Misconceptions About Dissociative Identity Disorder: Understanding Your Spouse With “Multiple” Issues Part 1 

Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID is one of the less researched illnesses in neurosciences. It is usually misdiagnosed or even taken for granted. It may be because of its rarity since its occurrence is statistically very low. But still, this mental health issue can develop on anyone. Your loved one or spouse can be suffering from DID, and with that, you need to know specific facts. 

 

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Misconceptions About Dissociative Identity Disorder: Understanding Your Spouse With “Multiple” Issues Part 2 

This article is a continuation of an earlier writeup in this site titled Misconceptions About Dissociative Identity Disorder: Understanding Your Spouse With “Multiple” Issues Part 1. If you haven’t read part one, it would be best to start there before divulging on this one. It will clear up several ideas and thoughts in your head and can be helpful in the future.  

 

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Additional 13 Things Your Spouse With Dissociative Identity Disorder Wants You To Know

 

  

Source: flickr.com

 

The title says “additional” because the previous article featured on this site discussed the 13 Things Your Spouse With Dissociative Identity Disorder Wants You To Know. If you haven’t read that yet, please go to that page first before you continue with this one. This article is a part two and is best grasped when you’ve read the first one.

 

Anyway, moving on and as promised, here are 13 more things your spouse with DID needs for you to understand. They too want to have a relationship with you, but their disorder is a mess. If you can take in as to why they are acting strange, you may have a loving married life.

 

Some Factors Can Cause the Switch.

Certain factors can push the switch from one personality to another. Once this factor is identified by the mind, there will be an automatic switch of identities.

 

They Cannot Avoid The Switch Triggers.

Most of the time, the person cannot avoid the factors that trigger the switch. One of the reasons for that is memory loss.

 

It’s Often A Subtle Switch.

There are times when the switch takes place without anyone noticing it. It is so subtle that the transition will shock other people. For example, the boisterous alter will come out when the shy identity can’t cope. It will be a strange moment for others.

 

Source: pexels.com

 

Other Mental Conditions May Develop.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is related to the development of other mental health issues. People with DID will have a particular perception of themselves due to the reaction of individuals in their environment which can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and more.

 

No Specific Medication Or Treatment For DID.

There is no specific drug for DID, but there are medications that can help minimize the symptoms.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Psychotherapy Treatment Is Required.

There is only one solution to DID, and that is going through psychotherapy treatment. This treatment is rather expensive compared to other therapies but produces necessary action. Katrina Taylor, LMFT, said that you can get this benefit from going to therapy: “You might discover why you do all sorts of things today—why you say yes to things you don’t want to do, why you sabotage your performance when you can actually succeed, why you dwell on the negative.”

 

The Point Of Therapy Is Fusing Into One Identity.

The primary objective of psychotherapy is to capsulize all the identities into one to avoid further confusion and inconvenience on the part of the patient.

 

Pleasing All The Identities Is Difficult.

People with DID struggle to satisfy each of their identities. They need contentment to be able to have a satisfied life. When one of the personalities is not happy, then it causes a problem. “When pleasing others is based in fear of being unloved, it can become habitual and unhealthy.” according to Micki Fine, MEd, LPC.

 

Living With DID Stigma Gets Lonely.

A person with DID can live a healthy life. However, once people around him get to know about the condition, everything will change. It can be very lonely and can also trigger switches and other issues.

 

The Switch Is A Way To Get Over The Trauma.

Having DID means suffering from memory loss and manifesting multiple personalities. It helps the person forget the traumatic experience. It becomes his release, and a means to relax. “Being in touch with those feelings is what allows us to do something different in our lives,” says Katrina Taylor, LMFT.

 

It Is Not About Changing Your Ways And Free Will.

Changing your ways and having DID are two different things. Switching personalities because of DID is unintentional on the person’s part, which is why it’s not about free will.

 

DID, As An Illness, Doesn’t Define A Person.

Just because a person has Dissociative Identity Disorder, he is less of a human being. This disorder will not define the individual. It may be a part of him, but it is not his only mark in this world.

