A New Zealand woman has found love and happiness, even as she navigates life with 93 alternative personalities.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly known as , is a condition where individuals possess several “alters,” each with their own distinct age, gender, and life experiences.
For Amber Lodge, 31, these alters range from small children who love to paint to adults who relish dining out.
Some personalities are blunt and direct, while others are shy and reserved.
Lodge was diagnosed with DID five years ago. At that point, she had already experienced the complexities of relationships, as her partners struggled to understand her rapidly changing identities, leading to short-lived romances.
“Before we were diagnosed with DID it was hard and confusing for the people that we dated because they didn’t understand why we would change so much and why they seemed to get a different person each time,” , referring to herself as “we” to explain each personality.
However, Lodge’s story took a remarkable turn when she met 26-year-old Andrea online.
Their connection was instantaneous, and their love has blossomed into marriage.
“We kind of gave up on dating for a while until we luckily met Andrea because she already followed us online, and understood DID,” Lodge explained. “We didn’t have to tell her about it, she just understood it, so it was easy.”
Andrea not only embraces Lodge’s alters, she cherishes the opportunity to connect with each unique personality.
She said it’s exciting to date different individuals and learn about their distinct preferences and interests.
Lodge’s alters can surface five to eight times a day, leading to unpredictable shifts in personality.
On any given night, Andrea could fall asleep next to one alter and wake up to an entirely different persona the next day.
“If a child goes through extreme childhood trauma, those parts don’t integrate and they take on a self of their own, and amnesia barriers are created between those parts,” Lodge said.
“That is what alters are. It then continues into adulthood, and alters can have different ages, genders, life experiences and personalities.”
To help navigate this intricate dynamic, Andrea maintains a folder detailing the preferences of each alter.
She can usually discern which alter is present by their voice or communication style, but when in doubt, she simply asks.
“It’s more challenging trying to remember things such as who likes which flowers, birthdays and different date ideas that I can plan,” Andrea said.
“Or maybe sometimes they don’t know what I’m talking about because that person wasn’t out at the time something was happening.”
Lodge has her own signals, feeling spaced out before an alter transition occurs, which serves as a cue to anticipate a new personality emerging.
She reflected on her challenges before her DID diagnosis, when her shifting identities left partners bewildered and relationships strained.
She recalled a reluctance to disclose her condition due to fear of judgment or lack of understanding.
“Relationships in general, even with friends, can be challenging,” she divulged. “We try to be as reliable as we possibly can, but if we’ve made plans and then a different alter ends up out, and they either don’t want to read it or don’t want to hang out with that person, they just won’t show up.”
Lodge’s adult alters are in a romantic relationship with Andrea, while those who emerge less frequently maintain a friendship with her, making the situation less complex.
As some of Lodge’s alters are children, Andrea initially worried about how to interact with them, but she soon realized that it’s clear when a younger alter is present.
She emphasizes that it’s akin to spending time with a child, given the child-like behaviors exhibited by the younger alters.
“For example, if I’m out with Chloe, who is a 4- or 5-year-old alter, it genuinely feels like I’m with a 4- or 5-year-old, aside from the visual,” Andrea said.
“However, she does usually make herself look like a girl, so it’s not as hard as people would think.”
Andrea described proposing to Lodge as a lighthearted and spontaneous conversation, and she even planned a custom proposal for one of her alters, complete with white roses and balloons.
Andrea says she has proposals planned for several of the alters, even though she and Lodge are already married.
Meanwhile, Lodge hopes sharing her story leads to greater understanding of DID.
“I just wish people understood a bit more about DID, as they would realize it’s not as complicated as it may seem,” she said.