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Take a moment to think of your favorite media villain. I bet the character that just came to mind is portrayed as having a mental illness with a sprinkle, or more like a heap of dramatization for theatrical effect. Batman's Two-Face struggles deeply from poorly represented dissociative identity disorder (DID), as does Split's protagonist with the 23rd identity of Kevin being The Beast, an entirely fictitious representation that--intentionally or not--paints individuals suffering from DID as violent and inhuman. The cinematic tactic aimed at creating drama and bolstering a storyline comes with an unintended and paramount side effect: stigma.
When I operate within the framework of an eating disorder, my life orbits around fear. I am afraid of consuming three balanced meals. I am afraid of not being able to squeeze in enough exercise. I am afraid of the number staring back at me on a scale. I am afraid of seeing the calorie count on a nutrition label. I am even afraid of existing inside my own skin.
Meditation is helping me manage symptoms of verbal abuse, but there was a time in my life when I could not imagine myself meditating and taking the time to stop everything I was doing. During that phase of my life, I overcompensated for my underlying anxiety by keeping myself busy with tasks. I filled every second of the day with completing tasks. Sitting still was not part of my daily schedule, and I certainly did not try to keep my mind free and clear of thoughts. 
I don’t have many friends who live nearby. Part of the reason is that my schizoaffective anxiety makes me feel awkward around new people and at parties. Part of it is because many of my old friends moved to other parts of the country, and a few of them died due to complications with mental illness. But part of it is because I cut a lot of people out of my life. Here's why I cut people out of my life.
Opening up about self-injury can be incredibly cathartic and healing. But it's important, too, to set and maintain healthy boundaries during self-harm recovery and beyond.
I had a discussion with my friend once about brain fog, and I said brain fog wasn't a real symptom of depression; it was just sort of a layperson's description of cognitive difficulties. Brain fog itself wasn't exactly real, per se; I said I wasn't exactly wrong about that, but I wasn't exactly right either. Brain fog is not exactly a medical descriptor, but I identify with it as a part of my illness(es). I can now attest to the fact that brain fog is real.
I've long been told to let go of the things I can't control, and I always wondered how. It's not like I can flip a switch and suddenly not stress over the various external circumstances I'm dealing with at the time. For years I tried to tell myself that I would just not care about that stuff. It didn't work very well.
Since the age of 18, I have lost four passports. This sportsman-like proficiency in losing valuable documents is partly a result of having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Over the years, I have been able to cope with my anxiety much more effectively than I did when I was younger; however, there are still plenty of times when my anxiety has affected my self-worth.
People who have borderline personality disorder (BPD) have a reputation for being difficult to treat in therapy and not trusting therapists. As someone who has BPD, I can attest to this: I can be very defensive, and I have a habit of trying to do the therapist's job by diagnosing myself and telling them what I think I need. I also don't stick with any therapist for long and have been known to bail with almost no warning.

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Jason
As a well educated person, in the workplace and with those outside the workplace and the socioeconomic circles that I interact with, people generally don't do tattoo's. I suppose I have an advantage of having an education and therefore knowledge that its toxic poisons (little understood) being injected into the body. Aside from the potential damage, skin cells are constantly dying and being replaced. About 330 billion of those cells are replaced every day — that's about 1 percent of all our body's cells. Our skin cells are replaced more often than almost any other. When someone looks at a 50 year old tattoo for example, ALL of the inked cells have long gone decades ago and the ink has migrated all over the place. Clearly its mostly people from lower socioeconomic poorly educated backgrounds getting tattoos. For some observers its a form of mild self mutilation (one is clearly carrying out deliberate damage to the body) irrespective of the reasons to get one, and in my experience its mostly peer group pressure, rebellion and yet at the same time to fit in. Perhaps the same sort of reasons as smoking, body piercings, car joy riding, gang membership, and most drug use? Often regretted once the mind starts to mature in later life.
Jay
Hello!
I’ve been dating an individual with “high functioning DID” (their words) for about 9 months. I would say I’m in a relationship with 4 of them and love them all very much and have a very different relationship with each of them. I am polyamorous and so these relationships have worked for me and how my brain functions. In other words, I haven’t felt like I am sacrificing, settling or giving too much. Some days have been hard, others so happy- just like any relationship. But the highs are high and the lows are low. One alter is a self prescribed alcoholic and frequently has mental breakdowns and she has been out a lot recently. I feel like she is only stable when I am with her. On top of this, a destructive alter has been re-emerging for the last 2 months or so and has been preying on the alter previously mentioned who has frequent breakdowns. I have tried my hardest to talk to this destructive alter and reason with them, ask them what they want, make friends with them. They have said that their goal is integration- all alters merging into one. Even though this is the conventional form of healing for people with DID, this alter is going about it in all the wrong ways. He is “taking” alters away out of malice, not for the end goal of healing. Anyways, I don’t know what to do about this. Everything was going so great until this alters emerged. But I have to come back to the fact that this alter is a part of the ones that I love; they are all connected.
On top of all of this confusion on how to navigate these relationships, the first alter mentioned, had one of her mental breaks when I wasn’t able to be with her and decided to go to her moms house and tell her everything, which is a rule of the system to hide themselves from their mom. When this was going down I was encouraging of it because I thought the mom could help in my absence as I was afraid for their safety honestly. Anyways, their mom did not accept them, didn’t understand, didn’t want to understand their DID. This feeling of rejection from their family led to an intense mental break. I feel like I can’t leave their side now. I don’t know what to do. I want them to get better, but I don’t know how that is possible honestly. On top of this, I have my own dreams and aspirations. I don’t know how to balance my happiness with loving them. I don’t know if that sounds terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I need them too. I love them and would be devastated without them. But I don’t know how to have both even though I want to.
Is anyone else dealing with anything similar- difficult alters, unstable alters, difficulty balancing your personal lives and love lives?
Bill
I too struggle with the steps and don't accept all of it as "divinely inspired." I'll save you the details; but I plan to return to my group (I need support) while maintaining my personal identity. It's a balancing act, for sure.
Julie
I've had friends for 10 or 20 years and then it's just over. No one tells me why. I am emotional and can be volitile. Having a condition doesn't mean that people give you a bit of leeway. I just get blocked. I go from close friend to invisible. As I get older, it gets worse. If I didn't have a partner, I don't think I woud go out and meet anyone - not much point as they will end up ghosting me. Everything that comes out of my mouth is wrong, every decision is wrong. I've done training and it's helped me to be nicer to everyone - but I don't get the same back. Feel like I'm just smashing my head against a brick wll. Being unlovable/unlikeable is pretty hard. Also I'm Childfree by Choice - so I don't fit with many people (talking about and looking at babies/toddlers is so boring to me)
Tommy C
I think under normal circumstances my Ed’s splitting episode would have been like my worst nightmare come true. It was so much worse After spending everyday for almost 2 years together, literally in the same space when Covid started. I was so proud of us thought we’d get through anything together… then she was just gone and it was like none of it mattered I was her enemy and she did everything she could to never have to even really talk to me again.

It’s just so hard when it’s a scary time.. I wanted to get back out into the world but then leaving me became like her empowerment move… it breaks my heart all over again just thinking how close and sweet I thought we were, to the 180 she pulled…

I feel so ashamed for loving her, believing all her promises, she set me up used my past and pin to split and that was it… the closest connection I have ever felt to another person and it was just lies… I was like her stepping stone, I still feel so used and hurt but gets easier in time.

I won’t lie tho I still wake up crying too often, feeling like my soul has been sucked out of my body, it really does a number in you being that close and finding out you meant nothing. My heart is sinking just talking about it, so I won’t anymore.. but I promise it gets better you just have to keep trying