Posts tagged ‘Personality’

November 19, 2011

Disorder #3: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Disclaimer: refer to introductory post here

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Most of you are probably wondering what DID even is.  Most often misinterpreted for Schizophrenia, Dissociative Identity Disorder is more commonly known as “Multiple Personality Disorder.”  It was when I watched the movie “Me, Myself and Irene” (poster pictured above) in high school that I first made this particular error.  Jim Carrey’s character(s), Charlie Baileygates, suffers from DID which manifests itself in his alter-ego, Hank Evans.  During one scene of the movie, Irene (Renee Zellweger) labels Charlie as a “schizo”; if you were like me and have been making the same mistake up ’til now…hey, you really do learn something new everyday.

But why do I attribute myself with having DID?  To understand that, you’d have to know a little something about personality traits.  A popular personality test that has surfaced in recent years is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  The MBTI characterizes each person’s personality into four dichotomies:

  • Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I)
  • Intuitive (N) vs. Sensing (S)
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feelings (F)
  • Perceiving (P) vs. Judging (J)

To find out more about these pairs and the distinctions between them, good ole Wikipedia does a nice job breaking it down (click here).  Essentially what the MBTI test will do is break down your personality into one of 16 types, deriving one of the indicators from the 4 pairs named above.  Furthermore, some tests will gauge the level of your inclinations for each category.  For example, after taking the test, my personality resulted in an INFP type with the following breakdown: +15% Introverted, +20% Intuitive, +70% Feeling, and +15% Perceiving.

As you can see, the only preference that I’m particularly strong is the Feeling classification.  Within the other three dichotomies, I tend to fluctuate back and forth between the ends of their respective spectrum.  Most of the times, the attitude sphere of my personality (E/I) is dependent on the social context that I find myself in.  With a group that is dominated by extraverted people, I tend to retreat into a state of reservation; while, being among a group of predominantly introverted people, I tend to gravitate towards the “center of attention.”  Most who know me would consider me to be “chill” and “down to earth,” but given my entry on OCD, it’s quite obvious that I can be Type-A (distinguishing between the P/J dichotomy).  And finally, I find myself battling my idealistic mindset with an overwhelming inclination towards a realistic optimism (or optimistic realism… I still haven’t been able to differentiate the two).  So instead of having one distinguishing personality type, I could be bouncing back and forth among 8 different ones.

Clinical studies have shown that people who are diagnosed with DID have experienced some sort of psychological/physical trauma during their childhood years.  Due to their abuse, the brain forces a cognitive function that compartmentalizes their fear, anger and pain, which would result in alter-egos.  Extreme cases even exhibit differences in physical states or properties, including allergies, eye prescriptions and right-or-left handedness.

Gospel Connection: Not unlike our personalities, human souls also fall susceptible to a kind of Dissociative Identity Disorder.  Different social contexts, faith spheres, and physical settings evoke different responses in which our souls react accordingly.  Maybe we put on one mask when going to school or work, a different one at church or around Christians, and yet a different one still among family and friends, compared to complete strangers.  When you tend to bounce around between multiple identities like I do, chances are, you struggle with a specific type of sin.  Christianity stands firm in the position that the only identity that matters is the one we have in Christ.  Created in the image of Triune God, restored to the divine fellowship on finishing work of the Cross, and continually sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit, our titles as “student,” “employee,” “friend,” or even “husband/wife,” and “son/daughter” fall secondary to our commitment to God.  This isn’t to undermine these responsibilities, but instead place a clearer perspective on them.  We don’t lose any merit when we fail a test, miss a deadline, or let down our loved ones, because Jesus offers a hope greater than we can imagine.