Accepting and Learning to Cope With Your DID Diagnosis
Accepting and learning to cope with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder is hard. For those that have received a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID), it can be a tumultuous process.
Many are unaware of what DID is until they receive the diagnosis. For those that are aware of DID, there is often an unwillingness to accept the diagnosis of this mental illness and everything that comes with it, which can delay the coping process. There are a few things you can do to make accepting and learning to cope with your DID diagnosis little easier and make the path of dissociative living a little less rocky.
From Denying to Accepting Your Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis
People with DID often go years before receiving a DID diagnosis, despite experiencing symptoms of DID. While a diagnosis may not come as a surprise to some, it doesn’t make acceptance any easier.
On an intellectual level, I knew I had some type of dissociative disorder long before I was diagnosed with DID. Yet when my therapist diagnosed me with DID, I found myself in denial. All of the signs were there; they had been there for years. Yet, I sat in my therapist’s office that session, and for several sessions after trying to convince myself the diagnosis was wrong.
Any mention of DID made me turn away. I hoped that if I refused to acknowledge the DID diagnosis, it would just go away. Obviously that didn’t work. My therapist picked up on my reluctance to speak about the DID and I finally just let all of my feelings out in the open. And you know what? I wish I had let it out sooner (The Benefits of Therapy: Talking Treatments For Mental Health). I was holding it all in thinking I was going to make my therapist angry if I expressed my resentment over my diagnosis. But my therapist wasn’t angry.
Therapists understand that clients aren’t going to accept their diagnoses right away. Acceptance is a vital process, much like therapy is. It takes time, patience, and work. It’s okay to be in denial. It’s okay to be angry, upset, or frustrated. All of your feelings about your diagnosis are valid. Remember that, and remember that it is important to share those feelings with your therapist so you can work through those feelings in a healthy way.
Cope with Your DID Diagnosis by Educating Yourself
In today’s technology world, it’s never been easier to access information about DID through the Internet. HealthyPlace offers an abundance of information on DID, from facts and statistics to causes and treatments. For those that prefer a less technological approach, there are many good books that have been written on DID.
Once I started to accept my DID diagnosis, I bought several books on DID; some were written from a clinical perspective, and some were written specifically for people with DID. For those just starting out in their diagnosis, start out with a book written for people with DID. You will gain insight and a better understanding of the ins and outs of DID. Understanding DID will help you better understand yourself and make coping with your diagnosis a little easier.
Reaching Out For Support to Accept your DID Diagnosis
It is essential, especially early on in your diagnosis, to have a competent therapist that is familiar with DID and proper treatment. It is important for you to have outside support as well. Ask your therapist if there are any support groups or group therapy sessions for clients with DID. HealthyPlace has an online DID support forum where members can connect with other members and discuss dissociation-related topics. If you like to write, start a blog; you may be surprised just how many others out there share similar experiences.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, whether it be from your therapist, a family member, friend, or other supportive person in your life. You are not on your DID journey alone.
What ways have you tried to help you come to accept and cope with your DID diagnosis?
Matulewicz, C. (2015, October 7). Accepting and Learning to Cope With Your DID Diagnosis, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2015/10/accepting-and-learning-to-cope-with-your-did-diagnosis
Author: Crystalie Matulewicz
I am Andrea's Alter Elisabeth Anne. I came into being at age 8 1958. I've written a funny story about the clash between Andrea and our Mother. Maybe she will allow it to be published in a blog.
I turned 65 August 28th, 2015. This is so significant not for just myself but for all of us in Andrea. She is allowing this conversation. THANK YOU ANDREA :)
Just this year 2015 (Hi I'm Andrea) I've prayed and prayed to become scrupulously honest. WOW.
Andrea? Yes. U R? My name is Elisia. My name means in Hebrew God's child. A: Is that important to be recognized as a child of God? E: Oh Yes! A: What do you know that would help all of the alters thrive? E: I think the most important fact is that I've learned to ABSOLUTELY STOP JUDGING anyone ever Esp. Earl. A: please tell all of us and the readers who Earl is to us. E: Earl is God's husband for us. A: We have stopped judging!!!
The serenity prayer has created a surge of understanding among most of us. I Andrea have accepted with my alters the things I cannot change. And we have definitely been encouraged to change what we can. We agree that there is a list predominantly true of ourselves we will share in the book we are writing. Let it be understood. We work tirelessly to combine, to integrate, to say it like it is. We take anti depressants, we take medications for cognition help. I see my doctor once a month. I see my therapist every week when I'm having difficulty with my thinking. Well thanks. We'll be back. This breath of pure oxygen defines this as an oxygen moment. Mumble Mumble which journal do I journal this? I know, I'll put it in my Oxygen Journal. Love, Andrea to the 12th Power ;)
Great article! I've been fighting this diagnosis since I got it even though most of my days are run by my altars and there's evidence EVERYWHERE that I was out like a light.
And Kelly, I try doing the same thing and try NOT to think about what's going on inside and try to maintain my alertness and wakefulness.... just focus on life and responsibilities and then before I know it, my husband is telling me once again he had a visit by one or some of my altars. I get hopeful thinking I might have more control over my dissociation than I think, but then get crushed by the in - your - face fact that the diagnosis is real. And THAT awareness always gets me shaking again like a leaf with the stupid non-epileptic seizure I get. My husband doesn't understand why I keep denying it, but half the battle is admitting something horrible happened to me as a child when I don't remember! I know people inside say they do but come on! I don't remember and have to believe voices in my head???? :(
Wow, what a timely article for me. I have been diagnosed for almost one year with DID. Three weeks ago I decided to "take a break" from my alters and just "be myself" in counseling and in life. I have to say I enjoyed being clear headed in counseling but the emotional turmoil that was going on inside my denial made things much worse. (Not to mention that I kept being face to face with the reality of my DID everytime Little Girl wanted to be out.) I found out there are two things in life that you cannot take a break from...physical illness and mental illness. Because I was in denial, I neglected Little Girl and my other child. It caused stress on me and on them. In deciding to go into denial I thought I was taking care of my adult self but actually I was adding a tremendous amount of stress on myself, my others, and my mental health. Plus, being in denial means I wasn't really loving my true self doesn't it?
For me, accepting DID is speaking about myself and my others (realizing that we are still one person....which is also hard for me) out loud. I need to talk about them to my counselor and my husband. Also, since I finished reading all of the blogs on here for DID I have started to go back and reread them on a regular basis. This makes me feel not so abnormal. And, of course, like you mentioned, bringing my fears, denials, and anger to my counselor so we can deal with them out in the open helps a lot. (This I started doing last week). There are no support groups where I live and I don't have any safe friends to share this with so it is very important for me to speak honestly about my lack of acceptance of DID with my husband and counselor.
Thanks for this article. I will be adding it to my list ones I read again!