My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis: 3 Years Later
A dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis is never easy to handle, even as the years pass. The diagnosis is just the beginning of a very long journey. There's going to therapy, finding medication that helps, trying to work with your system, learning to manage your dissociation and then even more therapy. Managing your DID isn't easy, but it does get more manageable over time. It's been three years since I received my dissociative identity disorder diagnosis, and a lot has changed.
I Have Learned to Accept My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis
In the first couple of years after my dissociative identity disorder diagnosis, I struggled a lot with denial. I didn't want to believe that I had DID. I didn't want to believe I had endured the trauma that led to it. I had periods when I would accept my diagnosis, but I would end up drifting back into denial.
This is the first year since my diagnosis that I haven't denied my DID. I didn't hide my diagnosis. Even when I was in programs or places that didn't want DID mentioned, I refused to hide the fact that I had DID. It felt unfair not only to myself but to the others in my system. I told people who we were and they accepted us.
Skill-Building Replaced Trauma Therapy for My DID
I spent seven of the last 12 months in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that focused on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which included skills to help reduce dissociation and regulate emotions. It was necessary, as I had a lot of changes going on in my life, including significant health issues, that were getting in the way of me being able to function as well as I could have been.
I needed to take a break from processing any trauma and instead focus on being able to get through all of the challenges I was facing. At first, I was ashamed because I saw it as a sign of weakness. Looking back, I know it was the right decision. This last year has been the most difficult, between getting sick and becoming homeless, and there is no way I would have been able to get through it all if I was focused on processing trauma.
I Have Been Affected By Stigma Against Dissociative Disorders
Never before have I experienced such discrimination and stigma against DID until this year, from hospital workers to regular people. It surprised me because it was something I hadn't experienced in the years prior. I knew it existed, I just never had to go through it. I lost a lot because of it, but I also gained a lot of insight into views that need to change. I hope that one day, we can change them.
What I've Learned So Far Since My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis
Everyone is on a different path; no journey is the same. The healing process isn't linear. Sometimes you will need a break, or two, or three. You may never know all of your parts or alters. You don't have to integrate to be functional. Not everyone understands DID, and that's okay. I am strong. We are strong. You are all strong, too.
What have you learned since your dissociative identity disorder diagnosis?
Matulewicz, C. (2018, September 6). My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis: 3 Years Later, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2018/9/my-dissociative-identity-disorder-diagnosis-3-years-later
Author: Crystalie Matulewicz
Thank you for reading
I assume you never got an answer. These aren't very well-visited pages anymore. No, DID will never go away. She's had it the whole time. It has manifested, likely due to a period of extreme stress or an onset in her early adulthood now that the system has "settled." Therapy does help. She will be able to go out with her friends again.
I want to reiterate that her condition is not about you. I know how hard this must be, but DID only happens in people who were severely abused as children. If you didn't do it, someone did. That should be your focus right now, along with supporting her. She must be in a lot of pain. Try to be there for her.
Second, it does get better. You have DID, which means you are super smart and super talented. As you are able to stabilize you will find that you are your own best "how-to" guide. You have the answers. There are parts who are guides. You will find your own best system of how to cope. Originally I felt that everything was a democracy and every voice should have an equal vote. Later on I realized that like any family, the adults probably will make more logical and reasoned choices than the babies, so we developed a system of leadership. People had planned times to freak out (during therapy). There were safety rules (Only drivers could drive). My new current therapist is introducing me to family systems therapy, which sounds familiar and okay. My hospitalizations were early on, and now, 24 years later, I would hope to never do a hospital stay again. You will stabilize. The system was built by logic and reason. You are your own best resource to get the stability you seek for parenting/providing.
Now that my sons are grown I am super happy that I used those great coping skills I had developed during trauma to later manage inside life so as to be the best possible parent I could be; to not pass on more trauma or even neglect by virtue of being too focused on myself/ves to notice my 3 beautiful sons who were not part of the trauma, but were at risk of being pushed aside by the overwhelming needs of therapy/treatment. Healing is super important. When you have a child, whatever your issues (DID, anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia......) you still need to provide a safe, nurturing and loving parent-child relationship so that the suffering is not passed on. Anyway, because you have DID you must know that you have vast skills that you can tap into to help you function/live/love/provide. Sorry I got so wordy. Hope there is something in there that is helpful.
It was just 2 days ago that my therapist of 3 years dropped the term dissociative identity disorder. I wonder now how long he's known. When I got home and did more research, my mind was blown. This explains SO MUCH. This has definitely been going on, whether or not I knew what to call it, and regardless of how I might feel about it. ....So I've been mostly very happy/relieved to find words for all this craziness.