Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Multiple Personalities

I confess I haven't read Sybil nor have I seen the movie yet, although I intend to take it out from the library soon thanks to Bob. And Bob's comment is well placed, Sybil may indeed have been schizophrenic as well as having multiple personalities. I spoke without knowing the story. My point was that they're different diagnoses. I myself wondered at one time if I were a multiple personality but was assured I was not, and I understand now that the shift in perception was simply a part of the psychosis at the time.

I appreciate the chance to explore this topic. It's interesting but very unusual, not like the approximately 1 percent of the population who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. And apparently only 10 percent of schizophrenics are compliant with their medication. I learned my lesson and take my meds religiously. I get a depot injection every two to three weeks at my local medical clinic and also am monitored there. Fortunately, I haven't had to see a psychiatrist for many years, but want to find one I'm comfortable with, as the doc I saw last year but was unable to take me on for counseling at the time.

In some ways many of us would think our loved ones perhaps or others, or perhaps ourselves, have "multiple personalities" in that we are different in different situations and also, I've noticed, with different people. We all have different roles to play.

The diagnosis of a multiple personality is pretty well limited to Western society, I understand, and is sometimes challenged as being nonexistent and an artefact of therapy. I don't know. It's interesting what the human brain is capable of. The fact that Sybil (her real name was Mason) became better and actually cared for the doctor until the end of the doctor's life reveals perhaps, in the absence of medication at the time I would guess, that environment plays a huge role in such mental aberrations. Which is the theory, I understand, that early childhood trauma can cause such a split in personalities to protect the individual.

I think it's something that must be approached with caution. It's all too easy to diagnose and then be left with a label. One must be very careful of a layman's diagnosis, which I've heard, that someone's husband was "a schizophrenic" because he was "two different people".

We're all somewhat odd in our ways if examined closely, and I think acceptance is vital no matter if we're on the street and sorting through garbage, or if we're a university prof who appears to be on top of the world. We can't see inside the other person's psyche unless they choose to share, and I would say many live "lives of quiet desperation" who appear to be perfectly normal individuals or couples, or happy and well adjusted, until something hits the fan. I'm thinking of well known evangelists also, who have the world at their fingertips, but it isn't enough for them, and they deceive their congregations. They are all too human but have chosen to appear above other mortals, and then when they fall they crash heavily. If they're caught...I'm thinking of the Rev in Georgia now, head of the well known church, and of Jimmy Swaggart and others. They are not multiple personalities. They are ordinary people who live extraordinary lives - and power corrupts. They are just men.

Are multiple personalities sometimes an excuse? I don't know. I think it's reasonable that one may develop coping mechanisms that protect a child and later the grown woman or man from the effects of terrible abuse. Now that we have CT scans, PET scans, and EEG it would be interesting to map their brains.

In the meantime, I'm going to watch Sybil and perhaps read the book. There's apparently a movement afoot now to discredit the doctor who treated her and made the case public as doing so for financial gain. But both Mason and the doctor are dead so can't defend themselves.

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