April 15th, 2008
12:10 PM ET

Herschel Walker's alter personalities

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent

When I first heard that former football great Herschel Walker had multiple personality disorder, I was pretty stunned. Even though, I am a doctor, I had to admit that I knew very little about this particular psychiatric disorder. For starters, it is called DID, or dissociative identity disorder, instead of multiple personality disorder. Most people think of Sally Field's character Sybil, but another thing I learned is neither Sybil nor Walker actually has multiple personalities, but rather the lack of one cohesive personality. In Walker's case, he has 12 – yes 12 – alter personalities, which are all better described as fragments of one. (Here is an article I thought was very informative: http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=11122)

Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker

Sitting down with Walker, I met an extremely charismatic and likeable man who certainly didn't overtly flip from one alter to the next. It became clear, though, throughout our conversation that these alters were just under the surface. From stories of playing Russian roulette while still an extremely successful football star to rapidly switching from one alter to the next with absolutely no recollection, it was mind boggling, confusing, and a little bizarre. Again, unlike uncontrolled rage or depression, Walker really could not remember from one alter to the next. He even had names for his alters. The one that showed up on the football field was the General, and he was a competitive killer.

Because of the lack of memory of these various alters, we found it important to speak with people who witnessed this firsthand.  So, we flew to Dallas and met with his former wife, Cindy.  She described many incidents, including a chilling one of waking up with a straight razor to her neck and Herschel threatening to slit her throat - and then having Herschel quickly flipping and asking her if she was OK.  She saw that flipping back and forth and it scared her – eventually leading to their divorce.

Medically, I was fascinated to learn that DID is much more common than people realize – about 1 percent of the population has the disorder. It is often associated with psychological and physical abuse as a child; in fact it is a childhood disorder that is often diagnosed as an adult. The child starts to separate his or her personality into fragments in order to deal with different aspects of life.  By adulthood, these fragments become full-fledged alters. Herschel himself admitted he was bullied a lot as a child, because he was overweight and stuttered.

In Walker's case, sometimes the alter personalities worked for him as the General did on the football field, but most of the times they were destructive. He is getting help nowadays, but there is no specific medication that can be prescribed. Instead, he goes through counseling to sort of teach his alters to know one another and become one cohesive personality. While he seemed to have things in control as we talked for a long time and even threw the football around, the alters are still very much there.

As I said, I found the story of Herschel Walker to be absolutely fascinating.  And I wondered how many more stories like his are out there.  Have you ever seen or heard anything like this?

Programming note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's interview with Herschel Walker and report on dissociative identity disorder on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight at 10 ET.

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation. 

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  1. Married DID

    Just wanted to let people know that recovery is possible. I have DID, and so does my husband. We've been together 11 years. It can work. Thanks for a non circus-act type of article on this current story.

    April 17, 2008 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lauren

    I do not have DID nor do I know anyone with it, but as a survivor of childhood abuse and bullying and PTSD I am very much aware of Hershel Walker's courage to admit to DID and also to the bullying that caused it.

    I have always felt that our consciousness is kind of like a computer monitor. There much that goes on that drives our interface of what we and others percieve as consciousness. If it weren't for this interface, we would starve. I don't mean to be ignorant to please forgive me if I sound preposterous, but it has been my belief for many years that we ALL have multiple personalities in us, working like the folders that are in a computer core. I wonder if having DID simply means these "folders" are appearing onscreen as the program is being run: a computer glitch. Something is in us that keeps them in check, so maybe having DID isn't what's wrong, but more like another component of our brains, like Control Central, is somehow wired wrong and so can't keep these multiple personalities from popping to the surface.

    April 18, 2008 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. roose

    I agree Christy

    April 18, 2008 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Lori

    My mother is in the process of being diagnosed. Maybe BPD, HPD or could be DID. I would like to see Dr.Gupta and Anderson Cooper do a story on how EXTREMELY DIFFICULT it is to find help in the mental health system for your family! I have bee n begging for someone to help her before she hurt herself or someone else......and we were almost to late. Finally, I have her admitted and someone is listening, but has taken years!!!!

