YouTube, Helen: A Woman with 7 Personalities, Part I

This video series is one of the best I’ve seen. Shot in London, England, it is not sensationalism or hype as most are. It’s just two ordinary women recording their daily activities.

You will clearly see Helen switch from an adult to different child personalities. The predominant and overt behavior shown is the instantaneous change in vocal tone, quality, and volume as she assumes the role of little boy. Voice change is a common behavior in people claiming to have child personalities. Some clinicians/therapists use the change in voice to support their diagnosis of multiple personalities. Individuals/patients often use voice change as proof that multiple personalities exist. I find it purely rubbish.

I was once diagnosed with multiple personalities and lived that lifestyle for nearly 7 years. During that time, I knew nearly a dozen other women similarly diagnosed in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA area. We spent a lot of time together both in, and out, of the hospital. We had apartments scattered around the city and spent time at each others homes and visited those who were hospitalized. An ever revolving community, we moved through life together, focusing on hospitalizations and our alter personalities.

I distinctly recall a particular evening when I was an inpatient. We were lounging around watching TV one boring evening. The room was filled with smoke, the fan meant to keep the air clean was roaring in the ceiling, and the TV blared beneath the chatter of patients swapping war stories. One of my friends was sitting on a sofa in her nightgown, knees drawn to her chest and hugging a teddy bear. She was speaking in a little girl voice. I was mesmerized wondering what she would do next.

What she did next was light a cigarette and take a long drag. She smoked all day, so smoking wasn’t odd – being a child smoking a cigarette as an adult kept me mesmerized until the session with my doctor the following day. I told him the story. He explained to me that she was “co-conscious” meaning she was more than one personality simultaneously. Again, I was mesmerized with him, with her, with myself and with the exotic diagnosis I unwittingly assumed

I think Helen is in full control of her mental thought processes and the behavior she chooses to display – although she claims to have no memory of what occurs when she changes into the persona of little boy.

Helen’s videographer friend bought into the belief system that her old-pal has multiple personalities and is willing to interact with her as if she indeed becomes a little boy. I wonder what type of video this would have been if Ruth, the videographer,  thought her friend did not have multiple personalities and chose not to pander to Helen’s behavior? What if Ruth thought her friend’s  lifestyle was just a ruse? Would Helen continue to enjoy the attention she received from the filming or would she have declined to be the star in this production?

During the videotaping, Helen and Ruth do not interact with the general public. The video is shot in several locations: Helen’s bedroom full of fluffy stuffed animals, in parks, on public transportation in an isolated area, and at a children’s playground.

Although Helen plays on the sliding board, she chooses not to interact with the children at the park. When I am at a children’s park, I hear the screams of delighted kids romping and running around. They jump, tumble, knock each other down, and sometimes cry. Helen did none of this.

I can only imagine what children enjoying the company of their peers would have experienced and reacted if this adult woman came to play with them while talking in a baby voice. How would they have responded if they saw the rows of self-inflicted scars up and down Helen’s arms? What would the parents of the children have done? Would Helen’s behavior warrant police and/or emergency intervention?

