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First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,103 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
A Note from Dr. Cameron West

... First of all, for those of you who have read First Person Plural, thank you. Rikki, Kyle, and I have been very moved by the kind words many of you have sent, and for the stories some of you have shared about overcoming your own challenges.

I'd like to share something with you that Leonardo da Vinci wrote, which I think of as "Leonardo's Rule.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 1999)
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Sep 05, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2015 April rated it liked it
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 05, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
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
Jun 29, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
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
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
Aug 22, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
WOW! If you like this kind of stuff it is extremely interesting and informative.
Ashley Lau
Jan 04, 2010 Ashley Lau rated it really liked it
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
Sally Pearce
Mar 23, 2014 Sally Pearce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2014 Lucia rated it liked it
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
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.
Sphinx Feathers
Feb 02, 2016 Sphinx Feathers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, memoir, yes
I liked this book a lot. Unlike a lot of books about people with Dissociative Identity Disorder this book was not just one long list of horrors. It was well-written and recreated with help from others in West's life so that it could be written in the manner of a novel. The focus was on healing and on the present. While some horrors were visited, they were less the norm of the book so much as the importance of family, acceptance and getting past victimization. Very well-done.
Oct 04, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2008 Aimee rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2011 Sue rated it liked it
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
Oct 25, 2011 Laurie rated it liked it
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
Raz Darnell
Apr 07, 2015 Raz Darnell rated it liked it
A very detailed and emotional look into the life of a child abuse survivor with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The writing is a little thick at times, heavy with metaphors that make little sense, but overall an enjoyable read.
Melissa Gavazzi
May 30, 2014 Melissa Gavazzi rated it it was amazing
I've read this book twice, and absolutely love it. One of my other top fives. First Person Plural is a first person account of what it's like to live with Disassociative Identity Disorder (formally Multiple Personality Disorder). It's a story that almost reads like fiction, but is very real.
Jun 27, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put it down! Shocking, amazing, frightening and ultimately an incredibly brave account by, and of, a man living with dissociative identity disorder.
Thomas Smith
Mar 25, 2013 Thomas Smith rated it it was ok
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
Sarah Robinson
First book I ever pre ordered....and on Oprah's recommendation...was amazing. Probably 15 or more years since I read it and I still recommend it to people
Mar 10, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing
An interesting and informative memoir from a man living with Disociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
Nov 28, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing
I read this book in less than a day- it was fascinating, heartbreaking, and I couldn't put it down. Eye-opening to say the least.
Feb 08, 2014 Tania added it
One of the most beautiful books on Multiple personality disorder I've ever read. I have DiDs in my practice and this is so hopeful.
Ruth Yamamoto greenwood
Jul 19, 2014 Ruth Yamamoto greenwood rated it really liked it
This was a good informative book of what it is like to have multiple personalities! I thought it was a good book to read!
Jan 17, 2015 Heather rated it it was amazing
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
Sandy Clark
Feb 02, 2016 Sandy Clark rated it really liked it
A man with multiple personalities--very interesting!
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Share This Book

“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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