One of the most fascinating parts of dissociative identity disorder (DID) to people who don’t live with it on a daily basis is the concept of alters. Under the internal family system (IFS) theory, we all have parts of our personality that make us tick. While we may have one part that wants to eat a slice of cake, we might have another part that tells us to skip the empty calories. This isn’t so far from what people with DID experience.
Working with Alters
One of the most important tactics you can learn as a person living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is journaling. Although it may seem like a relatively easy concept, many people take journaling for granted amidst the other options to manage the condition, such as meditation and exercise.
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.
Is it necessary to dialogue with your parts in dissociative identity disorder? What are the benefits of dialoguing? What exactly does it mean to dialogue with your parts? In previous posts, I have written how important it is to communicate with your parts, or headmates as I call them. However, dialoguing with headmates is something more. What does dialoguing look like, and why should you try it?
An alter in dissociative identity disorder (DID) is always assigned a role or a job. For example, an alter might be a host, protector, persecutor, rescuer, gatekeeper, etc., and the alter usually has his or her job from the time he or she is created. As a result, it is an important question to ask if it is ever appropriate to assign an alter a different job. What if the role for which the alter is responsible puts the DID system in harm's way? What should you do then? Should you tell the headmates they are not needed anymore, that you can perform their jobs and take care of yourself?
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.)
If living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is not challenging enough, it can be even more difficult and imposing when learning your system might include opposite-gender alters.
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.