Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Herschel Walker: What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Okay. This is going to sound bad, really bad, coming from a person who is trying to lessen the stigma attached to mental disorders, but when I learned about former NFL star Herschel Walker’s dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder, I immediately thought of the story that my neighbor-psychologist told at his partner’s funeral…
They both were psychologists very committed to their patients. His partner was worried about one of her patients as they the two of them took off for a vacation, so she gave him her hotel number, to call in case things got bad and he needed to talk.
At three in the morning, the second night of their Caribbean trip, the hotel phone rings and it’s her patient. Diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (or DID today), he told his psychologist that one of his alters was acting up, and he couldn’t get a handle on it.
“Hold on a sec,” she said, and turned to her partner to ask him what she should tell the guy.
“Tell him to get an intervention together—with all the other alters–and confront the alter who is causing the trouble. Have all the other alters gang up on the guy. That should solve it.”
So that’s exactly what she told her patient.
Now I know this is a very serious mood disorder, and I’m not making fun as to say, “Get a grip, Herschel!”
I was very saddened to read the details of Walker’s story in the CNN article written by Miriam Falco. How can you not feel badly for someone who describes his mood disorder this way: “My life was out of control. I was not happy, I was very sad, I was angry and I didn’t understand why.”
And I very much appreciate Falco’s article, because I am one of the multitudes who don’t understand this diagnosis and automatically think of a Sybil-type character with different people trapped inside one head. I would benefit from learning about this form of mental illness, just as those who think being bipolar means extravagant shopping sprees followed by a crash in a psych ward, might do well to read up on manic depression.


Says Falco in her article:

Everyone has various facets that make up his or her personality — assertive, angry, comforting. But, experts explain, in DID, these various parts — known as alters — don’t come together as one cohesive single personality. Instead, one or the other part of the identity takes over and determines one’s behavior.
Asked how many different personality facets, or alters, he has, Walker replied: “To be honest, I have no idea.” But in the book, Walker talks about a dozen. They’re described by their roles or function: the Hero, the Coach, the Enforcer, the Consoler, the Daredevil, the Warrior, to name a few.
Some of these alters did a lot of good, he said. But others led to some extreme and violent behavior, most of which Walker said he doesn’t remember. As a result, the disorder, or DID, led to the breakup of his marriage. “I lost the person that was like everything to me,” he said. “I lost my wife and that’s totally, totally devastating to me.”
Walker said a competitive alter caused him to be a danger to himself, playing Russian roulette more than once. In the book he describes another incident, the very late delivery of a car, that made him so angry he had thoughts of killing someone. It was the moment he realized had to seek help, he said, which ultimately led to his diagnosis.


The perspective of Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, was especially intriguing and disheartening. He repeatedly threatened her with guns and knives and razors. But he doesn’t remember the assaults.
CNN interviewed Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford University who has been studying multiple personalities for more than 30 years. According to Spiegel:
*Dissociative identity disorder affects about 1 percent of the US population.
*DID is really a childhood disorder which usually isn’t diagnosed until adulthood.
*DID stems from trauma, physical and psychological abuse suffered as a child, when the brain is still developing a personality. Says Spiegel: “It’s a natural response to overwhelming repeated trauma.”
* There are no drugs to treat DID. Says Spiegel: “It’s hard to get treatment and there’s no quick fix, but psychotherapy helps.”

  • Larry Parker

    This is a man who, maybe with Red Grange and Jim Thorpe, was the greatest player in the history of college football. Yet he is a punchline among sports aficionados, because once he got to the NFL he was part of a giant trade that coincided with the rapid decline of his career (thus hurting the Vikings, the team that traded for him, and helping the Cowboys, the team that traded him).
    A reminder to me to value people less on their professional achievements (even if their skills and achievements are remarkable) and more on their individual qualities, the bad (attacking his wife in his dissociation) as well as the good (all people who have met Herschel Walker have said, a bit like Muhammad Ali, he is a remarkably kind man for playing such a rough sport).

  • Margaret

    This is a very real facet of mood disorders.
    I had a friend who had this, and it was sad and horrifying to watch.
    It wasn’t until I read Herschel Walker’s account and the other info. on the web, that I understood, just a little bit, about the reality of disassociation.
    It must be horrible to have this. I have a hard enough time dealing with bi-polar disorder.

  • Jill

    You should read First Person Plural By Cameron West- who has DID. Very good, very interesting.

