Dissociative Identity Disorder

Few Infamous Cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder

Multiple personality disorder is a kind of mental disorder where a person bore more than one identity. There are even cases where a person had more than 100 different personalities. To be direct, dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a mental health condition where people have two or more separate identities. These personalities control their behavior at different times. Each identity has its personal history, traits, likes, and dislikes. Sometimes, one personality controls the other and is aware of their presence while sometimes they are just completely different personalities sharing a single body. But astonishingly, all these personalities not just differ in behavior, but also in how they walk, talk, think, their IQ, handwriting, and even their weights!

Here are a few classic cases of DID and how people deal with it:

To understand people with DID, it is important that we know how these personalities emerge that help the host deal with certain situations and trauma from the past. Most of the time, DID is triggered by PTSD to deal with guilt or traumas they have experienced. Among the patients diagnosed with the disorder, around 90% of them had a rough past that somehow created theirs alters. Here are a few infamous cases of dissociative identity disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Juanita Maxwell:

Juanita Maxwell was perhaps one of the best cases of DID ever witnessed in the United States. Mostly transformation from one personality to another is often seen by either psychiatrist or close family. But it was the very first time that a patient transformed into another personality in front of the whole court.

In 1979, Juanita Maxwell worked as a hotel maid. She was a 23-year-old soft-spoken woman. However, one night, a 72-year-old hotel guest Inez Kelley was brutally murdered; she was beaten, bitten, and choked to death. At the scene of the crime was present fazed Juanita with blood on her shoes and a scratch on her face. Juanita had no memory of how she was present at the scene or what happened before it. While awaiting trial, Maxwell saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with DID. It was reported that Juanita had six different personalities other than the host. One of them was Wanda, the one who committed the murder.

At her trial, the defense team, using a social worker, drew Wanda out on the stand. It was then people witnessed the soft-spoken Juanita turn into a vicious violent Wanda. Even the judge was astonished and said that either she really had multiple personalities, or she deserved an Academy Award.

Billy Milligan:

Billi Milligan’s case took the light in 1977 when three women around Ohio State University were kidnapped, robbed, and raped. According to one woman, the rapist had a German dialect while the other claimed that her rapist was American and that despite raping her, he was kind. However, when the search broke out, it was revealed that one man committed all the rapes. His name was Billy Milligan who previously has been jailed for robberies.

When Milligan was presented in front of a psychiatrist, it was diagnosed that he had 24 different personalities. One of them was named Ragen Vadascovinich, a Yugoslav communist who Milligan claimed had committed the robberies. Whereas his other personality was Adalana, a 19-year-old lesbian who longed for affection and thus had allegedly committed the rapes. The jury was convinced, and Milligan became the first American found not guilty due to DID. He was taken to a mental hospital until 1988 and released after experts thought that all the personalities had melded together.

His case was so famous that the public remained skeptical about Milligan. Though some sympathized with his condition while the rest claimed that Milligan had been faking. Billy Milligan died of cancer in 2014.

Karen Overhill:

In 1989, a therapist Dr. Richard Baer was visited by a 29-year-old woman named Karen Overhill in the hopes of finding the source of her lifelong memory lapses. Overhill told him that she would often wake up in different places and had no idea how she ended up there. Sometimes even in the middle of the day, she would find herself in trouble for the things she had no memory of. A normal visit turned much more complex when her diagnosis came, and Baer revealed that Overhill was suffering from multiple personality disorder. Baer determined Overhill had 17 distinct personalities- girls, boys, women, and men.

Each personality was somehow connected to the past of Overhill and each of them revealed their traumatic childhood, which surprisingly coincides with the host childhood. Baer maintained that Overhill developed her 16 alters to cope with her childhood trauma, specifically the sexual assault and torture she endured in the 1960s when her male family members allegedly led a cult. She was raped by an older relative and abused by many others. Baer when later confronted her other personalities, they all told part of the same story. In fact, when Baer looked through her past, he discovered that Overhill’s father was actually convicted on 19 counts of sexual abuse in 1993.

In 2017, Dr. Richard Baer released the biography ‘Switching Time: A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities’, inspired by Overhill’s case.

Kim Noble:

Kim Noble was born in 1960 in the United Kingdom. She had a rough childhood where from a young age she was physically abused, and then she suffered from many mental problems as a teenager and overdosed a few times and once even was placed in a mental institution.

Later, her other personalities started emerging and were especially violent. One of them was even a pedophile! Once she threw acid on her face and lit the house on fire but miraculously survived. She was admitted to the hospital multiple times due to suicide attempts but later she couldn’t remember what happened. In 1995, Noble was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, and it was revealed that she had over 100 different personalities. Each day, around 4 to 5 personalities would take over her with Patricia being the most dominant one. Patricia is not the host; however, it is her only personality that is confident, calm, and knowledgeable. Patricia is the one who gave all her interviews. In 2012, she published a book about her life, All of Me: How I Learned to Live with the Many Personalities Sharing My Body.

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