Families usually have more than one kid. Sometimes kids have more than one sibling. I have multiple siblings, yet I only have one sister.
My parents adopted Stella when they found out they weren’t able to have any more children. She was five years old when she became a part of the family. We had a long wait for her because she was coming all the way from New Hampshire and we were in Alaska. I was eight and I was so excited to be getting a little sister.
I first noticed Stella’s condition one day when we were playing with our own toys and she suddenly stopped playing with her doll. She just kinda spaced out. She dropped her doll and walked over to where I was and started playing with my cars. I found this really weird because she never played with my cars. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to. She wouldn’t show any interest at all and always keep with her dolls.
“Um…Stella. Why are you over here?”
“Stella’s not here right now. I’m Brian,” she said extending her hand.
“Oh. Okay,” I said awkwardly, completing the handshake.
I told Mom about what had happened and she said that Stella was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, or more commonly known as Split Personality Disorder. As I was only eight years old, I had no idea what this meant.
“Stella goes away for a little while, and someone else visits. But Stella will eventually come back,” She explained.
“Why?” I asked
“I can’t really explain that now, Alex.”
“Why?” I pleaded.
Mom let out a gentle sigh.
“I don’t know how.”
And she left it at that.
I had learned how to cope with Stella’s ‘Visitors’ as Mom called them. Over the years I had gotten to know a lot of them. The main ones who always came back were Kyle, who was tough and protective; Susanne who was calm and confidant; And Brian (whom I first met). He was outgoing and easy to get along with. Brian was who would stick with Stella the longest.
Stella would attend therapy once a week and I would go once a month. But I didn’t mind. It helped to have someone who could answer my questions if I had them.
Eventually, Dr. Sherman, our therapist, felt I was ready to be explained why Stella was this way.
“When your sister was younger, her biological parents would abuse her on a daily basis.”
“What does ‘abuse’ mean?”
“They would hit her.”
“Why would they do that? She was too little to do anything to them!” I said, jumping out of my seat. I was getting so upset at the thought that anyone could even think of hurting my little sister.
“I’m not sure, Alex,” Dr. Sherman. said calmly, and allowed me to sit back down.
She continued, “But when her parents would harm her, she developed another ‘Person’ to escape the situation she was in. This would come in personalities you are actually familiar with. Kyle would be the one to protect her because she didn’t have anyone that would. And Susanne would be the one to stand up to her parents.. Do you seem to be getting it now?”
“Yeah, kinda.” I looked down and swung my legs back and forth, “But why do these personalities come back if she’s not with her real parents anymore? We don’t treat her like they did.”
“Well, Alex, that’s hard to say. Since this is all going on in her head, certain things cause her personalities to take over.”
“Like what?” I said.
“Since she’s been a victim of abuse, I would say Stella doesn’t like any type of fighting or physical punishment. Do you think that’s sounds about right?”
“Yeah. But when Brian first came there was no fighting was going on.”
“That was because Stella wanted to relate to you. You see, Brian’s more of a ‘visitor’ who relates to people. And I guess she wanted to make a good impression on you.” Dr. Sherman explained.
“Oh. Well this all makes more sense now.” I said.
That’s how it’s been with Stella. Over these years of therapy and our support, the ‘visitors’ including Susanne and Kyle, have stopped coming around. It wasn’t that we didn’t want them to. There was no need. No more fears. Stella was free from that.
But from time to time Brian does visit us.
And one day, I believe, there will be no need for him to visit us either.
Artist: Devin Lucas
School: North Allegheny
assignment in class where we were given note cards and had to make a story out of them. enjoy!