Sybil was one of my favorite books and movies when I was younger, mainly because of my fascination with dissociative identity disorder, most commonly referred to as multiple personality disorder. Both told the story of Sybil Dorsett (a pseudonym for Shirley Mason) and the treatment she received under her psychoanalyst, Cornelia B. Wilbur. Sybil had more than 10 personalities, and Dr. Wilbur’s goal was to get them to cooperate with each other. Til this day, critics think the stories were fabricated by Wilber and Dorsett, and in 2011, Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan claims that Wilbur and Mason perpetrated a fraud, documenting a 1958 letter by Mason confessing to making up the multiples for attention and excitement.
A once respected Harlem, NY doctor is dealing with her own dissociative identity disorder. Dr. Diana Williamson claims that a dozen different personalities inhabit her body. At least one of these personalities was the ringleader in a phony prescription ring, which she now faces up to 14 years behind bars for defrauding Medicaid out of more than $300,000 by writing bogus OxyContin and Percocet prescriptions for about 30 patients at a Harlem clinic.
Her pre-teen personality, Nala, seems to be the culprit behind the prescription ring. Dr. Diana Williamson told The NY Post that “Nala” — a preteen alter ego purportedly manifested by years of childhood sex abuse — is “deeply remorseful” and that “we don’t have any bad feelings toward each other.” “Nala is part of me, and I obviously feel bad about what happened, but I don’t have any hard feelings toward Nala,” Williamson said.
Psychiatrist Dr. Paula Eagle, who began treating Williamson for depression in 1991, diagnosed her with dissociative identity disorder the following year after repeated reports of amnesia and “lost time.” Eagle said she feared that if Williamson gets any prison time, she won’t even be able to serve the “death sentence.” “Her medical conditions respond to her state of stress, and I think she’d probably die before she got to jail, honestly,” Eagle said.
Williams is currently pleading guilty instead of mounting an insanity defense, because her lawyer said it would probably have been too hard for a jury to accept. She’s seeking a noncustodial sentence, which means she’d prefer to serve the sentence elsewhere, because the federal prison system can’t handle her medical conditions, which include severe asthma and anaphylaxis that have required six hospitalizations this year alone.