DID Just life with DID

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Hell, I still barely know I'm not in front until I experience something like this. How would a mod know if one of my parts was in front posting in my diary if I can barely figure that out, myself? I'll continue to post here to keep this thread active beacause I desperately need the connection and validation from others who have walked this walk with some success. Besides the 'I don't have DID, I must be making all this up' thing I go through on a regular basis, I also fight the 'my trauma wasn't bad enough to cause DID' and the 'I don't experience XY or Z, so this must not be DID?' thing on a regular basis, too. So, I have to continually remind myself that although my form of DID doesn't necessarily fall dead center into the DSM DID criteria, I DO have parts, they come completely to the front, constantly, and I don't even realize it. My memory is compromised and I am not fully functional as a result
I was diagnosed YEARS ago, and what I've come to understand over the decades is that it doesn't matter in the long run. It's scary, seeing stuff you don't remember posting, doing stuff you don't remember doing, having conversations you don't remember having. But, unless your insiders are creating havoc or hurting you or someone else, it's more about learning to function, to get by in the world. I've come to understand that no one else's opinion of me and mine matters at all. All that matters is that I come to terms with how I am and I work to gain better functioning and less chaos.

For me, the foundation of all that has been communication. I haven't "integrated"--and I personally believe that is just a convenient term to make mental health providers feel more in control and have a goal to work toward--but I very seldom hear my insiders anymore. They don't write letters on my behalf anymore, they don't drive us to far-off places anymore, and they don't insist on fronting like they used to. They are still there, but they are just a part of who I am. And I got here by learning how to communicate, to hear their needs and fears and to share mine with them.

All this is specific to me. You and anyone reading may see things differently. I'm aware my ideas about medicine and psychology are different from others, so if you have a different view...ok.
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
All this is specific to me. You and anyone reading may see things differently.
That is my hope, @whiteraven...that I get feedback from those who are willing to share their experience, failures and successes with or without help from the medical field, so thank you for that. What works for one of us may not work for another, so for me, the more input on this forum, the better.

I can not relate to someone who can switch on purpose and have that part stay in front for any length of time...yet. I would like to, though...it would make my life a hell of a lot easier. I would love feedback from anyone on that.

For everyone I ask "what does integration mean?", I get a different answer, so I'm still working to determine that means for me and work toward that goal.

I'm trying to 'read up' on diaries of those with DID, but I don't want to dive bomb their diaries with all these questions as I feel that would be very rude.

Thank you for reading and listening, everyone.
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
Our first steps towards getting the parts out were giving them each a page or two in my journal, letting them each talk to my therapist as themselves, trying to have conversations between the apparently normal part and one other part while walking alone in a field, letting them do drawings without editing. Maybe most importantly, the apparently normal part learning to be quiet and not intrude. None of that happened quickly, and it wasn't all bunched together the way that sentence sounds. It happened a little at a time.

Nowadays, there are weeks when a part takes over and others can't be found (like last week!), but most of the time we can bring up each part. How close each part is to consciousness varies a lot from day to day.

Some experiences with integration are peaceful, other experiences are very hard. Feeling old traumas as a single self is overwhelming sometimes and reminds us of why we dissociated in the first place. We think it's important to not integrate too soon or too push for that too much.
 

Sideways

Moderator
'I don't have DID, I must be making all this up' thing I go through on a regular basis,
Me too. I mean, I don't have DID, it's all my other personalities that have DID, right!?

It's very weird to be given a medical diagnosis for the way I've just existed all my life, you know? Especially when my preconceptions of "multiple personalities" was people who are legitimately nuts. I fluctuated between "nah that's not me", and "I'm completely insane" for a long time after being diagnosed. And I received my diagnosis quite a long time after my Ts had already been treating me for DID. It was a slow process to acceptance!

Like my other mental illness, the parts of the diagnosis I focus on? And the only reason I pay it any attention at all (because it didn't really cause me a lot of grief for most of my life - if anything, it's been a damn handy coping mechanism!)? Is the extent to which it causes me dysfunction. And yeah, like you, I can see that it does cause me some dysfunction...
I DO have parts, they come completely to the front, constantly, and I don't even realize it. My memory is compromised and I am not fully functional as a result. I hear them in my head on some days but not others, they 'hide' from me when they realize I've 'heard' them.
It is incredibly helpful to know that (1) I can rely on being reasonably consistent in the way I approach life, important decisions, and important relationships; and (2) I will remember the important things that occur!! And...I don't do either particularly well without effort. That's my DID. That's the only reasons I care at all about my diagnosis.

