Showing posts with label Dissociate Identity Disorder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dissociate Identity Disorder. Show all posts

May 7, 2023

Candid essay by author who has multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder) prompts ignorant and hateful comments

 

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker, psychotherapist

An article in HUFFPOST by a woman who describes her experiences as someone who has dissociative identity disorder, or DI.D., which was previously called multiple personality disorder, caught my attention because I have had more experiencing treating such clients than most clinicians in general practice. 

Below are samples of the comments to the article in HUFFPOST which prompted me to weigh in with my own comments since some of them were either ignorant or hateful. Reading the candid article by Jamie Marich (below) also prompted me to excerpt and re-post portions of the blog I wrote about Herschel Walker not having to do with him since he has claimed he had dissociative identity disorder.

Here's the HUFFPOST essay:

I Have Multiple Distinct Dissociative Identities — And It's Nothing Like What You've Seen On TV

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Here's a sample of comments:
  • This is complete nonsense. There’s no such thing as multiple personalities. One can have delusions that one has multiple personalities just like one can have delusions that one is a fire truck.
  • Check yourself into the booby hatch.
  • They/Them/Them
  • Borderline. Personality. Disorder,
  • Some people are just plain nuts and can't be helped.
  • Undoubtedly taxpayer dollars are being funded to support this useless bum who will never be anything more than a burden.
  • Actually… It sounds exactly like they describe it on TV.
  • If men can wake up one morning and decide to be a woman, you can certainly whomever you want
  • Does she just have a very active imagination coupled with a fiercely independent nature that allowed herself to become more than one identity? I guess we could all do this if we so desired. Serious role playing. It might even be fun in a more accepting society. I have no desire to do this, probably because it’s not socially acceptable, and my mother would have smacked me down if I tried. I also just like the one “me” and don’t like complications. Like invisible friends, some things you simply choose not to do, be or have when you grow up. Most people anyway.
  • Uh Ohhh...
  • A new letter... P... Plural.
  • That goes with the B for bisexual...
  • And the D for dissociative and the PTSD which brings us back to...
  • This is written backwards.
  • If you start with the logical part at the end (Think about the last time that you were bored...)
  • Then the workshop stuff... Then all y...
  • "Hollywood is obsessed with exploiting the lives of people with dissociative identity disorder". How do you figure that? When was the last time a movie was made on the subject? How many movies about it have actually been made in the last 50 years? What do you do, sit in a chair and watch those 6 movies over and over? Who's obsessed? people aren't concerned nor to they give a moment's thought to such things. Hollywood is obsessed with John Wick, Marvel, Violence, CGI, Star Trek, and action movies. Whose lives were "exploited" exactly? It's called drama and entertainment. "Dramatization". It's not MEANT to be real. No actual people were harmed in making those films. Playing victim isn't going to advance your cause - is that your 4 year old? Do you realistically think everyone should go out and get a degree in psychology? I'd be surprised if even half the country made it through high school.
  • Ohhhhhhh, "pronouns", she's "woke"! wait, they're "woke". All four of her! We need laws to prevent her 4 year old and 9 year old from engaging in adult activities! Child self abuse! Calling Ron DeSantis
  • How does she know what I've seen on TV? What if I saw HER?
  • My first thought at the idea of having a 4-year-old identity inside a 43-year-old body is that it’s not the same as being a 4-year old.
  • A 4-year-old is learning all the time and the things that she learns will help her as the 5-year-old she soon will be.
  • A 4-year-old identity is a simulation of a child. It would be frustrating to deal with such an identity knowing it could never truly mature.

