"Nip/Tuck" alum AnnaLynne McCord is opening up about her mental health struggles.
In an interview with “Good Morning America,” McCord spoke about her battle with dissociative identity disorder, which is formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
“I wanted to die for so much of my life, I didn’t want to be here,” McCord said. “And now I wake up every day and I say thank you I’m alive again.”
According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, dissociative identity disorder is characterized by alternating between multiple identities.
The actress first spoke about her diagnosis Tuesday in a post for Dr. Daniel Amen's blog, Amen Clinics, and expressed no reservation about opening up about her mental health or sexual trauma.
"The way this is talked about is there's so much shame. I am absolutely uninterested in shame," the 33-year-old actress said in the blog post. "There is nothing about my journey that I invite shame into anymore."
"That's how we get to the point where we can articulate the nature of these pervasive traumas and stuff, as horrible as they are," the former "90210" actress added.
It wasn’t until she was on the set of the hit reboot of “90210,” in the aftermath of a scene in which her character Naomi was raped, that McCord began to recognize she needed help.
“My whole body like just went into panic mode as if I was living out my life on camera,” McCord said. “These moments were coming to light through my work. I didn’t understand anything about the mind or the brain at the time, I was just trying to do my job and I couldn’t. And it was very scary …. I found a way out.”
But learning how to gain control would take time. McCord, who said she is a victim of past sexual abuse, said she sought treatment for trauma, and eventually worked to unlock the pain she felt but didn’t understand.
“I had to put into a bubble all of the dangerous, toxic, harmful memories locked it away,” said McCord.
Experts say the disorder, which is experienced by approximately 2% of the population, is often the result of overwhelming childhood trauma.
“Trauma can impact people in a variety of ways, particularly those who experience sexual abuse or neglect or physical abuse in youth,” Dr. Panagiota Korenis, associate professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein’s College of Medicine, said. “As a complicated way of coping with the trauma, they’ve identified these alters in their personality, who take on a variety of personas or personalities.”
Doctors say DID is a complicated and challenging diagnosis. There are likely more people suffering from the condition.
"You have fragments of yourself,” she said. “There’s AnnaLynne, who’s talking to you right now, right? And then there’s the part of me that this trauma happened to that still, if you can imagine it like trapped in Pandora’s box and I just opened Pandora’s box.”
Now the 33-year-old hopes to put a spotlight on the condition and fight the stigma surrounding it.
“The brain doesn’t care about quality of life,” she said. “It just cares about going on to continue living. I want my quality of life to get better and that’s why I stepped into this healing process … I want to thrive.”