Virtue22-year-old Leonard Stockl (Leo) possesses 10 different personalities, all with distinct names, ages, and opinions.
He was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a rare mental illness that develops in childhood as a result of severe trauma. This condition is called multiple personality disorder.
The patient has at least two interchangeable personality states. When personalities swap, they are often unable to recall events experienced by the previous personality or important personal information.
Leo’s 10 personalities are Kovu 4 years old, Hektor 8 years old, Ana 16 years old, Cosmo 17 years old, Ash 18 years old, Jessy 19 years old, Billy 23 years old, Liv 24 years old, Red 26 years old, and Leo 21 years old.
The 22-year-old calls his personalities a “system” – a group of identities that share a common body. Each distinct form of consciousness is a different person.
Leo considers himself the “host” of the whole system, that is, the main personality, who constantly takes control of his body. Before entering adolescence, he could lead a normal life. However, last June, Leo had difficulty taking the Higher Education (A-level) exam.
He could not study effectively, suffered from memory loss, lost the ability to concentrate, and changed his personality erratically. After 7 years, he started looking for a psychological clinic and was diagnosed with DID.
He was admitted to a clinic in March 2022 for 6 weeks. Here, Leo works with a psychiatrist in forms such as qigong, art therapy, and archery.
Leo felt relieved when he was properly diagnosed and understood his condition. He knew he had a long way to go. Leo says his time at the clinic has given him great habits and a safe environment in which to learn to live with his illness.
Due to the severity of the psychotic syndrome, Leo cannot work because each personality has their own abilities and desires, it is not possible to guarantee the main personality to complete only one job. He now runs an online store, selling handmade goods and canvas bags.
Leo’s personalities also have a complex impact on relationships, because each of them has very strong views on all issues.
However, Leo also acknowledges the personality system as a “great source of support” in the face of challenges.
“When there are difficulties, we always find a solution together. In the end, we still get along like other families,” he said.
Leo has been living with her boyfriend Massimo since October 2020. This is also the primary caregiver for Leo. Each of his personalities has their own relationship with boyfriend Massimo.
“One of the personalities didn’t like him at first. That personality was trying to be more agreeable, but it didn’t always work. There were very young personalities who met Massimo. Sometimes, things turned sour. so it’s difficult when I’m intimate with my boyfriend and my younger personality interferes,” Leo shared.
Leo says each personality in the DID system is different, but all share traumatic childhood experiences. This is also the main reason why mental illness develops.
“I’m Leo, the main character. I like to cook, read, watch movies and read series with my lover. Kovu is the youngest personality (4 years old), we still don’t know much about him. baby, because she doesn’t talk much. I think this personality is seriously traumatized,” he said.
Personality Hektor is “a very active kid” who enjoys stuffed toys and is always excited about going to the zoo or visiting the aquarium. Ana personality suffers from anorexia, while Cosmo is a “noisy teenager who likes to flirt with people and gets into trouble”, Leo shared.
“Ash is a boy who loves to go on vacation and explore the world. Jessy is quiet but very kind, feminine and dignified, often taking care of his body. Billy is like a guardian, he always cares about the well-being of his family. safety of the group when outside. He doesn’t talk much, sometimes a bit grumpy, but never harms anyone. Liv is an extremely careful person when it comes to sex, “Leo recounts.
Due to his illness, Leo can’t leave the house alone, he often takes a guard dog with him.
Currently, on social networks and the Internet, many people set up mental health support centers for DID patients. However, due to limited information, patients often do not get the help they want.
“You can contact people online, but you still have to be careful when you trust anyone. On Reddit and Facebook there are several groups to exchange experiences, ask questions and get help. Germany also has some trauma centers, but not everyone there understands about DID,” Leo said.
To help those in the same situation, Leo posts online videos about his illness, since May 2020. In a clip, he recorded the moment two personalities changed. The reaction of social media users was very positive, motivating Leo to post more information about DID.
Several films have depicted patients with personality disorders. However, Leo believes that they are not exactly representative of the sick population.
“We don’t have superpowers and aren’t dangerous. Movies about DID patients are mostly horror and fantasy. We need authentic documentaries, not millions of movies. USD takes advantage of our pathology. DID is not simply many personalities living in one body,” he shared.
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