Scroll down for my comments and the replies to them:

I wrote a long essay about Herschel Walker who has claimed to have DID. In it I describe my own experience as a therapist who treated at least five clients with complex DID (and several more with a questionable diagnosis of DID). There are those who understandably question the validity of the diagnosis but the majority of the MH community believes it exists (and it is in the DSM-5). Here's my essay: https://www.halbrown.org/2022/10/herschel-walker-or-one-part-of-him-may.html

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In my 40 year career as a therapist I had eight clients who I was the first torecognize as having alter personalities. Some were simple, for example one with two alters who I ended up hiring as a mental health worker in my day treatment program after the dangerous alter was integrated. I had various others DD clients with between 3-10 alters. The most complex manifestation of DD was with a client who had more than 100 alters including sub-alters (alters of alters) who died of suicide after I moved out of state and she was picked up by other therapists. Her death came when her most malevolent alter decided to kill her body believing he would live on.

I think this is an illuminating article which hopefully can lessen the stigma associated with the disorder.

My comment:

I believe there are two schools of thought among those working with DID clients. One is that the goal of therapy should be integration of all the personalities, the other is to achieve peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the personalities crucially eliminating periods of amnesia. With either goal the problem is that in many, if not most, of those with DID there is at least one alter that identified with the aggressor, or abuser, in their life who is the person who was responsible for the person developing DID as a coping mechanism, a means for survival, using the amnesic dissociation. Unless that alter is rendered harmless they are always at risk of them taking control and, like with my client, with dire consequences.

Replies:

  •  I suspect it should be up to the client. If they want to integrate, the work should be toward integration. If not, help them develop the coping skills they need. It's the client's brain. They should have the first say in how it works.
  • What a load of mystic nonsense. I probably have more experience and every bit as many credentials as you have. I have always tried to understand this particular subject from different perspectives, only to be shaken back into reality with actual client experiences. I have come to believe validating multiples/alters is just neglect of authentic client needs. Perhaps even abuse. Boundaries, reality testing, and some form of cognitive behavioral therapy loaded with education and diversion are what Borderlines need. Not magical thinking.

My comment: 

I consider DID to be a condition of where the person accidentally, not by choice, used self-hypnosis and created alters with amnesia which were used to avoid experiencing extreme trauma. The presentations of the client are frequently what you call theatrical. Some alters can be diagnosed as histrionic personality. In fact, various alters can have their own psychopathology while other are psychologically what would be called normal. Unless someone has actually worked with someone with DID and observed how different the alters, seen the extent of the amnesia between alters, are and gotten to know them it, is easy to consider it an ordinary personality disorder or just theatrics. This disorder more than any other demonstrates the power and potential of the mind. I have some concerns about the author of this essay, mainly that she doesn't describe whether she had a malevolent dangerous alter and how this was handled in therapy, but her basic description of her life experience dealing with DID rings true.

Reply:

  •  She’s just driving a long-active, attention-seeking fabrication. It is much simpler. She has an ordinary personality disorder, and therapists like you have cultivated this theatrical behavior.

Every once in a while I find myself either reposting an old blog story or going back to update it. Because Herschel Walker is no longer in the news I won't repost all of the article about him and his dissociative identity disorder. You can read it here if you are interested.

What I will do is repost the portions of that article that have to do with dissociative identity disorder below.

During my 40 year career I have treated five patients with dissociative identity disorder of DID. I could write a book about them and my experiences in trying to help them avoid engaging in the self-destructive behavior which was caused by one or more personalities, or alters, trying to hurt or even kill the others. In some cases these alters didn't know that killing the body of another alter or alters would also end their lives. The belief system of such alters sometimes didn't include a recognition that they resided in the same physical body as the other alters. In fact when in control these alters often had far greater physical strength than the others and didn't experience pain.

Having read the comments I want to add that some of those who made them consider DID to be a personality disorder. It is not. It is considered correctly to be a sub-type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is because it develops as a way someone undergoing extreme stress as a child, generally repeated sexual abuse by a family member or someone close to them and their family.

It should be understood that because the personalities, also called alters, are not only different ages and genders, but if evaluated separately would also have their own different psychiatric diagnoses. Not only that their IQ's would be different and there have been documented case where some would need eyeglasses and others would have perfect vision. Some could be extraordinary strong even though their body weight and physique wouldn't suggest this.

The following is based on my own experiences with DID patients, extensive reading, and attending workshops presented by experts. It is adapted from my Herschel Walker essay.