 

Live With The Disorder.

People with DID can live semi-normal lives. Their loved ones need to adjust and understand the situation at all times.

 

Dissociative Identity Disorder may be an illness, but once the person and the people around him get educated on DID, life becomes manageable. A person with DID needs love, acceptance, and understanding. If your spouse has DID, for better or for worse, you have to accept that fact.

13 Things Your Spouse With Dissociative Identity Disorder Wants You To Know

 

Source: flickr.com

 

DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental health illness characterized by a person having more than one identity. People with the said disorder experience trouble in sorting out their emotions and self-perception. They also experience memory loss and split behavior.

 

Having this condition is never easy. It can affect everything in a person’s life – his relationships, career, and everyday function. That is why individuals with DID wish for other people’s infinite consideration. With this, there are things you need to know to further understand people with this mental health disorder. If your spouse has DID, please read this article.

 

They Have More Than One Identity.

People with DID have multiple personalities. Each personality has its character, preferences, memories and even a voice tone. Each identity takes place one at a time. You have to understand that.

 

Anyone Can Suffer From DID.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Everyone and anyone is at risk of suffering from the disorder. But this mental health issue is prone to people who experienced trauma during their childhood.

 

They Utilize Pronouns Like US, WE And OUR.

The present identity acknowledges all the other personalities and even treats it as a real person; possibly a friend.

 

Each Identity Has Unique Traits.

Each personality or identity of the person with DID has his own unique set of characteristics among alters. These identities are entirely different from one another.

 

They Are Unable To Determine Their True Identity.

Since there are many different personalities within a person troubled by dissociative identity disorder, he is often confused. The person has trouble determining his real identity.

 

Isolation Worsens The Situation.

Because of DID, individuals with the said disorder will seem odd to other people’s eyes. They tend to shy away and isolate themselves. Isolation will not help as it will only worsen the situation.

 

Source:pixabay.com

 

Late Diagnosis Is A Problem.

Discovery of this disorder on a person can happen during adulthood. If misdiagnosed or taken for granted, it will be too late to treat adequately. The person can be branded as “crazy” for acting strange when his personalities change.

 

Misdiagnosis Is A Bigger Problem.

Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder are quite similar to some mental health illnesses. It is the reason why it is often misdiagnosed. It must be corrected before one of the personalities creates a big problem.

 

Not All People With DID Are Violent.

The movies are misleading. Not all people with DID are violent, but there are some documented cases though. It is possible, but not generally common.

According to Gunnur Karakurt, LMFT, “Intimate partner violence (IPV) has serious effects on human well-being, and prevention of IPV is an important public health concern.”

 

They Are Not Aware That Alters Exist As They Believe It’s A Different Person.

Each of the identities has no knowledge that another exists within. They believe that the “alters” are real and are different people living among them. Thus, the person experiences memory gap.

 

The Identities Are Looking From The Outside.

When a specific personality takes control of the body, it’s like that person is out of the body witnessing the scenario from a distance.

 

Multiple Identities Can Take Place At Once.

There are times when more than one identity will fight for the control of the person’s mind. It happens a lot to some who are not under therapy. Jason B. Whiting, PhD, LMFT said “Being controlled and hurt is traumatizing, and this leads to confusion, doubts, and even self-blame.”

 

 

Some Identities Work Together To Solve Problems While At Times, They’re In Conflict.

There are times wherein identities work together to solve personal issues. They can work together in unison, but there are also times wherein they oppose one another. It will then make things more difficult.

 

Here are just 13 things that your spouse with DID “wants” you to know about him. If you get the idea, it’s not the literal meaning. It’s more of the need to be understood as to what the disorder can do to them and affect their behavior and personality.

 

On the next article, there will be 13 more things to discuss. It is in the hope of this article’s writer to impart knowledge to you so that you’ll know how to handle your spouse with DID. You have to let your husband know about these beautiful words from Erin Mendoza, PsyD: “Self-compassion is not tough love or false hope, but connecting the pain with understanding, curiosity, and a sincere wish for relief based in kindness and love rather than criticism and disgust.”

