Mental Health Monday–Imaginary Friends AND A Giveaway!

shiftingpride_bylauradiamonddraft-coverBefore I get to the topic of today’s post, I’d like to share a giveaway. Author Brinda Berry is hosting a giveaway and if you enter, there’s a chance to win an ebook of SHIFTING PRIDE! Please enter and/or spread the word. 🙂

Here’s Brinda’s Amazon author page, so you can take a gander at her work. It’s FAB!

Brinda’s website

Brinda’s blog

 

 

 

 

 

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I feel as if my poor Mental Health Monday tradition has been ignored. Starting in November, my regular blog schedule got commandeered by release blitzs, blog tours, and holiday fun. Now that things are settling, I’d like to get back to it.

If you have a character that needs shrink-wrapping, please don’t hesitate to ask me and I’ll feature your question on Mental Health Monday.

Today, I’d like to share an oldie, but goodie post from a couple years back. It still gets hits and comments, even after all this time!

I often hear writers liken their characters to imaginary friends. Heck I do it too.

What’s interesting to me is that imaginary friends during childhood are quite normal. It’s a phase of development where the child is learning creativity and how to integrate their personality.

But what about imaginary friends in adults?

I’m not talking about our characters. I’m talking about adults who actually have imaginary friends. There’s not a lot of research on this (can you imagine getting a sample of people who’d be willing to share such information?), but the studies that are out there seem to link imaginary friends with dissociative identity disorder (aka multiple personality disorder). This disorder occurs when a child faces severe neglect and abuse (sexual or physical) and the only defense they have is to “fragment” their personality. Doing this compartmentalizes the trauma away as a means to protect the self.

As adults, people with DID note missing periods of time, the feeling that other people are inside them and these other people can take control, and they can hear voices (generally inside their head).

Another theory of imaginary friends in adults comes from attachment theory. Some kids (maybe single children or neglected children, for example) don’t get enough emotional nourishment and develop imaginary friends as a support system.

It’s important to remember that as long as there’s no distress or disruption of functioning (work, play, relationships, emotions, etc), then it’s NOT considered a disorder.

Interesting, huh?

Remember: These posts are for writing purposes ONLY and are NOT to be construed as medical advice or treatment.

Mental Health Monday–Multiple Personalities

Kathee Jantzi requested information about multiple personalities, specifically any books about the subject as well as how someone with multiple personalities goes about getting better.

Check out her blog, Quill or Pill? She also had a short story published on RomanceFlash!

The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV) categories various forms of dissociation (a disruption in memory, awareness, identity, and/or perception).

  • Depersonalization disorder: period of feeling detached from one’s self; this is often seen in anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder…or if you stare at yourself in the mirror for too long. Go ahead, try it. Go on.
  • Dissociative Amnesia: a person experiences significant impairment in recall of personal information, often resulting from a serious trauma; duration varies; often spontaneously remits
  • Dissociative fugue: a person “forgets” who they are and may travel to a different city & pick up an entirely different life; this may last hours to days or longer, depending on how severe. It can spontaneously remit and is usually the result of a significant traumatic event.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder): a very rare disorder where a person’s psyche is fractured into several (2-100) different personalities. These personalities are known as “alters,” and each has his or her own way of behaving. Depending on the severity of the situation, the person may or may not be aware of their alters. If the individual is not aware, the times when alters “take over” are experienced as black outs or “lost time.”

It is purported that DID develops as a means of self-protection. Often, those with DID have experienced significant abuse as a child and the personality fragments into several different “people.” This allows the “main personality” to compartmentalize trauma and function in the face of it.

People with dissociative disorders do not choose to become another personality. The idea is that it is out of their control. With therapy, a person becomes more aware of their alters and learns to communicate with them until they are reintegrated.

Dissociative disorders are challenging to treat because people are often reluctant to come into treatment and co-morbid conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders can occur.

Several well known movies and books about individuals with DID exist. Three Faces of Eve, Sybil, and the United States of Tara are more entertaining views into this tragic disorder. There are several textbooks discussing the identification and treatment. Click here for a link to an Amazon search page for DID.

Psychiatrist Richard Baer documented treating a woman (Karen) with 17 personalities in Switching Time. Here’s an excerpt as presented by ABC News. A link to a video with Karen by Good Morning America.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this post is for WRITING PURPOSES ONLY and is NOT to be construed as medical advice or treatment.

Check out Lydia’s post on Medical Mondays!