Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is typically a disorder that’s characterised by alternating between multiple identities within one individual. Often, sufferers from DID will experience gaps in memory of time and trauma.
The disorder occurs when a person’s identity becomes fragmented, causing them to experience different identities. It’s often brought on by traumatic events and can affect anybody, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background. It’s assumed that 2% of people throughout the world experience some type of dissociative disorder.
I wanted to give those with DID a platform to share what they wish people knew about having the disorder. While I don’t have experience with it myself, I understand that the stigma surrounding the mental illness is extreme, and the media enjoys demonise those with it. Here are a few of the responses I received:
1. “Switching Isn’t Always Noticeable”
Switching. It’s not as drastic as media portrays it to be for many of us. I don’t change into a totally different person with a new name. It isn’t that noticeable sometimes. You could be switching in your head and no one would really know, which makes things very difficult for us.Submitted by suriservshumnty
2. “There’s No ‘Right’ Way To Have DID”
That DID is a spectrum disorder. Symptoms can vary in intensity all up and down that spectrum. There is no one “right way” to be DID.Submitted by Neloran
Every person with it will probably move along that spectrum to varying degrees at different points in their life, based on stress and things and like that.Submitted by Phoenix1Rising
3. “We’re Not Here For Your Entertainment”
My alters are not there for entertainment or their amusement or their fun party trick. I purposely ask everyone to treat us all as one person. Don’t try to guess who is who, don’t ask me who I am, don’t try to guess if I switched or not. My alters keep the utmost secrecy and they strongly dislike being seen by outsiders, even if they are fronting.Submitted by Budget_Froyo
4. “There’s More To It Than Just Having Alters”.
DID is caused by trauma which means it has all of the symptoms of CPTSD rolled into it as well, including hyper-vigilance, nightmares, psychosomatic symptoms like pain in the body for “no reason” (also known as body memories), panic attacks, anxiety, emotional flashbacks, and hundreds of triggers from big and avoidable to small and likely to blindside you completely.
And all of these symptoms are spread across the system in different ways and amounts. some will have none. everyone has different triggers. some are more hyper-vigilant than others. some system members are stuck in the trauma, like a perpetual emotional flashback – except for them it never stopped, so instead they are reliving the feelings and events constantly.Submitted by birbtheborb
I feel like my relationship with DID is like, CPTSD, but everyone has their own version of CPTSD. Like it is multiple manifestations of CPTSD within one body.Submitted by Budget_Froyo
5. “Our Awareness Can Vary”
Even our own awareness of our condition can vary wildly, from alter to alter, and from time to time even within the same alter. I thought I “discovered” my DID when I was 20, but then randomly got memories of knowing much earlier, or finding evidence of other places.Submitted by zacharyjodin
6. “We’re Still The Same People”
Personally, I wish people realized that I’m/we’re still the same person they knew before I told them about the DID. A lot of people act like everything has changed just because I’ve told them about the disorder, but things will be the same as always, just more honestSubmitted by ImTheOpposite
Do you suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder, or do you know somebody who does? What do you wish people knew about having the mental illness and how it affects your life? Get in touch to share your story, or simply let me know!