Sybil, Eve, Billy…Famous Multiples or Famous Frauds?
You’ve seen the movies by now I assume. Sally Field starred in the 1976 version of Sybil. Watch Sally Field on the impact of the 1976 television miniseries :Sybil”. Joanna Woodward nabbed the role of Eve White, Eve Black and Jane in The Three Faces of Eve. Watch The Three Faces of Eve. The real life woman who suffered from DID was Christine Sizemore. Watch Multiple Personality Disorder on Hard Talk 1 of 3 When she was very young her doctors filmed her as she switched personalities demonstrating the differences between them. Watch did three faces of Eve
Johnny Depp starred in The Minds of Billy Milligan, working with Milligan to play the role. When asked by a member of the press what multiple personality was like, Milligan repled “imagine reaching into the cupboard for a cup then suddenly finding yourself in a park.” These are a list of the dissociative states under Dissociative Disorders in the DSM-IV-TR manual:
- Dissociative Fugue – a person has reversible amnesia that usually involves unplanned travel
- Depersonalization – a “numbing” feeling, as if the person was watching his/her life as a movie and has no
control over it.
- Dissociative Amnesia – unlike simple amnesia DA buries traumatic events that may surface after they
- Dissociative Identity Disorder – a disorder where a person develops multiple alters or ego states, each of
which illustrate a unique manner of interacting with the environment.
Dissociative amnesia often accompanies PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) People who fought in wars for instance display DA by burying stressful memories. But I question the other DIDs, because they are at the extreme end of the dissociative spectrum. Indeed a support group entitled False Memory Syndrome Foundation exists for parents and guardians who are falsely accused of chilldhood sexual abuse. Sizemore admitted her therapists induced 17 of her personalities and that originally she only experienced the two alters Eve White and Eve Black (pseudonyms). Dr. Wilbur admitted her book Sybil would not have been published unless she referred to her client as a multiple personality.
In fact if it exists, DIDs insist upon certain facts about the disorder:
- alter egos do not necessarily have different names
- alter egos do not necessarily look different (hairstyle, clothing)
- most people are unable to tell when a new alter emerges (known as “switching“)
- DID doesn’t always result from abuse
- DIDs do not necessarily self-harm
There are convincing documentaries that attest to the existence of DID. People who claim to be multiples have interviewed with psychiatrists and filmmakers to explain their experience to singletons. Watch You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone Doctors claim to have observed physiological differences among alters: allergies, eye colour, blood pressure and a number of other uncontrollable factors.Watch Dissociative Identity Disorder Documentary – The Extraordinary
Watch Dissociative Identity Disorder: An Examination of a Controversial Mental Health Phenomenon, a Power Point presentation about DID. I made it.
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