S’porean With Dissociative Identity Disorder Shares Story Of Living With 28 Personalities

Sometimes our circumstances push us to develop extreme ways to adapt and survive.

An inspirational local woman named Gaya developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) due to her traumatic past.

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In a Millennials of Singapore video, she tells the story of her different personalities and how she learned to accept them.

Early hardships & abuse

Gaya is a victim of domestic and sexual abuse.

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In a personal essay, she recalled how her dad became an alcoholic once they struggled with finances.

Her parents became violent towards her and her siblings. They then started to physically abuse or hit them.

Since she was the eldest, she protected her younger siblings,

when my parents fight or have physical outbursts, I’d tell my sisters to hide in the room while I put myself out there to bear the brunt of my parents’ anger.

Gaya was also the middleman who resolved her parents’ disputes.

Despite the many roles she had at home, she took three part-time jobs to contribute to her family’s finances.

Struggles with mental health

At 20-years-old, her difficult family life eventually took its toll. She made attempts to harm herself and even overdose on drugs.

She recalls,

I felt like there was no other way out of the plight I was in. Everyday was just a constant fight to stay sane amidst the fights, emotional abuse, and physical beatings.

Fortunately, all of her attempts failed. She finally decided to consult a doctor for depression and anxiety, but her parents didn’t believe she was suffering from mental illness.

Her mother simply hid her medications to prevent her from overdosing.

She says,

Even when I needed it, they wouldn’t give it to me — even when I had a full-fledged panic attack, my dad simply stood there and said: “Don’t be a drama queen.”

Beginnings of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

The stress of juggling multiple jobs and her lack of medication eventually triggered her Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — which are both trauma-related illnesses.

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Her first episode happened when she found her dad passed out from vomiting and too much alcohol. Her mum was nowhere to be seen.

She claims she suddenly lost her memory and acted like a child for three months.

I didn’t even have a memory of what happened or how I was behaving, and it was through the people around me that I learnt of it.

28 different personalities

As a result of DID, Gaya has developed 28 personalities.

She created an artistic illustration depicting Saddie – her sad personality – who cries over everything.

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Her rebellious personality – Rebbekkah – is a cunning and sneaky teenager.

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She also has three different angry personalities — Anastasia, Anezka and Angie.

Anastasia takes over when she gets annoyed or mildly angry. Once she gets angrier, Anezka comes forward while Angie is her angriest and strongest personality.

When Gaya was in the US, one episode triggered Angie to come forward. The emergency services were called and three big-sized men tried to restrain her.

She shares ruefully,

Even three of those kind of people couldn’t hold me down. It was so bad that they eventually tried to tie me down in order to restrain them.

Her personalities’ desire to protect her is very strong.

After her anger comes forward, Tria – a tired and sleepy personality – tries to calm down her angry side.

Like most people with DID, she has no memory of what she’s done when her other personalities takeover.

The road to recovery

Gaya has been able to recover through medications and treatments from the US and IMH (Institute of Mental Health). She also attends focus groups to understand her different personalities.

Currently, she has accepted and embraced her personalities’ and their role in her life.

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In the process, she cut off her family and husband because their presence triggered her disorder.

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She shares,

There are many times I feel guilty for leaving home and leaving them, as I feel like I’ve betrayed and ‘abandoned’ them.

Despite her feelings for her family, she has chosen to take time to recover apart from them.

Chasing big dreams

Gaya’s big dreams keeps her going.

She wants to become one of the most influential women in the world by 35, or finish a PhD in South Korea and then settle there.

Since it’s difficult for her to get a full-time job, she is able to make a living through freelance marketing jobs.

We hope she keeps going in her road to recovery, because this inspirational woman can achieve so many things in her life. In the meantime, if you know someone who is suffering from mental health issues get rid of the stigma by extending a helping hand.

Featured image from Millennials of Singapore.