Self-Help Strategies For Coping With Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is somewhat a misunderstood mental illness because of the uncertainty that characterizes it. Sometimes, even the family itself to which people with DID belong find it challenging to understand and respond to the effects and manifestations of DID. Considering that it is a highly dysfunctional and pervasive mental disorder that takes its hold on a person on a long-term basis, DID is something that patients often just learn to live with, rather than completely get rid off.

In that regard, it becomes critical to learn various coping mechanisms to DID which patients can do on their own. Here are a few self-help strategies that could make DID symptoms more manageable:

Source: pixabay.com

Do Not Blame Yourself

The internal mental and emotional torture is almost always what aggravates the negative feelings associated with DID. When you find yourself struggling with this and feeling ashamed of what you are experiencing, do yourself a favor and cease the blaming. Regardless of your circumstances, you are worthy, loved, and accepted.

Learn Distress Tolerance Skills

One particular crisis survival method is the TIPP which stands for Temperature change, Intense exercise, Paced breathing, and Progressive muscle relaxation. Transfer to a cooler place or dip your hands in cold water to lower the tension. Then distract yourself from the trigger and focus on exercising instead. Finally, practice proper breathing and muscle stretching to relax your whole body and normalize the energies.

Have Helpful Reminders On Hand

It could be a keychain, a bookmark, your phone’s wallpaper, a sticker on your notebook – it could be anything. Wherever you go, make sure to bring with you something that could remind you of your worth, something encouraging, and something that could lift you. Turn to these reminders and hold on to them. Repeat them in your head until it calms you down and relaxes your mind. 

Source: pixabay.com

Keep A Journal With You

Whenever you start feeling the dissociations, try to write them down. It could be a bit hard to pause and take yourself back, but a little practice could help. Take the time to note what possible negative emotions might have triggered the attack. Soon enough, try to read through your experiences, and you will be surprised by the various personalities you unknowingly exhibit.

Put A Soothing Music On Standby

Soothing music has been proven to be an effective technique to relax and calm a person down, especially with the onset of DID. Researches from neuroscience repeatedly report that listening to relaxing songs can reduce the anxiety brought about by DID. So try to have those soothing songs on standby in your phone or on repeat and play it whenever you feel like the symptoms of DID are taking its toll on you.

Turn Your Attention To Other Things

Coping mechanisms vary for different people. For others, distractions could help, such as watching TV, taking time to play with pets, going out for a walk, or doing their hobbies like drawing, painting, or writing. By shifting their attraction to other things, they tend to forget, for the meantime, what was supposedly triggering the DID symptom. You could also try one of these, but make sure to do the distraction that fits you the most.

Source: flickr.com

Do Not Inhibit Any Personality

Although it is just natural to feel frustrated with having to experience two distinct personalities, do not try to destroy either of them. On the other hand, sympathize with both and manage both identities carefully. It will eventually become easier to learn the triggers and overcome your fears and pains.

Have Your Doctor On Call

It is crucial to ask for help when you need it. Never hesitate to reach out to your doctor and other experts in the field to help you manage the symptoms of DID. Be observant of your surroundings and freely give your therapist a call when you need to. It is imperative to be open to your therapist as this would allow them to help better you to address your needs.

While there could be a lot of self-help strategies that you could do when left alone and a trigger happens for you Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is still highly recommended that you have somebody with you all the time when you can. A strong support system from your family and close friends would help you big time, especially in cases of possible self-harm which you might find a bit difficult to control when symptoms of DID take over.

DID is not an easy mental health concern to handle, but it can be done. Many people living with DID have nevertheless become successful and content with their lives. If you ever find yourself struggling in dealing with your DID, never lose hope. There is always a way to come out victorious over mental illnesses.

Knowing The 2014 Austin Dissociative Identity Disorder Statistics

The 2014 Austin Dissociative Identity Disorder Statistics have mentioned that most cases of mental health illness appear in female patients than in male patients. It means that for every nine women diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID), there is one that is diagnosed in men. In view of this, the article will be talking about some facts, statistics, and common cases related to DID.