  • ilibertyi

    I know my disease is deadly, but at least I also know it’s treatable. How terrible and shame on those using him as a sound byte.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Although I’ve never(Thank G-d!) been diagnosed with DID, I did have a psychologist once opine that my inability to recall my childhoo, a common problem for adult children of alcoholics was because I disassociated as a little girl when things got especially ugly. After literally YEARS of therapy,I’ve made enough progress in that area to have just completed a book of vignettes about growing up in a midwestern village that literally LIVED the belief that “It takes a village to raise a child I discovered in the process that the more I wrote about my escapades, the more I am able to recall. Perhaps writing will come to be a prescribed treatment for disassociation down the road. It’s nothing short of AMAZING to me how many incidents(some good, some bad) I’ve been able to recover during the writing of this memoir. I started with a story that’s been often repeated in family lore, so at first I was retelling rather than remembering, but soon it was as if a window had opened and one incident led to the next It’s been truly cathartic, so even if I’m never published, it was worth the journey.

  • Dylan Croft

    We are not so much numerous people trapped in one head, as many trapped in one body. I’m sorry that the subject is a person who is violent. Most of us are not. We are much more likely to hury ourselves rather than someone else. Dissociation is a continuum. If you have ever been driving down the highway and suddenly your exit was ahead with no memory of getting there, you have dissociated. We mulitples are just better at it. We don’t remember large chunks of our lives because other parts (alters) have taken over. It is a magnificent survival strategy which, unfortunately, does not just quit when one is safe. The falling apart stage, and the flashbacks to past, formerly unknown memories, are very difficult, but mulitples have a good chance at attaining a good life when that is over. We are survivors.

  • Debbie Tomlin

    Hello, For all the people out there that don’t understand people with DID all I can say is that I have it. I knew something was always wrong with me. When I was 10 and older I thought my imaginary friends would go away. They didn’t . I was finally diagnosed in 1994 and I have 50 alters. I can be any age that I have ever been. It is kinda of like the Back To The Future movies. When I dissociate I don’t always know what I am doing. Sometimes I remember bits and pieces of something but not the full story. There is no medicine out to stop me from this mood disorder. The beginning of my Trauma happened to me When I was 3 in 1965. Besides this I also have P.S.T.D. anxiety and panic attacks and Bi-polar disorder more on the depressed side. I have an alter that can do any accent there is all she needs to do is hear it once. I also have an alter that can sing and sound like Pasty Cline. I also have an alter the draws but for me I can only make stick figures. I also have another that is very good with math and numbers. That is how The BRAIN remembers things. The BRAIN is my computer alter that stores everything that she has heard ,seen felt, etc. She the Brain is the Child of 3. Who had to escape emotionally because she couldn’t escape phisically. People that have DID are highly and intellegent people. Everyone dissociates from time to time but the difference is that others memories aren’t attached with different names and behaviors and dress. I work as a Nursing Assistant/Medication Aide. I can do my job without any problems beecause I get help from my friends. D.I.D. is a gift that I developed when I was 3 and I am very grateful for all my alters for help in keeping me alive. If I did not split at 3 Emotionally I couldn’t handle it and I would have physically died. I can say that it is not easy having this or any other mental disorder ,but nothing in life is. I am in the process of going back to nursing school. I also have 1 yr. left to receive a B.S. in Biology. I have 2 children a daughter who is 28 and a son 20. I also have 3 grandkids and my oldest is 10 . I am 45 and I am planning on writting a book about my life. I wish that people who don’t know about Mental Illnesses would educate themselves on it. We are not freaks! Just aduts who have had many trauma’s in our lives. For the pro. football player it is common for men who have D.I.D. to have some violent alters ;not to say that women can’t have them. For me I don’t. For none of my 50 alters likes abuse of any kind. Just remember that no two people are alike and that anyone with a Mental Illness and has the same diagnose ;doesn’t mean they all experience it the same way. As 2 CA. patients have cancer but experience it different. I hope You are following me. Just want You to know that I do have an alter that is a writter. Everyone is helping me to write this. Well I hope You enjoy reading this and God Bless You All.

  • Rose Newburg

    Sounds just like me when I was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs. Noticed on that sight the 12 step program was suggested, that was my solution. Twenty years now no problems since living the 12 steps.

  • Kizzy

    Well, while I can’t quite identify with DID, my heart goes out to those of you who suffer from this disorder. Unfortunately, I have a friend who suffers from it. I’m embarrased to say that I distanced myself from her years ago because it frightened me. I just could not deal with the personality changes. She was diagnosed and is now being treated, but I have had no contact with her in the last 5 yrs. I do ask about her from mutual friends, but can’t quite get the courage to contact her myself. Reading the past comments have helped me to understand a little more.