Understanding The Struggles Of Having Dissociative Identity Disorder

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a rare mental disorder that occurs at any age. A person with DID develops alternate personalities. Changing its name from multiple personality disorder reflected a better understanding of the condition. The person affected by this disorder may be aware or unaware of the changes happening to him or her.

DID is part of a larger group of mental disorders referred to as dissociative disorders. These disorders typically mess up or break down a person’s memory, understanding of oneself, or consciousness of the things around them.

People with DID often struggle with their social life. They usually become unaware or confused about the events that take place around them. Other people lose their memory of events. DID makes it difficult for most people with this condition to carry out daily tasks.

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

The Struggles

Some of the struggles people with this condition face include the following:

  • They become incapable of organizing their daily activities.
  • They would prefer to remain isolated from everyone else.
  • They lose their sense of self and identity, contributing to feeling broken.
  • They believe that a different entity controls their lives.
  • They have gaps in their memories.

The struggles listed above are difficult to overcome. Some stories of those who deal with the disorder include feeling, seeing, and understanding the world with different perceptions. They would often turn into their other selves, and these would often take up a different name, personality, interest, and character. The experience is like knowing two or more very different people sharing a single body. Usually, it is difficult for those with this condition to maintain relationships with their partners, friends, and colleagues.

The Trigger

The best way to treat a disorder is to prevent it. However, for DID, the cause is yet to be positively established. Some have reported it comes from physical and sexual abuse, especially during the patient’s childhood. Other events, such as accidents, war, and natural disasters, also have a connection to this disorder. Other studies have also linked DID with early losses such as those of a close relative. DID may frequently occur among young children who are still starting to develop their sense of self.

You also need to learn what Rebecca Frank MA, LPCC, NCC has to say about this: “When we can start linking the triggers to the emotions we can control our situations a little better.”

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

The Risks And Challenges

Individuals with this disorder often risk exposing themselves to the following activities:

  • They turn to abuse of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
  • They develop anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
  • They struggle with sexual functions.
  • They start to experience headaches or pains in most parts of their bodies.
  • They engage in self-injurious activities.
  • They develop suicidal tendencies.

Erin Pawlak, MS, LPCC said “Having suicidal thoughts is difficult but manageable.” According to Arvin, LPCC, “Suicide is the second leading cause of death nationwide among those aged 18-24.”

Treatment

In treating DID, most therapists engage their patients in groups to help them foster better relationships with other people. They often use psychotherapy as the main component for treatment. Some also consider the use of dialectical behavior therapy, which involves emphasis on mindfulness and helps better soothe the patients. Medication mainly helps control the development of other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.

Dissociative identity disorder is a difficult mental disorder to understand and overcome. Make sure to watch out and take care of your loved ones suffering from this condition. If your loved one is suffering from this disorder, remember to extend your patience at all times. According to Andrew Rose, LPC, MA,  “People need to feel secure in their relationship to get the value of coupling. Security is built through rupture and repair.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder Versus Schizophrenia

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

There is often a thin line in distinguishing mental health disorders, particularly schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (DID). According to Dr. Robert T. Muller, a trauma therapy specialist and a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, most people confuse these two because both disorders lack the sense of reality. But how can laypeople quickly tell which is which?

Symptoms

For a professional to fully confirm that an individual has schizophrenia, he or she must display at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations. Someone might hear, see, or smell things that no else can.
  • Abnormal emotional reactions. Individuals with schizophrenia rarely show emotions upon receiving good or bad news. At the same time, they are not capable of interacting with other people for a long time.
  • Disorganized speech. Some people display disorganized speech in various ways. These include repeating the same words, mentioning meaningless rhymes, uttering gibberish, or jumping from one topic to another without finishing a conversation.
  • Delusions. Delusions include fake or false beliefs. For example, a person might repeatedly say that someone is spying on him at all times, even if there is none. He might also say that an entity from another planet is trying to talk to him through his walkie talkie.
  • Catatonic behavior. It refers to the unresponsive behavior of an individual even if he or she is awake.

