By On April 25th, 2008

Herschel Walker’s struggle

Dissociative identity disorder (DID), which was known previously as multiple personality disorder, is not the Hollywood depicted oddity that so many have come to believe in. DID, rather than being a disorder in which an individual has multiple “people” trapped inside, is simply descriptive of instances were the various normal facets of a person’s personality do not come together cohesively. Rather, with DID, particular parts of one’s personality not only surface but “take over,” determining one’s behavior for various time increments. Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker recalls that DID sometimes led to violent, risky and destructive behaviors in his life. Walker shared that he played Russian roulette more than once. On another occasion the late delivery of a car made him so angry that he thought about killing someone. Walker’s newly released book “Breaking Free” discusses his struggle with the disorder and helps to dispel many of the myths about individuals with it. The following is an excerpt of a thought provoking article from CNN.com that discusses Walker’s perseverance in the face of DID:

Many people think they know the legendary Herschel Walker: 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, pro football star, Olympian and last week in San Francisco, an Olympic torchbearer.
But not only did the public not know the real Herschel Walker, the athlete himself said he didn’t either. In his just-released book “Breaking Free,” Walker reveals he has a form of mental illness called dissociative identity disorder, or DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.

“I didn’t really learn about this until about 10 years ago,” Walker tells CNN. “My life was out of control. I was not happy, I was very sad, I was angry and I didn’t understand why.”

Walker said his life went off the tracks shortly after his football career ended and when his now ex-wife was expecting their son, Christian.

The book, he said, is about coming to terms with his diagnosis. He hopes to educate the public and break down stereotypes about this disorder.

When people hear of multiple personality disorder, they may think of Hollywood’s portrayal — someone with different “people” trapped inside one body, but that is not accurate.

Everyone has various facets that make up his or her personality — assertive, angry, comforting. But, experts explain, in DID, these various parts — known as alters — don’t come together as one cohesive single personality. Instead, one or the other part of the identity takes over and determines one’s behavior.

Click here to read the rest of this article from CNN.com

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