A Personal Story.
from Scott Rohwer (Writer/Director)
A member of my family is a survivor of severe childhood trauma and neglect.
As an incredible tool of survival, parts of her self, or psyche, split off with each initial trauma. Each part, or alter, held trauma to be shelved away (dissociated) so that she could survive and cope as a child.
This is Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder.
“D.I.D. is the mind’s creative response to overwhelming trauma; a sane adaption to crazy, hurtful circumstances.” – David L. Calof
Psychologist and leading voice on D.I.D.
I grew up close to her fight to heal from incredible trauma and her journey learning how to transition from surviving to living.
Growing up wasn’t simple, however. It involved always being on my toes, guessing who & how I would talk with her; that is, adapting to her and her alters.
An alter “takes over” the main personality, as a defense mechanism, when a threat is perceived. When an alter is triggered, the person’s behavior may seem out of context but the alter is acting within the context of the past trauma.
As a kid I was often caught in the crossfire of her alters verbally acting out in grief and rage. As a child, her voice was taken from her as a part of the neglect and trauma she survived.
She has tirelessly worked to heal our relationship over the years despite the gaps in her memory, blocking out all events when she was in an alter.
Switching into an alter may induce dissociative amnesia. This was incredibly hard for the member of my family to grapple with. As she felt like she was losing control, she began to question her identity and her ability to trust in her identity; that is, “Will I be the same person tomorrow; the next hour?”
By confronting her traumatic past to heal her present, she has fought every day for herself and our family bond. I wouldn’t be able to tell this story without her incredible heart and bravery.
A Short Film.
Emma has recently lost her job for something she can’t remember; a side effect of her dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). Due to immense shame, Emma has kept her lifelong mental disorder a secret from everyone she knows – until today.
Emma doesn’t have enough money to pay for her son’s birthday cake. She goes to desperate lengths to find a way to pay for the cake all while keeping up appearances and masking the signs of her disorder – even if it means paying a visit to her abusive, manipulative mother, Barb.
Emma’s last-ditch efforts to hold on to the status quo are at the risk of losing her last pillar of support, her best friend Claire.
An independent-to-a-fault, single mother goes to desperate lengths to find money for her son’s birthday cake to keep her unemployment and life-long mental disorder a secret.
An Honest Portrayal with a Human Touch
Our goal is to depict, in the most respectful way possible, what it feels like to live with D.I.D. – an honest portrayal with a human touch.
In the beginning of the film, the inception of Emma’s alters is portrayed in a patterned, methodical sequence featuring a blend of realism and surrealism.
One way D.I.D. will be visualized is through the film's "dissociative state" concept. In this, surreal "dissociative state", the use of light and color distinguishes each individual alter. Each alter, with their individual color, is linked to a specific trauma and emotional theme.
Alters will never be depicted as evil, insane, or purposefully outlandish in this film. We seek to bring a human face to D.I.D. and those living with D.I.D.