Please take a few moments to watch and read about all the ways people are thriving—not just surviving—with DID.
I have been living with DID my whole life but was only diagnosed 3 years ago. While it sure does have its challenges, I have managed to make a pretty good life for myself. I am certain this life is due to the gift of having DID which allowed me to become the person I was meant to be.
All things considered, I would call myself successful. I own my own home, I attended and graduated from the University of Central Florida for my undergraduate degree, then went on to earn a Masters and Specialist Degree. I work full time as a special needs pre-school teacher, and I also work part time as an in-home early interventionist with children who have developmental delays. In addition, I run a support group for people with Dissociative Identities as well as being the director of An Infinite Mind.
People with DID can succeed and lead great lives. It is time people started to notice.
I have 3 college degrees, including my Masters, I have had several successful careers, including military and professional. I am multilingual by educating myself, an artist, a teacher, and a mentor. I have successfully raised two beautiful, successful children, unfortunately, as a single parent, due to two failed marriages. But I learned my lessons and did not bring my baggage into more relationships that would complicate my children's lives. I am an athlete (competitive swimmer), and a vital 50 year old woman. I resent when people want to say that we are "broken", or "damaged". We are brilliant, contributing members of the community, and, as far as I can see, many times we are coping with life's challenges in a more healthy manner than most. We are experts at keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. Sorry if I sound arrogant, but those who once preyed on us and called us "weak" and "crazy" need a reality check. Peace out!
I am a survivor living with DID. I had been off and on in therapy for 10 years before I was diagnosed by the same therapist I had for all those years. Before diagnosis, I was decompensated mentally which affected my daily living activities. I could not function even with the simplest task. It wasn't until my therapist handed me the book "United We Stand" that all was revealed.
Slowly one by one the committee came out and told their memories. Soon I discovered each of my committee member's demeanor, persona, and behaviors. It took another 10 years of therapy to come to an agreement to cohesively bond and form a relationship rather than integrate fully. As I worked collectively with all my committee, we became us then "us" became I; I occasionally still use (we, us, he, him, she, her, you) but for the most part I am working towards consistently using I to refer to all of me.
As my mental health improved, I was able to hold down job. I worked as a direct support worker caring for adults with developmental disabilities and seniors with Alzheimer and dementia for 7 years. At first I worked "on-call", then "part-time", and the final 3 years I worked "full-time." My job consisted of everything a certified nursing assistant would do, except that I did not take vitals. Although I did personal assistant at the customer's (what we called the client/patient) home and out into the community, I mostly did adult day care services at the center.
I had to quit my job due to first my father's deteriorating health and death and then my diagnosis of breast cancer and going through chemotherapy. I temporarily decompensated mentally. However, with the help of my fiancé (then my boyfriend) and my therapist I managed to stay afloat.
Today, I am a breast cancer survivor. Because I had chemotherapy, I no longer can bear children. However, that is ok because I have 2 lovely dogs that I love unconditionally and consider my own. To date, my mental health is better; however time-to-time I do have setbacks. I, currently, am taking it easy by singing in a chorus group. My fiancé and I are in agreement that I work on my mental health first and foremost..
For pastime, I am taking art lessons doing oil painting. I hope to hone in my skills to paint my thoughts and feelings as a way to heal. I am hopeful. Best of news, my fiancé and I are, finally, getting married after 5 years of courting.
My name is Tracy and I am grateful that my husband found this website. We have been living with my diagnosis of DID for 20 years. We have friends and resources in the community of DID. However, we always desire to expand our resource base. I am 48 years old and just earned my first degree. I intend to continue with school but am taking a short break. I've not been able to hold a consistent job in the past but hope to be able to soon.
I have been a wife for 30 years and we have three adult children; one being our daughter-by-marriage. We also have three energetic and beautiful grandchildren ages 6, almost 5, and almost 3. My husband and I, along with our son and his wife and children all live together by choice and help each other out in our multi-generational home. My husband, our son, his wife, and myself all earned our Bachelors' degrees recently.
