Congratulations to emlynchly! She won a copy of Ten Little Lesbians by Kate McLachlan. Woo!
Good morning and happy Sunday! it’s a beautiful day here on the west coast, and right after I take a nap, I’m going to head out to enjoy it. Before you go on about the activities of the day, take a few minutes off and read this fabulous guest blog from author Kate McLachlan.
And then, after you’ve read the blog, enter to win a book! Kate is giving away a copy of her latest, Ten Little Lesbians. The winner can choose between paperback and ebook.
I’m in the DSM-V! by Kate McLachlan
“Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) [ formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder] is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in—and alternately take control of—an individual….When in control, each personality state, or alter, may be experienced as if it has a distinct history, self-image and identity. The alters’ characteristics—including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood—contrast with those of the primary identity.”
That’s it! Oh my God, after all these years, I’ve finally I found a diagnosis that fits my mental state. I am not alone. We’re in the DSM-V.
I realize now that I’ve suffered from DID my whole life, or at least since I was in elementary school. I recall when I was very young being controlled by an identity called “Laura.” I lived in the woods in a big house with my sisters and my Ma and Pa. I lived through many traumatic experiences as “Laura” such as being chased by wolves and getting nothing but an orange for Christmas. “Laura” was a recurring identity who reappeared throughout my childhood, once in a prairie and once in a town, but it was not a harmful identity. I was not always so lucky. One time I was controlled by an identity called “Johnny” and accidentally poured molten silver over my hand, injuring myself quite badly. At various times my alternate personalities were forced to survive in the wilderness alone, once on an island shaped like a dolphin and in another memorable incident in a tree on the side of a mountain.
“The person also experiences memory loss that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.”
Oh, no doubt about it. I was scolded frequently as a child for forgetfulness or laziness, but it’s not easy remembering to wash dishes or do homework when your alternate identities are travelling through tesseracts, riding through purple sage, or being accused of witchcraft just because you could swim. (Yes, in a strange twist, my alternate identity could swim, while I, the primary identity, could not.)
When I grew older, my symptoms of DID diminished somewhat, and I occasionally thought I might be cured. Then I would have a serious relapse, like the time the identity “Ayla” took over and I had to live for several weeks with Neanderthals, or when I assumed multiple personalities simultaneously in Derry, Maine, and lived in terror of clowns for months. The personality of “Amelia Peabody” became a recurrent identity in my young adulthood, and I became quite familiar with Egyptian archaeology, bat guano, and Master Criminals.
I’ve now lived with DID for more than 50 years, and I have to accept that there is no cure. The condition has only grown worse. In recent years I’ve taken to writing down the experiences of my alternate identities in the hopes that I could somehow control them. Alas, the opposite has occurred and my alternate personalities have, in fact, multiplied.
In my most recent DID episode, I was actually controlled by ten personalities at one time. Ten! And, as is common with DID alters, each personality had a distinct history, self-image, and identity. I was at once: two young Mormon girls, a fifty-something love-sick schemer, and a woman with a broken leg. I was a judge and a blind musician. I was simultaneously a butch and a femme, which is an unusual identity contrast that may be of interest to DID gender study enthusiasts. And, in a rare manifestation of organized DID thought, I was also the manager and the owner of the inn where all ten identities stayed. Unfortunately in that episode there were also some traumatic incidents of violence, mystery, and mayhem, made all the more difficult to resolve because, as is to be expected in a DID episode, each identity was not privy to the personal knowledge or history of the others.
If you would like to read about this most recent DID episode, you’ll find it well-documented in the book Ten Little Lesbians, written by yours truly, which was released on July 1, 2015, by Regal Crest Enterprises.
Kate McLachlan is the author of several lesbian novels, including the Goldie award-winning Rip Van Dyke time-travel series, several mysteries, and a bit of romance. Her novella, Christmas Crush, was a Lambda Finalist in 2015 in the Lesbian Romance category.
Kate lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wife, Tonie, and their various cats and dogs. Kate works in a respectable legal job all week long, but on the weekends she dons her rainbow striped SuperWriter cape and creates adventures, failures, triumphs, and love for her very real imaginary friends.