But it's improving. Mostly from internal communication and self acceptance (which means acceptance of all my component parts). That takes more work than I'd like it to, and the success I have is directly proportionate to how much maintenance I put in!!

As for "integration"? Meh! It was the holy grail for MPD treatment. But I've worked with multiple different trauma and dissociation therapists over the last 15 years using a variety of different treatment approaches, and none of them seem even remotely interested in whether or not I "integrate". Integration may be closer to the normal human experience, but abnormality itself isn't actually a problem if I can achieve self acceptance and reasonable function.

Having achieved some reasonable degree of self-acceptance, it seems a little contradictory to me to now aim for integration, because I accept that I have all these component parts - that's how my personality got wired when I was a kid. Good, bad or indifferent, it's how I am. I'm not gonna waste time trying to be something else, because I function pretty well most of the time just as I am.

And frankly, I'd really miss some of my parts if they all got blended into one mass - they make a lot of noise, but they've also been keeping me company (and keeping me safe) my whole life. I don't enjoy therapy so much that I'm going try and change me just to be more, what, 'normal'!?

Internal communication ebbs and flows a lot for me. A lot. But it's a lot like deep breathing.

There is absolutely zero point trying to use deep breathing as a coping skill in the middle of a panic attack unless you've been practicing deep breathing while you're not anxious. Every. Single. Day.

Same goes for my internal communication. I have to. Every day. Whether I get responses or not. My parts show up and cooperate a whole lot more reliably at crunch time if I've been reaching out to them as a matter of routine. Some parts rarely respond, but I still check in. "Are you comfortable? Do you feel safe? Do you have any problems?" That gives them acknowledgement, time, consideration, acceptance, legitimacy, and it fine tunes the learned skill that is internal communication.

Just some of my thoughts, in the hope that something there resonates.
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
letting them each talk to my therapist as themselves
My parts do this with or without my say, but they ar not able to stay in front long enough for my T to speak to just them...with practice hopefully this will improve. When you say "letting", was there a time when you didn't let them or couldn't?
trying to have conversations between the apparently normal part and one other part
Is the apparently normal part you? The 'host' if you will? Is this from the Structural Dissociation framework? I've read about it a little but haven't found a lot of recent documentation on the concept.
normal part learning to be quiet and not intrude
If the normal part is me, then I definitely relate. When I am quiet and begin listening, my parts 'go dark' a trauma response from childhood, a 'be seen and not heard' upbringing...so I learned when to be quiet as a child and so did my parts, only they are being quiet from me. I dont know if it is meant to protect me or protect themselves.

I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
Me too. I mean, I don't have DID, it's all my other personalities that have DID, right!
I laughed at loud at this! Love it.
It's very weird to be given a medical diagnosis for the way I've just existed all my life, you know? Especially when my preconceptions of "multiple personalities" was people who are legitimately nuts
Me, too! My exposure to MPD were the starkly different identities that do all this wild stuff, so I compared differences rather than similarities. My T kept referring to movies and series here in the states asking me did I relate to the main character,after saying 'yes' a multitude of times I had to take a closer look at the possibility..um yea, she knew way before I did.
(2) I will remember the important things that occur!! And...I don't do either particularly well without effort. That's my DID. That's the only reasons I care at all about my diagnosis.
My challenge is that I don't remember the important things that occur. The last 5 years have been an absolute blur and a big reason why I'm assertively reaching out for feedback and honestly, help. Hoping amongst hope that I can gather things from the community to try in my own experience and as communication improves, hopefully so will my failing memory. Otherwise, well I don't want to think about the 'otherwise'.
But it's improving
That is the best and most hopeful news I've heard. Consistent effort = improvement. I can do that.
if I can achieve self acceptance and reasonable function.
This ^^^!
that's how my personality got wired when I was a kid. Good, bad or indifferent, it's how I am.
Do your parts strive to improve or do you strive to improve your parts? Not a trick question...I hear my 8y.o. tell me she 'dosen't want to be this way' referring to beliefs about herself when she is triggered to the front. It seems that I/we work on shame over and over again, but the beliefs and feelings got wired with the personality, so when she's triggered to the front, all that comes with her...affirmations don't come anywhere close to penetrating that wiring.
Same goes for my internal communication. I have to. Every day. Whether I get responses or not.
This ^^^^. I needed to hear this most of all.
Are you comfortable? Do you feel safe? Do you have any problems?" That gives them acknowledgement, time, consideration, acceptance, legitimacy, and it fine tunes the learned skill that is internal communication.
3 very simple questions to ask daily. I'm bookmarking this for future reference. Do your parts ebb and flow, age, merge? I have a few parts that are solid, my 8y.o. for example, but others that feel 14 one day and 16 the next (all my parts are me at differnet ages) I guess I'll start with asking those 3 questions in a broad sense and then address the 'not so solid' parts as they feel comfortable responding?

