Oprah Show producer Kirsten Williams traveled to London to interview Kim Noble, a woman with dissociative identity disorder—formerly called multiple identity disorder—and ended up speaking with eight personalities. Read her account of what this experience was like.
How did you prepare for the interview?
The main personality, "Patricia," is like working with any normal person, so I treated her much the same way I would any other interview. The only thing I did differently was to email a few of the "alters" directly to introduce myself. "Patricia" provided me with email addresses for "Judy," "Ken" and "Bonny"—they each have their own—so I could correspond in advance. "Ken," the personality who is a depressed gay man was the only one who didn't write back. What was most interesting to me was I received reply emails from "Patricia," "Judy" or "Bonny" at all hours of the night. I realized the body of Kim Noble really doesn't get much sleep at all.
Watch an introduction to Kim's different personalities.
How often did Kim change personalities in front of you?
Without the therapist present, I only saw her change to the personality "Judy." This happened three different times while I was there.
Watch Kim transform into "Judy."
"Judy" is the 15-year-old anorexic personality who mainly comes out for meals. "Judy" sees herself as 200 pounds, so she mostly wanted to talk about dieting and being fat. "Judy" doesn't acknowledge she has dissociative identity disorder, so she doesn't realize she's Aimee's biological mother. She sees Aimee as more of a friend, but also watches out for Aimee too. I think "Judy" sees herself as an unpaid babysitter.
How many of the 20 personalities did you meet?
Over four days, I met "Patricia," "Judy," "Bonny," "Ken," "Ria," "Dawn," "Salome" and "Missy."
Was there a visible process Kim went through when a different personality was about to take over?
The change could be as subtle as a blink of an eye. Other times it was similar to when you are nodding off to sleep and you catch yourself to wake up. The transition back to "Patricia" was harder to detect. Sometimes I would be talking to one "alter," and then Aimee or "Patricia" would start laughing because "Patricia" was back, and I didn't know it. Pretty soon, I got the hang of it.
Were some of the personalities more cooperative than others?
They were all pretty cooperative. The only one who gave me a hard time was "Ken," but that was my fault. I went into the interview thinking that he understood he was a personality living in Kim Noble's body, but that wasn't the case. I was thrown off by that, and our interview was a bit awkward. I think he was a little annoyed because I said he looked like a woman.
Was this the most challenging interview you've ever done?
Believe it or not, it wasn't! "Patricia," the "alters," Aimee and the therapy team were great. Because she wants people to have a better understanding of DID, "Patricia" really opened herself up to us, and that always makes for a better interview.
Browse a gallery of art by Kim's different personalities