  • JukaBruka

    I ended up in counceling as a young mother of three. I was working hard and spending a lot time trying to climb the corp ladder – away from my kids. As a result, my youngest was traumatized and his school suggested therapy. I jumped on it, and as a result the therapist recognized that I needed therapy too. THANK GOODNESS! I discovered during that time I had a years block of lost memories… the first year I was back with my mother after being in a foster home. I dont’ have DID, but I do have an idea of what it is like to not remember certain things from my past. My heart goes out to all of those with any level of mental disorders. I would say I have depression and sometimes it takes all I can muster to keep on top of it.

  • sandy

    I have a daughter with this disorder. It’s frustating for me to keep up with her personalities, so I imagine it’s much worse for her to see ‘who is in control’ today. My heart goes out to her and others that are affected and admiration for those who can work with it on a daily basis.

  • Kathie

    I know the horrors of DID my daughter suffered from it and died by her own hand at 15 years old. I totally feel for the people who are suffering this. My problem is my daughter was seeing a therapist but we were never told about her problem till we read her journals. The therapist told her about it but not us.
    Maybe if she would have had someone qualified to work in that field we would still have her with us.

  • Carol Obrien

    This is why it is so imperative that every single living human being alive recognizes abuse where-ever & whenever it occurs. To look away or say it is not my concern is a total disgrace to society. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behavior. It is a trajedy to allow behavior such as abuse to linger>>projected onto our youth..our innocent children>>> The next generation who will project it onto their families>>> creating a dominoe effect…Normalcy will no longer exist. People will be running around with baseball bats..clubbing each other to death….. RECOGNIZE ABUSE & ATTACK IT SAVAGELY. ALL human existence has a RESPONSIBILITY to eliminate abuse NOW. Do not just try: JUST DO IT now>>> for the sake of our next generations to come>

  • Judy

    It always angers and saddens me to find yet another abusive depiction of DID on television; abusive in that the DID character is shown to be murderous, crazy and/or just a very weak minded being. I was diagnosed with Did about 15 years ago. Before diagnosis I often thought of myself as “crazy” and/or “weak minded”. With therapy I have come to realize none of this is true. It is an especially creative coping mechanism which I initiated at a very early age. In therapy, as I worked on each recovered memory, I also realized what a strong person I was to have lived through what I did and come out as highly functionable as I am today. Hurray for Walker’s new book! His courage is commendable. I hope more doctors “get a clue”…

  • Lance

    I was diagnoses DID 5 years ago after my mother died. I’m 43. I had many “alters” and switched from one to another up to 12 times a day. Some of them were very fun and quite capable, and others were real destructive or painful. I rarely disassociate any more and I feel stability which is a new experience. I do miss being able to build identities because I could accomplish just about anything, and now I find that I am just average. I don’t miss the chaos though. I know I’m still in process and will keep developing, but it’s hard to adjust, because everything is so different now. I feel like I don’t know how to use what I have because it’s new. The other difficulty is that it’s so hard to describe to people. Imagine that your defense mechanism is having a very quick mind, and suddenly, it doesn’t work anymore, it’s just gone. You stand there like a deer in headlights, and can’t explain why. But over all I’m glad I was DID rather than another disorder that is incurable or requiring medication.
    Thanks for noticing.

  • Diana

    I have Did myself and call it now days a gift from God to the very young., since it kind of helps children to feel safe while growing up.
    Istill got a lot of work to do on my posttrumas, even after 16 yearsand which over 10 is for did and the trumas sorry to say not al that uncom of time to keep working on it. Iuse both journaling and art for it. Partical becuase some of thew adbuse was before I was verbal.

  • m

    I am a multiple, I call them “spirits”, and its ok, but they do not
    get along, one is always trying to supress the other, to take
    control. Its confusing. I switch often. One doesn’t want me to
    have the car, the other said he will make me sick if I work. I
    tried to go to work, but got sick, so now I’ve given up on that.
    I taught school for 25 years, and was fine. But I suffered severe
    trauma during menopause, and there was a big explosion in my head,
    and that was when the voices spoke.
    My email is I so wish I could talk to some
    one with this problem.

