. Ok then.

Brandon, neither you nor I have read the dozens of complete articles referenced by the abstracts nor are either of us qualified to make a truly informed decision regarding those articles even if we had. The only difference between us appears to be that only I am self-aware enough to realize this. What I do know is that there have been no breakthroughs in psychology to date that allows an observer to see what is really going on in the mind, i.e. to truly be able to differentiate between a well-formed but ultimately treatable delusion and a true splitting of the mind. Such a differentiating process does not exist. We can see that MRI scans indicate something is happening in the brains of people who report a different personality - but what is happening we truly do not know. The science is simply not that well developed as yet. So yes, I am quite skeptical regarding DID because there is no hard science behind it as well as the odd statistical bias towards first world countries (as opposed to, say, schizophrenia which happens everywhere).
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Beth persona speaks with an accent. This reminds me of Foreing Accent Syndrome. It also reminds me of people I knew in high school who made concerted efforts to speak with an accent. It also reminds me of people who try to purposefully avoid speaking with their native accent. There's a lot of interesting psychology on display with audio processing and speech. It's a fascinating thing. I'd hope we could discuss all manner of aspects of this subject without necessarily needing to fight about it.
posted by odinsdream at 10:17 AM on December 5, 2011


Brandon, you would not have posted this if you were not interested in the subject. I would assume that you disagree with people who do not agree with the diagnoses. However, we do exist and find it to be one of the paramount conversation points regarding this topic.
posted by rebent at 10:17 AM on December 5, 2011


FWIW - It was a very well done post about an interesting topic Brandon. The fact that I have my doubts about the syndrome does not detract from that.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:20 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


On that note, slight derail but I think it's very interesting how DID is thought of as a misdiagnosis while ADHD, depression, etc., are thought of as accurate diagnoses, even though the same type of criticisms are used against both of them.
posted by rebent at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2011


Poet_Lariat: Equally appalling might be the number of people who refer to a Wikipedia article and believe it to be fact due to confirmation bias.

A couple of the comments here that seek to disprove the validity of DID do exactly the same thing. Wikipedia link, bam, proof done.

odinsdream: I feel awkward enough even commenting pointing this out, given the hostile response so far by the poster.

The consensus in this thread is more hostile (and mostly proof-free, other than an appeal to the correctness of kneejerk skepticism) than anything Brandon Blatcher's said about what he posted.
posted by blucevalo at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2011


Are there any known examples of "multiple personalities" outside the industrialized world?

I suppose you'll find many cases that are called many things: spirit and/or demon possession, ancestor possession, zombification or other control via occult means... all depending on the age, area, society, and belief system. I don't think it's a brand new phenomenon, or only a first-world thing at all. I think it's been going on forever, whatever it is, and I think that some people who are not faking or coached/coerced by their doctors do have fragmented/alter personalities as a result of trauma or possibly other, organic, disorders.

That's just my opinion, of course – and I give you that for free, as in beer.
posted by taz at 10:34 AM on December 5, 2011


Brandon, neither you nor I have read the dozens of complete articles referenced by the abstracts nor are either of us qualified to make a truly informed decision regarding those articles even if we had. The only difference between us appears to be that only I am self-aware enough to realize this.

As I recall, part of your personal opinion was backed by your experiences with two people said to be DID, so evidently it's not just peer reviewed journals or medical that influenced your line of thought on this.

My own level of self awareness contains a knowledge that psychology, science and the DSM are far from perfect and have often gotten things wrong before deciding what was right. That and experience with one or two people diagnosed as DIDs, which are vastly different from yours.

you would not have posted this if you were not interested in the subject.

The brain is fascinating on a number of levels, hence the post about brain tumors from yesterday.

One of things I find most interesting about subject of DID is the question of what is a personality and how is it formed. If DID doesn't exist, yet the a person fully believe that there are other personalities in their head, then what is going on? Does belief of those other personalities make them real? Why or why not? On the question of cooperation vs integration, is it morally ethical to even suggest the latter when there are real people there? Are they even real? How do you define it?

