Kimi Sands suffers from a very strange condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. The 23-year-old, from Cardiff, Wales, shares her body with 15 different personalities any one of which can take control at any time.
In the movies, people suffering from DID are often portrayed as dangerous criminals or serial killers. Not Kimi, though. None of her personalities make her do anything horrible. At worst, she and her partner Chris Lee need to buy Christmas presents for all 15, making the holidays more expensive for them.
“Including myself, there are 16 individuals to get presents for,” said Kimi. “These can be anything from alcohol for the older personalities to teddies for kids.” That’s right, the personalities all belong to different age groups. Among them are 22-year-old Japanese chef Satou, 17-year-old exercise addict Fiona, and four-year-old twins Jack and Safyer. There’s also a 23-year-old Yorkshire man, Ashy, and a party-loving bisexual, Theodore, aged 15.
Photo: ITV video caption
“It’s hard,” said Chris. “We’re a couple, but at the same time, we have this internal family. You’ve got to pay for gifts for everyone else. The kids go mental in the toy store and want to buy everything,” he adds. “It’s funny because when I’m queuing at the till with My Little Pony figures, people often mistakenly assume that I’m buying presents for my children.” But the couple believe that all the effort and the money spent are worth it.
“Giving presents to everyone is so much fun. The kids are ecstatic and emerge from Kim immediately,” Chris says. “But then it’s very difficult to make one personality leave so you can give the next gift to another one.”
I don’t mean to judge, but it must be incredibly hard for 24-year-old Chris, Kimi’s partner, to cope with her condition. The couple appears happy, though. He has come to love all of her personas in different ways. Chris said he can have a night out with the boys, take the younger kids to the ‘zoo’, and enjoy romantic moments with Kimi herself. They do maintain a strict policy of no romantic intimacy between Chris and any of the other personalities.
Photo: United States of Tara poster
“It’s mostly just me with Chris,” Kimi explained. “Although sometimes I allow him to kiss and cuddle Koumi, who is gay. Some of my alter egos are romantically involved with each other, though. Theo is going out with Finn.”
Kimi said that a problem she faces regularly with her personalities is ‘losing time’. “I lose a lot of time when my alters take over. When I was at school, Ashy attended it in my place regularly. In that time, he got with all of my female friends. When I returned, rumors were going around that I was a lesbian!”
“Teenager Theodore takes advantage of the fact that I have an age identification card and goes out drinking. I’ve lost whole evenings because of him and I wake up the next morning with terrible hangovers,” she said.
Kimi’s multiple personas began to develop when she was only three years old, but she was diagnosed with DID at age 20. “You have a lot of compromises to make when you have 15 personalities,” the woman says. “I have to stock my wardrobe with different clothes for everyone. The boys would be angry if they had to wear dresses. I also have to make sure that there’s always vegan food in the fridge for Fiona. It’s complicated making sure everyone’s diet is catered for.”
But Kimi tries to stay optimistic about her condition. She doesn’t let it take over her life completely. “Yes, it’s a painful disorder, but there are so many happy bits to having DID,” she said. “I always have company. There is someone by my side all the time.”
Kimi is a part-time artist and dedicates most of her time educating people about the disorder. She wants to put up YouTube videos of her various personalities, to show people that DID doesn’t necessarily make her an axe-murderer.