I have always wondered and thought for sure I am just crazy. I have read a lot about a lot, but nothing quite clicked until I met people online with dissociative identity disorder. I related a lot to their experiences minus the black outs/time loss. I knew I struggled with dissociation and felt parts inside of and heard internal voices since I was at least four or five. The ‘usual’ description of dissociative disorders did not cover the degree that mine was at times, so I felt confused about what was going on.
I didn’t know for a long time what was ‘wrong’ with me. I was afraid to tell any professional in fear that they would think I was psychotic, but slowly I mentioned some of it from 2003 forward once I started remembering some trauma in my early teen years and knowing some things had happened without the full memories. I did have full memories of some things that were verified by family and things that I have no memory of that they said I was there for, but there are other things I only have bits and pieces of.
I have been told they were just ego states, it was normal, everyone has different parts/personalities, etc. and that a lot of people go through what I do including self harm, depression, anxiety, etc. I have gone back and forth with not believing it myself, but it is very real for me. None of what I have struggled with ever was just a phase or something made up to get attention. It just isn’t the type of person I am. I am more a person that will keep quiet and struggle in silence because I know how people judge/think about certain things. For that reason, so many are unsafe to be honest with, and it hurts too much.
Around 2003, I met my current psychiatrist. She picked up on the DID from the start but wanted me to be the one to tell her (probably for a few reasons). I finally did in late 2015 which opened it all up more when I thought since things had been quiet that it would be a good time. It triggered things, and it has been ongoing since.
I do not have black outs with the other parts. I refer to them as the others. I do not like the term alters but use it only for ease of understanding what i’m talking about in some places online. There have been times my awareness of the external world is almost non existent. It can vary a lot. Even though I don’t have black outs, I do experience an issue of distorted time where the details get very hazy and can start to disappear over hours or days and after that particular part has gone inside/episode has lessened. I have lost a day or few here or there and cannot keep track of things that well. It only is okay because I have a low-key life with not much daily that needs to be kept track of better.
I can experience a blending of the other parts where they can be mixed with me or some can be behind me. Sometimes, they can have a little more control over the body, but mostly their thoughts and/or feelings can become intense and in a way take over. It can get confusing as there is no pattern with them, when they come more to the surface, or why they do. Sometimes, a trigger can cause it, but not always. We can become so entangled that neither of us know who we are.
I used to be able to talk to some of them inside. They all have their own voice, age, gender, and several have names. Since 2007 after going through treatment for the eating disorder and things kind of changed, things also changed inside, so barriers/walls went up. That was why for a few years I was able to learn about myself and get stronger with less dissociation and activity from the others until last year. Now, they rarely use their voice. I cannot talk to them inside. I can feel them and base who it is off of the feelings or sometimes they will say something inside that I catch (but am not sure they want me to). I hear it as clear as someone sitting beside me and talking. Sometimes, I do get confused if it’s just me talking of myself/thinking, but other times it’s very clear it’s them.
I do not know how many there are. At this point, I would say around 21. I believe there are more though. Some who were around prior to 2007 have been quiet/inactive while new ones have emerged over this last year. One who I didn’t know much about who holds anger and caused a few seconds of a black out and self harmed/kind of violent at various (and rare) times in my life has turned out to be a young boy who is just scared and chose a name for himself. I feel like that helped him somewhat. Sometimes, things can happen fast like that or be very, very slow when learning about them. It can be frustrating and scary. I lack patience and am trying really hard to let whatever comes up come up and try not to push it away no matter how uncomfortable/scared it makes me because I know that there cannot be healing if that happens.
They range in age from around 4 to their 30s and some with no age. They are males, females, no gender, protectors, introjects of abusers, memory/feeling holders, and other types. I am grateful that they exist, and I do know they are all a part of me, yet it can also be hard to logically understand that because of how crazy things can be at times.
They all need things, and I am somehow supposed to facilitate that. I don’t feel like I can provide them with what they need as some of them seek external people (which isn’t reality at this point). And without that, I don’t know how they can start to heal. Also, I have no idea how it would even work and having to tell someone about them since it’s such a hard thing for people to believe, so it creates the need even more to isolate and keep that quiet. Only a few people in my offline life know about it, but I am pretty sure they don’t quite ‘get’ it. Still, they had positive reactions to me telling them, but I will not tell other people because of how they are and knowing they wouldn’t believe it. My support system is small in reality. But I guess that is how it has to be.