Do People with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Know That They Have It?

Excellent explanation of how it feels to become aware of having DID.

Blooming Lotus

On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and “Hearing Voices”, a reader posted the following comment:

I know I have these inner voices yet I don’t know if they are attached to actual parts per say-with names and history. I was wondering, (without being intrusive) if your personal work began with just the voices and then finding out more later?? I do believe that my voices have been with me for a very long time on and off but I choose not to recognize them on some level. ~ Kim

Kim actually posted three comments to the blog entry, and the underlying message I am getting is the question of whether people with DID know that they have it. The answer in most cases (before therapy and diagnosis) is no.

The whole point of DID is to compartmentalize the spirit so that some parts hold the pain…

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7 thoughts on “Do People with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Know That They Have It?

  1. I would say no. Even with doctors diagnosing me with PTSD, with some severe dissociation, it took me years to come to terms and realize that, yes, I was indeed dissociated and experiencing identity disturbances. Now, I have more self-awareness and use coping strategies. While my dx is chronic PTSD with dissociative features instead of DID, my symptoms have been quite severe at times.

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    1. Agreed! I had no clue because I thought everyone lost time and shifted ways of being. When I was 21 my first partner hugged me one night and asked me not to change. I thought he was asking me not to age. Years later, after I was diagnosed, he reminded me of that chat and finally clarified, “I was asking you not to change into someone else. You did it all the time.” I never knew.

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      1. Wow. I know my moods can be triggered and change on a dime because of triggers. I can dissociate on a dime, as well. I have forgotten large chunks of time, but it is a different type of dissociation than DID. I have also experienced identity disturbances in that I walked around having no clue who I even was or what an identity even meant. It just produced profound and disturbing emptiness. Chronic PTSD has been difficult and confusing enough. It is hard to even imagine the challenges with an identity that flat out changes into a different personality. Thanks for sharing this. We can certainly learn a lot from one another on this platform.

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      2. I understand what you mean.

        Without the disruption in memory I might recognize the voice in that essay as the voice I use when writing essays.

        I also write poetry.

        Because of the memory barriers my skills become selves.

        So there is the self that writes essays and the self that writes poetry.

        In the past I wouldn’t have recognized this post at all– the fact that I do recognize it as from ‘me’ in some way is the result of intensive psychotherapy.

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