What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative Identity Disorder, or previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder until 1994 when the DSM-IV 4th revised edition was published. The essential feature of Dissociative Identity Disorder is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that recurrently take control of behaviour. There is typically one ‘primary’ personality, and treatment for this disorder is often sought out by this primary alter. Often there are two to four personalities by the time that treatment is sought out, but there is a distinct pattern of more emerging during the course of therapy. The personalities within DID are often as complex as any human you would meet on the street, each having their own speech and behaviour patterns and tics, memories, personal relationships, age, gender, range of vocabulary, and general knowledge. All of these facets determine what the personality will do next.
It’s quite common for the personalities present to be very different and even the opposites of each other in many ways, and the extent of their differences can go so far as having a different dominant hand for writing. It has been known that alternate personalities will have different eyeglass prescriptions (and will complain about wearing the wrong one), medication prescriptions (as they will take themselves to the doctor as well), and may even claim to have allergies to things that the dominant personality does not. It is not entirely uncommon for the personalities to be ‘aware’ of the other ones in the sense that they may have the voices of the others echo in their unconscious - but they will not know to whom these ‘voices’ belong. The number of reported identities can range from as low as 2 to more than 100. Half of reported cases include individuals with 10 or fewer identities. Alternate identities have been seen taking ‘control’ in sequence, one often at the expense of another. Many personalities deny the existence of others, but some personalities have been seen to be extremely critical of or in conflict with another. In rare cases, one or more ‘powerful’ dominant personalities will “allocate time” for the others to expose themselves.
DID is not viewed as conscious deception. The issue for DID is not whether it is real, but rather how it develops and is maintained.
A split in the personality wherein two or more fairly separate and coherent systems of being exist alternately in the same person is very different from any recognised symptoms of schizophrenia.
What are the Symptoms of DID?
- Gaps in memory which can not be explained by general forgetfulness. These can go from periods of hours to days. All personalities present in DID present this symptom, so gaps in memory are asymmetrical. The more passive the personality is in manifestation, the fewer memories it has. This is in contrast to the more dominant personalities, which will have fuller, whole, more complete memories.
- If one of the present alters has a tendency for self harm, people with DID will have inexplicable wounds on their body.
- Rapid blinking, facial changes, changes in voice (tone, depth control) and demeanor, or disruption in the individual’s train of thoughts are all sign of a ‘switch’ in personality.
- Auditory or visual hallucinations - this is thought to be caused by a non-controlling personality unable to ‘get out’ and control the body, and these often manifest in auditory hallucinations such as hearing orders being given.
- Less of biographical memory for extended periods of time in childhood and adolescence, for early onset.
- Substance abuse.
- Persistent headaches.
- Sudden phobia onset.
- Suicidal ideation and attempts.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Self-harming behaviour.
Who tends to get DID and what causes it?
This disorder is three to nine times more common in women than it is in men, and can begin in childhood and not be diagnosed until adulthood. Females with DID tend to have 15 personalities on average, whereas males with DID often only have 8 personalities on average. There is an average 6 to 7 year gap from first report of DID symptoms to diagnosis of DID. Several studies suggest that DID is more common in first degree relatives of someone with DID than within the general population. This disorder is often comorbid (co-occurring) with disorders like Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Somatization Disorder.
People with DID have frequently reported a history of severe physical and sexual abuse, most especially during childhood. There is a controversial debate around the validity of these reports, as people with DID are statistically shown to be highly susceptible to suggestive influences, however many of these reports can be confirmed with objective evidence, and as not everyone with sexual abuse in their history develops DID, there is the theory that there is a diathesis which spurs the creation of the disorder. One theory is that people who develop DID have very high levels of fantasy, and that the dissociation from the trauma through fantasy created splits within the persona. Another theory states that DID may be an enactment of learned social roles. This is due to the fact that more alters tend to appear in adulthood and within therapy, typically due to suggestions by the therapist.
It is hypothesized that individuals suffering from DID have an insecure or disorganized attachment style because they were exposed to the chaotic behaviour of their caregiver. A study in Canada confirms that attachment styles has a significant link to rates of dissociative symptom reports.
How is DID treated?
