The word is dissociate. There is no 'a' before the invariably say dis-a-ssociate, which, if you're suffering Disso-ciative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder, can be irritating. People then want to know how many personalities I have and the answer is: I don't know. The first book about Multiple Personality Disorder to make an impact was Flora Rheta Schreiber's Sybil, published in 1973, which carries the subtitle: The True and Extraordinary Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities. Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley published the controversial The Three Faces of Eve much earlier in 1957, and Pete Townshend from The Who wrote the song 'Four Faces'. People seem to feel safe with numbers. The truth is more complicated. The kids emerged over time. Billy, the boisterous five-year-old, was at first the most dominant. But he slowly stood aside for JJ, the self-confident ten-year-old who appears when Alice is under stress and handles complicated situations like travelling on the Underground and meeting new people. The first entity to visit was the external voice of the Professor. But he had a choir of accomplices without names. So, how many actual alter personalities are there? I would say more than fifteen and less than thirty, a combination of protectors, persecutors and friends - my own family tree.
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