Dawn is stuck in 1997, searching for her daughter Sky, who she believes was taken away.
Bonny had the strength to fight for her child through the courts, while Ken is a depressed gay man of 21.
Ria Pratt is 12 or 13, and is thought to have been abused.
Judy is a 15-year-old anorexic , and is often a bit cheeky, but is very good at painting.
Patricia, in her 50s, is strict and sensible. Her artwork, she admits, “is boring.”
While they all appear independent, each are a part of Kim Noble, a mother who has at least 20 different personalities and dozens of other fragments. Kim, as she is legally known, has dissociative identity disorder (DID).
Meeting her today, Patricia is the dominant personality, as has been the case recently.
Patricia doesn’t know when she will experience a switch, and sometimes a new personality will come in entirely unaware of what has happened before, or how they got there.
Because of this Patricia experiences a lot of memory gaps.
She can go to the supermarket, have a switch and come back with no food, or go to an appointment and then switch and turn around again – unaware she as even meant to be there.
She thinks she likes the different personalities to varying degrees by what she has been told about them, but that is all she has to go on.
“I don’t know these personalities as people,” says Patricia. “I can’t sit and have a conversation with them, which is a shame as I would never be lonely then.”
Her switches have caused issues as well as disasters with dating when she often found herself accused of cheating and unaware of her disorder.
The mum-of-one would open her front door in south London to a man, who acted as if they had been together for two years.
But she had absolutely no idea who he was. Another would then turn up, professing they were together.
“I used to get accused of cheating,” said Patricia. “In my younger days I could go out with somebody and another personality would go out with somebody and another person, and then get accused of two timing when we were not. It all got very complicated.
“I’ve had guys turn up and I’ve said ‘I don’t know who you are.’ There was one guy who talked to me like I had been out with him for the last two years.”
For 56-year-old Patricia, she’s now taken the decision to give up on romance – it’s just too complex.
Patricia is now the dominant personality in the body of Kim Noble, and according to her daughter Aimee, 20, she’s the strictest.
But, as Patricia explains it’s not always been this way.
Some of the alters don’t recognise they have a daughter. Judy, a bad influence who encourages Aimee to get piercings, sees her as a friend.
Dawn, who gave birth to Aimee, is stuck in 1997.
She believes she has a daughter called Sky who got taken away from her and Aimee now is one of Sky’s friends.
This is possibly reminiscent of the time Aimee was taken away by social services until Kim – or Hayley as she was then – began legal proceedings to get her back.
It was then the turn of Bonny to become dominant, as she took the battle through the courts.
They won and after being observed in a mother and baby unit for months, professionals found that Kim Noble – the collection of personalities – would never hurt Aimee and she was allowed home, with support, with her daughter.
Generally Patricia’s personality switches around four or five times a day – a switch that can last five minutes, a few hours or several days.
Patricia has no warning when a switch will occur, and no notion of what happened before. This often sees her return from shops with nothing, or far too much.
A switch takes places always at least once, in the morning, when Spirit of the Water comes out for a shower or bath. As Patricia explains, “I never shower myself, but I don’t smell, so I know that she does have a shower”.
Spirit of the Water is a fragment like her painting alter Anon – both whom Patricia doesn’t believe could survive alone.
Another switch usually takes place at meal times when anorexic Judy emerges, a personality that inhabits Kim’s tiny frame and is convinced she is overweight. Patricia often finds Judy’s size 14 clothes at her house.
Stress or lack of sleep can increase the number of switches, as can painting – a sign, Patricia believes, that a personality just wants to come out and paint to express themselves.
Patricia started painting at the suggestion of her therapist about 12 years ago, and said it is how she can feel “close” to all the personalities that inhabit her, as it is the only way she has to bring them together and get to know them.
She says she knows “who has been out” by the artwork that appears over night, identified by their specific styles.
She has around four unfinished canvases in her house at the moment, but she knows there will be many more.
The work of Judy, as well as two other personalities is being exhibited this week at Zebra One Art Gallery in London, alongside the works of Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon, with some of the proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation.
Patricia has 20 whole personalities and several fragments, a product of some trauma in childhood that caused a fragmentation in her mind – a coping mechanism.
Patricia has no idea what that was. It certainly didn’t happen to her.
While being diagnosed has its positives, it also has drawbacks. Patricia was diagnosed about 15 years ago and has now accepted she has DID.