We are people of faith and my relationship with God has been my saving grace. My highest accomplishment is my family which my husband and I have created. We are a close-knit, supportive family and I am eternally grateful for that. My family of origin includes a mother and six siblings who mock or ignore our tumultuous past. Our home was a war zone because of alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Today, my home is filled with love and laughter!!! We work together to manage the DID as a family. I am humbled and grateful to God for our journey!
Each new family member, challenge, obstacle, or opportunity is a new beginning that we face together.
I lost my childhood from the age of 2. The basic parental lessons of love, kindness, trust and safety were never mine. Instead they taught me about betrayal, physical and mental pain, guilt, corruption, deceit, lies and hate. I knew that I was unable to change that as a child I was isolated from all that is normal like friendships and birthday parties, sleepovers and day trips...Yet I knew from a very young age that I needed to be different. I am now happy that my life broke the pattern of destructiveness and torment which was inherent through my family. I broke the mold and this validates the person that I am, and continue to become. I want to make a difference I know I can't change the world but I would like to make a difference to just a small corner.
After many years of therapy for D.I.D, I am on the final leg of my journey. We have succeeded in developing a beautiful pink boat that I use for my beautiful family. Some are no longer needed in everyday life, they can go and play on the boat , they are safe there, it is out to sea so no one can harm them anymore, they can get off by using a ladder that transports them. They have new jobs, new roles, new opportunities, new friends…..some like the tranquillity, some like the safety, some grumble up the corner, some play with the soft toys and some have teddy bears picnics, others have important jobs, keeping the pretty flowers safe and others looking after the cute rabbits and small animals. There are still some to go on the boat and some will never go I use them throughout the day. I have cooperation with those that I need to get me through my long days as a manager, teacher, mother and volunteer. I still switch regularly throughout the day, Liz drives for me, Carol gets me to the office, Laura does majority of my teaching for me, Bebe goes to boring meetings for me, A.J disrupts my working day and cause mischief like any other 7 yr old ! I don't ask her to come in she just gets bored! Finally there is L.J a lively child, a reflection, the keeper of all knowledge, the mother to many, the responsible one, the adorable one, my favourite, whom without my life would be terribly boring.
My alters and their portrayal of my emotions/feelings provide me with a sense of love, a strength of character, a wisdom about anger, a sensitivity to suffering, an appreciation of responsibility and guilt, a pervasive happiness (generally). Was i like this 5 years ago? No, I had no understanding of my feelings and emotions but through understanding my individual alters i have established their role in my emotions and so can use this to my advantage most of the time. The biggest help in our journey? Our therapist. Not long ago she made us something special to help with our EFT and EMDR, a tappy bear! a gorgeous soft teddy that she had sewn buttons onto all the tapping points for EFT so that my main child alter could teach all the children how to relax. My beautiful alters are finally learning effective management of their stress and anxieties.My life is now a journey, I am almost always scared, scared of so many things, but I get up in the morning, look in the mirror and think...I am a survivor of the most awful atrocities, i survived 13 years of trauma, the least i can do is survive another day. So I tell my family of many, that I love them, sometimes individually, I give out a kiss to those that need it or a little hug and then off we go into our day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and less frequently now I end up in bed under the duvet, doesn't mean I failed that day, just means today wasn't the day to carry on up the path on the journey, it was a day to stand and look behind me at where I have come from, or to simply look at the flowers and the view.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.Charles Darwin
I was diagnosed with DID 20 years ago. Then it was called Multiple Personality Disorder. I knew that was the only diagnosis that made any sense, BUT hated that diagnosis for a long time. That was for crazy people and they got put away. Ironically, I always felt "crazy" and especially different from everyone else, but could never tell anyone or even knew why I felt the way I did. I had terrible anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and depression for years, well into my 30's. I always had conversations in my head. Sometimes I would answer them and my husband would say "what did you say" and I'd pretend I was "only talking to myself"!!! I used to drive him crazy always changing my mind about everything! Just chalked it up to being a "woman's prerogative" Finally, at the age of 38 