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Stigma and Misconceptions

What is it like to hear voices in dissociative identity disorder (DID)? Hearing voices, sometimes known as auditory hallucinations, and having DID does not mean one is psychotic or delusional. Hearing voices is actually common with the disorder, but it is also a complicated topic for which a one-size-fits-all answer does not work. However, we can still understand the phenomenon of hearing voices when we examine how our alters influence us.
Should a loved one or a friend ever be allowed to force a switch in someone with dissociative identity disorder (DID)? What does forcing a switch mean? Let's go back to basics first.
Persecutory alters are something that can exist within a dissociative identity disorder (DID) system. We, ourselves, live with this kind of alter. We can feel threatened, taunted, and condemmed by this kind of alter. We are harassed with negative messages in our head, screaming that we deserved the abuse and the mistreatment and that we are worthy of death. These cruel messages are ones that persecutory alters in DID offer us. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
The time to talk about suicide and dissociative identity disorder (DID) is now. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in adults. For those with dissociative identity disorder (DID), the Cleveland Clinic asserts that 70 percent of sufferers, more than any other mental health condition, have tried to die by suicide. Discussion of suicidality is no longer optional. It is imperative that we end its stigma and discuss it now. There are 12 coping strategies and skills you can use to help those who are suffering and wanting to die by suicide. What specifically can those with DID do to help themselves and their headmates cope with the overwhelming desire to end their pain? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
I have been asked recently, "Can I voluntarily give myself dissociative identity disorder?"  For most of us with dissociative identity disorder (DID), our first reaction is to wonder why anyone would ever want to develop a disorder that can be so challenging, if not debilitating. The truth is, however, I have shockingly come across individuals inquiring how they can develop the disorder. Well, the answer to whether you can voluntarily give yourself DID is unequivocal.
Intimacy can be such a tabooed and feared topic, especially for those of us with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who have been subjected to years of prolonged abuse and unwanted touch. The very idea of intimacy denotes something very private, closely personal, and not prone to discussion. However, if true healing is to be obtained, those with dissociative identity disorder must discuss concerns of intimacy, closeness, and vulnerability in order to help heal and to have his or her needs met in their relationships. 
Antipsychotic medications for dissociative identity disorder (DID) are sometimes used although DID is not treated with psychiatric medications like other mental illnesses are. However, there are medications that can help alleviate the symptoms that tend to go along with DID. These symptoms include difficulty sleeping, panic, anxiety, depression, and mood instability, among others. Antipsychotic medications are one type of medication commonly prescribed to people with DID, but they carry a huge stigma. Does taking an antipsychotic medication when you have DID mean that you are psychotic?
Life with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is most likely different than you've imagined. Perhaps you've heard the horror stories or seen the movies portraying us as killers, psychopaths, crazies, or dangers to society. Perhaps if you have been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, you might have compared your experiences with DID to that of others, wondering if your symptoms are "right" or if you're "normal." People are curious about the disorder because of the common misconceptions about DID. What is real and what is concocted? What is a day in the life of someone with dissociative identity disorder truly like?
There are hundreds of articles describing what dissociative identity disorder (DID) is, but there aren't many articles describing what DID is not. With all of the misconceptions and stigma out there about DID, it is just as important to write about what DID is not as it is to write about what DID is. Let us clear the air about DID.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) and other dissociative disorders go hand-in-hand with signs and symptoms of dissociation. You can find these signs of dissociation included in many lists, and in books like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). But symptoms of dissociation aren't always so black and white. The reality of dissociation goes beyond the obvious signs and symptoms of dissociation that you read about.  So what is dissociation really like?