    April 18, 2008 at 04:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. AJM

    To Lori,

    I'm not sure where you have your mom admitted, but there is only one place that I know of (after extensive research for myself) that has the full understanding of DID (and will instruct each patient), and the ability to make a proper diagnosis. Their approach is a combination of individualized and group therapy, and is highly effective with PTSD as well as DID. They actually know as much as there currently is to know. They can explain the how and the whys of this mental (emotional) disorder in a very accurate and down to earth manner, which is far more than I can say of Dr Gupta. Much of what he has said is inaccurate, and it is so unfortunate that he is the one with the national news podium!

    I am referring to THE WOMEN'S INSTITUTE FOR INCORPORATION THERAPY [WIIT] in the Hollywood Pavilion Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. The founder and director is Dr .William B. Tollefson, PhD. Please do your mother the biggest favor of her life and contact them.


    Dr. Tollefson has written a book as well, and can be ordered through his web site.

    Familiarize yourself with WIIT through their website. Call and speak with their personnel, they KNOW what they are doing, and you will immediately be able to see that–they are very patient, calm, and accomodating, as well as full of the information you are seeking. Then order the book. I am absolutely sure that you will not be sorry for taking the time and energy to do this!

    I wish you the best...

    April 18, 2008 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Peggy Silverstein

    I am trying to email this article on to a friend and there was no option.
    Please advise because I know someone with DID.

    April 19, 2008 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. patricia robinson

    My son Shatarro Robinson has the same symptoms that Herschel Walker has, can you help me.

    April 20, 2008 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. rs

    The vast majority, and probably all, of multiple personality cases are the result of bad therapy, or people reading credulous books about MPD (or DID, as it has been renamed to try to make it less controversial). I can tell that this is certainly not a popular view on this blog, but if you review the scholarly, skeptical literature on the subject, you will find that a small coterie of MPD "gurus" cue their clients in this belief, and that it became a full-fledged epidemic in the 1980s once insurance companies would pay for the diagnosis. Once someone comes to believe in their "alters," the condition becomes all too real for them, and truly painful, so it is not a matter of anyone, including Herschel Walker, being an "imposter." It is a matter of taking someone with problems and making them much, much worse by eliciting and naming various parts (often through hypnosis, which simply makes people suggestible). In Herschel Walker's case, his therapist, Jerry Mungadze, is known to believe in all the claptrap about ritual abuse and repressed memories. It is not surprising that Mr. Walker, questioning his identity after retiring from fame and football, should fall into this trap. But like most people who believe they suffer from MPD, he did not know about his alters or name them until he was "helped" and "educated" by his therapist.

    April 20, 2008 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • the real thing

      Well, I did. I couldn't avoid them if I'd tried. A good 10 years before I was ever diagnosed they would keep me up screaming in my ears late at night - crowds of people that left me rocking and crying and unable to sleep. It was and is torment. No iatrogenesis here, thank you very much.

      October 24, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
    • JJ


      December 16, 2011 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • axnbxt

      @rs I deeply hope that you will one day come to feel all the pain you’re denying in other people here with your post.

      February 14, 2019 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    Kudos to the many people that have spoken up for the real survivors. I was diagnosed with DID 3 years ago. The realization that my parents had tortured and abused me was so incredibly painfull that I didn't want to believe it could have really happened. Instead I joked that perhaps I was the first person to have DID for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I see Mr. Walker has claimed this title as his own. All the current research says that the abuse has to happen before the age of 7 to cause the mind to completely compartmentilze different thoughts, feelings and memories.

    Personally, I think he did a great disservice to those of us who truly have this. I have to wonder about the line of thinking of both Mr. Walker and his therapist to put forth this book claiming he has a disorder caused by severe torture and abuse (most generally of a sexual nature) in early childhood, and then claim that nothing of that sort happened. It's only a matter of time before he is tore apart in the press and completely discredited. I can only pray the fallout doesn't hit the true SURVIVORS.

    April 20, 2008 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ellen

    to "rs"

    obviously you do not have this diagnosis. how shallow is your thinking! have you ever heard of the word "splitting" . . . if iyou have ever "split" then you would not have one doubt that dissociative disordres exist. i do not believe one single person would continue to go to therapy if the diagnosis did not match their experience. it takes some people a loooong time to accept the diagnosis because they think the therapist is nuts – but they continue to go to therapy because little things the therapist says at the beginning begin to make since.

    to "waslm" . . . maybe your disorder is not painful. it bothers me when people call it a "gift" . i am always suicidal because of this disorder because of the pain it causes and disruption it causes in work, relationoships, money, etc.

