It was easy to get lost in a virtual reality; I’ve always lived in one
My experience of dissociative identity disorder is unique yet part of
a pattern of signs and symptoms expressed by different people in
Each person is unique but our bodies are variations on a theme
shared by all animals.
I like to give a clinical context to my discussions of life with DID.
People with DID are not crazy, I use reason to cope with a chaotic
I’ve addressed the experience of psychological regression in earlier posts.
Regression: n. a return to a prior, lower state of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning. This term is associated particularly with psychoanalytic theory, denoting a situation in which the individual reverts to immature behavior or to an earlier stage of psychosexual development when threatened with overwhelming external problems or internal conflicts. —regress vb. —regressive adj.>>>>
Atavistic Regression, a term first used in hypnosis, describes a reversion to the ‘ancestral self’.
Dissociative Identity Disorder begins as a protective self-hypnosis that becomes more extreme and elaborate over time.
“Self hypnosis is central to the development of dissociative symptoms and DID.”Dissociative Spectrum Disorders in the Primary Care Setting
A person with DID may experience atavistic regression on a spectrum from feeling oddly younger to becoming a child self with all the mannerisms and speech patterns of a child.
Child alters often talk in a child-like way, but unlike a biological child they can normally understand abstract concepts and long words. They are often found to hold memories of child abuse which occurred at around the age the child alter feels he/she is. Some may have the speech or appearance of a very young child, the youngest being unable to talk, read or write. Child alters should not be confused with the concept of having an “inner child”, which applies to non-dissociative people. Child Alters and DID
Bobby is one of the teens: he has access to a lifetime of information.
My first best friend
I last saw Sandra In 1980.
We watched the sun set at Colonial Lake and reminisced about a game we called Super Girl; I lay on my back and raised her up on my hands and feet: she stretched out like an acrobat and flew while I sang nonsense lyrics to the theme from ‘Superman.”
When Sandra died I went numb and flew to West Virginia; I spoke at her
funeral and flew home the next day.
“Anniversary reactions are the re-experience of a prior traumatic event — a death, a disaster or an individual tragedy. They are triggered by a specific date or event that strikes a chord deep inside our minds, which can be a traumatic portal to the past. A birthday, a notable date or a holiday can link to an earlier moment in our lives that was full of trouble, hurt or conflict. When they do occur, a person who may be highly functioning can be overcome and feel powerlessness, even immobilized.” Mastering the Anniversary Reaction
When Sandra was born, I was 4 and already dissociating.
We spent hours playing with dolls or making mud pies on the porch.
Everyone grieves but not everyone grieves in fragments.
After my sister’s birth, my Mother’s abuse worsened, as did the anti-Semitic
abuse of our Evangelical neighbors.
Jews were not the ‘right kind’ of white people in the segregated South
of the early 1960’s.
When I was six I signed my name ‘Antonio’.
I don’t know how many child parts knew my sister and loved her.
Shortly after Christmas, I noticed I felt like a child.
I lost confidence in my writing and lost skills; I forgot how to
proofread and spell.
Then grief and tears and a thought: my first best friend is dead.
‘My first best friend is dead.’
A Sliver of Grief
The Nurse picks
you up and shows
I live in
and I am
(c) Rob Goldstein 2019
This film is an over the top yet accurate depiction of how DID feels inside: