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Jenifer
03-11-2008, 09:30 AM
In a case where the disorder manifested very late in life due to extreme stress, what kind of outward signs would typically be seen? Or not so typically?

I'd like to work in things like tics and emotionally triggering words in addition to recurring headaches. Oh, and I'd also like to see the frequency of these things escalate as the activities of the alter do.

Believability factor? Win, fail?

Craig Gosse
03-11-2008, 09:43 AM
You may wish to contact specifically:


Hi all

I'm a psychologist but also have personal experience of mental illness. My subjects are:

Mental Health
alcoholism
addiction
depression
anxiety
bipolar
obsessive compulsive disorder
panic disorder
personality disorders e.g. narcissism, borderline, avoidant etc
eating disorders
Other personality/psychology
compulsive spending
shopaholics
emotional eating
personality types
Plus dog behvaiour/psychology :D

I also have a commerce degree so I do money management from the "rational" and "irrational" perspectives

Jenifer
03-11-2008, 09:49 AM
Thank you. :)

Mr Flibble
03-11-2008, 02:05 PM
There was a discussion about this a couple of weeks ago with a good link or too ( here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91190))

Jenifer
03-11-2008, 05:07 PM
I did find a link that I hadn't run across yet within that thread, thanks. :)

It doesn't really help me with symptoms, though, which were what I was looking for.

Jenan Mac
03-12-2008, 04:54 AM
Losing time would be a big one: your character would have no clue where the afternoon went. Trouble making financial records (banks, credit cards) balance because of purchases not remembered-- particularly problematic if one of the "kids" knows how to use an ATM card and there's a shop within walking distance. (How did I get twenty-seven Webkinz?) Acquaintances acting funny because of things you did that you don't remember-- or people you don't think you know treating you familiarly.

giusti
03-12-2008, 12:24 PM
As far as symptoms go, many who suffer from Dissociative exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia. They carry completely different causes, but besides the memory loss, the two are very similar in symptoms. Those suffering from DID are often paranoid, fatigued, confused, depressed, and of course bipolar (bipolar within a single identity, as well as, of course, across identities).

But my advice on this is to flesh out the character's origins. What caused this to occur? In most of these cases, there is some sort of trauma, or overall distress in the person's life that brings this out. While I have heard of the disorder developing post-childhood, it is usually related to a childhood event. I think you could get away with having stress be the cause of bringing it out again, as if there was another cause, but through maturing, the Dissociative disorder was suppressed. I don't know...

In any case, the best of luck to you.

-giusti

archetypewriting
03-13-2008, 06:43 AM
Hi Jenifer,

I just added a massive post to the other thread mentioned above, so I think I answered some of the questions in there, but...


In a case where the disorder manifested very late in life due to extreme stress, what kind of outward signs would typically be seen? Or not so typically?

DID is actually a childhood thing that happens when personality is still forming, and before the child develops adequate coping mechanisms to deal with sadistic trauma (if anyone ever really develops adequate coping mechanisms for that); if your character develops a new personality later in life, typically what you'd be looking at is a dissociative fugue. Problem is, a person typically doesn't move in and out of an "alter" personality with a fugue.

There is a workaround here, though...if your character was traumatized as a child and developed DID then, the alter/s could go "inside" when they weren't needed anymore and essentially be "asleep" inside until something triggers them to start coming out. Now, if that's feasible, you've got a perfect setup for what you're describing.


I'd like to work in things like tics and emotionally triggering words in addition to recurring headaches. Oh, and I'd also like to see the frequency of these things escalate as the activities of the alter do.

This makes sense. Headaches, migraines usually, are extremely common in people with DID, especially when the alters start vying for who's going to be out. (And this can happen even when the alters aren't aware of one another.)

As Jenan Mac said, losing time would be huge -- it's really the cardinal symptom of an alter having been out.


As far as symptoms go, many who suffer from Dissociative exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia. They carry completely different causes, but besides the memory loss, the two are very similar in symptoms. Those suffering from DID are often paranoid, fatigued, confused, depressed, and of course bipolar (bipolar within a single identity, as well as, of course, across identities).

This is actually a very common mistake, and when you read the list of symptoms, yes, they sound alike. That's why they make us go through years of training to work with these things...so we know how different they really are when they're not on paper! :)

Schizophrenia and bipolar mania have some overlap in what they look like, particularly because both are caused by an excess of certain brain chemicals; the same brain chemicals can be dysregulated in people with DID because they've been so traumatized, but the disorders all look quite different from one another if you know what to look for. (Plus -- strep throat and throat cancer share some symptoms, but to the doctor, who knows what to look for, there's a biiiiig difference. So you've got to be careful about saying two things "look alike" when the looking alike is superficial like this.) For example, people with bipolar disorder tend to have a good sense of humor and "get" jokes easily; people who have schizophrenia are very "concrete" and take everything literally, which makes humor not funny. People with DID don't have a biochemical imbalance (aside from any PTSD or comorbid disorders, which are diagnosed on their own) -- they have dissociative splits in their experience of "I."

