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First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  2,369 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
In this inspiring memoir, Cameron West, now a psychologist, describes his life with Dissociative Identity Disorder, one of the most fascinating and least understood psychiatric conditions of our time. Without warning, when he was in his thirties, happily married, and the father of a young son, West suddenly had the sense that something was "terribly wrong" with his mind. W ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 1999 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 1999)
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Jun 01, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cameron West is not a great author, but his life makes for a great story. First Person Plural tells the autobiographical tale of a man coming to grips with his multiple personalities. It's a story full of revelations, complex interplay (both interpersonal and interpersonality) and a logical, well-developed sequence of scenes and character-development. You will feel West's shock as he comes to grips with his other selves and the chilling events in his past that may have brought them about.

This is
Soraya Putri Aprilla
True story about the life of a man who had 24 personalities, Cameron West. The disease is called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). He suffered traumatic events in his childhood. He got sexually abused by his mother and grandmother. But he was lucky, he had a wife and children who accompanied. Strengthened his spirit for struggling in creating comfortable place for his personalities. Cameron West thought he was crazy. But, with the help from doctors and therapists he accepted his illness. Eve ...more
Fenix Rose
Written in an easy flow story style, this story is easy to read.
The triggering aspects as kept short and dont go into great detail,
just enough to let you know what was experienced.
It was honest about the effect on his marriage, the struggles his wife
was having as his world tumbled apart into chaos.
Real life stories of people can be more helpful when you are struggling
then a treatise by a doctor. A basic definition for DID is included
as part of a conversation.
This book as it is written is a good
I was reading "The Drowning Girl" (see other review) when a waitress recommended I read this. I guess she thought a novel featuring a Schizophrenic makes me a fan of mental illness! Being I'll read anything and she gave it such a high review, I picked it up at my local library.
The plot is fascinating. Cameron West is a multiple with 24 distinct personalities. These personalities were formed as a coping mechanism for having experienced physical abuse from his grandmother and mother among others.
Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D. Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D.
I've always been fascinated with the intricacies of the human mind. After completing a book about a patient with schizophrenia, I picked up for a change this book about Disassociative Identity Disorder. I've to tell you, in sharp contrast to the effort it took me to comprehension the symptoms of schizophrenia, DID required challenging- no, scratch that- almost mind-bending attempt on my behalf to comprehend how the brain could invent such a mechanism to cope with abuse.

The story spans over the
Jan 01, 2015 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really did enjoy this book - it really gave a glimpse into the life of someone who has DID - but I had to knock down the rating due to the utter clunkiness of some of West's writing. I mean, okay, so being original with simile/metaphor is good... but not when it's everywhere in the book. There seemed to be either an increase in the weird simile/metaphor usage in the latter half of the book, or else I just became more aware of it... but I mean, stuff like saying that his sex life wasn't "mangoe ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been interested in Dissociative Identity and other rare psychological disorders so this was right up my alley. It was a story similar to that of Trudi's in "When Rabbit Howls" except Cam's personalities have a co-consciousness (they can hear and see all of what's going on when any of them are "out".)

The biggest downfall of the book is its totally horrendous metaphors. These include "Abbey's words sloshed in my head like brown water in the bottom of a rusty wheelbarrow," "Inside of th
Jan 08, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book with not a little concern about my being able to read this book. While I can handle people's suffering and pain in fiction, I have a hard time with a true story along the same lines. But this book was impossible to put down or to let go of. I'm sure this one will be processing in my head for quite some time to come.
The pain and confusion that Cameron and his wife, Rikki, suffered is wrenching. Cameron was in his late 30s when he started exhibiting his multiples and being arou
Ashley Lau
Jan 04, 2010 Ashley Lau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me through the author's 24 different alters, going into an experience that was truly unimaginable. It was difficult to empathize with his constant changes in his personalities, but I definitely felt the internal frustration that the author felt as the alters overtook his body. In the end it was inspiring to see Cam West, the author, push through his alters and succeed in the goal of becoming a psychologist to help others who may also be suffering from dissociative identity disorde ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW! If you like this kind of stuff it is extremely interesting and informative.
Nov 07, 2016 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book as it's very informative about psychology and i'm very interested in that field. I was also touched by the author and i really enjoyed his story and narration.
Melissa Gavazzi
Mar 03, 2017 Melissa Gavazzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my absolute favorite books. D.I.D. is such an interesting disorder.
Feb 14, 2017 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Sadly, the book just wasn't very interesting. The situation itself was fascinating: Cameron West was an established adult with a 15-year marriage, a young son, and a promising career when he abruptly discovered that there were other personalities lurking within his head. Some of them were children and some of them were even female. At least one of the personalities wanted to punish Cam physically. The book was about Cam's and his wife's journeys toward acceptance.

