A Personal Look at Dissociative Identity Disorder

Artwork by Rachel Elise
Artwork by Rachel Elise



Annie Houston, a DC actor and friend of Theater Alliance, was our second guest.  Annie’s sister Maggie lives with schizoaffective disorder.  This is not the same as DID, but there are enough similarities that we wanted to hear Annie’s perspective as a family member.

Annie described her sister as balancing extreme tenderness and explosive anger.  Maggie, a published poet with a masters degree, experienced a series of emotional traumas as a child.  She has had over thirty breaks in her life and describes her dissociative experiences as “the mystics.”  To the outside viewer, there is nothing to romanticize about.  Maggie becomes verbally violent, acts out, and cannot take care of herself.

Maggie’s treatment has been medication-based and therefore differs from DID psychotherapy-driven treatment.  She has had little consistency with therapy and little success.

As a sibling, Annie said she must walk a fine line of respecting her sister’s wishes and being a hard-ass.  It is hard to take care of someone who has no clarity of self, but Annie simply states, “She’s my sister,” and proudly reads us some of Maggie’s poems.


-Katie Ryan, Director of Education and Outreach