DID develops as a way to cope with extreme childhood abuse. It is usually sexual abuse of a female by an adult male in the family, usually a father, step-father, or other caregiver. DID in males in less common. The most well known case of a male with DID is Billy Milligan. 

For reasons not known, some victims are capable of creating alter personalities which experience the abuse and then instead of developing totally amnesia for it create, through a kind of self-hypnosis, another personalty which has no memory for it. 

In DID a patient can have only two personalities, one with the abuse memories and one with no memory of them. Other patients may continue to create new alters to deal with other incidents of abuse, and then use this ability to continue to spin off alters to deal with other life stress. In very complex cases an alter can have one or more alters.

Sometimes people with DID never seek treatment because despite periods of amnesia they don't feel much distress. Someone with DID may end up walking along a dark country road in the middle of their night in their pajamas and switch alters and have no memory of how they got there. They may accept this because similar things often happen so they'd just walk back home.

They may be used to finding things around the house they never saw before because another alter bought them. 

It must be noted that amnesias like these are hallmark features of DID. It can be incidents of amnesia that prompt them to seek therapy.

It is an unfortunate aspect of the disorder that in the worst cases the patient has an alter that identified with the authority figure who abused the actual patient who is perceived by this alter as a different person. While originally a protector they can develop to be a destructive force in the patient's life.

For the safety of the therapist it is crucial they develop a working relationship with any malevolent alter. They may want to sabotage therapy, or worse. I had a client who had a handgun and insisted on searching her handbag prior to each session.

A hallmark of DID is amnesia.  During many of the times when certain alters are in control various other alters have no memory of what was happening. For the therapist in complex cases figuring out the ways the amnesia functions between numerous alters is, to say the least, a challenge.

Here's a clinical example from my own experiences (with all names changed):

One of my patients first came to me with the presenting problem being that she was losing things, and when I pressed her to explain she reluctantly told me she was also losing track of time, sometimes entire days. In that first session I said matter-of-factly "is there someone here who'll tell me what happens when Alice doesn't remember what is going on. Alice was very puzzled by this question but I told her to bear with me and I asked again three or four times. She then changed her facial expression, looked me directly in the eyes, and said in a slightly different voice, "she's so stupid she doesn't keep her valuables in a safe place." I asked who I was talking to and my patient said "I'm Denise." Then I went on to talk to Denise and when I realized I was dealing with a full-blown case of DID I also ended up "meeting" the malevolent and dangerous personality who I eventually had to tell with in almost all of our sessions. This was George who eventually was created as a protector when Alice was being sexually abused by her father but when she was an adult also became her most destructive alters.

Successful treatment of someone with DID usually means working with the healthier alters to form alliances among them so they can resist having the dangerous alters take control. All of the therapy involves with these alters must be conducted with the therapist knowing that the dangerous alter is aware of your intervention and observing the session. That personality sometimes takes over so the therapist has to deal with him (with females it is usually a male) and works both an advocate for the vulnerable alters and tries to create a relationship with the dangerous alter. There are times when the therapist "makes deals" with the dangerous alter. 

Curing DID is exceedingly difficult and those therapists who claim they have done this may be deceiving themselves. A complete cure means that all the alters have integrated into one, that the memories of being abused have been dealt with in therapy, and there are no incidents of present day amnesia. The reports of amnesia with someone with DID means that another alter or alters were in control during the period of lost time.

A more modest goal, and with some the only realistic goal, is to work on developing a cooperative relationship between the alters. This seems to be what the author of the HUFFPOST article achieved.

Updated comment and my reply:

Comment: Thank you for sharing, The information you gave is very informative. 






  • Hal Brown
    18 seconds ago

    You are welcome. There are so many examples of how extraordinary this manifestions of DID are that I could have doubled the length of my blog describing just what I experienced. I would add for therapists with these clients that it is best to work with a co-therapist, have a good inpatient back-up facility available, and be able to see the client 2-3 times a week. One example from my practice is a client told us her malevolent alter observed what she saw with a third eye and then it appeared as a raised reddish circular welt in the middle of her forehead. After the session we asked each other incredulously "did you see what I saw?" Another example of when a malevolent alter took control in the hospital was when he took control of her 100 body and toppled large heavy tables over. It took rarely used chloro hydrate injections to calm him down.

