It’s now called DID, dissociative identity disorder. The earlier term, multiple personality disorder, was more accurate. The professionals, most of them at least, have it mostly wrong. For example, consider this excerpt from Wikipedia:
Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is an extremely rare mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior, and is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
That quote gets it right on all but one point–yet that point changes the whole picture. MPD, multiple personality disorder, is not extremely rare. There’s more of it around than the play-for-pay shrinks realize, big time. Either that, or a highly disproportionate share of the multiples out there are drawn to me personally, because I’ve met a number of them over the years.
But, with her permission, we’ll stick to discussing one special case: My wife, Pam, who, along with numerous other challenges, has an utterly remarkable case of MPD.
Note: I don’t care to use the currently “politically correct” term, DID, because the disorder is not “dissociative”. “Dissociative” implies (strongly) that the sufferer is “dis-associating” with whatever trauma is facing him or her under a given set of circumstances and conditions–which is true enough as far as it goes, but it lays the entire onus on the sufferer and misses a key point. The present belief set among psychologists and psychiatrists goes on to include suspicion of anyone showing MPD symptoms: Malingering, maybe? Faking it to get attention and/or care? And even in those few cases where a firm diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder is actually reached, the mental health practitioner generally tends to focus on “reintegrating” the personality, melding all of the split parts of the psyche into one healthy whole…which is impossible because the psyche is not “fractured” in the first place.
Sheesh. No wonder Wikipedia also says:
In general, the prognosis is poor….
Ya think? Naturally, the practitioners whose intelligence I’m deliberately insulting here won’t give this post by a relative layman the time of day. After all, my formal education includes a B.S. degree in psychology, but no PhD, so what could I know? Of course, B.S. is B.S., and PhD is only piled higher and deeper. We learned that in Army basic training, and the Army knew what it was talking about.
Fortunately, this page is not addressed to the PhD’s out there. It’s addressed to you, the reader who has multiple personalities or knows someone who does.
All right, then. So much for a bit of rant against those who (I claim) know nothing of the disorder they attempt to treat. If I’m going to say they’re all wrong, I’d better have a better theory to offer in place of their faulty one…and an effective way to treat multiple personality disorder. Right?
Right. And I do.
Caveat: I can’t legally advise you to follow my approach. I’m not a licensed psychologist, so I can’t practice medicine. But I can tell you what my observations have been, and you can draw your own conclusions. It’s called freedom of speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Now, to lay a few basics, the first of which will very likely cause most of our readers to write me off as a lunatic in my own right.
1. I believe 100% in reincarnation, other worlds, psychic stuff, and Souls both good and bad who, though no longer of this plane, continue to interact through the veil with people who still live right here on Earth.
2. I do agree with the commonly held suspicion that severe early childhood trauma, coupled with a high IQ, is the trigger for an individual to develop MPD.
3. However, I do not believe the personality splits into a bunch of mere alter egos. Not at all. What really happens is that when Soul backs out of a body momentarily to avoid extreme pain, abuse, literal torture…there is a vacuum. Nature, as we hear so often, abhors a vacuum. Another Soul, a disembodied entity as far as this plane of existence is concerned, senses an opportunity–and steps into the gap.
4. The greater the trauma, the greater the number of holes, the places of vacuum, the times when the incarnated child (it usually begins in childhood) goes AWOL…and thus the greater the number of personalities from the other side–most often the astral plane, since that’s the closest to this dense packet of substance we know as the physical world–gain temporary control of the body.
That’s the nutshell version of my theory as to how a person with multiple personalities ends up that way.
In 1983, long before Pam and I were to meet in 1996, I had an interesting experience in Portland, Oregon, that provided a bit of pre-insight into MPD. I was living with Sa Lee, my fourth wife, in an apartment building. We’d come up with a cake for her birthday. Late that evening, I found myself with a huge sugar craving and slipped down to the kitchen to sneak an extra piece of that cake. That sort of craving was not terribly unusual for me during the first five or six decades of this incarnation…but the intensity of it was something else. I was driven to slice into that cake, to cram it into my mouth, and–
–and I got it. It wasn’t my craving at all. Oh, part of it was, the natural tendency in that direction known as the proverbial sweet tooth (I still had teeth then). But not all of it. Not by a long shot.
