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Living with Others Inside: I Have Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Living with the Trauma of Abuse


I was severely abused throughout my childhood, and as a result, I developed dissociative identity disorder. DID is a complex post-traumatic shock disorder, which causes the personality to fragment. These personalities are known as alters, and they hold parts of my painful and traumatic past.


All the voices I hear are inside myself, and are parts of me. Splitting off parts of myself enabled me to survive a childhood in which abuse was the norm.


There was no escape from the torture I experienced, so psychologically, I separated myself from the trauma in order to survive it, and function within the outside world. That is how I developed more than one personality—well, several actually.


The majority of my personalities have names and range in sex, age, and appearance. They have their very own unique way of perceiving, thinking, relating, and remembering my life. It can be very confusing being so many different people in one day!


Switching Personalities


As a person with DID, I have many difficulties coping with daily functions. I experience a feeling of panic almost all of the time, and never feel safe. I lose time—sometimes days, and once an entire fortnight passed without my realizing it. I find myself in places and I don’t know how I got there


I often find toys and clothes which I have no memory of buying. One of my other selves has taken over my body for the day, and gone shopping without my knowledge (and to the bank manager’s dismay!).


This process of switching personalities is an exhausting and terrifying experience. I find it a very challenging aspect of my life, living with DID.


The only way for me to gain control over the process (which is known as switching) is to develop ways of managing, and to allow my personalities to express and communicate with the outside world.


This can only be likened to being both parents of the most challenging family in the world. It also means remembering and integrating the dissociated parts of me, and reclaiming my past completely.


Recovery is an endless process. It is a struggle to be heard and seen. The abuse I experienced was so severe that it has impacted my life in so many ways. As I allow my personalities and views of the world to emerge, my journey continues. I know that I will have to live with many unanswered questions about my life.


The hardest thing for me is accepting that my parents did the things they did to me, simply because they could, and because I was available. Accepting that they did not love me or care for me in the way parents should hurts every day—more than I can ever articulate.


 

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