A Memoir about Multiple Personalities That’s 25 Years in the Making
Vivian Conan on the long and baffling process of living with dissociative identity disorder, and writing a memoir when the ending is unknown.
Many writers find memoir especially challenging because they are living in a story that does not have a set ending. Librarian Vivian Conan says that in writing her memoir Losing the Atmosphere: A Baffling Disorder, A Search for Help, and the Therapist Who Understood, the conclusion of her decades-long project changed as her life and relationship with multiple personality disorder (MPD) shifted.
The memoir follows Conan as she begins to unravel several distinct personalities who occupy her mind. With the guidance of therapists, Conan would later learn that the loving personalities inside her head acted as coping mechanisms to protect her from the emotional trauma she experienced as a child. We talked to Conan about her new book (which comes out September 29), her experience with writing about traumatic events, and what living with MPD is like.