Telling outsiders about your DID is something that should be considered very carefully. There are risks involved with telling people about your DID. You may face losing family, friends, your job and some people may accuse you of putting on an act to gain attention. You must be prepared for negative reactions before you make the step to tell. It is not easy and can be very scary to come out to people as a multiple. It might help if you practice some scenarios with your therapist so you can work on dealing with negative responses. There are some positive reasons for telling that may overshadow any negative reasons. It is very empowering to tell people about your DID and your survivor story. It helps you to become a whole person, in a sense, as you can allow yourself to not keep your alters hidden and can be your true self. You can become more honest with those close to you while helping others to understand about what DID is and that it truly does exist. We believe in DID awareness 100%! The more people understand about this life saving gift the more understanding and support we will gain in both society and the mental health arena.
As a person who lives with DID on a daily basis I cannot express the importance of knowing that this is only a part of who you are. DID does not define you as an individual! Yes, it is a big part of your identity but there is more to who you are than just a person with DID. Just as singletons have many unique characteristics that make up their personalities so do we as multiples. Many people you tell will be genuinely surprised that you live with this as you seem so “normal” to them. That is vital in helping people to realize that despite what Hollywood depicts multiples as appearing, that is not the case in real life. Many people with DID have college degrees with high paying jobs, have families, are Sunday school teachers, while some may be on disability because of their DID. This does not seem much different from a singletons life, does it?
There are two big reasons we feel it is important to tell. The first being that by keeping the secret of our DID we are still allowing the abusers to have some control in our life. One of the biggest lies abusers tells their victim is “You can’t tell anyone because they will not believe you.” Abusers depend on our fear to keep the secrets. By speaking out and letting people know about your abuse and that you have DID you are sending a strong message to all abusers that they can not force you to keep their secrets. The second reason is by speaking out about your DID you are helping others who may not be strong enough to do so on their own. You can become an example to others living with DID! It is a courageous act to speak out about what was done to you and that you live with DID. You must believe us when we say your DID is nothing to be ashamed of! It was a highly creative survival technique that should be applauded! What you did by creating alters saved your life and while it may seems strange to those who do not have DID it does not by any means mean you are crazy! You are a SURVIVOR!
After you have made the decision to come out you need to think about how to do so. We wouldn’t recommend taking out a full page ad in the local newspaper! Seriously, though, you should be sure to have a good support system. You may need someone to vent your frustrations with or need help dealing with any negative responses. When telling others about your DID be as open and honest as you can. Be direct and let them know that you are willing to answer any questions they may have. Do not be offended if they ask a lot of questions or even seem somewhat skeptical. The best way to combat these reactions is by answering questions. Do not get defensive. You have to remind yourself that the person you are talking with may have a warped idea bout DID because of they way we are portrayed in movies, or they may be scared of the idea that you are more than one person. They may have heard that DID equals crazy and become extremely uncomfortable. Reassure them that you are the same person they have known before you told them and nothing has changed except for the fact that you have decided to be more open with them. Losing a friend or loved one because of telling can be extremely painful and it has happened with us. We came to the realization that if they could not take a moment to learn and ask questions then they were not someone we would want as a friend anyway. A person who has your best interests at heart and genuinely cares about you will want to learn, ask questions and be supportive. Those are the kinds of people that you need in your life.
If you decide to tell your boss or co-workers about your DID, we ask that you consider this very cautiously. While DID is nothing to be ashamed of there will always be people in this world who will be stubborn in their opinions regarding DID. If your DID is affecting you at work then, perhaps, it would be good to talk to someone. If, however, it is not issue you may consider not mentioning it to anyone. Telling is entirely up to you. You can tell everyone about your DID or choose to never tell. That choice is entirely up to you. People at work may overreact to you coming out and try as you may to carry on as normal, they may not allow you to do so. You may feel as if you are suddenly under a microscope, or being scrutinized in areas that were not a concern prior to you coming out. Again, this is a decision you need to make and do so cautiously.
After some research we have found that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) may be able to help you if you should be fired after telling your workplace about your DID. Although DID may not be disabling it is still a psychiatric condition therefore you are entitled to some protection from the ADA.
In closing, we would like to once again remind you that you are a courageous, intelligent SURVIVOR! Choosing to tell (or not to tell) is a decision that only you can make. Follow your gut instincts. If you do not feel like a particular person would not understand then you don’t have to tell. Perhaps the timing is not right or you do not feel strong enough. That is okay! When you are ready and wanting to tell, you will. Stay safe! Stay strong! I believe in you!