I Exist In You: How People With Multiple Personalities Live

A life 2023

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I Exist In You: How People With Multiple Personalities Live
I Exist In You: How People With Multiple Personalities Live

Video: I Exist In You: How People With Multiple Personalities Live

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Video: What It's Like To Live With Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) 2023, January

Our first multi-personality heroine there was Natasha (name has been changed) - when she talked about Stesha, Dasha and Dima, who live in her and sometimes replace her, it was hard to believe. Natasha was diagnosed with a rare disorder in which a person forms several independent identities. Over the six months that have passed since then, we have managed to study this topic in more detail and communicate with new heroines. Wonderzine tells how childhood traumas affect the emergence of additional identities, why it is so difficult for people with multiple personalities to get a diagnosis in Russia, and what other difficulties they face.


Julia Dudkina



I examine the tattered piece of paper Lana brought. It contains the correspondence of several people. One of them, judging by the handwriting, is a child, writes in large curved letters. The other three are adults. Each replica is signed and dated. But the meaning of the conversation is difficult to understand - it seems that all together are trying to recall the events that once happened to them: “And then it started: blow after blow. I barely had time to defend myself, and indeed to blurt out something. Stop. Don't go into details. It hurts and scares me. And I don't remember anything at all - I only know from your stories. Thank you for stopping me from self-harm yesterday."

Ten years ago, Lana turned to a psychotherapist for the first time. For a long time, the specialist could not get the full picture: during the sessions, Lana was more silent, in response to questions she nodded or shook her head. Gradually she began to talk about herself. It turned out that she was haunted by hallucinations, phobias, and suicidal thoughts. She is afraid of water and containers filled with liquid. “I could stand in the shower,” Lana recalls. "But here's a lake or a large basin of water - you couldn't even get to them." It was not possible to clarify exactly when Lana became afraid of water and whether her family was involved in this: she simply did not remember what happened to her in childhood.

It was similar to the symptoms of PTSD. People with PTSD often experience hallucinations and phobias, and traumatic events fade from memory - consciousness blocks them in order to protect the human psyche. But there were also symptoms that surprised the specialist - Lana often dropped out of her own life for several hours or even days. As if falling into a dreamless sleep, and then suddenly found herself in an unfamiliar place or even in another city. She found drawings at home - they were birds, mountains or the sea. It was as if a child drew them. There was a signature in the corner: "Jim." Sometimes it seemed to Lana that while she was “absent”, someone else appeared in her place.

“I didn't understand what was happening to her,” recalls psychotherapist Artyom Zhilin. He told me about working with Lana with her permission. - The symptoms of PTSD were there, but there was something else. I persuaded Lana to meet with a psychiatrist, she made a diagnosis and said that it could be schizophrenia, but somehow very atypical. With schizophrenia, a person's personality is smoothed out, he loses critical thinking and does not see any oddities in what is happening to him. Lana thought quite clearly and wanted to understand what was wrong with her.

Once a specialist suggested to Lana: what if we enter into communication with those other people who “live her life”? She came home, found one of Jim's drawings, and wrote, "Hi Jim" on a blank piece of paper. A few days later, a response appeared under the greeting, written in childish handwriting: "Hello."

By this time, Zhilin already had some guesses. He noticed that sometimes Lana seemed to change dramatically. She usually kept herself a little stiff, preferring sportswear. But one day she came with bright lipstick and in a red dress, which was clearly not enough for her - as if she had taken it off another person.“I turned to a pathopsychologist for advice,” Zhilin says. - After many hours of testing, the diagnosis, which I guessed, was confirmed. Lana is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. It was hard to believe in it."