And why, when presented with videos of person showing their various personalities, do people still feel the need to insist that DID isn't real or hasn't been validated as real. To me, the question of whether DID is real or not is almost meaningless. Some people do believe they have it. The question, in my eyes, is how do they cope in with belief and how does society deal with them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2011


Or to put it more succinctly: Here are videos of a person who has DID. She discusses how personality is different from persona, the other personalities and how they are and how they interact with each other. It's odd, to me, that people feel the need to repeatedly point out how "wrong" she is about what is going on in her head.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2011


This is interesting Brandon, thanks. I was just reading up on this and ran across somebodies blog that didn't think that DID was necessarily bad and didn't think integrating was the best idea.

until the book and then movie of Sybil were released.

The Three Faces of Eve came out twenty years earlier.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:07 PM on December 5, 2011


Or to put it more succinctly: Here are videos of a person who has DID. She discusses how personality is different from persona, the other personalities and how they are and how they interact with each other. It's odd, to me, that people feel the need to repeatedly point out how "wrong" she is about what is going on in her head.


B-b-b-but, Brandon!!

There are loads of wacky people out there who put up wacky videos of themselves.
I think Sidian3 seems like a lovely person in many ways. But I honestly don't understand why you find her - or her narrative - especially compelling?

I've now just watched the entire five minutes of the video from your 2nd link("...a clarification on a regular person portraying differnet aspects of themselves and how that's different from having actual multiple personalities....").

It's just a rambling series of assertions, poorly delivered, with no authority - and her main point seems to be that it's very rude and stupid if people don't believe she has actual multiple personalities. Nothing is clarified and nothing is explained.

I wish I could see or hear what you seem to be seeing/hearing!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:26 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the split in the discussion here comes from those reacting to what she's claiming to experience (i.e. I think for Brandon whatever underlies her experience doesn't make her experience less interesting, necessarily) and those reacting to her emphasis that this is a Real Thing (whatever that possibly means) and being skeptical.

She seems to want to assert that her alters are complete personalities, but the problem for skeptics is that a personality is a Big Thing, and some the traits of her personalities are obvious affectations (like the accents). Those affectations make it feel like they're constructs, and calling them constructs is a hair's breadth from calling them fictional.

I understand that my own personality is to some extent a construct but it is in a different way than "affected accents". I have a hard time not reading other things she says, like the child alter using play-doh as a simile, as similarly affected. I'm sure it feels different to her, and I share Brandon's curiosity, but I also identify with the skepticism.

I do feel that it's important to be careful when discussing mental illness of any sort because I think we all believe that there are people with real problems who have had those problems dismissed, and that's awful.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have known a few folks with disorder. Seemed pretty real to me.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:59 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


IANAP, but I'm a type of physician who gets a fair amount of training in child psychiatry (more than other specialties, at least) and we tend to share a lot of patients with child psychiatrists. It's true that the very diagnosis of DID is sort of questionable, but I thought I might describe the one person I've ever seen who might have qualified for that diagnosis. It was during training, in an major inpatient pediatric psychiatric ward, and the child psychiatrists I was working with were some of the ones who edit the DSM and so on and specialized in severe pediatric psychopathology under various names, so I guess they're as good as anyone else.

This particular child was around 7 or 8, and was in the inpatient psychiatric ward because she had been found in appalling conditions and she was in such a state that you couldn't even begin to foster her somewhere; you needed specialists to get her ready to even be fostered. Mom had severe mental health issues, possibly cognitive impairment, and mom's boyfriend had enlisted mom to help him abuse this child in every way imaginable. So, if you read the literature about how DID seems to pop up in children who are severely traumatized prior to their grade school years (more or less), vs. how severe trauma in older children and adults leads to something more like PTSD or BPD. That's a gross simplication of the theory, at least.

This child would have sudden, dizzying shifts in demeanor and behavior. The most disturbing parts were of course where she would be sexually aggressive, gyrating, masturbating, and aggressively trying to masturbate any adult in range, especially males. (This is why she wasn't 'safe' to foster yet; this is way out of the range of what a normal foster family can handle or should be expected to handle). At other times she was terrified and hiding under furniture, like a beaten dog. Sometime she was a somewhat delayed little girl who liked to play with dolls and was very clingy on her nurses and caretakers. All of these are really understandable behaviors in a little girl who has been so abused - but the way she flipped between them was really startling, rapid, and abnormal. It's sort of difficult to describe how not-normal this was - it was like flipping channels.