Source: flickr.com

Facts And Statistics

Dissociative identity disorder is a mental disorder that concerns with the presence of more than two personalities in a person. It is commonly caused by extreme emotional distress or trouble in maintaining a relationship. Usually, a patient diagnosed with DID has undergone a traumatic event in the past. With that being a factor, the mental illness occurs to be a coping mechanism for patients suffering the condition.

Mental health practitioners agree that about one to two percent of the general population is affected by such illness and most of the cases occur in the United States of America. Although the number of DID cases is less than the other mental health illness, it is still prevalent especially in most cities in the US.

Among the cities in the US, Austin in Texas has been in the top nine metros which have dissociative identity disorder resources. Numerous hospitals, facilities, and medical doctors are present in the area to address the psychiatric symptoms of DID. Even though there are no specific medications of healing the mental illness, the availability of therapists and hospital accommodation in the area helps patients cope in time.

Source: flickr.com

Common Cases

Cases of DID occur commonly in the US, 70% of which have tried to self-destruct or take their own life. One of the most common cases happened in 2014 wherein two Korean nationals, both male and female, have been diagnosed with mental illness.

The male patient, who is serving in the military, has been experiencing symptoms of forgetfulness and occasional speaking of the English language which is not his native language. Meanwhile, the female patient manifested childish behavior and violent actions.

Although the medication is very crucial, undergoing DID treatments still can enhance the quality of life of the patient.

Common Myths About Dissociative Identity Disorder Debunked

Often depicted in movies as split personalities, dissociative identity disorder (DID) has gained popularity in the past years but has remained highly misunderstood. It is difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around the concept of such fragmented personalities which come as “alters” or different versions of the self.

DID is a condition wherein patients exhibit drastic changes in their behavior, consciousness, emotions, and memory to almost depict a different person or persons altogether. The frightening part is that it happens almost instantaneously and unexpectedly, stripping the patient off of control over themselves.

Here are five myths about dissociative identity disorder, alongside the corresponding facts of each matter:

Source: flickr.com

DID Is Simply A Fantasy

There are groups of people who believe that DID is a function of the patient’s tendency to fantasize, thereby perpetuating the stigma against DID patients. The truth of the matter is that DID is a product of traumatic and violent actual experiences. As the patient enters into a defensive state of mind, the dissociations serve as coping mechanisms to escape the stress brought about by merely remembering the tragic memories.

DID Is Also Schizophrenia

Source: deviantart.com

While both of them are mental health disorders, schizophrenia is focused on the patient’s difficulty of distinguishing correctly between reality and imagination. It is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia instead of alternate personalities—which are characteristic of DID. DID patients do not enter into a delusional state as the chemical make-up of their brains is different for people with schizophrenia.

People With DID Are Demon-Possessed

Those who encounter DID for the first time often confuse it with some form of possession by the devil because it seems like an entirely different soul or person takes over the body of the patient. In reality, dissociation involves a detachment from only certain aspects of the patient’s personality which is too painful or difficult to deal with. The “alters,” though different, complement each other into one overall being.

Source: pixabay.com

People With DID Do Not Know Their Alters

While dissociative amnesia and certain memory lapses are symptoms of DID, it is not true that DID patients are completely unaware of their “alters.” Most patients could even talk about their dissociations and identify the differences in their characteristics. Actually, with proper diagnosis and treatment, patients can also develop internal communication between dissociations—a gradual process that would help in the eventual recovery of a person suffering from DID. 

People With DID Live Abnormally

Movies may portray DID to look darker, more challenging to deal with, and even more violent than it actually is because people with DID do live their lives normally. Their days are filled with doing regular jobs, household chores, and family time. Various patients with DID successfully go through and finish their studies, as well as get stable careers after that. People with DID can maintain sustainable relationships with other people too.

Two in every ten people do experience dissociative identity disorder in their lifetimes, and while it may not be as commonly talked about like depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, it is nevertheless an existing reality that affects thousands of people across the globe. It’s time that we stop the stigma and create a safe space for people to overcome their mental challenges.

