Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) Multiple Personality Disorder
Many survivors live with DID, but information about the condition is often shadowed by stereotypes and misinformation. This article aims not only to give clear information about DID to people who live with the condition, but also to people who work with and support them and to raise awareness and accurate information.
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?
Someone with DID experiences shifts of identity as separate personalities. Each identity may take control of behaviour and thoughts at different times. Each has a distinctive pattern of thinking and relating to the world. Severe amnesia can mean that one identity may have no awareness of what happens when another identity is in control. DID is generally considered a “disorder” rather than a mental illness because it is not caused by abnormal brain chemistry, but rather a normal brain responding to the abnormal experience of overwhelming trauma.
People fragment their personality in an effort to find safety and escape trauma. Dissociation of this kind begins with a person telling herself, “I am not here; this is not happening to me; I am not in this body”. It is important to remember that a person with DID is likely to be highly intelligent, resourceful and creative. These same attributes will be of help if that person wishes to address the discord between identities. “I watch a body that looks like me, doing things I’m ashamed of. I can’t will myself back into that body. I can’t control its movements, its thoughts, its feelings. I can only watch and feel the shame and fear. It’s alarming to see the newspaper date, five days ahead of the date I know it to be. It’s frightening to “wake” with the razor in my hand, my arms bleeding and yet know I could never cut myself.”