Living with DID: Why I Can’t Just Get Over It

July 6, 2016 Crystalie Matulewicz

I am living with dissociative identity disorder and I can't just "get over it." Would you tell someone with diabetes to "just get over it?" Dissociative identity disorder (DID) and other mental illnesses are illnesses. They all have causes, treatments, and greatly affect the individuals that have them. Mental illness is not a choice. It cannot be switched off and on at will. No one can wake up and decide they aren't going to be mentally ill that day. So why do some people expect those with mental illnesses like DID to just get over it?

DID Is as Legitimate as Any Physical Illness

When someone has a physical illness, we offer support, both physically and emotionally, to help that person through their illness. Sometimes the illness resolves and the person is cured, while other times, the illness is chronic. Either way, we continue to support the person. We don't tell him or her to just "get over it."

When someone has DID, support from others doesn't always come that easily. Some people don't see DID as a legitimate disorder because the symptoms aren't so visible on the outside. They think the person is just moody or eccentric, and not really ill. The reality is that DID is real, and the effects of dissociative identity disorder are just as substantial as as other illness. You wouldn't tell someone with pneumonia to get over it, so don't tell someone with DID to get over it, either.

You Can't Always Move on When You Have DID

Several times throughout my healing, people have told me that I needed to just move forward and move on with my life. I tried that for many years. Unfortunately, when you have DID, you can't just ignore everything that has happened and keep going forward, thinking everything is going to go away on its own. The effects of severe trauma on your brain can't be willed away.Dissociative identity disorder isn't an illness you can just get over. Find out why you don't just get over DID and the severe trauma that causes it. Read this.

When someone is working through trauma in therapy, they are moving in all directions: backwards, forwards, to the left, to the right. Trauma work involves all aspects of time: past, present, and future. They are all connected. In order to move forward, one has to go backwards and work through trauma from the past. There is nothing wrong with that. It is part of the path to healing.

Why I Can't Just "Get Over" My DID and My Traumatic Past

My dissociative identity disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are a result of decades of severe trauma. I never wanted either disorder. They were not my choice. These disorders are the consequences of my past, and still affect me every day. My alters don't always understand that we are safe and free from harm. Even though it's 2016, some are still existing as if it's the 1990s.

Please don't tell me to let go and forget the past. I can't just forget about it, because my PTSD tricks me into reliving it. I can't just forget about it, because I'm still grieving the loss of my childhood. I can't forget about it, because my alters are still holding memories I am not yet ready to face. I can't just forget about it, because I'm still hurting.

I wish I could just take a pill and make all of my symptoms disappear. I wish I could just wake up one day and not remember any of what I've been through. But I can't. I can't just get over it. No one can.

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APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2016, July 6). Living with DID: Why I Can’t Just Get Over It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 28 from

Author: Crystalie Matulewicz

Crystalie is the founder of PAFPAC, is a published author and the writer of Life Without Hurt. She has a BA in psychology and will soon have an MS in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on trauma. Crystalie manages life with PTSD, DID, major depression, and an eating disorder. You can find Crystalie on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.

August, 5 2017 at 10:12 am

Ive been in therapy for C PTSD for several years, recently my Therapist had me take a test for Dissociative issues...and recommended I read Coping with Trauma related Dis.... Im confused...and feel so screwed up...I want to end it...I feel beyond help...cant seem to deal with crap in my life...stress, powerlessness...Ive always been a do it person..tackle anything ..not anymore.....

