First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple
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First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,708 ratings  ·  134 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....more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Hyperion (first published 1999)
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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...more
Joseph
Cameron West is not a great author, but his life does make for a great story. First Person Plural is the autobiographical tale of a man coming to grips with his multiple personalities. Its 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 situation (and the events in his past that caused it) and you will get to know both the v...more
Jennifer
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....more
Simon Cleveland
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...more
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
Sara
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...more
Kelly
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...more
Ashley Lau
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
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...more
Lucia
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
Heather
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
Sarah
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
Laura
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
Aimee
Feb 11, 2008 Aimee rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Sue
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...more
Laurie
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
Tomás
Lo que me llamó la atención a la hora de elegir este libro es cómo está enfocado: El abordar el tema de la personalidad múltiple desde el punto de vista del enfermo, me pareció tremendamente llamativo. Así pues, el autor, que además de psicólogo padece este tipo de desorden debido a una serie de episodios traumáticos ocurridos durante su infancia, nos cuenta sus experiencias, sus sentimientos, cómo afectó su trastorno a su vida social y familiar y toda la evolución de este: desde los primeros sí...more
Melissa Gavazzi
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.
Tracy
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
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...more
Claire
An interesting and informative memoir from a man living with Disociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
Tania
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
This was a good informative book of what it is like to have multiple personalities! I thought it was a good book to read!
Elisabeth
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
Allison
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,...more
Jessica Neary
Loved this book, Actually read it twice because I was so young when I read it the first time.
Lataun
Very interesting. A fast read about Multi- personalities. The more I read the more I realize how much I love my parents for giving me a wonderful, normal childhood.
Bibliovixen
Interesting book written from the perspective of the person suffering from DID. Only three stars as it wasn't edited very well, giving it a clunky reading, and leaving out areas of treatment that would have been helpful to understand better. However, this is a memoir, not a case study and centers on the author's experiences.

Also, the publication date is 14 years ago, and there's been significant improvements in treatments for behavioral health. There needs to be an updated version.
Laurelina
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...
shamus
Apr 25, 2007 shamus rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everybody
This book was laying around at work. one night out of boredom i began to read it. it instantly enthralled me. i read over half of it the first night. after working that night (12 hours) and riding the bus home (1 hour) i couldn't sleep as i wondered what would happen next! after returning to work and finishing my duties i immediatly read the rest of the book. i have never been so effected after reading something. great book and a true story!!
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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.”
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“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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