Treatment for DID is complex and requires heavy use of psychotherapy, where the therapist and the client work in tandem to create a cohesion between all of the personalities if possible. Psychotherapy will also address the natural issues of anxiety caused by the disorder within the client and will work to prevent the manifestation of a comorbid anxiety disorder. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapy which is used most often with sufferers of PTSD but has recently been applied to DID sufferers with positive results. Certain behavioural therapists will go about treating this by only responding to a single personality, though this is generally looked down upon within the psychological community.
All information for this post is based on data from the DSM-IV-TR.
Hey Writing Habits, do you have any tips or links for writing side characters? Keeping the little guys as interesting as the big ones, as it were?
Your side characters have their own backgrounds. Fleshing those out will help you a lot in figuring out what they can do and when. Even if you end up with thirty pages of notes that will never see the light of day - or more! - getting to know them will help you a lot in making them interesting.
Your side characters are not aware they are side characters. Everybody else is starring in their story. They’re not going to drop everything just to be there in time to provide a key plot point or helpful hint. They have to behave naturally, and within their own interests.
What we don’t know can be just as interesting as what we do. Having some mysteries remain about your side characters can make them just as memorable as the main ones. Why didn’t Shelly cry at her mom’s funeral? Why was the secretary willing to risk her job to help the detective? Hinting at their motives - or leaving characters wondering at them - can help make them more real.
That said, giving them motives is super important. Shortcuts and stock characters leave much to be desired. As a writer, you can do better than that. The girl who gets with the guy at the end is just that, a stock character. The girl who gets with the guy at the end because they really like each other or because of Some Other Reason just got more interesting.
Hope these help!
« In this format so I can tag it before posting- and apparently tumblr savior isn’t working? So I added a read more. Trigger warning: suicide, death.Please turn back now if you wish. »
We are always told to use body language in our writing. Sometimes, it’s easier said than written. I decided to create these cheat sheets to help you show a character’s state of mind. Obviously, a character may exhibit a number of these behaviours. For example, he may be shocked and angry, or shocked and happy. Use these combinations as needed.
Anonymous asked you:
Heyy! I kinda desperately need some descritiption on cowboy clothing… All (or at least most of) the types, and maybe the time ranges? I don’t know where to start searching… I’m not American, so Im kinda lost…
Looking up historical costume references when you have little knowledge of said history can be a daunting task, but being true to the history is critical in getting the setting right. I knew a writer who didn’t do much research in her specific era, mixing clichéd elements of medieval costume that she had probably seen on TV. Let me tell you, not all movies get it right (in fact, many don’t).
So, I’m going to help with giving you some researching guidelines. These will expand and maximize your internet tool and help you find all the specific resources that you need for your story.
Find the time period. Essentially, try to locate your basic timeframe. If you’re writing a story about the Wild West and old frontier times, for example, then you should be doing a ton of historical research anyway, including how and why this specific culture came about. Once you’ve settled on about the right time period for your story, this is a good start.
Western fashion is suuuper easy to look up. All I did was google “fashion time periods” and Wikipedia gave me History of Western Fashion. I didn’t have to go much farther before I found Wikipedia’s page on Western wear.
Because the American cowboy is a subculture, a culmination of environment and other native cultures, fashion icons developed like a branch from that of the Industrial Revolution trends. Cowboy hats and dusters became iconic of the cowboy era—but you’ll discover this as you research more.
Find the styles. Once you have your time period, look up that time period’s specific fashion. Like I mentioned before, Wiki does this real nicely as well (for fashions of the western world). Find the name of the specific parts of the each garment or accessory that you need and look that up where you need to. For example, if I want to look up “duster”, I can plug that into Wiki and, tah-dah, I get the duster.
Assume everything has a name, from the specific type of coat (Norfolk, morning coat, frock coat, etc.), to every layer of a woman’s gown (and the type of gown). Do you have to go into minute detail in your writing? Maybe not, but you always have it for reference, and just having that knowledge alone can subtly affect how you write the clothing in question.
If you’re doing non-western fashion, this step may take you much longer, especially if you’re starting with 0 knowledge. It doesn’t help that pages like Wiki are very scarce. But, keep in mind that some places (like China) evolved fashion much more slowly, or at a more subtle rate, and for different reasons. Traditional garb is important for a multitude of reasons.