The Impact of Depression on Dissociation

Dissociation Defined

Source: static1.squarespace.com

To dissociate is to separate – that is what it means according to the dictionary. That is, dissociating is disconnecting from something or someone. In individuals with dissociative disorders, this is their forte. Because they are too hurt to recall the trauma that they have experienced, they separate themselves from the reality and from their own identity. This is a coping mechanism that will later lead to a distorted sense of identity and the feeling of not knowing oneself, or having different selves for that matter.

Continue reading “The Impact of Depression on Dissociation” »

The Alters And Their Stories

The Alters

Source: az616578.vo.msecnd.net

Meet Anne, the playful. She loves going out when I’m asleep. She has many friends (I don’t actually know most of them) and she loves drinking and going to parties with them. She’s the reason why I can’t go to work on time, because she comes home at 4 in the morning and work starts at 9. But she’s okay. She doesn’t hurt me or anyone I love.

 

Source: cdn.images.dailystar.co.uk

Meet John, the suicidal one. He’s the introvert. He’s just too shy to show himself, even to me. When he’s out, he watches television or listens to music. He’s responsible for the cuts on my wrist. I want to help him but he’s too elusive. I sometimes wake up in the morning finding his knife behind my pillow, and I wonder if there was anything I could do if he decided to end his life – my life.

 

Meet Alex, the lesbian. She knows I hate loose shirts but she keeps buying them when she goes out to shop. Her girlfriend thinks she’s crazy because she comes and goes anytime she wants, and sometimes she disappears for two weeks! She often brings her girls in the house and I hate it when I wake up and see them in the living room, eating my cereal and drinking my coffee!

 

And how can I forget George, my protector. He’s my father figure, because I never had one growing up. He’s always warm and very welcoming to friends and family. He loves to cook and take care of the cleaning in the house, so I love it when he shows. Everything smells good! I think he’s the only sane alter I know (relatively speaking).

 

Lisa the Host

Source: typeset-beta.imgix.net

I’m Lisa and I have multiple personality disorder. It’s a type of dissociative identity disorder where a person – like me – forms alters or other personalities to cope with the bad things and memories that she experienced.

 

I feel that these personalities have been helping me deal with my past, but on the other hand, they also destroy it, by being not me and doing the things that I don’t usually do. Some of them, like John, don’t want to go to work so he tends to make me lazy in the morning. Anne reinforces him by staying up very late when she goes to her friend’s parties.

 

I have been going to therapy for the past months. My mom says I should because I do need help dealing with my alters – the voices inside me. I also find other ways to help myself. I’m thinking of joining an anonymous chat service that I read from an online therapy community, BetterHelp.  They say that sometimes it’s good to vent to a stranger because you can be honest about anything and everything. I think that’s true (but George disagrees).

 

There are days when I don’t feel like talking to my therapist, simply because I don’t want to. Perhaps that’s how I am. That’s how I can be. I actually have about ten personalities, but I just introduced you to four because the others I can’t really describe. I can tell you – it is difficult keeping up with all of them, but somehow I’ve managed.

 

I am a living example of someone who is mentally ill but still hopeful for what is called a future. I’m taking medications and it’s been helping me manage my symptoms too. “What kind of future do I have,” I sometimes ask. I don’t really know. I’m just thankful every day that I’m alive and have a family that loves me for what I am (Anne says she loves me too).

Can Dissociative Identity Disorder Be Cured?

Source: static.psycom.net

 

Yes, dissociative identity disorder can be cured, but it’s tough. Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a condition involving an individual having two or more distinct personalities, which may alter at an unknown time. The two or more different characters have their separate names, preferences, and temperament. Dissociative identity disorder is believed to be caused by severe and continued childhood trauma such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Continue reading “Can Dissociative Identity Disorder Be Cured?” »

Criminal Minds: Mass Murderers and Mental Health

Source: marketwatch.com

Reports of mass shootings are becoming much common these pasts few years. No matter how gruesome and heartbreaking these shootings are, no definite measures are in place to prevent such occurrence from repeating itself. Extreme pressure on gun control legislation and the call for mental health awareness and on the accessibility of treatments are seen by the general public as a solution to these heinous and senseless crimes.  However, experts believe that these tragedies are influenced by complex factors; many of these are still poorly understood. It is considered a myth that mental illness such schizophrenia will lead to mass shootings.