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    October 8, 2022

    Hershel Walker's therapist, Jerry Mungadze

     About Hershel Walker's therapist. 

    He's the one that along with God Walker says cured him.

    His name is Jerry Mungadze. He believes in exorcism, the occult, and demon possession.

    by Hal Brown

    There's a Santa Snowman's chance in Hell that Herschel Walker is fit to be a U.S. Senator. It isn't because he's mentally ill per se, it's because he may be more than one person.
    I added the background to the above illustration.

    For the purpose of this story I am taking Walker at his word, i.e., that he suffered from dissociative identity disorder.

    Comment on this story on Twitter or on Facebook


    Every Republican of note supporting Herschel Walker and everyone in Georgia thinking of voting for him should at least read this article from the Dallas NBC station website, this article from a 2013 story in HuffPost, and this blog story of mine.





    In his 2008 book Hershel Walker says he was cured of dissociative identity disorder, referred to as DID, (which used to be called multiple personality disorder).

    This is what the Amazon description says about Walker's dissociative identity disorder:

    While some might have taken this diagnosis as a setback, Herschel approached his mental health with the same indomitable spirit he brought to the playing field. It also gave him, for the first time, insight into his life's unexplained passages, stretches of time that seemed forever lost. Herschel came to understand that during those times, his "alters," or alternate personalities, were in control. 

    Born into a poor, but loving family in the South, Herschel was an overweight child with a stutter who suffered terrible bullying at school. He now understands that he created "alters" who could withstand abuse. But beyond simply enduring, other "alters" came forward to help Herschel overcome numerous obstacles and, by the time he graduated high school, become an athlete recognized on a national level.

    There's no way to determine whether Walker ever had dissociative identity disorder. It is more common in women, and generally the result of prolonged sexual abuse by a parent, caregiver, or trusted individual in the child's life. A person developing the disorder as a result of being bullied as Walker said happened to him doesn't ring true with me as someone who has treated five patients with this disorder and done considerable research into DID.

    During my 40 year career I have treated five patients with dissociative identity disorder of DID. I could write a book about them and my experiences in trying to help them avoid engaging in the self-destructive behavior which was caused by one or more personalities, or alters, trying to hurt or even kill the others. In some cases these alters didn't know that killing the body of another alter or alters would also end their lives. The belief system of such alters sometimes didn't include a recognition that they resided in the same physical body as the other alters. In fact when in control these alters often had far greater physical strength than the others and didn't experience pain.

    I  found an article with considerable information about the counselor who, along with help from God, cured this exceeding difficult to treat let alone cure, made him whole again, that is, mentally healthy with only one not a dozen alters (or discrete personalities) each with their own memories. In his book Walker describes about a dozen alters. They're described by their roles or function: the Hero, the Coach, the Enforcer, the Consoler, the Daredevil, the Warrior, to name a few.

    This is what the article says about Jerry Mungadze:

    Mungadze, a licensed therapist who holds a doctorate in philosophy, diagnosed Walker with dissociative identity disorder, following a separate 2001 episode in which Walker says he sped around suburban Dallas fantasizing about executing a man who was late delivering a car he had purchased. The two became close friends.

    A former pastor, Mungadze's professional and academic writings lean heavily into the occult, exorcism and possession by demons, which he has called a "theological and sociological reality."

    In one method of analysis he has pioneered, which experts have singled out as unscientific, patients are asked to color in a drawing of the brain, with Mungadze drawing conclusions about their mental state from the colors they choose.

    He was also featured in a 2014 British TV documentary as a practitioner of gay conversion therapy, a scientifically discredited practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ people.

    "It's really disturbing that a prominent individual like Walker would be seeing someone who just looks like the most dubious caregiver," said Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine.

