Dissociative Identity Disorder: Rob’s Story

Now we Talk Story

I am going to use the word “alternate” and not the term “apparently normal selves” to describe my Distinct States of being.

The alternates in order of birth are Robby, Sara, Peter, Bobby, Bob, Rob Goldstein, Matthew, and Mateo.

Robby and Peter are child alternates.

My adult alternates are highly evolved and each has a specific function and range of social skills.

Each has written a story and my task with this part of my blog is to find a way to create a unified narrative.

The language I use will reflect the logic of DID.

I used to think that “insight” alone would be enough to dispel a delusional system but I was wrong.

I know that the total of these fragments of personality is me but that does not change the  way I experience my alternates or the decisions they make.

I am the only alternate with a proper first and last name.

I am Rob Goldstein.

I was “retired” in the early 1990’s and replaced by Matthew.

I was re-awakened in 2012 when Matthew brought us into therapy.

My function is writing.

I first emerged as a response to the demands of learning to write and stage my work.

My literary mentor was a brilliant writer and I think he  was the only person in my life at that time who understood what my “characters” really were.

As a student, I spent eight hours a day writing and the rest of my time reading or sleeping.

I replaced Bob but he did not go to sleep.

After I emerged, I explained to Bob’s friends that I had changed my name to Rob because it felt more like the name of a writer.

I thought that Bobby and Sara were characters and that my internal experience of these characters was typical of a writer.

I had general knowledge of my birthplace and education and some memory of Bob but over time that faded.

I have no inner sense of “Bob”.

Bob was “triggered” by success and I often ‘woke” up on locked psych wards with no memory of why I was there.

As part of my life as a writer in San Francisco I gave performances of my work.

Success  “triggered” Bob and the price of a successful performance was a month  on a locked unit.

When Bob emerged, he was always enraged, agitated and violent.

I received a diagnoses of severe Bi-Polar Illness, rapid cycling.

Bipolar Disorder is a frequent and common misdiagnosis for someone with florid Dissociative Identity Disorder.

When we didn’t respond to any of the medications we were re-diagnosed with “Borderline Personality Disorder”.

This is also a frequent misdiagnosis of DID and one that carries a distinct stigma within the mental health profession.

A diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is often a covert way of accusing difficult patients of malingering.

Bob was wet sheeted” during one of his hospitalizations and while restrained Bob “saw” the other fragments of personality and dissociated into a new alternate.

The new alternate was an angry and sexually confused man who called himself “Loleeta”.

“Loleeta” was a male alternate who used female pronouns to describe himself.

He wrote English with a slight Spanish accent.

Three narrators tell his story in a series of vignettes.

The first person narrator is the histrionic and sexually compulsive Loleeta, the second narrator ridicules Loleeta’s dramatic exaggerations, and the third narrator bluntly states the facts.

Loleeta Morales wrote her birth at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco and named it “Los Portales“.

I still wonder how the staff at the many hospitals I cycled though missed such an obvious case of DID.

Inside Dissociative Identity Disorder

Updated April 14, 20115.

Name changed from “Inside DID: First Time Ever I saw Your Face” to “My Alternates”




64 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: Rob’s Story

  1. About your brain, and all that is going on in there, Robert. It is so impressive to me that you can handle all this with such openness and sensitivity. It’s a burden, but it’s also a gift. Thank you for always sharing your experience with us. It helps us all to understand a bit more. Hugs to you. 💘

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In some mysterious way the illness does not affect my intellect; and I also have an ability to form attachments.

      It’s painful and frightening to be like this but I believe that I’m broken this way for a reason.

      And it’s not all pain. I have genuine moments of joy.

      Thank you for being so supportive of my blog. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember when DID was not ‘believed in’ because people could not wrap their heads around it, even when there was a clear trajectory into the making of someone with DID. The same with many other mental health challenges. So I’m sure those who suffered serious illnesses like Schizophrenia and DID and Bipolar 1 and Dysthymia and BPD were just considered to be malingerers or worse, were relegated to second-class citizenship. I’d like to say things have changed and yes they have but NOT ENOUGH. Not enough money is put into research, too much emphasis is placed on drugs with horrible side-effects that often exacerbate conditions and the social stigma prevails in jobs, relationships, and en mass. I have always been drawn to people with mental conditions not out of pity but because they have endured so much and I relate to the experience even if I have not shared it. I think it is very brave and courageous of you to put yourself out there and educate others about the truth of things you have experienced. This does work and it does provoke change, not enough but so much better than if nobody did anything. It is sad that it has to be us, the ones who feel the worst, who are the ones who do something to help others, but isn’t that often the way? You are someone I admire very much for this and other reasons and I applaud you because you are so courageous in your honesty and I know it really does help a lot of people who read your blog including myself. You are inspiring to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharing this only helps others to understand. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, but it is kind and important. Sharing is the only way to eliminate the stigma attached to any diagnosis. I learned a lot here and I’m grateful for your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. woww.. this is someting. long time back i read a novel in which protagonist had three split personalities and that was more then enough for my mind to take in. what you have described must be very challenging.


