Dissociative Identity Disorder: Different Memories, Different Skills

“…Alters in DID have “their own identities, involving a center of initiative and experience, they have a characteristic self-representation, which may be different from how the patient is generally seen or perceived, have their own autobiographic memory, and distinguish what they understand to be their own actions and experiences from those done and experienced by other alters, and they have a sense of ownership of their own experiences, actions, and thoughts, and may lack a sense of ownership of and a sense of responsibility for the action, experiences, and thoughts of other alters.” NIH

“Uneven learning: the child (with DID) knows how to complete a particular assignment quite well one day, doesn’t know how to do it the next day and then later when it has not been re-taught can successfully complete the task.  Children might also be able to do math one day and the next day they might be totally unable to do the same math with no recollection that they have been able to do it the previous day.” NIH

digital portrait of a young male avatar who represents an alternate naned Bobby
Bobby’s digital self

Rob Goldstein is the alternate working on the interview with Harold Norse and he’s baffled: why does the Rob Goldstein on the tape refer to himself as illiterate?

Rob Goldstein can’t remember being illiterate just as he can’t remember
the interview.

We’ve (I) always thought Rob Goldstein lived with Harold Norse.

I am Matthew, sometimes called, the Host.

I was born in 1992.

I know most of the others and why they were born.

After Bobby came Bob.

Bob was a travel agent and later a Licensed Psychiatric Technician
at a Freudian based long-term facility in New Haven.

Bob had to grasp the complex psycho-dynamics that emerge between staff
and patients in long-term in-patient analyses and report these interactions
in his charting and at staff meetings.

We were in our thirties when we moved to San Francisco and became
Rob Goldstein.

Rob Goldstein was the first openly gay Assistant Director of Physical Education at the Central YMCA in San Francisco.

He was under incredible stress at work and had started having panic attacks when his friends began to sicken and die from AIDS.

As a result, Bobby often came out to run or go dancing.

Bobby also liked to go to the café and write.

Bobby met Harold Norse at the Cafe Flore one day in March of 1984.

A few days later Bobby met with Norse again and showed him some hastily
written poems.

In June they met for coffee and Norse told Bobby about his vacant room
and need for a roommate.

Norse also told him that he would teach him how to write.

So, who moved in with Harold Norse?  Who is the alternate on those tapes?

The only logical answer is Bobby.

Being a poet was Bobby’s dream but finding a parent was dearer.

31 is a bit old for a man to turn himself over to a mentor but not if he
has DID and can wipe out 15 years.

Bobby is always 16 and in the 1980’s he had none of Bob’s or Rob’s
memories or skills.

He was the a semi-illiterate boy named Bobby; the one who had to play
stupid even as he yearned to write poetry.

Norse met and saw a gifted and wounded 16-year-old and decided to
give him the permission that he so desperately needed.

The permission that ‘we’ so desperately needed.

An poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse
An early poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse

Rob Goldstein (c) 2017



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”