couldn't deal with the "crazies" anymore. I knew I'd die if I didn't get help. Nothing made sense to me for I had a great husband, great kids, good marriage, yet I wanted to die. And so my journey began. I consider myself very blessed as I got to a therapist who, at the time, never treated a "multiple" but was willing to work with me (we didn't know at the time I had DID). But as I began to trust her and alters told their stories, together we figured out how to get me better. I have to give her a lot of credit for being willing to take every CEU and course she could find at the time to try to help me. While in therapy I was able to get up enough courage to go back to school, earn my Bachelor's in Elementary Education and then go on to get a Master's as a Reading Specialist. Actually, to me going to school was sort of a respite from the emotional pain that therapy was at the time. But I stuck with it. Now I consider myself fully integrated. I never switch. I do still get triggered but have so many tools to help me understand what the trigger was and how to care for myself. I hated having DID for a long time, but now I consider it a gift. It is a very spiritual thing for me and I feel in awe that I was given that gift. A gift that let me survive. Now that I am healthy, I try to use my knowledge of abuse, etc. to help others. I am involved as a volunteer for RAINN and an on-line hot line crisis intervention volunteer and am also a member of their speaker's bureau.
I plan to do more work in the areas of domestic violence, rape crisis intervention and now finding this organization, maybe help here too. Thanks for giving all of us a voice.
Gratitude comes to me in peculiar packages. I have been trying to train myself to be grateful every day for something, and yesterday was a real first and a testament to how far I have traveled from the depths of despair to where I am now. Living with DID is certainly an up and down experience for me, and the past week has really been "down." I was crying in my therapist's office (cliche, right?) about to have a system crash. One of my "parts," violent and angry, was hating on me, and my therapist asked a very poignant question - "why did Rae come into being?" My answer was "because the system couldn't function." We all stopped for just a moment, as that statement percolated throughout my system. I became Rae because otherwise the system couldn't function. At a crucial time in my teen years, I had been raped and it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Rae came to save the system. She graduated from high school, went to college, and became a teacher. For just a moment, I was grateful for the strength I found within to become who I needed to become to survive. I survived a childhood of trauma, and I survived that last assault. But I did more than survive. I gathered all that was strong inside and I became who "we" are today. I am many, and in my plurality I maintain close friendships, a marriage of 24 years, and a career as a teacher (going on 19 years). I have children, grandchildren, and a home full of love. I am working on co-consciousness in therapy, so that all of us can more fully participate in this life. I am grateful I have this strength. I hate that I have to hide behind these false names, as I worry that any knowledge of my mental illness would affect my career. It's self-perpetuating - the stigma of DID pervasively exists, requiring that those of us with DID step forward to share our stories so that the world may know who we really are. However, those of us with DID fear stepping forward as the stigma of DID and all mental illness could seriously negatively impact our lives. Someday I will have the strength to let the world know who I am. Someday I will use my voice.
I'm pretty sure I had split by the age of 18 months and due to other trauma in life growing up I learned to split rather easily. I learned about the DID with a wonderful therapist probably 8 years ago. It was after I had moved away from home. I was an only child. I graduated with honors in high school and then graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Automated Manufacturing (Robotics and other industrial automated equipment). I met my future husband before I started college and then we both went to the National Robotics Competition through VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) and placed first in the country against several other tough colleges. I then got into doing environmental management with a large company handling all environmental issues with all the facilities in the state I lived in. I was successful in what I did. I am now on disability and focusing on healing and I have learned that I would never have been able to do all the things I have done in life or achieved all the these things without having the support and help of my friends inside due to DID. I am happily married and work on spending my days helping my husband renovate an 1800's farmhouse from the ground up all on our own. I also enjoy allowing time for the others inside to do things they enjoy like making candles, soap, bath salts, and other good smelling products. There are good things about having DID and the world needs to know that there are good things about it and that it isn't so negative.
