Warning: Mentions of self harm
“Every time I reached out for help, I am promised help but it’s not there. Even when I am begging for it,” says Vicky, who is a psychology student diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.
Dissociative identity disorder is a condition where an individual has splits or compartments in their memories and personality, due to repeated early childhood trauma. This can lead to different identities, also known as “alters.”
Vicky has been struggling with her mental health for years, especially with losing time, where she she would lose chunks of hours, (from hours to years, gone completely blank) not knowing what she did.
Vicky was diagnosed with DID in 2019, after which her then-husband began recording her during those times, when she was seemingly a completely different person. Her voice would change, her mannerisms, behaviour would change, but it was the same body.
“Even though I was a psychology student, I am kind of ashamed to say, I didn’t believe at first that what was happening to me was DID,” Vicky says. “But when it happens to you, you have no choice but to accept it.”
Vicky has a system of nine alters, of varying ages.
Vicky worked at a local psychology clinic, and was initially forced to take 3 months leave when she started dissociating and getting panic attacks at work. There, she got free therapy throughout the 3-month leave she took and she said they tried to help her but even they did not know enough information about DID.
Vicky described the scariest episode in her life when “woke up” at the swimming track at midnight, having no memory of how she got there. She said this was the scariest because it was during lockdown, she didn’t have a mask on.
Since the medication Vicky takes is very strong, she later developed a tolerance for it, which made her take more than what was recommended. Vicky mentioned that she got addicted to the pills and she is still recovering from the addiction.
“He tried his best,” she recalls her ex-husband as supportive and he tried to understand the best he could.
She said that it was important for people to be kind and compassionate when they have any kind of relationship with someone who has mental issues.
“Getting help for mental conditions in the Maldives is like trying to squeeze water from a stone,” says Vicky, highlighting the lack of help available for mental help issues in this country.
Vicky said she attempted suicide multiple times.
“I always woke up no matter what I did. Otherwise, I won’t be here. I have to keep fighting, and I will keep fighting.”
Vicky said the only time she got immediate help from the system was the time a police officer bought her the medications she desperately needed, during lockdown. She said she was very grateful for the officer that helped her.
When asked if people living with DID can lead a “normal” life, Vicky says, “No. I do not believe that.”
She credits mental health as one of the reasons why she could not stay married to her now ex-husband, with whom she broke up amicably, saying, “I could not put him through that.”
– Photostories in partnership with Rise Up MV