Sheryl Underwood Says Her Personality Disorder Helped Her Through Trauma: 'There Were Two Of Us'
She's a true survivor.
Sheryl Underwood opened up about her experiences with mental illness during Wednesday’s episode of The Talk.
The comedienne shared her struggle with dissociative identity disorder, telling her co-hosts the disorder developed as a coping mechanism against sexual assault and other trauma she experienced.
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"I will tell you this, sometimes certain disorders protect you,” Underwood said. “I will tell you, when I was younger, the things that were happening to me, I would separate. So there were two of us. Because I wanted to survive. So one was the fighter. One was, something was happening to me. So I hope that this helps people, and I hope that it helps people understand that the human brain will do whatever is necessary to survive."
The National Alliance for Mental Illness defines dissociative identity disorder as “a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory.”
The condition was known as multiple personality disorder until 1994, according to Psychology Today. Symptoms include the development of various identities, memory gaps and behavioral changes associated with the shift in reality. Two percent of the world’s population is believed to have the condition; women are more likely to be diagnosed with men. Trauma usually triggers symptoms of the disorder.
Underwood opened up about being raped in 2017 during another episode of The Talk, People notes. The incident happened soon after she graduated college, and the assailant was never caught.
“I start talking to the guy, and I said, ‘Don’t do this this way. Whatever you’re going to do, finish what you’re doing — don’t kill me. And don’t take my ID. They’ll find you,’” she told her co-hosts.
In 2016, she also told Inside Edition her mother turned a blind eye to sexual abuse that happened to her as a child.
Despite her troubles, including the suicide of her husband, Underwood doesn’t wallow in sadness.
“I really want women to understand: don’t ever let anybody take your power away from you,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot. But it’s not all ‘woe is me.’ This is a journey.”
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