I just found your website and I'm so glad it exists. People shouldn't be embarrassed to have DID. There's nothing wrong with being multiple. We have had DID since we were very young, it probably developed by kindergarten. There were some tough years due to a lot of abuse. But we are survivors, not victims. I am grateful to wake up every morning. There is joy to be found in every day. I have a wonderful job working with children, which I love. I am happily married. For the most part, we all work together inside. We have learned that we have to make compromises and get along. I run a website for people with DID called A Mind's Journey. I am trying to encourage other people with DID to keep on fighting and not give up.
I was diagnosed with DID about 3 years ago after an unfortunate event triggered some very painful memories. My DID began the day I was sexually assaulted by my father-in-law. Having this happen to me by my husband's father has been extremely painful for us to deal with. Since I came forward another family member has come forward. Her rape happened 30 years prior.
This is actually the first time I have written these words but I want others to know you can tell the secret that keeps you crippled. After recovery my unprocessed memories I have felt free. I no longer feel stocked or afraid. I am at peace.The last three years of my life I have come home to myself. I don't care what others think of my diagnosis they didn't have to live through what I did.
My mind shut these very painful events down in order for me to survive. All those years left me feeling crazy and sometimes my way of reacting to things-it came across like-I was crazy. I am a professional social worker, have worked with victims of abuse, crisis hot-line work, hospice bereavement and produced radio shows and two magazine on family care giving. Life is good.
I walk with my head held high, I have survived and I am a strong woman!
Thank you for letting me share my journey...
I've been living with DID since before I can remember. My mother died when I was four so I was missing that female figure in my life. My father made a great mother too but it just wasn't the same. My best friends mother said that she saw DID in me very early on. She noticed little things here and there that reminded her of herself. She has been living with DID since well before I was born. As I grew my dad tried to remarry, but unknowingly married an abusive woman who beat me. After a while, my family and friends started noticing that I was forgetting a lot of things that by all means should not have been forgotten and it all progressed from there. Like others have said...it is a gift, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I believe that I have the perspective of many different people rather than just my own. I'm proud of who I am and who I am becoming with every day and without my family and friends to love me along the way...I know I wouldn't be the way I am now. I have so much to be thankful for. So I don't think I'm just surviving with DID...I'm living.
Once upon a time, I was a three-year-old girl who was forced to create an internal system to cope with intolerable pain. I separated each part of self into a symbol of the skills/talents/attributes I possessed which could help me survive traumatic events. Throughout my history of abuse, sorrows and tragedies, something in my core would not allow me to die. Since there was no one to teach me how to survive, I used my own innate intelligence, creativity, perceptions and experiences in distinctive ways. Until I was kidnapped by knifepoint by a sadistic serial rapist fifteen years ago, and then forced to see a trauma expert during the high profile rape trial, I had no idea this lifesaving DID process was a special gift given to me at birth. After the complex trial, I volunteered to go into a specialized women's institute for repetitive trauma, and quickly learned this dissociative phenomenon is an inherent and natural restructuring of the mind, body, spirit, and self. And that any who survive persistent abuse, neglect, and/or life-threatening events do so through interaction between mind, body and spirit-elements working in unity to hide "core self" safely away in a maze of dissociative symbols/parts. This development is an instinctive and natural restructuring of the mind, body, spirit, and self. It is a miracle that protects a person from any outside agent, natural or human, that attempts to strip control of self from us through force.
I was always considered a fun-loving child who grew up to become a highly successful career woman with many friends and material things. But after the last brutal rape and trial, parts of my system that held the decades of vehement abuse, undistilled fear and deep wounds could no longer protect my core self. They became too hurt and angry, begging and fighting for attention gained only when I finally chose to release the damaging secrets, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. My core self yearned to be rescued when the intrusive and repetitive suffering began to surface. The counselors taught me creative ways to communicate and relate to my hurting and angry parts in a way that created wholeness instead of fragmentation, true transformation rather than superficial changes. Knowledge acquired about the daunting symptoms of trauma diminishes their power and mystery, as well as reduce the stigma associated with DID.
