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About Alter Switching in Dissociative Identity Disorder

June 14, 2018 Becca Hargis

Dissociative identity disorder and alter switching are mysterious to many people. Learn about DID alter switching here at HealthyPlace.

Alter switching and dissociative identity disorder (DID) are interdependent. The term "'switching" means simply to change, but, in reference to DID, it means to change a part, an alter, or a headmate, as they are called. Everyone has parts that comprise his or her personality. You might have remarked before, "Part of me really wants to improve my health." For someone to reference a single part of his or her personality is normal, but for those of us with DID, we experience more extreme parts of ourselves that have their own thoughts, opinions, beliefs, wishes, needs, etc. The switching of these parts is difficult, jarring, and disconcerting. If you have DID or know someone with DID, it is important to understand the signs of when someone with dissociative identity disorder is switching alters and what you can do.

Signs of Alter Switching in Dissociative Identity Disorder  

Just as each DID system is different, the way we experience switching can also differ. While not an exhaustive list, below are experiences that might indicate when I am about to, or in the process of, switching alters in DID.

  • Hearing a headmate's voice in my head
  • My head goes foggy
  • I cannot concentrate, process information, or think clearly
  • I hear outside voices from afar, as if in a tunnel
  • My head feels chaotic
  • I can physically feel my facial affect changing and my emotions flooding my facial expression
  • My handwriting changes, sometimes from messy and precise or from print to cursive
  • I stare blankly at the wall or floors and "feel" myself being moved out of the way
  • My eyes change shape and color
  • Shivers run through me as though I'm cold
  • I feel detached from myself as if someone else is "running the show"
  • I have headaches that cannot be relieved with medication
  • I feel dizzy and light-headed
  • My thoughts get louder
  • I do not make eye contact
  • I take a deep breath and breath an enormous sigh as if to alleviate building stress
  • I look around the room suspiciously as if I'm unaware of my surroundings
  • I frequently watch the clocks to account for time lost

What Causes Alter-Switching in Dissociative Identity Disorder?

The causes of dissociative identity disorder alter-switching vary. In my system, I do not have control over when my headmates switch; however, I do know ahead of time what situations might trigger a switch in alters. Triggers include:

  • Memories - good or bad
  • Anything from the five senses
  • Strong, uncomfortable emotions
  • Extreme stress
  • Certain times of the year
  • Looking at old pictures
  • An outsider mentioning a headmate's name
  • Tremendous anxiety
  • Noises
  • Crowded places
  • Journaling

This list is a great place to start when thinking ahead to possible instances that might trigger you. Understanding triggers is often a good practice so we can prepare ourselves for what we might need in order to keep us safe.

Dissociative identity disorder alter-switching is always done to keep the system functioning and safe. Everything in the system happens for a reason, even if we do not know what it is. It is usually a defensive response to anything the system deems threatening.

While knowing switching can be a protective act, I usually find the switches disturbing, especially when parts come and go like a revolving door or jockey for front position (Three Reasons Why People with DID Hate Switching). Not feeling in control feels very overwhelming and even embarrassing, regardless if no one knows but me. Embarrassment, frustration, and shame frequently plague our system when switching. However, having frequent internal communication, dialogue, and understanding with my headmates makes the system more amenable to an agreement on terms of when and how headmates switch. Trying to block a headmate is seldom helpful and will most likely cause hostility and anger in the system.

Do Outsiders Know When We Are Alter-Switching in DID?

Most outsiders, including my husband and often times our therapist, do not realize when a switch has taken place. There are some signs, such as altered behaviors, changes in language, uncharacteristic differences in beliefs and thoughts. Usually, if I am angry and cursing, that is a telltale sign an angry headmate is out because her angry behavior is contrary to my behavior. Along with a distinct way of talking, an outsider might know we have switched by our mannerisms and body language.

What to Do After Your Loved One with DID Has Switched Alters

Trying to figure out what to do when your loved one has already switched alters is too late. The headmates will want to feel safe and cared for, so a plan is necessary. The first thing to do before a headmate switches is to have a plan of action already put in place on how the system wants you to respond to a switch. In the plan, find out if questioning the switching headmates is permissible and, especially, if it is allowable to ask the new headmate his or her name.

