Kim (a pseudonym), USA
When did you start exhibiting alternate personalities (alters), and what do you think caused them?
I feel like I started to dissociate after I left a cult that I was in. I just would stare off into the distance for long points of time, and I felt like I didn’t know who I was. This is actually a common phenomenon in cults and is caused by something called pseudo identities. Where the cult will separate your core identity from the person you are supposed to be in the cult. It’s how cults are able to make people do things they normally wouldn’t do. (example, the Manson crew killing 7 people, or Jim Jones cult drinking laced Kool Aid). I guess that’s how dissociation started. When it got really bad I entered a top notch dissociative unit in the US. I went there, because I was dissociating so much. They are the ones who created the Alters. I think what caused them was the same thing that caused the first one, it was like brainwashing. They convinced me and I didn’t easily believe it, that it was true. I told them multiple times, repeating it over and over again “Dissociative Identity Disorder does not exist and I do not have it”. But you have to understand that I was one mind, one measly patient, against dozens of professionals who claimed otherwise. And I was stuck on that unit for 5 weeks. Day in and day out I was fed the same stuff. And it wasn’t just the top notch psychiatrists, the residents, the nurses, the therapists and socials workers and art therapists and music therapists telling me this was a real disorder, there were thirty patients around me all playing the game and so at some point I broke down and in order to keep my sanity we took my denial and gave it it’s own Alter. I called it the denial alter, the one who never believed, it lived in order for me to escape this horrible abuse whenever I needed to. And when I did that, there was no escaping, anytime I thought “this just isn’t true”. I would follow it up with “says the denial alter”. I felt like that denial alter was my one and only identity, and when I put it aside like that I opened my mind up to be fractured.
How many alters did you have?
I’ve heard people with “MPD/DID” say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you? If so, can you explain the cause of the blackouts?
I did and I didn’t. I’m not sure that I can explain this well. I was probably suffering from PTSD, from the cult and from the dissociative unit, and from all the horrible memories bombarding my head constantly and the fact that I had been in so many psychiatric wards, had been put in so many seclusion rooms, tied to so many beds, given so many chemical restraints, etc. I dissociated a lot. My memory was like swiss cheese constantly. My memory may have also had issues, because of all the medications they were pumping into my system. I never, not ever lost “days at a time”. They were aware that I didn’t. I didn’t go to bed and wake up in the grocery store. There were times I would get on the highway and come to 4 miles down the road, having missed my exit. There have always been questions about whether I have temporal lobe seizures, but EEGs won’t confirm them. I stay on anti seizure medications and I don’t have them. So we think it’s pretty clear what’s happening. But these instances were always used against me to prove that I did in fact have DID.
Did your friends and family believe you had different personalities? If so, why do you think they believed you?
My friends and family really didn’t know that I had DID. I was pretty embarrassed about the diagnosis, so I kept it to myself.
Would you say you were acting? Did it feel like acting?
This is tough for me to answer now looking back. In many ways they would ask me to play the part. I would start to dissociate per usual which often led to them asking questions like “who am I talking to”? It was hard because I was sitting there trying not to dissociate and at the same time trying to delay the questionings being fired at me to which I had no answer to give them. Which at the time I didn’t know it, but by delaying my answering, it made it worse. By delaying my answering I would be fired at more, with more questioning “Who are you?” “Can you tell me your name?” “Why are you here?” “Were you sent to help Kim?”
It sounds like something out of a cheesy horror film about aliens. It becomes terrifying to hear those lines of questioning. I would never give my therapist(s) names of my alters. I never felt like I was being honest if I did that. If what they said was true then they would have to hand me the names themselves from another alter they claimed existed, that told them, because I wasn’t making them up.
Like I said previously I felt that I had set my own identity aside when I made the denial alter up. I think it’s possible to fracture your mind, just not have multiple personalities. Not entire personalities. I think brainwashing can do this. I think hypnosis can do this. It’s a total lack of identity and will create the worst insanity imaginable, you are at the Mercy of your doctors and therapists and they keep feeding you lies.
If you could say one thing to yourself at that time, what would it be?
Doctors aren’t always right. Even doctors with prestige.
What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities?
I found it as truth for myself. I had to look inside myself and really understand that none of this could be true and then stop listening to doctors. I came to realize that I knew myself better than they did, even if they claimed otherwise.
Are multiple personalities real?