Whoever I am rite now parsons
April, 8 2017 at 3:56 pm

I HAVE " friends" as I put it to people cuz just telling someone u have voices or other personalities they definitely assume your crazy. Maybe that's why I say my " friends" they look out for me. My first one cameout wen I was 14 now I have 4 and a dark entity. At times its hard because even though people no they either don't understand or think it's fake. So because of me thinking they think it's fake i ve decided to let whoever will listen every detail I can think of so I can judge their character and see if they'll at least try to understand something of it. It still has me stuck in one place but I'm damn sure gonna everyone I can know so people like me will one day be looked upon as crazy needed to b locked away

September, 17 2016 at 8:36 am

The main thing that I wanted to know when I realized that I had many alters and so much emotional pain to deal with was, "Can I get to the other side of this pain?" Has anyone ever made it out of the this emotional pain?" The unchartered territory without an "X" to mark the spot - heck, without even a map-was what left me reeling in despair about the process. The process is long, painful, stressful, full of grief, terrifying and seems hopeless most of the time especially in this chaotic society! How do you put the pieces of yourself back - well really finally - together when nothing makes sense anymore? A world of conflicting messages and feeling so broken that you can't even trust your own head.
What I learned is that the only place I could turn was God. The only chance of hope that I had to hang on to was that Jesus would see me through this. I had no way to put the memories, that flooded back, back into my head. I felt crazy, lost my whole family of origin system, and grieved as I realized that I had only experienced my whole life in pieces by stuffing the rage, fear, and memories that caused the alters in the first place. I had no choice, but to completely trust in God. There simply was not room to stuff anymore. Initial relief quickly turns to disaster and letting go of the illusion of a family is unbearable for someone like me. Let me be the first one to say that there is another side. You can get there. It is difficult. You can trust yourself. Your emotions do normalize. You can feel things other that pain. It is even normal to feel a lot of emotions all at once and still be one person. I made it to the other side. It took 12 years. I still see my therapist on occasion. I have trouble with two issues still one is feeling safe out in the world, which is pretty normal in our society now, and the other is not being able to speak up.It is really bad when I can't speak up about not feeling safe.
(Like now with this man in the women's public bathroom thing. I have mental issues, too. This scares me and yet if I speak up in society about it, I am considered a bad, intolerant person. Well sorry, but I have tolerated quite enough and way more than anyone should ever have to and I won't tolerate that. If that person has the right to feel safe in the bathroom, I have the right to feel safe in the bathroom.)
I still deal with the belief that my feelings...don't matter and that speaking up will not change the circumstance. People will still hurt me even if I tell them to stop sort of thing from my childhood. If I speak up I will be hurt this situation of political correctness to the nth degree sucks. It retriggers me. About a year ago, I guess you could say I acted out - because I could not get myself out of my circular thinking pattern. I lead myself down a crazy thinking path to try to get out of my unsafe paranoia and ended up doing a couple of crazy things completely out of character before I called my therapist. I had to go back to therapy and deal with more crap, but I made it out again. In order to be a whole complete person, one has to have a completeness. I have found safety and completeness in traditional values. They just make sense to me. I put myself back together piece by piece using that value system. I don't expect everyone else to find safety or completeness in the same value system. I respect people. However, I won't be disrespected more than once by someone for my personhood anymore. I am allowed to be me. I will accept and respect you, but I expect you to accept me and respect me as well. Tolerance goes both ways. We all have unbearable burdens to carry. We have all been treated intolerantly. We all have horrific experiences. There are haters on all sides. Life is not fair. But, in the end love wins.

Bar None
July, 18 2016 at 2:55 pm
Nathan Wallace
July, 15 2016 at 9:29 am

Bar None: "People with DID expend tremendous energy and effort to “get over it” until they begin the process of therapy."
Until they begin the process of therapy or until they find out they have god knows how many "other people" running arround taking them over for little periods of time .. And making them forget things they do, like open twitter accounts and instagram accounts. I dont remember opening either of those, but somebody did.
Hey but I also have substance abuse issues so thats why I have memory trouble..
But other people who really have like alters,.. People with DID dont even know they have it for a long time, right? they didnt mean to develop it surely, so I dont know at what point they really began exerting all this effort to "get over it" ? You mean after they found out about it and started remembering things, or?
If I had DID I would want to know about it, but I dont know if I could bring myself to therapy, only because what if the therapist wants to "bring out" all your personalities, and starts telling you that you have alters with names like Susie and Bob? How would you know that just by asking the alter if it had a name, the therapist did not encourage it to suddenly invent one for itself?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Crystalie Matulewicz
July, 20 2016 at 12:34 pm

Some people with DID realize they have something different about them as early as childhood, though they don't really know that it's DID. Others don't realize until they are well into adulthood. Everyone is different and there is no set guidelines.
In some sense, DID in itself is a protective disorder. It is the mind's way of helping the person "get over" trauma by blocking it out for them, helping them to survive.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Whoever I am rite now parsons
April, 8 2017 at 4:03 pm

I agree with you they do protect u. And it seems the more different types of a trauma a new one sometimes shows up to take on that one.