The way this was explained to me is that DID is not so much multiple personalities as "not enough of one" - a poorly integrated set of behaviors and reactions that most people are able to manifest, but smoothly, as part of one psyche, if you will. She was "flipping channels" on us to try to figure out which channel we wanted to watch and which would hopefully lead to the least amount of pain for her. And perhaps she can't quite handle being all of those things at once, so she does it one at a time.

So, this child is what I think of when I think of DID. When I see the adults who supposedly have DID and are like, "this alter is a Russian ballerina. This alter is a NYC cabbie who's rough and swears a lot", I'm not sure what to make of that.
posted by vetala at 3:21 PM on December 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


There are loads of wacky people out there who put up wacky videos of themselves.

I know, was searching YouTube for multiple personalities and there were many people who making videos for comedic effect. If one were to do that for people with epilepsy or the mentally challenged, people would be outraged. DID isn't quite there yet

I've now just watched the entire five minutes of the video from your 2nd link("...a clarification on a regular person portraying differnet aspects of themselves and how that's different from having actual multiple personalities....").

It's just a rambling series of assertions, poorly delivered, with no authority - and her main point seems to be that it's very rude and stupid if people don't believe she has actual multiple personalities. Nothing is clarified and nothing is explained.

I wish I could see or hear what you seem to be seeing/hearing!


That was among the last videos I watched, the first was Meet the Alters, then the Mim and Beth show, Integration vs Cooperation, then the Steps to cooperation. The Persona vs personality is a bit long and rambling, but included to hopefully clarify what the terms are those who are interested.

I've been interested in the subject since I was a teenager, as it hints as some extraordinary capacity of the human brain. So it was fascinating to see someone talk about what it's like to live with the disorder.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2011


It's odd, to me, that people feel the need to repeatedly point out how "wrong" she is about what is going on in her head.

I don't have a strong opinion about this topic, but it doesn't surprise me that skepticism would come up every time DID comes up. Kind of like how atheism comes up in most discussions about religion. A skeptic will have a very different interpretation of the entire account.

The evidence could be interpreted in either direction: maybe the high rate of occurrence in developed nations is a result of more sophisticated diagnoses, or maybe it is "culturally induced" or otherwise "fake." Distinct MRI activity doesn't really tell us much. I agree with Poet_Lariat that the scientific outlook appears to be pretty unclear.
posted by Edgewise at 7:04 PM on December 5, 2011


For whatever it's worth, many of the journals cited in the wiki links are legitimate.
-clinical psychology researcher
posted by namesarehard at 8:25 PM on December 5, 2011


This might be the reason people are skeptical -- http://www.npr.org/2011/10/20/141514464/real-sybil-admits-multiple-personalities-were-fake

A cousin of mine claimed she was abducted by aliens. She really believed it. I assure you she was not abducted by aliens. But her delusions were frustrating and ultimately sad. This woman's delusions are in the same category.
posted by Cassford at 12:59 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently read "Sybil Exposed." Debbie Nathan's book provides a very different look at that woman and media phenomenon. Did Sybil suffer from untreated pernicious anemia?
posted by Carol Anne at 6:54 AM on December 6, 2011


I don't believe I'm jumping into this firestorm, but here goes. According to hospital records I have dissociatve disorder non-specified (alters were not identifiably recognized). According to two psychologists, I have DID. Also for fun, I have PTSD, Generalized Anxiety disorder and Bipolar 1. I am highly intelligent. To meet me and speak with me, you would never suspect that I have mental disorders. To live with me, take care of me and love me, the depth and the toll of the illnesses are painfully apparent.

I was physically, emotionally and sexually abused by others routinely from birth to ten. From twelve to about thirty, I was handily physically, emotionally and sexually abusing myself (i.e. cutting, bdsm, binge eating, etc.). Reinactment is a common behavior in abuse victims. It also is a mechanism of dissociation.

People get fascinated by the prospect of a freak show that is Jane one minute and Bobby the next. I think that that is the only part of dissociation that people can generally identify with. More importantly, dissociation is the minds capability of protecting itself from traumatic events. Have you ever gone to the doctor for a particularly uncomfortable/embarassing procedure? Some people meditate to get their mind off of what is going on, usually docs just annoyingly chatter at you so that you don't pay attention to the event. Dissociation is a highly developed ability to remove one's conscious self from the stressful situation at hand. More problematically is that I was so regularly traumatized that my mind/body got it's stress triggers very,very confused. Most people can moderately identify that external stressors can cause this type of physical/emotional reaction. That capability never developed in me because the high level of stress was constant. I learned to ignore stress. I learned to survive. But now, I have survived. Problem is, my mind and body don't understand that. They are still fighting the war. They don't recognize stress still. My mind and body will react to stress, but can not recognize stress. That's an important distinction. Think PTSD on a whole nother level. The reason reinactment occurs with abuse survivors is that the body/mind learned to find comfort in the dissociation from the trauma. So, if you reinact the trauma, you are quickly able to hide within the comforting space of dissociation.

