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 2024, July 13 from

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.

June, 25 2023 at 1:49 pm

I just discovered I had a system last week. I am the host, but we decided using my little troublemaker's name instead of mine felt safer right now. It's very common and keeps us more anonymous than my online handle or my real name ever would since they are both extremely unique. It's not safe to have this be public for us for a few reasons.
For now, Kelly, my partner, and one other are the only ones I know of fully. My partner started off as an oc I made. Him and I have been sharing very closely for a long time and it feels like our communication was so good that any memory disruptions didn't feel jarring at all. He's described it as us playing a duet on a grand piano. We play the music together, as a team.
Problem being he also didn't know. Neither of us did, but Kelly did. Kelly was also an oc, one who hates authority, being held down, and is angry. And I held him down for a long time. He wanted to make the realization easier and regrets how hard he made it, but because of how angry he was, he became vindictive and tormentive, reaching for and slamming all the keys to the piano until my partner saw a safe opening to just give him the podium and let him let it out. I don't remember his outburst via text or how I got home that night, but I did wake up feeling like I had flashcards shoved in my face so I didn't go read it and panic because I didn't remember it.
I kind of lost touch with my partner for a while and lost definition for a couple days before he found a way to communicate outside the mind and reestablish our communication within it. I'm now a lot more sure in who I am and my relationship to my boys.
There is still disconnect now though. I'm losing time now, or at least noticing it because I became hyperaware, and it's been really scary to not remember messages I've sent. I messaged a friend last night with every fear baked in and I remember none of it besides what I am able to read and it seems no one I have a dialogue with knows what happened. I didn't eat dinner and I seem to know that was a punishment, but I didn't make that decision.
A lot of the messages were being upset I might have hurt a friend. I discovered this while a friend also shared their experience with the same thing. I do share the sentiment that my sudden, total lack of control did indeed hurt them by making their own vulnerability suddenly very seen, but my partner talked me out of feeling the need to say sorry every five seconds because it was not helping.
Turns out they knew, but they thought I also knew. I've used language talking about my characters as real people I could talk to and see in my mind for a long time, always described as a room with chairs where we sit and talk, but figured that was just how writers said it. My whole friend group uses similar language so it was comfortable, but aside from those who also have headmates, this wasn't actually literal. There's no hard feelings with those who didn't know at all. We are a close knit friend group and we continue to speak in this way because it makes everyone comfortable and doesn't single anyone out as having a different experience.
I'm in a very safe space to be going through this discovery. It feels like it happened before, but went extremely poor, but I don't remember. Messages from last night state that 'it can't break again' and seems to hold the idea that we are breaking our friend group somehow or that we will break, but I can't for the life of me figure out where that is coming from.
Memories from before the end of college felt like reading a Wikipedia article, with images being certain vivid memories and the rest just a retelling. It never mattered before, but when it came to my attention, I started obsessively digging. Memories are now kept behind a door with a much to large tiger who calls himself Siberian in front of it, and I am not allowed to even look at it without feeling like I'm being stared down and having a response like I really am being threatened by a predator, so I leave that alone completely now. Which helped restore calm and stop the endless mental noise and days long headache. I don't feel like Siberian is at all malicious, and Kelly seems to talk to him every so often, so I'm just trusting he knows what he's doing and leave him to it.
I have a great support group and a good relationship with the headmates I can see, so things feel like they'll be just fine. We just have to resettle and find a new rhythm. We are actively looking for therapy, much preferably over text because my partner ends up taking situations like that, freezing up, and just saying everything is okay. That made therapy before not at all helpful, but I was also on medication that made it very hard to be me to begin with. Text just feels like the best option since it's more comfortable. Finances... don't support it well unfortunately, as I am dealing with a physical problem that has also been building for about 10 years, and that requires weekly therapy and is expensive. We're working on it.
I just wanted to share the experience somewhere.