Bar None
July, 13 2016 at 7:36 am

The development of DID is to "get over it" and " keep moving forward" by blocking out traumatic events. People with DID expend tremendous energy and effort to "get over it" until they begin the process of therapy. If I want to heal from DID, a willingness to gently work through my past is important and will take as much time as needed.

Nathan Wallace
July, 12 2016 at 8:27 pm

I am 33 years old and i've very recently started reading and learning as much as possible about DID, because it has very recently become evident to me that I probably have some level of Dissociative Identity.. But I have no idea the extent of it.
Ive always known that there was something wrong with the way I remember things. For at least 10 years ive been convinced (but scared to ask a doctor) that I had like early onset Alziemers disease because I forget all kinds of things all the time. Entire conversations, and people will often remind me of them and I will have no idea what theyre about.
I'll will say that ive always had a very many-sided personality.. I often use very different mannerisms and ways of speaking, almost to the point of having different accents, and I will even ask myself "who the hell are you right now?".. But I never thought too much of it because Multiple Personality cases have names for thier alters and no awareness at all of thier activities right?
Ive never understood why, but althroughout my life, whenever the subject of sexual abuse would be discussed like in a roomful of people, or anytime at all really, I would suddenly become very self-conscious, nervous, and embarassed as though they were speaking directly about me and I would feel ashamed as if everyone in the room could see right through me. But why? I would tell myself "why are you nervous? Youve never been sexually abused"..
I very recently found out otherwise and the circumstances surrounding that realization, two separate family discussions in which I was informed of the abuse, also lead me to realize that there was an alternate identity working to shield me from those repressed memories (which were not many, as far as I know).. Because I did not even remember these family members telling me about it... That alternate identity had been representing me during those discussions in order to try and keep me from remembering anything about it, and thats why I didnt even remember my family telling me about it.
Until a couple weeks later when one night I could not sleep, mind racing, I suddenly remebered my brother and then my mom telling me that I had been abused as a child,.. And then I remembered one of the traumatic events. And I wondered, how could I have wiped that memory away like that? And why did I not remember my family telling me about it just weeks ago? And why did I pretend not to know what they were talking about? That same night I was considering all this I started having all kinds of hallucinations and I have never hallucinated in my life, not even on hallucinagenic drugs like mushrooms.
And I was thouroughly convinced that I had finally gone completely insane past the point of no return and I was about to have myself committed.
And after praying to God the hallucinations stopped. But now I am left with some serious questions and, I dont even know why I am telling people about this on a blog but I can say this, in response to your post..
Realizing that you have more than one self is not something that anyone can take lightly. I can take just about anything lightly, and I am obviously not even diagnosed with anything but, I can tell you this is something I obviously never "got over". The idea that it may not always be you behind the steering wheel of your emotions and actions is enough to scare the piss out of anyone.
It freaks me out enough that ill probably see a doctor about it. Alziemers Disease I could live without knowing for sure. But not this.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Crystalie Matulewicz
July, 20 2016 at 12:30 pm

The symptoms of DID are so broad. Not everyone with DID has names for alters. There can also be varying levels of co-consciousness. In other words, you can be aware of what another part is doing but have no control, you can work together with that part, or you may have no awareness at all.
Are you getting any kind of mental health help? Especially now that your memories are surfacing, it can be useful to work through them in therapy (even in the absence of any diagnosis). I definitely recommend getting some kind of support system in place. A diagnosis can be helpful, but it isn't the most important thing and it doesn't change your experiences at all (but can help explain them).

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