    If Walker no longer has alters taking control of him and has integrated them into one identity he would also have the memories of everything done while the alters were in control in the past. This would mean he'd remember all the incidents about the abortions he paid for or his girlfriends told him about.

    People with DID engage in a unique form of self-hypnosis as they create new alters to deal with specific life stresses. The memories of the abuse remain with the alter or alters that endured the abuse. This is different from how an abuse victim represses memories of the incident or incidents and has amnesia for what happened. Instead of amnesia someone with DID has the ability to spin off new personalities and  does this instead and the memories remain with the victim personalities.

    Because people with DID can engage in this kind of self-hypnosis they are very suggestible and a therapist like Mungazde can either deliberately or inadvertently make what are really make hypnotic suggestions and this can result in what looks like successful therapy. 

    Mungazde may believe he actually "cured" Walker when in fact all he did was hypnotize him. He may think he "exorcized Walker's demons" when what he did was what exorcists throughout history have done by using powerful hypnotic suggestion to bring out "demons" and force them not to "begone" but to be very deeply repressed into the person's unconscious.

    This may be what he did with Walker. 

    If Walker currently has DID and if he ends up as a senator the voters will have elected more than one person. There'd be no way to be assured that a repressed and dangerous alter wouldn't reemerge. 

    The following is based on my own experiences with DID patients, extensive reading, and attending workshops presented by experts.

    DID develops as a way to cope with extreme childhood abuse. It is usually,  but not always, sexual abuse of a female by an adult male in the family, usually a father, step-father, or other caregiver. DID in males in less common. The most well known case of a male with DID is Billy Milligan. 

    For reasons not known, some victims are capable of creating alter personalities which experience the abuse and then instead of developing totally amnesia for it create, through a kind of self-hypnosis, another personalty which has no memory for it. 

    In DID a patient can have only two personalities, one with the abuse memories and one with no memory of them. I had one patient like this. She believed the malevolent alter watched her through a third eye on her forehead. My co-therapist and I once actually saw this "eye" a[pear as a red raised circle on her forehead.  After several years of intensive therapy we integrated the personalities.  I ended up hiring her to work as an aide in the day treatment program at the mental health center I was in charge of. She did very well and had no setbacks.

    Some patients may continue to create new alters to deal with other incidents of abuse, and then use this ability to continue to spin off alters to deal with other life stress. Sometime alters create sub-alters. One of my cases had so many alters and sub-alters that I lost count after 100.

    Sometimes people with DID never seek treatment because despite periods of amnesia they don't feel much distress.

    It is an unfortunate aspect of the disorder that in the worst cases the patient has an alter that identified with the authority figure who abused the actual patient who is perceived by this alter as a different person. While originally a protector they can develop to be a destructive force in the patient's life.

    A hallmark of DID is amnesia.  During many of the times when certain alters are in control other alters have no memory of what was happening. 

    Here's a clinical example from my own experiences (with all names changed):

    One of my patients first came to me with the presenting problem being that she was losing things, and when I pressed her to explain she reluctantly told me she was also losing track of time, sometimes entire days. In that first session I said matter-of-factly "is there someone here who'll tell me what happens when Alice doesn't remember what is going on. Alice was very puzzled by this question but I told her to bear with me and I asked again three or four times. She then changed her facial expression, looked me directly in the eyes, and said in a slightly different voice, "she's so stupid she doesn't keep her valuables in a safe place." I asked who I was talking to and my patient said "I'm Denise." Then I went on to talk to Denise and when I realized I was dealing with a full-blown case of DID I also ended up "meeting" the malevolent and dangerous personality who I eventually had to tell with in almost all of our sessions. This was George who eventually was created as a protector when Alice was being sexually abused by her father but when she was an adult also became her most destructive alters.

    Successful treatment of someone with DID usually means working with the healthier alters to form alliances among them so they can resist having the dangerous alters take control. All of the therapy involves working with these alters and must be conducted with the therapist knowing that the dangerous alter is aware of your intervention and observing the session. That personality sometimes takes over so the therapist has to deal with him (with females it is usually a male) and works both an advocate for the vulnerable alters and tries to create a relationship with the dangerous alter. There are times when the therapist "makes deals" with the dangerous alter. 