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

People with DID, on the other hand, experience an alter in their reality. However, instead of displaying hallucinations or delusions, an alter checks out, and a different personality appears in their place. Moreover, those with DID are also systematic and responsive. In contrast, a person with schizophrenia displays catatonic behavior.

“When you’re working with someone with DID, if you have only seen them in one personality, you will be utterly and completely shocked when you see the person function in a different personality… It’s as if the person has gotten possessed by somebody else. But of course, that’s not the case—it’s that their internal personality organization is different depending on different functions that they have in their life,” Muller shared.

Causes

Up to now, experts still have not determined the leading cause of schizophrenia. Some link it to genetics while others say that it is because of exposure to viruses during their mother’s pregnancy. DID, on the other hand, are known to develop due to an extremely traumatic event. It can be memories of physical abuse, military combat, or death of a family member.

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

Treatment Options

Schizophrenia often gets treated through outdoor and community-based activities rather than getting sent to hospitals. For example, it is more effective to expose them to fresh air, live in an open community, or exercise regularly. Social work can also help them address their mental health disorder. Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD said “Mindfulness meditation practices are effective interventions, and sometimes for mild to moderate conditions—depression and anxiety.”

On the other hand, DID banks more on psychotherapy. Since it is on the same spectrum as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), people with DID respond more to therapy. It involves digging deep into the past to pinpoint the specific traumatic event that led to their condition. From here, therapists ask them to face whatever these triggers are and move on from it.

There is still an ongoing stigma on mental health disorders. This stigma led the people to believe that every sickness is the same; however, this is not the case. Schizophrenia and DID are proof of that.

According to Nicole Poell, PsyD, “Psychological flexibility means contacting the present moment fully as a conscious human being, based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior in order to move toward chosen values.”

How Child Abuse Leads To Dissociative Identity Disorder

Source: pixabay.com
Source: pixabay.com
The condition of having multiple personalities, now called dissociative identity disorder or DID, is a widely misunderstood condition. Media portrayals of DID usually show patients as having menacing and psychopathic personalities. Even the scientific community differs in opinion, with a significant number of psychologists insisting that DID is not a real condition. However, one aspect of DID that’s relatively established is its most common cause: childhood abuse.

Child abuse is a significant problem affecting families worldwide, and virtually everyone acknowledges this. Among its different effects is that it can lead to DID. Roughly 99% of patients have at least one significant traumatic and abusive experience during childhood. The prevalence of DID is a significant mental health problem, which is why we need to find more effective ways of prevention. Only by understanding the link between abuse and DID further can parents be able to protect their children.

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

Coping Mechanisms And Identity

Whenever people encounter a negative stimulus, they tend to react so that they can reduce the detrimental effects of the stimulus. The actions they take are called coping mechanisms. For example, people who are victims of bullying tend to feel powerless. To cope, they might take steps that make them seem more powerful, such as by becoming bullies themselves.

In the case of DID, abused children can face very different scenarios. Their guardians meet their basic needs, such as food and shelter. However, these same people cause them psychological, and sometimes physical, harm. How can someone be both caring and hurtful?

The usual victims of abuse in the household are young children. They are usually in the stage of development where their self-identities first begin to take root. Their view of themselves isn’t just influenced by themselves, but also by their interactions with each other. In typical cases, children grow up with a unified belief of who they are as a person. They acknowledge that they have various traits that compose one personality.

The conflicting viewpoints caused by child abuse interfere with identity development. If a child is hurt, they might start thinking that they are inadequate and undeserving of care. The child might then believe otherwise when the abuser feels guilty and tries to compensate by being more indulging.

Repeated cycles of this type of behavior will prevent the child from forming a single identity. The mismatch between what they think and what they observe is called cognitive dissonance, and it imposes some mental strain on them. To resolve the disagreement, they will be forced to adopt multiple identities. Thus, abuse eventually leads to the formation of DID.