    1. Thank you for your comment. It is very challenging and it takes skill to find ways to work around it. My goal in life is to be as productive as I can be despite the illness…and to some extent I am succeeding. Thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be to live with. Do you see it as a blessing if managed correctly or is it always a gamble of who next? Do these selves appear and protect you from certain situations or emotions .I apologise for all the questions. Of course you do not have to answer any of them… x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The DID may be a blessing in deep disguise.

      At the moment I’m managing as well as I can but I’m still not as functional as I was in 2008 when I was healthy enough to work full time.

      I still had DID when I worked and people often remarked on how ‘changeable’ I was but most people didn’t notice it.

      Something happened in 2009 that made the DID much worse.

      I still don’t know what the precipitating event was but I do know that it brought me to my knees.

      I don’t know what causes the different alternates to emerge.

      I know that Sara is a protector and I can hear Bobby nagging me to let him out so he can write 17 St. Phillips Street.

      Based on history I know that hearing him is a sign that he is about to come out to play.

      Thank you for your questions. I appreciate them.


  6. I understand DID more now as I read my different friends posts on here. “A diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is often a covert way of accusing difficult patients of malingering.” I am going through this right now. Accusations about malingering. Good description. I do not have DID, but I do have bipolar with psychosis and Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a real problem for mental health patients Tess. The people who manage and work in these behavioral health systems want to believe that pills and groups that are little more than 12 Step Meetings will ‘help’ us to ourselves and when they don’t work they give us labels and withdraw what little support they offer. Good luck with the push back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Erika. I know what Bobby and Sara do and I read the writings produced by the others. I have no direct contact with the majority of the alternates in the system. The goal of therapy is to bring us together but is slow and may never happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Meeting those that are you is a privilege I treasure. I will admit, reading of you being “wet sheeted”, much less just restrained, gives me echoes that I am not crazy about – but I would rather share in learning of you than not – so minor inconveniences can be set aside. At least for now.
    I consider you one of the bravest men I “know”. For recognizing and acknowledging the many parts of the whole. For giving those of us on the outside these glimpses into who you are.
    Thank you again, good sir. I am ennobled and inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That wet sheeting was one of the best things that happened because it opened us up to the possibility that something else was going on. It also had the symbolic value. Frankly, I would rather be restrained than medicated into submission. Thank you for your comment. I’m always a little confused when people say I’m brave. I do this because I believe that what people understand they are less likely to try to destroy. I am tired of being target for destruction. I am tired of seeing other people unable to care for themselves abandoned to death on our streets. Talking about it may not change much but silence absolutely enables it. Thank you for your comment, Marcus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “…silence absolutely enables it.”
        Silence is certainly not “golden” in too many cases, it is poison. And “not talking about it” does NOT make it “go away”.
        Thank you for your insight into the restraint issue. For me the medicated is much less threatening and tons less terrorizing. I went into surgery once and they strapped me into the table before sedation (only time it’s happened in that order) — I started asking to just call off the surgery. Being fully aware that I am bound … certainly not for me.
        I guess more proof we are all individuals and need treated that way, even when we share similarities…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We sheeting was a technique used in psycho-dynamically based treatment facilities to calm patients while allowing them to have their feelings. When it is done properly it can provide patients with the feeling of being held.

        It also facilitates regression which is what happened.

        Bob felt safe and regressed. He saw the others as he went deeper into his regression.


  8. I thought it would be best to read more to get a better understanding. What you’ve lived through – my only knowledge could only be through movies our books and I know that is drastically incomplete. I say the same thing to people who react inappropriately to things I write about our prison system because they watched “Prison Break” on TV and think all inmates are criminals without knowing what it is like to be judged Unfairly. I am sure you also have been judged unfairly. I do have a question The answer might be in here somewhere. It took a very long time to get the right diagnoses. Did you try to make their early assessment fit? Did you think you were bipolar? Did your alters show themselves by name by then? This was your “normal” When did you realize you weren’t alone but most everyone else is? okay that was more than “a” question.lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for these questions.