Eliza McMahon
October, 10 2022 at 8:25 pm

I am concerned my wife may have DID. She was severely abused as a 3 year old and then again at 13 and 16. She has a history of substance abuse - in her 20's - She cannot work out her timeline in her head. She will be 60 next year. She frequently talks in her sleep and relives the abuse which is very difficult for me to listen to. 2 nights ago i had a conversation with her while she was asleep in which she told me her name was 'Flo" - which is isn't she worked at a blood bank and was very concerned about a mistake at work. when I asked her where X was (her real name) she said she didn't know and she was afraid of her. I told my wife about this next day but she doesn't want to know - says she has enough issues with her PTSD, ADD, BPD, small vessel disease, DISH and possibly Parkinsons without adding DID to the list. - is it possible for alters to only come out during sleep or is this just a very lucid dream state?

December, 24 2022 at 3:29 pm

Yes alter switching while sleeping can happen and depending on the system can happen often. For my system, if a dream triggers one or several parts, one alter might wake the body up. In that case, I, the current main alter, would still be asleep but one of my other alters would be at the surface. I've woken up several times to one of my little alters crying and when I asked her what was wrong, she said a nightmare had waken her up. However, since it can happen doesn't mean it wasn't her talking in her sleep or sleep walking. Also, please just love her how she is. DID is such a daunting diagnosis that may be hard for some to accept of others much less themselves. An official diagnosis doesn't change the system or person. It just opens up tools to be able to work through obstacles and learn to move forward in harmony. If she's struggling with stress, don't add this to it. Just mention you think therapy might be a good idea to help her with some stress if she's open to it. Then what ever the answer, leave it at that. She'll know your thoughts and anymore mention of it can cause a triggered response of feeling badgered. Doesn't mean you acted wrongly, just that a response was given to a possible scar/Trigger. The best thing you can do is love and don't change how you treat her. Best of wishes ❤️

September, 8 2022 at 11:26 pm

I have a friend who recently discovered that he has DID. He has 3 personalities. I'm pretty sure I'd only spoken with 2 of them before tonight. I'm really trying to understand how it all works, how to tell which alter he is, and how to properly communicate with him. Tonight I met his third alter. His angery one. He's not always mad though. Tonight he seemed happy and just wanted to help his other alters, who are feeling horribly sad right now. He says that this alter knows abt his other ones and they know each other but not him. It's really confusing to me because he greeted me by my name but then when I told him I needed to go to bed he told me it was nice to meet me. ?? I'm really not sure how to react to all this. Right now I'm just trying to be as supportive and caring as possible.

September, 20 2022 at 12:04 pm

Odds are there are more than 3. My wife has DID and has around 14 fully developed alters with another 10-12 "fragments" I met once and never saw again. It took time and encouragement through therapy for her "parts" to all meet each other internally and the majority of them now "live" in the same "house" in her mind. The alters can see what is going on even though they are not in control of the body. That is likely how he knew your name. The "pleased to meet you" line was probably because of your acknowledgement of this distinct personality. My wife's alters have told me they have television screens "inside" they can watch to see what is happening in the outside world.
It takes time to be able to tell the difference between alters because they were developed as a response to severe trauma and typically do not announce their presence to outsiders. After awhile you can see subtle shifts in body language and facial expressions that you'll recognize as being specific to a part. Most have distinct voices and speech patterns. I now see drastic changes in my wife's eyes when she switches and her alters are comfortable enough with me to use their "real" voice.
The best thing you can do is be open and understanding, which it sounds like you are, because your friend suffered something terrible as a very young child which caused his mind to split into distinct personalities.

doot LOLOL
May, 14 2023 at 8:52 pm

you can think of it like a defence mechanism and its best not to trigger it. would his name happen to be tyrant, Mrs Tonya... just remember everyone is a human being, and you have no idea the amount of trauma some people go threw on a daily basis. or the trauma they have endured for years and years at critical points of brain development. poking and prodding them will likely trigger a fort knox lock up.

