Dear Ms. DID: Is someone with DID psychotic, a neurotic, or just mentally unfit?

Oh, don’t get me started.

While searching on what integration must feel like, I tripped across a forum for HR (human resources) professionals. A few individuals argued with much authority that DID/MPD is a psychosis, or a neurosis, or a mental disorder, (or get this) “a ‘temporary disfavor’ of God.”

They state that this condition causes an individual “to be mentally unfit.” The information in the thread was praised as useful guidance for other HR professionals to take back to their companies. Ohhhhh was I pissed off. So let’s talk, shall we?

An HR professional posted the following question on CiteHR Human Resource Management website,

“In a company if an employee holding a very important position is suffering from SPLIT PERSONALITY SYNDROME then what can be done to him or her?”

So how did the “professionals” respond?

Lets look at some of the ridiculous “answers” from supposedly trained HR professionals.

“It is a sad situation. The employee suffering from split personality syndrome has no control over his actions, behavior and cannot be held responsible for his actions as he is medically unfit. Speak to your higher authorities and arrive at a decision as soon as possible.”

Strike 1: “Split personality syndrome” is not DID or schizophrenia, although this is a common mistake. (Perhaps perpetuated by this great example of how Wikipedia is NOT a validated moderated encyclopedia – this article states that “dissociative identity disorder” is the same as “extreme schizophrenia” but provides a reference that contains NO mention of DID.) However, by the end of the thread these HR folks decide that split personality really is DID/MPD.

Strike 2: “No control over his actions”? A high percentage of those with DID are functioning, if not high functioning individuals. In the extreme case there can be periods of “no control” with very troubled alters. But if the person in question is exhibiting consistently “bad” behavior that would affect their performance (which is not stated or implied), perhaps a call to the police is more in order if HR finds irrational or unsafe behaviors.

“If he said that nothing is wrong with him … then I would suggest that [you] get rid of him before he harms somebody.

Oh, flag on the play! “[B]efore he harms somebody”????? Hasn’t it been well-researched and presented that those with DID/MPD tend to hurt others to a nearly nonexistent degree, while hurting THEMSELVES almost exclusively?

<WTF, over?>

How about this little gem, “A person with mental problem can harm the people employed and the property. Therefore advise the family members not to send him to the office.” This HR professional goes on to refer to this type of individual as “mentally unfit” and further advises “Don’t take action against any ‘temporary disfavor’ of God.”

<Well fck me, I’ve pissed off God.>

Another learned individual adds,

“Multiple Personality Disorder is a psychotic (neurosis) disorder in which a person suffering from the mental disturbance undergo[es] different experiences and his/her personality becomes dissociated into more than one personalities.”

“A person suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder undergoes [a] change in personality in just a few seconds. The patient then acts as a completely different person than he/she is in reality.”

Ahem, can you say, “All I know is the stereotype I learned from watching Sybil?” And sadly, the guy who stated the last two quotes actually presents diagnostic information from DSM-IV, but somehow extrapolates it out to an usual extreme. “Completely different person” ? Sigh. Yeah, sometimes, but only in the extreme cases. And in those cases, someone close to him has to be aware that something is a little off. But after all, vanilla is so, well, vanilla, and the extreme cases are so much more fun.

“Split Personality is not a neurosis but a Psychosis. The difference being that a neurotic normally carries on with the normal life. [It] is considered to be slightly weird or extra sensitive, or other small symptoms. But in Psychosis the symptoms are totally different.”

“If a person is suffering from dissociative disorder he or she is hardly aware of the other personality. The treatment would be a combination of medicine, therapy and in many cases hypnotism. I am sure the company policy would demand that if any such symptoms have been noticed that a clean “note” from the doctor would be essential.”

At least this individual suggests three techniques currently in favor: medication, therapy, and in some cases, hypnosis. But another self-proclaimed expert contradicts this, stating “Counseling is not a solution of MPD.”