I have mad respect for you, Sideways. You started your diary the year my mental world fell apart. I've tried reading your diary where I can (it's too triggering for 8y.o., as she stays present with me). Your journey gives me strength, hope, and a sense of 'if you can do it, I can do it', so thank you for sharing.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Do your parts strive to improve or do you strive to improve your parts? Not a trick question...I hear my 8y.o. tell me she 'dosen't want to be this way' referring to beliefs about herself when she is triggered to the front.
It varies between my parts. My 'spiritual' part definitely wants to improve herself, but I keep that in check because her idea of improvement would have me converting my home into some kind of buddhist monastery! Meanwhile, one of my other parts considers herself perfectly kickarse just the way she is (eyeroll).

I have 2 parts that are 12 and one of them sounds similar to what you're described. She's definitely got a lot of discomfort with the way she is. And for a long while (I don't know if it was helpful or not, but we eventually abandoned it) I did try and help her change her beliefs and her self perception etc.

That process involved a lot of conflict. Some of my parts still harbour resentment towards me for engaging with that. And ultimately, I've found it to be more harmonious to just learn to accept her as she is (completely warped belief systems and all), and encourage her to do something similar.

For example, she's just about in love with my primary abuser. That's...uncomfortable!! But (and this will sound a lot like 'giving up' on recovery, but I don't think it is) that's how she is (part of me still loves him), and it makes sense to me why she feels that way.

I worked on shame and changing core beliefs and programmed beliefs for years. I'll be honest - I made progress, but a shittonne of it remains. And I'm very definitely finding that as long as I'm managing that part of my personality (keeping her feeling safe, heard, loved, accepted, engaged with my life now), I'm capable of being an engaged, functional, and reasonably content person without those beliefs changing.

It's a little (a lot) creepy, but that 12 year old has her own room in my system which is pretty much a homage to my abuser. She keeps the door closed, and I don't go in there. It disturbs me that she lives like that. But it's hurting both of us a lot less with me accepting "that's how that part of me is".

Because, those beliefs are only part of my makeup. There's other parts that don't believe those things. For me, it's a lot more about keeping an awareness of how that part of me is feeling and responding to situations, and then using the rest of the team to help me (and her) live in the here and now guided by other core beliefs.

Sometimes that means attending to the distress and fear and abandonment this part is chronically struggling with. But, when I do that, she's much more willing to come along for the ride, accepting that I'm going to make decisions and behave in ways that are contrary to her beliefs. She trusts me enough to do that, and I think in large part is because we have frequent discussions about "I know you don't like this, but we're doing this because..., do you think you can be okay with that...".

Thing is with her - she's 12. For all that she has very strong beliefs about x, y and z, she's only got the emotional maturity of a child. It's not appropriate for child parts to be making decisions about how I behave, and sometimes it will make them angry and scared, but modelling Healthy Parent for them means sometimes doing things that they don't like. Yes, I need to manage her distress during those times, and get her through them safely, and it's not always easy (and I'm not always successful). But it is doable. Especially once I established trust with her, and that I now fill the role of Healthy Parent.

It's my other 12 year old, who doesn't have any internet in being any other way and still holds me in complete contempt that's harder to manage.