  • Chaz

    Spiritaul problem? “Demon” possession? Who knows…
    I once had a confrontation with a friend who started exhibiting strange behavior after a drinking binge, after passing out in the passenger seat on the way home, she starting mumbling in another language, all while totally “out of it”. While she was wiggling & squirming in the seat while I was taking her home, I laid my hand on her shoulder & started praying for her. Then, she sat up, looked at me & said, “You can’t have her!”, and then started spitting at me, all the while muttering in what sounded to me like some sort of Latin, or one of those strange dialects you hear on a modern vampire movie. She never tried to do anything to me physically. Perhaps I was protected and she – or it – couldn’t?
    Before I was able to get her home, she (or something inside her) said, “We’re not going to the crazy house!”, and she took her sweater and tried to use the arms of the sweater to choke herself. At that point, I had to physically intervene and stop this from happening. I got her home safely, but right before we got home, she came back around to herself and wondered what had happened and “where had all the time gone?”
    It’s always struck me strange at how she referred to herself in the third person when I was praying for her and she said, “You can’t have her!” You can blame multiple personality disorders & the like, but some cases – I’m convinced – are spiritual in nature.
    By the way, this girl had been through a LOT of trauma – having a physically and verbally abusive homosexual father, a failed marriage where she lost her kids, and her mother’s side of the family had a history of suicide & substance abuse. Some things just seem to be passed down. By the way, I grew up in the next town over from Herschel Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville. After having been probably the biggest college sports star ever (at the time), do you think perhaps the pressure got to him?

  • Anonymous

    it would be helpful to know the difference between people who, say, drink , get violent, and say they can’t remember the violence (and who have a history of abuse (which is always a trauma) and DID. These terms need to be defined in articles such as this one. Why not educate readers where possible?

  • Anonymous

    what is the difference between an alcoholic who commits violent crime during a black out (and who was a victim of child abuse?) and someone who commits violent crime but, due to DID, cannot remember?

  • Diana

    I am sorry, but I don’t agree with this diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. Everyone’s personality is a make-up of different emotional, spiritual, and behavioral aspects. We all have our own distinguished qualities–that’s what makes us who we are. Just because you can be angry at one moment and happy at the next doesn’t mean you are suffering from another “personality.” I think there are some people who consciously switch to another “personality trait” to cover up painful aspects of what they don’t like about themselves. For example, I am basically a shy and anxious person. Yet on the job, I work at being calm and in control to stay at the position I am in and maybe advance. People who see me at work see that “aspect” of my personality. I have not actually become another person. Perhaps when I go home from work, I may either be happy to be home and be all soft and cuddly, or maybe I lash out from the stress of rearranging my shyness and anxiety and become the wicked witch. Those are all facets of the core of who I am, not separate entities. Some people have more extremes than others. I suppose when it disrupts your life or others, the doctors can give it a name to justify medicating you. We live in a stressful, violent, difficult world. Not everyone is able to cope, and as far as I am concerned, as long as “man” continues to crave violence in his/her life, through television, wars, relationships, many of us will suffer personalities spreading out in different directions even in the course of a day.

  • Bob

    I’ve never written about this in a “serious” forum before, but perhaps now is the time.
    I can disassociate from myself and events or emotions when necessary. Do I become and “alter” or someone else? No, most times this occurs I am completely “myself” and “normal”. I simply stop caring, and “tune out” for the time necessary.
    This attribute has always upset my husband, although I do not know why. I have a history of abuse (parents, not husband) that began at age 2, and did not end until 22. I have always been aware of the fact that my “gift” or coping mechanism stems from this trauma. Question for me is: “How deep does it go, or how badly am I flawed?”
    Do I think I have D.I.D.? No, I am not a professional; therefore I am unqualified to judge.
    What I do know, is that I am more grateful for this trait than I am upset by it. And I take full responsibility for my actions, because at some level I am aware of what I’m doing, and still choosing that action, right or wrong.
    In the beginning it was simply to cope; now it is by choice.

  • Justmetoday

    Wow what a terrible life the children have to endure to get where they split to stay alive . I too have DID and have been in treatment for over 20 years … you are only able to relive the trauma in little bits.I pray for all children to have good loving care givers.. not monsters as we had..also having PTSD and the triggers it’s not easy to live this way… It destroyed my marriage to a man that was my best friend.. I pray for all that have to deal with life and not always being aware of what the others are doing.. we all have helpers that are strong , yet the littles are very hard to deal with , still being a child and always being afraid…
    if anyone needs a friend with this dissorder.. please feel free to email me..
    peace be with you,

