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:
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.
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.
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.