Man with 10 identities due to rare condition unable to work or study

A man with a rare condition that caused his personality to split into 10 identities is now unable to study, work or leave the house on his own.

Leonard was officially diagnosed this year, after spending years dealing with symptoms (Picture: Leonard Stöckl/SWNS)

A man with a rare condition that caused his personality to split into ten different identities is now unable to study, work or leave the house on his own.

Leonard Stöckl says he manages multiple personalities; Kovu, 4, Hektor, 8, Ana, 16, Cosmo, 17, Ash, 18, Jessy, 19, Leo, 21, Billy, 23, Liv, 24, and Red, 26.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Munich, Germany, has Dissociate Identity Disorder (DID), a rare psychiatric condition that develops in early childhood as a result of severe trauma.

He refers to his collective personalities as his ‘system’, while the group of identities who share one body and each distinct form of consciousness is the ‘person’ or ‘alter’.

Leo refers to himself as the ‘host’ of the system, meaning they are the person who has control over the body most often.

Up until his teenage years he was able to manage the condition, but it became overhwhelming when he was taking his A-level exams in June last year.

Issues with focus and memory continued to blight the schoolboy, before he was finally diagnosed with DID during a six-week clinic stay.

Leo explained that although he felt relieved at his diagnosis and could finally give his problems a proper name, he knew there was a long road of work ahead.

A man with a rare condition that caused his personality to split into 10 identities is now unable to study, work or leave the house on his own.

Leonard lives with his partner Massimo – but not all his alters are as compatible in a couple (Picture: Leonard Stöckl/SWNS)

His time at the clinic was not as helpful as he hoped but gave him a great daily routine and a safe, supportive environment to learn to live with his trauma.

Due to the severe symptoms, Leo is now unable to work as each alter has their own abilities and wishes which makes it impossible to ensure he will be able to do his job.

Since he is unable to have a job, Leo now runs a shop on Etsy where he sells handmade bookmarks and tote bags.

Leo’s system also has a complex impact on his relationship ‘as more people are involved and everyone has their very strong and own opinion on things’.

However, Leo also noted that the system is a ‘great source of support’ for when things get hard in the relationship.

He said: ‘When it gets hard, we always find a way around and in the end, we are just as a normal couple as anyone else.

‘There are just some more people involved sometimes.’

Leo has been with his partner Massimo since October 2020.

He said: ‘We live with Massimo and he is the main person looking after us.

‘Each alter has their own relationship with my boyfriend. One of the alters HATED him at first – he’s now trying to be pleasant but it doesn’t always work.

‘We have a very young alter that has met him, but it can be difficult for my boyfriend when there is a younger person fronting whilst we are together.’

A man with a rare condition that caused his personality to split into 10 identities is now unable to study, work or leave the house on his own.

Each of Leo’s personalities represent a different quality or trauma response (Picture: Leonard Stöckl/SWNS)

Leo emphasised that whilst every DID system is different, they all share severe traumatic experiences in early childhood which formed and developed the system.

He explained: ‘I’m Leo and I’m the current host of the system…

‘Kovu is our youngest and we don’t know much about him, because he is very quiet – we suspect that he is very traumatised.

‘Hektor is a very excited kid – he loves stuffed animals and always gets excited about going to the zoo or visiting an aquarium.

‘Ana suffers from anorexia which makes it hard for her to front.

‘Cosmo is a rowdy, slightly flirty teenager that easily gets in trouble.

‘Ash is a little sunshine who loves to go on vacation and just explore the world.

‘Jessy is quiet but very kind, girly and respectful. She often takes care of the body.

‘Billy is one of our protectors – he always takes care of safety while we’re outside. He doesn’t talk a lot and can be verbally aggressive sometimes, but he would NEVER harm anyone.

‘Liv is our sexual protector. She knows when someone gets too close to us and she can handle every situation.

‘Red is the oldest and the systems’ mum. She takes care of a lot of things – showers, chores, cleaning, paperwork and managing all of our money.’

And although Leo has found support online, he can’t leave the house alone and believes a service dog may improve his situation.

He said: ‘We always need someone when we leave the house, since there can be so many triggers which cause flashbacks and even non-epileptic seizures caused by a dissociative conversion disorder.

‘Service dogs can be very helpful for those with DID and they can also relieve relatives who take care of you.’

As well as advocating for more provisions for people with DID, Leo hopes that he can raise awareness of the condition by sharing his story online.

‘DID is not portrayed correctly in movies and series,’ he said. ‘We don’t have superpowers and we are not dangerous.’

Leo continued: ‘We need authentic movies and documentaries, we don’t need film productions to make millions of dollars at our expense and risk.

‘DID is more than just having multiple personalities living in one body.

‘Even though I no longer go to concerts and I’m more careful when going outside, having DID also gives us a chance of constantly learning more.

‘Every one of us has our own wishes and interests and we can share them with each other.

‘I would never choose to live without the other alters. They are my family, my best friends, my team – I wouldn’t even be able to live without them.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].


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