K’s here to hit you guys up with some personal experience again. [I do this a lot, don’t I? Heh.]
BIG DISCLAIMER RIGHT HERE: This disorder is different for literally every single person that gets it. These are my experiences, coupled with experiences of others I know and also some research.
I have had MPD/DID since I was eight years old, and in order to write it in an accurate way, I think there are a few basic things that a writer needs to understand about it.
It is not Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. In the past, I’ve met a lot of writers who think that Multiple Personality Disorder means that they rapidly undergo mood swings. I’ve met some who think that it’s hearing voices. Both of these are incorrect assumptions.
What Multiple Personality Disorder [now called Dissociative Identity Disorder] really can be put into perspective based on how someone gets it.
This disorder is almost always caused by a severely traumatic event of some kind — rape or severe/prolonged abuse, for example. In my case, I was mercilessly bullied in school, in every category of bullying. My family already had a history of mental illness, but it really didn’t actually appear until I was attacked by four neighborhood kids wielding baseball bats when I was eight years old.
Multiple Personality Disorder is a sort of coping mechanism. Your brain cannot function under the stress, pain or trauma that was or is being exposed to. To cope with this, your brain separates all of the things that you can’t deal with — memories, often strong emotions — and it creates what you could literally consider an entire different person.
What do I mean by ‘different person’? I mean just that. They have different names. They can be different ages than the person who has it. Different gender, different attitude, different goals, different outlooks on life. Everything about that person has the possibility to be outside of how that original person would view the world — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be. They are also usually heavily based on the event that caused them to happen.
To explain this better, I’m going to put my first alternate personality in here for you all. His letter will be A.
Now, as I explained earlier, my DID first appeared when I was being physically assaulted by teenagers in my neighborhood. Honestly? The last thing I remember about the event was the first hit, and the last thing I remember about it is them running away, blood on the ground, and some screaming. MPD/DID causes complete memory losswhen the other personality — in this case, A — is ‘out’. A now comes out to ‘protect me’. If I am in danger, or if I get suddenly extremely angry — hell, if I even convince myself that someone is trying to hurt me — he can take control of my body, which leaves giant black holes in my memory. He has sent people to the hospital in the past — something that I would never do.
That isn’t to say, though, that that’s the only time he comes out. I’ve let him out before when I could not cope with stress from school or when I’ve gone days without sleeping. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on a park bench downtown with no cell phone, no money, no recollection of how I got there and no way to get home. [I ended up waving down a cab and payed for it when I got home.] A has his own friends — some of whom I would never associate with in a million years. He has his own cell phone with numbers that I don’t know. I respect him enough to not answer his messages or phone, just as he tries not to answer mine. I know that A smokes cigarettes, while I cannot stand the smell of smoke, as another example.
One other important thing to remember is that I am lucky. While A is an extremely dangerous guy to be around, he’s only dangerous to those threatening me. He will not hurt me. I have had other personalities in the past who have not liked me. At all. And they have tried to hurt me and my body. They have attacked the people I’ve been dating. They’ve attacked my parents. They have attacked friends, pets, and even have given me scars. Luckily, I have them under control now — with some help of A. But why should they have cared? These people were not their family, friends, or pets. They were, essentially, strangers.
That’s why I am lucky that the strongest one I have does care about my safety as a number one priority — even if that can be dangerous.
They are exactly like real people. I have some that would never hurt a fly, would spend most of their time reading and cannot stand talking to people. I have others that will go up to someone that looks like a drug dealer and will chat away about anything. They have all been created in order to cope with things from my life, and their personalities reflect that in some ways [especially in how they can surface], but they are like their own people.
They come out in times of high stress or when they are triggered. Depending on the personality, it can be hard to make them willingly take control of the body. Others will try to take control when you don’t want them to. It happens, and I’ve reached the point that I am pretty good at controlling. I keep my emotions very detached from myself, and I have a very long fuse now.
If you have more specific questions, feel free to message this blog again, and I can answer them to the best of my ability. If I’m unable to, I know a number of very close people that I’m sure would be willing to help.