    April 21, 2008 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Cheryl Harrington

    As a survivor of severe abuse, which left me in a dissociated state, I'm encouraged to see people talk about it. It's something that needs to be addressed with a positive prognosis. My own experience encouraged me to be trained in a process that has brought lasting results, and freedom to my life. My hat's off to those who are brave enough to say something about it, and more – move into a place of freedom. I am now helping others break free from the bondages and challenges that come from dissociation.

    April 22, 2008 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sharon Mack

    It's encouraging to me to hear Walker talk freely about the disorder because I too have been diagnosed with DID. Unlike him, however, I am very much ashamed of it; I respect the courage it must take for him to share it. As a child I was sexually molested by my father which is a very common cause of the disorder. I had no memory of this abuse until depression and anxiety forced me into therapy. There the alters began talking to my therapist and I discovered what they had been protecting me from all of those years.

    April 22, 2008 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jenny

    I was told by a family member to look at this article, and I'm just shaking my head. I'm really relieved to see other people voicing concerns over the bad impression this article gives of those who have been diagnosed with MPD/DID. Also, it's refreshing to see that I'm not the first person to comment on this that was diagnosed as being DID, did not integrate, and has a productive life now.

    I share my headspace with 15 other people. Even though I developed PTSD symptoms in my teenage years, signs of me not being "alone in here" have been evident to family members since the age of 5. I requested a full psychiatric assessment at the age of 19, as I already knew what was going on, but felt I needed validation. After diagnosis, I continued treatment with a psychiatrist, which didn't help. I became more dissociative and depressed when taking anti depressants and anti anxiety medication. I decided to go another route: acceptance. Help my people learn how to communicate with one another and get along. Deal with the PTSD as is with psychiatric social workers and peer counselors. I ate well and exercised, meditated, did CBT, and group therapy. If later on down the line it wasn't working and my people still wanted to integrate, "we" would go that route.

    It's been 9 years. I don't have blackouts. My people get along as well as any family would. I'm in a successful long-term relationship, I'm able to work, and I'm a parent as well. Most who I tell are surprised, saying that I "seem so normal". I have to be careful with who I tell though, because sensationalized media articles like this one make the average person think that multiples are dangerous and crazy.

    April 23, 2008 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. The Kasiyans

    I've heard quite a bit about Herschel Walker and the different responses to what he's revealed about his life. I am one of many within a Plural Group and I consider this to be a lifestyle and not a disorder at all. Who is to say that only having one mind within a body is to be the norm? I consider that to be unusual myself. Our group does not have the medical version of Multiplicity. We do not experience blackouts, lost time, or any of the other "symptoms" which are considered to be disordered. We co-exist together and learn to share our lives together.

    It's frustrating to hear about the stereotypes that are automatically assumed whenever the subject of Multiplicity is brought up. That is must mean childhood abuse, that it's so very rare, that everyone in a Plural Group are broken from one original person, that there must be some dangerous person amongst everyone, that it's impossible for everyone to be aware of one another, and that there must be one person the shared body belongs to.

    The body we all share belongs to not one single one of us, yet we share it whenever we do come here to Front with it. I do understand that there are many who fit the criteria of being "disordered". But what may be true for some, is not true for all. Thank you for this article.

    -Tristan, Jenilee & Kasia

    April 23, 2008 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Leslie D.

    I'm confused. I've gone through several diagnoses. I've worked for 14 years with a therapist who has NOT made money off me. I go back and forth DID yes, DID no. Those with supportive SO are very lucky. My SO (married 28 years) does NOT believe DID exists. He won't divorce me and he won't be supportive. I just want to stop being unhappy and dysfunctional. Right now I don't believe I'm DID. I think I've made this up and exaggerated my childhood pain. Sometimes I've believed the parts of myself that are alters, sometimes I think it is not true and I must have let myself be talked into a false thing. Then I remember some bad things that I know about my life from before ANY therapy. Then I wonder why else would I be TERRIFIED of intimacy with a good spouse. So many questions, so much pain, I just want to resolve my past before it's too late to have my present. Right now my counselor is my only support except for one daughter. I just want to be free. That isn't asking too too much, is it?

