What I think was the hardest thing for me to accept was the fact I had what was called a ‘Mental Illness’. Does that mean I’m broken? Or am I ill and shouldn’t be around people? It was extremely hard to accept this term for me.
My family has never been supportive, after my father got his liver transplant his brain is Swiss Cheese, he can’t even remember the past, let alone my name sometimes. Then there’s my mother, the one who still to this day claims I’m a lair. I will ‘grow out of this phase’ or ‘I’m just being a child’. No, I won’t grow out of this because I have 5 other opinions living inside my head that seem to beg to differ with you.
My brother and my husband are the only two who truly try and support me, but they also have problems accept it. The words from my husband are as follows, “I understand, but then I don’t understand.”
DiD is one of the hardest things to explain to someone… I guess if we wanted too, we can get technical here.
The DSM-5 states that Dissociative Identity Disorder (Formally known as Multiple Personality Disorder) needs to match up with 5 things:
- Two or more distinct identities or personality states are present, each within its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to and thinking about the environment and self. (According to the DSM-5, personality states may be seen as an “experience of possession.” These states “involve(s) marked discontinuity in sense of self and sense of agency, accompanied by related alterations in affect, behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and/or sensory-motor functioning. These signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual.”
- Amnesia must occur, defined as gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information and/or traumatic events. (This criteria for DID newly recognizes that amnesia doesn’t just occur for traumatic events but, rather, everyday events, too.)
- The person must be distressed by the disorder or have trouble functioning in one or more major life areas because of the disorder.
(This criterion is common among all serious mental illness diagnoses as diagnosis is not appropriate where the symptoms do not create distress and/or trouble functioning.)
- The disturbance is not part of normal cultural or religious practices.
(This DID criterion is to eliminate diagnosis in cultures or situations where multiplicity is appropriate. An example of this is in children where an imaginary friend is not necessarily indicative of a mental illness.)
- The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition (such as complex partial seizures).
(This characteristic of dissociative identity disorder is important as substance abuse or another medical condition is more appropriate to diagnose, when present, than DID.)
To be completely honest, it took me almost 2 YEARS to find a psychologist who was willing to help me. Most of them didn’t even know what the hell DiD was, let alone educated about it. The first person I tried, told me she googled DiD before I came.
Others told me I’m ‘to dangerous’ or they don’t want to risk anything in case I could become violent.
My new specialist reached out to me because one of the therapists I contacted gave her my info. She is very kind, and was trained into dissociative disorders, she even had a few DiD patients at this time.
Despite her explaining to my husband in the simple terms, he still doesn’t believe me 100%, and he still struggles understanding why forcing them all to just go back into my head isn’t something I want or need to do… I was so alone before them. I was so tired of being alone, and scared that they ended up becoming my friends, or as I use to call them, my imaginary friends. They had bodies (even if there not exactly human looking…), they had names, they each have there own distinctive voice even…
Why can’t anyone understand that? Well, because they don’t live in my head basically. Despite having my fights with them, all 5 of them are extremely important and helpful, and in a sense are my only real friends…
I know some wont understand this, but those of you who are like me might. I will eventually break each alter down, explaining them, and who knows, maybe I can get them to speak with you all as well…