Personality and cognitive behavior develops in the human brain from age 0 to five. Because I spent so much of my time dissociated from reality during those earliest of formative years and continuing into the more fine tuning years of late childhood, I developed gaps in mind. The connections linking behavior to consequence weren't always developed. I believe this is where the more fascinating "multiple personality" aspect of dissociative disorder comes in to play. For many years I had a problem where for no good reason (in my mind) my hands would splay out and shake, and I would not be able to relax them until the condition resolved itself, minutes or hours later. I would mention the problem to doctors, and they would just look at me crosseyed, telling me that it wasn't neuro. Then, a boss told me that he could always tell when I was uncomfortably stressed because I would walk through the office with my hands splayed. I had never noticed a) the stress, b) the splay, or c) the connection. It wasn't until many years later, in a shrink's office, trying to tease out details of one of my abusive relationships, that it became apparent to me that the splaying of hands was a part of me that was an infant in a crib crying from fear and stress. The child had no verbal skills. (I say had, that infant is still very much a part of me and my alternate levels of consciousness.) The only way that the infant trapped deep in my mind could communicate distress was by splaying hands. I find this to be one of my more compelling revelations about my alters because the connection is strictly cognitive. Look at an infant crying. One that is in true distress and not just complaining will splay it's hands. That tells me that the conscious part of my brain had not connected with that part of my brain that was active as an infant. Now that the connection is made, I still splay my hands, but I can now recognize that action as a symbol of stress, and in particular a very base level of stress because I can go to the infant file in my brain and see what is needed. The infant is a separate personality with separate needs. But the two parts of the brain are in a shared body with shared experiences. The trick, and really the problem, is getting the area of stress (the infant) to accurately navigate the neural pathways to let one of the other personalities, or let's say the core personality for simplicity sake, to notify that brain area of the problem so that the appropriate tool, perhaps crying, can be used to relieve the stress being experienced by the infant area of the brain. This is a simplification of how I have come to understand what is occurring in my brain. I have many alters of many ages. Some come out and talk to people, others are more what you would think of as a schizophrenic experience. Everyone has an internal dialogue. My internal dialogue is primarily different in that the portions of my brain engaged in discussion and decision making may only have the maturity levels of pre-teens. When preteens are making decisions and driving the body of a 40 year old professional woman trying to hold a job, it's proven to be catastrophic. More so then the bipolar disorder has ever been. At least with bipolar disorder, there is a chemical pattern that can be monitored and maintained. With DID, there is no real rhyme or reason for which part of the brain is firing that particular personality/personalities at any given time. Outside stimuli/triggers can change, and instantly a new portion of the brain fires to react demonstrating another change in personality. Whether I identify a portion of my brain Jane or Bobby and give them different characteristics is on one hand fascinating, but practically speaking, is irrelevant. The relevant aspect is that I am a) able to identify a portion of my existence with a need, b) identify that need, c) identify an area of the brain that can respond to that need, and d) address the need, skills my brain was never able to learn because it was too busy just trying to cope. Another large aspect of DID is that because the damage is done in early childhood, human bonds are not able to form. That is a skill that can not be learned. I will forever be unable to make emotional connections in a way that everyone else takes for granted. Kind of what you would think of in autism, but still different. The only people of real safety in my life are my alters. They've never hurt me. So yes, I am highly protective of my identified perception of their existence, and their continued existence despite common treatment practice of alter eradication (integration). Sybian is very defensive of her alters being recognized, because she obviously desires reinforcement that all the different parts of her are valid as a person. In abuse, you are made to feel subhuman. If recognizing that Beth does this really well and Mimi is good at that reinforces the self worth of a DID patient, who cares if you personally, casually, perceive Mimi and Beth. I've met patients who do have alters that have different wardrobes and lifestyles. I don't seem to be that extreme, but there are distinct personalities within me that have differing value systems, coping mechanisms, friend lists, etc.