<And what would be a solution oh learned one, lobotomy? Castration? A really really good talking to?>

Two “experts” proceed to debate whether DID is a neurosis or a psychosis, and which “can be brought upon by environmental or biological means.” At least one of them pulls out the DSM-IV and DSM-III to relay that the DSM-IV has “eliminated the category of “neurosis” altogether.

(Lessee, DSM-IV codes for Psychotic Disorders range from 293.81 through 298.9. Dissociative Disorders range from 300.12 through 300.6 (DID is 300.14). Split Personality is not mentioned. The several Schizophrenias are in the 295s. So, they’re not the same thing, okay dude?)

So, this “professional” does all this DSM research, but doesn’t want to least toss out there that DID is a “dissociative disorder” and not classified as either a neurosis or a psychosis? Nahhhh, that would be another too “vanilla” a conclusion.

Does anyone have a clue here?

At least there is some sense of reason here…someone with a clue.

In response to this: “I also agree with the other members of the forum that you should have a word with his family members regarding this issue .”

A professional with a clue calls him on the carpet <just say bitch-slapped, okay?> for proposing to break confidentiality.

“Are you a practicing psychiatrist or psychologist? If you are a manager or HR professional, you can’t mark any of your employees in this fashion. You are not supposed to comment anything about employee’s personal life to somebody without his/her consent. I am surprised! If you are not trained … how can you say an employee [has] ‘split personality syndrome?”

This gentleman at least suggests that the individual’s performance be evaluated, and if needed, additional steps taken by HR.

Another says, “They are NOT DANGEROUS … This is not just about the organization. It is also about the person.”

Thank you.

The kicker

This gentleman-with-a-clue’s advice is ignored. Instead, the “cause” of the condition is discussed – two separate views are presented:

DID is “due to personal problems or organizational pressures.”

<Yeah, rape is a “personal problem.”>

“These problems can be aggravated if the person is asked to multitask which can cause further fragmentation.”

<You have GOT to be fcking kidding me! Then everyone in AMERICA has DID, including my cat. “Let me cry for food while I lick my fur with one eye out the window for birds to chase.”>

First, DID is not due to “multitasking” except perhaps in the very extreme sense of maintaining your sanity at the same time you are being abused by some asshole(s) for their own amusement. This usually doesn’t happen in the general workplace. Well, accept for sexual harassment and backstabbing co-workers. But still in somewhat a different and way less traumatic category.

<Sigh.>

Okay, there really is NO reason for me to do this because the absurdity of this discussion should be self-evident, but I feel compelled to back up these claims by research as I am wont to do.

Dispelling kicker #1

“To be considered as a manifestation of a dissociative disorder, … disruptions in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, and perception of the environment … must not be … explainable through ordinary processes such as over-learning or distraction” [1]

Second, DID develops “in response to overwhelming trauma during childhood, primarily physical and/or sexual abuse, perhaps as a form of ‘complex PTSD’ or “disorders of extreme stress.”

Hmmm. Seems to be slightly beyond work “organization pressures.” But hell, I could be wrong. After all, I have amnesia. I am completely different people, you know.

Regarding the idea that DID is a psychosis. Despite the fact that it is not, it may share some “psychotic-like symptoms.” [2] These include [and as such can lead to an accidental diagnosis of schizophrenia] are: auditory hallucinations, and visual hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations are thought to be due to voices of alters or the auditory component of a flashback. Visual hallucinations are seeing or visualizing alters or flashbacks. Both of these also have a psychotic basis used primarily for other diagnoses, and the authors state that these are uncommon unless the individual with DID develops “reactive” dissociative psychosis – a true psychotic episode IN ADDITION to DID. So psychosis? Ah, no.

Dispelling kicker #2

And for the guy who stated that those with DID have “no control over their actions.” False on two fronts.

First, most individuals with DID do not have the stereotypical major switches with amnesia episodes for each “switched-from” personality. Instead most dissociative events are partially conscious; on other words, the individual has partial dissociation and partial awareness. The individual is aware of the jarring intrusions on functioning and sense of self; for example, intrusive voices. [2] Amnesia can occur and it can be common, but it is not common for all personalities to have complete amnesia for all others. An exception (at least for me) is short bursts of complete or nearly complete amnesia after I get seriously triggered and I lash out in a rage. So, for most cases, the individual can still function, but with “events” that can be passed off as changes in mood for example. (I am not advocating that an individual “pass off” like this…I am only mentioning that this is what we have commonly done by default, or what others assume has been happening within us. Protection from this idea of insanity we have carried for so long.)