Our next door neighbors, an older couple, were not-so-reformed alcoholics, what’s known in the trade as dry drunks. Alcohol addicts doing their best to stay away from booze will often gravitate to gallons of coffee and plenty of sweets…and their bedroom was right on the other side of our kitchen wall. At that instant, I had absolutely zero doubt. One or both of them was out of body, floating around my own emotional area, pushing at me: Snarf that cake down!
I ate the cake slice, but I never forgot. When I began encountering people who clearly possessed multiple personalities, I knew that other beings could influence their behavior invisibly. And when I married a fiery little redhead who had a bunch of ’em, personalities with various functions–mostly detrimental but at least one highly helpful–I was ready whether I realized it or not.
Pam fit the mold in the sense that she packed a high IQ (measured at 144 in high school), qualified as a sensitive (psychic) in every sense of the word, and had undergone extremely intense childhood experiences. Additionally, she already knew three of her co-resident personalities by name: Sudi, Sherry, and Paula.
Sudi was a little girl, around 10 years of age, and a superstar. She and Pam had long known and loved each other. It wasn’t long after Pam and I hooked up that Sudi and I shared a two-way bond of affection as well. There wasn’t a mean bone in her body. She could tolerate abuse including tremendous pain, handle it without flinching, taking over when Pam couldn’t take any more and had to check out. She liked me, and Pam didn’t mind sharing when it came to Sudi, so she showed up often to chat. We were well acquainted by the time my redhead had her teeth all taken out in Rapid City, South Dakota, in June of 1997. The first thing the dentist did was mess up a shot into her gums, creating a huge fire blossom of torment that nearly launched Pam into a grand mal seizure. Her son, Zach, was with us that day; we convinced the dentist we knew what to do, hauled her out of the chair, and I hustled her into the bathroom, where we had a heart to heart conference to convince my girl she could do this thing.
We’d not been there long before Sudi checked in. “Pam can’t take the pain,” she told me. “I can. I’ll handle it.”
I knew it was Sudi. Pam had occasionally tried to fake being one of the other personalities for me, but her efforts in that direction were pathetic. There was never any doubt in my mind regarding who was in control at the moment, at least if it was one of the personalities I’d come to know. Pam could only be Pam.
“Good girl, Sudi,” I responded, “but we’ll have to be careful. You probably shouldn’t talk; the dentist would never understand about you.”
“I know,” she said, and she did. With Sudi in charge of Pam’s body and mind, we went back out there, and she got every one of her teeth yanked, including the one with the green root nobody knew about until it hit the open air.
None of the others were helpful like that.
Sherry and Paula were both drinkers, ever up for a good binge, but Paula caused the most problems because she included other ill advised actions in her repertoire such as fighting (though, entirely unlike Pam, Paula couldn’t even throw a decent punch) and driving while drunk. Case in point: During Pam’s homeless period, she once briefly married an old drunk, more to help him out (long story) than anything else–but when he threatened her life, it was Paula who took over. Pam remembers planning to leave as soon as her “husband” (the marriage had not been consummated) passed out that night. She remembers waiting…but she does not remember drinking. Nonetheless, most of a fifth of vodka was missing when she came back to herself, climbing out of a car after smacking it into a tree.
Hello DUI. By the time they’d booked her into the local jail (not in Arizona), she’d figured out the booze, driving while drunk, and wrecking while drunk were all courtesy of Paula–but being no fool, she didn’t bother to mention that to the authorities.
Pam and I were in bed together one night in late 1997 when a gay Irish lad by the name of Sean popped in. That’ll get your attention, right there.
Ah, yes: Treatment. Now that Pam had in me a partner who understood her various personalities, knew they were real, and didn’t freak out–so she could talk freely about them–what did we do to beat that generally accepted “poor prognosis”?
Well…to tell the truth, we didn’t do it; Pam did. Oh, I helped; I provided (and continue to provide, more than 17 years later) a greenhouse environment, a safe haven if you will, by being a guy who’d listen, take care of the fighting except when she was too fast and got there first, stand up for her against the world, risk jail if need be, put his life on the line, keep a roof over her head and food on the table plus meds in her medicine cabinet–but I didn’t precisely “treat” her.
