One Man’s Life With 5 Identities

“When I was very young, I didn’t have any friends, so Dawn helped me and guarded me,” Lee says. Among the other personalities are tough guy Danny, who helped Lee get through his days in the U.S. Army, and Patty, who taught Lee how to speak with girls.

Lee’s journey is somewhat typical for people with DID, according to his therapist, David Baker-Hargrove, PhD, a psychotherapist in Orlando. Most have experienced severe trauma before the age of 6. “Young children, through magical thinking, can create people to come and help them,” Dr. Baker-Hargrove says. “Once the brain does this once, it becomes easier to do it again and again.”

Adult brains don’t fragment like a child’s brain does, which is why the disease has its roots in childhood, according to NAMI. People with DID may have as few as two alters or as many as 100, but the average number is about 10, the organization notes…

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