It is still virtually impossible to obtain such a diagnosis in official Russian psychiatry. In ICD-10, "Multiple personality disorder" is included in the group "Other dissociative disorders". That is, the diagnosis exists formally, but it has been little researched and it is often not at risk to work with it in clinics. Having failed to find a full set of DID symptoms in a patient, doctors prefer to make a familiar diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, and follow the protocol for its treatment. In the classic version, in order to diagnose DID, it is necessary that the person has amnesia when switching. But, for example, according to DSM-5, with DRI there may be amnesia associated with past events, but at the moment it may not exist.

“There is stigma around DRI, especially in post-Soviet psychiatry," explains psychotherapist Vladimir Snigur, who has been dealing with DRI cases for several years. Doctors rely on symptoms that can be biologically proven, but diagnoses cannot be verified with tests and measurements. There are also DRI skeptics in the West. Still, there are many more specialists who believe in this diagnosis than in Russia. In Europe and the USA, ego state therapy is widespread - a psychotherapy method that allows you to work with DID. Experts write books and scientific articles about DRI, make recommendations for treatment.

In Dissociative Identity Disorder, a person seems to develop several different personalities. They take turns going outside and taking control of the body. They may have different personalities, interests, different genders. Most often, DID develops due to the strongest stress experienced in childhood, explains Snigur. This could be, for example, repeated physical abuse that cannot be avoided.

DRI can also develop due to psychological discomfort: for example, if a person is in a tense atmosphere for a long time and he has no one to turn to for help. This does not mean that everyone who had a difficult childhood is doomed to DID - it all depends on temperament, ability to cope with stress and many other factors.

“Children use dissociation as a defense mechanism,” explains Snigur. - They may begin to perceive something bad as something that is not happening to them. When a person grows up, what we call a personality is formed in him. He learns to integrate his experience, to accept what happened to him, his different sides and qualities. But if a person grows up in traumatic conditions, his personality may not add up into a single whole. " In such cases, several identities can be formed that store different experiences in memories and possess different qualities - those that the main identity has separated from itself.

“I now have about five clients with this disorder,” says Snigur. - With someone, work lasts several months, with someone - for years. Before getting to me, each of them changed several specialists. A person comes to a psychotherapist, and he does not believe him - this happens over and over again."


When Lana began to correspond with Jim, she found out that besides him there are two more - Kat and Q. L. The first is a teenage girl, emotional and amorous. The second is a tough young man who went to the boxing section for many years in the days when Lana thought she had memory blackouts. He explained his strange name as follows: "I studied English, and I liked the letters Q and L more than others."

Psychotherapist Artyom Zhilin gradually began to communicate with Lana's identities himself. First with the help of notes, and then they began to appear before him live. “I noticed their switching - Lana had short-term nystagmus (movement of the pupils), then her posture and posture changed,” he says."I noticed that unconsciously I myself talk to them in different ways." The more Lana learned to interact with Jim, Kat and Q. L., the more the four of them told each other about their past. Gradually, something began to emerge from the fragmentary, chaotic memories. Lana's life was a puzzle.

Ten more people lived in the apartment where Lana grew up. The four rooms somehow fit mom, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, his wife and several other relatives. Uncle - a veteran of the war in Afghanistan - was a stern man who was unconditionally recognized as the head of the family. From childhood he took up Lanino's upbringing. When she brought bad grades, he dipped her head in the basin and held her until she began to choke. Often he beat her, grabbed her by the hands, dragged her across the floor into the closet and locked her there - for hours she sat alone in the dark. In the kitchen, my uncle and other relatives loudly discussed how and for what he would punish his niece next time. She heard everything and knew: she had nowhere to go.

Father left the family when Lana was five. One evening on New Year's Eve, he returned from a business trip, went into his daughter's room and presented a toy set of pink dishes. He said that he needed to go talk to his mother, and promised Lana that he would come on her next birthday. She never saw him again.

They hated my father in the family - they called him a traitor, scolded him with the last words. Lana missed him a lot as a child, said that she loved him anyway and that he needed to be found. It infuriated my uncle - after such conversations, she usually received another punishment.

