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Friday, June 15th, 2012

Maybe you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder commonly known as multiple personalities.  Or maybe you have been wondering what could explain your partner’s apparent ability to completely change into someone totally different.  It might seem that this person suddenly becomes childish to get out of their responsibilities or they just won’t focus long enough to finish a task.  Just when you figure them out there is a change and the person in front of you has no recollection of what you are complaining about.

In fact a person with DID is often hard working, talented and successful in their career but in some strange ways not always. He or she often has a complex inner life and works hard to keep the rest of the world from knowing anything but the successful self.  It takes so much energy to deal with the chatter in their head; to keep alters from blurting out embarrassing comments and to cover-up their own confusing disorientation. There is a constant worry that they might switch, lose time or do something inappropriate in front of their families or colleagues. As a result exhaustion and anxiety are prevalent.

Whenever I have a client whose family members are willing to support their loved one through the healing journey I know my job will be easier.  My clients need a safe home surrounded by people who understand and accept the diagnosis.  Acceptance is not easy for either the client or the family member but the journey includes educating yourself, nurturing a support system and a great big dose of humor.

A diagnosis of DID is just a model for understanding unexpected changes in behavior, thoughts and emotions.  It is really a survival skill, honed in childhood trauma that continues in strange ways for the grown adult.  As wild as multiple personalities may seem it is actually full of potential for change and recovery.  Keep your sense of humor and go with the flow!

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