AnnaLynne McCord is ‘uninterested in shame’ for her dissociative identity disorder

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I’ve been fascinated by DID, dissociative identity disorder – previously known as multiple-personality disorder – for many years. Generally speaking, DID occurs in people who have been deeply traumatized in their childhood and their minds fracture and create new identities to help the victim cope with the trauma. Post-childhood, the disorder can be triggered by new traumas. For the older people, Sybil and When Rabbit Howls were seminal works about the disorder, and there are still a lot of unknowns about how to treat and/or heal the disorder. As it turns out, AnnaLynne McCord has DID. She’s gone public with her diagnosis and she spoke at length with a doctor in a YouTube video:

AnnaLynne McCord is opening up about her dissociative identity disorder diagnosis (DID), which was previously known as multiple personality disorder. The Nip/Tuck actress discussed having DID during a recent conversation with Dr. Daniel Amen. “I am absolutely uninterested in shame,” she said of the stigma surrounding the disorder. “There is nothing about my journey that I invite shame into anymore. And that’s how we get to the point where we can articulate the nature of these pervasive traumas and stuff, as horrible as they are.”

McCord, who confirmed in her interview that she had been previously diagnosed with DID, has spoken in the past about being raped as a teenager and the trauma it caused. “A year ago, I was in treatment for PTSD and memories of child sexual abuse came back for years all the way until I was 11 years,” she told PEOPLE in September 2019.

She discussed her memory loss regarding such traumatic events in the recent interview, explaining, “I don’t have anything until around 5. Then from 5 to 11, I recount incidents throughout. Then when I was 13, I have a singled-out memory that was one thing, but I don’t have the sense of anything else at that time.”

The anti-trafficking activist revealed that her work as an actress helped bring her DID to light. “All of my roles were splits, but I didn’t even realize I was doing it at all until I did a project 90210,” she said of the Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff, which ran on the CW for five seasons from 2008 to 2013.

It wasn’t until she filmed her 2012 horror movie Excision during a hiatus from the show that something was triggered. “I played a very cerebral, disturbed, strange little girl that was very close to who I feel I am on the inside. It was very exposing, very confronting, probably a bit re-traumatizing without realizing it,” she said of the role. “The crazy thing about it was that I wrapped that film at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday and had to be happy, crazy Beverly Hills blonde bombshell on Wednesday at noon. I couldn’t find her, she was not accessible. I was dark, I was very deep into this character Pauline, and I couldn’t get [out].”

McCord also recalled being “co-conscious” of her true identity and a split personality she called “little Anna” at 13. “She was a balls to the wall, middle fingers to the sky, anarchist from hell who will stab you with the spike ring that she wears, and you’ll like it. Then she’ll make you lick the blood from it,” she said. “She was a nasty little creature, but I have so much gratitude to her because she got me out of the hell that I was in.”

[From People]

This is a pretty big deal for AnnaLynne to talk about this disorder publicly. Very few people in Hollywood want to actually talk about these kinds of for-real disorders and I hope AnnaLynne helps to lift some of the stigmas around DID. The pop-culture image of someone with DID is of a person talking to themselves in different voices, and/or someone using DID to explain their violent acts. People with DID are almost always deeply traumatized victims though. McCord has spoken publicly about being raped, and she’s also opened up about her childhood traumas (the ones she can remember).

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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19 Responses to “AnnaLynne McCord is ‘uninterested in shame’ for her dissociative identity disorder”

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  1. candy says:

    Thanks for writing about this! I applaud for her for being so brave. She is a survivor, and through this is advocating for others.

  2. Keroppi says:

    I appreciate you highlighting this and she is so courageous! When DID is discussed in the media I feel the emphasis is never on the trauma that the individual has gone through and how their brain has protected itself. Instead, it seems to focus more on the sensationalism of it.

  3. Stacy Dresden says:

    My heart goes out to her and I want her to feel no shame, but pride in speaking out and seeking treatment.

  4. olliesmom says:

    .

  5. lucy2 says:

    I can’t imagine going through this, especially in the public eye. She’s very brave to speak about it, and I wish her well.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Brava. I can only imagine such courage in the face of this diagnosis. Scratch that, I can’t imagine. I know for certain I would find it difficult to tell family members much less friends and acquaintances. What kind of journey does it take to deal with this? A very long arduous road having to confront past traumas head on. Puts some things in perspective for me.

  7. Kimberly says:

    she is a magnificent women and her inner strength is beautiful

  8. Kkat says:

    TW and CW for what I talk about below

    She is very brave to speak about it.
    The trauma that generally has to happen, usually by 3 and almost always before the age of 7 has to be utterly horrific and so soul destroying that they do the only thing they can to escape it and go on living.
    These people aren’t weak, they are incredibly unbelievably strong, they found a way to survive.