Kat and Q. L. appeared when Lana was nine. She understood: you can't love your father and miss him, you need to despise him for leaving his family. The emotions that needed to be removed, instead of Lana, Kat began to experience, a sentimental and affable girl who did not need to restrain her emotions.

Uncle from childhood took up Lanino's upbringing. When she brought bad grades, he dipped her head in the basin and held her until she began to choke


Q. L. was a protector - he usually showed up when Lana was walking home from school. Q. L. went into the apartment instead of her, greeted his uncle and received slaps from him. Now, not Lana, but he was dragged into the closet and locked. He adapted, learned to endure pain and not be afraid of anything. I secretly enrolled in the boxing section - my relatives would never give money for this, but my mother thought that her daughter was attending dance lessons.

Q. L. took upon himself not only physical pain, but also loneliness - sitting locked up in a closet or in his room, he talked with toys, with walls, with himself. And then Jim appeared - a boy who loved sweets, was curious and drew a lot. He did not even know about the beatings - Jim showed up only when Q. L. was in the closet. They learned to be present in the body at the same time - now sitting in the darkness of Q. L. was not so boring.

While Lana was in school, she was unaware that she had other identities. Sometimes she was told that the day before, answering at the blackboard, she could not finish solving the problem - she just stopped and looked at the blackboard with a bewildered look. The whole class laughed at her. One morning she woke up covered in bruises, and then classmates said that yesterday she "had a fight, just like a kid." Her own forgetfulness frightened Lana, but she convinced herself that this property of memory already happens to everyone.

The older she got, the more often pieces fell out of her life. Previously, she more or less caught what was happening - she was able to finish school and go to college without any problems. But now her body was no longer hers. “I only started going back to it for a few hours a day,” says Lana. Lost in time, childhood traumas and fears overlapped. When several tragic events happened in Lana's life at once, everything finally went upside down. She had obsessive thoughts of suicide, and she finally decided to go to a specialist.

Her case turned out to be rare: all identities were completely independent, each with a full, complex character. In this case, there is usually no need to talk about a cure, but you can teach the identity to act together, to establish contact between them. “We began to introduce them to each other,” Zhilin says. - They drew diagrams, thought they could unite Jim, Kat and Lana herself. Gradually they learned to coexist with each other. " Lana, too, was gradually getting used to the idea that her identities were part of herself. She received professional refresher training in clinical psychology and wrote a paper on how post-traumatic stress affects the development of dissociation. She created her own website dedicated to DRI, where she took turns with Q. L. to write notes about their own experiences and therapy.

In 2013, depressive symptoms returned, and hallucinations began again. One day Lana was going to the store and stopped: she saw that the supermarket building was crumbling and bloodied people were running out of it. At home, she cut herself. The psychiatrist and psychotherapist she went to began to seriously fear for her condition. They suggested that she go to a neuropsychiatric dispensary - it was assumed that she would spend several weeks under the supervision of doctors, take a course of medications and go home. Instead, Lana was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was stuck in the hospital for three months. None of the local doctors wanted to hear about dissociative identity disorder. She was prescribed a course of haloperidol, hallucinations disappeared, suicidal thoughts too. But Lana returned home broken and depressed, strong drugs crippled her health. Due to the exhausting and incorrect treatment for "schizophrenia" she still cannot recover.

Lana cannot go to a permanent job: due to a complex set of drugs, she quickly gets tired, she only has enough strength for small tasks. Sometimes she only has a few hundred rubles in her wallet - her disability pension is barely enough to pay bills and food. “You cannot refuse pills - otherwise depression may return and Lana’s life is in danger,” says Artyom Zhilin. "But she needs help and adequate treatment." Lana herself is still asking herself the question - was it worth it to go to a neuropsychiatric dispensary and be treated for "schizophrenia", or was it better to leave everything as it is.



Esteri is eighteen years old. In the evenings, she works in a bar, and during the day she sleeps, reads, learns English or plays computer games. She plans to move abroad in a few months.

