Mclean Hospital

Podcast: Robert Oxnam and His Life With Dissociative Identity Disorder

March 19, 2019

From the outside, Robert Oxnam (19:51) had it all. He was successful in high school and college, earned a PhD, had a thriving career, and was married with two children. What was completely hidden from everyone was the inner torment he was experiencing.

In 1990, Robert was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition associated with post-traumatic stress due to severe physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during early childhood.

Robert and Trevor discuss his initial denial of his diagnosis and how over time, Robert came to realize that his eleven identity states could interact to overcome the painful memories of his childhood abuse—from being held over a pot of boiling water to being locked in an ice box.

Robert turned to art-making as a creative outlet and now is a successful sculptor, painter, photographer, and author. Robert also speaks openly about his illness and the abuse that caused it, hoping to inspire others to feel as if they are not alone.

Resources

The Secret and Life-Changing Impact of Early Childhood Abuse: Dissociative Identity Disorder
A Fractured Mind by Robert Oxnam

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The McLean Hospital podcast Mindful Things is intended to provide general information and to help listeners learn about mental health, educational opportunities, and research initiatives. This podcast is not an attempt to practice medicine or to provide specific medical advice.

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