  • Bobbi Jackson

    Had to write- Diagnosed with MPD in 1992, treated by a terrific therapist until he moved away in 1998; When I heard a snipet of the football player with DID I asked the night nurse to watch the show. ( I was actually in a psych ward @ the time). Her answer was that she didn’t see that Diagnosis on my chart and lights out had to happen. Other than this one incident the rest of the stay was helpful. But I have yet to find a therapist and/ or a Psychiatrist to treat me as outpatient for my DID. I was treated for a time @ McLean in Belmont MA- one of the top MPD/ DID/ Trauma wards available- but alas, my insurance changed and because I am out of state I can’t go back.
    Because of the way I was Diagnosed (after two full years of therapy!) and the confirmation from McLean Hospital doctors, I don’t doubt my condition- I just wish that I could find someone that would work with me!
    If you would like to contact me- NOT to try to convince me that I don’t have it!
    As I write this I am going to go back to what I was doing- trying to calculate lethal doses of the meds I have so that my next attempt will be my last. I was almost successful last year on Easter Sunday- that got me a commitment that ends in 6 days. If I wait until after that, no one will get in trouble because they didn’t “protect” me.

  • Marianne

    I also was abused severly by a horrible childhood. My own mother had several problems and she took everything out on me. Plus with a horrible marriage which cause me to have a split personality. I could not take any more. I know how it feels to shut down to survive and shut everyone out. I do this myself. Having a split personality is scary, but it is there. I know my husband witnessed it. It was several years ago and I did go to my councilor about it. I do not remember anything of what I said or did. I was nice one time and mean and nasty another. I have not had any episodes since. Personality disorders do exist. My children witnessed it also. My family is better now that we know what the problem is. It was just too much stress and mental,verbal, and emotional abuse. Our children are more important than anything. My husband quite drinking and we only thought of our children and their and our needs.

  • Sieed

    I think that so many people are dealing with different issues in there lives from mental disorders to health and emotional problems and I think it’s all do to the society that we live in!But I know that God is the solution to every one’s problem!

  • Fannie

    This is scarey. How can you tell if one is faking it and kills or harms someone, then claims “I don’t remember”??????

  • Tim

    I have the same type of symptoms some times I have episodes of out of control behavior, but I do not think anyone is taking over myself or I have a second personality. I had a very bad child hood, in which my father beat the hell out of my mother in front of me and my brother. Luckily, My father died, from Alcohol and drug abuse, for which saved my mom, my brothers and myself’s lives.
    In closing, To blame things totally on society is wrong and I am going to take things a step further and I have to say, there is nothing like money problems to bring someone to drug abuse, alcoholism or make someone depressed, or become violent or angry. Money destroys more marriages and families, and most of, most men are devastated financially when they go through divorce and lose their Kids.
    It has to do with American Society, not the worlds society. People in other countries don’t have half the mental illness that we have in America, what does that say!!!! its our messed up government, government for the rich, not for the people.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always thought of “Sybil” when I hear about multiple personality disorders, until I recently read a very good book called Switching Time – A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman With 17 Personalities by Richard Baer. It’s a very personal account of this disorder using today’s terms and treatment plans. Anyone interested in the subject of mental illness should give this book a read.

  • Bobbi

    How I wished that child abuse was treated with the severity of punishment that suspect abuse is treated today. I’m DID and spent a lot of time in hospitals over the last two years, allowing my sister to get guardianship of my son- Even though my husband is capable of caring for him- as am I now that they have taken me off the drugs that were given for reasons other than DID! But finances prevent us from going ahead with court proceedings to get him back. Where was this judge when I should up to school with bruises everywhere??? I hope that more light will be brought to this subject. Having DID doesn’t make me a bad wife or mother- Up until two years ago I functioned just fine- and my son (then 3) was a happy, healthy child. My family however has different ideas, so I have to fight to see him.