Instead, she took what I had to offer, got her sh*t together, and kicked all those personalities right out of her own head. Told them they were being evicted, that it was time for them to go. Had to literally kick butt in her own inner worlds and in her dream states from time to time. It wasn’t easy, as she told me later, and one or another will still try to sneak back in every once in a while–but she got it done.
She didn’t let me know for at least two years after the fact. Which made sense; she wanted to be sure she really did have a handle on it before she filled me in.
I had been aware that the problem personalities hadn’t been showing up for a good long while, but had not known why that was so.
There was one exception; Sudi was never told she had to leave. However, Pam did let her know it was okay for her to go if that was right for her, that Pam could handle her own crises now, she was strong enough, and if Sudi needed to get her own life instead of babysitting Pam, that was cool.
Sudi took her up on the offer, stopping back by once in a while to admit she was lonely and needed to visit, but otherwise heading out on her own to see what the big wide astral plane had to offer. She began to grow up, too; the last time she checked in, Pam reported her appearance (Pam can see these people on the inner planes) and demeanor as more like thirteen years of age rather than ten.
There were more than just the four Souls (Sudi, Sherry, Paula, Sean) involved; Pam reported that she’d booted at least a dozen, most of whose names she never learned. She’d done a great job. We were (and are) both justifiably proud of her.
But we missed one.
Since Pam’s longtime friend, Alta, has been living with us, psychological stress for both ladies has been amped up a bit. Alta is working on a number of her own issues, including weight loss. Alta and Pam are both on some pretty serious meds (though Pam’s beat Alta’s by a landslide), and my redhead has become more “pill conscious” than she’d been for the last few years. With just the two of us living in the Border Fort since it was built in 2010, the stress was low, the routine was–well, routine–and for the most part, her meds regimen ran on semi-automatic.
Now…not so much. Pam is a worrier. She always has been, being dubbed a “worry wart” from early childhood. She worries about her friend now, gets to play “little Mommy” and gets more care, all in the same breath. No doubt as a result of this, amping up her worry stress, she’s begun to take her meds without ever remembering that she took them. She’s done that before, but until recently, we’d put it down to her early Alzheimer’s disease, which she definitely has.
However, that wasn’t all of it. She began to accuse me of failing to put her key meds in her morning bottle…and when I’d disagree, remembering very precisely what I’d put in there and what I hadn’t, she felt hurt to the quick, crushed that I didn’t believe her.
This happened a couple of times. Just yesterday, it hit me. I got it. But it wasn’t yet time to tell her.
That time was this morning. She informed me in no uncertain terms that I had remembered one key med but nothing else! That was a big thing; her morning bottle contains something like fifteen pills, the majority of them being nutritional supplements, not just prescription items.
“Honey,” I told her, “you checked all of them last night when you signed the log, made sure everything crucial was there. I was holding the flashlight, remember?”
And she did. Remember, that is. But she couldn’t understand how on Earth she’d taken all of those pills without even realizing it, not to mention forgetting that she’d seen them the night before.
“You’ve got a personality we’ve both missed catching, all these years,” I explained. “I just figured it out yesterday. He–or she, but I’m calling him a he for now–is like a stealth Ninja. You’ve got a Ninja. I mean, he’s really stealthy; I’ve never caught him in the act.”
Her eyes went wide. “Neither have I.”
I pointed out that Ninjas only operate well under cover of darkness. Now that we know he exists, we’ll catch him sooner or later.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, condemning the blindness of the mental health professionals who perceive a true multiple personality situation as merely a “broken” or “fractured” mind. After all, how many of those pro folks live with an MPD sufferer? Of those who do, how many are not automatically blinded by religious or scientific beliefs that preclude consideration of real beings operating on various planes or in various dimensions of reality?
They can’t know what they can’t know.
But if they did live with someone like Pam (not that there’s anyone else precisely like Pam) 24/7, 365, they’d find it hard to deny the evidence of their senses, the total memory blanks covering the periods of MPD events, the sincere confusion and outrage the MPD sufferer exhibits when other people tell them they did things they know they didn’t do, etc.
The Christian teachings almost get it right, considering multiple inhabitants in a single human mind to be cases of demon possession. My name is Legion, and all that. It’s too simplistic, though. Not all “excess” personalities are demonic (witness Sudi), and even if a good exorcism does cast them out, it’s not likely to be a permanent fix unless the host is the one who does the casting out.