However, don’t rely entirely on Wikipedia to do your research for you. That’s a good starting point so you can get basic elements, but take your search to Google. If I look up “Chinese traditional fashion”, I get a whole page on UCLA about it.
Anonymous said: Sorry to bother you, but I can’t get a useful answer out of search engines, and wasn’t really sure how to find it in your FAQ or Toolbox since it’s a bit of an odd and controversial topic. How can I make the reader love a character in a small amount of time? I want them to be sad and understand the other characters’ pain when the subject opts to be euthanized.
Hey there! Thanks for your question!
I don’t believe that we’ve written anything as of yet on creating a likeable character, but you might check out these posts from our fellow Tumblr writing help bloggers!
As you can see, quite a bit has been written on the subject. And that’s just from Tumblr!
People always assume that playing someone British is just learning the slang and how to speak correctly with the accent. Well, that isn’t entirely true.
Tip No. 1: How to sound British.
Of course you have to perfect how to sound British. Use these links to use the slang all the time.
Tip No. 2: Location, location, location.
They’re going to ask where you are from and you just can’t say Britain, shit face. What if they are from Britain itself? You need to have a “home location”. What city/town? What district did you live in? Where is it located? What is it near? What are the customs there? It may also be important to know important counties and cities. If you can’t locate London on a map, it will be fairly obvious that you are not British.
- How to live in Britain: Topics of The Basics, Law, Geography, Culture, Problems, Being Successful, Making a Difference, and Personal Life.
Tip No. 3: Wording and spelling is a very important factor.
The British change their wording and spelling a lot. Here is a British to American translator.
Tip No. 4: Know their hobbies: such as their television shows and what they do in their free time.Not all the shows we have here in America are watched in Britain. Here is a list of the most popular televison series in Britian. (It stays updated, because what’s the point of posting one that isn’t?)
Tip No. 5: Myths about the BritishWe Americans don’t go around eating burgers and holding shot guns, do we? There are always myths about races and countries.
I believe the first and foremost thing that we need to pay attention on while writing a pregnant character is the symptoms. The general symptoms are:
- Headache; the possible causes are fatigue, tension, increasing hunger, physical or emotional stress, and overheating.
- Morning sickness or vomiting
- Food craving
- Changes in breasts; breasts may become larger and more tender.
- Peeing more often
- Aches in the back, pelvis, and shoulders due to changes in posture, body weight, and body shape.
- Increasing sensitivity to certain smells
- Losing interests in some food that you usually like
- Sleeplessness; could be due to restless legs syndrome
The most well-known symptom is, of course, the morning sickness. To some lucky women, morning sickness only happens in the morning, but for most, morning sickness can happen anytime, despite the name. Causes of this include hormonal and gastrointestinal factors. The least possible factor is psychological, although it’s possible, and these causes would be explained further by the first article linked below.
Morning sickness usually begins 4-8 weeks after the last menstrual period, peaks during the 11-13 weeks, and starts diminishing during 14-18 weeks into the pregnancy. Fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are not linked to this symptom. [Source]
To understand further about morning sickness, here are some good articles:
- Causes of vomiting during pregnancy
- Morning sickness on wikipedia
- Helpful do’s and don’t’s during morning sickness
- Morning sickness: Causes, concerns, treatments
- Treatments of morning sicknessIf you need to know more about the other symptoms, these articles might be a help:
Besides the symptoms mentioned above, your character might also get affected by mental health problems and hair/skin changes during the pregnancy.
- Describing about your changes in your character’s physical appearance might be a great idea. This article explains about the changes to hair and skin, including pigment changes, dry skin, stretchmarks, and reduced hair loss.
- Depression and anxiety might affect pregnant women, and it usually happens within the third trimester of pregnancy. Here's a good article that explains this.Other things that you might need to know during the pregnancy:The last thing that I think is important to touch on is the developments of pregnancy itself. BBC has good articles regarding what you need to know during the phases in pregnancy:I hope this helped, and if there’s anything that you’d like me to research further, please drop me another message.