  • Sherri

    I was so suprised to receive this message in my mailbox this evenig. I have suffered with Bi-polar Disorder for nearly forty years. I wasn’t aware of it until I was in a hospital/treatment facility for chemical dependency in 1987. Nothing was done about it because I was trying to stay clean and sober (have been so for nearly twenty one years now). After eight years of sobriety I began became extremely manic, omnipotent, then hit the low side, black hole. I saw a psychiatrist and went through the whole drug trial and error thing, I was suicidal and none of the drugs helped me. I had a five year old child at home. The doctor wanted to institutionalize me but I wouldn’t hear of it, because of my child, I couldn’t. I ended up going into a hospital and having shock treatments, twice a day, for ten days. That did the trick. When I came out the stupor, caused by the shock treatments, I was put on dugs again. My doctor told me that I have to start seeing a psychologist in addition to seeing her or I couldn’t get my meds anymore. I tried to see one but he wanted me to look into my mirror everyday and tell myself that I am wonderful. Okay, I’d been there, done that when I went through treatment, when I first got sober, I didn’t need that again. I felt like I was caught up in a circus, so I quit going to both doctors and began slowly taking myself off of the meds. The process took me about two and a half months. With each decrease in my med dose, I put my higher power in its place. It worked. I was off of meds for about ten years with no problems. The affects of the shock treatments have now worn off and I am extremely manic and very frightened. I went to a psychologist today who blew my mind. He is going to treat me with spirituality! He began talking to me about things I had learned and forgotten about my spiritual being. I was completely awestruck by the fact that my higher power gave me exactly what I needed most in a most unlikely form. I am still processing it all and I am afraid to get my hopes up, but I think I am finally getting on the right track. This article in my mailbox really is a sign.
    Thank you!

  • Sherri

    Hi, again.
    Another thing I wanted to say is that my diagnosis is: paranoid, manic depressive, with chronic depression and a fragmented personality disorder. The shock treatments seemed to take care of all of it, for a while. Now, I’m back at square one, very, very sick and very, very frightened and I feel very, very alone. Until today I felt very, very hopeless, I even had a suicide plan (I just couldn’t go through it all again). This psychologist does not want to treat me with drugs. This gives me hope. I am also very curious about how he intends to treat me. This makes me look forward to the future.
    I do not suggest that anyone stops taking their medication. It could be very harmful to do so without the supervision of a medical professional.
    Thank you.

  • Skye

    While I appreciate the truth of some of the comments about the childhood trauma suffered from seeing a mother beaten, it is my understanding when they say traumatic childhood – they mean even more severe than that – something that happens to the child themselves – more likely than not by or before the age of 2. Basically, DID people’s brains are simply hard-wired differently because of the trauma suffered by the brain from the abuse. It’s the same as shaken baby syndrome – except the abuse took a different form from which the child could not protect itself. I can speak to this because after years and years of therapy, medicine merry-go-round, a couple of hospitalizations, in my 40’s I was finally diagnosed DID – although I have many other diagnoses as well. Like anything, knowing the problem is a big step towards solving it. Through 7 years of therapy, I have come to be able to manage my mental illness and lead a relatively normal (whatever that is) life – and have come to accept that we each have our own way of being in this world. My way of being in this world may be significantly different from most/many others, but that’s ok and I feel blessed at the opportunity to share with others that this disease can be managed. I recommend a good and kind therapist who truly understands the diagnosis. Infinite Love, Skye

  • Lynne

    I know it threw me when one of my best friends, growing up, told me she was diagnosed as multiple personality syndrome. I knew she always had a flair for the dramatic (we both did) and suffered at the hands of both our parents and our older brothers. Yet I still had a hard time getting my mind around that one. She’s been married three times. Her first husband was a police officer killed durring a high speed chase. Her second husband turned out to be a child abuser (are we drawn to the familiar or what?) Her third appears to be well grounded and finally someone she can trust. I guess I shouldn’t wonder why her mind would choose to escape. As for me me…I am still single and do not trust men to this day. Is that working for me? Not so much! Right now I’m doing battle on the dark side again.

  • Lynne

    I know it threw me when one of my best friends, growing up, told me she was diagnosed as multiple personality syndrome. I knew she always had a flair for the dramatic (we both did) and suffered at the hands of both our parents and our older brothers. Yet I still had a hard time getting my mind around that one. She’s been married three times. Her first husband was a police officer killed durring a high speed chase. Her second husband turned out to be a child abuser (are we drawn to the familiar or what?) Her third appears to be well grounded and finally someone she can trust. I guess I shouldn’t wonder why her mind would choose to escape. As for me me…I am still single and do not trust men to this day. Is that working for me? Not so much! Right now I’m doing battle on the dark side again.

  • Nora

    How does one find out they have this disorder? Seems like it would be hard to discover.

  • Linda S.

    I was diagnosed with DID about 12 years ago, probably due to the fact of my traumatic childhood of losing both parents at a young age, growing up in foster care, and being abused also as a result. Anyway, I do not suffer from mulitiple personality disorder. My therapist whom I trust completely with all my heart shares with me that when I dissociate and relive a memory it is truly only (and i emphasize only) me at a certain age. I do have friends who have multiple personality and I watch how they struggle so I feel sad for anyone who has to suffer like this. Its our way of saving souls for God, as a good friend shares with me daily so I do my best every day. Thy will(not mine) be done.