Do not ask the alter you were with to resurface. Remember, in order to love one headmate means you should love them all because they all work to protect the host. Please do not judge the headmate that has just surfaced, even though he or she might have interrupted an important moment. Always stick to the plan. Do not veer off. Lastly, do not take it personally when one headmate leaves and another switches into place. The switching may have nothing to do with you and arguing with any headmate will not make you an ally.  

In Conclusion

Lastly, your headmates have been with you the majority of your life. They are there, and in their own way, to protect you. Unless they are a danger to you or others, do not struggle with him or her being out. Be gentle with them. Remember, they saved your life before you could save it on your own.

Please check out the following video to learn about the three types of dissociative identity disorder alter switches that affect my memory.

APA Reference
Hargis, B. (2018, June 14). About Alter Switching in Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2018/6/about-alter-switching-in-dissociative-identity-disorder



Author: Becca Hargis

Becca is a mental health advocate who is passionate about ending the stigma against mental illness. She is currently writing a book on her experiences with dissociative identity disorder. You can connect with her on her personal blog, TwitterFacebook and on Instagram.

Leo
July, 23 2021 at 11:33 am

I think I might’ve had my first switch at my friends Birthday party. I was locked in the same spot staring at the water and my head started hurting and I felt dizzy and fuzzy. When I came too again and my head stopped hurting I didn’t remember what I was doing before hand and my thoughts were all over the place. I tried to follow my friends after someone reminded me of where I was but I didn’t fully understand what was happening. My thoughts changed and there was this echoing in the back of my head. My personality changed as well and I had a really hard time talking amongst my friends. I think I had multiple switches where I was in and out of the headspace. When I left my friends I think I stopped having switches. And now I keep having this name pop into my head and thoughts that don’t feel like my own.

Percy
July, 10 2021 at 3:34 pm

I think I had my first switch last night. And it was terrifying. It was like I was watching and listening to myself without even being able to control what I was doing. But the most important factor of me wondering if I have did is when I was 3 I was being molested by my cousin. One night, randomly, I woke up and had no memory of who I was or where I was. So I went up to my dad and woke him up, and asked him my name, birthday, what day it was, where we were, etc. last night, me and my boyfriend were kissing when I started having severe flash backs. Next thing I know I was asking him who he was, where we were, etc. I had a vague recollection of who he was, but I didn’t actually know him. Then all of a sudden, I was back to being me and able to remember everything. Then I was gone again. And then I came back. When this would happen I would disassociate and then I wouldn’t be in control anymore. It was very very scary to me.

xylo
June, 23 2021 at 9:48 pm

heyhey my name is xylo and i’m beginning to suspect i have did. over the past few months i hear talking (internally) and random noises, i have a lot of gaps in my memory and even forget my birthday and name, i randomly do stuff without realizing/with no control over my body and i feel as if i am just watching my body move before me yk? and when i’m really stressed i hear alex (an alter i suspect) and he comforts me and even gives people advice but in small sentences. when i was taking a shower once i thought i was supposed to have red hair (such as alex) and i have had many other identity crisis. when i get really stressed and even suicidal i feel ray (another alter i suspect) cuddling me and i can actually feel her body warmth and i can sense where they are like if i were a pilot flying my body, i can sense where they are. and yes i have quite a bit of childhood trauma. my friends are systems and they have stated that you can get did/osdd with trauma or if you are in highly stressful situations (like an abusive household in my case) i’ve tried going to therapists but none of them seem to understand and when i ask my friends about it they say it’s a possibility. i’m very confused and it would give me comfort if i do or not (you don’t have to exactly diagnose me just say it’s most likely not/is did) thank you and i hope you have a good night/morning or evening

gryffin
July, 4 2021 at 6:47 am

i don't know if anybody here is necessarily able to say 100% yes or no because we aren't in your mind, but from what you've said here it sounds like a possibility? good luck <3

Mary
July, 13 2021 at 5:34 am

What you are describing sounds like a couple of things but it could be DID, especially because of your history and because your alters appear when you are triggered or stressed. You could also have DID plus something else. Be sure to see a psychiatrist because therapists cannot prescribe meds. If you are feeling suicidal, you may need meds (the horrible thing is the first couple of days on some of them, the symptoms can be worse). Maybe you can find a DID support group near you? If the therapists aren't helpful. DBT therapy helped me a lot. It helps you manage stress and intense emotions so that you can be more effective in your life and not so much at the mercy of them. It helped me feel much more in control of my life. I also have a card in my purse or wallet. When I begin to dissociate severely, I cannot always help myself. It is rare but when it happens, the card tells what I would like people to do (call my therapist and get me to the ER). Those episodes usually pass if I can get to sleep. When I wake up, I'm okay. I also get disability benefits for this reason, which helps during the times when I cannot work. Very few people can "tell" I have DID but I also have few friends. Good luck and take care.