Esteri does not really like to contact people. “If I had my way, I would live my whole life in some Tibetan temple, be silent and meditate until old age,” she says. Franky persuaded her to meet me - her sweetest, outgoing identity. Franky loves to walk down the street and meet new people, she loves to dress up. Thanks to Franca, Esteri now has a neat checkered trouser suit. She herself would not have bought it - it's a pity for the money for new clothes. Besides Franca, Esteri also has Sally, Max and Charlie.

“It all started when I was seven or eight,” says Esteri. - Mom and father then no longer lived together, but kept in touch. It was believed that the child - that is, me - would be good to see his father. He had a house by the sea, and I went there for the summer."

Esteri recalls: at that age she was not at all interested in where children come from and how men differ from women. But one day, when she was at her father's house, he suddenly decided to enlighten her. First in words, and then offered to watch the cassette. It was porn - on the screen, a woman was giving a man a blowjob. “It was funny and unpleasant for me to watch this,” says Esteri. - I said: 'Why do they do it, he writes from there!' Father replied: 'Do you want me to show you how it happens?'

Esteri remembers how she shrugged her shoulders, but she could not answer anything concretely. It was embarrassing to contradict my father.“I thought if I refused, he would get angry and we would no longer have a good relationship,” says Esteri. When it was over, the father said: "We need to wash the sheet."

Charlie showed up that summer. At the right moments, he began to talk to Esteri, to distract her. Her body seemed to exist on its own. “You know how it happens when you sit, you look at one point, and your thoughts are somewhere far away,” says Esteri. - I felt about the same. While in reality there were some incomprehensible actions with the participation of my father, Charlie and I talked about space, tried to imagine infinity. He helped me occupy my brain, distract myself. " Since then, Charlie has become her best friend. He gave her advice, persuaded her to clean the room or do her homework. Esteri thought he was what many children call an imaginary friend. But only then I realized: Charlie exists on her own, she does not control his words and thoughts.

For a long time Esteri and Charlie existed together. But at fourteen, other identities began to emerge. “I was having a tough time,” says Esteri. - My mother had to move quite far away, and I was left alone. Formally, my grandmother looked after me. But in fact, I just regularly received a certain amount of money and myself dealt with all household issues. " In addition, school exams piled up. Solving problems alone was very difficult, Esteri felt a huge weight pressing on her.

Once, when Esteri was at her father's house, he suddenly decided to enlighten her - he offered to watch the cassette. It was porn - on the screen a woman was giving a man a blowjob


At this time Franky appeared. “It was like I spent two or three months in a fog,” says Esteri. “It's not like I don't remember anything at all. But it was as if someone did everything for me, and I watched limply”. Earlier, Esteri had never been friends with classmates, she existed in her own world. But Franky changed everything, she liked both teachers and children. In the morning, coming to class, I asked friends: “How are you? What did you do yesterday?" She easily struck up a conversation with those people with whom Esteri herself had never communicated. She made friends, a boyfriend, she began to spend less time alone.

“I read a lot of literature, tried to figure out for myself what was happening to me,” says Esteri. - It seems that at some point my mind created a socially acceptable identity - feminine, sweet and companionable. I understand that Franky is a part of me. It's as if certain aspects of my character split off and took on a life of their own to help me get on with the world."

Around the same time, Max was formed - a personality-defender. According to Esteri, he appears when she is bad or very annoyed. “He turns off all emotions,” says Esteri. - Max is very calm, he can just sit and look at one point. It's like a fuse that comes on when there is a big power surge."

In addition to Max, Franca and Charlie, there are several alternative personalities, but they appear less often. According to Esteri, none of them gives her serious concern - she does not lose her memory when they appear, just everything seems to sink into a fog. Everyone has their own responsibilities. “Charlie and I are working together to make sure everyone follows the rules,” she says. “Sometimes I can control myself whether to let one of them out.”

