Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder is a contested and controversial mental illness. This disorder is characterized by a person who experiences a minimum of two clear different identities or personalities. The media has definitely had its say on this illness with movies such as The Three Faces of Eve, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Me, Myself and Irene . These are only a few in the long list of movies devoted to the topic. The titles listed range anywhere from comedy to drama to horror, all of which raise more questions than they answer about this illness.
In particular, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde depicts the most blatant of the myths about this disorder. For example, there is such a violent and obvious switch between the two personalities of the main character, while many people who actually suffer from DID tend to transition between their personalities in such a quiet way that most people are not even aware that it has taken place.
The existence of DID is also in question, mainly because it is more commonly diagnosed in North America than in the rest of the world. However, as there are more cases objectively diagnosed and recorded, this myth is slowly going away. Celebrities have started to go public with being victims of this disorder. As with every else, this seems to raise awareness of it and inspire a need to know more about it.
However, the hard part is finding the truth about disorders such this. With all the sensationalized media surrounding it, most people are in the dark about any actual details on it. For instance, there is some mystery surrounding the exact cause of DID. In roughly 98% of cases, it happens in response to some form of childhood trauma. In order to cope with this trauma, the brain forms different personalities that have the strength to do so, or to whom this didn’t happen. These personalities can be subtly different from the person in question, or they can be dramatically different. There are cases where alternate personalities are the opposite gender, a different age, or come from a different background.
All in all, Dissociative Identity Disorder is definitely an illness that needs more research, more proper exposure in the media, and needs to be looked at from an alternative point of view. Here’s one look at it, from the Herschel Walker side: