Symptoms

“As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.”

― Deborah Bray Haddock, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook

DID Research

Symptoms

 

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Those with dissociative identity disorder (DID) may find themselves doing, saying, or thinking things that are out of character and don’t feel like their own actions, words, or thoughts. They feel unable to predict or control these depersonalized outbursts. They often hear internal voices or have streams of thought that do not seem to originate from themselves. They may experience intruding emotions, sensations, thoughts, and urges that make no sense to them and do not feel like their own. They may find that their perceptions, memories, skills, and preferences change between a few consistent sets. Their body might feel foreign or seem to morph to a different age, gender, or build. They might not recognize themself in a mirror or feel connected to their name, physical attributes, or history. They may be confused by evidence of amnesia such as finding possessions, art, or writings that they do not recognize, being called an unknown name by strangers who act in a familiar manner towards them, or being confronted about their supposed actions that they cannot remember. Sometimes, they might experience dissociative fugue and suddenly find themself in a different location with no explanation of how they got there. There might be periods of their life that they can’t recall. Conversely, they might experience flashbacks of traumatic events and then find themself unable to recall what they just remembered. Occasionally, individuals with DID might experience dissociative psychosis. These symptoms may be reported by the individual or by those close to them. The DSM-5 details many symptoms of DID.

 

 

 

Symptoms taken or detailed from the DSM-5 and from Dell's research on DID.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Dissociative Disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm08

Dell, P. F. (2006). A new model of dissociative identity disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 29(1), 1-26. doi:10.1016/j.psc.2005.10.013

"I have an alter who hosted for almost 3 full years. People knew her instead of me. She self harmed and had a severe eating disorder. When I was able to take control again, I was severely underweight and covered in scars. It was shocking. Looking in the mirror was painful because I couldn't recognize my own face or my own body. Now when I look at pictures of that time, I can't recognize myself. I know it's my face, but I just keep asking 'how in the world could anyone believe that is me?'"

-Rose