Sounds like it would
Books about dissociative disorder patients are my guilty pleasure. This one is written with all the technique and stylistic elements you'd expect from a high school student. Remember when no detail was too irrelevant to mention and every noun was preceded by an adjective?
"I closed the door, shuffled out of my jacket, and tossed it onto the maroon leather couch, narrowly missing the Raku flower vase on the coffee table. With a huff, I collapsed into my high-backed leather chair."

Hyperbole runs r
Feb 11, 2008 Aimee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interesting in psychology
Recommended to Aimee by: Abnormal Psyche Teacher
Shelves: memoir
I read this book way back in undergrad when I was taking an Abnormal Psyche class at the Bountiful U of U campus. My weekly visits with Helen are priceless to me....

Never the less, I was required to read a non-fiction book about an abnormal disorder. This was a first person account of dissociative personality disorder (aka multiple personality disorder). As we are studying this in my pathology class I was reminded of what an intriguing read this was. It was fascinating to get into the head of th
Sep 15, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an incredible, incredible story. I wish this could do all over again what "Sybil" did for DID-- but almost on a whole other level, as this book's author is the person diagnosed with DID and we hear the whole thing from him and his alters. For a condition that's too often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mistreated, ignored, or denied, Cameron is to be especially admired for opening up with what he's gone through with DID and coping with the abrupt, harsh, and utterly devastating reality of the ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2006
I thought it was absolutely fascinating. West is a very talented writer - though one wonders how many alters helped out in the writing - and makes for a very easily readable book. I've read a fair amount of books on DID/MPD, but this is the first told in such a bold way, from the "front lines", so to speak. It really helps to give a feel of what living with DID must be like, the confusion, the feelings of helplessness, the denial, the strangeness of it all. I've never read someone who is so conn ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cameron's account of Dissociative Identity Disorder was interesting and thought provoking. The accounts of his abuse are very disturbing and hard to read. This book lacked a lot of detail that might have added to the story - specifically, I would've liked to know more about his background (not his abuse - but more about his childhood and what his life was like before DID took over). I also found the writing style to be very distracting - he uses corny and crazy metaphors throughout the book and ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schlocky, gooberly writing, interspersed with stuff that is much more real and gritty. I don't like it when my attention is diverted from the contents because of the way the book is written, but if the subject matter is compelling enough I can redivert myself back to the material.

We humans just amaze me, really, the incredible ways in which we handle trauma as little tackers so we can survive. This may sound a little strange, but there is an element of beauty, or maybe elegance, in the way huma
This is a really wonderful, honest story about a man who fought like hell to get his life back after he finds himself in the throes of severe dissociative symptoms. I found Mr. West to be incredibly interesting and compelling. His book is charming and humble. And, for once, the therapeutic relationships described between therapist and DID client are within acceptable boundaries. I can't help but notice that this particular client is male, perhaps leaving one to wonder why so many female clients ...more
Thomas Smith
I read "First Person Plural" as part of my research while writing "Which One Am I?" I found Dr. West's writing style to be a bit too flippant for my tastes and, as with most DID memoirs, I really wanted to the circumstances that led to his abuse.

I suppose that wasn't his purpose in writing. "First Person Plural" is, more than anything else, a story about his personal journey in coming to grips with his DID. This book could be recommended to other multiples struggling with the same discovery and
Sally Pearce
Mar 17, 2014 Sally Pearce rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
This was a beautifully written, autobiographical story of a "multiple personality". The correct term is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dr. West certainly went through hell and has come out on the other side. What a fascinating and horrifying story!

I stand in awe of Dr. West's wife, Rikki, for standing by and with him through all of his personalities and with a 4 year old son! He's a lucky man to have such love in his life.

I loved every minute of this book and suffered with him through his
Kevin Newhall
Apr 17, 2016 Kevin Newhall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is a really great account of cam's struggle living with dissociative identity disorder. he outlines everything from first realizing he was dissociating to seeking therapy to the family struggle and consequences. it's not particularly well written, but it's obvious he tried. the writing just feels very heavy handed and a little forced. sort of like if you were given a formula to use to write a book. but overall the content was really great and I did find myself getting into the characte ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Lucia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by true stories of mental illness. This was the first book I've read on dissociative identity disorder and I found it really absorbing. I couldn't put the book down at first. The story of the emergence of this man's alter personalities was super interesting. The book slowed down for me after he was diagnosed with DID and started dealing with in-patient treatment and denial. The story became more frantic and was almost like reading a stream-of-consciousness narrative at times. I do ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic description of DID for the rest of us

Cam writes in a relatable way that helped me understand DID better than I previously did. I'm a psych grad student, and this is the first time I've understood the experience of being a multiple. It's also interesting hearing about the co-conscious experience.