Courtney Smith
July, 19 2022 at 12:24 am

I have a serious question my girlfriend and I who have seen each other on and off for 16 years just separated for good. She told me 16 years ago that she had multiple personality disorder she's on prozac. She used to go to therapy but she doesn't anymore. She just recently got off a really bad drug again. I feel there are days where her demeanor is completely different even her looks the way she does her hair she'll wear glasses that she normally doesn't she's real chill and calm still violent and angry but even speaks different. Never does she act like she doesn't know who I am never does she talk to me as if she is someone else. She does have seizures she says she has epilepsy during her seizures she turns into a different person almost like a young teenager I never got her name. Funny thing about that is when we are playing around having a good time and she starts you know baby talking or dancing around like a fool she tells me her name is Penny and her voice goes to that same voice of the little girl I hear during her seizures. She has been nothing but extremely angry and physically violent for the past year that we have lived together to the point she had her 17 year old son do some bodily harm to me and then they threw me outside with no shoes on my feet and all I had was my wallet. Of course now she is begging me to come home but I can no longer do that I am tired of being abused mentally and physically and that was the last time I was going to be thrown out. I guess my question and all of this is am I dealing with someone who has multiple personality disorder or am I just dealing with a narcissistic sociopath? She does have tremors and shakes a lot she fakes like she's going to have a heart attack she fakes like she's going to have seizures if he thinks I'm going to leave. The other day after she threw me out I made the mistake two days later of getting in the car with her she tried to kill me by well first beating me then slamming on the brakes making my head hit the windshield and then she had her gun I opened the car door to jump out of the car and she's twitching and jerking almost like she has tourette syndrome she's making me weird noises and then she turns around and she's like please no I love you getting a car getting the car I love you come home come home and jumped out of the moving car ran to the gas station and then got 3 hours away from her. Now I have had communication with her the past couple of days but just like everything else is entire last year everything is my fault if I would have done this or if I would have done this if I would have acted this way and not this way. I guess I'm just lost because I need to know what I'm dealing with because if it's not multiple personality disorder and it's she's just a narcissistic sociopath then I know there is no hope any answers you could give would be awesome thank you.

Kellie Holly
July, 20 2022 at 11:23 am

I have no experience with DID, but I do with domestic violence. It doesn't matter if she is a multiple personality or a narcissistic sociopath or anything else. What matters is your safety. Her ability to harm and threaten you overrides whatever is 'wrong' with her, and after all these years, she will not change. Patricia Evans stated in one of her verbal abuse books that she's never seen an abusive woman change for the better.
You are much more important than any loyalty you might feel toward this abusive woman.
Here's a post you might want to read: Dissociative Identity Disorder Doesn't Make You Violent at…

August, 15 2022 at 4:02 pm

Mental disorders do not excuse violence. A lot of people with dissociative disorder including myself are not violent like you are describing, but the anger within us, or the angry part within us is a form of protection of the host (The body, the self)
Seems like your ex?girlfriend has other issues besides DID and you are not responsible for her, there is nothing "you could have done" only things she should have done, or not done.
If I were you, I would move on and focus on the trauma that she has caused you, and how it is affecting you. At the end of the day, the only person who is sure so be there for you, is you. So you gotta treat yourself better and care for yourself.
My thoughts are with you, hope you will be alright.