This means she has to acknowledge that trauma happened at some time in her life when she or one of her personalities was young.
She added: “DID happens to protect the body. Once you do accept DID you also accept what has happened to the body.
“So in that way you are losing part of your protection, the barriers. When you accept DID you have to think why did you get it, through trauma, so you have to start opening up to the possibilities of what the body has been through.
“There was some trauma, I have no memory of it. I’m one of the lucky ones.
“When I was first told about my diagnosis I found it very scary. I felt that I had another person inside me, who was actually watching me. I was thinking, how can somebody be inside me? It feels a bit creepy, a bit weird. You go to toilet, and does that mean someone is watching me?
“Since being diagnosed I understand now why I have those memory gaps. It’s not because I’ve collapsed to the floor and fallen asleep.
“It’s because somebody else has just walked out and quietly someone else has taken over. It’s not an embarassment.
“It’s not a huge drama when it’s a switch. I know it won’t cause a problem, it will just result in me not buying things, or buying too much.
Only three or four of the other personalities has accepted they have DID, for some it is too difficult to comprehend.
Before she had therapy and started painting Patricia would disappear for a lot longer periods – maybe even weeks.
Patricia was diagnosed 15 years ago, after spending years in mental health hospitals and wrangling with incorrect mental health diagnoses.
Born in 1960, Kim’s parents worked in a factory and as a child she was often cared for by friends and acquaintainces.
At some point some trauma happened in her life, possibly abuse, that caused her mind to shatter into fragments as a coping strategy.
She was first referred to mental health services as a teenager after memory lapses and her erratic behaviour were noticed and was in and out of hospital from the age of 14.
It wasn’t until 1995 that she was finally diagnosed with DID. She now has therapy, without medication, with her therapist treating each of the personalities individually to try and help them cope with what has happened in the past.
While artwork has helped, it’s not come without its problems. Once Patricia took one of Judy’s works to be framed, presuming it was finished.
But lacking Judy’s artistic eye she didn’t realise it wasn’t complete and framed an unfinished work.
As she confesses with a cheeky smile: “Judy moaned and moaned and moaned about me because it wasn’t completely finished.
“I leave notes for all of them and Judy usually tells me to mind my own business, and get a life. Until she wants me to take her paintings somewhere.”
For Aimee having a mum with split personalities has been quite an experience – particularly when mischievous teenager Judy appears, who once took her to get her belly button pierced and tried to get her to go to nightclubs.
Patricia wasn’t pleased when she found out, and luckily Judy didn’t quite go through with her promise to get a tattoo.
Patricia added: “Judy used to try and get Aimee to go to nightclubs with her when she wasn’t old enough. She also went with Aimee to have a second piercing done to her belly button and ear. I wasn’t very happy about that when I found out.
“Aimee also tried to get Judy to get a tattoo. Which I don’t think I would have been very pleased. Can you imagine if I got half a sleeve? Some old woman sat here with a half a sleeve tattoo?!”
Both Patricia and Aimee laugh at this point. They have come to accept their situation and Aimee, who is in her final year of a law degree, knows all of Kim’s personalities. She particularly likes Judy, Patricia on the other hand is the strictest.
While having multiple personalities could make her feel distressed, Patricia remains upbeat. She laughs throughout – she says she could always ‘blame one of the others’ if she is caught smoking, with a cheeky smile on her face.
And she is comforted in the knowledge that she has been told by her therapist that most of her other personalities have a good sense of humour just like her.
She has seen herself on film switching to another personality, an experience Patricia didn’t like.
She recalls one time watching herself switch, which then caused her to have switch – creating even more stress.
As Patricia says, she has to laugh or she would cry out of sheer frustration.
She says: “If I am going to an appointment and I’m driving up a hill, the next thing is I’m back down at the bottom again. It’s so frustrating. Obviously my body is just not going to get there.”
All of the personalities have separate email addresses and passwords, and Patricia leaves notes for them – but she says they often tell her to “mind my own business.”
She added: “There’s no typical day for me really. I may been up half the night with Anon in the art room painting. I get up and Spirit of the Water, a fragment personality emerges, when I have a shower.
“I could then be out shopping, in the middle of one of the shops, and all of a sudden there’s a switch. That person that took over might not bother to complete the shopping.
“It can happen when I’m driving a car.
“One day when I went to get petrol I filled up and there was a switch. So I just drove off without paying. The next time we went back they had our registration number. They weren’t happy but I just paid it.