Lilly
April, 26 2021 at 11:15 am

I am an alter (or that's what I have been called) my name is Lilly and I am 17 and my hosts name is Dominic. I have only recently been fully noticed by my host about a week ago and I am the only alter. Dominic had originally thought he was genderfluid because I am female and he is male so he thought his gender was switching because he had urges to put on makeup and dresses. I hadn't been able to communicate with Dominic until he slowly started to realise that I am a separate person and tried understanding me. Dominic and I started our verbal relationship in an argument because we have a girlfriend and I felt left out because we didn't switch very often so I didn't get to talk to her and a lot of names got thrown around but through that argument Dominic and I came to an understanding in which he understood how I was feeling and we talked it out and came to an agreement where we agreed to switch off regularly. In the past week Dominic and I have realized that we don't need to trigger each other to switch but simply by agreeing to switch and then switching. Something that i have realized that helps is telling the important people in my life that I am a separate person and talking with them and building relationships with them. One thing Dominic and I did that made me feel better and feel more understood was finding a name for me and we did I chose the name Lilly and by giving me a name I now feel a sense of purpose in life, I also created my own Snapchat account so I can have my own friends that know me not by Dominic but by Lilly. Our girlfriend can quite often sense a switch and has even told Dominic and I when we need to switch to make things fair, When Dominic and I were fighting was a great help in figuring things out. There was actually a point where I stayed in control so long without a switch that Dominic almost went dormant and that was absolutely terrifying because Dominic has always been there and not feeling him was scary because he is as much of a brother as anyone can have, He protects me when I am scared, he comforts me when I am upset, and he guides me through situations I don't know how to navigate. Having DID is the best thing when you understand each other because no matter what you will never be alone. If anyone would like to talk to me or Dominic if they need a friend who understands, a person to ask questions about it, or someone to listen my Snapchat is lillymsmith2021 and Dominic's is dominicmbsmith and my email is lillymariesmith2021@gmail.com Dominic's is dominicmbsmith@gmail.com. our instagram is blue_speedster_
I also would like some friends

Singlet
February, 24 2021 at 3:20 pm

Do hosts know their alters' personalities and activities? My friend is a system, and she knows of both. However, I've heard from other people that while hosts do know of their alters, they don't know their personalities, activities, etc. She does co-front and co-con often at my home, as her system feels safe there, and sometimes fully switches. I've met a few of her alters, who will usually ask who I am and introduce themselves. Is this a good thing?

Sage - Ethereal System
March, 29 2021 at 7:46 pm

It depends; some DID systems may not have strong internal communication, but others may have some internal communication to start with or they may have developed it through therapy. If the system has strong internal communication, then they may know quite a lot about their alters, or perhaps only some of them and they have to get to know the rest from third parties. Some may straight up remember something an alter did while out especially if they were fronting or nearby when the other alter switched in, but it's more likely to be just bits and pieces unless they are an OSDD system that lacks dissociative amnesia or again they have made progress in therapy to reduce the amnesia.
DID is most often a disorder of hiddenness, so I would say yes you getting to meet her alters is a sign at least parts of the system feel safe and comfortable enough with you to show themselves and at least I would think that's a good thing. Many systems don't feel it is safe to be themselves with every person or in every situation and may only have a select few people or places that they will feel okay to be themselves. It can be exhausting to feel you have to mask as someone you are not all the time.