I haven't explained that very well, I think. The short version is: I'm more into acceptance and living here, now, than trying to fundamentally change traumatised parts these days. Part of me carries immense shame and warped beliefs, but it's not all of me, and it doesn't need to define my life as long as I manage it.
Do your parts ebb and flow, age, merge?
Some of my older parts have definitely got a bit "ageless". The ones who were around 16-18 have matured a bit along the way. And my awareness of my parts definitely ebbs and flows (like - massive changes), but fundamentally no, not for me. I've mapped out my system multiple times, and the map is getting more complex and detailed, but the personalities, once I get an awareness of them, stay pretty much fixed.

Hope something in there is helpful. I know that there's huge variations in how people manage their system, and it's probably a case of try a range of ways till you find what works best for you.
 
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shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
So, I have had a therapist that said I had DID and another said I did not. I believe I am structurally dissociated. What that means to me is this:
1. I don't 'lose time' I am co-conscious
2. I can be talking to someone and 1 part of me is like 'WTF did you just SAY?????' It's horrifying.
3. I eventually figured out that my having the ability to create parts allows me the ability to create an integrated part if that's what I want. Which I do. This is allowing me to heal.
4. I believe that at the root of all parts is a group or a single very intense emotion. Find that emotion and it allows access to the part on demand.
5. All of my parts are younger that me. Stunted developmentally usually. Or intensely involved in a trauma response (4F's)

If you feel it will help, by all means look at my diary (it is long) but it speaks quite a bit about parts and how they were affecting me. I had to figure it out on my own with a few pointers during the times I had money for a T.

That is my hope, @whiteraven...that I get feedback from those who are willing to share their experience, failures and successes with or without help from the medical field, so thank you for that. What works for one of us may not work for another, so for me, the more input on this forum, the better.
If it is helpful, please feel free to use me as a resource. Happy to help if I can.
For everyone I ask "what does integration mean?", I get a different answer, so I'm still working to determine that means for me and work toward that goal.
For me, that means building a healthy framework around conflicting desires. Like, 'part of me wants to go to sleep and another part of me wants to party all night'. I can't have that. It takes too much energy. Not sleeping is terrible for me.

To avoid these torturous spinning thoughts, I promised myself that I would always choose the thing that was in my own personal best interests and health. That broke much of the useless overthinking I was doing.

Integration comes to mind with that because generally in my opinion, different parts come up with different desires. That is how I know different parts are fronting for me. No clicking, no fireworks, - just recognizing that I am trying to choose between two polar opposite things.

To integrate those parts would mean me that the director of the system - (that has been newly promoted to this position (aka the new part that I am consciously creating), is taking charge. I have established game rules. Healthy choices are the only option. No exceptions. I start with small stuff. Not arguing with myself about brushing teeth - the minute I think of it I do it and I say it is for my own self care. Now, there is never another thought about NOT brushing my teeth. That part is quiet because there is a new part in town and it is consciously taking over. I am building that part. I am reprogramming myself into what I consciously choose to be. No idea if that makes sense to anybody but me.
I'm trying to 'read up' on diaries of those with DID, but I don't want to dive bomb their diaries with all these questions as I feel that would be very rude.
I wish you the best in finding what you are looking for.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
my having the ability to create parts allows me the ability to create an integrated part if that's what I want. Which I do. This is allowing me to heal.
Very helpful perspective for me today
root of all parts is a group or a single very intense emotion. Find that emotion and it allows access to the part on demand.
Interesting idea… something to think about, test out
building a healthy framework around conflicting desires.
I like this idea of a framework around… the director holding attention and focus
there is a new part in town and it is consciously taking over. I am building that part. I am reprogramming myself into what I consciously choose to be. No idea if that makes sense to anybody but me.
Yes, it makes sense to me.
 

Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
When you say "letting", was there a time when you didn't let them or couldn't?
Yes, "didn't let them" seems accurate. The presence of Little Wendell has been pretty obvious for decades, but he didn't really get to speak up in therapy in the early years. He was able to talk though when my therapist invited him to do so. Other parts were more reticent.
Is the apparently normal part you? The 'host' if you will? Is this from the Structural Dissociation framework? I've read about it a little but haven't found a lot of recent documentation on the concept.
This is from the Structural Dissociation framework. This is the part that tries to keep the other parts functional in the real world and who posts here on the forum (often writing for the other parts, though). A big change for us the past year is recognizing that this part is "just another part" and doesn't really have as much special status as he thinks. So in that sense, he is not my core personality. My personality is all of us together.