May, 20 2022 at 6:45 pm

I had suspected for some time that my partner has multiple personalities but I was not sure, until today. I had made him an appt with a psychiatrist. Just before the telehealth appt. I realized that he had completely disassociated and I found myself looking at a somewhat fragile young woman who was extremely fearful of the appt. She said that she was afraid. She did not want to reveal herself to the doctor. I told her that she did not have to but it was very important that we follow through so they would not have to go to a residential setting. She was dressed in white stocking with lace and a garter belt and my favorite black pleated skirt. Now mind you, this is a normally a six-foot-tall good looking masculine dude who had suddenly morphed into this weepy, fearful childlike woman in front of my own eyes.
I pleaded with her/them to go to the computer for the telehealth appt.. Suddenly she became my man again only he was still wearing my skirt and the stockings. I said, go ahead they cannot see you below the waist anyway. He became so pleasantly assertive and self-assured that the practitioner thought that he was a college professor (I myself am a former college professor and he was a high school drop out. He was completely coherent and reasonable, it was a great session and he agreed to try medication.
I believe that he also has a cruel male alter who sometimes torments me by yelling, ridiculing me and calling me names. This personality is completely different from his usual self, his face, voice and expression changes and he is becomes very aggressive. His voice becomes loud and belligerent. He runs around the house completely naked. That is what led him to accept medical help.
I had suspected this for some time but only recently had I seen the feminine alter. This was the first time that I had seen him in women’s clothing and so demure. The alter refers to Richard as if he were a different person, talks disparagingly of him and talks about me with the pronoun “they”. I have felt for some time that this was a separate entity. So much so much so that I would say “ Who are you and what did you do to Richard?
It is freaky all right but I had studied cases of multiple personality from a young age and I understood what was happening. I am not sure that he understands this yet. I do not know if they have their own names but they are clearly three different personalities. I asked the girl alter but she just looked at me and said nothing. It was as if she could not believe that I actually recognized her as a separate personality and she was grateful.
I never thought that I would ever know someone with this condition. It is fascinating yet worrisome. I do have hope that we can find a way to make this work.
All of this has surfaced over the lady two years of the pandemic which was an obvious stressor which triggered him and led the female alter to front herself.

April, 1 2022 at 1:51 am

I relate to those with D.I.D. I don't know why. I don't hear anyone, nor have headaches. I sometimes feel different, not myself, or not existing. I used to get headaches a lot (told it was because of my glasses). I've had lots happen in my childhood.. I don't know if I have d.i.d or alters. I know sometimes I wanna cry for reasons I can't explain. Sometimes things upset me and I have no idea why. Sometimes when someone doesn't want to do something they usually do, I end up upset for a reason I can't exactly say. I have messed up memory- accused from ADHD. I either feel inhuman, or nothing. I can't tell when things are actual memories or dreams. I forget things throughout the day, such as who I talked too or where I went earlier. I dissociate a lot. I'm relatively good at remembering certain things. There is clothes I don't remember having, items I don't remember drawing, or I don't remember where things are. In my diary I have a few pages I don't remember writing or how I felt exactly. Like I can read the tone but I don't refeel that. What do you think? My mind is filled with one voice, but I physically feel different. I sometimes hear noises that dont exit. Like people talking but no one is in the house.

April, 27 2022 at 10:44 pm

I really need help. I suspect I have a alter, as I remember picking the name Demetrian- from when I thought I was trans- but anything related to the name I do not remember. Not what he has typed, said, who he has met (unless I still contact them, which is mostly two people), nor what he has done. I have heard he comes off quieter, but It could also be because of my social anxiety. I do not remember my day to day activities but in bits and pieces, and when it came to school I barely remember what was taught. Nor do I remember students. I only remember the teachers until I move into different classes - by then I forget almost everything about them unless I somehow still interact with them. I am scared, please help.