I can't imagine the pain that Cam and his guys, Rikki, and Kai have felt especially in the early years. I am truly fascinated by their story. I can't wait until "Guitar Lessons" is published!

I've read several other books about MPD/DID and this one was by far the most peculiar. Much of the book is spent focusing on describing the surroundings, what various people looked like, etc… (Why did we need a full description of the receptionist of the author's wife, the receptionist whose bearing on anything that happened was nil?) Dr. West's writing ability aside, this was an interesting and heart-felt look at MPD/DID. I recommend "The Flock" (Casey and Wilson) or "When Rabbit Howls" (Chase ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Allison rated it liked it
This book is from the perspective of a man with dissociative identity disorder (mulitple personalities). The narrator is trustworthy for the most part, even when he tells two or three scenes involving his wife where he was not present.
The relationship and communication between them is believable, making him a credible story teller.
The story is fascinating, devastating and thoroughly interesting. In some cases, he pushes his metaphors too far, in an effort to be a lyrical writer. Excellent read,
Mar 11, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, medical
Wow, wow, wow. I loved how honest and raw this book was and I learned how some people can have a certain amount of control over their multiples. Very sad how people get to the point of having multiple personalities though, usually by some extreme ongoing on this case, generations of incest. I also liked how it gave an honest tale of the spouse's POV. How scary for have to go get your spouse because they don't know how they got somewhere And don't know what they're doing there because ...more
Apr 24, 2008 Laurelina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, having studied psychology, it is very educational for me to read such books. This book was written by Cameron West, recounting his experiences dealing with multiple personality disorder also known as Dissociative identity disorder. At any rate, this story explains in great painful detail the experiences of a man with multiple personalities that arose as survival mechanisms of a very disturbing childhood.

very detailed...a good read...
CJ Kamm
A painful memoir of a man , age 30, who was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID). He began experiencing symptoms of the disorder : inner voices, periods of blackout, memory loss and a feeling that something was not right. Eventually, twenty four different/separate personalities of both sexes and various ages are identified. The personalities reveal the story of his horrific childhood and abuse by his family.
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“Having DID is, for many people, a very lonely thing. If this book reaches some people whose experiences resonate with mine and gives them a sense that they aren't alone, that there is hope, then I will have achieved one of my goals.
A sad fact is that people with DID spend an average of almost seven years in the mental health system before being properly diagnosed and receiving the specific help they need. During that repeatedly misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated, simply because clinicians fail to recognize the symptoms. If this book provides practicing and future clinicians certain insight into DID, then I will have accomplished another goal.
Clinicians, and all others whose lives are touched by DID, need to grasp the fundamentally illusive nature of memory, because memory, or the lack of it, is an integral component of this condition. Our minds are stock pots which are continuously fed ingredients from many cooks: parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates, strangers, acquaintances, radio, television, movies, and books. These are the fixings of learning and memory, which are stirred with a spoon that changes form over time as it is shaped by our experiences. In this incredibly amorphous neurological stew, it is impossible for all memories to be exact.
But even as we accept the complex of impressionistic nature of memory, it is equally essential to recognize that people who experience persistent and intrusive memories that disrupt their sense of well-being and ability to function, have some real basis distress, regardless of the degree of clarity or feasibility of their recollections.
We must understand that those who experience abuse as children, and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance, and reinvention of the self.”
“We must understand that those who experience abuse as children, and particularly those who experience incest, almost invariably suffer from a profound sense of guilt and shame that is not meliorated merely by unearthing memories or focusing on the content of traumatic material. It is not enough to just remember. Nor is achieving a sense of wholeness and peace necessarily accomplished by either placing blame on others or by forgiving those we perceive as having wronged us. It is achieved through understanding, acceptance, and reinvention of the self.
At this point in time there are people who question the validity of the DID diagnosis. The fact is that DID has its own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because, as with all psychiatric conditions, a portion of society experiences a cluster of recognizable symptoms that are not better accounted for by any other diagnosis.”
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