Q: I’m not sure if I even have a disorder. But lately I have been thinking that’s what this is. I tried to look my problem up earlier but I couldn’t find anything like it, except for the multiple personality disorder. I think it’s similar to a multiple personality disorder, but yet I feel that it’s different. I know how there are some people that will say they have another personality. I don’t really know how to describe it but my best way is that for example someone named Tom would have this disorder, and so the next day he would be “Bob.” I don’t know if I have that. So I’m going to try to describe what I have the best way that I can. I don’t exactly have another personality, imaginary friend etc. It’s just that, I’ve concocted another person that doesn’t exist. And I play out their life in my head, and sometimes I will play it out physically, like I’ll imagine I’m in a completely different situation. And this person and this life is the kind of person I’d want to be. I don’t do this ever in public. And I’m not sure exactly how long it has been going on but I know for sure that it has been over a year, maybe two or three. And I’m not sure what’s wrong and if this is a multiple personality disorder or not. Because I want to get help, so if you know anything about this or can help me, please do so.
A: I of course can’t diagnose you without more information and without meeting you in person but this does not sound like multiple personality disorder to me. You would need to have a history of severe trauma and numerous symptoms of dissociation… such as losing time without being able to remember what happened, etc. I’m not even sure there is a clinical diagnosis for what you are describing, however, I have treated someone like this before. He created a new identity for himself and would even act like this other person with certain people. He basically became a pathological liar and created a new identity because he didn’t like his own. This obviously became a problem for him as people found out he was not really who he said he was. I suggest you do some soul searching about what you don’t like about yourself and your current life and address these issues directly. You may be able to do this on your own or you may want to find a good therapist to work with who can help you. There is nothing wrong with having a good imagination and playing out different identities in your head, especially as a teenager. But if you spend more time in your imaginary life than your real life, there is problem. Otherwise, I hope you can find yourself and feel good about who you are.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Feb 2007
Counts, H. (2007). Could I have Multiple Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/11/could-i-have-multiple-personality-disorder/