Broken cowboy
August, 5 2021 at 10:39 pm

I identify with many of the things described above . And in some ways it's a talent being able to identify and adapt and absorb languages , mannerisms etc , can be beneficial , at the same time the absorption of information changing your values beliefs and view on particular things can become detrimental if this decides to manifest itself into a more dominant place. I'm experiencing this currently . The division and beliefs and values that I'm experiencing is derived from one personality thinking and believing one way and the other personality having a completely different view. The result is persecution , self-hatred by the voices that I hear . I've had some luck reuniting these voices with my main personality , but I find this new personality trying to manifest into the dominant personality and this is not a change I want. Normally I would just ride with however I'm feeling , but I have difficulty striking an agreement with a difference in morals and ethics . The shift is so subtle and completely dominates that I'm scared that it may manifest into a permanent personality. I do not wish to live in that mindset . Unfortunately a lot of that aberrant behavior developed due to chemical and environmental exposure , meaning basically a lot of the ideas this particular personality wishes to express was absorbed during a period of incarceration medically prescribed mood and mind altering pharmaceuticals . Absorbing the atmosphere attitude anxieties and outright and moral beliefs that surrounded me at this time while I was vulnerable have joined in concert to create this alternative personality who now wishes to manifest itself . I no longer use pharmaceuticals prescriptions as there was an equality and understanding amongst the many different personas of my normal personalities. But after 10 years in prison on one of the most vile criminally psychotic prison hospitals all the other thoughts collected have apparently assumed this personality and wish to dominate and it's scary. This is a non-violent personality so there's no danger to anyone or anything . It's more largely an actual dissolving of my convictions and beliefs into a more warped view. If you read this to this point and you kind of understand , thanks. I continue to refuse assignment of pharmaceuticals I think they've done enough . If you have any experience managing and dealing with an aggressive personality sans chemical assistance I'd love to hear some thoughts theories and ideas . Thank you and may peace and prosperity be with you

March, 4 2022 at 5:44 pm

I know exactly what you are talking about. I have never heard any of this before from another person. 😳 and I'm having a bad day. So thank you. I have no idea why but I googled disassociating and ended up reading this entire post and crying so hard. I have no idea how to fix it but I know I'm really sick . I have lost my entire family and am basically alone all of the time because I don't understand how to maintain communication with other people.

August, 24 2022 at 3:20 am

Hi Broken Cowboy.
It's been a while since you posted so I hope you've been able to fInd some support and learn some managing strategies since then.
I fully relate to what you shared here. A few of mine are aggressive (internally), and I've had the experience of new personality parts forming and wanting to take over. I've never taken any medication.
I've learned that they are all trying to protect my system - even the ones who want to hurt or kill me. They all have genuine needs which they voice through behaviours because it is impossible for them to voice through words. First I listen to them and allow them to be there without attacking them, then I fulfil their needs in as healthy way as possible. Then they become quiet and I can live more.
If I react to the aggressive ones by being frightened, they become bigger. The best is when I let them express in healthy ways - which I have had to learn how to do. Exercise, draw, scream, act the violence I feel in a safe place.. All the while offering them love and acceptance.
Learning nervous system regulation has also been extremely helpful.
You may not be able to control whether your new personality takes over you or not. But if it wasn't originally with you, then I very much doubt it will become the host. After all - "you" can see it. It probably needs time to take over, so that you can learn about it and what it needs. If you have any protector parts, you can ask them to step in and shut you down if the new personality becomes too much. If not, you can create a plan and identify your boundaries before you let it take over. Ie: this and this is ok. This is not. When it is not ok, I will.... lock myself in my room etc. Write it and leave it where you can see it. It's a way to comunicate with other parts of you when you can't control who is fronting.

Travis Hanna
February, 2 2024 at 4:07 pm

I recently had a similar experience and it was resolved when he chose to cease to exist. I didn't know that was even possible until the second oldest of us did exactly that. I was blended successfully for years and then life happened, I got cancer. We decided that integration was our best option for survival except for #2. Now five years later he is gone and so is the cancer. I miss him and the parts of me he took with him but I have made a discovery that changes everything recently. Through meditation I found the part of my brain where he resided and am slowly incorporating that part back into the whole. Integration is a bum deal and I recommend staying blended if you can find a balance. Look deep inside yourself and you will find the reason for what is going on. Meditation not medication

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 Dominic's is our instagram is blue_speedster_
I also would like some friends

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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!

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?

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.

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.)

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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