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

Here are some ideas that you must know about coping up:

  • “Medication alone is easy but does not teach people how to cope with the situations that may have created the depression in the first place.” – Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD
  • “Self-care can include seeing a psychologist, talking with a support group or mentor, carving out more time for friends and family, and relieving stress by exercising or by practicing tai chi or meditation.” – Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD
  • “Social support and even the perception of social support is highly protective.” –  Lindsay Sortor, PsyD

Solutions

The link between child abuse and DID is another reason for taking an aggressive stance against violence. Parents and guardians should maintain a loving and caring environment for their children. They should support their children’s healthy mental development by protecting them from psychological trauma.

Being a caring guardian is sometimes easier said than done, especially if the guardian was also a victim of childhood abuse. In this case, they should opt for counseling where a mental health professional will guide them in proper parenthood.

Additionally, there must be stronger policies that will help detect and prevent child abuse. Psychologists should continue working on better diagnostic and treatment tools so that authorities can better deal with child abuse. Only then will we be able to prevent another person from suffering from DID.

Ways To Manage An Employee With Dissociative Identity Disorder

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a complex psychological condition. It occurs when an individual fragments his or her identity into two or more personality states. Professionals call these alters. The majority of those with DID had gotten this disorder due to severe trauma.

In the workplace setting, employees who have DID might display various symptoms such as a tendency toward isolation, random outbursts, neglect, and suspicion of others. The consistent embodiment of these behaviors might lead to chaos in the office, which might lead to low employee morale and lower production rate.

With this in mind, managers like you need to know how to handle your employees with DID. Being successful in this area can make a significant difference in the workplace environment and the growth of the business.

Keep An Open Mind

You might blame all these outbursts to your employee with DID. However, you should also consider that there might be something wrong with the job itself or the people around him. His sudden changes in personality might be triggered by his co-employees or from the stress he gets from work.

To address this, you should first assess the situation by asking the following questions:

  • Does the nature of the job consider the sensitive case of the employee?
  • Is the workload just enough, or is it too much to handle?
  • Do the people around him trigger the stress he feels?
  • Are his co-workers sensitive in collaborating and communicating with him?

The answers from these questions will help you pinpoint which areas are causing your employee’s personality problems. Then, from here, you can now come up with the most effective solution for your employees.

Have Consistent One-On-One Sessions

Source: pixabay.com

Source: pixabay.com

When you see one of your employees—regardless if they are suffering from DID—violate company etiquette, make sure to schedule one-on-one sessions. Call them out for their behavior and give a non-threatening admonition. After this, create an action plan with them by asking the questions below:

  • Are you aware of your triggers? What are these?
  • What do you plan on doing to avoid these etiquette violations?
  • How do you plan to inform your colleagues about your condition?
  • What do you want your co-workers to do for you should another outburst happen?

This action plan will help both you and your employees to map out specific steps on how to go about their situation. According to Kristin Zeising, PsyD,  “Recognise it takes both the therapist and you to address the issues and make changes.” At the same time, make sure that you will be wary of the therapist or counselor that you will get it touch with. Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC said that this is an indication that you have to re-consider your therapy sessions: “Counselor does not have sufficient and specific training to address your issues and/or attempts to treat problems outside the scope of the practice.”

 

Encourage Them To Seek Treatment

The first thing you can do is to direct them to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). There might be times that the employee might feel a little uncomfortable talking to his co-workers or bosses about his condition. The alternative for this is to seek the guidance of a professional counselor so that they can address the struggles they experience in the workplace.

Always remember that there might be a need to terminate a particular employee should they experience consistent workplace problems. As a manager, you must ensure the personal welfare of all your employees. If those individuals with DID are disrupting both the lives of other employees and the progression of the business, then feel free to let them go. It might be the best move for everyone. Look for a professional therapist like Lara Fielding, PsyD who enjoys what she is doing by saying “I am doing what I love, helping other people and [incorporating] what I know experientially and what I know scientifically.”