Regarding the host/apparently normal part being quiet, we mean something else than what you have experienced. We mean that that part is quiet so the other parts can be out more fully in a safe and expressive way. It takes time for that to happen, so when they come out it is not painful or destructive.

Cheers!
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I don't have a diagnose or whatsoever, but I do relate to have parts and back in time, it seemed that my first pdoc had some suspicion there is something going on with structural dissociation.

I do loose time, on occasions. It is very rare and the times it happened that I'm aware of at least, I did find evidence it was the case much later. It is jarring to see you haven't lost time in just being spaced out and doing nothing, but actually being operating and logical. Except you don't remember it at all. And that it was well done, and that the part did think of erasing their traces. With more or less success. Co consciousness with a body override is also a very depleasant experience. It's not like I lost full control, but almost. That too is rare.

There is also older amnesia for things that are much older. As I say and people who don't experience that kind of amnesia (or aren't aware there is) have a difficult time understanding it... It sometimes feel that your mental landscape looks coherent but if you look closely, you can distinguish an incoherent seam in the texture, as you sewed two things together in a photography. Because everything is already messy it is hard to see the seam. And the day you realise that was a seam and you find an unexplainable hole is really pretty horrible. Like your beliefs were a lie. Your memory isn't fake, but is very inexact in terms of timeline, so inexact you fail to understand how you could believe it because it wouldn't have resisted a close look, and you felt like you explored these memories a thousand times; somehow you managed to iterate through it without ever seeing the giant hole right in the middle. Like, a very preoccupying capacity for denial.

On the other hand, certain parts can be very handy and helpful. In situations of extreme stress, their overrides made sense. They did things I wouldn't have thought I would have been capable of. But then what was hard was to be consistent with what they did, and there would be a back and forth between me carrying away and parts unmaking my works. Until it eventually stabilizes.

Another effect is that very horrible feelings get eventually cut. It just unplugs, and resets. That has proved to be protective even if it's a pain in the ass on the day to day. I have to listen to what they have to say and what they feel and many times, can feel things about myself only in the extent they're doing it for me. Part would be upset at what happened to me while I'm incapable of feeling upset for myself. As much as it avoids to spiral in dysfunction too much, it is cumbersome and has a way to make you feel cut, distant from yourself and somewhat vulnerable to unexpected triggers. Since you don't remember things well, they fluctuate.

On the aspects of disjointed objectives, they tend more to have negative passive influence than positive passive influence. That is, they inhibit more than they act. This has made it very difficult to detect.

For stuff where I just have grey outs, it feels like I have the description of the memory on the back of a book and I kinda can't bring myself to read it entirely, like you're parsing your library and just decreting ok this is espionage, this is a romance, this is a scientific writing, and you don't go one inch further away than the strict necessary to triage or dump said memory.

At the end I'm kinda content with my parts, even if it comes at a cost. It's not easy everyday, but not fighting it and be accepting of it is more efficient than being frustrated and ashamed of it. I still do find it embarrassing. Some would like to manifest, especially younger ones, others really are tenacious in remaining as stealth as possible, and it is difficult to discern who is who since they're making an effort to blend in. This is pretty much crumbling now, but I'm careful not to share much about it since it's something so badly misunderstood. So I'm not actively looking for a diagnosis. I also don't really see what a formal diagnosis could bring me at this point, at least not more than the one of CPTSD. And as diagnosis are meant to define therapy, and that the therapy I'm having now is being adequate in that regard albeit very long, it's not really something I'm pursuing.

Perhaps the best thing in having accepted they exist is that I don't get these horrendous headaches anymore, and less feeling that multiple unexplainable things are creeping up. It still happens but knowing it's some kind of internal manifestation that has sense makes it less unpredictable and therefore more manageable. Predicting it that way has been far more efficient than any other system of explanation. There are days it still sounds so bonkers I barely can fathom the idea. Other days it just feels okay.
 
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