    April 24, 2008 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Julia S.

    "mental illness" is culturally dictated to a large degree...

    MPD/DID is doctor fostered if not created.... it is the result of modern American society's need to pathologize the human mind...

    the existence of many layers/spheres/levels or "sides"/facets to the single human body's experience of its "soul"'s identity, does not make a person mentally unable to function in real-life...

    healthy functional plurality is an experience that many people have had throughout the history of our species... people from all cultures, creeds, etc... it is not rare and it is not something to be "healed" of...

    it is the realization that as a human we are a collective... we are connected within ourselves and also to the rest of our human family..

    the "healing" of this, is the creation of a single person convinced that they are completely isolated, cut off from all others and utterly alone in this world.

    sells lots of pills to make people feel that way... don't you agree?

    April 24, 2008 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. fallensparrow

    Being a survivor of childhood trauma and physical/sexual abuse, and living with DID, the frustration is tremendous when encountering Professionals, both in the Medical and Mental health fields that choose to believe one group of research and stats, over another group to base the foundation of disbelief in the diagnosis of DID.

    There is a tremendous amount of research by reputable professional organizations, yet when encountering a healthcare professional I am most reluctant to even state my current condition due to the shame factor that is thrown back onto me due to the fact I revealed something that was asked for as part of an exam, and/or history. I should not have to be forced to feel ashamed of a diagnosis, and fear to seek treatment..does this not mimic some of the very issues which created the disorder..to suffer in silence..

    Many kudos going to Mr. Walker for his courage and strengths...and SHAME back onto any professional that chooses to not give the patient the consideration, respect, and compassion any human being has a right to..emphasis on the word choice..we did not have a choice then, we should have one now…and that is the choice to heal without getting yanked onto the professional battleground of the diagnosis.

    Of note I work in the Healthcare industry ..I won’t even comment on some of the snide remarks I hear from my colleagues and co-workers about this diagnosis. Articles such as this one, when properly researched and presented offer hope to people like me..who have to hide in the trenches due to the label and just bare the humilation in silence out of fear...

    April 24, 2008 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sodalitas Paludis

    We are multiple, and like some of the other groups who have written here, we do not experience 'lost time', 'blackouts' or anything else. Our memory is generally consistent. We also co-operate with each other and do not 'struggle for dominance'. We are full people, each with our own motivations and desires, and we find the idea of integration abhorrent. We're simply too separate for that, and we're fine with that fact.

    The idea that there must be exactly one conscious entity per body is more of a Western cultural trope than an immutable truth. Neuroscientists simply do not know that much about consciousness, and it is perfectly plausible for more than one consciousness to appear. To assume that it absolutely cannot happen, or that it is disordered if it does happen, is presumptuous.

    This isn't to say that disordered multiplicity doesn't exist, but that it is not the only form of plurality extant.

    April 24, 2008 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jill K.

    I am 68 years of age. When my son died in 1994 my DID appeared and was devastating. I am still in counselling and find it very difficult to cope at times. I was on a cruise in Nov.2007, I was going to jump of the top deck. It was so difficult to get a hold of myself. I crawled to the door opening to safety and needless to say never went back up to the top deck again. When I returned home I was about one month dealing with the urges to jump into traffic and was going over and over as if it was happening again to jump of the deck. I have other urges to crash through windows and have the most difficulty looking in the mirror. I don't recognize the person in the mirror. Many times I feel I am walking about a foot off the ground. I go to the casino and when I come out to get into the cab I feel like another person.
    These are examples of my DID

    April 24, 2008 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Connie Jean Conklin

    For over ten years I lived with someone who is DID. He is multi-fractured and we gave up counting “alters” at 2000 in the year 2001. By then they were surfacing in clusters. I’ve been told the large numbers are indicative of the severity of abuse.

    I was inspired by Andy. I was the one who opened Pandora’s box by questioning his diagnosis. The very struggle to just keep a roof over our heads moved us create the non-profit, SEASCAT, for Supportive Environment for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse and Trauma . When basic needs of food and shelter are lacking, you can’t begin to think about working through the difficulty of therapy.

    The plan is to find a motel for residence, hire a therapist and link clients to other necessary services in the community. Residents will have a diagnosis of DID or PTSD from childhood and will be required to be actively working in therapy.