I wrote in a lot more detail about how the three are different in that other post. I thought this remark had been in that thread, but I see it was here.

With symptoms, Jenifer, are you needing a yea or nay on whether tics and headaches will work? They both will. The headaches, like I said, are extremely common with DID; tics can show up in anyone who's stressed, so they make total sense -- having an alter you didn't know about coming out and doing things with your life (and losing time while they were doing them) would be very stressful!

Are there other types of symptoms you're needing details on? Like what standard DID symptoms are, for example? The formal criteria for DID is available in Behavenet Capsules (http://www.behavenet.com/capsules/disorders/did.htm but you'll see that it really breaks down to only two: there are two or more delineated personality states in control of the body at different times, and there's amnesia for the other's activities (before therapy, anyhow -- during therapy most personalities learn to become "co-conscious" and work together). I posted a link to a couple of articles and a little video on DID in the other thread (http://archetypewriting.com/real/real_disorders.htm#dissociative), but if you have other questions on symptoms, lay 'em on us! ;)

Jenifer
03-13-2008, 07:23 AM
That was incredibly helpful, thank you!

Got kinda wordy here, will send you a PM!

archetypewriting
03-13-2008, 07:52 AM
His alter...believes that the town's young have formed an organization whose sole purpose is to sterilize his wife/crush their family dreams.

If I really do have to go all the way back to childhood (I was thinking more along the lines of war-time trauma) I'll ease in a warped father figure and leave the specifics up to the imagination.

The premise is based on just one alter, but I don't know how believable that is. Thoughts? I guess I could throw in a second alter with slightly less power over the host (so to speak, heheh) and give him a window to sabotage the killer in small ways. Hmm.

Yes, someone can have just one alter, though it's uncommon. For all we know, he has more that are still asleep though, right? So no big deal.

And war-time trauma is actually something you could use for the childhood trauma. That does happen (a common scenario is a child seeing his whole family slaughtered, but that's just an example), and you'd have a small number of alters (even just one) as a result. A warped father figure would also work fine.

To play devil's advocate for a minute here -- is the DID necessary at all? People do really extreme things when they are faced with disappointments as awful as this one, and fears about losing people they love so much. If your goal is to create an excuse for this nice old man to do something evil...well, most people do evil in the name of what they believe is a righteous cause; they don't need an alter to do it. (There's a good book on this subject by Roy Baumeister called Evil: Inside Cruelty and Violence. He takes a rather simplistic approach, looking primarily at good reasons why people do evil without paying attention to biological contributors, etc., but it might be just perfect for your idea. It's pretty easy to read, not a heavy academic book.) You might end up with a fascinating character study if you didn't use an alter and just forced this man to rationalize and struggle with the good and bad in his own soul.

But back to the DID...

If you have an alter that was created during war-times, it could be "stuck" in time (which happens!) and still think the world is at war -- and part of the war is to sterilize people and crush their dreams.

Something else interesting -- The alter may not realize he and the older man are actually in the same body. He (I'm going to use he, just to make it easier than saying "he or she") may know your character by name and so forth but think it's someone he knows; a friend, for example. So he (the alter) may be trying to help a friend because he's tougher than the friend. After all, he's seen war!

The alter doesn't have to be the same age as the age the man was when it was created. The man could have been 8 but the alter could have been "born" as an 18-year-old, say. And it could still be that age.

So...yes, you can have just one alter; if you see reason to add another, it sounds like you could have some fun with that, too. :)

Naming alters...sometimes they just have names that are variations of the core/birth personality's name (Robert has alters named Bob, Rob, Bert, Bobby, etc.) but that might get confusing for fiction. Often alters have names that sound like nicknames, and they're named based on what they've experienced. So (just examples) an alter that has been created to deal with abuse might have had to be as tough as nails...leading to the name Nails. Or an alter that always got whipped might be Whipping Boy. An alter that always ended up staring at Father's dragon tattoo while he was mistreated might grow up to act like father and call himself Dragon. Sometimes alters also pick names they like, or that they find comforting. So if one always felt safer when she was near the neighbor's garden, she might choose the name Daisy, or Lily, or whatever. And sometimes they just choose names that are "regular" names they like -- Eve, of the Three Faces of Eve, had two Eves (Eve White and Eve Black) and Jane. I've also seen alters who use numbers as part of their names (say, Eve and Eve 2).

I feel like I rambled a little more in this one. I hope I didn't get too off track. If any of this didn't make sense or you have more questions, just write back! :)

giusti
03-13-2008, 11:52 AM
This is actually a very common mistake, and when you read the list of symptoms, yes, they sound alike. That's why they make us go through years of training to work with these things...so we know how different they really are when they're not on paper! :)

Tis why I was certain to clarify that they have quite different causes ^_^