What is MPD or DID?
I am currently reading Michael Talbot’s book, “The Holographic Universe” and have discovered a fascinating part of the human psyche of which I had no idea of before.
Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity disorder is an affliction that describes a person who has multiple distinctive characters as parts of their total personality. The reason I find this so fascinating is that it is still further evidence that our minds are far more mysterious and powerful than the established scientific thinking would allow us to believe.
What is so amazing about people with MPD or DID is that they can for example be allergic to certain substances with some of their personalities yet non-allergic when other personalities take control and even more bizzare behaviour than this. Below is an excerpt from the book. Once you have digested this info a question that forces itself into consciousness is this: How much of my illness/well-being is physical and how much is mental? The liberating conclusion has to be that human beings have an enormous capacity to transform themselves by transforming their thinking. Our bodies are only prisons as long as we remain ignorant of the power of the mind.
from “The Holographic Universe”
Another condition that graphically illustrates the mind’s power to affect the body is Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). In addition to possessing different brain-wave patterns, the sub personalities of a multiple have a strong psychological separation from one another. Each has his own name, age, memories, and abilities. Often each also has his own style of handwriting, announced gender, cultural and racial background, artistic talents, foreign language fluency, and IQ.
Even more noteworthy are the biological changes that take place in a multiple’s body when they switch personalities. Frequently a medical condition possessed by one personality will mysteriously vanish when another personality takes over. Dr. Bennett Braun of the Inter¬national Society for the Study of Multiple Personality, in Chicago, has documented a case in which all of a patient’s sub personalities were allergic to orange juice, except one. If the man drank orange juice when one of his allergic personalities was in control, he would break out in a terrible rash. But if he switched to his nonallergic personality, the rash would instantly start to fade and he could drink orange juice freely.
Dr. Francine Howland, a Yale psychiatrist who specializes in treating multiples, relates an even more striking incident concerning one multiple’s reaction to a wasp sting. On the occasion in question, the man showed up for his scheduled appointment with Howland with his eye completely swollen shut from a wasp sting. Realizing he needed medical attention, Howland called an ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, the soonest the opthalmologist could see the man was an hour later, and because the man was in severe pain, Howland decided to try something. As it turned out, one of the man’s alternates was an “anesthetic personality” who felt absolutely no pain. Howland had the anesthetic personality take control of the body, and the pain ended. But something else also happened. By the time the man arrived at his appointment with the ophthalmologist, the swelling was gone and his eye had returned to normal. Seeing no need to treat him, the ophthalmologist sent him home.
After a while, however, the anesthetic personality relinquished control of the body, and the man’s original personality returned, along with all the pain and swelling of the wasp sting. The next day he went back to the ophthalmologist to at last be treated. Neither Howland nor her patient had told the ophthalmologist that the man was a multiple, and after treating him, the ophthalmologist telephoned Howland. “He thought time was playing tricks on him.” Howland laughed. “He just wanted to make sure that I had actually called him the day before and he had not imagined it.”
Allergies are not the only thing multiples can switch on and off. If there was any doubt as to the control the unconscious mind has over drug effects, it is banished by the pharmacological wizardry of the multiple. By changing personalities, a multiple who is drunk can instantly become sober. Different personalities also respond differently to different drugs. Braun records a case in which 5 milligrams of diazepam, a tranquilizer, sedated one personality, while 100 milligrams had little or no effect on another. Often one or several of a multiple’s personalities are children, and if an adult personality is given a drug and then a child’s personality takes over, the adult do¬sage may be too much for the child and result in an overdose. It is also difficult to anesthetize some multiples, and there are accounts of multiples waking up on the operating table after one of their “unanesthetizable” subpersonalities has taken over.
Other conditions that can vary from personality to personality include scars, bum marks, cysts, and left- and right-handedness. Visual acuity can differ, and some multiples have to carry two or three different pairs of eyeglasses to accommodate their alternating personalities. One personality can be color-blind and another not, and even eye color can change. There are cases of women who have two or three menstrual periods each month because each of their sub personalities has its own cycle. Speech pathologist Christy Ludlow has found that the voice pattern for each of a multiple’s personalities is different, a feat that requires such a deep physiological change that even the most accomplished actor cannot alter his voice enough to disguise his voice pattern. One multiple, admitted to a hospital for diabetes, baffled her doctors by showing no symptoms when one of her non diabetic personalities was in control.^^ There are accounts of epilepsy coming and going with changes in personality, and psychologist Robert A. Phil¬lips, Jr., reports that even tumors can appear and disappear (although he does not specify what kind of tumors).’
Multiples also tend to heal faster than normal individuals. For example, there are several cases on record of third-degree burns healing with extraordinary rapidity. Most eerie of all, at least one researcher—Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, the therapist whose pioneering treatment of Sybil Dorsett was portrayed in the book Sybil—is convinced that multiples don’t age as fast as other people.
How could such things be? At a recent symposium on the multiple personality syndrome, a multiple named Cassandra provided a possible answer. Cassandra attributes her own rapid healing ability both to the visualization techniques she practices and to something she calls parallel processing. As she explained, even when her alternate personalities are not in control of her body, they are still aware. This enables her to “think” on a multitude of different channels at once, to do things like work on several different term papers simultaneously, and even “sleep” while other personalities prepare her dinner and clean her house.
Hence, whereas normal people only do healing imagery exercises two or three times a day, Cassandra does them around the clock. She even has a sub personality named Celese who possesses a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and whose sole function is to spend twenty-four hours a day meditating and imaging the body’s well-being. According to Cassandra, it is this full-time attention to her health that gives her an edge over normal people. Other multiples have made similar claims.
We are deeply attached to the inevitability of things. If we have bad vision, we believe we will have bad vision for life, and if we suffer from diabetes, we do not for a moment think our condition might vanish with a change in mood or thought. But the phenomenon of multiple personality challenges this belief and offers further evidence of just how much our psychological states can affect the body’s biology. If the psyche of an individual with MPD is a kind of multiple image hologram, it appears that the body is one as well, and can switch from one biological state to another as rapidly as the flutter of a deck of cards.
The systems of control that must be in place to account for such capacities is mind-boggling and makes our ability to will away a wart look pale. Allergic reaction to a wasp sting is a complex and multi¬faceted process and involves the organized activity of antibodies, the production of histamine, the dilation and rupture of blood vessels, the excessive release of immune substances, and so on. What unknown pathways of influence enable the mind of a multiple to freeze all these processes in their tracks? Or what allows them to suspend the effects of alcohol and other drugs in the blood, or turn diabetes on and off? At the moment we don’t know and must console ourselves with one simple fact. Once a multiple has undergone therapy and in some way becomes whole again, he or she can still make these switches at will.’ This suggests that somewhere in our psyches we all have the ability to control these things. And still this is not all we can do.