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Living with DID During the COVID-19 Outbreak

March 24, 2020 Krystle Vermes

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting my dissociative identity disorder (DID) symptoms. Living with DID means experiencing a wide array of different symptoms, ranging from anxiety to depression. Environmental factors can trigger these symptoms in my various personalities, depending on their particular trauma. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has been a catalyst for a series of emotions I’ve been experiencing as of late.

COVID-19 began sweeping across the U.S. in early 2020. As a news junkie, I followed updates on the virus closely, but it didn’t occur to me that I may be susceptible to contracting the illness until I started seeing reports of it close to home. Living in a large, densely-packed city, my mind started to wander with thoughts of how I may catch COVID-19 by simply going about my daily routine. Activities as little as riding the subway suddenly became terrifying to my personalities, and it became so extreme that I no longer wanted to touch the packages delivered to my apartment.

Then came the self-quarantine.

Staying home seemed simple enough, on behalf of the recommendations from my state governor and city mayor. However, it instantly sent my extroverted personalities into a tailspin, leaving them wondering what they were going to do with themselves over the course of weeks indoors. This resulted in several panic attacks, leaving me both physically and mentally exhausted. Fast forward to today, and my daily routine looks much different than it did just two weeks ago.

Adjusting to Life with DID in the COVID-19 Era

Identifying the triggers of my personalities has been difficult, yet critical, in my attempt to get a hold of my mental health amidst this global crisis. Understanding exactly why I’m having bouts of anxiety and depression is essential to not only preventing panic attacks but avoiding triggers, whether they be daily news reports or my favorite podcast.

Medications have also provided immense relief in this trying time. I am fortunate enough to have a medication that was specifically prescribed to help me in moments of panic. While it doesn’t entirely eliminate my symptoms, it gives me a few minutes to breathe, collect my thoughts, and think of my next move.

Finally, meditation has filled in the remaining gaps in ways that I never could have imagined. Unfortunately, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, I have experienced a rise in trauma nightmares. Meditation seems to be the only tactic that has allowed me to breathe out negativity and clear my mind enough to get some sleep.

Of course, these solutions won’t necessarily serve everyone with DID, which highlights the importance of finding out what works for you. Consider speaking to a medical professional to learn more about how to manage your symptoms during this difficult time.

How are you dealing with your DID and COVID-19? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Vermes, K. (2020, March 24). Living with DID During the COVID-19 Outbreak, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2020/3/living-with-did-during-the-covid-19-outbreak



Author: Krystle Vermes

Krystle Vermes is a Boston-based freelance writer and editor who is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of mental health. Connect with Krystle on LinkedIn and her website.

Jodee
March, 25 2020 at 11:03 pm

Omg i just stumbled on your blog. I am turning to try to find help and it seems there is no place out there that really knows how to work with DID. I am having a very hard time coping and it has cost us almost 15lbs! NOT OK WITH ME!!! I was in a RTC for 34 days and discharged with no follow up the day the Governor of NJ ordered everyplace to close! So I went from a nice safe cozy space to ISOLATION.

March, 26 2020 at 12:19 pm

Hi Jodee! I am sorry to hear about your struggle, the COVID-19 crisis definitely seems to be compounding many situations right now. Hang in there!

Kelly
April, 20 2020 at 7:32 pm

Hello Jodee, I'm sorry I am just now reading this article and your response. I hope you get this reply. It is such a scary time, even for those that don't have a mental illness. For those of us that do it is extra scary and confusing and panic inducing. Many counselors have begun to use Zoom or other tele-health methods to meet with counselees. Maybe you could reach out to see who is offering this? It is scary to reach out for help....but it is even riskier to remain so isolated.

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