One last thing. DID patients are not likely to be faking this for attention. Most abuse victims go out of their way to avoid detection, much less attention. Timidity is a hallmark of an abuse victim. If someone is acting this way for attention, you are more likely to be dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder and you should run very quickly to the nearest exit without looking back. DID's are only ever going to hurt themselves. We've learned we are the only ones worth hurting.
posted by lynnshaze at 10:21 AM on December 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't believe I'm jumping into this firestorm, but here goes...


lynnshaze,
I read your long, frank & very brave comment about your life with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I was looking at your profile name & past comments.

I have to ask why you haven't mentioned what appears to be your close connection to the OP?

Maybe there is a good reason?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:56 AM on December 6, 2011


Because I didn't know if Brandon was comfortable with having his interest in the subject being exposed as that of spouse and caretaker. I will happily tell you that I am Mrs. Brandon Blatcher. Lisa to be exact. This is Brandon's playground, and I try to be respectful of that. He was researching what he and I deal with in our life and sharing that research with the community. I simply felt that the focus of the discussion was perhaps off center. He did not know what I wrote until after I sent it, and we have been dialoguing since. I did not mean to be misleading, merely respectful. My mental health status is no secret in our real life. I don't ever want to be ashamed of being who I am again.

I'm really curious to hear from the psychiatric community if there is research to confirm my theory of what is going on with the neural pathways in my brain. That was simply the best way that I could describe/define what I have experienced.
posted by lynnshaze at 11:08 AM on December 6, 2011


Because I didn't know if Brandon was comfortable with having his interest in the subject being exposed as that of spouse and caretaker

Actually, this was a "Oh, this is fascinating" type post. The relevance to you was obvious, hence my mentioning it to you offline, but otherwise there was no direct relationship to anything personal in terms of making the post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:28 AM on December 6, 2011


I have always admired Brandon but now it's off the charts. Along with a great big honking boatload of respect for you, Lisa. I don't say that lightly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:14 PM on December 6, 2011


Just got through watching most of the vids in this link (all of them except for Mimi/Beth show episodes).

My thought process while going through this was something like this:

First, I was pretty confused. Even though the various alters were trying to explain things about the system, I felt like I couldn't put the puzzle pieces together. (For one thing, while Richi, Beth, Mimi, and Hari are interviewed, they also speak about Cassie, Willow, other "ghost" alters, etc.,) I was confused when they mentioned Tommy as core personality, especially since Cassie was said to be the "leader" with certain powers over the other alters.

Second, I was intrigued. I thought it would be neat to have that -- especially if you could develop a cooperative system as involved as theirs is.

...but then, I began to realize there was something underneath the surface that I hadn't been getting before (because I was too busy trying to keep the alters straight). How had they been formed? What was the reason for their creation?

Oh my god. Dissociation happens because of really bad shit happening.

This really came out when Tommy was talking about the stages of cooperation -- about how the alters are born from pain, abuse, etc., and have to *learn* that there is both more in the world (e.g., it's not all abuse...there are some people you can trust) and less in the world (you have to work...you can't just make things appear, etc.,)

I think I may have been a little skeptical before reading the post and watching the videos, but honestly, I hadn't checked any of the previous famous cases about DID/MPD before, and I didn't have anywhere near the level of skepticism some people in this thread have exhibited.
posted by subversiveasset at 4:06 AM on December 7, 2011


I personally think that these videos are amazing—sidian3 and her system are extremely brave to come out in public and describe what it's like to be multiple, and their approach to dealing with the condition.

Just because Sybil's case was fabricated doesn't mean that all MPD/DID cases are fabricated, or that dissociative identity/multiplicity doesn't exist. There will always be any number of hoaxers, but that in and of itself doesn't invalidate its existence.

I also don't think that multiplicity has to be viewed as inherently "disordered," either. I'm of the viewpoint that neurological differences are only a problem if they actually do cause someone problems. If a system can cooperate and manage its life, then there is no reason for them to integrate, other than feeling that they have to change their neurology in order to adhere to a culture-bound definition of "normal." Selfhood is a lot more complicated than many people see it, and pretending that multiplicity must either be disordered or iatrogenic completely dismisses the possibility that people's brains can be complex enough to support multiple conscious entities.
posted by Elephanzee at 4:34 PM on December 10, 2011


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