    I was badly sexually abused before 3 and until I was 9 maybe til 11.
    Where I don’t think I split, I do think of younger me as little Shelly and I’m so sad for her. (So I might have)
    I did dissociate in that I would forget pretty much right after it would happen.
    One uncle I knew did it because it was so ongoing but except for a few occasions I remembered clearly, everything was fuzzy or went away.
    The other uncle (both by marriage to aunt’s) I did not remember until college.

    I was working on my psych major and had 6 classes that semester all touching on child sexual abuse, I was reading when rabbit howls for a class, and the rodney king/LA riots happened (I watched it unfold live) and everything together caused me to have uncontrollable breakthrough memories.
    It was like a shitty movie on repeat I couldn’t stop because it was in my mind.

    It was devastating, whenever I would think of child sexual abuse in my mind when I would be studying it I would have certain reference images and situations pop into my head.
    It was during this time I realized that the child I was seeing was me and those things happened to ME.

    The abuse I remembered was bad, but this new stuff was horrific. Some of what I remembered was I was raped before 3, a gun put to my head and inside me. This went on for a few years. I couldn’t believe it til I asked my aunt and cousin about certain furniture they had and they showed me pictures.
    The couch was very unusual and they only had it at a house they lived at for three years.

    I had a breakdown and one of my professors saved me, got me into see someone the day I was finally able to go to him, and made sure I had extensive emergency therapy until I could get a regular therapist.

    All this while I had undiagnosed bipolar acting up, it’s amazing I survived lol

    I am in a good place now, I had 7 years of 5 days a week therapy and intermittent since.
    My 20′s weren’t great but now that I’m 52 I’m doing good.

    All that to say I admire her so much for speaking publicly, not only does she have a mental illness that is looked at as either fake or that your insane by most people.
    Underneath she has trauma most people can’t even begin to imagine.

    • tealily says:

      Hugs to you, Kkat! My best friend was diagnosed as bipolar during college too and also faced some similar stuff. I’m glad you were able to find the support you needed at the time. It’s all so hard, but I think knowing how many people deal with these issues is important. Thanks for sharing, happy to hear you’re doing well now.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      It took courage for you to share that, Kkat. I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m not familiar with Annalynne-glad she shared her story and hopefully, her opening up will help others.

    • Call_me_al says:

      Thanks for sharing. You are strong.

  9. tealily says:

    We’re making huge strides on the front of acknowledging mental health issues as a society, but there is *still* such a stigma around so many of these issues, and DID in particular. She’s awesome for talking about this. Hopefully putting a face on the disorder will help people to see that it isn’t made up and it isn’t a horror movie plot.

  10. JanetDR says:

    More people than we know struggle with this and by talking about it she is helping many.

  11. paranormalgirl says:

    Everyone dissociates in some way. There is no shame given to daydreaming, having an imaginary friend when you are little, etc. DID is an extreme type of dissociation and there should be no shame in it either. In my entire career, I have had two people with DID come into my practice. One needed more than I was actually capable of giving them, and wanted to integrate, so I transferred their care to a DID (back then a MPD) specialist. The other did not wish to integrate, just learn to live together and create a working system, so I worked with that system until they moved to California.

    The shaming of psychiatric disorders needs to stop. AnnaLynne McCord is an amazing and strong woman and I have actually long admired her for her work with trafficking victims.

  12. simone says:

    I’m a “multiple.” Glad someone is coming out who portrays the reality, not the sensationalism.

    • Call_me_al says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I have never heard anyone say multiple, thanks for introducing me to that term.

  13. Susan says:

    Wow. I don’t really know who she is (never watched the reboot of 90210) but I’d love to hear more from her on this. I hope she speaks out more. This is very moving. I feel like we’ve come a long way as a society in recognizing anxiety and depression, but I think we still have a preconceived notion of some of the other atypical disorders based out of the scary era of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

  14. Hmppyy says:

    This was so interesting and brave! It’s odd though, maybe it’s just how she’s describing it, but this doesn’t really sound like DID to me? I did a deep dive Into researching the disorder a few years ago and spent a lot of time lurking DID messageboards populated by ppl with DID, and it seemed like ppl with DID are aware they have alters because other people tell them about them but when they are one alter they’ve essentially blacked out the the days when they are the other alter and don’t remember, ie “I don’t remember the last three days, but I can tell from the guitar in the living room that alter A must have taken over because she’s great at guitar.”
    Maybe my research was skewed by small sample size though.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Sometimes system members are aware of each other, sometimes they are not. Some systems have a way in which they inform each other of what happened during their time. It depends on how the system “works.”