In high school, Esteri went to a psychiatrist - she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed drugs. “I talked to the doctor about other identities,” says Esteri. “At first she reassured me:“All people have internal conflicts, you will definitely solve them.” But then Esteri began to explain that she not only suffers from contradictions - she clearly hears other people's thoughts in her head, and sometimes other identities force her to perform actions that are completely alien to her. “The doctor said that this is a so-called multiple personality and in Russia very few people work with such people,” recalls Esteri.- She herself did not undertake such cases. I think when I move to another country, I will try to see a new doctor."

In addition to clear, familiar identities, there are others - those with whom it is not possible to establish contact. They appear very rarely, but they make an eerie impression on Esteri. “Once this happened in my presence,” says Marianne, Esteri’s friend. - We were at my house, I went into the kitchen, and when I returned, Esteri was sitting and stroking my cat. More precisely, she did not even iron, but felt, as if she was seeing him for the first time. " Then, according to Marianne, Esteri got up and started looking around, examining the walls, objects in the room. She picked up a wire hanger from the floor, turned it over in her hands and said: "I want to unwind the wire." Marianna recalls: “I was confused, did not know how to behave. There was a feeling as if my friend had disappeared, and instead of her there was someone else in my apartment. I would like Esteri to return as soon as possible. Esteri herself also remembers this day: “I saw what my body was doing, but I could not influence it in any way. When this unknown character wanted to spin the hanger, I was scared: what will he do next? Isn't he dangerous? " But after a few minutes she managed to return to her body.



I met Esteri several times. We talked for hours, she showed me old correspondence on social networks, which instead of her led her identities. But I never saw any of them, although I asked Esteri to let me talk to them. Sometimes I began to doubt: what if this is a joke?

One evening we went to a cafe to buy hot tea. Esteri went to the toilet. When she returned, she had a wet face - as if she had sprayed it with water from the sink. She first walked towards me, then stopped and smiled uncertainly - it seemed to me that she did not recognize me. I handed her a glass, and the feeling dissipated - she came up and took it. At the exit from the cafe, she opened the door for me in some strange, fussy movement - as if she had jumped slightly on the spot. There seemed to be something wrong with her - as if she was agitated or confused.

On the street we saw a small dog. Even before that, I noticed that Esteri does not like dogs - once, when we were sitting on a bench with her, a dog came up to us, and she moved away with disgust. But now she smiled, showed me at the dog: "Look!" I asked, "Is everything okay?" And then she muttered softly, as if embarrassed: "I am Franky."

After that we walked down the street for another hour. Esteri-Franchi looked around with delight: “It's so beautiful here! Do you know that we lived here for several years? And here they worked in 'quests in reality'. " She spoke quickly and a little inconsistently - it was not like Esteri's usual speech. I could not understand in any way whether this was a production, or whether in front of me was really another identity of my friend. Just in case, I didn't show my doubts - I silently listened to Franky talking about her life: “Probably the last time I went out was a couple of months ago. Or maybe not. I don't understand time very well. I remember one day I fell asleep for four months. It was as if I was not there, for this time I became part of Esteri. I didn't like it - it was sad."

As the psychotherapist Vladimir Snigur explains, with DID, a person does not always have amnesia. There are different forms of disorder, and with some identities they may well communicate with the main person, help her work, distribute responsibilities among themselves. “Often times, different people with DID have similar identities. For example, many have an identity that takes on the role of a diplomat, a negotiator, says Snigur. - Even in a separate identity, conditionally childish traits can be separated. Many have a defender - he turns on in moments of intense stress or danger."

Complete amnesia, the splitting off of identities from each other, usually occurs in the most serious cases of the disease.But it also happens that a person can be present in the body simultaneously with other identities and remember what is happening to them. “Every person has different states,” explains Snigur. - Here you, for example, work in one state, in another - dance. And, probably, at the moment when you work, you are completely unable to dance. " Likewise, many of us have a special mood for communicating with people and for quarreling. “Now imagine that each of these states has become a separate person,” suggests Snigur. "And each of them is still you."

