Dissociative Identity Disorder is Real
March 27, 2024

Dissociative Identity Disorder is Real

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is very real. It’s unfortunate that people, including mental health professionals, still question this. According to the DSM-5, DID is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states or identities within an individual, along with recurrent gaps in memory that are not consistent with ordinary forgetfulness. These identities may have their own names, ages, genders, mannerisms, and even physical attributes.

One way to understand DID is as a survival strategy (and superpower, in my opinion) developed in response to overwhelming and often repeated trauma, typically during early childhood. The fragmentation of identity allows individuals to compartmentalize traumatic experiences, shielding themselves from the full impact of the abuse or trauma they endured. By dissociating into different identities, individuals can navigate their lives while minimizing the risk of emotional or psychological harm.

In situations where escape or confrontation is not possible, dissociation provides a way for individuals to endure and persevere. Each identity may serve a specific purpose or function, such as protecting the individual from pain, managing difficult emotions, or interacting with the outside world.

For example, a child who experiences ongoing sexual abuse may cope with the abuse by saying “that’s not me, that’s someone else” or “there’s no way my parents would have ever done that to me.” By doing this, overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and memories are displaced onto different aspects of the self and kept separate.

Please stop questioning this diagnosis. Please start listening. DID is way more common than people think it is.

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