  • Diana

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t want someone with such a severe mental disorder to be treating me in the hospital, especially as a medicinal aide. What do I do if you become Brittany Spears in the midst of my heart attack? How did that one slip through the cracks? I see a pattern here in these stories of severe childhood trauma and abuse. Brain disorder or escape mechanism? The treatment would depend on which one I guess. In cases of brain disorder, I have seen people who imagined they were abused as children and it was a case of over-exaggeration. Of course I am not saying that this is the norm. Abuse can create tons of psychological problems if not treated. It seems to me, to escape into these other personalities is escaping the reality of what happened and who you really are? If one can get good and proper help to heal from the abuse, I might imagine some of these personalities might disappear. Good luck and God bless all of you who suffer this. We have a long way to go in treating mental illness.

  • cassandra

    I am 54 years old and in therapy with my first and only therapist for 16 years. Why did I start therapy after so many years? Because I hated myself but couldn’t really say why; I had no friends (in my mind) and relationships were harder than they should be. My husband has been with me the entire journey. As a result of the self-hatred, I had many destructive “target” behaviors. I was a cutter, barbituate abuser…a risk taker when alone. When my father died, I turned to my pastor for support. After a year of pastoral counseling, he crossed boundaries and we were involved in a sexual relationship. One day he simply turned himself in to the governing body of our church. He was in a pastoral counseling program (close to graduating). His supervisor was the woman who became my therapist for 16 (long!) years. I didn’t get diagnosed for a few years after she was sure there were alters. I would lose time (sometimes minutes; sometimes hours). The most telling sign was manifested in my insomnia, going days without sleep. I THOUGHT I was sleeping but a teenage alter would come out after I had gone to bed. Something was clearly wrong when I would get up, feeling exhausted and finding dozens of cookies in the kitchen, artwork left on my easel, items in my personal spaces rearranged. Nothing destructive, at first but very upsetting. I hit bottom after I had gone 9 days without sleep. I took a bottle of elavil as I walked to my therapist’s office. The ER to a psych ward and I was finally given the DID diagnosis. I now work with a great psychiatrist (head of psychiatry) who has had incredible challenges with meds since I respond one way and one of my three alters responds entirely differently. He was convinced when he did parallel blood tests after taking sleeping pills and the blood levels were different (with blood work taken only minutes apart). My internist is now on board because my liver function tests change radically week to week. I go to a group therapy specializing in Dialectical Behavior – finding more appropriate methods to handle stress than cutting. I see the leader of the group individually once a week to discuss how I function in the group and where my focus for improvement should be.
    All in all, I have 8 appts a week total; I’m on 7 meds (some psychiatric; some medical). I have learned to “bow out” when asked and have one alter available for therapy. I have journaled my path since I began and have filled nearly 100 journals with text, poetry and pictures.
    I have managed to parent a fantastic daughter (who is now 20 and in college). My husband still hangs in there with me. I have some great friends at church, particularly when I “went public” during Mental Health Week about 8 years ago. No one has doubted me or my diagnosis. I suppose it comes from having such a high level of integrity that people were used to BEFORE I disclosed my illness. There are only two groups of people that upset me: my insurance company, who like all insurance companies do not want to pay for mental health claims (they may be frustrated and angry) and those people who choose not to believe me or try to “trick” me into showing I’m a liar. I have no patience with those people. They are narrow minded. I don’t tread on their turf with my illness; I don’t drag it around for everyone to see; and if I could give up anything to “be normal”, I surely would. I have many times been in the place to want to give up my life. For those who disbelieve? Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, walking down their path and looking at the world thru their eyes, you should keep silent. With silence comes better listening skills and you can’t listen to anyone when you spend the time telling everyone how you feel. I have never asked anyone to believe me. Think about this…would I willingly spend $40,000+ a year in therapists and meds if I felt I didn’t need it? Would I go through the traveling and scheduling for something that’s “untrue”. It might be hard to believe. But to disbelieve simply because…fear? I can’t complete that statement because I can’t understand why anyone would risk disbelieving another unless there is irrefutable proof.
    I feel sorry for those people who choose to stay uninformed and close minded with something that is so devastating to another human. I’m grateful I have believers on my team. Do I want to be cured? From the very first day all I’ve wanted is peace of mind…for the voices I now recognize to be quieted.

