28-Year-Old Mom With 9 Personalities Is Challenging Mental Illness Stigma

Jane Hart, a 28-year-old single mother and activist, lives with dissociative identity disorder.
A&E

One young mom is letting the world see all the different sides of her.

Jane Hart, a 28-year-old single mother and activist, lives with dissociative identity disorder (DID), constantly switching between the nine personalities that dwell inside her head.

They range in age from 6 to 28 years old and include several different types of identities, according to People.com.

There's 6-year-old Janey who has no memory of abuse Hart says she suffered, 10-year-old Beth who holds memories of Jane's abuse and helps protect the younger identities, 11-year-old Jayden who also remembers the physical abuse, 17-year-old Alexis who is confident, and 28-year-old Madison who is a lesbian and protects all of Hart's identities.

"My parts don't always see eye-to-eye. ... It is a revolving door in my head," Jane says in the trailer for a new documentary series, "Many Sides of Jane."

DID is a rare condition that fragments a person's identity into two or more separate personalities, according to Psychology Today. Of those who develop the disorder in the U.S., Canada and Europe, 90 percent report being victims of physical or sexual abuse as a child. 

Hart wrote in a 2016 blog post, which first drew attention to her story, that "childhood abuse and medical issues" caused her disorder. She moved to Alaska with her husband in an attempt to leave the memories behind, but by 2014, she was being driven mad by the constant voices living inside her head. She was diagnosed with DID in 2016 after ending her marriage, moving her two young boys back to her hometown of Boise, Idaho, and going through two years of intense psychotherapy.

"People with DID generally prefer to keep this fact hidden—it keeps us safe from abuse and can feel like a dangerous thing to be known for," Hart wrote. "Disclosing the fact that I have dissociative identity disorder is a big deal. ... However, I believe shedding light on the disorder, the controversy, and the bold truth, is more important than keeping secrets."

In the series, Hart says her two sons don't know she has DID, adding they think the documentary is focusing on their mom because she has a "unique brain."

In a clip, one of her personalities, Beth, says, "I keep bad people away from Janey. ... I read books and I help the other little parts. ... I got hurt the most." Beth then switches back to Jane, who breathes a sigh of relief. "I think she feels better," Jane says of Beth.

She hopes to give an intimate look at her life as a parent with DID. And she wants to help erase the "thick" stigma surrounding mental illness, saying that "it's time to right that wrong."

"Jane feels there is power in sharing her story and it is her mission to help others realize mental health is just as important as physical health," A&E says on its website. "Those suffering from DID are special, smart and unique; they deserve compassion, kindness and understanding."

The show premieres on A&E Thursday at 10 p.m. (ET).

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