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Dissociative Living

"What do your alters look like?" is but one question I receive from people who do not live with dissociative identity disorder (DID). It's because one of the most fascinating parts of DID to people who don’t live with it 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, but on a more extreme basis. People living with DID may have dozens of parts to juggle regularly, which may make it slightly more challenging compared to the average person.
Growing up, meditation was something I was completely unfamiliar with, and never openly talked about by the adults in my life. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) that I learned the importance of meditation in every sense of the word.
If you know someone who is living with a mental illness, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID), you may hear the word “grounding” used in regards to managing the condition. What does this mean, and how does it impact those living with DID?
A critical aspect of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the parts, or personalities (including young personalities), that are within the headspace of the individual with the condition. It took me years before I was finally able to identify my own parts, converse with them, and create a healthier place in my mind for them to exist, especially when I have been experiencing suicidal ideation. That being said, it isn’t impossible, even when it may feel like it while dealing with younger parts. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
When you are living with a mental health condition such as dissociative identity disorder (DID), therapy is often a part of the treatment plan. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective launching point, but in my personal experience, it’s been specialized therapy for DID that has helped me grow by leaps and bounds.
Having community support when living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is an important part of dealing with the disorder. Dissociative identity disorder can feel like a burden in more ways than one. In addition to dealing with the multiple conversations happening in your mind, you need to maintain your “outer shell,” or the parts that other people interact with the most. What do you do when the people around you are unaware of your condition?
Can a pet relieve the depression and anxiety of dissociative identity disorder (DID)? Let's imagine this: picture yourself in the middle of a panic attack. Your heart is racing, your mind is juggling a million thoughts, and no one can calm you down. Then, you reach for something soft, cuddly, and receptive to your need for comfort. This is what it feels like to turn to a pet for the anxiety and depression associated with DID.
How do you know what dissociation feels like? Dissociative identity disorder (DID) comes with a wide range of symptoms, one of which is dissociation, but how do you know you aren’t just daydreaming? This is something that many people misunderstand when it comes to DID, and it can be the difference between receiving a DID diagnosis and continuing on with life without treatment.
Living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) means you need as many tools as you can find to remain grounded and stable. This can be difficult when you are trying to balance a routine made up of work, family and friends. However, I’ve been able to find solace in an unusual place: my iPhone.
I’ll never forget the first time I was prescribed medication for my mental health. At this point in my life, I was undiagnosed and had suffered a panic attack. At a loss, I met with my primary care physician for help. After a brief consultation, she sent me home with a prescription for a common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). I did not know that this would be the first of many medications I would take on my healing journey.