"Not ashamed that I am not normal"
by George Hunter

Originally appeared in the Sun, a tabloid rag. But RaLynne& were real.
They appeared on Leeza Gibbons' talk show in December 1997 and died the following March.

Medical marvel RaLynne Hitch shares the corridors of her crowded mind with 400 other "residents"-- her distinctly different personalities!

Multiple personality disorder is usually very traumatic for the victim, as well as family and friends. But spunky RaLynne considers her condition a unique gift.

"I'm not ashamed of having multiple personalities," she says. "I enjoy a richness and diversity of experience that 'normal' people do not. For me it's normal."

The 38-year-old Whittier, California resident has nominated her true personality mayor of the citizens inside her crowded cranium.

Each personality is unique. They come forth as all ages and lifestyles, both male and female. RaLynn insists she loves them all. "In my heart of hearts, I would never want to go through life as a singleton," explains the mother of four. "My kids have been the strongest source of support and understanding in my life. They love me and accept me and all the other people within me with totally open hearts. My kids love having such a diverse mom! Around my house there has never been a shortage of playmates. My eight-year-old, for example, loves to play with Debbie, my personality of an energetic little girl just her age. If my daughter asks her to come out and play, Debbie starts jumping and screaming to come out."

At any given moment RaLynne has about 10 different personalities sharing her thoughts. She has learned to carry on conversations with them internally, while simultaneously interacting with people in the outside world!

She often finds the inner dialogue to be more entertaining. "I'm always blown away by how different some of the personalities are from myself," notes RaLynne.

"For example, if I even smell alcohol, I'm already half- wasted. I have no tolerance for it."

"But Brenda is a real domineering and aggressive personality who can put it away like crazy.

She's also a heavy smoker and I cannot stand cigarettes."

RaLynne's macho personalities sometimes grumble about being stuck inside a woman's body.

But the manly personas have rushed to her aid in the past.

"One time I was on a miserable date with a total creep who was getting touchy with me," notes RaLynne.

"So I switched to Paul, a macho personality, and he bellows 'Get your hands off her!' Then he walloped the guy in the face, knocking him on the floor."


Other information about this group:

The following comes from the False Memory Syndrome website, and should be read keeping in mind the typical mentality associated with those people. They believe neither in child sexual abuse nor in multiple personalities. If you want to know more about the False Memory Syndrome foundation and what you can do to oppose them, go to the False Memory Syndrome Facts website. We are including an extract from one of their newsletters here only because they talk about RaLynne and other multiples who have appeared to tell their stories to the media.

"We now seem to be in a transition period of public understanding about recovered memories. For example, most appellate courts have noted that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the theory of repression but the Arizona Supreme Court in April allowed suits tbased on this theory to extend the statute of limitations. (The summary and analysis of that decision (p.7) are fascinating reading and document the need for ongoing educational efforts.)

"Another example of this transition is the divergent media treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD; officially DID for Dissociative Identity Disorder). Its advocates claim that MPD is caused by childhood sexual abuse. A powerful article by Joan Acocella entitled "The Politics of Hysteria" appeared in the April 6, 1998 issue of The New Yorker. Acocella notes that the recovered memory movement has done serious damage to feminism by bringing back the old "weak-woman stereotype," and that "the patient forfeits the privileges of being an adult -- self-knowledge, moral agency." She minces no words: "If MPD was supposed to rescue insight therapy, it did the opposite: it covered insight therapy with shame." The New Yorker critique is so completely devastating that one might conclude that the problem is over.

"Television programs, however, give just the opposite perspective. On May 11, 1998, for example, Oprah Winfrey uncritically accepted the belief that mental disorders are the result of sexual abuse. Any association that may exist between past abuse and mental disorders is much more complex. But it has been the handling of MPD that causes this writer anxiety. The MPD movement received a major kick-off in the 1980s because it was presented with the imprimatur of medical authorities. Two television programs in the past half year seem to be doing it all over again.

Last December the daytime talk show Leeza featured RaLynne, a mother of four children who was said to have 300 personalities. While Leeza acknowledged that there can be skeptics of this disorder, Stuart Gluck, M.D., the Medical Director of Charter San Jose who treated RaLynne for three years, was presented to confirm the reality of this diagnosis in general and in RaLynne in particular. Throughout the program, the camera focuses on the scars on RaLynne's arm, a result of her self-cutting. At the same time RaLynne and her children are seen smiling and laughing. We are given a picture of a normal person with an exotic disorder for whom life now is fine.

"Leeza continued with RaLynne the next day. This time Dr. Don Hackenberg, M.D. was the expert psychiatrist. He told the world that RaLynne was a multiple because she had been victimized by a "satanic cult." He told us that we didn't know or understand this because "satanic cults act in secrecy." Again the program showed close-ups of the scars on RaLynne's arm even while portraying her life now as normal. Sadly, RaLynne died in March, 1998.

"On March 4, 1998, Prime Time Live featured two segments on MPD reported by Diane Sawyer. The first segment featured Chris Sizemore (the real name behind "Three Faces of Eve") who told us that she developed not just 3 but 22 personalities. What she did not tell Diane Sawyer on television is what was revealed by Acocella in The New Yorker that "having MPD was `fun'--that when she recovered, the `magic' went out of her life."

"In the second segment Sawyer introduced us to an MPD patient named "Lucy," a nurse who told us that she never switches alters when she is on duty at work but who happened to switch during the taping of the program. Her doctor, Richard Moskovitz, M.D., whom we are told as just published a book on the topic and thus is "an expert," authenticates the reality of the diagnosis. Dr. Moskovitz has hospital priviledges at Charter Springs Hospital, Florida.

"Sawyer told us that two-thirds of those diagnosed with MPD try to take their own lives. (She omitted the fact that these attempts are mostly after the diagnosis and memory recovery.) While she said there are skeptics, she then said that 80 percent of doctors in a recent survey believe in the diagnosis. (The survey was of doctors in veterans' hospitals; other more recent surveys find nothing like this result.) [Astraea Note: But doesn't that SAY something about what goes on with veterans? Was this ever followed up?] Her chief expert was David Spiegel, M.D. who appeared four times. His father, Herb Spiegel, M.D. appeared just once to say that MPD is greatly overdiagnosed and it is an embarrassment to psychiatry. [Astraea Note: Herb Spiegel is an embarrassment to psychiatry.] David Spiegel then assured us that MPD is not over-diagnosed.

"As long as we continue to have television programs that present MPD and recovered memories in an unbalanced and romantic fashion, we have a problem. We must continue our work."

And we must continue ours. sigh.

The Nautilus' tribute to RaLynne

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