Videographer and star made sure we didn’t witness reality. So we will never know.

~~~~~~~~~~

From the description on YouTube:

Helen and Ruth were best friends at school. Helen, according to Ruth, was one of the prettiest and cleverest girls in the class. Whenever Ruth thinks of school she thinks of the fun times she shared with Helen. Soon after leaving school, however, they lost contact. Fourteen years later Helen and Ruth bumped into each other by chance on a train. As they sat together on the train, Helen told Ruth that she had Multiple Personality Disorder, had been satanically and sexually abused as a child and had tried to take her own life on a number of occasions. Since that meeting six years ago Ruth and Helen have begun to rekindle their old friendship. This film follows Ruth on her journey of discovery into Helen’s world. We accompany her as she gets to know her friend again, as she tries to find out what happened to Helen in the fourteen years they were apart and to understand what it means for Helen to live with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).

Retrieved 9/29/11.Helen Part I

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13 Comments

  1. K

     /  12/24/2011

    For some with child alters, the alters act older than a regular child their age would. This is because, despite them being X years old, they’ve been in the body for a lot longer than that. They may have been the one fronting to deal with XX for years. With all the fronting, even if they don’t realize they can still age, they may still mature and learn new skills.

    Again, all the alters do share one brain. While knowledge is sectioned off, some of it will leak through or be stored in a more general area. With even slight lowering of dissociative boundaries, the child alters may learn how to do things no natural child their age would.

    I do find the example you provided quite ridiculous, and highly doubt the mental facility you attended. Coconscious or not, the idea of smoking while a child alter is present is deplorable.

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    • Smoking while a child alter is more the norm than not in my experience. I’ve never seen a child alter be true to what a child of the age it is claiming to be.

      Take the childish jibberish that some MPD/DID people write. It’s ridiculous. It’s baby-talk, not that of a child’s mind. The person may write in baby jibberish, but the context is adult. I don’t find the rational you use for this as having much substance. It’s more of a clever way to cover up a serious breech in credibility.

      Again, if each person and alter shares one brain – and knowledge is sectioned off, then how can a person function? Why go to school? If knowledge is sectioned off, there is no hope in being able to remember what was learned – unless, of course, several personalities get together. Under those circumstances, it would be impossible to complete one task in a relatively usual period of time. I point this out as another inconsistency in your theory.

      I hope you can take some time to read what you post and to try to look at it through the eye of a skeptic. You will be able to see the inconsistencies and the illogical theories that are inherent in the MPD/DID world.

      The biggest thing I hope you will see someday is how the theories are closed-looped. By this I mean that for every situation, there is an answer. I don’t read about DID believers recognizing this.

      Having an answer to every question is how I managed to stay prisoner in the world of multiplicity for 7 years. If someone had challenged my irrational thinking and beliefs, I would have had a chance to get out sooner. But not one of the therapists or hospital personnel had the balls to do so.

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      • K

         /  12/25/2011

        Oh dear. I find this very troubling. I have not witnessed this behaviour, and I would be dismayed to do so. I am not sure if this is an indication of functuality in our system or an indication of disrespect in that of others.

        Within many DID communities, this sort of writing is actually considered a sign that one is faking. I am not quite sure where you view a disrepency, but I can promise you, if someone has enough knowledge to discuss adult topics, but cannot access the knowledge to use correct spelling, there is something wrong, typically faking.

        Well, I suppose this is why DID is a disorder, correct?
        I am not sure how other systems manage. Many do seem to struggle imensly in this area. Often, it seems the host is forced to front for as long as possible, though this causes severe breakdowns. Other systems seem to simply give up and hope for the best, which I find to be quite discouraging. Again, we use the group system previously mentioned.
        I… fail to see why you believe having multiple alters functioning as a group would increase the time needed to complete tasks. Would you please elaborate this for me?

        I am sorry, but I have not noticed anything of the sort, perhaps because I am aware of my thoughts while writing no matter what view point I view it through, so I have information on the context that you do not.
        Also, you are not aware of this fact, but I used to believe DID was impossible, as well. It was only through another system member pointing out how entirely odd it was for me to insist we were one person while holding opposing views from them on this fact. Once I began to reach this conclusion, I researched the topic extensively until I was satisfied such a disorder existed.

        Our beliefs have been challenged many times. We do, however, typically have an answer. If we do not, we attempt to find one. I dislike leaving questions unsolved. And if there was no answer for how DID could function, I don’t see why people would believe in it.