During my many years of intensive yet safe therapy, I have been able to gain awareness, have healthy internal communication, and rescue as well as empower my core self. The ultimate success and joy for me has been getting to know and love my authentic self!
It is my pleasure to express my appreciation to Jaime and all of you who choose to take responsibility for your lives, and who are courageous enough to speak out about living with DID. We are survivors who struggle to tell our story so it will no longer fester inside of us, so we can bear the pain, so we can learn from it, so we can teach from it, so we can thrive in this wild and wonderful world!
I used to believe having DID was a terrible hardship. I felt as though I was being punished for things I did wrong. I mean I survived my abuse only to have to deal with this. Now that I have learned more about DID and learned to accept these parts of myself, I have come to realize what the others on this site have. My DID was a gift the world gave to me to help me survive what should have been unsurvivable. It wasn't a punishment but a reward. I see others who have come from a similar background and they live everyday with their pain and memories. I have my internal ones to take the pain and memories away and allow me to live my life. I like to say I have a decent life. I have a wife and 3 children. I spent some time in the military before retiring from there to work in the medical setting. I might not have been able to be the loving husband and good dad I am without the help of my others. This doesn't have to be a curse.
It is about time someone decided to tell the world we are all not the Sybil type. I have always feared someone finding out about my DID. I hated hiding it but I didn't want to lose all I worked for. Really who would want some crazy being their lawyer? What most people don't get is that having DID is what helps me so much in my profession. Many brains means excellent multi-tasking. I never forget a meeting and I can handle all the stresses with ease. I can be tough at work and then when I go home, I can be the gentle mom to my children. Sure having DID is not all roses all the time but what is. I just try to laugh it off and not take myself too seriously. My parts are my inside best friends and I can't imagine a life without them.
I've lived with DID my whole life but was just diagnosed 4 years ago after struggling with a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia from when I was 16. When I was first diagnosed DID, I didn't know what was in store for me because I didn't know anything about DID. I stayed in denial for a long time but thanks to a DID support group I attend, I am no longer in denial and my life is much better.
I'm now happy I have DID because without my parts taking good care of me, I don't know where I would be today. I've been successful as a preschool teacher for 10 years and I worked in a doctor's office helping others get better. I have also been a home health care worker for people who have terminal cancer and elderly who needed 24 hour care.
In addition to helping others though work, I also volunteered with a company called Better Living for Seniors where I was in charge of activities and teaching self care. I also volunteered for "meals on wheels" which brings meals to the elderly who can't get out of their homes.
I was able to do these things because of my gift of DID. If I didn't have DID, I think I would be in a vegetative state locked up in a hospital. My parts have made me very high functioning and a very strong person with a lot to offer. My only hope is the same day, DID is accepted for what it is.
My name is Carlyn and I was diagnosed 8 years ago with DID. I was very happy to find this site because I think it will be helpful for people to understand what DID is really all about. I have been so afraid to tell anyone because I was worried about what people would think. I have a loving family, and 3 children. I am a stay at home mom by choice but prior to having my children, I worked as a paralegal. I am on the PTA in my children's school and I volunteer at many of the class events. I was and still am worried what the other parents would think if they found out. I didn't know if they would stop letting their children come over to my home or if my children would be teased. Hopefully soon I won't have to worry so much.