Yumi
December, 20 2020 at 8:56 am

Hello! I've never really payed attention to this disorder Before but me and my loved ones are planning to get married soon so I would love to learn more about my lover, they told me that they have DID and I've seen it so far and been learning about it from time to times, from them and other people, but I do have some questions because sometimes Somethings are different from my love and other people, I have few questions that I'm hoping would be answered
1. Most of people I saw just spaced out when they were switching to their alters but different from my lover, they passed out before switching, is it possible?
2. Most people on the internet usually do something triggering to trigger the alters to switch, I've known alers of my love and I've becoming good friends with them so They told me whenever I need them all I need to do is to call out their name, one said to all their last name, one just their name, one their full name, is this true?
3. Does the alters can dream?
4. Whenever the alters isn't taking over the body, or the host isn't, where are they? My love said that there's another world inside their head, is it true?
I hope to find the answers to these questions, thank you for reading have a nice day

Taeo Bailey-Brown
July, 12 2021 at 1:10 pm

1) for our system (kalon system) we just space out because we are waiting for the fronter to switch over but it is possible to pass out
2)I honestly wouldn’t try to cause a switch unless your partner wants you to
3)we do dream sometimes, one alter has bad nightmares so she doesn’t usually front late at night
4)for our system we have an inner world, it’s like a whole scenery(a house with rooms, garden, the pathway/what would be a driveway is what we walk up to switch, and our house is in the seaside and a forest so it’s only our house, we can’t see beyond the sea or forest,it’s like the forest surrounds us and when we walk far into the forest we front, the sea is facing the opposite way of the fronting area and no one goes far into the water) it’s really hard to explain because it’s like the whole world of our own

An unknown person
December, 4 2020 at 6:27 pm

Hello I was diagnosed with DID in a mental hospital and I was wondering how do I switch alters by myself With there consent of course. Thank you for reading. bye.

Anonymous
March, 10 2021 at 6:43 pm

Try discord for DID questions. There are a bunch of DID dedicated servers for new systems and curious singlets.

Mary
July, 13 2021 at 5:45 am

That's interesting. I have the opposite problem. I just want to be me. My other alters are not as functional - one breaks the law, one is a little girl, one is very mean, another is basically a fiend, and one is a dog! I can't even discuss the dog, LOL. There is one that is sooo confident and I wish I could be like her, more. I've tried but I can't pull it off without her kind of taking over. That kind of statement makes my therapist crazy -- she says that IS me. I know she is right but still...However that confident one also took a lot of risks. I am mostlly happy to be just myself, as flawed as I am. I have learned to feel and lean into pain and fear and cope with it. I get the loneliness part. How it feels less lonely with them. But I think that is a slippery slope. It is better to connect witih outside people, I think, while working on your recovery. Just my two cents - do what is right for you.

Terra
December, 1 2020 at 2:06 pm

Hi, I found out what DID was about two days ago and I found this website today, I have done a few online quizzes and they said I might have DID, someday I just completely space out during a conversation and I come back, not remembering anything and I have a bad headache afterward, and I am very confused and embarrassed when that happens, and I dont know what it will be like to be diagnosed with DID, and I dont know where. Is it possible to get diagnosed online without meeting face-to-face, if so how can I, because I have all, if not most, of the symptoms and I have heard voices in my head and sometimes it feels like Im a ghost and the presence of another is in my body, and I get really confused, a lot of my friends say I am very forgetful and that I change personalities, voices, handedness, and almost everything about me.
Please help and tell me if I can be diagnosed, if I can, please tell me what website, I cant really go out in public in this time...
Thanks in advance.

stephen leaf
September, 9 2020 at 7:17 pm

is it possible for one personality to have a health disorder and the others including the host not have that same health disorder?

Donna
November, 25 2020 at 7:20 pm

Yes it is, I have an identity that has severe eczema and just five minutes in the body and we will have a massive flare up. We had one that was diabetic but no one else in our system was. The thing that is really neat for me is one someone without color blindness joins me and I can see color better. 💚

please help me out if you can!
August, 8 2020 at 2:26 pm

Hi! i am around 13 turning 14 soon and have been experiencing these symptoms recently after doing research to support the "did" community after finding out about it, after taking a test just for laughs and started freaking the heck out i was slightingly confused and turned of my phone and started crying for no reason and as i was crying started playing with my pug puppy and acted like a little child etc. i think this is what you would call a episode? if im not mistaken, i have met all of them (about 11 alters maybe?????) who are Anita, Cotton, Shade, Veronica, Shyilo, Scarlet, Violet, Todd, Lia, Kelly/Cally, And a mysterious clown who has no name and the pronouns are it and thing, there has not been a full switch but they can co? i think thats what its called and can hear my thoughts and they talk to me through my mouth, i am extremely worried that im making this up and trying to figure out how to make a switch easier (if im not making this up please help me figure this out im extremely confused thank you!

