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Dissociative identity disorder is a psychological condition in which a person’s identity
dissociates, or fragments, thereby creating distinct independent identities within one individual.
Each separate personality can be distinct from the other personalities in a number of ways,
including posture, manner of moving, tone and pitch of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and
use of language. A person suffering from dissociative identity disorder may have a large
number of independent personalities or perhaps only two or three.
Two stories of actual women suffering from dissociative identity disorder have been
extensively recounted in books and films that are familiar to the public. One of them is the
story of a woman with twenty-two separate personalities known as Eve. In the 1950s, a book
by Corbett Thigpen and a motion picture starring Joanne Woodward, each of which was titled
The Three Faces of Eve, presented her story. While the woman known as Eve actually
experienced twenty-two different personalities, the title referred to three faces because only
three of the personalities could exist at one time. Two decades later, Carolyn Sizemore, Eve’s
twenty-second personality, wrote about her experiences in a book entitled I’m Eve. The second
well-known story of a woman suffering dissociative personality is the story of Sybil, a woman
whose sixteen distinct personalities emerged over a period of forty years. A book describing
Sybil’s experiences was written by Flora Rheta Schreiber and was published in 1973; a motion
picture based on the book and starring Sally Field Followed.