Having DID has been a challenge for me. I have had a lot of issues because of it. No one would know that though because I have been doing a good job to hide it. On the outside, I look like everyone else. No one would know what happens on the inside. My parts helped me to survive my very abusive childhood and now they still help me make it through each day. One part helped us with school and I finished college with honors in the field of biological sciences. Another part helped us get our job where we still work testing water supplies to make sure they are at safe levels for people and animals. I take pride in my job because I know that even though it is a simple job, if I don't do it right, it could make people very sick. I go to church and like to sing in the choir. I also like to be outside so I run a lot and ride my bike. With therapy the days are getting easier and my challenges are getting better. People should know that we are like everybody else and they don't need to be scared of us or worried we will hurt them. To all the people who read this, don't give up and keep trying to get better.
I am a survivor of [organized] abuse and was diagnosed with DID about 6 years ago. I am very thankful for my parts, if it were not for them I would not be alive today. I am married to a wonderful man who is my best friend, we own our own business (a small restaurant), I am active in my church and community. I have a BA degree in Psychology and Social Work and a MA degree in Art. I am a practicing artist and have won awards, been in national shows and have had one person shows of my art work. I have been able to work many jobs including child care counselor with emotionally disturbed children, volunteer coordinator, job coach for developmentally disabled and mentally disabled adults, as well as all the summer jobs and college jobs I had during my college days. It is amazing to me when I look back at what I have been able to accomplish with the help of my parts.
DID is an amazing gift and I am honored to be one. I have met people on the Internet and in person who I cherish and respect as friends who also have DID. We are normal people with normal lives and normal needs who spend a lot of our time isolated because of fear of being rejected for our gift of DID. That is not to say that we do not all struggle with our problems but I have not met anyone in my life who has not struggled.
I am thankful for Jaime and her desire to show the positive and normal side of DID!
I've always been a successful person. I graduated high school, with honors, a year early. With only my high school degree, I got a job paying 4 times the minimum wage and I bought my first home when I was 19. Then I married and became a stay at home mom home schooling my kids and doing day care, and later foster care.
I started having repressed memories surface about 15 years ago when my kids were ages 7-12. I'd never been to a counselor, never heard of [organized] abuse, and never heard of people having repressed memories, so I just figured I was overly stressed and going crazy. It took me a couple years to accept they were actually memories. It was when a little girl from my first memory surfaced! So not only did I realize they were memories, but I was a multiple, now called DID! Although it was very chaotic in the beginning, since then I've adopted a child with HIV, finished my BA degree in Human Services, graduating with honors, and I've started my own business where I have 9 employees. I help care for and support people with mental health and developmental disabilities.
That being said, I lived most of my life feeling alone, I was a loser, and stupid. I hid my thoughts and feelings inside me and felt that if anyone saw the real me, they would feel the same way. On the outside I looked "normal" and happy, but one the inside I only felt alone. I started seeing a counselor about 5 years ago. I saw one for 18 months and 3 years later I started seeing another one. I've been with her for about 18 months. I'm finally starting to have moments, sometimes all day, where I don't feel alone. I feel accepted, I have value, and loved. I'm starting to see I have a lot to give to others. Although my abuse was horrific, it has given me the compassion and grace to give to other suffering people.
Although my friends and some family members know about my abuse and me being DID, it's not something I can share openly because of the disbelief many people, including professionals, still have. Plus the stigmatism of DID being labeled as a mental illness and the stereotype of not being able to function, or not being a safe person to care for kids or vulnerable adults.
I hope that would change in the near future, so people with DID who have been so horribly abused can get the help and support they need and deserve.
I just came across this site and this is the first time I haven't been embarrassed about having DID. You never see people openly talk about their experience and in such a positive way. It's nice to see people talking about the good things people with DID can do. I was dx 8 years ago and I have never really told anyone before. I was too scared. I didn't want to be laughed at or not believed. Now I can direct people here to see all the wonderful things we can still do. I am not as far along in my healing like some of the others but their stories give me a lot of hope. I still have times when I struggle a lot but I am still able to work in my full time as an accountant. I have 1 son and I am newly single. I went to college and I think my life is for the most part is pretty good. I mean, we all have our issues right. My parts are my best friends and great helpers. I don't think I would have wanted it any other way.