This is my story: I am 29 years old and I have lived with multiple personality disorder for over twenty years. Getting treatment was difficult as any available money the family had was spent on upkeep.
I grew up in a family of four, in Ibadan, capital of Oyo state. I was born in Abeokuta, in 1981 the second child. I spent most of my time with Mother who was disturbed when at age three; I had not spoken a single coherent word. Finally, at five I called ‘mama’. My legs curved into a bow and finally straightened after some time.
It was a challenge to act normal because I never knew what started me off. I had to attend school and sometimes, my ‘other me’ came out. I had no friends and had the rest of the children screaming out of fright. The class would empty and they would all peek at me from the doorway until the nurses came with a sedative and this made me constantly out of my wits with all the grogginess from sedation. I began to face rejections from schools since no school wanted to admit me. My education ground to a halt in July 1993. Although my mates were well ahead of me, I never learnt how to read till I was 15. By then, I still had not gotten treatment. Since my mother was a single parent, she had to work. While she did, she would lock me in a room of the house until she returned. Even my siblings I hardly saw and as a result I sank into depression. My skin became translucent until I felt that my veins would pop out one day.
I was turning 23 when I finally got treatment. My older brother’s fiancé is a doctor and she finally got me the help I required. My brother tried to dissuade her but she was like a dog with a bone that would not leave it until she got what she wanted. Her persistence got me a medical grant that helped pay for my treatment from some kind of memorial foundation. I had to be taken all the way to India for therapy for a month. Hypnosis showed that I had five personalities, two of which were violent! I had multiple cuts and bruises on my hands and feet to prove that. Some had to be stitched during my treatment. I had one who acted like a child, another like a grown man, and the last like an infant. When I came back after 1 month, I was normal and stable although my siblings were still wary around me for a while. Mother had changed things around my room but it felt claustrophobic to me and besides, I did not need memories of painful times. I had to continue a part of my therapy in Lagos and so, my family moved. It was not so difficult aside from the fact that I had to see a psychologist to work on boosting my self confidence since I was still so shy around people.
I had to look for a job to support myself after I learnt how to read. I started supplementary classes to take some necessary exams. Mother has been so supportive and I hope to be able to support her fully some day. My two younger siblings are almost through with their education and I had the pleasure of being my sister-in-law’s maid-of-honour. I work a 9-5 job now and take classes on weekends.
I honestly look forward to the time when I would regain everything I lost. I never knew that my story would impress anyone, least of all, a magazine. Remembering all that has happened is really painful for me, but at least, I am here to tell the story. My family has accepted me again and they are now more supportive than ever before!