Do I have a split personality?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Alright, I’m not really sure of how to explain this but I’ll try my best. Not too long ago, I looked up split personalities because of a book I was reading , and some of it seemed close to how I act. I’ll try to explain it. Some of the time I act one way and some of the time I act another. I don’t even realize (or even remember sometimes) I do it unless some one brings it up. The ways I act are completely different from each other. One way seemes to be more quiet/shy and reserved but more positive and happy (thats how my best friend describes it at least) and the other is out spoken, very aggresive and more serious (it also tends to get me in trouble). I’m not really sure how long this has been going on, I honestly can’t remember. My friends have made comments about it and I’ve gotten curious of just what’s going on.

A: There’s something called “medical student syndrome.” When young med students start to learn about all the ways things can go wrong with the body, they start to worry they have the illnesses. They don’t. The power of suggestion and the very human tendency to worry conspire to make them believe that everyday aches and pains are symptoms of disease.

From what you wrote, it’s at least possible that you are similarly alarmed because of what you read. There’s really no such thing as a split personality. That’s very old terminology for what has come to be called schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. You don’t report having either.

What you are reporting is pretty usual (although sometimes confusing and even painful) 15-year-old stuff. The teen years are supposed to be a time for trying on different aspects of our personality and figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t. We all have lots of potential “personalities.” We do make choices about who we want to be and how we want to present ourselves to others. It sounds to me like you are in this stage of personal exploration and that you are being quite thoughtful about it. I encourage you to continue doing that good work.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Dec 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Do I have a split personality?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/12/29/do-i-have-a-split-personality-2/