According to him, many people have a sense of a rally when they are faced with someone's alternative identity. But Snigur claims: a person is not able to pretend for years that he has a multiple personality, to carry on correspondence on behalf of his identities, to keep in his head the facts about everyone's life. “Previously, borderline personality disorder seemed just as fantastic,” says the expert. "And now enough data and observations have been collected, and this diagnosis does not surprise anyone."



On the morning of December 16, 2018, Yana's phone rang. She came up and heard the agitated voice of her friend: “How are you? Are you all right? " Yana was surprised: lately nothing special has happened to her, why would her friends suddenly worry so much about her? A friend explained that he had read a post that had appeared on her Facebook the day before and decided to check if help was needed. Yana went into her own account and saw the last entry: "I do not control anything anymore" - "I do not control anything else." The day before, she did not drink alcohol and did not take drugs. But she did not remember how she left this entry - it was made by someone else.

“Since childhood, it has been difficult for me to share my experiences,” says Yana. "Perhaps my alternate personalities leave such records when I need help to draw someone's attention to a situation, to help me share with someone."

From childhood, it seemed to Yana that she had no right to her own desires and emotions. “I was raised as a little lady,” she says. - I knew that you can't go out to breakfast in a nightgown, you can't put your elbows on the table. At the age of seven they explained to me that I am now an adult and will no longer play with toys. " From the outside, her life seemed more than prosperous: studying in the UK, beautiful clothes, intelligent, creative family. “I had the best,” says Yana. “Only now I didn’t feel that I myself, my“I”has any value”. The only thing that mattered was the girl whose relatives wanted to see her.

“Once, when I was in elementary school, I met a man in a park near his house,” she gives an example. - He told me that he was a shaping teacher and asked to show me where the school is. And then he dragged him into the bushes. It was a pedophile. " Later, Yana tried to tell at home about what happened, but no one wanted to discuss this case. Much the same thing happened when, at the age of twelve, she tried to commit suicide. “They yelled at me so that I wouldn’t attract attention,” Yana recalls. She is sure: her family never wanted to hurt her. Just because of their own problems, they did not always know how to express their emotions and react correctly.

At what moment the alternative personalities appeared, Yana does not remember: "Until the age of thirty, I did not understand anything about my life at all." She explains that since childhood, part of her life has passed as if in a fog. Because of this, there was always a feeling of porridge in my head. She got into strange situations, and then she tried to analyze: “Why did I come here? How did you meet these people? What unites us? " For example, once at a music festival, she realized that she had been talking with a young man for an hour, but she did not at all understand where he came from and how this conversation started. Only then did she vaguely recollect: it seems that that evening they were standing side by side in line for cocoa.

According to Yana, her own life seemed very strange to her. She never understood what really happened to her, and what she dreamed or dreamed about. “It's like waking up with a hangover,” she says. "And you're trying to figure out what you did yesterday."

Sometimes she had what she called "seizures" - she could not speak, she was shaking, and convulsions began. Doctors found neither epilepsy nor other organic problems. Psychiatrists suspected schizophrenia, but the diagnosis was not confirmed. Some said: "Yes, everything is fine with you, you are just weird."

“When I was twenty-eight, the nature of the seizures changed,” says Yana. - The young man with whom I met then said that sometimes I start behaving like a child: fooling around, grimacing. At such moments we looked at children's magazines with pictures and played. When the attacks passed, I remembered them in fragments and vaguely."

Psychiatrists suspected schizophrenia, but the diagnosis was not confirmed. Some said: "Yes, everything is fine with you, you are just weird."