      In response to a previous one about age, I posted a more recent photo of my partner and me at San Francisco City Hall.


      It took a very long time to get the right diagnoses.

      Most of my life.

      I didn’t try to make their assessment fit; I just believed the docs when they said I had bi-polar illness. I also had my own misconceptions about Dissociative Identity Disorder. I took the prescribed meds and experienced terrible shame when they didn’t work.

      My alternates were very active, each one had his own way of speaking, and each one wrote in his own tone of voice.

      I was part of San Francisco’s Gay Lit scene and regularly gave performances of my monologues, which is what ‘Bobby” and “Loleeta” are.

      I never questioned the absence of memory that often followed a performance or the terrible trauma reactions I had to being the center of attention.

      A performance was always followed b a crisis that always led to hospitalization.

      I once told a shrink that I heard “people” speaking to me so anti-psychotics were added to the buttload of medications I was expected to take and did take.

      Did your alters show themselves by name by then?

      Most of them, yes. They were thought of as characters and I was considered a “crazy genius” who lived in character when he was performing.

      When did you realize you weren’t alone but most everyone else is?


      Liked by 3 people

      1. Not knowing things were different for you when you were young and not being able to verbalize it, no wonder it was traumatic. Knowing that you gave a performance after the fact but not being “present” when it happened, surviving this is amazing. Back to a previous discussion, because human nature is something I have studied for a long time – when you practiced Nichiren Shoshu it was indeed a long time ago, because we separated from the priesthood in ’91, due to corruption and the high priest trying to become like the pope – a direct channel to the Buddha, which is absurd. It is now the SGI. But the study itself of the different life conditions and how we react to life depending on our “mood” to make it simple, we make causes that will someday have an effect. Likewise we live the effects of the causes we previously made. Thinking there is an outside force with human emotion life love and who gets angry if he isn’t worshiped and punishes us always seemed absurd and has a plan for each and every one of us ( Only Chiristians of course) even though I grew up in the church until 18. Buddhism put control back in my hands instead of outside me. But how would that work in a life who was not always responsible for the causes being made, yet has to live with the results? You said you were very young. Without serious guidance, most young people would not be able to continue with the practice of Buddhism at that age, even if they raised in it because teenagers generally want to do the opposite of what adults want them to do. This creates interesting questions. Not for you, but for other people who also practice this Buddhism because I have never heard of any other person with this experience. I’ll let you know what I find out. Do you have a “faith”? Most people believe what they were told as they grew up and never questioned it, never looked for anything else. it takes a strong person to believe in something different from his peers. I imagine yours was a search for answers. Fear of the unknown also inhibits people. You are already living in a place that for most is unknown. Making sense of this has been hard and a lifetime quest. This shaped you. What would you say are the benefits of who you are?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was born into a Jewish Family, my Father was orthodox, I had an affinity for the liberation theology of the Catholic Church. I find the reaction to Pope Francis delicious.

        The teachings of the Christ are too radical for the “blind guides” of Corporate Christianity.

        Nichiren Shoshu was popular among teens when I was a teen…perhaps it was limited to Charleston, but I find that hard to believe.

        At the time there was surge of religions with Jesus Freaks, followers of Krishna, and Nichiren Shoshu, which at that time was presented as a way of achieving material success.

        As followers we were told to “chant” while visualizing something we wanted.

        I think that the worst part of the AIDS epidemic is that most people still don’t get that for Gay Men is was like a holocaust. Our government sat by and did nothing as greedy religious hypocrites used our suffering for political gain.

        Conservatives have alot of suffering to answer for, whether the wasted lives of talented African American Men used as fodder in for profit prisons, the mentally ill freezing to death in front of the White House, children who go to bed hungry because to feed them would mean displacing the precious class system that our elite will kill to preserve, or the lives of gay men lost in the homophobic laughter of a senile president and his vicious advisors.

        It is one thing to fall victim to a disease, but it’s quite another to fall victim to a disease that your government treats like a successful weapon.

