A MAN has revealed he suffers from a rare condition where his identity is split into 10 different personalities, all with different names, ages and opinions.
Leonard Stockl has been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DIS), a rare psychiatric disorder that develops in early childhood and is the result of severe trauma.
According to Stockl, the 10 personalities are: Kovu, 4, Hektor, 8, Ana, 16, Cosmo, 17, Ash, 18, Jessy, 19, Leo, 21, Billy, 23, Liv, 24, and Red, 26.
The 22-year-old calls his collective personalities his “system,” with the set of identities sharing a body and each distinct consciousness being the “person” or “age.”
Leo calls themselves the “host” of the system, meaning they are the person most often in control of the body.
He was able to cope with everyday life well into his teens, but when he graduated from high school in June last year, he was overwhelmed.
Leo struggled with studying, suffered from memory loss, ability to concentrate and other symptoms due to his personality change.
After seven years of therapy, he looked for a psychosomatic clinic where he would get help to become more stable and was diagnosed with DID.
He was hospitalized for six weeks in March 2022, where he underwent multiple therapies, including sessions with a psychiatrist as Mauer, and methods such as QiGong, art therapy and archery.
Leo was diagnosed just two days before his April 26, 2022 release.
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He told the Grimsby Telegraph that he was relieved at his diagnosis and finally able to give his problems a proper name, but added that he recognized there was still a long road of work ahead of him.
Leo added that while his time at the clinic wasn’t as helpful as he’d hoped, he added that it gave him a great schedule and a safe, supportive environment in which to learn, with his living trauma.
Due to the severity of his condition, he is unable to work as each age has their own set of skills and desires that make it impossible to ensure he can perform his job.
He now runs a shop on Etsy selling handmade bookmarks and tote bags.
The Leo system also has a complex impact on his relationship, “because there are more people involved and everyone has their very strong and unique opinions on things.”
But he also noted that the system can be a “great source of support” when things get tough in the relationship.
He said: “When things get tough we always find a way and in the end we’re just as normal a couple as everyone else. Sometimes there are just a few more people involved.”
Leo, who lives in Munich, has been with his partner Massimo since October 2020.
He added: “We live with Massimo and he is the main person who takes care of us. Each age has its own relationship with my boyfriend.
“One of the ages hated him at first – he’s trying to be nice now but it doesn’t always work. We have a very young personality who met him, but it can be difficult for my boyfriend to have a younger person carry the front while we’re together.”
Leo emphasized that while every DID system is different, they all share severe traumatic experiences in early childhood that shaped and developed the system.
He said: “I’m Leo and I’m the current host of the system. I love to cook, read and watch movies and series with my partner who I live with. Kovu is our youngest and we don’t know much about him because he is very calm – we suspect he is very traumatized.
WHAT IS DISSOCIATED IDENTITY DISORDER (DID)?
Dissociative identity disorder was formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
Someone diagnosed with DID may feel insecure about their identity and who they are.
You can sense the presence of other identities, each with their own names, voices, personal stories, and idiosyncrasies.
The main symptoms of DID, according to the NHS, are:
- Gaps in memory about everyday events and personal information
- with several different identities
Many people with dissociative disorder make a full recovery with treatment and support.
“Hector is a very excited child – he loves stuffed animals and is always excited to go to the zoo or aquarium. Ana suffers from anorexia, which makes it difficult for her to get ahead. Cosmo is a rowdy, easily flirty teenager who gets into trouble easily.
“Ash is a little sunshine who likes to go on vacation and just explore the world. Jessy is quiet but very kind, girly and respectful. She often takes care of the body.
“Billy is one of our protectors – he always looks after security when we’re outside. He doesn’t talk much and can be verbally aggressive at times, but he would never hurt anyone. Liv is our sexual protector. She knows when someone is getting too close and she can handle any situation. Red is the eldest and the mother of the systems. She does a lot of things – showers, housework, cleaning, paperwork and managing all of our money.”
Help for people with DID includes online support groups and mental health counseling centers.
However, finding help can be difficult as information about the condition is very limited.
Leo added that people often don’t share their experiences because of embarrassment, difficulty meeting others with DID, and even fear that previous abusers will reach out to them.
He said: “You can meet people online but you still have to be careful who you can trust. There are a few groups on Reddit and Facebook where you can share experiences, ask questions, and get help with your problems. We also have some trauma centers here in Germany, but not all of them are informed about DID.”
Due to his condition, Leo cannot leave the house on his own, but thinks that assistance dogs would be a great help for DID sufferers.
He said: “We always need someone when we leave the house as there can be so many triggers that cause flashbacks and even non-epileptic seizures caused by dissociative conversion disorder. Assistance dogs can be very helpful for people with DID and also relieve family caregivers.
“They cost about 30,000 euros, which is extremely expensive for someone who may not even be able to work due to their conditions. An assistance dog would also be of great help but we also need a lot of therapy which is very difficult to organise.
“It’s really difficult to find a therapist who can work with DID, and often those who can either run out of capacity or put you on a waiting list of several months or even years.”
To help others with DID, Leo began posting videos online about his condition in May 2022.
In one video, he was able to catch a switch — that is, the moment another personality was frontal.
The reaction on the internet was really positive and motivated Leo to keep posting information about DID.
Several films and series have portrayed characters with DID over the past few years, but Leo says they are not an accurate portrayal of people with the condition.
He said: “DID isn’t portrayed properly in films and series – we don’t have superpowers and we’re not dangerous. The only films that contain DID are fantasy and thriller films, making Hollywood steal our respect in society.
“We need authentic films and documentaries, we don’t need film productions that make millions of dollars at our expense and risk. DID is more than just multiple personalities living in one body.
“Even if I no longer go to concerts and go outside more carefully, with DID we also have the opportunity to constantly learn new things. Each of us has our own desires and interests that we can share with each other.
“I would never choose to live without the other personalities. They are my family, my best friends, my team – I couldn’t even live without them.”
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