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        • K, you asked me why you believe having multiple alters functioning as a group would increase the time needed to complete tasks. Would you please elaborate this for me?

          I know that when I thought I had multiple personalities, simply trying to decide what to wear in the morning was time consuming. I had to take into consideration who I was, i.e. what personality or who might emerge later. Other multiples I knew at the time had similar experiences except the ones who wore the same clothes day after day.

          Therefore, how can anyone with multiple personalities make quick decisions when having to confer with a “group or system”? Doesn’t each person in the system get a say? Given that, how can I reasonably assume that anyone with a “system” of alter selves to be competent at decision making and task completion? How can a person fully function when having their energy and attention focused on making a group of personalities work together to complete a task?

          I understand that people claim that one personality might do one chore and another does something else. But when many alters have to work together, as in a system, I don’t find it unreasonable to expect it to take more time to get anything done.

          K, you said the following that I find interesting: you are not aware of this fact, but I used to believe DID was impossible, as well. It was only through another system member pointing out how entirely odd it was for me to insist we were one person while holding opposing views from them on this fact.

          It is quite normal for people to have different or opposing views – or to change their stance on a particular issue. This is an example of how the MPD/DID community pathologizes ordinary experiences of human beings.

          Once someone loses sight that they experience what everyone else does, it is easy to think it must be another personality.

          It is also common for people to make these erroneous assumptions, to do some research, come to the conclusion that they had other identities inside them, and self-diagnose their experiences as multiple personalities as you have done.

          I’m glad to know you dislike having questions unanswered. How about finding a therapist that disagrees with the MPD/DID diagnosis? Then take the challenge to listen to them and entertain their insight into the psychological problems you are facing? That could lead you to a different way of seeing yourself and the alter selves you claim to have. Just a thought.

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          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            Ah, ok. I see where you’re coming from now.
            Well, that’s why one of the goals of therapy is to get a host or core back in charge. If it’s a small decision that doesn’t risk putting the system in danger, many systems leave that up to the core or host. Of course, things like clothing can just be left to whoever is out. If someone dislikes it later, they can change or just deal with it. On those sorts of things, taking everyone into consideration takes too much time.
            For larger decisions, yes, we do try to get a group consenseus. However, for larger decisions, thinking things over first is pretty smart! You get to hear both sides of the story, and it forces you to decide more based on logic than just a split second emotional decision. Is it annoying sometimes? Yes. But, especially since the protector’s are often not distracted by temporary gains, it can really help long term.

            No. She was refering to someone else… inside our brain. She was the only alter who didn’t believe we had DID. In hindsight, it’s a bit ridiculous. We all knew we had DID. Then she would switch out, and not only could we suddenly excell at math and science and became socially inept, but we disbelived in the DID? I don’t view that as a coincidence, not when it was so consistant. Besides, as stated, it took a bit of research for her to reassure herself that DID was possible. It wasn’t just a random change.

            We’ve gotten diagnosed twice. Once with DDNOS, then, a year later, with DID by two completely unrelated psychocologists.

            I would rather not. That would mean paying just to debate with someone, haha. Unfortanutly, I don’t have the time nor money for that at the moment. Besides, that’s what you’re for, right?

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          • K,

            What you describe regarding decision making and weighing several sides, or pros and cons, is what everyone does.

            I don’t understand why some people choose to view those internal dialogues as alter insiders. Again, it’s pathologizing a normal psychological process.

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          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            No, that is not what I am describing… it’s hard to explain, but I will try.

            Say you want to go out to eat to a restaurant. You could weigh the pros and cons of going out to eat, then the pros and cons of each restaurant. You could pick a place based on many factours; distance, cost, food quality, speed, reviews.

            For someone with DID, each (well developed, interested) alter would go through this process on their own, then again as a whole. For example, I might not really care about anything but that we’re going to a buffet. Kayden, though, might be weighing in how crowded certain places are, how cheap, and the location, and she might decide Restaurant A is best. H might go through the same process, but she might care slightly more about food quality and price and decide B is better. Amy might be looking, like Kayden, for which place is least crowded, but she might care more about the reviews than anything else, and insist we go to Restaurant C.
            I’m not sure how well I explained that, though.