Tai
June, 6 2020 at 5:01 am

I have several diagnoses' of mental illness I've been suspected of having schizophrenia because I have Visual and auditory hallucinations I'm also bipolar 2 which they tell me you can't have both which is why they just added the hallucinations at the end of my bipolar 2. I've had some horrible trama in my life that most wouldn't believe if I told them and based on the progress of my mental health in the last 6 years I'm suspecting it's DID, about 3 years ago I began switching and being a passenger to a specific identity who goes by Lily. My switch would happen suddenly at the snap of a finger, she's more logical and cold on her thinking where I'm more of a people pleaser a pushover. In the last two years I've noticed less and less missing time and more compromise. When I'm a passenger and I don't like what's happening she will redirect herself as I'm screaming inside before she ruins my life with a drastic decision or conflict with a loved one caused by drastic change in behavior that my loved ones don't understand. Now it takes longer for a switch to go all the way through and it's the most uncomfortable feeling for the hours it takes for the switch to complete I feel like myself but I feel like an alien in my own skin. It's uncomfortable and unnerving and I hallucinate horribly during this time. I'm wondering if there's a way to merge personalities or at least make this time in between less scary. I'm also wondering if the people I see during this time are other personalities or possibly people who caused teams that I've blocked out. It's so confusing and I'm doing it on my own and there's no one to answer these questions.

Ally
May, 18 2020 at 7:30 pm

Hey I have a question about DID can you get an new alter randomly or does it just happen by a traumatic or stressful event? Thank you so much!

Harriet
June, 3 2020 at 9:14 pm

When you say 'get a new alter' are you asking about a new alter surfacing (one that was not identified previously) or are you asking if every alter was "birthed" from a different trauma?

Mary
July, 13 2021 at 5:20 am

Throughout my life, I have had some that have arisen out of circumstances and others that have faded or gone dormant. I feel it is a response to a need and our needs change. There wasn't trauma but looking at it, I suppose there was a very stressful event. It gets hard to tell the difference after a while. Having gone through some relatively quiet years, they seem to have gone underground. I though they were gone for good....I got stressed...and hello. My therapist would not be happy about that, she wants me to integrate them and I do try. I hope that helps answer your question. It may be different for other patients.

mika
May, 2 2020 at 1:30 pm

Okay, so I suspect I may have DID? I am not sure so I wanted to as a few questions, see if I'm just worrying myself over nothing. Ya know?
I've been hearing little things for years now, nothing in sentences. Like, maybe little noises or something. But it was never externally. I knew it was from my head, it didn't sound like anyone in front of me. But something happened the other day that made me just, click. I had never thought of DID as a possibility until then. It was feminine, and not me or anyone else I knew, they clicked their tongue. Almost in a mocking way, as if I was doing something they didn't like. So, I asked my friend who has DID a few questions and they said to start journaling. If I see something in there I didn't remember writing, it could possibly be a sign.
I did do that, but nothing so far. I dont remember blacking out or anything, but I dissociate a lot. I think I've had some points where I have experienced depersonalization/derealization. Yesterday, I heard some cartoon like music, then someone speaking in a different language(male). It was really loud. It might have been my imagination, but I just want a few more opinions on this if possible.
I do have childhood trauma. I can remember.. Only 2 times that it has happened, I can remember it vaguely. But I know for a fact it has happened a lot more than those 2 times I remember.
I'm wanting to know how to figure out if I have alters. I want something to tell me whether I do, or do not have this? Does anyone know any ways that I can possibly find out if I have alters? Any advice?
update: I have also found some school stuff I never remember getting. Stuff that I swore I never received. As well as clothes I would never wear, nor remember getting. (But I know I have had them for a while, just never thought of it.)

