Living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) often feels like living with a secret; so opening up about your DID diagnosis is difficult. Many people who have the condition, including myself, are stealth-like in hiding it. Because it’s a mental health condition, as opposed to a physical ailment, it’s easier to hide from the naked eye. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t a burden. It can help to have friends and family members in the know, as they can provide invaluable support, but how do you open up about your DID diagnosis the first time?
An alter in dissociative identity disorder (DID) is always assigned a role or a job. For example, an alter might be a host, protector, persecutor, rescuer, gatekeeper, etc., and the alter usually has his or her job from the time he or she is created. As a result, it is an important question to ask if it is ever appropriate to assign an alter a different job. What if the role for which the alter is responsible puts the DID system in harm's way? What should you do then? Should you tell the headmates they are not needed anymore, that you can perform their jobs and take care of yourself?
There are truths about dissociative identity disorder (DID) and me that I want you to know. I have held back sharing them with you, not because I am ashamed, but because I did not want to dishearten or discourage you about your own journey to wellbeing. Since I began writing for HealthyPlace, I've shared my stories of strength, courage, and hope as someone living with dissociative identity disorder. However, I must admit there is one story, one truth, I have not shared. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Persecutory alters are something that can exist within a dissociative identity disorder (DID) system. We, ourselves, live with this kind of alter. We can feel threatened, taunted, and condemmed by this kind of alter. We are harassed with negative messages in our head, screaming that we deserved the abuse and the mistreatment and that we are worthy of death. These cruel messages are ones that persecutory alters in DID offer us. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
I have been asked recently, "Can I voluntarily give myself dissociative identity disorder?" For most of us with dissociative identity disorder (DID), our first reaction is to wonder why anyone would ever want to develop a disorder that can be so challenging, if not debilitating. The truth is, however, I have shockingly come across individuals inquiring how they can develop the disorder. Well, the answer to whether you can voluntarily give yourself DID is unequivocal.
A dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis is never easy to handle, even as the years pass. The diagnosis is just the beginning of a very long journey. There's going to therapy, finding medication that helps, trying to work with your system, learning to manage your dissociation and then even more therapy. Managing your DID isn't easy, but it does get more manageable over time. It's been three years since I received my DID diagnosis, and a lot has changed.
Surviving vs thriving: What you're doing to cope with dissociative identity disorder (DID) depends on your state of mind. Do you call yourself a survivor or a thriver? One dictionary defines the word "survive" as continuing to live or to simply exist. Another dictionary defines "survive" as to live through a dangerous situation. For those of us with dissociative identity disorder, surviving comes naturally. Developing DID was our only means of survival as children. As adults, could there be more for us than just surviving DID? Are we just going to live with DID, endure and get by with its many complications? Is surviving all there is to life? Could we actually learn to thrive with DID, to prosper, flourish, and succeed? What is the difference in surviving and thriving with dissociative identity disorder?
Do we need to remember and process all traumatic memories in order to heal from dissociative identity disorder (DID)? When it comes to the complicated disorder of DID, there frequently are more questions than there are answers, and the explanation of the above question is no less difficult. Before I provide an answer, it is important to understand the way our emotional traumatic memories work and what it actually means to process and heal from them.
There are positive effects of dissociative identity disorder. There. I said it.
After my dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis, I had to accept that it doesn't go away. There's no medication to cure it and no therapy that works 100% of the time. DID is manageable with treatment, but even then, the DID diagnosis stays with you. It has been two years since my DID diagnosis, and I am still struggling. But does DID get easier as time passes?