Yana plunged into the "fog" quite often - there were periods when this happened every week. Because of this, it is difficult for her to reconstruct the events of her life in chronological order - everything is confused. “I’m over thirty, but I feel much younger,” says Yana. "It was as if I had missed fragments of my own life." Because of this confusion, she was not always able to work consistently: too much energy was spent just to cope with everyday life. “All my life I thought I was a failure, lazy and absent-minded,” says Yana. - I have brains, I have education, but there were periods when I could not support myself. I thought I let myself down."

At thirty-one, she went to a private psychiatrist, who issued a conclusion: "mixed dissociative disorder." This diagnosis is made when a person has symptoms of multiple dissociative disorders. In Yanin's case, these are symptoms of DID and a few more diagnoses.

“I went to a psychiatrist and talked in detail about my seizures and childhood behavior,” says Yana. “Also, that sometimes I speak of myself in the third person, and that my memory seems to be really not mine.” At that time, she had already noticed that there were other personalities besides the child - she told the specialist in detail about their appearance. After the psychiatrist's conclusion appeared, many of the oddities got their explanation. Now Yana herself does not understand how she could not have guessed for years that she has alternative identities.

Gradually, thanks to therapy and independent work, Yana began to learn to observe herself and notice switching from one identity to another. She began to try to negotiate with her identities, to learn more about them. “Once I found a dictaphone recording on my phone,” she recalls. - I turned it on - there was a voice, low and rather creepy. Someone said: "I exist in you." I was so scared that I dropped my phone. After that I could not help but believe that there were several of me”.

Now, when alternative personalities appear, they often leave messages: notes, audio recordings, videos. Yana shows me a video made by a “child”: she, like a little girl, grimaces in front of the camera and tells me what she is going to do today (mostly walking). They often post on social media. In addition to the "child", Yana has six alter personalities. Davy, Dark Davy and Angry Davy are the elders. They are independent and can make decisions. There is also the Beast and Trauma - they took upon themselves all the most difficult experiences in Yana's life. In these states, she cannot talk - it was because of them that she used to think that she was having seizures. Another identity is Glas. He analyzes information and connects everyone else with each other.

“Once I accidentally met two Yana's identities in one evening,” says Yana's friend Daniel."She used to tell me that they exist, but I've never seen them." Daniel recalls: that evening he was broadcasting on the radio "Through the Looking Glass" and invited Yana to act as a guest. “We were standing with other guests on the street, and someone asked Yana how she was doing,” he recalls. - She replied that everything is fine. Then I looked at her and asked, as if referring to her other identity: “What about you?” It was just a joke. But she reacted strangely, stepped aside, kept aloof all evening. " On the way home, Daniel tried to apologize, ask what exactly hurt his girlfriend. And suddenly she said: "If you want to learn something from Yana, you had better talk to her." He realized that he was talking to someone else. After questioning, it turned out that in front of him is Wrathful Davy.

“We talked for a few more hours,” says Daniel. - I asked her: “When will Yana come? How long ago did you last appear?”But she replied that she could not distinguish between time intervals. She also said she was not of this world."

According to Daniel, after a couple of hours he went to smoke, and when he returned, Yana was already completely different. She smiled, became more active, laughed. “I asked who she was,” he recalls. - Yana answered in a playful tone: "I am a beloved girl." I realized that I was communicating with a different identity again. She told me that she loves picture books. And about Yana, she said that she loves plums and pizza. And that now Yana is upset and does not want to go out. " According to Daniel, that evening he felt like he was in a production. Communicated with Yana and not with her at the same time, "as if the sides of her personality suddenly became independent."

Proof of

A few weeks after we talked to Yana, a post appeared on her Facebook: “Yana is standing here alone, and someone needs to take her away. It's dangerous for her. " She later said that she had a nervous breakdown that evening. There was a hysterics, several days simply fell out of her memory. After some time, she woke up at night in her own bed. “I knew my name and how old I was, but I didn’t understand what was happening to me lately,” says Yana.

