Multiple Personality Day – March 5, 2022

Multiple Personality Day is an annual holiday on March 5. Currently known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder is a relatively new condition that psychiatrists are still learning about. It often goes undiagnosed among the general population. For those diagnosed with it, however, it can be a terrifying experience accompanied by unreliable mood swings and self-distrust. Multiple Personality Day aims to change those fears by spreading awareness of its existence, helping patients and their families with resources and methods to cope. Some observe this day by connecting with the many sides of their personality. 

History of Multiple Personality Day

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), originally called Multiple Personality Disorder, is a medical condition of suffering memory loss, out-of-body experiences, detachment from emotions, and a lack of self-identity, which may lead to suicidal ideations. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, only 2% of the American population experiencing these symptoms have been properly diagnosed. 

Psychiatrists once diagnosed people with having at least two different and distinct personalities. In the 19th century, the disorder was often misdiagnosed as sleepwalking triggered by emotional trauma or even epilepsy. The first patient to be correctly diagnosed with multiple personalities was Louis Vivet in 1885, and his case brought the attention of the medical world to the condition. Clara Norton Fowler was the first diagnosed patient to be properly studied by a neurologist in 1898. Schizophrenia was discovered in 1906, and for the next several decades until the 80s, it was diagnosed for most psychological cases including DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder can include multiple personalities and a wide variety of other symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and dissociative episodes, usually caused by unresolved trauma. Research has proven the existence of the disorder, but few people are well-versed about its diagnosis or treatment. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), first published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1952, helps maintain a level of uniformity to mental disorder identification.

Multiple Personality Day has two goals when it comes to observing it. The first is to empower those personally affected by the disorder to share their stories and find ways to love and accept themselves in a world where disorders aren’t well known or understood. The second goal is raising awareness about the disorder itself, helping others understand what it means to have Dissociative Identity Disorder and ways of managing it in daily life. The day aims to change common misconceptions and make the disorder well known throughout the world as a valid condition that should be understood by others. A multicolored awareness ribbon resembling a crazy quilt is the symbol of the day.

Multiple Personality Day timeline

1840s
Lobbying for Mental Health Treatment

Activist Dorothea Dix lobbies for better living conditions for the mentally ill.

1885
Earliest Known Diagnosed Case

Louis Vivet is diagnosed with having ‘multiple personalities,’ the first time the term is used.

1898
The First Scientific Case Study

American neurologist Morton Prince starts studying ‘Christine Beauchamp’ whose real name was Clara Norton Fowler, one of the first diagnosed DID cases.

1906
Dissociation of a Personality

Prince publishes a monograph of his six-year study of Fowler, considered a prototypical case of the disorder for several decades.

Mid-1950s
Push for Deinstitutionalization

Outpatient treatment begins, facilitated by the development of antipsychotic drugs.

1946
National Mental Health Act

The U.S. government allocates funds to researching treatments for mental illness.

1979
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

The alliance is established to provide support, education, advocacy, and research services for psychiatric illnesses.

Multiple Personality Day FAQs

Can you have multiple personalities at once?

People with dissociative identity disorder may have two or more separate personalities. These identities control their behavior at different times and can cause gaps in memory among other problems.

Do split personalities know each other?

The fragmented personalities take control of the patient’s identity for some time. They maintain their primary or host identity which is usually more passive but may be unaware of the other personalities. They may also retain their original personality and answer to their given name.

What triggers switching?

Stress and excessive alcohol or drug intake are the most common triggers of switching in a DID patient. Regular therapy, effective stress management, and avoiding intoxicants of any kind may reduce the alters’ control over the patient.

How to Observe Multiple Personality Day

  1. Attend a seminar

    Attend a seminar or read up about the disorder on Multiple Personality Day. Show support for people with the disorder by sharing your newfound understanding.

  2. Explore your personality traits

    Take a personality test to learn more about your personality. Explore the many sides of your psyche.

  3. Raise awareness

    After attending the seminar and taking a personality test, raise awareness about Multiple Personality Day. Share resources and help those in need.

5 Facts About Dissociative Identity Disorder That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. It's a coping mechanism

    Patients have often suffered violent and traumatizing experiences in the past.

  2. Patients may suffer throughout their life

    The disorder stems from childhood trauma, which, without psychotherapy, can last a lifetime.

  3. It usually affects women

    Women are more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.

  4. It’s more common than we think

    Up to 50% of American adults have dissociated from reality at least once in their lives.

  5. There are three types

    People may experience the disorder as dissociative amnesia, depersonalization, or dissociative identity, depending on the trigger.

Why Multiple Personality Day is Important

  1. It teaches empathy

    Multiple Personality Day teaches us to be empathetic towards people who suffer all kinds of conditions. It makes us considerate of other people’s needs.

  2. It helps us introspect

    Multiple Personality Day reveals the importance of being introspective of our personalities. We are reminded to look after our mental health and connect with our inner selves.

  3. It creates awareness

    Multiple Personality Day creates awareness about Dissociative Identity Disorder. It familiarizes the common public with verifiable information, discrediting common misconceptions about the disorder.

Multiple Personality Day dates

YearDateDay
2022March 5Saturday
2023March 5Sunday
2024March 5Tuesday
2025March 5Wednesday
2026March 5Thursday

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