Therapist-Approved Ways To Deal With Depression If You Have DID

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Source: flickr.com

“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness.” – Deborah Serani, PsyD

Having dissociative identity disorder (DID) can result in a lot of things. You may find yourself talking to someone you may not even remember greeting. There may be plenty of shopping bags and new clothes or shoes in your closet, also though you don’t recall getting them. Your colleagues may claim that they have seen you doing this and that, but you have zero recollection of what they are talking about. Every time these things happen, you may beg your therapist to recalibrate your brain because you cannot take your situation anymore.

One reality that patients with DID have to face is that there’s no cure for this condition, after all. A therapist can only teach you some coping mechanisms; a psychiatrist may merely be able to prescribe a sedative or another drug that can calm you down. However, knowing that you have an illness that not even the smartest scientist or most advanced technology can handle can be excruciatingly painful.

And, yes, depression soon comes after that. Since you do not want your other predominant personalities to put anyone in danger, you might lock yourself up in your bedroom and throw the key outside. When your loved ones try to help you, you shut them out because you feel like it’s too late to save you. It sounds like what heroes may say, but it’s true.

According to Sandra Hamilton, Ph.D, “I remember one client describing the onset of depression like the beginning of a roller coaster: It slowly creeps ahead and you can see and feel the fall coming, but you can’t do anything to stop it.”

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Now, although DID and depression are both incurable diseases, the silver lining is that there are different ways to deal with the latter. You won’t need anti-depressants, frankly speaking. While the dissociative identity disorder may not go away through the tips we’re about to give, your determination to fight it may come back when you are no longer too depressed to do it.

So, without much ado, here are a few therapist-approved ways to deal with depression if you have DID.

Remember That God Is Not Punishing You

Whenever a person gets a hardship that makes him or her depressed, he or she gets mad to God for getting him or her into that situation. If you, my dear reader, are in a distressing situation, too, be in the know that God is not punishing you. He loves you, and He teaches us as any person does. It is our choice if we want to show Him that we deserve to be called His son or daughter or not by showing our strength over the challenges in our lives.

Go On A New Path

If your problem is on the right, go left – it’s as simple as that. It can’t be said that you’re cowering from the issue just because you are changing your course. Only, you are smart enough for knowing how to choose your battles so that you will be able to make yourself better.

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Source: flickr.com

It Happens For A Reason

The reason for your depression to comorbid with DID is something that you will realize in the future on your own. Perhaps it happened because you won’t think of facing the issue without hitting rock-bottom, for instance. Whether it’s there to open your eyes or make you feel that you need a life re-routing, the important thing is that you learn from it.

Accept Your Reality

Depression gets more substantial when the person who’s experiencing it keeps on denying the truth even to themselves. If you have multiple personalities that can appear at any time, accept it. In case you do something that you may not even think of while you are in that state, apologize for it. Learn how to accept the thing that made you depressed, no matter how shameful it is. This way, you can begin rearranging your life to its original position.

Love Yourself

Love yourself as you’ve never loved before because that’s only when you can genuinely pull yourself out of your misery. Do it not because I said so; do it because you want to be better.

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Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Life Is Far From Being A Drag

Life is too lovely to be allowed to go to waste. It will be a shame if we keep on dragging it down because of our problems. We are not trying to invalidate how you feel; having DID and depression at the same time can be an experience that’s beyond everyone’s imagination. However, you only have one life. You should love it, enjoy it, and be the king or queen of it. Make the most of your life until it lasts.

In The End

“Life can often be unpredictable and stressful. Whether it’s divorce, job loss, relocation, death of a loved one or even a flat tire, life’s stressors can trigger many emotional states, including anxiety and depression.” – Laura Strom, LMFT

I know you may be hurting right now. You feel scared; you don’t know what you’ll end up doing tomorrow and not remembering it. You don’t want to have to depend on your loved ones to check up on you. However, the dissociative identity disorder is one big obstacle that you have to face, and there’s no way for other people to help you get rid of it. Instead of moping around and going down the depression lane, therefore, you should heed the tips mentioned above.

