Woman regains sight in some of her multiple personalities
A woman in Germany who was blind for 17 years has regained her sight, in all but two of her multiple personalities.
The woman, ‘B.T’ suffered an accident in her younger years and gradually lost her vision. According to a study in PsyCh journal, at the time, doctors diagnosed her with cortical blindness from the trauma of the accident.
Years later, she visited Munich psychotherapist Dr Bruno Waldvogel to help with her dissociative identity disorder. Previously referred to as multiple personality disorder, it causes sufferers to have two or more distinct personality types or states. The main cause is severe and repeated trauma in childhood, often before the age of 5.
Dr Waldvogel noted that B.T experienced over 10 different personalities of varying ages, genders, temperaments and other personality traits. Some spoke German, others English and others a mixture of both as she had spent time in her childhood in an English-speaking country.
After four years of psychotherapy, she started seeing letters on a page while she was in one of her adolescent male states. In time, all but two of her personalities were able to regain sight.
An EEG test proved that B.T wasn’t lying about her disability. In one of her two blind states, her brain showed it wasn’t responding to the visual stimuli that sighted people would respond to, despite her looking straight at it.
When she was tested with her sighted personality, her response was normal and stable. They noted in the study that “a switch between these states could happen within seconds”.
Researchers believe that the loss of the woman’s vision was actually of a psychogenic nature and that the two blind personality states are possibly for retreat.
Research author Dr. Hans Strasburger of Ludwig Maximilian University said in an article in Braindecoder: “In situations that are particularly emotionally intense, the patient occasionally feels the wish to become blind, and thus not ‘need to see.'”
B.T.’s case shows that “differences between personality states are not limited to higher-level processing but can differ with respect to the fundamental processing of early sensory information and corresponding perceptual change,” they said. “It therefore provides compelling evidence for the existence of the dissociated identities in a more biological sense.”
Read more about the study in PsyCh Journal.