I have a bit of dilemma. A convention is coming up and I was texting my room mate to be to work out some last minute details. It was then he dropped a bombshell. It seems that I won't be getting ONE roommate, I'll be getting SEVERAL, as my roomie to be suffers from multiple personality disorder. I know what MPD is (I've read books on people who have had to contend with MPD) but I'm still wary of still taking on this guy as my room mate. I somehow have this vision of him (in the guise of one of his other personalities) trying to strangle me as I sleep. What to do? I'd love to call this whole thing off and room alone but the convention is less than a week away and I already said I was fine with him having MPD. How do I handle this?
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Formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a complex psychological condition that is still not well understood by doctors. What IS known, however, which you will find comforting, is that people with DID are no more violent than the general population. So, you are no more likely to be attacked by someone with DID than by someone who does not have the condition. One thing I have read--in the interest of more information--is that those with DID people, when they DO show signs of antipathy, are most likely to direct that hostility inward toward one of their other personalities. For example, one personality might be a selfish mother type who is angry at her "lazy son," who is another personality; that sort of thing. Since your roomie is obviously a furry, perhaps he has one or more furry personalities? That might be interesting.
You are in for a bit of a wild ride, though, and it is very fortunate you know this person has DID ahead of time so you can prepare for it. It's going to be confusing because personalities can switch without warning, and a reaction that worked well with one of these may not work so well with another. Probably the best way to deal with that is to, as you put it, treat your roomie as several people instead of just one. Treat all of them with kindness, consideration, and respect, and you should be fine.
I think it would be a mistake at this point to pull out of the agreement to room with them. That would cause a lot of harm to them and would be very unkind. DID is caused by a trauma of some kind--some kind of physical, emotional, or mental abuse--and you could aggravate that by reneging on your promise and making them feel rejected.
Rooming with a person with DID might be more complicated, but it is no more risky than with anyone else. I think my mild admonishment toward you would be that it is not really a good idea to room with a complete stranger. You should get to know them first and only then take a leap like rooming together in a hotel. Whether or not they have DID, always be careful in dealing with strangers.
Have a good furcon; let me know how it goes.
To learn more about DID, check out the National Alliance on Mental Health webpage.
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