Switching Alters And DID

Source: en.wikipedia.org

DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and alter switching are actually dependent on each other. Switching obviously means changing, but when associated with DID, switching pertains to changing into another part or another alter, as they are often called. Each of us has parts that compose our personality. You might have at some point in your life, commented once, “A part of me wants to improve my well-being.” For someone to describe a part of himself is perfectly normal, but for those with DID, psychology describes these parts as the ‘extreme parts’ of themselves that have separate beliefs, opinions, needs, thoughts, desires.

The switching is upsetting, difficult, and alarming. If you or someone you know has DID, it is vital that you are aware of the signs of when a person with DID is about to change parts or switch alters, and what one can do about it.

Signs To Watch Out For

Just as each person’s DID differs, alter switching may also be entirely different. Below is a list of experiences or events that might occur when a person with DID is on the verge of, or in the process of changing alters.

  • Head gets foggy
  • Hearing someone’s voice in one’s head
  • Feeling confused and frenzied
  • Inability to focus or make decisions appropriately
  • Hearing voices from somewhere far, like someone calling from a tunnel
  • Staring blankly on the floor or ceiling
  • Face affect changing and emotions reflect one’s facial expression
  • Changes in handwriting, from clear to messy or vice versa, and from cursive to print or vice versa
  • Change in the color and shape of the eyes
  • A feeling of detachment in oneself, as if someone else is taking over his body and mind
  • Shivers down the spine, as if feeling cold
  • Headaches that aren’t cured with pain medication
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Thinking out loud
  • A growing suspicion of the things and people around you
  • Taking deep breaths for stress relief

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

Causes Of Alter Switching

Switching alters in DID are caused by many factors. In some, they are unable to control the switch but they do know what events or circumstances might trigger the switch. Some of the common triggers include:

  • Profound and awkward feelings
  • Severe stress and fatigue
  • Bad or good memories
  • Severe anxiety
  • Annoying or irritating noise
  • Specific times or events of the year
  • Reminiscing through old photographs
  • Tight places
  • Somebody mentioning an alter’s name
  • Documenting events or writing a diary

The list above is a nice place to begin when you want to think ahead about the possible circumstances that might elicit a switch. It is good to practice understanding and noticing the triggers so one can prepare himself for what will happen next, for him and his family’s safety.

The switching of alters in DID is believed to occur in order to keep the system safe and functional. The things that happen in the DID system are always for a reason, despite the fact that you and I don’t know the what and the why. It can be a coping mechanism or a defensive reaction to something that it finds as a threat.

When Someone You Love Switches Alters

“Be kind to those suffering just as you would care for someone with the flu,” said Lisa Keith, PsyD.

If you’re still trying to find out what to do when your husband, friend or significant other has started switching alters, then you’re too late. Before this happens, you have to have a plan in place so that you know how to respond to the switch. Part of this plan should include asking questions to the new alter (or the head mate) if circumstances allow. If this is possible, first ask his or her name. Don’t request for the former alter to come out or they’ll feel rejected. Keep in mind that to show that you love someone with DID is to try to love all the alters, as they work together to keep the main person or head mate safe and protected. Stick to the plan of action and do not swerve in a different direction.

Source: quotemaster.org

Finally, do not be angry or disappointed when an alter leaves and another alter takes his place because it may not even be associated with you at all, and disagreeing with any alter for that matter will never make you a friend or ally.

According to Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, “Friends and loved ones can be a great support.”

Final Thoughts

If you have DID, remember that your alters have been with you long and strong for most of your life. They, in their own little or major ways, are there to keep you safe and secure. If they have not been a threat to you or your loved ones, you do not need to fight against each other. Instead, be kind to your alters and be friends with them. Just think of the times that they’ve saved you perhaps during the times when you couldn’t save yourself. Help someone by encouraging them to go to therapy. According to Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD, “Psychotherapy can help sort out the cause, and that leads to the most effective treatment plan.”

 

 

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