Dissociative Identity Disorder is defined in DSM-III-R as being:
A: The existence within the person of two or more distinct personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.)
B: At least two of these personalities or personality states recurrently take full control of the persons behavior.
Okay! That was the "technical" definition. Now here's ours! We think we can explain it in a way you might be able to understand.
First off, we'd like to say we do not like the term Disorder! To us disorder is craziness and chaos. Sure, it can be that way at first when you learn that you aren't the person you believed yourself to be. But when things do calm down you realize (and if you don't you should!) that this so called disorder was a life saving technique created by an intelligent person! It is not a disorder but a blessing. Now on with our definition: Dissociative Identity "Blessing" is developed in childhood. It is a result of severe abuse and trauma inflicted on the child. When things become too scary or stressful the child simply creates someone else to go through the event. (pretty smart, eh?!) While the created person is out the other person goes to sleep, hides or plays in a safe place. When the trauma stops the other person comes back and usually has no awareness to what just happened.
As the child grows up and becomes an adult the people created inside begin to surface and disrupt the person's daily life. I (host) believe the reason for this is the people inside (alters, system, etc) have been dormant and all of a sudden something triggers a memory and they wake up. The memories are scary and the alters were created to deal with scary stuff so it makes sense they would be there for the situation, whatever it may be.
Usually, a series of events begins to happen before a person finds out about the others. With us we began having more periods of lost time, migraine type headaches, severe panic attacks, pains in the vagina and rectum, rages, self-injury, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. We're sure others have these symptoms as well as all sorts of different problems. We don't compare pain or symptoms, as everyone is different.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of help out there for us but there is some help. We encourage you to seek help if you haven't already and choose your therapist wisely!
QUESTIONS TO ASK A POTENTIAL THERAPIST
- Are you experienced with DID? How much experience?
- What techniques do you use? EMDR? DBT skills?
- What are your goals in treating DID? Will therapy be open-ended?
- Is your schedule flexible? Are you available to us if we have a crisis?
- Are you willing to work along side our Psychiatrist or General Practitioner?
- What is your standard fee? Will you see me if I have no insurance?
- Lastly, do you keep up-to-date with the Mental Health Profession?