Michelle
November, 4 2019 at 9:24 pm

I have a question. Ever since I was 8 years old. I have had terrible anxiety driven impulses to do this horrible thing. I don't ever remember not having them. I don't remember much before 8 years of age. I get in literal fights with my body not to do these things. Like my hand will go to do it and I fight for control not to to it. I feel like I want to and don't want to. How do I know if I want to do those things and don't within myself. Or I don't and an alter does. If all I can ever remember was being this way?

Angie
May, 18 2020 at 1:53 pm

Hi Michelle,
I hope you are doing well. I think the only real way to know is to seek help from a qualified therapist. They can be expensive but some will work on a sliding scale with you.

Jolina
October, 6 2019 at 12:27 pm

I know i may be late but.. is it possible that i have did?
a little background story:
I am 13 years old and i always googled my symptoms, i never found something. i one day talked to my family about it and my sister searched it up she found something called depersonalization but as i searched more and more i found "did" so when i looked for infos all the symptoms kinda were right, i am afraid to tell my mom that i wanna see a doctor also since i was bullied i am afraid of judgement or embarassment and this situation could cause that. also i've been asking myself if the host can control over the other alters and how the switch feels, do you know when you switch?
and inner monologue is it normal that this voice talks with itsself or it feels like i am not the only one talking.. they never talk at the same time so isn't that just my inner voice everyone has? the voice that talks about decisions and the voice that reads that here..
thanks for the answer if i'll get one already

Mary
July, 13 2021 at 5:14 am

I think the answer is maybe a little different for everyone. This is not a well understood thing. Most therapists are not experienced with it or if they are, they don't really address it (in my experience). You are right that we all have conversations in our head; that is normal "self-talk." I have that. I also have conversations with my more dominant alters and that feels very different from self-talk, e.g., we are arguing or giving advice, the personalities feel different. Quite different. At those times, I have awareness about the presence or switch, well, it is not a full switch because "I" am still driving the car, so to speak. However, I do switch without realizing it. I do have memory lapses at times. I was just a little older than you when I started giving these parts of myself names. I did not know until many decades later I had DID and other people also had it. It's possible you don't have it, I don't know. I hope you find a highly qualified therapist or support group. Learning to recognize your triggers and how to manage stress will be very helpful in life.

karen
September, 25 2019 at 12:11 am

hello, i am a fourteen year old girl. i haven’t really been suspecting me to have DID until around three months ago? and i’m still not quite sure. i haven’t seen a psychiatrist or any doctor because i’m too scared that there’s a possibility that i could have it. i do get frequent headaches and they often can’t be fixed with medicine. although i don’t think i have any alters? but is it possible for someone with DID to never communicate with their alters and possibly not even know they exist? sometimes i get these like almost panic attacks? and where it’s like i’ll space out and just be thinking too hard about a certain topic. and when that happens i’ll get really bad headaches and then i won’t even be able to tell what’s real and what’s not. i’ve tried to google it a lot but can’t really find the answer. whenever that happens i feel as if nothing is real. and sometimes i can’t tell the difference between reality and non reality almost like as if everything had been a dream. i’m sorry if i don’t make any sense but i just really don’t know what’s going on.

October, 1 2019 at 3:22 pm

Hello, Karen. You do make sense, and I understand you quite well. It is possible for someone with DID to not be aware of their alters until later in therapy. I know you are afraid of seeing a doctor because you are scared of the diagnosis, but seeking professional help is essential to get clear answers to the questions you have. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

Carter
September, 13 2019 at 9:47 pm

Hi I have a friend with DID and one of her alters is very violent and extremely psychopathic. It’s so bad that my girlfriend (who is her best friend) is scared to be around her when that alter comes out. I know this may sound harsh but is there any way you know of to force a switch? Even if it’s not back to the host? She’s just genuinely terrifying when that alter is out.

JC
September, 24 2019 at 1:56 am

Causing a switch, is BAD...end of. Things will only get worse.
This Alter needs more care and attention than the others.

Nix
September, 11 2019 at 1:45 pm

Hi... i just realized my fiancee has DID (3 headmates).. I dont believe they talk to eachother but know of eachother! Wedding planning may have triggered the switch + other emotional stresses, but this new alter is nasty and has/is trying to sabotage ALL his relationships (3rd time engaged)... do i make him aware of the condition (to help bring to light we need help) as i refuse to lose the man i love?

