Modern science has given doctors and researchers the ability to shed light on some of the world’s most intriguing medical disorders. Even though we have cures for many ailments, there are still some things that have even the experts baffled.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder) is one of the most fascinating medical phenomena to date. Those diagnosed develop entire alternate personalities to help cope with childhood trauma, and the lives they lead are almost beyond belief.
1. Herschel Walker: If you’re looking for an all-around athletic champion, Walker was your man. He excelled at football, bobsledding, and mixed martial arts. He even won the Heisman trophy in 1982. But it wasn’t all good news for Walker…
It came out that Walker had been balancing several different personalities during his career. However, after retirement, all the alter egos started jumbling up, and Walker eventually sought psychiatric help.
2. Juanita Maxwell: When hotel maid Juanita Maxwell was arrested for the murder of a 73-year-old resident named Inez Kelly using a lamp, she claimed she had no recollection of what happened. How could that be?
It was because she had another personality named Wanda Weston who was prone to extreme violence. During the murder trial, “Wanda” was actually coaxed out of Maxwell, and the judge ruled she was innocent due to insanity. After the trial, Maxwell was committed to an asylum.
3. Chris Costner Sizemore: It’s hard to imagine having more than one distinct personality, but this woman had 22 of them! Some would even “die” after a few years, only to be replaced by others.
Amazingly, after four years of therapy with eight different doctors, she had a dream where “the personalities were in a kind of Greek arena. They all joined hands and then walked behind a screen and then everything disappeared. They have never come back.”
4. Karen Overhill: When she was 29 years old, “Karen Overhill” was treated by Dr. Richard Baer. During the next 20 years she was in therapy, Baer was dealing with a total of 17 different personalities. But, was he able to cure her?
Amazingly, through intense hypnosis and visualization techniques, he managed to integrate all of Karen’s personalities. He wrote a book about his work and Karen contributed her own letters, journal entries, and artwork.
5. Kim Noble: Due to extreme abuse when she was young, Kim Noble’s mind splintered into nearly 100 different versions of herself. Sadly, she spent much of her life in and out of mental wards.
Finally, in 1995, she was officially diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and with a lot of help, she overcame her trauma. She now lives with her daughter and has made a carer as a successful artist.
6. Shirley Mason: The life of Shirley Mason was embodied by actress Sally Field in the movie Sybil, named after one of her personalities. However, there are some who claim Shirley was faking the whole thing…
A therapist named Herbert Spiegel who worked several sessions with Shirley (who was emotionally unstable) over the years said he believed she was probably pretending to have other personalities.
7. Truddi Chase: Abuse caused Truddi to develop dozens of personalities who helped suppress traumatic memories. One personality, Black Catherine, held her rage, and another named Rabbit held her pain.
Truddi eventually wrote a book about her struggles called When Rabbit Howls. This was followed by a television movie, and eventually an interview by Oprah!
8. Louis Vivet: During the early days of psychiatry, Louis Vivet’s multiple personalities were studied extensively. It all began after a terrifying experience with a viper at age 17. He was sent to France’s Bonneval Asylum, and there, something very odd happened…
He began to have epileptic fits which caused him to lose the use of his legs, only to go back into a fit sometime later and regain his ability to walk. His personality would also change after each bout of seizures, and in total, doctors determined he manifested at least three different personalities.
9. Mary Reynolds: Born in 1785, Reynolds grew up with a rather solemn and melancholy demeanor. She spent much of her time devoted to religion. However, when she was 19, something startling happened…
Out of nowhere, she became blind and deaf for six weeks. She also forgot how to read. When she finally regained her eyesight and hearing, her personality became outgoing and witty. She flip-flopped back and forth between the two until finally, her extroverted personality took over for good.
10. Robert Oxnam: In 1990, during a routine therapy session, artist Robert Oxnam startled his therapist when his personality completely changed into an angry little boy who called himself “Timmy.”
At the time, Oxnam was suffering from alcoholism, bulimia, and marital issues. Eventually, he went on to identify 11 different personalities living inside him. In his book A Fractured Mind, Oxnam talks about coping with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
We all have ways of dealing with the dark periods of our lives, but these cases prove just how far the human mind can go to protect itself.
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