    I’ve dealt with alters surfacing, almost daily at times. Some surface violently, some mute with fear, most very angry, and all very scared. More then once, I held a 30 year old man while the voice of a child tearfully begged Daddy not to do it anymore.

    The need for such a program is not limited geographically. I expect to accept people with a diagnosis of DID from anywhere in the country, because I know how their options are limited. For this reason, dissociative disorders will also take priority when openings are available. The rest of the rooms will be given to local residents (NC) with the diagnosis of PTSD.

    We have just incorporated in western NC and are currently seeking board members. Anyone interested in working with me is encouraged to write niemacniteowl@yahoo.com.

    Connie J. Conklin, MEd

    April 25, 2008 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Bess

    Look, I know all people who have a diagnosis of DID are in extreme pain– please believe me, I'm not belittling you at all. But having been 'diagnosed' with this dissociative disorder and, having come to believe the things that sm, rs, and Julia S. have written (through extensive research on my own), I can't be silent. I was just made aware of this story and the blog, and I am very alarmed. Please consider the facts that are out there regarding this 'disorder.' The CNN news report and Dr. G's blog make it sound as if DID is an established scientific fact. However, if you look into the research done in this area you will find TONS of controversy and many disproving factors heavily suggesting that this is just a dissociative disorder gone awry by misleading and destructive therapy.

    Suggested readings are Elizabeth Loftus "The Myth of Repressed Memory," Richard Ofshe & Ethan Watters, "Making Monsters," Joan Acocella, "Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder" and "Victims of Memory: Incest Allegations and Shattered Lives," by Mark Pendergrast. You can also find many research papers written on the subject by notable psychiatrists and psychologists (online).

    I understand that DID becomes a strongly held personal belief with a huge emotional investment. But think about it: should we imprison ourselves in therapy for over one quarter of our lives to deal with something that we may be creating ourselves? None of you can say I know nothing about this. I hear voices all right. I hear voices I never heard BEFORE I went into therapy. By refusing to accept this diagnosis and by not buying into the 'multiple' and 'survivor' lifestyles, I believe my life was saved.


    May 1, 2008 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Leigh

    I have been on the road of healing (DID) for the last 14 yrs.
    I have been greatly blessed with being a patient of DR Mungadze's for almost all of that time..he wrote the forward in Mr Walkers book...
    I am nearing the end of my journey and the difference in my life is amazing.....I am so proud of Mr Walker for speaking out and letting himself be vulnerable to the world..it takes great courage and selflessness to allow yourself to be scrutinized by the world. I stand up and cheer!!! I know that his book is going to be the beginning of change for all of us who deal with this dissorder and for those who suffer from any mental illness...the stigma will begin to change and I for one am very glad that Mr Walker has choosen to stand!!!

    May 1, 2008 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sara

    I am really glad, that there are more people out there that is living with DID. I am 25 years old; just recently diagnose with DID, therefore I was fortunate to locate this article, and comprehend I am not the only one out there living with DID.

    Thank you

    May 2, 2008 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. fallensparrow

    additional research and resources for inquiring minds, an fyi..the long list of references below are references from a Berkeley University article on the debate about memory, etc..etc...etc....

    Although, I believe the debate will continue until a mind reading device which allows the clinician and/or researcher.."God love'em"...to co-habitat the biosuit with the patient is invented.....where is virtual reality technology when you need it...geeze..




    The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (Hardcover)
    by Onno van der Hart (Author), Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis (Author), Kathy Steele (Author)

