A new Showtime series is airing January 18, The United States of Tara. The premise is a family with two teenagers. Mom is a multiple. She has DID. Dissociative Identity Disorder a/k/a dissociative states. Tara, in the previews, has several personalities. Her husband, who I know as the radio guy from Northern Exposure (John Corbett), and both teens (a boy and girl) understand mom has issues and that environmental and internal triggers (out of the family's control) cause her to change to a different identity.
The show acknowledges that Tara has deep seated issues and DID is her coping skill. The family embraces her differences and helps each other. The kids know the alters by name because each has a different voice and facial expression. On the show, Tara also changes clothes when she is someone else. That does happen for some survivors. I recall having wardrobe changes because I felt differently. I guess I never consciously experienced myself feeling like a guy though. I never felt frilly feminine. I don't see the wardrobe change as detracting from the message of the show.
The more I learn about the show, the more I believe there will finally be an accurate representation of the issues of someone having DID and normalizing that difference. Mom is different and interesting to the kids. They love her and all of her personas. I have learned an expert advisor for DID is a consultant. I know the individual to be a highly respected psychiatrist in the field of dissociation. I prefer to wait to see his name in the credits than disclose here.
While I'm sure some sacrifices had to be made for entertainment purposes, the show promises to balance the humorous and possibly exasperating side of loving someone with DID with the serious issues that lie behind anyone with DID. To hear the cast and writers speak of multiplicity and DID with appropriate terms was heartwarming. But not as much as knowing so many will likely watch the show. I wish with all my heart and soul many will finally see and hear the reality of DID. It is not to be feared but to be embraced. More than anything, those with DID desire connection and acceptance.
Hopefully the show will inspire discussion in many forums on the internet and television. Bless you, Steve Spielberg. Click here for a quick preview. If you are a Dexter fan or otherwise have access to Showtime, longer promotional previews of the show are being shown frequently and are excellent.