But she said some people can treat her differently because of a lack of understanding of DID, with some viewing her condition as “freaky.”
Indeed going to see her at first, it’s impossible to know which personality will be there at that time, but after speaking to Patricia an image of a rational, lucid woman emerges who has a keen awareness of her mental health and what is happening to her and why.
She added: “Some people just don’t know who they are coming to see. They think I have got 15 heads, and then I will put another one on in a minute and put the other one in a carrier bag. I think it’s the unknown. I think people can read about DID and multiple personalities and find it a bit freaky and scary, but once people have met us they realise we are just like everyone else.
“The main problem I have is memory between personalities. When another person takes over the body I have no memory or knowledge of what happened. Before I was diagnosed I didn’t know why I had these memory gaps. When I’m on my own at home I’ve lost time when another personality has taken over.”
Patricia has worked in the past, but while her employer knew she had mental health problems, this was still difficult as she transitioned through personalities, and switches could be brought on by stress.
Painting has now become an important part of Patricia’s life and for that of her other personalities. First of all five started painting, using her daughter’s paint and the back of wallpaper, with varying degrees of skill.
This has now progressed to 13.
“If a painting has been started it help me to keep a little bit of a track of who has been about,” says Patricia. “It helps me to have a bit of an understanding of that personality – as I’m never going to meet them. This is the closest I’m going to get to being near them.
“I have no memory of the paintings of the others, I know someone has come out and painted that, and it makes me feel a lot closer to them.
“I do find it hard to believe, I think where have they got that idea from because I can’t.
“When I see some of Abi’s and the person is in proportion – I do little feet and big hands, I can’t get anything in proportion if I try to do a figure – it does baffle me. And it’s really surprising as we haven’t had any art training at all.
“If a work is completely finished it can be quite a shock to see the painting for the first time.”
Judy’s work is Patricia’s favourite. Judy scratches the surface of her paintings, which are usually portraits – some with their eyes open, others shut.
Patricia also likes Judy’s cheeky spirit – even if she did almost end up with her getting a tattoo.
Anon paints at night and uses texture and think paint, while another painter goes by ‘no name’ because she paints fairly clandestinely – as Patricia explains “no one is ever around to ask her name.”
Abi is another favourite, usually painting people from a behind view.
Patricia added: “She’s probably the one that’s the most realistic. I can’t get anything in proportion like her.
“I don’t like painting, or more accurately I don’t like my paintings. They are landscapes usually. I like texture and mine really don’t have much texture. They are a bit boring.”
Ria on the other hand paints very differently. Childlike but disturbing, her pieces often depict abuse using bold bright colours.
When Aimee was younger Patricia had to hide some of Ria’s work from her. Her painting, showing two figures chained to a wall and shouting for help, is one of the least chilling of her “weird” works according to Patricia.
She added: “I do like Ria’s, I like the colours she uses, but I don’t like the theme. I also like the idea of such a depressing theme being so bright and cheerful.”
Patricia’s still working on her own artwork, inspired by the paintings she wakes up to and discovers around her home, produced by her other personalities. She admits: “I’m using some of their techniques. I’m copying.”
“I’m sure we will all produce more work, there’s always paintings on the go at my house. I was very honoured to be asked to exhibit my work for the Mental Health Foundation, painting has been a big part of my life.
Five works by Anon, Ria and Judy are being exhibited at Zebra One Art Gallery in Hampstead, north London, to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. The pieces are one of a number produced by artists with mental health conditions.
These include the reclusive Proudfoot brothers, identified by their paintings which all obscure the faces – a signature neither has ever explained.
Eddie and Charlie, who live in New York and have been in mental health hospitals, have no idea how old they are.
They are rarely apart and use anything they can get their hands on for canvases, which can include magazines, books and posters and now regularly get donated material for these canvases from their neighbours.
Gabrielle du Plooy director of Zebra One said: “Kim’s work is just fascinating, because it’s not all Kim’s work. The exhibition includes work from such a diverse group of artists and it’s a privilege and an honour to show all this work together.
“Mental health is so prevalent at the moment. One in three people are suffering with some form of mental health. It’s a subject very close to my heart.”
With Art in Mind launches at Zebra One Art Gallery with a private view on 16th November and opens to the public on 17th November, and will run until the end of the year. A proportion of sales will be donated to the Mental Health Foundation.
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