    Breuer, J., & S. Freud. (1893-1895). Studies in hysteria. In J. Strachey (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 2.). London: Hogarth Press.
    Christianson, S.-A. (Ed.). (1992). The handbook of emotion and memory: Research and theory . Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    Eich, J. E. (1987). Theoretical issues in state-dependent memory. In H.L. Roediger & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory and consciousness: Essays in honour of Endel Tulving (pp. 331-354). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    Eich, E. (1995). Searching for mood dependent memory. Psychological Science, 6, 67-75.
    Freyd, J. (1996). Betrayal trauma: The logic of forgetting childhood abuse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Goodman, G. S., Quas, J.A., Batterman-Faunce, J.M., Riddlesberger, M.M., & Kuhn, J. (1994). Predictors of accurate and inaccurate memories of traumatic events experienced in childhood. Consciousness and Cognition, 3, 269-294.
    Grinker, R., & Spiegel, J. (1945). War neuroses. Philadelphia: Blakiston. Original work published 1945.
    Herman, J. L. (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.
    Janet, P. (1889). L'Automatisme psychologique. Paris: Alcan.
    Kihlstrom, J.F. (1996). The trauma-memory argument and recovered memory therapy. In K. Pezdek & W.P. Banks (Eds.), The recovered memory/false memory debate (pp. 297-311). San Diego, Ca.: Academic Press.
    Kihlstrom, J. F., & Schacter, D. (1995). Functional disorders of autobiographical memory. In A. Baddeley, B.A. Wilson, & F. Watts (Eds.), Handbook of memory disorders (pp. 337-364). London: Wiley.
    LeDoux, J. (1996). The emotional brain. New York: Simon & Schuster.
    Lindsay, D. S., & Read, J.D. (1994). Psychotherapy and memories of childhood sexual abuse: A cognitive perspective. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 8, 281-338.
    Loftus, E., Garry, M., & Feldman, J. (1994). Forgetting sexual trauma: What does it mean when 38% forget? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 1177-1181.
    McGaugh, J. L. (1992). Affect, neuromodulatory systems, and memory storage. In S.-A. Christianson (Ed.), The handbook of emotion and memory: Research and theory (pp. 245-268). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    Schacter, D. L. (1987). Implicit memory: History and current status. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13, 501-518.
    Singer, J. L. (Ed.) (1990). Repression and dissociation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Squire, L.R., Knowlton, B., & Musen, G. (1993). The structure and organization of memory. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 453-495.
    Terr, L. (1991). Childhood traumas: An outline and overview. American Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 10-20.
    Terr, L. (1994). Unchained memories: True stories of traumatic memories, lost and found. New York: Basic Books.
    van der Kolk, B. A. (1994). The body keeps the score: Memory and the evolving psychobiology of posttraumatic stress. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1, 253-265.
    van der Kolk, B. A., & Fisler, R. (1995). Dissociation and the fragmentary nature of traumatic memories: Overview and exploratory study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 8, 505-525.
    Whitfield, C. L. (1995). Memory and abuse: Remembering and healing the effects of trauma. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications.
    Williams, L. (1994). Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women's memories of child sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 1167-1176.

    May 2, 2008 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Gary

    Is there a Christian support group for DID spouses out there? I am married to a first born, Type A, Choleric, DID lady.

    May 5, 2008 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Karen Walsh

    I have DID and I am sooo tired of some so-called professionals talking as tho the disorder doesn't exist. Many people believed the earth was flat also.
    Yeah, my therapist talked me into feeling so much extreme pain and suffering....just for the fun of it. Of course. Get real!! Maybe it is just difficult for some professionals to believe human beings can inflict such trauma on another human being.
    Also, I have known persons with DID denying what they experience and saying it was all a mistake. I get calls from them years later and they are in a crisis and don't know what to do.
    We would all like to deny it because it is just so extremely painful and we hate to think people (often our parents) could do such horrible things to us. If I was going to make up something DID wouln't be it.

    May 9, 2008 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Marty Pinney

    This is a wonderful thing to have done. We with DID are so often not diagnosed and when we are there is much confusion on the part of the therapists as to what to do. I have been in therapy for the past 20 plus years on and off and finally have found a good one. I have written on my website about some of my journey with DID. Go to duffyscloset.com/dancing voices1.htm... Thank you so much for sharing.
    Marty Pinney

    May 14, 2008 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Christina Morrow

    This page has been very inlightening. I have suspected for many years that my mother may have DID. As a child i could never geusse who I was gonna get. One minute,day, week or blessed month a careing mother. The next party mom leaving me anywhere with anyone or by myself. The next detached and very type A. There were even childlike personalities. While I thought theese were fun when I was young they became a problem as I got older and needed a loving stable adult presence.

    I love my mother wish i could get help for her. I have my own problems to deal with tho ranging from PTSD,Anxiety, depresion and possibly some disasociation. I dont thind I have other personalities just a lack of one cohesive set personality. Thats different than DID isnt it. If anyone knows the best place for me to get help. Please email me cmorrow@yahoo.com

    May 19, 2008 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Angeline

    I have been on two different sides of this so I want to say something about it.