From the stories of friends and correspondence in social networks, she began to restore events in her memory. According to Yana, before she had a nervous breakdown, she underwent a diagnostic interview with an international mental health organization. “It was testing the validity of the method for diagnosing dissociative disorders,” says Yana. “Friends invited me to participate.” There were about 200 questions in the questionnaire, many of them confused Yana. “The specialist asked me how I would react if my diagnosis was not confirmed,” says Yana. “She also began to ask what diagnoses I was given before, why they were given." For Yana, it all sounded as if the specialist did not believe her. “After that I got hysterical,” says Yana. "It's as if my identity, my very existence, has been challenged."

I wrote to the specialist Yana was talking about. Elena Kazyonnaya from the EMDR National Association replied that she could neither confirm nor deny Yan's words: the information about the respondents is confidential. But she added: "I have not yet met dissociative identity disorder in the Russian sample."

But DID supporters insist that this is not yet a reason to doubt the words of a patient with alternative identities. First, they can form not only in DID, but also in intermediate states, and in PTSD. Secondly, recalls the psychotherapist Vladimir Snigur, diagnoses in psychiatry often depend on the subjective view, qualifications and beliefs of a particular doctor. There are those who simply do not believe in this diagnosis, and therefore do not put it.

Diagnoses in psychiatry often depend on the subjective opinion, qualifications and beliefs of a particular doctor. There are those who simply do not believe in this diagnosis, and therefore do not put it.


“My job is to trust those who come to me,” adds Snigur. - People don't come to a specialist if they don't really need help. Many do not believe in DRI. But it's hard to imagine why a person would come up with something like that. To get attention, sympathy? But there are much simpler ways. " A person with multiple personalities can have any diagnosis - in any case, there is no reason to doubt that he has multiple identities. “In my practice, I have never seen multiple personality simulations,” says Snigur. "Dissociation is a very difficult and frightening experience that many try to hide while they can." According to the therapist, this is not usually faked - cases of pretense can be found only in forensic psychiatry, where people go to the most desperate measures to avoid punishment.

The most famous hero with multiple personality disorder, Billy Milligan, has been accused of several murders and rapes. He became the first person in the world who, thanks to the diagnosis, was acquitted - the lawyers proved that it was not he who committed the crimes, but his alternative identities. The documentary about Milligan is wildly popular, but in many ways it only provoked skeptics. Someone thinks that all people with DID are dangerous, like Billy Milligan himself. And someone thinks that both Milligan and all other people with multiple personalities are pretending to avoid justice and other troubles.

For many, DRI is more pop culture than psychiatry. In the 80s, Billy Milligan - a man with 24 identities - became famous all over the world thanks to the American writer Daniel Keyes. In recent years, this disorder has become more talked about again - thanks to the thriller "Split", where the hero is split into 23 identities. While some identities are committing crimes, others are trying to save the situation. Pop culture embellishes reality: the hero of Split is a fantastic character, his identities run along the walls and possess superhuman strength. In real life, people with DID feel lost rather than omnipotent. They are not trusted, they are not taken seriously, they face skepticism much more often than they find sympathy.

And yet, neither Lana, nor Esteri, nor Yana would get rid of additional identities if she had such an opportunity. “Without them, I would have been much worse than with them,” says Lana. - I'm used to not being alone. Even when they do not appear, I can talk to them within myself. And they support me."

Yana does not consider what is happening to her as a disorder. She says that she sees it more as a feature of the organization of the psyche: “We are one, but we are many. Why should I become one? " Once she had a mess in her head, she did not understand what was happening to her life. But now Yana knows: each of her identities comes to her aid when the main one runs out of resources. They take on challenging tasks, allow her to rest, relieve too much anger or longing.

Esteri remembers: there was a period in her life when alternative identities disappeared - after a course of antidepressants, they all became one for some time. “You can probably put them back together,” she suggests. - But we are not bad anyway. It's amazing that the brain can work this way. I am still amazed that they are me."

Illustrations: Ksyusha Stoylik

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