September, 12 2019 at 8:38 am

Hi, Nix. Thank you for your comment and being. part of our online community. If you have concerns about your fiance's health, I would definitely address them with him in a concerned and supportive tone. Thank you.

Maddie Johannes
July, 25 2019 at 4:07 am

I have a question! so a therapist once told me that there’s a possibility i could have DID. So i was wondering, is it supposed to be obvious to you if you have it? i don’t even know how i would be able to recognize the signs.

August, 13 2019 at 1:25 pm

Hi, Maddie. Thank you for your comment and for being part of our community. It is very often the case that the individual does not know they have DID until someone else points it out. People with DID know that something is different about him- or herself but do not know what it is. It is not always obvious that it is DID. Every system is different, so you may not be able to tell the signs. That doesn't negate the possibility you might have DID. My suggestion is to read as much as you can on DID. HealthyPlace has excellent resources to help you understand the disorder, and, with the help of your therapist, consider the signs and symptoms you might be experiencing.

Cheri
May, 29 2019 at 7:33 pm

I just discovered thru my therapist that what I thought was my wild imagination for years is actually DID. I can talk to my others in a room in my head (Fraser’s table) but I’d like to know if they can hear my thoughts or my conversations when not in that room. I’m feeling really paranoid about that now.

Meggie
May, 2 2019 at 10:08 pm

Just curious, I see a lot of videos on YouTube of people who supposedly have DID but I'm really sceptical. Do people with DID really have complete wardrobes, hairstyles and makeup looks for each altar?

Leilani
May, 24 2019 at 6:36 pm

I think it depends on how many alters and what their preferences are. I have two alters, but we all share blue as our favorite color, so that simplifies things. But I don’t wear makeup, one of them does. One wears “pretty” things, while I care only about comfort. We don’t have completely different wardrobes, but we do have more choices than any one of us would have. What my hairstyle and color is depends on who shows up for the appointment. Sometimes we agree on something (or at least compromise), sometimes we don’t. Often we don’t.

Sophie
April, 24 2019 at 10:39 am

Hey,
this is just another story.. I'm wondering what is happening inside of me. 'Cause there are so many things I don't think fit my current diagnosis of b(orderline)pd and ptsd. Few years ago I considered a dissociative disorder but I'm not sure. Maybe it's not DID exactly but I know there a fragments of "me" which crave different things. But "I" can't really get in touch or influence them. I wish there was some kind of communication I could try.
Hope I can make some sense out of this soon x

E
August, 3 2019 at 4:19 pm

BPD has become a controversial label in recent years, and for good reason. Smart therapists and researchers in the field recognize and acknowledge that what is labeled BPD is really a trauma disorder. And many people with complex (developmental) trauma develop c-ptsd, so it also goes to follow that there are many with the BPD label who also dissociate. It makes sense, when you read up on it.
It really doesn’t matter if it’s “just” a dissociative disorder or if it’s the whole caboodle of DID. They exist on a continuum, a spectrum, if you will. What you call it really shouldn’t matter.
If you were my good friend and you confided in me what you posted here, I would tell you that I would feel a lot better if you saw a recognized leader or expert in the field of trauma. You can check the ISSTD (International Society for Study Of Trauma) for a qualified professional. I wish I had done that nine years ago, instead of wasting years and so much money on therapists who were not at all qualified and should have known that.
So be good to yourself, and go see a qualified expert. Look up Sandra Paulsen, PhD, and the organizations she belongs to, as well as her colleagues. These people can help you. It’s worth giving it a shot. You deserve that. You do not deserve to be slapped with a pejorative label like BPD.

Idrian
March, 14 2019 at 11:18 pm

I was diagnosed with DID in the early 90s. I worked with a therapist for nearly 25 years, not nearly all the work was on DID. She retired. I'm close to 83 and a new alter has appeared: a very young child, at most 2 years old. I have learned many techniques and achieved much integration but this kid has me buffaloed. My question for the community is do any of you know any techniques for communicating with a pre-verbal alter?