            Of course, like I previously said, though, we wouldn’t do this about a restaurant. It’d take too long, and it’s more than likely I’d get bored half way through the argument and just end up grabbing something out of the fridge. So, for this kind of small thing, as stated, I would get the final say. Not that we’d go to a restaurant without a friend, anyway…

            Ignoring how much I over complicated this, does it make sense? Or did I screw things up trying to help?

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          • K, thanks. You did just fine. Thank you for taking the time for doing so. \

            As I was reading what you would go through – I too, would have given up and grabbed something out of the fridge 🙂

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          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            Oh, thank goodness. My explaining skills aren’t always so up to par, ahah.

            At least the fridge would be well stocked about now. 🙂

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          • 🙂

            Your communication and writing skills are just fine. thx for all your comments.

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  2. V

     /  10/01/2011

    When I got old enough that my friends had kids and I got to see real kids, I realized that my mother’s child personalities were pure BS. The child personalities were the most insulting caricatures of children, totally one-dimensional. Real kids are much more complex than an adult pretending to be a kid and have way way more range of emotion.

    I didn’t realize this all at once but the awareness of the differences built over time. I am the oldest child in my family so you might have thought I would have figured this out before, but when I think to my childhood I remember my mother acting like a child and speaking in baby voices, and my siblings being more like adults. I don’t think that it’s so much that they were mature, as that they had ranges of emotions and moods, as well as interests and opinions and ideas. Kids have these things. My mother’s DID alters had only the shallowest of moods and wanted only attention and engaged in only the most stereotypical and emotional of behaviors. There was never the curiosity or the genuine personality that an actual kid might have. Of course, I realize all this in hindsight, at the time I thought the child personalities were real, more real than myself or my siblings, and more important.

    I still am afraid of children because of my mother’s DID. It is a strange thing, when I am in the presence of a child I am expecting an emotional and psychotic outburst, just waiting for it. I have some fear left. My mother was much larger than me (she is at least twice my weight even today, and maybe more like 3x) and she would have tantrums like a toddler and just go berzerk. Nowadays I am larger than kids but they still scare me somewhat. I think it’s a reflex or a trauma. It is definitely stupid. Real kids aren’t doing anything wrong by being kids, even tantrums are just part of life and normal. But, I just have that leftover fear. I can get over it, it doesn’t affect my behavior, but it is there.

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    • V, I think I understand your insights about what it was like to be a child with a Mommy who was acting like a child. Perhaps you were growing up as your mother was regressing. On some little girl level, you plainly saw that something was wrong – that your mother was a different type of child than all the others you knew. It must have been very confusing.

      Your fears of children are unfortunate. You may indeed have trauma associated with that time it would sure make sense – there is nothing stupid about what you express – in my opinion. Even though we may have the insight about why, I think our emotions and experiences are not as quick to follow suit. I would cringe too if I had a mother like the one you experienced. Have you ever gone to a playground or a sports game and just sat in the distance and observed?

      It reminds me of my youth and when I was afraid of dogs like my mother was. I didn’t understand them, didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know if they would bite me, didn’t know Anything and didn’t think I would be able to protect myself. When I was in college, my friends had pets and I didn’t want to continue being afraid. It took time, but I got over it and now have 3 dogs at my feet as I sit here writing.

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      • V

         /  10/03/2011

        I didn’t understand that my mother was not a real child. Back then, my mother and father told us that my mother’s child personalities were real, and my siblings and I had to play grownup to take care of her. So, I thought of myself and my siblings as adults and my mother’s fake child alters as real children.

        I had no idea what real children were like, so I based my impression on her child alters. It wasn’t until I was ~30 years old and my friends had kids and I observed the behavior of REAL kids that I started to realize how fake and ridiculous my mother’s child “alters” were. There is absolutely no comparing real kids with those child alters, it is ludicrous.

        I didn’t know that then, however. It took me a long time to realize it. I maybe had an inkling that something wasn’t right, but without actual life experience to compare with, I couldn’t figure it out.

        I think that I fear children because of my mother’s terrifying, erratic, and needy behavior as a “child” alter. She treated me quite badly during those episodes, so I fear those tantrums, I just remember being helpless. In reality I am not helpless and the tantrums of real children are not a big deal (even if they are annoying at times). I think it’ just a leftover reaction. Such is life.

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