Hollywood Thinks I’m Crazy
AFNCCF Blogger Willow examines the misconceptions that pervade the media around Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Stereotypes are ill-conceived perceptions of certain groups of people or things.
Probably every person has at one stage or another looked at someone and made their own judgements. I for one am so guilty of this. I don’t do it maliciously but one of my favourite things to do is to sit on a bench, watch people walk by and make up stories and imagine their life. I’m stereotyping these people based on what they look like, the way they carry themselves and how they speak. I’m judging them.
Some ill-informed folk also judge people with mental health difficulties whether that’s depression, OCD, anorexia or schizophrenia. We see people’s scars from self-injury and assume they’re suicidal. We see people talking to themselves and think they’re crazy. We assume, we think, we judge.
According to the media and Hollywood I am a completely crazy, potential axe murderer that could, at any time, go on a spree of revenge with my 'multiple personalities’. Some doctors think I have an extremely rare and unique illness that is hardly recognised.
None of this is true. It is a perceived judgement from people who are misinformed about dissociative disorders due to Hollywood stereotypes among other offenders.
Let’s shine some light on some of these judgements and misconceptions.
“An extreme minority.”
Dissociative identity disorder (DID)affects 1-3% of the population. Doesn't sound like a lot right? Well just 1% of the population is 75 million - mind blown or what?! And that is just the lower end of the estimate, not even taking into account those who are yet to be diagnosed. That’s like everyone in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales being supposedly ‘unstable’. If we were all axe murderers then B&Q would be doing a lot more business.
DID is not a personality disorder or psychotic illness. It is a coping mechanism that a child forms to survive when faced with severe and prolonged abuse from a very young age. Someone with DID does not have multiple personalities as it was once believed many moons ago. Someone with DID has alters, altered states of consciousness. Each alter is a part of the whole person or 'host.'
These alters can be any age or gender and may have different likes and interests. One alter may like tomatoes and another may not. One may identify as having blonde hair another red.
DID is NOT schizophrenia! Yes at times there are internal voices but these are not delusions or hallucinations as in schizophrenia. These voices - sometimes described as loud thoughts are often the monologue from other alters/parts that are present inside.
So next time you come across someone that may be a little different, remember not to assume that the Hollywood representation is true to life. Not all is as it seems. I am not crazy.