    I once wondered out loud whether one of my DID patients had an alter that remembered everything that happened no matter which alter was in control. A new alter emerged who did but never took control herself except as time went on in therapy when I asked her for help. I don't know whether or not my suggestion created this alter but she turned out to be very helpful in my understanding on several occasions. Eventually the malevolent alter basically banished her and she disappeared.

    Curing DID is exceedingly difficult and those therapists who claim they have done this may be deceiving themselves. A complete cure means that all the alters have integrated into one, that the memories of being abused have been dealt with in therapy, and there are no incidents of present day amnesia. The reports of amnesia with someone with DID means that another alter or alters were in control during the period of lost time.


    Back to Herschel Walker -

    If Walker really had DID it would mean that at some point in his life he suffered severe abuse and that this was most likely prolonged and came from an authority figure. It could have been a family member or someone in the community like a church leader or coach. I doubt being bullied by several boys cursed this, but it is possible.

    If he now is a mostly functional individual who still has unresolved issues with DID, perhaps with several personalities present at different times but with the destructive  personality dormant, he would still have amnesia for things that personality did in the past.

    If Walker had DID it is likely he still has it. He identified several different alters in his book. If Georgia voters elect the body and the brain that contains them they are electing all of them to be their senator. He could also create new alters as needed once he is a senator. This isn't deliberate in the way we understand someone consciously developing a persona. People with DID sometimes have alters who create alters because there isn't one central psychic entity. They don't exist as one person, they exist as a group of people/personalities some of which have no knowledge of the existence of the others. They live their lives in a way unique to people with DID.

    Various stories and some newAS IT BREAKS:


    This one isn't political but I post it as someone who enjoyed a tasty Prime filet mignon dinner which I cooked at home last night who also has lots of vegan friends. Seared in a cast iron pan on the stove-top and baked to your preference in the same 400 degree oven used to make bake potatoes, USDA Choice filet mignon is delicious but if you can fine USDA Prime it is better than most of what you can get in an expensive restaurant.


    Now for something completely different for this blog, going into biology, here's some research that makes me wonder whether the results may apply to humans.

    Abstract

    Long-term memory formation involves the reorganization of brain circuits, termed system consolidation. Whether and how a prior fear experience influences system consolidation of new memories is poorly understood. In rats, we found that prior auditory fear learning allows the secondary auditory cortex to immediately encode new auditory memories, with these new memories purely requiring the activation of cellular mechanisms of synaptic consolidation within secondary auditory cortex. Similar results were obtained in the anterior cingulate cortex for contextual fear memories. Moreover, prior learning enabled connections from these cortices to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) to support recent memory retention. We propose that the reorganization of circuits that characterizes system consolidation occurs only in the first instance that an event is learned, subsequently allowing the immediate assimilation of new analogous events in final storage sites.

    Now let's take a trip to outer space...

    If there's life on Europa I hope it is more intelligent than MAGA-life on Earth:

    New high-resolution photos of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa show the surface is covered with something akin to highways rather than craters, and they go on for miles. Europa is believed to be the most likely spot in the solar system to find life outside of Earth — but it would be aquatic, not land-dwelling. NASA’s Juno mission captured the photos Sept. 29 during a rare flyby that got within about 256 miles of the surface, and scientists admit one photo “of the moon’s heavily fractured icy crust” is puzzling.

    Even further out in outer space here's a stunning photo from Hubble


    Enlarge

    The two interacting galaxies making up the pair known as Arp-Madore 608-333 seem to float side by side in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Though they appear serene and unperturbed, the two are subtly warping one another through a mutual gravitational interaction that is disrupting and distorting both galaxies. Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys captured this drawn-out galactic interaction.


    This was a bad look in today's New York Trump trial

      By Hal Brown Pictured above is a New York State assistant attorney general who was shown she talked to the lawyer next to her in the brief...