Second, about the full amnesia. If each personality has memories and experiences and can function during normal activities, what’s the big deal? I believe full amnesia over years of time is more common when different parts are created or are being developed with their own memories and experiences. For example, I have several reasonably independent selves who were center for years. I realize that now, but that doesn’t mean that I could not function as a “person” even during the earlier stages that I cannot yet remember. I am still missing several years as a preteen. I know I functioned – I know I had friends and I can see I got good report cards. I know I have succeeded, sometimes spectacularly, at work. Wouldn’t that at least sorta translate in the ability to work even WITH amnesia? That amnesia over years would not be an issue a company would be aware of?

<Okay, so neurosis is eliminated. Psychosis shot down. Multitasking fully explainable by typical life. Organization pressures from a dick of a boss. So what else you wanna throw at me, oh ignorant ones?>

In the interests of some basic, no-nonsense answers to common MPD/DID questions and misconceptions, here is a nice site. Here is another site that provides comparisons and misdiagnoses related to DID and schizophrenia, as well as some basic descriptive information.

The “bottom line”

And here is a concluding statement of appreciation for the entire thread from another (easily influenced) HR professional:

“Thank you for taking interest in this topic. I am sure your comments [from several individuals] are going to educate us on neurotic disorders and will also serve as a guide to us as to how to handle such cases as an HR professional.”

So, despite some conflicting classifications amid ridiculous advice and rational recommendations, our “horrible” condition is argued by these folks as perhaps a neurosis or a psychosis but certainly a mental disorder. Despite the small ray-of-sunshine of sanity in here, the discussion was concluded as helpful to HR professionals on how to address these issues.

Perhaps because I generally do not understand the rationalization of HR professionals in the first place, I am unable to find any concrete recommendations one way or the other in the entire thread. But somehow they did.

Obviously, I am mentally unfit. Or have excited the ire of God.

<I’ll go for the second one. Makes me feel “special.”>


*Note: this post is not a slam on all HR professionals. Instead, it presents the attitudes of some professions based on their own words, and also based on my personal experiences with HR professionals who have obviously been hired to be the “impersonal” enforcer of “company policies.”

** This post was written with some consternation, and “intrusive thoughts.” Which I am just tickled to have.

– ∞ –

See also:
List of all posts
Standard Disclaimer: Read now and again before flaming

References

[1] Gleaves DH, May MC, and Cardena E. (2001). An examination of the diagnostic validity of dissociative identity disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, Vol 21, No 4, pp 577-608.

[2] Dell PF. (2006). A New Model of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Psychiatr Clin N Am, 29 pp 1-26.

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17 Comments»

  Catatonic Kid wrote @

Now that’s a seriously kick ass post!

An incredibly lucid and trenchant analysis considering the material you had to work with. My god, those HR people merit The International Gimp Award.

Yay for stupidity – without it we’d be really bored 😉

  annenco wrote @

Yes, that was my favorite part when the guy quotes the DSM on DID then I think it’s then a few pages later there’s some quotes some medical dictionary on psychosis and neurosis which show’s there’s a huge difference between the 3 classes. Yet they keep arguing.

If I wasn’t laughing my @ss off at your commentary on this I’d be busy doing the *head,bang-desk* thing (yes too true, will always hurt ourselves before we hurt outside people).

So much I would love to comment on, this is so richly helpful. Like the amnesia thing, I have a hard time putting that into words but you helped :). Yeah, it’s kind of all in the hindsight. There is this other level of awareness when things are going on. Life was just life during times I now cannot recall. Were there problems sure but, like you said it’s just passed off as common “everyday” stuff. Never anything anyone would have ever said “Whoa, your truly mentally ill” to.