    One is that there was a time when it was fashionable to consider anyone experiencing certain things to have DID. Some psychology students decided to tell me I had it, when I was really experiencing something else. They encouraged me to see every nightmare spawned from abuse as a recovered memory and every shift in mood as a different person. The problem was it wasn't real. I was only ever one person. I had childhood trauma, I had ordinary dissociation of the kind where nothing feels real, I had depression, and I had epilepsy, but I was not multiple.

    Later in my life, though, I got to know people who really were multiple. They were genuine, nobody had forced them into believing they had it. Many of them had asked to be called different names since they were children. The interesting thing was that only some of them were formed as different people due to trauma. Some of them just happened to be that way to begin with. Therapists tried to make many of them uncover trauma that didn't even exist, because if there were more than one of them then there had to be trauma. According to doctrine of the time and of now. Others of them did form the way they did due to trauma.

    Their lives were not like the textbooks in more ways than even that. Many of them had total awareness, should they choose, of what was going on when the other ones were "fronting". Others were less aware of each other, but used systems like post-it notes to keep track of what everyone was doing. Nearly all of them were functioning well in society through what they called operating systems. Many were upset that psychiatry was now considering them to not really be people, just pieces of people. They considered themselves well-rounded people with different tastes and personalities, and the capability of experiencing all emotions. Most considered the term 'DID' an insult to that experience. Only some wished to integrate. Others functioned just fine without it. Some had been made to try, only to find themselves just finding better ways of pretending to be singletons.

    None of the people I know have made a penny of money off of having this experience.

    Far from doing this to get attention, most of them are incredibly secretive. They know that people will judge them as so many things. Dangerous criminals lurking inside each other's minds. People who only want attention. People who have been duped by therapists, even if they've never been to therapy. People who have become this way through trauma even if they were there prior to any trauma or never had any trauma. People who belong in therapy even if they don't want to.

    They are selective about who they tell.

    They have ways of pretending they are one person. Some of them torturous to them, but better than being found out as many.

    Their stories won't make the news because they'd never come out of the closet.

    Their stories won't be written about by therapists because most of them would never allow themselves to be put in therapy.

    They understand that what happens to me happened to a lot of people, that so many single people are convinced to act multiple by well-meaning therapists.

    And I understand that what happens to them happens to a lot of people. Probably a large portion of the population. Possibly through something in their innate neurological or cognitive structures at least as often as through abuse. But as children who are multiple grow too old to be dismissed as having overactive imaginations, old enough to be called crazy or fraudulent for having this experience, they learn to hide it. As other children are socialized in their own ways, these children learn to develop a single voice and a consistent set of mannerisms and language use, to call themselves all by the same name. Or they learn to cover for everyone else. Some create an entire persona that everyone's words and deeds are filtered through. Some become actors and hide their differences among roles on stage. I've never met any who didn't have to hide though.

    Their experiences and my experiences are as much part of the world of multiplicity as the official criteria are. Please don't forget the messy realities outside of the psychiatry textbooks.

    May 22, 2008 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. dee

    i was diagnosed with did many years ago. it helped me to understand the reason for the loss of short term and long term memory. i have very little memory of my life as a child; i understood the reason for the extreme internal pain, the reason people feel im lying about everything. my children ask if i remember such and such and i say i do since i don't want to hurt them. i have very liittle memory of their childhood. relationships are out of the question since i change from day to day or more often than that; sometimes two or three times a day.

    there are times when the child in me comes out and i speak as a child and feel lost and scared. there is a very aggresive alter and this one comes out with my sister or i will make some very nasty remark about someone; usually something so cruel. then there is the sweet , religious alter. there is an alter who is intelligent, well-spoken, is able to socialize. then there is the one who can hardly put a sentence together. stutters, stammers, shy, cant think straight.

    i am also bipolar, mixed so this combination is hell to live with. therapy, psychiatrists, hospitals have been a way of life for me.
    my therapist is a wonderful woman who has been working with me for 20 yrs. the psychiatrists prescribes meds needed for the mood swings associated with the bipolar illness.

    my life is crazy, i live alone and it seems i always will since i am 56 yrs old and have such a long way to go. there are times i have wanted to committ suicide due to both the did and the bipolar illness. my life is just a jumble of thoughts and feelings running around inside my head.

    my heart goes out to all people suffering, and i do mean suffering with this did diagnosis. it goes out also to family and friends and oh my, how difficult their lives are too.

    therapy is a lifesaver for me and i am grateful for being able to have this therapy all these yrs. (good insurance)

    it is so troubling that many people in the mental health field do not accept the did diagnosis. it is hard at times to believe u have it and therefore harder to treat. when u hear someone in the field say its not a real disorder you really start questioning yourself more.

    thanks to Herschel Walker for having the courage to come out.

