Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is an extreme form of dissociation from oneself, which makes the sufferer lose connection with their thoughts, feelings and memories. It can happen to such an extent the person with DID can no longer discern who they are or what their true character is. The condition stems most often from severe mental trauma that causes an individual to create alternate personalities known as alters. These alter-egos serve as coping mechanisms and will take over the cognitive functions to achieve a certain end that the original dominant personality couldn’t within their dominant personality.
As with many mental health conditions, DID doesn’t have a singular definition or a rigid diagnosis. There three main types of dissociative identity disorder, each with their specific set of symptoms.
Dissociative identity Disorder
The baseline form of Dissociative Identity Disorder is most associated with mental trauma and abuse that occurred early in childhood. If DID is the outcome from having had these experiences, you may have noticed the following:
- The formation of at least two separates personalities – alters. These act independently from one another and will each have their own set of personal preferences, memories, behaviours and principles.
- There may be consistent gaps in your memory concerning your daily activities. It’s often attributed to the surfacing of an alter that takes over the prime functioning of the body. It’s quite rare that you would have conscious memories of everything you do in your ‘alter’ states.
- You may have found forming and maintaining relationships and employment hard. Since you may be altering between several different personalities, retaining no memory of what you’ve said or done, people may view you as unreliable or even dishonest.
Depersonalisation Disorder occurs when you’re complexly detached from your personality and unable to feel emotion. You could think of it as on-going and extreme form of internalised apathy. Depersonalisation is actually the recurrence of two conditions which may present by themselves or combined.
Depersonalisation – This is characterised by the experience of being a conscious observer of your own thoughts and actions. There will be a strong sense of detachment from your internal self.
Derealisation – This concerns how you view your outer world. You may not be able to comprehend your place within society and have a hard time grasping social etiquette and other standards.
Dissociative Amnesia involves not being able to recall large parts of your life, which is much more pronounced than regular memories issues. It is usually related to a traumatic event that the conscious mind is trying to suppress. These lost memories may be:
Localised – You’re unable to recall an event or set period of time.
Selective – Unable to remember specific parts of an event.
Generalised – You experience a complete loss of your identity.