Archive for June 10th, 2008

Microscopic view (c) Lynda BernhardtAs a person who has recovered from dissociative identity disorder (DID) (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), I was curious to watch the remake of the movie Sybil, which aired on Saturday night on CBS. I have always loved Jessica Lange (who played Dr. Wilbur) in pretty much anything. I did not know much about Tammy Blanchard (who played Sybil), but I am now a fan. She was amazing in the role.

Unfortunately, the movie began with a focus on Russian nesting dolls. I get why they did this (symbolic of many living within one), but it did not help my Russian nesting doll phobia one bit. I wish I had not watched the movie live because then I could have just fast-forwarded through that part. I used my coping tools and pushed through the beginning with a big headache.

I thought the movie did a good job of explaining the reason for alter parts. Also, I did not think that the movie exploited Sybil, making her look like some circus freak, which is the reaction I have had to some of the other portrayals of people with DID in the movies.

I liked that the movie solely focused on her therapy because that is the part I cared about the most.

Unfortunately, hub chose to be in the room the entire time that I watched the movie. Considering that I had even more parts than Sybil did and that I endured most of the same abuses (and more), I found it wildly amusing to hear some of hub’s comments throughout the movie. He even made a crack about why the boyfriend would be attracted to her with all of those parts. I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing.

I also loved watching the pioneering of recognizing DID as a real disorder. Dr. Wilbur’s colleague kept pointing to the fact that DID was not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which was interesting because multiple personality was included in DSM-III and the new name of DID is included in the current edition of DSM-IV. There are now even entire practices that are devoted solely to DID, so it is amazing how far we have come.

I found many similarities between my experiences and Sybil’s but also many differences. I will cover both in my next two posts.

Related topics:

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and the Movies

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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