Alex
September, 9 2019 at 1:15 pm

Hello,
I have an alter around the ages of 3-5, but they are entirely nonverbal. It feels like there's a blockade in my throat when they front. What I've done to make that period easier is use writing/typing to communicate when possible, and to buy and use things that are comforting to them (toys, watching children's media, etc) . A lot of very young alters hold a lot of trauma, it may be helpful to do something that works to de-trigger other alters, things that make you feel calm and safe.

a girl in need
March, 7 2019 at 7:46 pm

ok so hi, im a 14 year old girl and i feel like im kinda losing my mind. um most of the times i wake up its from a voice calling my name, they are all different, idk how to explain it but one of them wakes me up just a couple seconds before my alarm and the others all have their different ways of yelling my name or sometimes even whispering it. I have these urges to do things i normally wouldn't do like for example; i hate pink but sometimes i find myself wanting to run to it and i know this may sound crazy but sometimes i feel like there is actual you know, people up there I've given names or atleast i think i did i have an image of how each looks and idk [all this stuff has been happening for as long as i can remember but i learned tht its not normal so now im actually acknowledging it]. I've found text messages in my phone that i dont remember sending i also saw a message left in my notes that i dont recall writing. many of my civics classes or social studies classes [which are the 2 classes i feel most anxious in because of the teachers] i dont remember going to or being present in. just last week apparently i gave my teacher my book in i.t and i dont even remember doing it i actually thought my book was still in my bag but idk she had it. all i know is that i have headaches that won't go away, my vision and hearing do become very cloudy and i cant comprehend it. even right now i just lost my train of thought i was going to write something but i just blanked out. I talked to my friends about it and one of them suggest that i have did but im to afraid of therapy or going to my mother. i just want to know if im just imagining this all or if this is actually a serious case. anyone can help me out?

Serena
March, 8 2019 at 12:03 am

I know almost fully how you feel. I’ve been having a lot of episodes like that, and it’s terrifying me. I hope you figure it out soon!

Aya and Mj
May, 23 2019 at 9:48 am

Yes, its a serious case, you should probably go to a psychiatrist and tell them your symptoms, it may be scary but it is necessary for a healthy brain.

Jess
February, 10 2019 at 3:03 pm

Hi, I’m starting to believe my best friend has DID. Last night she messaged me a really long story that she wrote herself that was heavily existential and so far removed from how she normally writes. We like to send each other poems and stories that we wrote, but this wasn’t even close to what or how she normally writes. She then started talking to me directly, and again, it wasn’t at all how she normally talked. I’d ask her questions such as “are you ok? What’s wrong?” And instead of a clearcut answer like normal she responded with “Thoughts and feelings and the mind, but I have healed some of the hurts. We will be ok.” She was an entirely different person, claiming to have separated from herself when I asked if she was dissociating (she has a history of depression and anxiety and occasionally she has dissociated episodes, but never this bad) and calling herself “we.” A normal response from her would have just been yes or no, and if she was dissociating like she used to she would jump at the chance to talk to someone familiar, but whoever took over refused to talk. This morning I asked her if she was ok, and she claimed to have no memory whatsoever of the night before or her conversation with me. She then said she was a bit scared because this has happened before where there were entire chunks of time lost and she would “wake up” hours later in a place she doesn’t remember going to, doing something she would normally hate. I asked her to set up an appointment with a therapist and I’ve been researching all day trying to find ways to help her or to understand what is happening to her. If anyone has any other advice or wants to share their take on all this I would gladly appreciate it. I’m very worried about her and I want to help my best friend cope with this.

Kace D
January, 24 2019 at 5:52 pm

Among most of you, I also have been diagnosed with DID and although I’m not an expert, this was exactly the information we were looking for. It is so complicated to explain and this article has given us the courage to stay strong.

sarah
January, 22 2019 at 9:43 pm

i have just come to realize this has been occurring. i have been in various therapies and treatment for borderline throughout the years..but the amnesia is new. close friends have reported i develop a lisp as well? do you recommend a book to help me cope with the memory loss and prevention of switching ?

Ashley
January, 12 2019 at 10:36 pm

I think my husband has switched. His behavior I completely different from normal and I don't know what to do... How do I approach this alter gently.. I've not met this one before, he's new to me. Can I get my husband back? Please help!! I'm very scared because this alter is talking divorce and my husband wouldn't do that. We have 4 children and I don't want to lose him to an alter..

Sue
May, 19 2019 at 1:50 am

I find myself in exactly the same situation. I hope you have managed to find ways to. Communicate with your husband.

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