Credit: Mosaic

What it’s like to live with multiple personality disorder

Without the unified sense of self that attachment and stability brings, dissociated identities can make someone’s personality appear to swing wildly. Melanie has an anorexic part, and a part that attempted suicide twice because the pain of the barriers coming down felt unbearable. Her three-year-old part is easily scared by things that remind her of past traumas – like a scent or a man’s way of walking – and in these situations she will freeze or even hide. On the other hand, the 16-year-old can be flirty.

It makes sense that Melanie will behave differently depending on ‘who’ is to the fore in her mind. She is not acting like her three-year-old self, or even remembering what it was like to be three. She is that three-year-old – until another identity comes to the fore.

Emma Young meets a woman with dissociative identity disorder and discovers what happens when you lose your sense of being an individual.