Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personality disorder)

Mary was a beautiful 26year old renowned lawyer during the day, and a prostitute and drug addict by the night. She woke up every morning with a hangover and needle marks all over her body. She always wondered what had happened the night before; she had no memory of how and why she had these needle marks and why she always woke up with a severe headache. She would wake up to numerous texts from unknown numbers telling her how they enjoyed having sex with her and how they would like to schedule for another appointment. She changed her number severally but this didn’t change anything. She thought her colleague was playing tricks on her so she just let it be until one day her boyfriend called her to break up with her. He sent her pictures of her doing drugs at a club. According to him, his friend had seen her a few times and decided to send him pictures. She was dumbfounded so she decided to seek help from a psychiatrist.

Mary had a rough childhood. She was sexually abused by her father every night for a year when she was just six. In an attempt to cope with this intolerable trauma, she developed an alternate personality called Anna. These 2 identities had their individual personalities and memories. Anna was strong, adventurous and wild while Mary was meek, humble and scared. Anna knew what Mary did during the day but Mary didn’t have the slightest Idea about Anna’s existence till she visited the Psychiatrist.

This disorder is developed as a result of coping strategies used by a person to deal with trauma they are powerless to escape; often during their childhood. Most people with this disorder have been victims of sexual abuse. An alternative explanation for why this disorder is developed is that people adopt the narrative of multiple personality disorder as an explanation for the way they live. The identities are not true personalities with clear-cut demarcations. Patients in this category are not faking their multiple personalities but are rather playing out roles that help them deal with everyday stress in their lives.

Symptoms: people with this disorder are highly suggestible to hypnosis. They use self-hypnosis to dissociate and escape their traumas. They may create alternate personalities to help them cope with these traumas the way most kids create imaginary friends to ease their loneliness.

NB: these personalities may or may not be aware of each other.

MentalMondays by Akwama

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