The amount of trauma that each person with dissociative identity disorder (DID) has undergone varies, but the end result is the same. Having DID means needing to live with the possibility of being triggered on a frequent basis, but what does this mean? What does it look like when a person with DID is triggered?
What is Dissociation?
If you know someone who is living with a mental illness, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID), you may hear the word “grounding” used in regards to managing the condition. What does this mean, and how does it impact those living with DID?
How do you know what dissociation feels like? Dissociative identity disorder (DID) comes with a wide range of symptoms, one of which is dissociation, but how do you know you aren’t just daydreaming? This is something that many people misunderstand when it comes to DID, and it can be the difference between receiving a DID diagnosis and continuing on with life without treatment.
What is it like to hear voices in dissociative identity disorder (DID)? Hearing voices, sometimes known as auditory hallucinations, and having DID does not mean one is psychotic or delusional. Hearing voices is actually common with the disorder, but it is also a complicated topic for which a one-size-fits-all answer does not work. However, we can still understand the phenomenon of hearing voices when we examine how our alters influence us.
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.
As a person who experienced dissociation from trauma, I am thankful for dissociation even though it happens to this day. It can be difficult to be thankful for things when you have dissociative identity disorder (DID). When you have DID, you have experienced significant trauma that impacts your entire life. So what's to be thankful for when things seem to be so hard? Is dissociation from trauma something to be thankful for?
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) and other dissociative disorders go hand-in-hand with signs and symptoms of dissociation. You can find these signs of dissociation included in many lists, and in books like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). But symptoms of dissociation aren't always so black and white. The reality of dissociation goes beyond the obvious signs and symptoms of dissociation that you read about. So what is dissociation really like?
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is just one of several diagnoses listed in the dissociative disorders section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Many people live with dissociative symptoms, but don't meet all of the criteria necessary for a diagnosis of DID. When this is the case, a different diagnosis -- other specified dissociative disorder (OSDD) -- can be more fitting. These diagnoses all have dissociation in common, so what makes them different?
Dissociation is an anxiety symptom that is part of dissociative identity disorder (DID). Sometimes dissociation is not splitting between personalities, but only losing touch with reality for a time. Many people who suffer from DID also experience other mental illnesses, or mental illness symptoms. One that I have noticed is anxiety. Dissociation and anxiety symptoms sometimes causes my panic attacks.
Over the past couple of months I’ve published a series of articles focused on normalizing dissociation. I've said repeatedly that I believe just about everyone can achieve a basic understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder, provided it’s explained to them in a way they can relate to. But that doesn’t mean I think everyone should. In fact, normalizing dissociation isn’t about making other people understand DID. It’s about freeing ourselves from the need for other people to understand it.