Continue reading “Criminal Minds: Mass Murderers and Mental Health” »

Know The Medications For DID

Source: shutterstock.com

One of the most challenging mental health conditions is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder. To date, there is no medication to treat DID since it is not an organic disorder or a chemical imbalance. Psychiatrists would be prescribing medications to manage mood disorders that accompany DID. This article will provide information on the four most common drugs prescribed for DID and their corresponding medical implications.

Continue reading “Know The Medications For DID” »

DID: The Downside Of Being Unique

Source: nationalgeographic.com

 

Dissociative Identity Disorder

 

Most people know dissociative identity disorder more for its older name, multiple personality disorder. However, most people who have heard of it do not believe that it actually exists and that it’s not a true illness. Some even probably think that the stories about DID are so unreal that they think they’re all made up.

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t much research about DID but it is not considered a rare disease. It is as common as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but only that there is little information and studies done about it. DID is real. It is active and it is increasing in number. Though it may not be obvious when someone has a dissociative disorder, they can be diagnosed with their symptoms. They may have accompanying panic attacks, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. Ultimately, the hallmark of this debilitating illness is the state of dissociation experienced by the individual.

 

Indeed, dissociative disorder is quite a unique disease – unique mainly because of the alters and the web of symptoms and illnesses that overlap within an individual with this condition. And although being unique and different is a good thing, this trait is not at all considered a positive one for a person with DID.

 

What Makes DID Different From Other Illnesses?

 

Source: healthyplace.com

 

  • It is the only disorder that involves having multiple identities formed within an individual with DID. The key point here is dissociation or the individual feeling detached from his own body, a defense mechanism used by the individual to forget the trauma that he or she has suffered in the past. The many fragments of identities have very diverse characteristics, and this causes the main person to feel that he doesn’t know who he really is, and he loses his sense of himself.

 

Some DID individuals are pushed to committing suicide because they become frantic and confused about the ‘voices’ that they hear in their head, the “alters” fighting over each other, attempting to influence their main man to do what they want to do.

 

Reports have shown that a person can have up to 44 different identities!

 

  • People with DID often forget that they did something – not because there is an abnormality in their memory like in the case of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but because they are being forced to not remember the undesirable things that happened to them.

 

A woman with DID describes her experience as terrifying. She was lying on her bed and feeling afraid again because she was imagining the man who abused her when she was a child. She saw the man right in front of her, just at the foot of her bed. She closed her eyes, wished so much that she could escape through her window and out to the backyard. Suddenly, her wish was granted. She was right there, her feet stepping on the wet grass, outside of her house, and she didn’t know how she got there.

 

  • These other identities or alters that the individual has formed are his ‘defenses’ or his go-to helpers who shield him from the pain and anxiety that he would feel whenever he would recall the trauma that he had gone through. He thinks that these identities are what keep him from facing the reality, which is also one reason why these identities become stronger than him. While other people with mental illnesses seek friends for comfort, people with DID find protection through their alters.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Source: goodtherapy.org

 

Among the myths developed by people about dissociative identity disorder, the most false of all is that DID is worsened with treatment. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation stresses that with long-term psychotherapy and other creative approaches, people with DID do recover, and their panic attacks, anxiety, depression and other dissociative symptoms can be resolved. There is hope for improvement and success in their lives, despite their unique downsides.

 

What You Should Know About Dissociative Treatments

Source: womansday.com

Dissociative disorders often times resulted from an early trauma that was already repressed in the unconscious mind. When the person experiences severe stress or anxiety later in life, dissociation symptoms appear either as a form of evading the situation or manifesting as effects of trauma from previous years.

Dissociative disorders have a good prognosis when treatment is started early and expert treatment plan is in place. Once diagnosed with the mental health state, there are several treatments that can be utilized. This article will discuss three types of treatment pertinent to dissociative disorders.

Continue reading “What You Should Know About Dissociative Treatments” »

1 2