        As for how it felt to have DID — I can only say that the mental health system was more in-tact but degraded to the extent that it did not and does not see what it does not want to treat.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I agree about the pope. He’s a bit too radical for the hierarcy, but thhat is a good thing. I’m sorry about your experience with Nichiren. I’ve heard that before. It makes it sound like magic. We all have a human nature. Even with your alters you say they all have the same underlying sense of what is right and wrong but go about expressing it in different ways. NB is about about understanding your nature and changing the things that cause you unhappiness. It is a lifelong process of learning how to make better causes in your life that will get better effects. If it IS your finances you need to change you will find out it is something within yourself that caused it to be that way. A change in outlook, attitude or blaming others could be the problem. I chant for wisdom, to understand what I did to cause something. It is cause and effect that rules our life, not an outside source. Decades later you might see it different. http://sgi-usa.org. I do agree 100% with what you say. There are so many people who don’t get it. They suffocate themselves only reading about things that support their views and have no problem hurting people people who don’t think like they do. It is these people who continue to allow the govt to go on this way is what lets the suffering continue. Even people don’t want to see it because it isn’t “nice” and they think it has nothing to do with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Our concept of manners is odd…We can’t talk about war crimes in Iraq because it’s divisive. I don’t know that people who let their leaders get away with wholesale slaughter have a right to feel complacent. The Allies marched the German people through those concentration camps when they refused to admit to what happened.

        I wonder what it will take to make our nation take accountability. You would think that we would have learned from the festering wound that is the ongoing American Civil War that full accountability is the only way to lay an evil to rest. had the South been forced to apologize and pay reparations we would not be debating the stupid confederate battle flag in 2015.

        But I digress…:)

        So now to the black stain of slavery, institutional homophobia, a eugenics
        campaign against people with mental illness, the starving of poor children, and the unleashing of semi-automatic weapons on our streets, we can add the illegal invasion of Iraq and the illegal torture of innocent people with nary a word from anyone…

        If I pray for anything it is the hope that the people of this nation wake up and take responsibility for the crimes committed in their name…

        Before the rest of the world decides its had enough of our outrageously entitled bullying and forces us to take responsibility.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I agree but sadly this nation will not ever learn or do the right thing. Our leaderso have planned every atrocity they have participated in – all for someone’s profit. Grandfather Prescott Bush’s bank financed the Nazis. The Viet Nam war was handed to the money makers. Bush attacks Iraq and makes people believe they attacked the trade center. Everything is for money. They will never make things right. But you are also right – what happens when or bullying is turned against us? Who will the religious right blame it on? People lap up every piece of drivel the news puts out.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. but wouldn’t it be boring if everyone thought the same way and there was no diversity. There always has to be both sides of the coin. Otherwise we’d be in “heaven” and that would just be plain boring!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I don’t object to disagreements–I think that lively, honest, and informed debate is essential to our social evolution. I have a problem with people who abuse power and hurt other people under the guise of helping them. Our public discourse in the U.S. is not diverse. It is deceptive and unhealthy and it results in suffering and stunted lives for those who have the most to lose when the economic elite fails to meet its responsibility to the rest of us. In a Democracy, the elite are expected to participate in creating those conditions that are essential for the perpetuation and evolution of human rights. For thirty years our political leaders have pandered to the absolute worst impulses of the American people and the result is a public that is so divorced from their own government that they don’t recognize it as theirs. That is the road to the uniformity of fascism.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I don’t think we’ve been a democracy for a long time. when money buys elections and politicians when clearly the people want else it’s hard not to think what is the point of voting? They lie to get elected and people who really do want to do the right thing can’t get funding. And Obama? What a major disappointment. Didn’t do one thing he said he would. Granted, they wouldn’t let him but there was still no transparency. We’re headed into such a bad place.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. I can’t agree with this but I know many people who say this.

        I believe that Obama has proven himself a thousand times over.

        The fact that he got any of his agenda passed at all is astonishing to me.

        The majority party in congress decided that it would not support him regardless of the will of the People.

        He also had to face a 24/7 propaganda machine that smears him and openly calls for his assassination.

        I never thought I would live to see people getting away with behavior that a previous generation would have treated as treason.

        I know a substantial number of “Greatest Generation” people who are in their 90’s and that is certainly what they call it.

        My best friend’s father who is in his 90’s called the Republican response to Obama, “A conspiracy to politically assassinate the President of the United States.”

        I, personally, have not seen a more vicious racist attack since witnessing the stoning of black children on the first day of desegregation.

        Obama not only survived, but millions of citizens have access to health care thanks to the ACA.

        I have nothing but admiration and respect for Obama.


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