YouTube personality Trisha Paytas has ignited new controversy with her new self-diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
Known for her outstandingly ignorant comments on transgender issues and mindless content like "making out with my couch," the 31-year-old has received a backlash for her new claims to have DID. Her recent video, "MEET MY ALTERS | Dissociative Identity Disorder," has been viewed 851,000 times as of this writing, and her following video, "My Alters SWITCH (Caught on Camera) LIVE FOOTAGE!" received 275,000 views within the first 14 hours. While it is no one's place, other than her doctor's, to judge whether or not Paytas has the disorder, she admits that she has never been diagnosed by a professional. The influencer then goes on to spread alarmingly incorrect–and outright dangerous–information about DID.
Formerly known as "multiple personality disorder" (a generally inaccurate term that has not been used by mental health professionals for decades), DID is a complex disorder that's often been misrepresented in the media. As Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. Robert Muller writes, DID is very real: "DID is formally recognized as a psychiatric diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-V. The patient must show at least two identities/personalities, also known as alters which routinely take control of the individual's behavior along with an associated memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness."
But too often, mental illnesses have been used as dramatic plot devices with little regard for scientific accuracy or their stigmatizing effects on society, from the best-selling book and '70s TV miniseries Sybil to the 2017 superhero movie Split. In reality, Sybil was based on a sensationalized story that was later revealed to be fabricated, while Split is a damaging representation of DID that implies "alters" (the "altered states of consciousness" that manifest with DID) can be homicidally dangerous and criminally insane. In truth, people with DID are no more likely to be violent than any one else; in fact, they are more likely to become the victim of a crime due the brain's responses to trauma.
In the last decade, representations of DID in the media have become especially common. From 2009 to 2011, Showtime's United States of Tara starred Toni Collette as an average suburban mother who struggles to accept and cope with her disorder while raising a family. The award-winning 2010 film Frankie and Alice stars Halle Berry as an exotic dancer who discovers she's developed, among others, an alter of a racist young woman named Alice. Both Collette and Berry were nominated for a Golden Globe for their performances. However, individuals diagnosed with DID had mixed views, pointing out inaccuracies and general dramatizations of the disorder and denouncing press coverage that negatively described individuals with DID as "deranged" and "damaged." Conversely, FX's Mr. Robot has been generally praised for its accurate depictions of dissociative states. Rami Malek plays a troubled young man whose past trauma has induced retrograde amnesia, causing him to hallucinate fantastical clues about his past. In an anonymous essay titled "I Am Mr. Robot," a writer with DID commended the show's "fantastic job of theatrically reproducing the experience of navigating interactions with dissociative 'parts.'"It's because of that history of misrepresentation and stigmatization of mental disorders that Trisha Paytas isn't just another clickbait YouTuber desperate for attention; she's dangerous. Her recent videos claiming that she has DID and spreading misinformation about the disorder have been widely debunked, both on YouTube and by mental health professionals. Among her factual errors, she referred to the condition as "multiple personality disorder" and inaccurately defined what an "alter" is. As an individual with nearly 5 million You Tube followers, using that platform to describe a mental disorder as "crazy" while spreading misinformation only further stigmatizes that disorder and undercuts all activism that works to destigmatize all mental health issues.
So rather than giving her more revenue for clicks (and rather than contributing to the outrage or calling to "cancel" her), why not walk away from the mayhem and tune in to one the following sources about DID:
Padilla's trending video is what prompted Paytas' announcement that she had DID. However, unlike Paytas, Padilla uses his platform to speak to individuals diagnosed with DID and highlighting their voice to describe their own experiences.
- The first recorded case of DID was in 1791.
- An estimated 1 - 3% of the world population has DID (which is the same percentage of people who have red hair).
I spent a day with MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES (Dissociative Identity Disorder) youtu.be
A&E's docuseries follows Jane Hart, a single mother of two boys, who was recently diagnosed with DID.
- Different "alters" develop in order to fulfill specific needs
- DID develops as the result of sustained and repeated childhood trauma (Trigger Warning for Childhood Abuse and Vague Descriptions of Sexual Assault).
Many Sides of Jane | Premieres January 22nd at 10/9c | A&E youtu.be
As a prominent voice within the active DID community on YouTube, a young woman named Jess uses 360 video technology, scripted monologues of real conversations between her actual alters, and actors to create a visual depiction of what life with DID is like.
- Alters work together to manage daily life and process trauma from the past.
- Different alters hold different memories from the past.
Dissociative Identity SIMULATION | 360° video! youtu.be
As one of the individuals featured in Anthony Padilla's video, "I spent a day with MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES," DissociaDID was criticized by name in Trisha Paytas' video. The channel is run by a young English woman named Nin (formerly called Chloe), who posted her reaction to Paytas and debunked the misinformation and factual errors in the video. The entire channel is dedicated to destigmatizing DID, as well as other related mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
- There is no one "original" personality. All alters are parts of one whole
- "Alters" are whole personalities–whole people–by themselves.
Meet SIX Alters! THE GIRLS OF DISSOCIADID | Meet The Alters | Dissociative Identity Disorder youtu.be