  • Freeindeed

    Ther are so many thoughts that run through one’s mind on any given day.The mind is so POWERFULL.The challenge,is to train your mind to be obedient to what is beneficial to you, and those aRound and in your life. I don’t saY that there is not suffering because of mental illness. But I do know, that the most important person in the recovery process is “YOU”. KICK those thoughts out, and replace them with those thoughts that will bring you PEACE. Pray to GOD daily. Thank HIM for your healing. Concentrate on that-Concentrate on that………….Most of all continue to reach out to people that love you, and are rooting for yoy.Draw wellness to you.
    Much LOVE!!

  • Kelly

    I appreciate the information that you send me about mental disorders on every level although I don’t suffer from a mental illness personally I have friends that do so I really like reading about the different types of illnesses that are out there so that I become more empathetic toward them and in the process learn patience and tolerance

  • Charlene M. Nelsson

    I’m 43 years old. I’m hearing impaired. I had experienced in my mental illness since I was a young until now. When I was very young and I had abused by my relatives in my childhood life. I wasn’t happy during the times and I was very bitter, scary, fear and I was hid in my closet for a long time and I can’t face to them how was I feeling about my childhood life? So, I did took a drug since I was high school and I ran away from the school like cutting a class, they don’t understand how do I felt that way I was. I was very mistrust and protest and bad behavior by my teachers,Principal,counselor, and also parents. My experienced behavior was very difficult and controlling. After 13 years later, I was accidented by other two cars and I was almost killed but I was barely alive. I had a bad head injury with neck swollen which means head trauma.
    After accident, I just found it out that I had a mental illness, the reason I had been suffered for a long time since I was a young. So, therefore I went to college for five years and I didn’t successful of my goalie to my major and I did failed on my grades. I had fallen apart of my mental illness again like breakdown and to change my DID. I diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. I went to Hospital for two days then the doctors send me to Woroboro State Hospital for Mental Illness and I was staying there for a month.
    After state hospital, I came out then I was seeing the therapist with sign language and it helps me alot for understanding about all the different kinds of issues. I had with my therapist for six years by now. I made my approvement to get much better than before. I will be happy to help it out in myself. Thanks God.
    by: Charlene May 2, 2008

  • NetScaven

    Greetings all. After watching Herschel Walker today on Rome is Burning and finally hearing his story, I identify very closely with this and know it to be real, personally.
    I grew up in the midwest, in an abusive adoptive home having 8 kids total, me being the third oldest. In addition to beatings we were also not allowed to interact with society, with our only social contact limited only to the few hours of school during the day, throughout highschool. Some kids were heavily medicated with legal drugs and placed on punishment for 70% of their childhood. Others removed from extra curicular activites in which they excelled either to perform subservient duties or due to plain ole parental apathy. Yet, others not allowed to attend school at all. As expected, the majority of us have had what appears to most to be a difficult time coping true society.
    In my case, there has always been a “way to act” outside of the closed door for almost as long as I remember. This then became a “way to act” at school, a “way to act” at church, etc…What I found myself doing was finding what I called a “way to act” dependnent on the situation. A new situation was always the most nerve racking, to the point where I have been, what feels like, unable to slow down my thoughts enough to vocalize, thus I sit there 95% of the time completely silent and nervous (physically shaking at times). This led to planning to avoid as much social contact as possible, e.g. – walking completely around a building to get to the other side just because a group of bystanders are in front of you (minding their own business. lol. ), as one of many ridiculous examples. The problem was, at times, very few times I would say 2/10 where I WAS actually able to do this with NO problem. This led to a constant struggle of trying to make that ratio 10/10.
    After a recent tramatic experience, I got to the point that my mind felt like it was racing outta control. To the point where I began recording and keeping a diary of my various thoughts over the course of a year. I had thoughts ranging from extreme anger and despair to extreme happiness. After recording my mindstate during various times and playing them back later, I couldnt understand or remember WHY i was , for example, so angry at a certain thing which in reality was minor; and also so overjoyed at things which didnt make sense. The extreme thoughts of anger started me thinking about what I was really angry about, and it was about this point where I began confronting my many issues which, the best way i can describe it, seems like were blocked out. AllI can say is its amazing what your brain remembers when you really think back searching for answers.
    The reason I decided to write this today is because Herschel Walkers story reminded me very much of my own, also in his turn to religion for answers. It is obvious that the host found the story unbelievable, but this is truly an example of why people in the public eye should speak out; for people like me who are having these same thoughts, it gives them hope and credence. I would be interested in knowing if there was a tramatic experience which predicated his extreme behavior.

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