A man has revealed he has a rare condition where his identity is split into 10 different personalities, all with different names, ages and opinions.
Leonard Stockl was diagnosed with Dissociated Identity Disorder (DID), a rare psychiatric illness that develops in early childhood and results from severe trauma.
Stockl says the 10 personalities are: Kovu, 4, Hektor, 8, Ana, 16, Cosmo, 17, Ash, 18, Jessy, 19, Leo, 21, Billy, 23, Liv, 24 and Red, 26.
The 22-year-old calls his collective personalities his “system”, the group of identities sharing a body and each distinct form of consciousness is the “person” or “alter”.
Leo calls himself the “host” of the system, which means he is the person who most often controls the body.
He was able to cope with daily activities until he reached his teens, but the condition overwhelmed him when he sat for his A-level exams in June last year.
Leo struggled to study, suffering from loss of memory, ability to concentrate, and other symptoms due to his personality change.
After seven years of therapy, he started looking for a psychosomatic clinic where he would get help to be more stable and was diagnosed with DID.
He was admitted to a clinic in March 2022 for six weeks, where he underwent several therapies including sessions with a psychiatrist as a wall as well as methods such as QiGong, art therapy and archery.
Leo was diagnosed just two days before being released on April 26, 2022.
He told the Grimsby Telegraph he was relieved by his diagnosis and could finally give his problems a proper name, but added he realized there was still a long way to go.
Leo added that although his time at the clinic was not as helpful as he had hoped, he added that it gave him a great daily routine and a safe and supportive environment to be able to learn to live with. his trauma.
Due to the severity of his condition, he is unable to work as each Quirk has their own abilities and wishes, which prevents him from ensuring that he can perform his job.
He now runs a shop on Etsy where he sells handmade bookmarks and tote bags.
The Leo system also has a complex impact on her relationship “because more people are involved and everyone has their own very strong opinion on things.”
But he also noted that the system can be a “great source of support” when things get tough in the relationship.
He said: “When it gets tough we always find a way around and in the end we are as normal a couple as anyone else. There are just a few more people involved sometimes.
Leo, who lives in Munich, Germany, has been with partner Massimo since October 2020.
He added: “We live with Massimo and he is the main person looking after us. Each alter has its own relationship with my boyfriend.
“One of the Quirks hated him at first – he tries to be nice now but it doesn’t always work. We have a very young Quirk who met him, but it can be difficult for my boyfriend when there’s a younger person in front while we’re together.
Leo pointed out that while each DID system is different, they all share severe traumatic experiences in early childhood that shaped and developed the system.
He said, “I’m Leo and I’m the current host of the system. I like to cook, read and watch movies and series with my partner, with whom I live. Kovu is our youngest and we don’t know much about him as he is very calm – we suspect he is very traumatised.
“Hektor is a very excited kid – he loves stuffed animals and is always excited about going to the zoo or visiting an aquarium. Ana has anorexia, which makes her hard to cope with. Cosmo is a rowdy, slightly flirty teenager who easily gets into trouble.
“Ash is a little ray of sunshine who likes to go on vacation and just explore the world. Jessy is calm but very kind, girly and respectful. She often takes care of the body.
“Billy is one of our protectors – he always makes sure we’re safe when we’re out. He doesn’t talk much and can be verbally aggressive at times, but he would never hurt anyone. Liv is our protector sexual. She knows when someone is getting too close to us and she can handle any situation. Red is the oldest and the mother of the systems. She takes care of a lot of things – showers, chores, cleaning , paperwork and managing all our money.
Help for people with DID includes internet support groups and mental health help centers.
However, it can be difficult to find help because information about the condition is very limited.
Leo added that people often don’t share their experiences because of shame, difficulty meeting other people with DID and even fear that former abusers will contact them.
He said: “You can meet people online, but you still have to be careful who to trust. There are groups on Reddit and Facebook where you can exchange experiences, ask questions and get help with your problems. We also have trauma centers here in Germany, but not everyone is educated about DID.
Due to his condition, Leo is unable to leave the house on his own, but thinks service dogs would be a big help for people with DID.
He said: ‘We always need someone when we leave the house because there can be so many triggers that cause flashbacks and even non-epileptic seizures caused by dissociative conversion disorder. Assistance dogs can be very helpful for people with DID and they can also provide relief to loved ones who are caring for you.
“They cost around €30,000, which is extremely expensive for someone who can’t even work because of their conditions. An assistance dog would also be a great help, but we also need a lot of therapy, which is very difficult to arrange.
“It’s really hard to find a therapist who can work with DID and often those who can either have no capacity left or will put you on a waiting list for months or even years.”
In order to help others with DID, Leo started posting videos online about his condition in May 2022.
In one video, he was able to catch a switch – that is, the moment another personality faced.
The reaction online has been really positive, motivating Leo to keep posting about DID.
Several movies and series have portrayed characters with DID in recent years, but Leo says they’re not an accurate portrayal of people with the condition.
He said: “DID isn’t portrayed properly in movies and shows – we don’t have superpowers and we’re not dangerous. The only movies that include DID are fantasy and thriller movies, that’s is how Hollywood steals our respect in society.
“We need authentic films and documentaries, we don’t need cinematic productions to make millions of dollars at our expense and risk. DID is more than having multiple personalities living in one body.
“Even if I don’t go to concerts anymore and I’m more careful when I go out, having DID also allows us to always learn more. Each of us has our own wishes and interests and we can share these with each other.
“I would never choose to live without the other Quirks. They are my family, my best friends, my team – I couldn’t even live without them.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.