I’m still laugh at the multi-tasking thing and the comment about your cat! Yes, and everyone is multiple because they all fill different roles for different situations (Parent role, worker role, daughter/son role, online personality roles, etc) and *dramatic/sarcastic* oh my gosh sometimes there is even conflict between those roles when your trying to balance them all. Surely that is a sign of MPD/DID *roll eyes*

Gotta love the armchair/couch-potato/desk chair experts 😛

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Hi Anneco,

Yeah, that HR discussion got me really going, and I fired off a vented but fully referenced email to one of the “brilliant” ones. It bounced. I am not surprised – perhaps he had split personality disorder and was let go before he “harmed somebody.”

In my forced impotence at the situation, this post just flew out of me. Appropriately I tagged it “vent-rant”, which usually means we get the injected sarcasm that I love so well.

I am glad this tickled you. It was certainly more worthwhile as a humorous vent than a useless email to a guy without a clue. Now I’m kinda glad his email bounced!

L/K

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Catatonic

Thanks for the excellent feedback and your terse and witty comment. Good to see you around again!

L/K

  Mom wrote @

Your brother is NOT the only one who inherited the sarcasm gene. This is a jewel.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Hi Mom,

Well, I sure inherited the sarcasm gene as well. Too bad we can’t share this sarcasm with my brother, since I am so paranoid about anyone knowing that I am incapable of multitasking.

Oh wait, it was the multitasking that caused all this fragmentation/splitting mishmash in the first place. And since my bother multitasks as well, he might just catch all this DID stuff from me.

And then, you might have, like, 18 children. All expecting birthday presents. At least we all don’t work at Walmart expecting you to watch 6 screaming (oh wait, 108 screaming) kids while we all go get our nails done.

But hey, it could happen.

Kate, Goddess of Brilliance and Wonder

  cafeofdreams wrote @

“Don’t take action against any ‘temporary disfavor’ of God.”

*snark* I am LOL.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Cafeofdreams

Doncha just love that one?!? It has become a bit of a joke in here…anytime I do something slightly off, “Well you know, that may cause a “temporary disfavor of god.” Cracks me up. I am sure people wonder what I am laughing at. 🙂

When I first found that quote, I sent my mom a text message, “Seems I’ve pissed off God.” She replied, “Or maybe God pissed you off.”

Gotta love moms.

[…] just like the HR professionals – this woman is a […]

  Tigerweave wrote @

I am laughing and growling all at once. That is what integration does for you, right? It makes you be both feelings at once instead of being two people feeling one thing at once.

I *knew* I was special in God’s eyes. I knew God paid me so much attention he *had* an opinion on me.

*grins*

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Tigerweave

I just have no idea. Boggles the mind. But humor is a great way to remove the sting from public idiocy.

Emily

  davidrochester wrote @

I am infinitely relieved to find that I am suffering merely a temporary disfavor of God, as I had hitherto considered myself permanently cursed. I now know there is hope, and I am so grateful to the HR poster who removed head from sphincter for long enough to enlighten me.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Hi David

Excellent comment – laughed my ass off. This post did as well after I finished getting pissed off about it. Since I am not particularly religious, this quote is now a pretty regular assessment of my problems…”Shoot, I can’t remember the name of that thing…must because I have disfavored God.” Perhaps sacrilegious but dark humor is goooood.

  asrais wrote @

I spend a lot of time commenting on blogs and the like that Schiozioprhenia is NOT MPD/DID. THey aren’t the same. Look it up before you talk about these things. I don’t have hullicinations.

Very well said. I’m glad we are not hte only ones who reads things on the web and then comments on them while PUNCHING the keys when typing.

  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Hi asrais

I am cracking up! Your “PUNCHING the keys” comment reminds me of Anna, who often writes *bangs head on keyboard*.

Excelllllent!

[…] evoke the disfavor of God), multiples are infiltrating all aspects of the life process, as we are psychotic and are on a mission to take over your […]

[…] mused and vented before about DID as a psychosis.  The only evidence I found was that DID may share some “psychotic-like symptoms” and as such, […]


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