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All of Me

by on June 13th, 2013
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Dissociative identity disorder, or as it is more commonly known, multiple personality disorder, is one of the more spectacular mental health phenomena. Psychologists believe that it is caused by intense trauma, under which the mind shatters into several distinct personalities. All of Me, by Kim Noble, is a book about what it is like to live with complex condition. Written by Patricia, one of more than twenty different personalities inhabiting the body, the book describes the confusion of a young girl growing up in a body that would do things without her awareness. She describes waking up in strange places, among people she didn’t know, having no idea why she was there or how she got there.

Born in the 60’s, no one around her understood what she was going through, and her parents and teachers could not understand why she was sometimes unable to remember things from one moment to the next. When help was sought for her, she was at separate times diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia, depression, alcoholism, and schizophrenia. The irony is that many of the diagnoses were correct. They simply all belonged to different personalities, or alters. Julia is a teenager who believes that she receives messages from license plates and television antennae. Katie is a three year old little girl. Ken is a gay man. Hayley is a responsible and gregarious middle-aged woman who fought for and won their independence. The only thing all of these different people have in common is the body of Kim Noble and love for her daughter, Aimee.

With the help of a patient and pioneering therapist, Patricia came to understand what was happening to her, although some of her alters still do not. Eventually, she turned to painting as a way of expressing herself and communicating with her alters. Now, Kim Noble is a successful artist, with fourteen of her alters contributing works.

Kim’s story is a vivid and fascinating glimpse into the mysteries of the human mind. She discusses what it is like living with her condition, how she learned to deal with the blackouts, the confusion, and the consequences of other personalities’ actions. She describes what it was like to realize that she was only one of possibly hundreds of people living in the same body, and that Patricia herself wasn’t even the main one. Rich in detail, the story is intensely personal, yet warm and even humorous. Patricia tells their story with a sensitivity and deftness that leaves the reader in awe of the strength and resilience of the human mind.

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