Roleplaying a Personality Disorder: Film, science, and multiple personalities.
So I’ve decided to put this together because I’ve been seeing lots of people come up with really good ideas in how mental stress would make them respond in an actual apocalypse. The problem is that most get it horribly, cringeworthily, wrong. I’ll possibly be writing a few of these about various disorders. This essay will specify Multiple Personality Disorder, or as it is known in science as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). While this is going to end up a very long read, as most of the readers of my stories know, it will be worth it. This is a very extensive illness and quite complicated. The more you understand about what it really is, the better you can be at roleplaying it.
The first thing is to understand the definition of what the mental illness is. ‘Crazy’ can cover a broad range of mental illnesses that tend to be lumped together into things that don’t exist. The most common thing we see, is a mix of DID and Schizophrenia. People have multiple personas, hear things, see things, etc.“Schizophrenia- (NIMH)-
It’s estimated that 2% of people experience dissociative disorders, with women being more likely than men to be diagnosed. Almost half of adults in the United States experience at least one depersonalization/derealization episode in their lives, with only 2% meeting the full criteria for chronic episodes. The symptoms of a dissociative disorder usually first develop as a response to a traumatic event, such as abuse or military combat, to keep those memories under control. Stressful situations can worsen symptoms and cause problems with functioning in everyday activities. However, the symptoms a person experiences will depend on the type of dissociative disorder that a person has. Treatment for dissociative disorders often involves psychotherapy and medication. Though finding an effective treatment plan can be difficult, many people are able to live healthy and productive lives. - See more at: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Dissociative-Disorders#sthash.UK0cGSFZ.dpuf”
“Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, consciousness or awareness, identity and/or perception — mental functions that normally work smoothly. When one or more of these functions is disrupted, dissociative symptoms can result.”
Symptoms and Signs of Dissociative Disorders via NAMI:
National Alliance of Mental Illness describes 3 forms of Dissociative Disorders.
Dissociative Identity Disorder-
I think the second most important part is that most people seem to think that in order to have good roleplay they have to be violent. While some people can pull of very good hostile rp, the reality is that how often most people rp it and with their reasons, it’s completely illogical. What people also don’t think about, it gets really fucking boring, really quickly.
People look at something and throw in violence for it to be easy. Some of the best RP’s I’ve done with people are mental. You can take mental, and not have it go violent. You can still get great story from it. You just have to be creative about it, think of it as a challenge.
A SWTOR Example:
In film, we see multiple things: Person has ‘another persona’ or multiples. The normal film traits of this persona:
• The character either IS or IS NOT aware of the other persona
• The persona is usually violent
• The other persona is manipulative
• The other persona is a personality who does ‘not want to leave’ and wants control, secrecy etc.
• The personas can have conversations
• Any sort of disassociation is shown as being emotionally numb and WANTS to inflict pain for whatever reason
These are typically what we see when people ‘roleplay’ DID. The problem, is that it’s horribly, horribly wrong. This system is used for shock factor (Fight Club), etc. It’s used to tell a high tension story to make lots of money and entertain people. This is nothing like real life.
So let’s break this down.
You want to have a dissociative disorder, or especially DID? You have to break down what kind of disorder you are going to focus on.
• Dissociative Amnesia-
• Depersonalization Disorder-
• Dissociative Identity Disorder-
THING TO REMEMBER: Personalities develop as a thing to protect the mind and self. NOT to engage it in more dangerous behavior.
Real life Examples:
I made some really good finds on Reddit while looking into these. Here are some of the best I found.
Describing Schizophrenia https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/5pvjs3/for_those_who_have_suffered_from_schizophrenia/?sort=top
Describing Psychosis associated with Schizophrenia (can also be a symptom of BiPolar Disorder)
• Q: When I read this it sounds like an episode of psychosis is just a like dream. Do you find the experience of psychosis to be similar to a dream?
• Q: When you have the hallucinations, do they look just like real people or are you just too disoriented to notice that they aren't? Are they people you know or usually strangers? A:
• Q: In the moment can you actually say to yourself "this isn't real?" Like you see the horse, maybe you even here it and can feel it, but can you close your eyes and wait? Or are you not that 'aware' in the moment? Like when I'm dreaming and I suddenly realize I'm dreaming I can change how I react
• Q: When you close your eyes you can still feel or hear the hallucinations too?
Observing people with Schizophrenia
• Someones mother
That's the most common thing you'll see in schizophrenia, aside from tangential/disorganized speech; unusual connections between things that otherwise wouldn't exist.
• Step sister
• Just want to clear up that common misconception.
• Another mother
Describing Others With DID
• Someone describing a parent with DID-
A very fascinating story about interactions with someone with DID.
This is a very fascinating chat that I collected various parts to from a Reddit Q&A.
Spending years with a partner with DID:
Personalities- Four of them were kids, two boys and two girls. It was hard to peg their ages, but I'd say something like... 11, 9, 5, and 2. It's not really that easy, because the oldest acted about 11 but could also drive. There was Logic, whose purpose was to talk to me about what Jane was thinking and feeling without emotions. She was really useful, and helped me get into some areas that Jane herself couldn't remember. Then there was Fay, who liked (male) attention and thought she was oh-so-sexy and oh-so-interesting. For a short time, there was an entity that was basically a 4-year-old version of Jane. That one came out when we did regressive hypnosis, to try to figure out what the Big Trauma was. Finally, there was Hate, who I described elsewhere. She was a manifestation of resentment and anger.
PSYCHOLOGY OF DID
In regards to Jane’s Personas:
Q & A for Jane’s Ex and her Personas
Question: how much were you intimate with any of the personalities?
Q: Did she eventually just "get used" to switching from one personality to the other?
Q: I think you said some of her "entities" we're male, right? Did they realize they were in a woman's body? And if so how did they react?
Q: In someone with DID, how do you really tell which personality is their true personality, not just the one which is displayed most often?
Q: So did the other entities not have any memory of the childhood? Not even the kids? Do their memories start when they started emerging?
Q: Did any personas not like you? Were any violent?
Q: What if she was in a dangerous situation where she needed to snap out of it?
Q: Did the personas know who you were?
* Q: Did any personas remain after therapy?
* Q: How did hate go away?
Q: Did the kid entities ever "age"?
Q: Was Jane eve able to hold a job? if so did she have episodes while on the job? you mentioned that some did not know how to drive which made me wonder how they would know how to handle themselves in a professional or semi-professional situation.
Q: did the personalities ever try to trick you when changing?
Q: Did the personalities know about each other? How did they respond to that?
Q: How is ‘Jane’ now?
Treatments for said disorders:
Schizophrenia Treatment via Mayo Clinic
By Mayo Clinic Staff Print
Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment, even when symptoms have subsided. Treatment with medications and psychosocial therapy can help manage the condition. In some cases, hospitalization may be needed.
A psychiatrist experienced in treating schizophrenia usually guides treatment. The treatment team also may include a psychologist, social worker, psychiatric nurse and possibly a case manager to coordinate care. The full-team approach may be available in clinics with expertise in schizophrenia treatment.
DID Treatment via Mayo Clinic
By Mayo Clinic Staff Print
Dissociative disorders treatment may vary based on the type of disorder you have, but generally include psychotherapy and medication.