I read the interview they did about you on Writers Monthly. It’s really awesome that you have found a way to live with your other personalities. So, a little about me: I see a therapist 2 times a week. He thinks I might be MPD. He told me that I got mental problems from my parents and that these things are hereditary alot. I don’t want to blame my parents. I don’t want to have MPD. Do you agree?
Maybe More the One
New Rochelle, NY
Wow. It sounds like you have a lot of new information to digest. It’s probably going to be awhile until you feel ‘settled’ again. I’m not a therapist or phycologist but having gone through many years of therapies and learning how to self-therapize, I hope what I say to you will be helpful and not hurtful. I’m not one to sugar-coat things. Please feel free to take what helps and discard what doesn’t.
First, I no longer live with MPD. I was integrated two years ago. I’m not sure if your therapist has gone over what treatment courses are available to you yet but integration is one of them. When I was suffering with having more than one personalities, we all made the difficult decision together to become integrated. It’s not always possible. In my case, it was the right thing.
Second, it’s hard to tell from your letter how long you’ve been in therapy or how many therapists you’ve been to. I’d be leary of a new therapist who after just a few sessions tells you a firm diagnosis of any kind. MPD is very difficult to pin down unless you are seeing someone that specializes in that area. Do yourself a favor and try to resist the urge of believing hook-line-and-sinker everything your therapist says just because it’s so damn nice to finally have someone tell you a reason for all your suffering. What a relief when someone gives you a name to call it, right? But they aren’t always right and a mis-diagnosis can send you years off the path of true recovery. Just be careful. Go with your gut and get a second and third opinion if you can.
Third, sometimes heredity plays a big part in mental illness and sometimes it’s purely situational but most of the time it’s a combination of both. You get more than just your hair color from your parents. You can also get temperament, personality traits, intelligence and much more including mental illness. Coping skills, or the lack there of, when handed over with certain temperaments and personalities, make a person ripe for a mental illness when faced with major stress or trauma in life. There is no way to know for sure what will happen in a person’s life ahead of time that will absolutely strain their minds and bend them into a multiple or a dissociative. However, we know that whenever this happens it shows a high intelligence of some kind and a huge willingness for the mind to adapt and fight for life. Otherwise, that person would probably just die.
I’m not sure what people mean when they label something ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ and it’s sometimes hard to label ‘mental illness.’ I think of the entire human race along a vertical line that starts with ‘normal’ and ends with ‘abnormal.’ My guess is that almost everyone is going to fall in between those lines with most ending up in the middle. I doubt that anyone or at least very few people would end on the far ends. It might be hard to think of yourself as a person who must struggle with a mental illness. It might be harder still to think of your parents with one of any kind. My suggestion would be to stay away from labels as much as you can. Just do the work that will help keep you centered in sanity. Thank your mind for finding a way to keep you alive and then learn to love yourself.
It’s going to take a lot of work on your part. But let me just tell you that it’s so well worth the fight.
All the best to you,