    July 1, 2008 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Pat

    I love my wife of three years and of six years together. For the past five years she has demonstrated mental illness and substance abuse. Many doctors have all incorrectly diagnosed her, until I sought the help of a PHD who specialized in DID. Approximately a year and six months ago, my beautiful wife trusted me enough to share more of herself with me. My wife is 36 years old and her name is D. A year and six month ago we visited her parents for the first time. The visit was enlightening to me. After the visit when we returned home, I asked my wife if she had been abused as a child. She cried profusely and declared somebody finally knows the truth. Then, while sitting in her chair, she leaned forward and put her head between her legs for a moment. She then raised her head and spoke to me in a childish voice. Her face looked changed. The truth was finally clear to me. I asked her her name. She replied "S". I asked how old she was. She replied "12". I asked how long she had been 12. She replied "I have always been 12". Since that time I have met many others. Shortly after our visit to her parents, she began treatment with a loving and caring PHD and began to heal. Tragicly, six months ago, my lovely wife was arrested for a mishap of her past, and was accused of attempting to obtain prescription drugs by fraud. She has been in jail for the past six months, and none of the several lawyers I have hired have been successful in convincing the jugde or the prosecutor of the existance of her illness or the horrific and vile nature of it's cause. I found this website because I was trying to find Hercshel Walker in order to illicit his help or influence with my wife's current situation, an unfair and cruel confinement that forces the continuation of her abusive existance. We live in the panhandle of Florida, and Hercshel is a hero in these parts. My wife needs to be in the care of a PHD, not in jail. Whatever wrongs my wife may have committed in her life can not be attributed to any fault of hers. She is stronger than any person I have ever met because she has indured the most cruel treatment from the ones who were supposed to love her the most. My wife continues to survive today, inspite of those who cheated her life from her, a true testiment of her character. Mere survival has been the goal of her entire life, but today she wants more from her life. She deserves it, but she will not get the chance as long as she is confined to jail. My email is weisenseemail@aol.com. I feel for anyone who suffers from DID or anyone who loves a DID victim. I hope and pray for the freedom and happiness you all deserve. The mere fact you survived in my eyes is a demonstration of courage and perserverence, and a personnal human victory greater than any I could ever imagine. Thank you.

    September 28, 2008 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Karle

    Paul and others – there is a great group on yahoo for the significant others of multiples. It is called SO Support and is a place to get help, support and share experiences in an attempt to help each other deal with day to day realities of living with a multiple. It helps to read about others and the ways they find for coping.

    I am DID having been diagnosed 11 years ago but am highly functional and learning to accept my disability with as much grace as possible. Many of us live full active lives without anyone being aware that we are multiple but it is not always easy.


    October 29, 2008 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. mykel

    herschel walker you is so famous to everybody in the world an i thank you for that.

    March 30, 2009 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Simone

    I was recently diagnosed with DID, a condition that has grown worst because of the extremely toxic workplace environment and "bully" management tactics used at my company.

    Despite surviving 13yrs of childhood sexual, physical abuse and neglect, I must now except the long term implications of this disorder. The DANA organization link below has a great report on trauma, it's impact on the brain and risks for suicide completion in persons suferring from this disorder.


    Pray for our survival. This needs greater attention by the media, especially in the area of insurance coverage for effective treatments and educating the public about toxic work place environments.

    February 28, 2010 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
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  37. Donna-1

    There are some who do not believe that there are ANY mental illnesses. I have read articles by professionals saying patients can overcome schizophrenia simply by being noticed and talked to humanely. Believe me, that is not the case. Some people think diseases of the mind can be "cured" by sheer willpower and the right values and beliefs. Even many trained physicians think psychiatry is b.s. But the sufferers of mental illness will go on suffering, nevertheless, despite the disbelief of others.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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